Thursday, June 29, 2017

7 FUN Summertime Journaling Activities for Kids




Keeping kids engaged in fun, worthwhile activities all summer can be daunting. The novelty of sleeping in and lack of homework wears off. About now, your kids may be some of those, "I'm bored, Mom," kids. After all, it is a mom's job to fix everything, right?

Arm yourself with an arsenal of fun things to do. Keep a list of activities handy, and remain calm (and flexible).

In this post I'm going to introduce you to 7 fun journaling activities. I'll suggest some printables for the first two activities in this post and continue the next 5 in follow-up posts. There's just too much stuff to put in one post, and I really don't think you want to sit here and read all day when you can go play with your kids!

7 Fun Summertime Journaling Activities:
1.  Host a Journaling Party--This is a fun activity for Cub Scouts, Achievement Days for girls, Girl Scouts, your own kids or grandkids.
2.  Play School--this is especially fun for preschoolers.
3.  Cipher collection/I Spy Journals--I haven't met a kid yet who doesn't like to spy or decode things!
4. Travel Journals--This makes even the longest road trip more interesting, and fun to look at later.
5.  Camp Journals--skills list, basic first aid, sketch page, etc.
6.  Adventure Journals--Take a pretend African Safari, trip to outer space, or time travel to historical events. This holds more interest for older kids.
7. Young Author workbooks--Get the kids interested in writing their own stories.

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg to help get your own creative juices going...

For your own kids, this is a fun book to read about journals:

This is not an affiliate link, but you can find it on Amazon.com






1.  Starting with Host a Journaling Party:
  • Provide one adult to every 3-4 children for assistance.
  • Provide inexpensive composition notebooks and supplies so the kids can design their own journal covers, and help them cover in clear contact paper.
  • Provide enough supplies for each child; tape, glue sticks, double-sided tape, scissors, crayons, colored pencils, markers, stickers, and some fun scrapbook papers.
  • Provide printables of the first three pages, "All About Me," "My Favorite Things," and "My Family Portrait," or something of your own design.



All about Me in circles or shapes.




You can find all of these in the Library of Printables.
Just subscribe to our email list and I'll send the link to the Library.
You could also make fun bookmarks if you have time or for a follow-up activity. Encourage the kids to write in their journals at least once a week.

2.  Play School
  • Use inexpensive composition notebooks.
  • Draw letters that the kids can trace or outline with stickers.
  • Draw your child's name and let them trace it.
  • Make counting pages using stickers and trace the numbers.
  • Trace shapes.
  • Use FREE printables of your choice.
Cassie at 3 dinosaurs makes a plethora of Free printables!

These are the FREE printables you'll find in my Library:




Stay tuned for the next 5 journaling activities...


Happy Journaling,

Monday, June 26, 2017

7 Tips for Journaling with Kids

1. Write in your journal while your kids write in theirs. It's just another chore you're asking them to do unless you do it with them. Pick one day a week to journal and be consistent.
2. Keep a collection of crayons, markers, pens, pencils, and stickers in a central location. Make sure these are supplies you don't mind the kids using. Some supplies require adult supervision...
3. For younger children, let them draw or scribble. Ask open-ended questions about their drawings. Write what they say, date it and note their ages.
4. For older kids, let them write and draw whatever comes into their heads. If they get stuck, let them choose between 2-3 journal prompts and watch them take off.
5. Don't read their journals without permission. This is how they learn to respect other's privacy--they learn it from you. They also need to trust that their journal is a safe place to share their feelings. 99% of the time they can hardly wait to show you their stories and drawings.
6. Stock up on composition notebooks at the back-to school sales. I can usually find tons of them at Walmart and Target for 50 cents each. Don't forget to donate school supplies to groups helping third world countries, and our own communities. Not everyone has the abundance of paper that we are blessed with.

7. Let your kids dress up their journals with covers of their own designs. Make the first page an "all-about-me" page. These two things give your kids ownership and responsibility for their own journals. Cover with clear contact paper for more durability.






Have a happy
journaling day!




Thursday, June 22, 2017

7 Benefits of Journaling with Kids


Getting kids interested in writing is as easy as setting out a notebook and a few crayons. Here are 7 benefits of journaling with my grand kids that I have found:

1. It makes a great quiet time activity. This is handy for nap times when you want to keep the older kids quiet. It also makes a great Sabbath Day activity. Journaling invites the Spirit and builds testimonies.
2. It increases reading and writing skills. Even toddlers can begin letter and number recognition.
3. Journaling builds confidence and self-esteem when someone they love sits down and spends (invests) time with them.
4. It inspires creativity.
5. Journaling helps kids take ownership and increases responsibility in their own learning. This is especially useful in Primary classes. We've had a lot of success with our older classes when they write about what they learned during the lesson.
6. A lot of summertime adventures await the kids with journals (upcoming post next week).
7. It provides a safe place for kids to express and process difficult feelings. Check out the great work of this important project:


An open book is an open door...
Invite your kids to explore.

As always,
Happy Journaling!



Monday, June 19, 2017

9 Magic Ways to Make Time for Journaling


I think we can all agree that life is messy, crazy, busy and sometimes magical. We all have the same 24 hour allotment in each day. So here are some ways I have found to make time for
my favorite things:

  • Reduce and Simplify--I bet you've heard that before. Look at your daily routine and choose where you can eliminate the unnecessary clutter in your schedule. Give yourself permission to say, "no."
  • Don't make things harder than they have to be by overthinking and worrying about stuff you can't change. Somehow it will all work out.
  • Prioritize your to-do list into must do's, should-do's and bonus time (you never know, you might just find 10 whole minutes to yourself).
  • Focus, don't let yourself get distracted. 
  • Delegate chores whenever possible. When I went back to work full-time, we taught our 5 kids, when they turned 8 years old, how to do their own laundry. This is a survival skill they will be able to use the rest of their lives! 
    This is daughter number 3 when she was 8.
    She grew up to be the daughter that shares my profile pic.
  • Make chore time fun by turning it into a game or competition.  Race against a timer to see who can finish small chores first and award a privilege or a fun family outing.
  • Save time on meal prep--use your crockpot whenever possible.   
  • Try make-ahead freezer meals. One cook day can yield a month's worth of dinners that you can put in your crockpot.
  • Plan your errands and shopping trips and group them together. This saves time and gas. Make your menu and shopping list ahead of time. Group the items on your list by location in your favorite store so you're not running back and forth (most of the grocery stores in Utah are huge and take up a few city blocks).
  • If you think of something you want to journal but haven't got the time, use a sticky note as a reminder and put it on the page where you want to post it as a place holder.
  • Always keep your journal with you so you can utilize those small snippets of time waiting at the doctor's office, or in carpool lines. You can also use your notes section on your phone if you need. And yes, you can put your whole journal on your phone.
Happy Journaling,

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Too Busy to Journal? 5 Ways You May Already be Journaling!

Every stage of life is crazy busy. There is never a perfect time to journal. I knew journaling was something I should do but just couldn't see how to make it happen. So, I felt guilty about it instead.


But...I am a list maker, forever and always. Crossing things off my list gave me a very satisfied sense of accomplishment. If I knew when I was to die, you can bet I'll be making a list of things to finish before I go.

I have made to-do lists for about 45 years. What if I had kept those lists in a book when I was finished with them instead of throwing them away?

Yes, they were messy little scraps of paper, but can you imagine a better, more accurate way to show what my life was like as a young mom? I could kick myself for not thinking of this 45 years ago.

1-Your to-do lists! Date them and find a way to keep them when you've finished!

2-My grandmother did not leave me a journal, but she ran a little mercantile in the front of her home. She kept the books. She had a set of books for the store and one for her household budget. What a great picture of what her life was like.

I tried to sharpen up the picture so you could read the details. Look closely and maybe you can read the price of eggs in
1914, Utah.

3-What about your shopping lists? Crazy I know, but I usually list groceries and all the errands I need to run. I wouldn't normally keep this kind of list, but if I didn't have time to journal this would be better than nothing. Maybe keep just a sample or two. I found a couple of recipes written by my mom. It was magical just to see her handwriting again!

4-Kids' assignments or special projects. I keep the smaller papers in a scrapbook. If they are too big for a scrapbook, take a picture and put it in the scrap book instead.

How cute is this?

5-Speaking engagements or teaching lessons--throw a copy in your journal. When I was at my peak of not writing in my journal I would put a copy of a talk or lesson I'd given at church so at least my kids would know how I felt about our Savior and faith and that I probably knew better than I sometimes acted.

The whole point of this post is to relieve you of any guilt feelings you may have about journaling. There are a lot of ways to leave a record of your life. Think about your normal routines and habits. You may be surprised!

Happy Journaling,


Monday, June 12, 2017

My Memory Keeper

Ok, so I have noticed one drawback with the Disc binding system:

The size of disc determines how many pages you can hold in your journal/planner.





This is my current planner/journal. I started with 2 pages of yearly calendar, 24 pages of monthly calendars and 48 pages of gratitude pages for the year. Add to that 5 pocket dividers that I really wanted to keep from month to month. I could see that as I filled in each month this size of disc would not be able to hold more than a couple of months.
I decided that at the end of each month, I would make sure I had completed all of my entries, then move that month to a Memory Keeper. This book has the larger blue discs.



This is my Memory Keeper for 2017. It currently holds Dec 2016 (when I started the disc system) through May 2017.
I think I can fit one more month, then I will need to make another Memory Keeper for the second half of the year.


This is a journal page from May.


This is a journal page from March.
I enjoy flipping back through the year.

 Moving my past months' planner pages to my Memory Keeper allows me the space I need to keep my goals, trackers, and lists from month to month providing me continuity; things like my household chores, meal planner, shopping lists, and exercise tracker.

What is your favorite planner system?

Happy Journaling,


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Build it Better Yourself

Journals and Planners: Build it Better Yourself.

After years of searching and investing in all kinds of planners I never found the perfect planner. I knew the only way to get what I wanted was to build it myself.

I started by doing research. I searched Google, Pinterest, and Facebook (Bullet Journal Junkies, LDS Bullet Journal and Minimalist Bullet Journals). I pulled all the best ideas and adapted them to fit MY life.




I discovered the DISC system. This was intriguing, but nothing I saw came in the size I wanted. I decided to stay with the composition size notebook for several reasons explained here.

You can achieve nearly the same results with a spiral bound notebook if you clip all of the holes on your pages.

Here is my list of PROs and CONs:
PROs
  • Pages can easily be moved.
  • Dividers can be added.
  • Covers can be changed anytime you like without having to get a whole new planner.
  • This system makes it easy to build a planner yourself.
CONs
  • Covers need to be softbound so they can turn easily.
  • Paper needs to be a better, thicker quality if you move them around a lot.
I tend to be a bit of a minimalist. I'm more about function than art, but I do like to doodle some. Here is a tour of my planner/journal:

This is the inside cover made from a scrapbook paper
and cardstock then laminated.


Our Family Yearly Planning Calendar


This is a pic of the blank printable in the Library:



My Monthly Calendar with my little to-do tick sheet.



I like my calendars to be blank canvases so I can decorate
differently for holidays or mood swings (the fun kind).
There are 4 boxes for menus--one box for each week.
Must-Do's are written in red on the day it has to be done,
then Should-Do's go in the first column and
Bonus to-do items go in the last column for those
rare times when you actually have a few spare moments.
You'll never waste time waiting somewhere if you have a list.


I have 4 Gratitude pages for every month.
My goal is to think of and write the 3 best things about my day.

There are four pages to the updated version in the
Library of Printables

This is just a plain journal page whited out so hopefully you can't read all of my secrets.
My journal pages and scrapbook pages are mixed in together.
This is one of my scrapbooking pages. I added button overlays to cover up dates. And yes, I did an Escape room with my kids and grandkids. It was lots of fun! 3 generations in one room
working as a team.
https://www.lds.org/blog/sunday-journaling-a-new-tradition-for-the-new-year?lang=eng
You can copy and paste the link into your browser.
I got this idea from my church's website about Sunday Journaling.
I love taking a few minutes to remind myself of
God's blessings to my family.
One of the best things about the disc system is the
ability to add pocket dividers.
For the composition size planner I had to cut the dividers down.
Mark the holes from a piece of paper already
punched for disc system.
Then use a regular paper punch and cut slits to the holes.

The outside cover is made from a flexible cutting board I bought from The Dollar Tree. It is thin enough to see through and can be easily cut on a paper cutter. You can also use a good pair of kitchen shears. Mark the holes from a piece of paper already punched for disc system. Punch the holes with a regular hole punch as shown. It takes a firm grip and a good squeeze.
Then you need to clip the holes just as you did on the pocket divider pages. For both the outside and inside covers measure the width of the pages plus the divider tabs on your divider pages to make sure everything gets covered.


One last thing...
I used the Happy Planner Disc system (discs only, not the pre-printed stuff) because they had different sizes and colors of discs. This is the paper punch that you need to use if you want to try this disc system. There are others out there. Just look on Amazon. This is what I used. It has some limitations. It can only punch 2 sheets of paper at one time.
So you can't use it for the covers or the pocket dividers.
If you look closely, I added washi tape to the end borders
so I know where to punch for composition size papers.


And...
I used the dot grid paper from this composition notebook I found on Amazon. Man, I wish I was an Amazon affiliate...someday. It is a little large so I had to trim it and punch it, but it is nice quality paper with only a little bleed through that you may have noticed on my scrapbook page.
For your planner/journal your imagination is the only limitation. You can make it whatever size you want with the kind of paper you want. It's all yours. Don't be afraid to experiment! You will find some things work better for you than others. Think of it as a QUEST and enjoy the journey!

What have you found to work in your planner/journal?

Happy Journaling,