Friday, March 27, 2015

{its here!} family journal jam 2015!


I had so much fun doing this last summer - we are doing it again! 

With all new prompts and inspirations! 

Plus a new zine full of additional ideas of things kids can do!



The details:

What is this?

This is a summer long journal/art/exploration lab for families. The lab will run from June through July, 2015.
Family Journal Jam will give you a daily jumping off point for exploring and creating a journaling practice with your children. 

As a creative homeschooling mom, many of the ideas for this lab were germinated at my own kitchen table along side my children. By meeting yourself on the page each morning (or evening) you create a mental space for reflection, remembrance and idea incubation. Extending this gift to children when they are young is one of the best gifts you can hand them. 

Kids can write, draw, or dictate to you their reactions to the prompts. Some are meant for personal reflections, some are pure fun and imagination building, and some explore new techniques for expressing ideas with language.

These are not writing and grammar lessons, although I do believe that a consistent practice will yield big improvement in writing by the end of the summer. Plus, what a record and keepsake you will have! 

What do you get when you join?

You will receive:
+ a special Mama Scout Summer Zine in the mail (approximately a week before the lab begins). 

+ weekday journal prompts for the kitchen table (these are short, open ended and meant for both kids and adults) 

+ a vibrant Facebook community where kids can post their work to share and I will link up to additional unique projects from the Mama Scout archives

+ weekly giveaways (because I love real mail and giveaways so much!)

+ suggestions for 2 bigger summer long family projects

+ an optional penpal exchange program



What is this NOT?

This is not a lab full of art journal techniques or tutorials on how to complete narrowly defined projects. My interest in always in the disruption of default thinking and the process of explorations. This extends to children and children's creative work. 

Who is this for?

The short answer is, this is for anyone who will be around kids this summer. 

But really, it is for:

- parents who are seeking ways to integrate their own creative work with their children's

- homeschool parents who want to instill the joy of writing this summer with their kids

- parents of school children who are looking for ways to encourage creative thinking that are not tied to grades or outcomes

- families who want a free form summer with a touchstone routine based in creative expression

- families who want to connect with other families around the world 

- families who are looking for alternatives to classes and camps 

- parents who want to slow down time and get to know their kids on a whole new level

- parents who believe in kids' voices and ideas and right to express themselves

- you and your kids!

Sign up here!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

{review :: It Chooses You by Miranda July}



"I began to feel that I was asking the question just to remind myself that I was in a place where computers didn't really matter, just to prompt my appreciation for this. As if I feared that the scope of what I could feel and imagine was being quietly limited but the world within a world, the internet. The things outside of the web were becoming further from me, and everything inside it seemed piercingly relevant. The blogs of strangers had to be read daily, and people nearby who had no web presence were becoming cartoon like, as if they were missing a dimension."
-Miranda July

It Chooses You by Miranda July is  an engaging book that I devoured in one afternoon. In my labs, I am always extolling the virtues of getting out and talking to strangers. July does this in a quirky project that keeps her busy while she is struggling to finish a film script. Each week, she scans the Penny Saver circular that arrives in the mail. She calls people who are selling stuff through this archaic publication and arranges to meet, interview, and photograph them and their stuff (they are told up front what she is doing and she offers compensation). Of course, she meets a motley mix of characters - some are really creepy and others bear tragically heart breaking wounds. Several of the characters end inform her film and one even ends up acting in it.

I loved this book and her open and curious sensibility. A great, great read of the weirdo mind (like me and you!).

Saturday, February 28, 2015

{Wellness Challenge} March Tidy



I am in the process of combining several of my FB groups under the umbrella group, Mama Scout Laboratory of Creative Living. This group will be a space of encouragement, provocations and prompts, resources, sharing, and monthly wellness challenges. It is free and the people there are nothing short of amazing.

This months challenge is a spring tidy. Each week day I will send out a mini challenge (10 - 30 minutes to complete) to declutter and clean your house. We will keep it fun as we share before & after photos and post the weirdest things we find in the couch cushions/glove box/purse...

Join the group here.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

a new start, generosity + a giveaway


I witnessed something amazing this last week. Something that I never asked for or knowingly encouraged. A generosity from the Mama Scout tribe that blew me away and made me realize that I completely underestimated the power WE have (I thought I knew, but I had no idea).

As registrations for Dream Lab were heating up, a few women offered to host giveaways and pay for other women to join the lab. I was so moved by the support and giving of these women. But, apparently I was not the only one.

As the week progressed, I started getting emails and messages from other women who wanted to pay for dream sisters who were not able to afford the lab this year. One after another they came in. They asked specifically to sponsor women who they had come to know online over the last few years. They gifted women who had shared their brave dreams, their BIG leaps of faith and kind support to others. And they all wanted to remain anonymous.

So, I spent time contacting unsuspecting women saying something like, "guess what? you were gifted a spot in Dream Lab by an anonymous woman. Someone who knows the lab will be better because YOU and your voice are in it."

Each recipient was shocked and asked me to pass on to their patron messages of gratefulness and promises to pay it forward. And for many of them, this gift came at just the right time. They might have been struggling with something heavy or feeling world weary.

An act of kindness turns around negativity, yes. But it also enlivens the spirit and encourages the recipient to offer the world something generous. It is exponential and contagious and good. Seeing how this generosity spread like a fire through our group makes me ever determined to figure out how to start sparks of goodness and harness that energy. And to fully stand in the power and support others who seek to do the same.





And on that high note, I am offering a giveaway for a spot in BOTH Dream Lab and Feathering the Nest. Feathering the Nest is one of my favorite online classes (I have done it several times).

Stephanie Perkinson and Leah Kent help participants explore the energy of their space, spruce up with simple makes, and create a home that is a reflection of their values and passions.

It is the perfect companion class to Dream Lab. They work well together and would not compete or overwhelm each other.

To enter this giveaway just leave a comment below telling me what you are dreaming about right now. Make sure that I am able to contact you, which I will do Sunday morning! Good luck!


Monday, February 9, 2015

{monday mission} upcycle bad art (and make it badder)



I have not done a Monday Mission in a while and it seems about time I rectify that. This week, head over to the thrift shop (or your own attic if you are like me), choose a serene or saccharine painting and add something to it. 

This was a little gift for my son's birthday. I added a bigfoot, a burning house and a fleeing figure. You can figure it out - or can you? While my painting is not as skilled as I would like, I think you get the gist. And it was fun and made us laugh. 

Of course, this idea is not unique. For more inspiration, check out the work of Wayne White or David Irvine. This would be a blast to do with kids too!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

{read} Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


"So now do you see what books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people only want wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality."



One of the reasons I love being in a book club its that I am encouraged to read outside my preferences. While not the memoir or nonfiction that I tend to read, this book had me nodding, underlining and exclaiming to those around me, "you can't believe this! this book was written like 60 years ago! it could have been written now!"

A dystopian warning where people are scared of books and talking and thinking, residents spend their free time watching wall sized TVs with programs that they can never quite remember (even though the actors are called their "family"). Constant bombardment of noises, shocks, and fear keep people "happily" isolated in their cocoons of comfort.

Protagonist, Guy Montag, a fire fighter charged with burning books and the homes that try to hide them, meets a girl who pulls back the curtain and makes him question what is really happening around him.

This book is the tale of his unravelling.

Highly recommended and a great book to discuss with a group. I can not wait to share this one with my kids when they are teens.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dream Lab 2015 - registering now





\It is that time of year again!

Dream Lab is gearing up for its 3rd incarnation and I am excited to share with you! 

The lab has been lengthened to 3 weeks and the content is ALL new. That is right. I have rewritten the lab to reflect what I have learned in the last few years about integrating your dreams into your "real" life. We are going to dig into the past a bit, share real life tools, methods, and resources for getting stuff done, investigate  various types of dreams, learn how to "own" your work and embrace failure and so much more. 

You know the power of mama scout groups and the serendipitous creative energy they create. Maybe you have already made some real progress on your dreams and can share your story as you move into your next chapter. 



I have another idea that I wanted to share with you. 


I am beginning to see this work, these labs, as really important. Not just to the individual woman who gains some self reflection and improvement - but to culture in general. I can hardly read the news each day without feeling like I have been punched in the gut. There is so much pain, violence, mental illness, random tragedy, and fear. I feel like strong feminist voices need to ring out in our communities and the public sphere. Each strong, vocal, and nurturing woman can spread a more peaceful vision to those she encounters. Maybe this is bordering on feel-good utopianism - but why not? We each have something to contribute and at this point in my life (as a busy homeschooling parent) these labs are what I got.

So, can you help me spread this vision to other women who you think would be interested in caravanning with us?


I want to offer a referral program. If you refer 3 people to the lab (they can just put your name in the notes when they sign up) I will enroll you in the Summer Journal Jam. SJJ started last year and was 3 months (close to 90 prompts!) of creative prompts to start and sustain a family journaling practice. It is worth $99!

Use social media or direct messages to share your story of how you benefited in the lab and expand our tribe of kick ass women. Right now we are tiny - but mighty!

And as always, please email me with any questions or concerns. 

xxoo, amy


You can sign up here.

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