A Quiet Moment

A Quiet Moment

From the author Katrina Kenison, this passage struck home with me.

“When I come to a stop myself, when I draw a circle of stillness around me, my children are drawn into that peaceful place. They visibly relax, as if my very calmness nourishes them. The impact of just a few minutes of quiet attention can be profound, changing the mood of an entire day, restoring equilibrium to a distressed child, and to a frazzled mother.

We might sit side by side and draw, or gather up a stack of favorite old picture books and read them, make strange creatures out of clay, or just cuddle on the couch and listen to music as darkness falls. These are the moments when my children reveal themselves to me, when conversation spirals up and out, from the here and now into the realm of spirit and imagination. There, in that place Tennyson calls the ‘quiet limit of the world,’ we connect with one another at a very deep soul level. My children know then that they have my full attention and, even more important, that there’s no other place I’d rather be at that moment.”

As my children grow older, it gets harder to find quiet moments (or to even find them). I think my solution is that I have to plan the moments rather than happen upon them. Not quite as spontaneous (which is the way I roll), but maybe even more necessary now than when they were little.

Here’s hoping we all can create a quiet moment with our children this weekend…I know I will try!

xo, Bar


A Love Quote

A Love Quote

I found this quote on Pinterest. Like many images on Pinterest, the source never led me to the original. I really wanted to print it out, so I made my own version. And I made this printable so you can print it out, too!

valentine's printable | art bar

This quote is so perfect because it reminds me to look for the magic in those that I love. We all get so bogged down with the day-to-day grind that we end up yelling, blaming and criticizing those that we adore, which is all wrong. Let’s print this out and hang it in our bathrooms (the place where we will surely read it every day) to help us look for the magic, and turn to love. ♡

Have a happy week!

xo, Bar


Siblings + Love This {four}

Siblings + Love This {four}

Spending time with my sister and brother this holiday, and watching my own kids (who have the same birth order as I did growing up) made me realize once again that sibling relationships are like no other. My kids, they fight a lot. All three have strong personalities…there is not one of them who is flexible or easy going. No wallflowers. We need earplugs in this house. But they love each other, too. They hold hands when we go for walks, they snuggle together in the mornings in one of their beds (usually the oldest’s), and they would fight for each other in an instant. I learn from them, and watching their relationships develop makes me appreciate my own siblings that much more. Our love is complicated, but our bond is simple.

Here is my latest edition of Love This:

1. Last summer, we bought the box set of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air for all of our road trips. The kids laughed until they peed. Recently I found this clip from a British talk show featuring Will Smith. If you are a fan of the show, watch this! I love that Will Smith.

2. David Foster Wallace’s commencement address to the Kenyon class of 2005 is an “earth-shatteringly amazing speech that’ll change the way you think about adulthood”. It was made into this stunning video.

3. I will finally be teaching my 7-yr old how to tie his shoes. This is happening today!

4. This time-lapse movie of a homeless Veteran’s transformation opened all of our eyes to the struggles they endure, and how much they need our help. Watch with your kids.

5. My cousin, yoga instructor extraordinaire, sent me this article on why girls need yoga (not judging or comparing is one of many lessons learned).

6. I bought this mini poster for my daughter for Christmas. Love!

7. Read this incredible and inspiring story of a Chinese woman who saved and raised 30 abandoned babies she found while collecting rubbish. Amazing.

8. I love this one Dad’s bedtime story to his young daughter. Sick of having his daughter praised for her looks, he brilliantly began teaching her to love her body in a completely different way.

Enjoy the rest and relaxation of vacation…I’ll see you in the new year!!

xo Bar

{ps: the photo is of me and my brother and sister, winter 1975.}


Make Something + Love This {three}

Make Something + Love This {three}

It’s time for my monthly (ish) round-up of the things I’m loving these days:

Love This {three}

1. This post from comedian Kelly MacLean about surviving Whole Foods is hysterical {and true}.

2. We had toast for dinner, and it was brilliant.

3. Do your kids play sports? This is the best parenting advice {from the kids themselves}.

4. The hardest working people that we never thank enough.

5. Don’t call this 12-yr old concert pianist a prodigy. But do listen to this radio interview and get blown away.

6. Are you a hashtagger? After watching this Jimmy Fallon sketch, you might reconsider. #hilarious #neverhashtaggingagain #whoamikidding #yolo

7. A brilliant article on how to get your kids to listen to you. I know, there are hundreds of articles with this title. But trust me, this one not only makes perfect sense, the author gives us concrete solutions.

8. Cutest tissue boxes ever!

9. 25 creative ways to decorate pumpkins.

10. My oldest is a tap dancer, and we’ve watched this Fred Astaire routine countless times. He was such a brilliant dancer, and what makes this scene even more amazing is that is was filmed all in one take! Show this to the kids.

The photo above is from six years ago taken in our messy art room. I love it, though, because my middle daughter is there in the midst of all the supplies, finding inspiration. Here’s hoping you find inspiration somewhere, too.

Have a great weekend!

xo, Bar


Lunchbox Words {to inspire}

Lunchbox Words {to inspire}

I love this idea for getting the kids to read big words…send a little message in their lunchbox! These alphabet cookies are from IKEA and they are so cute with their scalloped edges. We also use Trader Joe’s version which are cinnamony & delicious. My little guy has told me it’s too embarrassing to spell his word in the lunchroom, (this from the kid who wants me to stay and watch his entire soccer practice so that he can look over at me if he needs to), but my girls love it (I hope).

The IKEA cookies don’t seem to have a “Z”, or maybe it was just our batch. I was trying to write amazing. I told my son about it, and he immediately dumped the box of cookies out and found an “N” which he turned sideways. You might think to yourself, “well, duh!”, but I forgot about that trick until my 7-yr old reminded me. This got us talking about syllables and lowercase vs. uppercase. We thought of words starting with whatever letter he held up. It was a lovely conversation about words. And wouldn’t you know it? Somehow, the box was empty right when our little talk was over.

We love words! And alphabet cookies. Send a little love in their lunchbox. ♡

xo Bar

{ps: tupperware from IKEA, too}


The World Needs You + Love This {two}

The World Needs You + Love This {two}

My middle daughter started middle school last week, and it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. It is so surprising to me how there are some families who don’t teach their kids that they must filter their words. What ever happened to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? It’s what my mother always taught me, and what I teach my kids. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I still believe that kindness is more important than anything. I created this graphic as a reminder that the world needs her vivacious, funny, honest, challenging, courageous, creative and generous soul, too.

Love This {two}  (note: I changed the name of this series from Cool Stuff to Love This. Bear with me please, my changing mind is just part of the package.)

Here are some interesting things that I’ve loved lately (the first three are related to raising daughters):

1. A great, short article on how to talk to your daughters about their body (step one: don’t talk to your daughters about their body).

2. On that note…for anyone who has daughters on the verge of puberty, this ad campaign is genius!

3. I bought these pencils for my girls!

4. For whatever reason, I am always worried that my kids get enough calcium. Here is a list of 9 plant-based calciums (which I have written on a piece of paper and taped to my pantry wall).

5. I am stocking up on these trays from IKEA for all of my holiday teacher gifts.

6. Artist Leslie Graff is my new hero. Her “Domestic Series” of paintings are so well done. I love the color and composition, but also how she attempts to explore the tension between fiction and reality.

7. Tim Ferriss, start-up guru, posted a super helpful article on his blog about why & how creative people need say “no”. (Time is truly our most valuable commodity!)

Hug your kids and tell them you love them. Have a good weekend!

xo, Bar

Ps: You can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, FB and Twitter.



A Pep Talk for My Friend

A Pep Talk for My Friend

I wasn’t going to post anything today. It’s August, the kids are home, and I want to spend my last few precious days doing summer-y things. But my friend is in need of a pep talk. She is making a big change and is having the normal second thoughts. This is for you, my friend! You are the most courageous, spirited and beautiful person I know. Have faith… it will all turn out alright.

xo Bar


Sisters + Love This {one}

Sisters + Love This {one}

I’ve been thinking lately about all that interests me…and would you be interested, too? Whether books, articles, quotes, apps, blogs, artists, or places, I am constantly reading and looking for inspiration. I’ve decided to start a new series, Love This. Here are a few things that have caught my attention this month:

Love This {one}

1. I want to make these nautical bracelets very badly.

2. Time mag ran a cover story in May called the “Me, Me, Me Generation”. It was quite fascinating. Here is the link, but unfortunately you have to subscribe to read the whole thing. (Or make a dental cleaning appointment for your kids, stat. Best magazines.) Joel Stein, the writer of the article, tried to be a millennial for a day and made this video. It’s hilarious.

3. I have watched this trailer over and over with my kids… Landfill Harmonic Project. Truly inspirational.

4. If I had to do it all over again, I would move to Switzerland, have babies, and send them to L’écoline.

5. I dream of owning this store in Vancouver. Maybe some day….

6. Discovering a new, simple app is always a cool thing. Do you know Krop Circle? Turns your instagrams into a circle. Yeah!

7. This article by Frank Bruni about siblings is exceptional. He is so good. Confirms my belief that “family closeness is not a happy accident”. It takes work, but worth every bit of effort.

Have a great weekend!

xo Bar

{The sisters image above was created by yours truly.}


Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

The winds are picking up outside, the trees are swaying. I think my power is going to go out at any minute. I should be packing, we have a noon town-wide curfew. We are going to a friend’s house, to her basement. It’s Frankenstorm 2012. But here I am at my computer, creating one last post. Some words to think about this week while we have no power (they are predicting a 10 day outage).

I love this quote from one of my favorite painters, Henri Matisse. For me, creativity means stepping outside of the box and putting yourself out there.

Stay safe, my friends! (During the storm, I mean…not in your creative life!)


Why Art in School Matters

Why Art in School Matters

A little something to think about this week on the subject of art for kids (my favorite subject).

I came across an article in the Boston Globe about the importance of teaching art in school in this era of standardized tests. If you have the time to read the whole article, do it. It’s not long and it’s very good. Here are a few excerpts that I thought were the most profound:


“Art for Our Sake: School arts classes matter more than ever – but not for the reasons you think” By Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland

“There is a very good reason to teach arts in schools, and it’s not the one that arts supporters tend to fall back on…[that] art makes you smarter.

In a recent study of several art classes in Boston-area schools, we found that arts programs teach a specific set of thinking skills rarely addressed elsewhere in the curriculum – and that far from being irrelevant in a test-driven education system, arts education is becoming even more important as standardized tests…exert a narrowing influence over what schools teach.

We need the arts because in addition to introducing students to aesthetic appreciation, they teach other modes of thinking [and skills] we value.

Such skills include…reflection, self-criticism, [persistence], [expression] and the willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes. All are important to numerous careers, but are widely ignored by today’s standardized tests…which reveal little about a student’s intellectual depth or desire to learn, and are poor predictors of eventual success and satisfaction in life.

Those who have learned the lessons of the arts…how to see new patterns, how to learn from mistakes, and how to envision solutions – are the ones likely to come up with the novel answers needed most for the future.”


Ok, well this article enlightened and inspired me so much that I had to make a little poster to hang up on my wall and share with my kids. Pass this around to EVERYONE! And give your child’s art teacher a big hug when you see him or her to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Have a great week!

{update: this poster is now for sale!}