Creating a Family Journal

I know I talk about journaling all the time…..but it’s like eating and sleeping for me.  I’m never in a hurry at the DMV or the doctor’s office or in standstill traffic because I always have a journal with me that I can jot down lists, a quote off the radio, a website someone mentions etc. I take notes in church with my journal and even have it nearby when watching movies to jot down an inspirational quote.

I have another set of journals that I’ve turned into more of a family journal.  Having a group journal around is a great way to connect in a way that the entire family will love to look back upon.  I always have a journal in the car or when we travel.  Create ongoing activities and sharing… when out to dinner or at the park. Make waiting at the doctor’s office or a long drive go quicker by initiating a new questionnaire or wishlist.  I typically use a composition notebook because it fits easily into most bags and has a sturdy cover.

Here’s an example of a family survey….the same question asked of every family member.  (see also Placemat Survey)

journaling with kids via

Ban texting and checking the phones during restaurants and pull out the journal for sketching and questions!


Some leaves we found on a trip to Charlotte:

journaling with kids via #travel #theliljournalproject

I’m helping with a parenting class at church (Effective Parenting in a Defective World by Chip Ingram) and this is one of the activities we are adding as a supplement….family journal inspiration.  Every family gets a journal set and a set of prompts to start them off:

Family Journal Project (Effective Parenting Chip Ingram) via

Here’s a copy of the prompts so that you can follow along too….. ( Click here for a printable version to stick in your journal for the road.)

Creating a Family Journal...take it to restaurants, leave in the car, make lists and collaborate  #theliljournalproject  Visit post to see sample pages!


A page I made with my nephews years and years ago.  They picked the monster parts and I created the resulting monster. The photos were mini polaroid stickers.

Interesting happenings at school as copied down before leaving the school parking lot:

A page we made at Crafting Community to remember it:

A “wish list” for books at the bookstore:


This is part of the Lil Journal Project.


The Lil Journal Project via





The Lil Journal Project | Day 38

Anne Lamott has an entire chapter in her book Bird by Bird on school lunches. I loved it. So much can be pulled from your childhood just through the memories of a school lunch.

For example, my mom never had Ziploc bags (sorry Mom)….she always used the cheap bags that you had to flip over to close…..but instead of flipping the fold over she used a twist tie.  The twist tie smushed two corners of the sandwich turning it to wheat-jelly-gel. For a child (and still as an adult) with a bread phobia, this made 32.8% of the sandwich inedible.  I always eyed the Ziploc bags of my friends with jealousy.  I asked for Ziploc bags once and my mom told me they were too expensive. 

We can’t afford plastic bags?! End. of. the. world.

I thought about trading in Alice, my new Cabbage Patch Doll, for a lifetime supply of premium plastic zipper lunch packaging….instead I talked my mom into buying me a lunch ticket.  (Um…lunch ticket is more expensive than adding in Ziploc bags…something isn’t adding up.) That was awesome until I realized I had to either drink milk or die of thirst.  I gagged at the smell of lunch milk…chocolate milk was the worst.  It wasn’t anything like the chocolate milk I made at home.  Then a kid found a centipede in his vegetable soup. The horror of it all caused lunch amnesia for the next few years.  My only consolation was that I wasn’t on the bottom of the totem pole at least: one kid in my class had parents who gave him whole unwashed carrots…..with the green stuff still on it….and Spam.

Because of my childhood lunches, to this day, I am obsessed with Ziploc bags. I put everything in them: lunches, snacks, toiletries, photos, clothing, junk, donations…..sometimes I even put trash in Ziploc bags.  I’m also obsessed with Doritos because I dreamed of having those in my lunch. Instead I got either super-green-algae cookies (apparently it will make you live to be 100 for $500 a month) or Stoned Wheat Thins (tastes like cardboard). Sometimes I got a banana but it made my sandwich bread smell like banana….and I can’t eat banana-scented bread.  I almost threw up just even writing about it now.  Now I am hyper-lunch-aware. I’m sure Boo thinks I’m psychotic-lunch-lady:

Did you get enough to eat? Was the mac and cheese cold, hot or just right? Do you want more variety? Did your bread smell like banana? Does anyone else have a lunch you wished you had?

Anne writes in Bird by Bird, “Remember how in elementary school, grape jelly was the best in your lunch, strawberry jam was Okay, but raspberry was real borderline? Can you talk to me about your experiences with these things? And my friend went into an impassioned, disoriented riff about how there was too much happening in raspberry jam, too many seeds per spoonful. It felt like there were all these tiny little pod people in it. It was Body-Snatcher jam. My friend then mentioned apricot jam, which was even worse than raspberry.”

Ha. When I read that I had apricot jam nightmares flooding back. We always had apricot jam….but never enough grape or strawberry. And we always had plenty of raspberry jam too, but I happened to like the seeds.  But if my mother had made a PB&J sandwich with apricot jam, and used a twist tie baggie to package it, I’m pretty sure I would have run away from home.

The Lil Journal Project Day 38 #artjournal #theliljournalproject

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The Lil Journal Project | Day 37

I spent today in my journal listing out teachers that I could remember. It was harder than I thought. I remembered my elementary teachers and in middle school and high school I remember certain ones….but then I draw a blank. I know if I dig through some papers and report cards I might be able to remember the rest….but at least it’s a start so I don’t start forgetting more:

Remembering teachers via #theliljournalproject

The Lil Journal Project Day 37 #diy #artjournal #theliljournalproject


Guess what!  Now you can view all the journal prompts and techniques on one page!  Click the image below to visit them all:

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The Lil Journal Project | Day 36

Oh my…..I’ve neglected The Lil Journal Project!  Getting back on track here…..I’ll be posting there here and there….it IS an ongoing project until the end of time (at least my time).  It’s never too late to start either! Start from Day 1 or do the days randomly (you can find them day by day and click through to the full post from Pinterest if that’s easier).

The First Grid! The Lil Journal Project Day 36 via

Here is Day 36:

 Lil Journal Project Day 36 via #theliljournalproject #artjournal



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A 5 Year Journal

At the beginning of the school year in September I started a little book for Boo that we keep in the car and every day on the drive home she has to tell me the most interesting thing that happened that day. The second I pull into the driveway I write it down.  It’s been an easy thing to keep up because I keep it in the car and she knows she has to tell me about her day on the way home:

A School Journal (Keep in the Car) via


Just wondering if anyone is keeping it up?

I started one of my own recently….it’s a 5-year-journal. (Despite my OCD on these things it starts on January 10th instead of the 1st….yes I’m making progress)  I keep it on my bathroom counter.  At the end of each day as I’m brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed I have to write down a quick sentence about the day.  So next year, on the 13th of January, I’ll be writing a sentence on the same page.  If I forget a day it’s easy to backfill since it’s only one sentence! You can find them at almost any bookstore……click here for all the ones they have on Amazon.

Don’t worry, this won’t replace The Lil Journal Project. I’ll start that up again soon! My sister has been hounding me about it too…..

5 year journal via #theliljournalproject


I pulled out an old journal from 2000 and 2001 the other day.  Crazy how many things you forget about even in a short amount of time. Boo caught me reading it and begged me to read it to her. It was too juicy to divulge what was in it to a 5-year-old… I kind of ad-libbed (sp?) a quick little story. Funny though that her Kindergarten Gossip is almost just as scandalous……she’ll be able to use it to write her memoirs one day.  Stay tuned for “Memoirs of a Kindergartner” by Boo Hack coming out next year…..

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The Gift of Journaling (DIY Journal Kit and Artwork Download)

The Gift of Journaling (DIY Journal Kit and Artwork Download) via #gift #artjournal


I wanted to do a version of the DIY Art Kit but for a “journal” version so that it could be used for gifts.  My artist friend Stephanie Corfee was so helpful in making the free artwork download for it. She made the large labels and small labels for labeling all the contents! [Read more…]