Items to put in a family journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

MaryBeth shares what the Maroney family put in their Happiness Journal.



Some of the things we put in our journal are listed below.

stickers, calendar pages, school paper with the marked grade ie A+, photos of awards, postage stamps, newspaper articles, copies of greeting cards or letters from family members, copies of emails or Facebook messages, postcards, photos of family members and artwork.


The Maroney Happiness Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Mary Beth shares her final perspective on the Family Journal.



“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

Pericles (Greek Statesman of Athens)

Our first Happiness Journal was a stepping stone for our family. As we each wrote about our reactions, thoughts, discoveries, struggles and victories, we expanded our family history.

I opened the pages of that first journal when I volunteered to write for Uniquely Yours Craft Journal. Re-reading the entries brought back so many memories! So, what did our Happiness Journal contain you ask…..

There were stories of events that started traditions, family traits, growth of relationships not only in our immediate family, but our extended one as well. There were reflections from each of the children when their Grandparents died, family dinner conversations, Girl Scout attempts in the kitchen, family secrets, science experiments gone horribly wrong, tree-house adventures. As I re-read, I found myself laughing and crying at the same time.

Writing the Happiness Journal was one of the best things we did as a family. I know that some of the children started new types of journals after that and I still blog about family relationships. At the last Thanksgiving dinner, when asked what they were thankful for, my children said that the Happiness Journal was one of the things that they remember  and  are thankful for the love sharing we wrote in the pages.

It has been a fantastic experience sharing our family journal with you and I want to thank Sallie for inviting me to share the journey with all of you.

Mary Beth

Making and writing a Family Journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Mary Beth continues her narrative on how to create a cover that engages the entire family.



One of the things that we insisted on was that every one would be involved in the making and writing of the Maroney Happiness Journal. Here are some ideas we used that might help you:

  •      We decided to use a 3-ring binder because we would have more flexibility. You could decide to use a sketch book or composition book.
  •       Gather a collection of family photos or magazine pictures that make you happy.
  •       Glue sticks are a necessity.
  •       Different colored ink pens for every family member. We bought 2 of each and kept one for safe-keeping. Our youngest had a habit of not replacing the cover.
  •      Permanent marker
  •      Decide when you will write in the journal. We chose dinner time, once a week.
  •      Give the journal a name. Take a permanent marker and print in large letters at the top of the journal. We used a stencil.
  •      Create a collage of the photos.
  •      Let every family member write their own name on the first page along with birth date. We chose to trace our hand prints and write the info on the palm.
  •      Choose a family member to record the information each time you write. We each chose to write a page ourselves.
‘Til next time,
Mary Beth

Family Quotes

Dear Fellow Jounalers,

Mary Beth is a reader and likes to underline and mark up her books (sounds like me!) Anyway, here are a few quotes from her favorite books about family:



“Happiness is only real when shared.”

  • J. Krakauer – “Into the Wind”


“I may not always be with you

But when we’re far apart

Remember you will be with me

Right inside my heart.”

  • Marc Wambolt “Poems from the heart”


“I sustain myself with the love of family.”

  • Maya Angelou


“This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It’s knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.”

  • Mitch Albom “Tuesdays with Morrie”

Getting kids involved

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Mary Beth has a few suggestions on how to not only get the kids involved in journal writing but also to keep them engaged in the process.



One of the reasons we started the family journal was to engage all the kids in the writing of our journal. We did not want them to view it as a chore but rather something that would hold their interest and to realize that it was becoming a living representation of our family. That may sound corny, but when I look back on it, the journal became an insight into our children’s lives and helped them all connect with each other through the different stages of their lives.

Some ideas we used are:

  1. Keep the journal in the car and ask the kids to name one great thing that happened at school.

  2. Take the journal out to dinner and do family surveys while waiting for the food to arrive.

  3. Trace everyone’ s hands onto a page starting from the largest to the smallest. Make sure to date the page. We actually did this one the first page of our journal.

  4. Create a chart to keep track of height, weight, shoe size, clothing size etc.

These links may help you:’

and finally, a list of prompts for all kinds of kid journals:

Til next time,

Mary Beth

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