July 4th

Dear Fellow Journalers,

We wanted our children to understand that the 4th of July was not just fireworks and barbecues. Our neighborhood hosted a block party every year complete with a parade of decorated bikes. The children’s bikes got more and more sophisticated as the years went by. Some were decorated with red, white and blue balloons, streamers and glitter! While we knew that the excitement level was really high, we hoped to find activities for our children that were both fun and educational.

Fireworks are an important part of the festivities but we decided to make firework confetti balloons for the little ones. You’ll need festive balloons (try Dollar Store), a funnel, air pump and confetti. Carefully secure a balloon under the funnel. Gently pour confetti down the funnel and into each balloon. Using the air pump fill balloons with air. Tie off and you’ll have a POP instead of a BANG!

To help educate them on our country’s history, we checked out a tv series called Liberty’s Kids which lets children explore dates, people, and events and the American Revolution. We checked out our library’s video section and rented Johnny Tremain and Drums along the Mohawk and made red, white and blue popcorn.

Celebrating the 4th of July can be fun and educational along with traditional celebrations. Let us know about your family’s celebrations.


Summer Bucket List for children

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Mary Beth promised me she would send some posts about travelling with children for this month and so here is her  first installment.


Each Spring the children ached to get outside after the snowy winter. Unfortunately, our spring  weekends were rain-filled EVERY weekend! To keep their spirits up and get them motivated for summer I purchased 5 large mason jars and 1large wooden bucket at our local garden shop. Hey, we’re talking “Bucket List” right?

Anyway, one Friday night I had all the kids assemble at our large kitchen island. I then gave each of them a jar, some paper, pencils and scissors. Their instructions were to write out a summer wish list (even if impractical), cut the paper into strips and put them in the jar. I made labels for each of the jars with some different colored cardstock and die-cuts. My husband was in charge of painting the bucket.

The children came up with some great ideas and kept adding them to their jars over the next week. On June 14th, (the last day of the school year) we emptied the jars into the bucket. After a delicious cookout on the deck, we took turns taking 5 ideas out of the bucket. We voted on which ideas we would do and as you can imagine we had a delightful and interesting summer!

Here are some of the things we did on our summer vacation:

  • Went to a local farm
  • Saw a drive-in movie complete with popcorn and soda
  • Went to the county fair and enjoyed the rides (yes, all of us!)
  • Participated in the summer Reading Program
  • Planted a garden
  • Went berry picking
  • Had a fun trolley ride
  • Made paper boats (in case we had a rainy day) and had a race in the bathtub
  • Made Sun prints
  • Decorated white tennis shoes with fabric paint
  • Made kites which we took to a local beach
  • Made lemonade
  • Learned how to make home-made ice cream
  • Teamed up with some of the neighbors and had a water fight with sponges

That’s all folks – have a wonderful summer!

Mary Beth

Thanks for the memories.

Dear Fellow Journalers,

As a blog writer, I am always looking for articles and/or videos that will help me bring a story to light. Every so often, after I have wrapped up the month’s posts about a certain type journal, a surprise article will pop up and I must decide whether to incorporate it into the month or save it for another time. The ideas in this article are really timely and so I have decided to give you a bonus post this week. It’s from an article that was published on 9/1/95 in Woman’s Day Magazine.

Making a family memory is a precious thing and often doesn’t cost a thing. The women who shared these ideas were mothers and grandparents from all different backgrounds and places. There are 24 memory builders in all.

  1. Annual Date. There was a movie that came out a number of years ago that starred Alan Alda (MASH) that was called Same time next year. It was about a couple that met once a year at the same time. The viewer got to see them age and the topics of conversation change over time. This tip actually centers around your child and a once-a-year event that is special and specific to them. When I was growing up, my Grandmother would take me on a train trip to New York City every year on a day near my birthday. We would go to the circus or to see a play. Afterwards we would go to a restaurant called Schrafts for ice cream sundaes. I really cherished those memories and hoped that when I was a grandmother I could do something similar with my grandchildren.

  2. Storytime. Turn this nightly ritual into something special. Have your child pick the book and then take turns reading the chapters aloud, complete with sound effects!

  3. Memory quilt. A woman in California asked her relatives to write their names and a special message to her children on two squares of fabric which she gave them. Once she had enough squares, she made a quilt for her son and daughter.

  4. Good sports. Although we are busy parents, try to view the games your children are in. One father goes one step further. He takes his son to watch season games of his favorite team.

  5. Make mealtime special. Share one night with your family with no cell phones.

  6. Dinner on them. Once a week have the children plan and cook a family meal.

  7. Take up a collection. Remember when Mary Beth and her family collected items for their time capsule?

  8. Take a child to work day. Pick a slow day and assign them a task like copying or filing. Don’t forget that special lunch.

  9. Take a special trip to your hometown or have their grandparents tell stories about you when you were their age.

  10. Family cookbook. Pick out recipes that your family loves and write them down.One mother did this and gave it to her daughter when she was married.

  11. P.J. Day. Pick a day when everyone stays in their sleepwear all day and you enjoy family games. We used to turn off the lights and pretend that there was a power outage. We would sit in the dark and play “flash light tag” and tell ghost stories.

  12. Find a goofy raffle stuffed animal and display it in all parts of your house. First person to spot it, gets to watch a tv show of their choice.

  13. Make a special cakes for your family member. Write a letter to them each year.

  14. Christmas tree ornaments. Buy a special ornament each year for your children. One parent kept them separate and gave the whole box to her son when he was married.

  15. Postcards. Instead of taking pictures, this one family bought postcards from everywhere their family went on vacation. They would date them and keep them in a family scrapbook.

  16. Baby Box. One mother keeps the dress her daughter wore on her first trip home from the hospital.

  17. Keep a diary. One family took a trip to a distant state for a family vacation. Each child kept a diary of the event.

  18. Keep the school pictures!

  19. Video-Go-Round – start a family video with the latest “news” then send it on to another family member with instructions to keep sending it on until it arrives back with you.

  20. Collect some pictures or stories from the children that were written in school. Shared memories are the best.

  21. Take lots of pictures of the children during the year. Be sure to label how old they were and the event.

  22. Find a cause you believe in and give back. One family has a Christmas jar which they use to deposit their change in during the year. They pick a charity in January and contribute all year-long.

  23. Plan a home improvement project and have everyone participate.

  24. Enjoy the little things a walk in the park, a trip to get ice cream etc.

So these are only 24 tips. I bet you’ve come up with a few more!



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