Capture Fall Memories with Kids

Capture Fall Memories with Kids

Last year, my 3-year old fell in love with the Fall season. We visited the pumpkin patch (multiple times), planned and re-planned Halloween costumes, collected leaves, made leaf art, visited an apple farm, and the list goes on!

After Halloween I purchased an old typewriter and N dictated a Fall-inspired poem that beautifully captures her age and the spirit of the season. She was getting ready (in her mind) for Christmas, and titled it “Christmas and Fall,” but it ended up being all about the autumn season.

I know that Fall is a few weeks away, but I share it now since it’s a good time to start building memories as we move from one season to the next.

To make your own poem, ask your child to think about the season — this might be a great time to make a Summer Poem! — and then type or hand-write the words verbatim. I happened to use an old typewriter, but a computer or sheet of paper would work equally well. I asked N what she loved about the Fall and she started with “Candles.”

And then the rest goes like this…


Christmas & Fall


I love to eat cranberry pie.

I collect leaves that are very, very pretty.

I love to wear rain jackets because sometimes it rains in the Fall and Halloween.

I love jack-o-lanterns when they’re glowing.

I love to spray leaves with paint.

I love to eat pumpkin seeds when my mom makes them.

(This poem was originally inspired by the List Poems on Let’s Explore.)

How We Fill Our Home With Art {Part Two}


This is the second of two posts on how I fill my space with art. Here’s Part 1, in case you missed it.

Yesterday I shared parts of our art studio/collective living space, and today we’ll wander into the kitchen and my bedroom. We just took my almost-2-year-old’s crib apart, which feels like a huge milestone and a bit of a sad departure from the baby years, so I’ll spare you the chaos of the kids’ room for now.

Where do YOU find your home’s art?

Etsy? Art fairs? Friends? Family? Art websites? Your prolific kids? Mine is a combination of the above, and I’ve always got my eye open for things that delight me or make me think hard. But mostly, the art on my walls has to make me happy since I spend so much time looking at it. It impacts my mood, changes the direction of my thoughts, and allows me to contemplate the things I care the most about.








Okay, starting with the kitchen…

kids art in the kitchen

The lighting in my kitchen is terrible, and my photos of it always look yellow. Something to work on.

Above the store are four kid-made pieces above the stove: a straw-blown painting, an early watercolor painting, an early scribble, and handprints. They e are all framed in inexpensive IKEA frames. My initial thought was that I’d swap the art out occasionally but that has never happened. Who has the time?

By the way, if you hang art above the store, be sure that it sits behind glass to protect it from grease and smoke. 

diy chalkboard painting

Next to the four small kid frames is an old canvas that I covered with a few layers of chalkboard paint. This image is mostly made by me, and baby R added some scratches in on the rop right. I love that this can change with the mood or season, and we take it down frequently to write messages to visiting relatives, notes to each other, inspirational quotes, and images.

It’s nothing special, but it’s become a conversation piece and my kids love changing it up. Which reminds me of another benefit: it’s ephemeral and my children are learning that art doesn’t have to be precious and preserved for eternity. When we tire of the image, we erase it, and they’ve never been bothered by that. Yet.

Okay, moving on to the bedroom…

gwen reyes painting

Across from our bed is one of my favorite paintings by Gwen Mercado-Reyes. It’s graffiti marks and loopy swirls of paint remind me of my hometown, Los Angeles, and I never tire of its energy. We’ve been home from our trip for six days, and it appears that the suitcase is not budging! Actually, since taking this photo, it’s been buried by a mountain of laundry. Sigh.

art hanging in bedroom

On the other side of the bedroom is a little hodge podge gallery of some of our family favorites: a collaborative piece that Scott and I created for a group show at the San Jose Museum of Art, drippy painting on cardboard by my then 2-year old, Scott’s photo of a back-lit orange, Scott’s burnt- paper portrait (he made it with a creme brulee blow torch), and a tiny and hilarious painting by SF artists Crockett Bodelson and Sandra Wang.

I have more to share and look forward to showing you my girls’ room once it resembles more of a room than a thrift store.

What do you have on the walls of your home? What’s your criteria for selecting art?

If you have a link, feel free to add it in a comment.


How We Fill Our Home With Art {Part One}

This post is sponsored by Love your space more. This is the first of two posts on how I fill my space with art.

I love having art in my home. How about you?

Milestone pieces by my children, brilliant bursts of creativity from my artsy friends, and carefully selected pieces by inspiring artists energize me as I move through my day.

My home is filled a mix of my family’s art, art by my friends, and purchased pieces, but I do have the personal challenge of fitting all the things I love into our small cottage. To keep our space light, I try to limit what I show, group small pieces together, and only display what I love. I’m attracted to work that’s upcycled, illustrative, graffiti-covered, and kid-made. Where does your art come from? And what inspires your choices?

When I choose pieces for my walls, I try to answer two questions:  Do I love it? How does it balance or effect the room? If I answer “yes” to the first question, then I look around the house for the best place to display it.

I don’t show the “background” of my home here very often, and look forward to taking you on a little tour of my art-filled spaces. Today I’ll start with some of living areas. If you like what you see, be sure to come back tomorrow for more.

First, the kids’ art area. This table has moved around the house numerous times, but I really like it in its current spot. There are two kid-made pieces above the table: a watercolor painting by my older daughter and the first drawing made by my younger daughter. The frames are from IKEA — high quality and very easy to use.

rex ray collage in my home

Next to the kids’ art table is my newest piece, a print of a Rex Ray collage, Agua Fresca, from has an amazing collection of traditional and contemporary art, and I was thrilled to discover that they have multiple choices by Rex Ray, one of my favorite local artists.

I usually prefer owning original works of art because I like to see the brush strokes and rawness of real art, but Rex Ray is waaaaaay out of my budget and this print enables me to bring a favorite artist into my home. It also looks great and did an amazing job framing it and shipping it without a scratch. I chose the frame to compliment the previous two, and they tie together beautifully.

Below the Rex Ray is one of our recycled textile trees by San Francisco artist, Suzanne Husky. I own three of them (how could I stop at one?), and I’m inspired by their resourcefulness and whimsy. Click on this installation of Suzanne’s these trees at the de Young Museum.

graffiti painting san jose artists

Across from the art table is this grafitti-inspired mixed media painting is by my friends Gwen and Joey ReyesI worked with Gwen at the San Jose Museum of Art, and her work reminds me of Los Angeles, my childhood home.

My girls make a lot of art in preschool, and the school smartly sells these useful frames that have a slot in the back that can hold up to ten paintings. I like the raw wood, but I’m thinking about painting the frames white or staining them. What do you think?

rex ray print

Across from the preschool frames are these two pieces: I made the collage on top and beneath it is a Rex Ray stretched canvas print, Acapulco One, from (I love this mid-century chair, but it’s desperate for new upholstery — any suggestions?).

That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for a peek into my bedroom: How We Fill Our Home With Art {Part Two}

What’s on the walls of your home? Do you have trouble picking pieces or does it come naturally to you?

This post is sponsored by, but all opinions are my own.

Fall 2012 Bucket List

Have you noticed the leaves turning in your part of the world? Do you make seasonal bucket lists? By nature I’m hopelessly disorganized, but having children has helped me make some progress, mainly because my kids demand it of me.

This bucket list was inspired the Fall 2011 Bucket List by Katie at Loves of Life. Thanks Katie — your list is fantastic!

Fall Bucket List

Why I Write Bucket Lists

I never wrote bucket lists before having kids (does anyone?) and I started this ritual  to help me navigate the sea of activities that go along with having children. I also enjoy the process of planning, wishing, and dreaming with my family. It’s fun to sit down with paper and a pen, and scribble out a long list of wishes. We come up with all sorts of fun ideas and this process builds excitement for transitioning from one season to the next.

It’s only August, but I noticed that our leaves are already turning. Does anyone else think this is just crazy? My husband baked a cherry pie with 4-year old Nutmeg this afternoon, and the house started to smell like Fall. And we tackled back-to-school shopping this weekend. Get ready, because Fall is coming!

Do you know what I’m dreaming about today? Pumpkin Pie flavored coffee and baking my mom’s pumpkin bread. Mmmm.


Links to Fun Fall Activities

Make popcorn straight from the cob in the Corncob Popcorn Experiment

Negative Leaf Impressions are a fun way to document the shapes of leaves, with leaves and a spray bottle full of colored water

Make a Sticky Autumn Collage with leaves and contact paper

Check out my growing FALL Pinterest Board for more inspiration

What’s on your Fall Bucket List?

What do you look forward to this season? Feel free to print this and share widely because it’s never too early to plan ahead.


Children learn best by doing

Can you think of something that you know how to do really well?

Perhaps you’re really good at baking pies, riding a bike, knitting socks, diagnosing illnesses, or building websites? How did you come to know that thing? What process did you go through to get that knowledge and understanding?

I ask this question because it’s food for thought as we raise and teach children. What do we hope our children will learn and how can we help them find that knowledge?

This quote was popularized by Benjamin Franklin, and is frequently used by educators as a framework for teaching.