Activity to Celebrate Your Valentine

As a couple, put together a little book detailing the story of how you met and fell in love.


Include photographs from when you were dating, along with any memorabilia from the past.


You may even want to include pictures from your wedding, or letters that you have written to each other.


As you reflect on your past, this book will bring you closer as a couple and will include your family in this very important part of your life.  Children love to hear stories about their parents, and by sharing this book with them, you are teaching them how valuable and sacred a loving relationship is.  This story will become a family favorite and your children will ask to hear it over and over again.

Maybe you can start on it today just by recalling memories with your Valentine while at dinner.  Then every February, make it a tradition to work on the book.

Last night my Valentine and I celebrated Valentine’s Day.  Hubby has to work all day and night today so we decided to celebrate a day early.  At dinner we reminisced over previous Valentines Day celebrations and anniversaries.  I took notes in my current handy notebook I keep in my purse.  It’s always interesting to find out what he remembers.  But I plan on making this little How We Met Book using my Once Upon A Family Valentine’s Day Silk Album.

After dinner we saw the movie The Vow.  This movie only reinforced how important it is to journal.  I know it’s not likely that we’ll suffer from amnesia like the main character of the movie {inspired by a true story btw}, but what if we did?  Wouldn’t we cherish and value such a How We Met Book?  I know I would.  Whether or not it would help me remember {if I had amnesia or lost my memory}, it would help me know that our love was important and special.

I believe that is what Valentines is all about…reminding us how important LOVE is…how important our relationships are…to celebrate that love.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Avenues To Connect With Your Children

Are you utilizing every opportunity to connect with your child?  There are many avenues we can communicate and connect with our family members.  Today I was pondering about the myriad of ways I can interact with my kids.

Photo taken by my Daughter

This morning I was listening to a radio show about preparing for college.  It’s been a rough week for our teenage daughter who is a Junior in High School.  Last year she worked diligently at maintaining an A average on her report card.  I guess I should share with you that as parents we offered her an incentive.  We promised her she could attend a week long youth conference held at the college she wants to attend {which is several states away} if she had straight A’s all year.  She did it and we are so proud of her.  However, this years classes have been very difficult.  Her classes are much more demanding.  She assured me throughout the semester that she was doing fine and would continue her tradition of making straight A’s.  A couple of weeks ago she announced she was accepted to be a member of the Honor Society. {SO EXCITING!}  Well, when she told me she received her report card I assumed what it would look like.  However, she did not offer for me to see it. {Should have been a red flag for me.}  A few days later, I realized I had never seen her report card and asked her to show it to me.  {Time for some dramatic music}  Lo and behold there were 3 B’s.  I need to make sure you understand that it is only because of her desire to attend this certain HIGHLY COMPETITIVE university that my heart sank a little at seeing her report card.  I have some concerns that she might not get in to that university now.  As a Mom I feel like I failed her to some extent.  I know that is completely silly because it is her responsibility to study and do well.  But maybe I was a little LAX in making sure she was studying and managing her time well.

Let me back up a little here.  You see, I was never a good student.  My husband was 6th in his class and received a full scholarship to college.  We are pretty opposite in many ways.  Hey, but at least my kids have a variety, huh?  My point is… since I was not an A student, it would be difficult for me to know how to teach my children to be one.  I didn’t want to go to college straight out of high school.  I didn’t prepare myself  as she has done.  As parents, I believe it is only natural that we want for our children to have things a little better than we did.  Don’t you think?  I don’t know, maybe I need to take that back after seeing an episode of Hoarders {it was on the TV at the protein shake place} yesterday.  Back to the subject at hand…

Photo taken by my Daughter

I obviously did not handle the situation very well.  My Daughter saw the look on my face and I began questioning her.  It wasn’t long before tears were flowing and I felt like a big fat loser of a Mom.  My job is to encourage her.  Instead, I told her my concerns and probably in not the most nice tone of voice.  She went to her room and would not come down for dinner.  My husband & I discussed everything while preparing dinner and he feels the same way as I do.  After dinner my husband did a wonderful thing.  He went to our daughter’s room and invited her to go for a drive and talk.  He is much better at being able to discuss things without letting his feelings dictate the volume of his voice.  Plus, I knew at this time how concerned he was.  He took her to get something to eat {since the rest of us had eaten all the dinner we made} and he listened to her.  When they returned home we took the opportunity to say a prayer with her, just the three of us.  It was a special time filled with The Spirit and tears.  I made sure my Daughter understood that we loved her no matter what.  We love her no matter if she is accepted into the University or not.  I would hate for her to think at any given time that we did not love her because she did not have all A’s.

Interestingly enough, I had no intentions of sharing this whole story with you.  However, not only was it therapeutic for me…it still shows ways of communicating {good & bad examples} with our children.  Hopefully my daughter will see the value of me sharing this story and not be too upset with me.  {However, everything I do seems to embarrass her at this stage of life.}

Ways I Connect with My Children

Back to the radio show about preparing for college.  As I was listening to it I thought to myself, “She and I need to listen to this together.”  So what did I do {so I don’t forget} ?  I clicked on the share tab and shared it with her on FacebookFacebook can be a great way to show your love to your children.  If you see something while you’re on the internet and it reminds you of your child…say it’s a music video you like and think they will like it as well, put the link on their Facebook.

In regards to my 16 year old, I also connect with her through the app Instagram.  We both love photography and it is amazing what information I find out about my Daughter through her photos.  I also enjoy when she says, “Mom look at this photo.”  She has taught me how to search for photos and we will laugh at some of the popular ones together.  I have learned she doesn’t necessarily like for me to comment on all her photos, so sometimes I just “like” them instead.

My two younger kids like to play Words With Friends {another app} with me.  If you aren’t familiar with this app, it’s basically like Scrabble.  This is a great way for my 8 year old to learn new words and help her with her spelling.  She loves it when she creates a word that has a higher point value than me.  She giggles and says, “I got more points than you!”  And of course my brain child of a Son beats the pants off me every time we play the game together.  But I enjoy interacting with him in this way.

Another technological way would be through the use of texting.  Sometimes I will text my kids and say, “I love you!”  In this day in age, we have to use every available avenue to stay connected with our family members.

A non-technological way is through the use of notes.  I have written many times on the value of love notes.  Lucky for you, I noticed that Once Upon A Family has their I Love You Pillow at 50% off {Only $10.}  We have used this in our family.  It’s a fun & easy way for everyone to show love.  Included with the pillow are 74 folded cards with options like ‘I Love You’, ‘Let’s Talk’, ‘I’m Sorry’ on the front and blank space inside for a note.  We have them in a jar where everyone can use them.  You slide the note into the pillow and in our family we place the little red I Love You Pillow on their bed pillow.  I enjoy leaving the surprise for my kids or hubby as much as receiving one.  I found a previous post from 2008 where I wrote about this product here.

In fact, many of Once Upon A Family‘s LOVE items are marked down now!  You can see all their specials by clicking on the link I will give you, then click on ‘Specials’ at the top left hand corner.  {Just in time for Valentines!}  Click HERE to go to Once Upon A Family’s website.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Disclaimer:  True story given above.  Once Upon A Family products help encourage family unity, which I adore. 😉  Therefore, I am honored to be affiliated with the company.  Compensation {portion of cost} by OUAF is only given if products are purchased.  Once Upon A Family did not pay me to write this post.

Linking Up:
Tip Junkie handmade projects
Communicate LOVE in your Family,

SIMPLE Way to Organize Halloween Photos

I’m happy to share with you a simple and great way to keep your Halloween photos organized!


By the way, I’ve had my album for about 7 years!  As you can see, it is archival quality and made to last for many years.  I am grateful for how beautiful and timeless it looks.

If you would like one for your own family, click here.  But wait! {I sound like an infomercial, sorry!}  Once you click and are directed to the main Once Upon A Family page, click on “Halloween” under the heading “By Holiday” and you will see the Halloween Silk Photo Album to click on.  I don’t think they have raised the price of this lovely album since I purchased mine.

What are your children going to be for Halloween this year?

My 8 year old is going to be a Bumble Bee.  My 16 year old is going to be {regrettably} a Gangster.  {At least it’s just a costume.}  And my 13 year old decided he doesn’t need to dress up anymore!  Woo Hoo!!! 😉

Gotta love those costume photos,


  • Limit your children’s activities, sports, birthday parties and play dates.
  • Go through your mail once or twice a week.  Shred the junk mail.
  • Check your email, Facebook, twitter, etc. once or twice a day.  Don’t look at it in between.
  • Schedule a certain amount of time for email, Facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc.  The rest can wait until tomorrow.
  • Turn your phone OFF during hours when you are with family or at work.
  • Limit your volunteering at school, church, etc.
  • Say no to social engagements you don’t want or need to attend.
  • Cancel newspapers or magazines you don’t read or love.
  • Send holiday cards any time of the year.  It doesn’t have to be in December.

The “just say no” check list suggests some little things you can say no to that make a big impact.  Check off a few and add a few of your own to the list.  If you start to panic and think “Oh, I have to do this, I can’t not do that,” then ask yourself, “What’s the worst that would happen if I don’t?”  The answer is usually “not much!”

Random {but not so random when you see the relevance at the end} question: Have you seen the movie I am Number Four?  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the Mom brings a basket to the dinner table and asks everyone to relinquish their cell phones into the basket before they eat. {I looked on the internet to see if I could find the scene to no avail.}  What a great idea!  I have written before about the importance of family dinner time.  Dining together will strengthen and unify your family.  Don’t let distractions interfere with precious TIME with your family.

I ran across a book today looking for a different book.  I picked it up to thumb through and decided I had to share this part of it with my readers.  The just say no check list comes from one of my favorite books, Happy Home: A Family’s Guide to Finding Balance in a DizzyBusy World by Lorle CamposHappy Home gives simple solutions to ensure success of a happy family.  The first step mentioned is saying no to activities that don’t add value.

Quote from Happy Home

Oh how I wish I could buy a copy of this book for every family.  Reading Happy Home helps you put your family first so that you can have a happy home.  You realize while reading, it’s not as difficult as we think it is.  We let go of guilt and enjoy our families.  You can do it!

Happy Home by Lorle Campos

Click on photo to get your copy

Because Happy Homes don’t just happen,

Family Memory Board

Family Brings Joy Family Memory BoardYesterday I shared my Command Central area which included our Family Memory Board.  The Family Memory Board is a great way to see & enjoy those digital photos you have stored on your computer.  Not only that, the family memory board is a simple way to create a sense of belonging in your family.

I used to be a consultant for a wonderful company called Once Upon A Family.  Lorle Campos, the original Founder of the company, said it best about creating a sense of belonging:

The Power of Family Photos

“The most effective thing you can do to create a sense of belonging is to display family photos and memorabilia where they can be shared and enjoyed by all.  Photos are incredibly powerful in how they enhance reality.  The things we keep and the photos we choose to put into albums represent the best of times…events and periods of time that felt good to us.  When we look back at them, we often remember them as even better than they seemed at the time.  You may hear your kids whining and complaining on the annual summer camping trips, but when they look back at those photos years, months or even weeks later, all they remember is how much fun they had.  We tend to forget everything else.  We remember these events as joyful because we want them to be.  That is how powerful photos are.  But they don’t do us any good stashed away in drawers, or closets or boxes in the attic.  Organizing photos and keepsakes, in ways our families can share and enjoy, is very important.”

How to do a Family Memory Board

  1. Make or purchase a fabric covered memory board, with crisscrossed ribbons.
  2. Hang on the wall {or in my case place on counter to lean against a wall} in a central place where family members can see it often.
  3. Choose one great photo a month, print it out and place it on the board.
  • There are many tutorials on how to make a fabric covered memory board.  I chose a few and made a  Memory Boards Pinterest board.  Click here to see the boards.  Click on the pin in the board, then click on the photo to be taken to the tutorial.  I just had to include this giant memory board:


  • If you like my Family Memory Board, you can guess where I bought it…Once Upon A Family.  However, it does not come framed.  It looks beautiful without the frame.  I displayed it for years without a frame before deciding I wanted to dress mine up a bit.  I bought this 27″ x 21″ frame at Wal Mart, discarded the glass, placed the board in the frame and taped {with packing tape} the board to the back of the frame.  Make sure your frame’s opening is 18″ x 24″.  I use mine to hide cords as well, so it does double duty! 😉  Many stores sell memory boards though.  You can find them just about everywhere now.

Family Brings Joy Command Central

Click on Photo to see more photos


  • On this size board (18″ x 24″) you can easily place 12 – 4×6 photos, one for each month.  If you would like to choose 2 or more photos a month, I recommend printing your photos wallet size or 3 1/2 x 5.

“Your Family Memory board is a powerful way to show your loved ones how important family is, and these photos are a constant reminder of all the fun things you have done together.  They say: This is who we are… this is how we celebrate life together… See how much we enjoy each other’s company.  You’ll be surprised to see how often family members stop and look…along with their friends.”  Lorle Campos

I’m happy to be associated with Once Upon A Family again through their new affiliate program.  I have used their products for years.  They have left a lasting impression on our family.  The only way I’m compensated for this post by OUAF is if you purchase a product by clicking on the links included in the post (I receive a small commission.)  However, I want you to know that whether you purchase or make your Family Memory Board, it makes no difference to me.  What matters is that you begin the tradition in your home to create a sense of belonging and unity in your family.

Do you already have a Family Memory Board in your home?

Let’s celebrate this family tradition together!

A week from today, Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Family Brings Joy will host a Family Memory Board Link Party.

Please save the date and share yours with us.

P.S.: Nice comments help motivate me to keep blogging. 😉 Thank You!

Celebrate Family,


I just found out that Once Upon A Family, my home based business that I am a consultant for, is going out of business. I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked with the way things are right now. I haven’t been ‘working’ the business for the past year because of building our home. The products created by Once Upon A Family will be sorely missed. They have impacted my own family in a very positive way. If you have ever wanted any of these beautiful & inspiring products, you have until June 30th to order on my website: After June 30th, you will no longer be able to order any products. My most cherished and favorite products are the following:

  • The Family Tree
  • Dear Sweet Child Letter Box
  • Family Tree Booklets
  • Dates with Dad Journal
  • Our Time Together Journal
  • Grandparents Journals

It is sad to say goodbye to another chapter of my life that brings fond memories.

Once Upon a Consultant (for Once Upon a Family),