Entries Tagged 'Just for Fun' ↓

Scrapbook journaling: Fun and frugal!

Scrapbook Journaling Ideas for the Non-Scrapbooker

AH, SUMMER … the perfect time to finally print those digital photos (or organize the ones you printed two years ago).

While you upload your Walmart prints (or load your printer with glossy photo paper), you daydream about becoming that mom—the one with up-to-date scrapbooks for each of her six well-groomed, smiling children. Visions of coordinated papers and stickers for every season swirl through your mind. If only you had more hours in the day–and if only it didn’t cost so much!

If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time for a new strategy (read: relaxed, frugal scrapbooking). Close your eyes, breathe, and give yourself permission to walk away from all the store-bought paraphernalia. Refocus on the memories you want to preserve with a few special photos and the informal art of scrapbook journaling.

Back to Basics

In a bygone era, scrapbooks were books for storing “scrap.” The ribbon from a spelling bee, the poem you memorized for graduation, and a sepia headshot of your best friend would be pasted in your memory book. If you fell in love with a magazine picture of a rose-garden trellis, you might cut it out to adorn the page with your special friend’s photo.

When did we start believing that memory books demand artistic talent and name-brand supplies? My happiest hours are spent cutting and pasting, with little more than the cardstock and memorabilia I have on hand. When my summer scrapbook pages are finished, they usually include a photo from a party, a postcard from a friend, ticket stubs from the movie theatre, and perhaps a theme-park map and birthday sticker.

Look around at the supplies within arm’s reach. Did you save last year’s calendar pictures? Choose one to use as background paper. Did Grandma send home an extra 5 x 7 photo of the family reunion? Make that the focal point. Add a strip of solid colored paper, and you’re ready to write!

What to Write

Scrapbook journaling should be fun and spontaneous. With just a few lines per page, you can record the funny and heart-warming memories behind the photos, cards, and ticket stubs. Share this writing opportunity with your kids, and see what clever captions they come up with!

  • Uncle Bob sneaked up behind me with a water gun after Mom took this photo. I was soaked!
  • My friend Julia mailed this postcard from her mission trip to Brazil. I mailed her one two months later from my camping trip in Yosemite National Park.
  • Our family enjoyed this movie on the big screen, even though Dad fell asleep and Emma choked on her popcorn when the dragon woke up!

Sometimes, you can insert a quote from a letter if you don’t feel like writing. My Grandma often sends notes with her thoughts about a family trip or gathering, so I like to include her words next to photos.

Keep it Simple

Scrapbooks come in all shapes and sizes, but my advice is keep it simple. Try to limit the layers of paper, because thick pages fill up shelf space quickly. Instead of gluing in whole birthday cards, cut out the fronts and make a note of who sent them. Or, cut out the inside greetings and throw the fronts away. {Yes, I’m giving you permission to cut up cards and letters!}

My final hint? Arrange scrapbook pages on letter-sized paper, and store them in sheet protectors and 3-ring binders. This makes it so easy to rearrange pages later. It also allows you to keep one book for the family, and divide up pages later when your kids leave home. Of course, some of you have teen daughters who keep their own girly scrapbooks, but those of you with three rambunctious boys may not have that luxury. Go easy on yourself! Don’t feel compelled to keep four separate books current (most boys don’t care until they’re older, anyway).

No matter how much you do or don’t scrapbook, give yourself grace. No one’s keeping score to see which mom can hoard the most birthday cards. The photo police won’t come knocking if the collage in your hallway is five or ten or fifteen years old. So relax, have fun, and be sure to tell your friends about the wonderful world of scrapbook journaling!

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.

Photo: Stephanie Casarez, courtesy of Creative Commons.


How to write encouraging notes

Pull out the sticky notes! Family members can encourage one another with these fun, creative note ideas. {In Our Write Minds}

WHAT’S the big deal about writing, anyway? For starters, it’s one of the best ways to let loved ones know you care!

Don’t get me wrong. I can talk on the phone for hours, and I look forward to texts and emails as much as anyone. But my face lights up most when I hold tangible words on paper in my hands. When my college roommate left notes on my desk, I saved every one. I kept all the sticky notes my mom hid in my lunch cooler when I worked downtown. Now, if my husband leaves me a love note on the fridge, it goes straight into my treasure chest.

This summer, start a habit of writing encouraging notes to your family members. Soon, everyone will want to get in on the fun!

Stock up on Supplies

Make sure everyone in the house knows where to find the essential supplies. Basically, you need sticky notes, pens, and markers. Go wild and stock up on multiple colors! When you pass the bargain bins on shopping days, keep an eye out for small stationery to add to the stash.

Over time, consider purchasing a family message board for the kitchen or living area. A chalkboard or marker board can be a great spot for writing and receiving encouraging notes. To save these notes, simply snap them with your phone’s camera!

Undercover Ideas

Always feel free to leave notes for family members in obvious spots around the house. But when you’re ready to plan a stealthy surprise, try one of these ideas!

  • Place sticky notes on your child’s cereal of choice or favorite beverage in the fridge.
  • Notes for Dad can be hidden behind his mouthwash in the medicine cabinet, in the sports section of the newspaper, or under his socks in the dresser drawer.
  • The women of the house will be sure to smile when they find encouraging notes in their purse, shoes, or spice rack.
  • For your children, leave sticky notes in tomorrow’s history chapter, on sheet music they need to practice, or on DVDs they need to watch for school. Remind them you’re their number one cheerleader!

If you’re feeling creative, branch out from simple notepaper and write your encouraging notes on a different kind of object:

  • Smooth shells or rocks can bear your gift of words—just be sure to test your pen first. Try a permanent gel marker, Sharpie, or similar writing tool.
  • Choose an unspotted banana and write a message with permanent black ink.
  • Use cardstock and ribbon to create a one-of-a-kind bookmark. Write an encouraging note to a brother, child, or parent, and tuck the bookmark into a book or magazine they’re currently reading.
  • Collect an assortment of golf or ping-pong balls, set them out in a row, and write a sentence (one word per ball). See if the recipient can successfully unscramble your message!

From the Heart

Never underestimate the power of a few simple words. “I love you because…” or “I’m proud of you because…” can do wonders in chasing away fear, discouragement, or miscommunication. Brighten someone’s day and warm their heart with a handwritten note of affirmation or praise. You don’t have to be clever, long-winded, or eloquent. Just be yourself. You are a writer, and your words count!

> Your Turn!

What are some of your favorite hiding places to leave encouraging notes?

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.

Photo: Ross Elliott, courtesy of Creative Commons.

7 reasons I love short sentences

7 Reasons I Love Short Sentences - a tongue-in-cheek look at the value of short sentences in writing

Daniella Dautrich joins us today with a tongue-in-cheek look at short sentences.

I HAVE a problem. You see, I find short sentences irksome. Five to seven words are never enough! Perhaps you can relate. Perhaps you too adore long sentences. Long sentences beguile us with unending possibilities. They tantalize us writers. You can be the next Faulkner. You can be the next James Joyce. You can be a Charles Dickens!

Yet, I do notice a trend. When words flow ceaselessly, readers grow weary. Is it possible I have been deceived? Was I close-minded, stubborn, prejudiced? It’s not too late for me. I can open my heart to change. Monday, June 24th is a new day . . .

So today, I am making a statement. Proudly, boldly, I am taking my stand. I shall defend the short sentence. Truly, it transcends subject-verb construction limits. Oh! It reaches beyond the scope of interjections. Short sentences are, in short, wonders untold.

Seven Reasons to Love Short Sentences

1. They break up long strings of text.

Paragraphs will pop.

2. They omit needless words.

Thank you, Strunk & White!

3. Your Facebook friends will love you.

Who reads posts with run-on sentences?

4. Your Twitter followers will understand you.

Abbreviations and hashtags could never compare.

5. Your emails will receive replies.

He who finds your question answers it.

6. Your children will learn from your example.

None will taunt them, “What’s your point?”

7. Your legacy of brevity will forever shine.

All will admire your acuteness and wit.

Are you out there, reading and agreeing? Let me know (leave a comment below). Please, show your support for short sentences. Together, we can make a point. Five to seven words are always enough.

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy.

Photo: tanakawho, courtesy of Creative Commons.


April foolishness for punsters

April Fool's, pun, humor

IT’S APRIL Fool’s Day! Could there be a more appropriate time for a dose of writing humor? Share these groaners with your family today!

  • I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.
  • When chemists die, they barium.
  • Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
  • A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  • I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
  • How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.
  • I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
  • That girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.
  • I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.
  • I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

Want more pun-ishment? Check out these silly offerings:

It Just Gets Punnier

Tickle Your Punny Bone

More Puns, Please

Photo: Robynlou Kavanagh, courtesy of Creative Commons.

5 fabulous ways to close letters and emails

old-fashioned letter closings

MORE THAN once, I’ve experienced writer’s block at the end of an email. Yes, I have a few fall-back phrases (Love, Hugs, or See you soon) for notes to the family and close friends, but other email recipients leave me stumped.

How should I close a letter to a magazine editor, a volunteer coordinator, or the church secretary?  Sometimes, the old stand-by (Sincerely) simply falls too stale and flat.

If you’ve ever shared this dilemma, fear not! Famous writers, entertainers, and politicians offer us a wealth of ideas in their published letters. I present to you (tongue-in-cheek, of course) these nifty phrases in five fabulous categories!

1. Rename Yourself

Ask yourself, “Who am I in relation to the reader?” If you’re an adoring fan or a steadfast subscriber, don’t be shy—say so! To get your wheels turning, ponder these samples:

  • Your Affectionate Aunt, (Jane Austen)
  • Yours truly, (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Yours ever, (Margaret Thatcher)
  • I trust you will find this reply satisfactory, and remain yours faithfully, (J. R. R. Tolkien)
  • I am your fellow man, but not your slave, (Frederick Douglass)

2. The Present Participle

What could leave a better final impression than an active –ing verb? In the following examples, the writer included either a copy of his book or a synopsis of his story (a nail-biting experience for any author!).

If hitting “send” leaves you in agonizing suspense too, consider something like this:

  • Hoping that you may like it believe me / Very truly yours, (Sir Henry Rider Haggard)
  • Waiting to know your judgment, I am, / Yours very truly and devoted, (Roberto Rossellini)
  • And my own variation: Wondering when you’ll write again, (Daniella Dautrich)

3. Prepositional Phrase

The sign-off options are virtually endless when you choose the prepositional phrase. Are you “in a great hurry” or “on top of the world”? Perhaps you’re feeling “beyond grateful” or “down with the flu.” You might even try one of these on for size:

  • With the greatest esteem and respect, I am, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, (Benjamin Franklin)
  • With friendly thanks and best wishes, / Yours, (Albert Einstein)
  • With kindest regards, I remain, / Sincerely yours, (Fred Astaire)

4. All about Adverbs

At last, we have discovered the perfect solution to writer’s block: ask your child to make a list of –ly adverbs. Choose one and insert into your letter. Voilà!

These famous figures found a variety of adverbial solutions to letter closings:

  • Affectionately your brother, (Abraham Lincoln)
  • Respectfully yours, (Jackie Robinson)
  • Truly Yours, (Edgar Allan Poe)
  • Cordially, (Philip K. Dick)
  • Always your friend, (Ernest Hemingway)
  • And, my personal favorite: Scientifically yours, (Dr. Bunsen Honeydew PhD Esq.)

5. Short and Sweet

These final selections are tried and true. Note the second-to-last for letters filled with mirth and goodwill, and the last for letters full of annoyance.

  • Cheers, (Kurt Vonnegut)
  • Regards, (Owen Chamberlain)
  • Adieu, adieu, adieu! (Mark Twain)
  • All the best, (Dr. Seuss)
  • All best otherwise, (Harlan Ellison)

I hope you enjoyed learning about different—and often over-the-top—ways notable figures have signed their letters. If you’re on the hunt for more practical, modern-day letter closings, Chloë Ernst offers many creative suggestions for “proper goodbyes.”

What is your favorite way to sign off?

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.

 Photo of Thomas Eakins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

It just gets punnier!

Laughing dog

I’M ALWAYS on the lookout for writing humor to brighten your week. Are you ready for your daily chuckle?

  • They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.
  • Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.
  • Field trip to the Coca-Cola factory—I hope there’s no pop quiz.
  • Broken pencils are pointless.
  • Did you hear the Energizer Bunny got arrested? Charged with battery.
  • I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
  • Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
  • What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.
  • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!
  • I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

These puns may be real groaners, but I see that smile! Do you have a favorite pun to share?

Photo: Rachael, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Tickle your punny bone

crazy horses!

pun (n.)  A clever play on words that brings about a double meaning or a comedic effect. “I do it for the pun of it.”

. . . . .

SOMETIMES I just need a laugh. Don’t you?

Well, you happen to be in luck! If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that one of my favorite topics is words and the ways we can use them in our writing.

But words, whether spoken or written, can be just for fun, too! Fortunately for all of us, someone sent me a list of clever puns recently. I hope they tickle your funny bone and add a smile to your day!

  • What do you call a dinosaur with a extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
  • I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
  • England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
  • I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
  • I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
  • All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.
  • I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
  • Velcro – what a rip off!
  • There was an earthquake in Washington, D.C. It was obviously the government’s fault.
  • Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.

Your Turn!

Got a clean pun you’d like to share? Post it in a comment!

Grammar is so overrated . . .

Talk Shows On Mute

Listen, we’re going to let you guys in on a little secret: You can really put your commas anywhere. Grammar’s all a big sham.

Intrigued? So was I!

My friend Mary Jo Tate pointed me in the direction of this amusing look at the evolution (and deterioration) of grammar and punctuation. Enjoy the chuckle!

Grammar’s Dirty Little Secret

Epic! 2011 list of banished words goes viral


Since we’re on the cusp of the new year, I thought it would be both fitting and fun to close out 2010 with Lake Superior State University’s 2011 List of Banished Words.

According to my friend, author and editor Mary Jo Tate:

GOOGLE the banished words list for 2011.

It really has the WOW FACTOR and will surely go VIRAL when THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FACEBOOK it.

I had an A-HA MOMENT when my friend Jay Ryan posted it before I did. EPIC FAIL. What’s the BACK STORY to this competition? It’s not like we’re BFFs.

Guess I need to MAN UP (or would that be woman up?) and LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST before he REFUDIATES my linguistic reputation.

A word to the wise: Don’t mess with MAMA GRIZZLIES. I’M JUST SAYIN’.

I had my own AHA MOMENT when I realized I’ve used a few of these myself, particularly in my Facebook status. Oops. Guess that’s a big ol’ FAIL for me.

Personally, I’m a fan of using GOOGLE as a verb (“I googled for XYZ”), but I do agree that most of the other Top Ten words and phrases are indeed over the top.


Over the top. Is that on the list?

Fortunately not, but I may need to MAN UP and retract it when it appears on the 2012 list. JUST SAYIN’.

. . . . .

Do you agree with LSSU’s Top Ten list? Which words or phrases would you like to see banished?

Mama said there’d be days like this…

Ever have one of those days? Do tell!

Cartoon © Todd Wilson at Familyman Ministries. Used by permission.
Related Posts with Thumbnails