November 6, 2010

“Mama & Me” Journal

      
         
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What exactly is a “Mama & Me” journal? Well, it is basically a journal for my daughter and I to share. We write letters back and forth to each other…kind of like being pen pals (without the envelopes & stamps). My hope is that these seemingly simple letters to one another will become a book of memories to treasure for a lifetime!

Mama and Me Journal

I wanted to make it look special, so made this cute little label for the notebook. In case you want to make one similar to ours, here is what I used:

Directions: Print the label and cut it down to the desired size. Then cut the scrapbook paper a bit larger than the label. Layer the paper and glue them onto the notebook. (As an option, you could just print the label onto sticker paper and then just stick it to the notebook.) In hopes of keeping the label intact, I put clear contact paper over the entire front of the notebook, except for the black binding that you see in the photo. Then I trimmed all the excess contact paper from around the edges…and that was it!

My daughter was SUPER excited when she found the journal on her bed! It is a great way for me to “see” into the mind of my little princess! Plus, since we are the only girls in the family, it is a fun way for us to bond! Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that it is a sneaky little way to add in some extra work on writing and penmanship! :-)

Of course I didn’t come up with this all by myself! I got the idea from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler…who got the idea from another blogger! I even followed her lead with my intro letter, which reads:

Dear KJ,

Would you like to be my pen pal? Instead of mailing letters to each other, we can keep them here in this notebook. Does that sound like fun?

I will write to you and then leave the notebook on your bed. Then, when you want to write me back you can begin writing on the next page and leave the notebook on my bed when you are done.

You can write about anything! It can be funny or serious! Just write about whatever is on your mind!  :-)

I am so excited and I hope that you are excited too!

Love,

Mom

P.S. Write back soon!  :-)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do hope that my boys will want to do this at some point as well. I have even made their labels, though I have yet to put it together on notebooks for them. I figure I have at least another year or so…who knows?!?!?

Download the girly “Mama & Me” label AND the boyish “Mama & Me” label from my Writing Printables page.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08127067375701755256 Brandi

    That is such a cute idea! What a fun way to stay connected and maybe she will tell you lot’s of things in that journal you may have never learned! :)

  • http://sarahssweeties.wordpress.com/ sarahssweeties

    How sweet! I love this idea!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18407009384129965375 Corrie

    I did this same thing with my 5th graders when I taught public school. It was awesome to learn more about their lives. I got a ton of great reading suggestions too.
    One thing that really helped them was having a list of sentence starters and ideas to write about in case they got stuck.

  • http://nottwins.wordpress.com/ nottwins

    What a great idea! I can’t wait til my kids are old enough to do something like this :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04469114168680836935 YahKheena

    I heard of this before and meant to follow up on it and just forgot. Thanks for the reminder :-D I love the idea of becoming my daughters ‘pen pal’ sharing ideas, dreams, and just another way to strengthen the bonds of love between us.

    Shalom

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09218841635729030558 Amanda

    I love this idea! I have heard of it before and now that my kids are getting to the age where they can are starting to read and write I’m thankful for the reminder! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15814023558126394331 Jan

    I love this! Someone told me recently that they do this with their teenage daughter and I thought how much I would have benefited from this as a teen!! I have two toddler boys and have planned to do this if I ever have a little girl. Not a bad idea for my boys either, I guess! ;-)

  • http://www.todaysmotherhood.com/ izzy

    BRILLIANT idea!!You’re an amazing mum!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03424715815014627012 Kristi

    I am so enjoying reading your blog! Thank you for another great idea :).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15318797787773072481 Jen Rouse

    I love this so much that I’m bookmarking it now! Maybe my first-grader and I can start it soon :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13841437103963146211 Valerie

    Oh my goodness, this is adorable!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13131066090553804130 Chrystina

    I know you said you didn’t come up with this idea, but you came up with the download that I used, and I have to say thanks! My son & I have been doing this for a few months now and our relationship has GROWN immensely!! I am so grateful for all you wonderful, creative mothers that share your wealth with us. Eternally grateful!!
    Kudos Mama Jenn!!

  • Krissy

    I just discovered your site yesterday,and I love it!! I just got finished making a journal for my 7 yr old daughter and I!! Thank you so much for sharing such a sweet idea :-)

  • http://sistersofthefaith.com/ LATOIA BROWN

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I made one for my daughter and she loves it. What a great way to introduce journaling, bond with your child and sneak in some extra writing!

  • Anonymous

    This is a great idea! Our 4 year old LOVES to color and frequently colors pictures that explain her feelings, so I implemented this with her too. We color 1 page each time and leave it for each other. It’s such a treasure! Our 6 year old and I write little letters too. Thanks…

  • http://fabulouslydomesticbyambrosia.blogspot.com/2011/09/pinterest-project-day-6-mama-me-journal.html Ambrosia
  • SonflowerSisters

    We’ve been doing this since my daughter was 6–she’s now 11. I’m so grateful for the things she’s revealed in the journal that she might not have ever said aloud: feelings, misgivings, fears. Bless you in your journey.

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Thanks for sharing! I need to go ahead and make a journal for my boys now that they are a bit older!

  • Laura B.

    I can’t believe I missed that almost a year ago! I know my daughter would LOVE this. Thanks so much for sharing :-D

  • tammypartridge

    Such a great idea!! My daughter is 7 and loves to write. It will be something we can keep and cherish!! Thanks!!

  • Mssimone1220

    Such a great idea. I am going to do this with my 6 year old daughter, and 8 year old son. Starting tomorrow.
    Thanks

  • Laura

    I recently discovered this wonderful idea through pinterest. I’m going to try this with my daughter. I was wondering if you can tell me the name of the font you used for your label? thanks!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Laura,
    Sorry it took awhile for me to get back with you. It took me awhile to find the font. Anyhow, it is called Cool Dots and I downloaded it from here: http://www.scrapvillage.com/fontsc.htm

  • http://www.sayitrahshay.com/ Rachee

    I found your blog through another site and have to say I absolutely love it! This idea of a Mama and me book is fantastic! Great ideas and thank you for sharing.
    -r

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Rachee~
    Thank you for your kind words! And, you are most welcome! ;-)

  • Michel Green

    What a great idea. My daughter leaves for a semester in France and I will get her a book. I will make one for myself so we can write things to each other and share them when she comes home. Thanks for the neat idea.

  • carrie

    I saw this on Pinterest! As a Mama to 3 girls I’m so excited to do this! 2 are old enough now and I’ll have to wait a few years with the 3rd. Thank you for an amazing, cute, fun idea!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Love the idea of writing, but sharing once your daughter returns! That will be very special!!!

  • Laura

    Love this – making this for my son right now!

    Just one thing: I don’t know why, maybe it’s my computer, but I tried to print your “boy” printable from Firefox and got a blank page. When I used IE, it worked fine. So if you hear of anyone else having problems with printing, you might suggest switching browsers for the print.

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Thanks Laura! I am planning to make them for my boys this weekend!

    Hmmm, I am using Firefox and I just opened the boy printable just fine. I will keep an eye on it to see if anyone else has the same prob as you!

  • Katey Wells

    Thank you so much for sharing! I made this for my 7 year old daughter today and she cried when she opened it! I am so happy to have another way to preserve the innocents of my children through this idea! THANK YOU! PS…. my husband wants to do one with her to so I will be making another one for Daddy and Me!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    That is SOOOO sweet! Love the Daddy & Me idea! Perhaps I should make one too! :-)

  • http://woodsyowlwhimsies.blogspot.com/ Loribelle3

    Thank you for this idea! I made my daughter one and we are loving it. Here’s the link if you want to take a look.

  • Katie

    I found this on Pinterest and I am so excited about it. I am starting one today for my four year old daughter. She likes to write letters to people by dictating them to me. I print them out in a light grey font that she traces, so she gets writing and composition practice. I don’t see why we can’t do that in a book until she is able to write on her own. I also hope she’ll draw in here, she is a great artist. I am very excited to see where this goes. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • 5littlechickies

    I did this for my daughter when she was 8. She is now 13 and it has been the best thing for our relationship! We only write to each other once a week or so, but I can almost count on her putting our journal on my pillow at night when there has been a rough day at school or conflict between the two of us! I then write words of encouragement back to her and even say the hard things…and she will listen (mostly). It is like a back door to her heart! Great idea!!

  • Coveredandpraying

    My boys love to get mail but it doesn’t often come for them. As a homeschooling mom I wanted something to keep up their handwriting and this is just the perfect sneaky way! This is day 3 and they love it. They ask me all day “Did you read my note? Did you write back?” Love it!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Awh, that is so cute! Glad it is working for you!

  • http://www.5minutesformom.com/ Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)

    Great idea… I had a similar idea to try with my 6 year old but to pretend it was from a “Story Fairy”… I haven’t started it yet, but might try soon as my 6 yr old is just learning to read and write.

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Neat idea!!!

  • http://www.themamaclub.com.au/ TheMamaClub

    Thanks for this. I came across it on Pinterest and have talked about it on my blog, linking back to yours for my readers to see where it came from. Thanks!!

  • Pastorjeannette

    I love this idea on so many levels, connecting with my daughter, working on her writing skills, allowing her a place to share freely, ect. THANK YOU

  • Mychele Boardman

    Thank you so much for sharing this very sweet idea! I just printed the label and am putting this together while my daughter is in school. She will be so excited to do this!!! I really appreciate your generosity in sharing the label that you created! You’re awesome!

  • Marilyn

    I have a friend who uses this same concept in her marriage. Written communication is whole another level of intimacy and great for days
    when you need to be reminded how much you are loved. :)

  • Daphne

    This is something that can be done with a teenager too. I have a 16 year old that I have sometimes had trouble in talking to or having her talk to me. I am going to try this with her too. Sometimes it is easier for them to write what they want to say instead of saying it. Also, I have told her that she can ask me anything, but writing a question she wants to ask may be easier than coming to me to ask it.

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    What a GREAT idea!!!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    You are so right! Check out the “Conversation Journal” at Heart of the Matter: http://heartofthematteronline.com/communicating-with-tweens-and-teens-through-a-shared-journal/

  • Jen

    Love this idea! Doing this right now!! :)

  • Lghthsegirl

    Love this idea! I think that I will do this with my little girl when she gets older!

  • Cmwaldock

    Thank you for sharing. The notebook is ready–to go. Can’t wait to get started :0)

  • Katmomx123

    This is such a simple, but wonderful idea. I have two teenage daughters 15 and 19. I feel disconnected from them at times and feel this will be the perfect and special way to reconnect and stay connected with them. I am also going to implement this with my eight year old son. Woohoo…so excited. Starting tomorrow. Thank you for the idea. Have a beautiful blessed day.

  • Laura

    Saw this on pinterest. What a great idea. My triplets are in 2nd grade and this is a great project for them. I just finished making their books. You can read about it here on my blog. http://creativetripletmom.blogspot.com/2012/03/penpal-journals-with-my-kids.html

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Just took a look at your journals! They are super cute! Thanks for linking and sharing!! ;-)

  • klehua

    i found this through pinterest and I just started this last night with both my daughters, 5 and 7! I’m already finding out sooo much about my 7 year old! IT’s liek she’s comfortable writing it down, like most people are rather than talking about it! I cried and laughed so much! I’m sooo overjoyed that I came across this and so eager for the years to go by and see all the blessings that will come from it!!!! thank you sooo much!!!!

  • amwolff

    LOVE this idea and I just started one for my daughter who will be 7 next month. I think I might also start one back and forth with my husband, kind of llike the book, Wednesday Letters, if you have ever read that, except he can write back to me too:)

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Love the idea of having a journal like this with the hubby!!! Great idea!!!

  • Ccmedlock

    Wonder if this would work with preteens and teenagers.

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    I think it would be great for teens/preteens!!!

  • Lacidawn82

    I love this idea. I am a teacher and do this with my class each year. I have 2nd graders and it started as a way to get them to write more. I now have seen that it is a way for me to build a relationship with my students more. I have a 2 year old daughter and even though she is not old enough to write back, I am going to start this with her. I am going to start by just keeping a journal and writing to her weekly until she is old enough to start writing back. I think it will be fun for both of us to look back through them when she is older and read my thoughts and prayers for her as she was growing.

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Great idea to start early!

  • Cheska

    I got so inspired, I have to make my own version. Thanks!

  • A

    My mom and I did this growing up. It was perfect for everything from a place to ask questions I felt awkward asking in person to planning a surprise party for my dad to simple I love you

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08963138674653159929 Unknown

    I just left one for my 7 year old daughter to find when she got home from school today. I heard giggles as she was reading my first letter to her and then she came running out with a huge grin. Thank you so much for the idea. I’m also having a great time checking out the rest of your blog.

  • Fansler_2007

    I used to have notebooks with all of my closest girlfrends throughout middle school and high school… it was an awesome way to confront issues with eachother without a catty arguement but we also had so much fun with it! I started one with my mom and sister a few years ago when we were going through a tough time and it was a great way to open up and reconnect!

    Another decor. idea is to take pictures and magazine clippings of your favorite things and cover the front and back with them… then take either clear masking tape or a laminate sheet to seal it all up!!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing! Love to decor idea as well! That helps to make it even more personal!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this! As a full time working Mum I feel very disconnected with my 7 year old daughter as my husband does all the school drop offs, pick ups, clubs etc. I hope this will bring us closer together, she loves writing things down. I will do one with my 4 yr old boy too but I will draw pictures in his in the hope he’ll draw them back!
    I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful idea!!

  • Karen

    Made one with my daughter today! She loves the idea and can’t wait to get started! Thank you for the idea…. :-)

  • Cheri C

    Thanks so much for this idea. My daughter just finished 8th grade and her hormones have created some distance in our relationship. I’m using this summer to get things back on track . . . . this will be a definite part of the plan!

  • http://monkersandrutabagasblogspot.com/ Akandarin

    I am doing this with both my son and daughter. I picked up a couple of journals from the christian bookstore (because I love the little scripture’s on the pages,lol) My daughter, 6 is much more into it than my son, 8, even though he asked if he could do one too. His responses to my entries are simple thanks mom, lol

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    I am planning to make some for my boys too! It will be interesting to see if they respond the same!

  • Kim @ The Educators Spin On It

    This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing. I’ve pinned it onto my writing board for kids. Great Activity for the summer too! http://pinterest.com/educatorsspinon/writing-activities/

  • Monette

    This is a fun idea! Also, will work between you and hubby to promote more bonding time and you’ll be amazed how much it makes a difference in your relationship! I use “I love you because” memo board (copied from another site) for us and love it!

  • Tina S

    This is such a beautiful idea! My mom used to write me little “love notes” and hide them for me to find all the time when I was little (and when I was not so little – like in my calculator on the day I took my SATs)… anyway, it is one of the fondest memories of my childhood and the notes always made my day. I love the idea of the notes going back and forth in a notebook like this and once my daughter is old enough I definitely plan to get in on this (she’s only 15 months now). Thanks for your creativity!!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Tina, I LOVE the idea of hidden notes! My mom would periodically put a note in my lunchbox when I was a little girl! Great memories!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Great idea Monette! I love getting notes and letters from my hubby! Perhaps we should make our own journal!!!

  • Gina Bell

    Thanks so much for such a great idea! I just made one for my son and posted about it on my blog. :-) http://eastcoastmommyblog.blogspot.ca/2012/07/mommy-and-me-journal.html

  • Ghotib

    I have done this too! I heard about it first in my Brio magazine as a junior in high school, and started doing it with my algebra teacher. Since then, I’ve also done it somewhat successfully with my brother and sister and even once with my mom. It’s more personal than email, though not as fast, but for someone like me who loves written messages, this is a great system. It’s surprising how deep conversations can come when they don’t have to be face-to-face.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FPIDONJJNNJLRNI77BOYO7UZSU Martie

    This is an AWESOME idea!!! I love the fact of being able to read them again years from now when they are all grown up!!

  • alyson

    i am going to do this with my little girl. I did it with my mom.

  • http://revolutionoflove.stblogs.org/ Bobbi

    I know this is an older post but I just discovered it on pinterest. I love the idea and made one too. I blogged about it and added a link back here. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rmerr13579

    I love this idea, I am going to do it with my husband!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Great idea!!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Thank YOU for sharing! What is your blog address? I would love to check out your journal!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    I am the same way! I love written letters! They seem so much more personal than emails or even phone calls!

  • Missceegee

    This is brilliant! I just made these for my two oldest kids. Thanks for the great idea.

  • sue wassman

    love this will get together with my daughters and do this I have married one and 2at home we will make a party out of it so all can do Thanks

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    A party! Sounds like a fun idea!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Hope they like them!!!

  • Cherub Mamma

    We did this when I was growing up as a family. Everyone could write in the journal and we kept it in the bathroom. It was a LOT of fun!!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Oh, bathroom…good idea!!

  • http://twitter.com/rol_bobbi Bobbi

    Sorry, I completely forgot to add the link. Here it is – http://revolutionoflove.stblogs.org/archives/2012/07/making-it-count-t.html

  • Caroline

    Brilliant! My little one is too young at this time, I would love to do it when she is older but for now I think doing it with my husband could be just as great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/misty.bloomingdale Misty Bloomingdale

    This is so cute. my husband is over seas and with 2 kids I know my daughter is feeling the stress. I am going to start this today and hope that it will back her feel alittle better about our crazy life right now.

  • hams

    this looks great!! since boys are harder to get to talk – any ideas of what to start off with for them? or ideas in general? i dont think my 9 yr old will write unless i start by asking questions…thanx!

  • kristal lawrence

    I love this idea! I am going to do this with my 9y/o daughter and 7y/o son. I am also going to make them for the kids grandma, we moved several hours away and I think its a great thing for them to share. I do have a question though, when I went to print out the labels it doesnt print them with the nice border that you have on your sample book. Is there anyway I can get a file to print it like yours? Thanks a bunch! Kristal

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Awh, Kristal, I am sure the kids will love it! As for printing, the colorful “border” around mine is actually just some scrapbook paper that I cut and added behind the printable. Sorry!!!!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Then I would TOTALLY recommend you asking him questions! The possibilities are endless! Perhaps you could start by asking them to describe their ideal adventure. What is the bravest thing they have ever done? Be creative! Find out what they are interested in and ask them about it! Hope that helps!

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Thanks! Hope it will be helpful for your family!!

  • Jen

    do you have a Daddy and Me printable for this? I am recently divorced and I love this for me, but I also think it would be great for my daughters to do with their Dad that they don’t get to see every day now.

  • http://www.mama-jenn.blogspot.com/ Mama Jenn

    Hi Jen! Thanks so much for contacting me! You know what, I started some Daddy & Me labels, but never finished them! I will get to work finishing them and try to post them this month!

  • Brandy Stegall

    So, I just saw this on Pinterest and thought it was an amazing idea. It actually inspired me on an idea for a journal for before your kids can write. I would love to link to your blog and this post as inspiration but would like to know if you’d be ok with that before I posted the blog. Please get back to me as soon as you can. Thanks!

    • http://www.MamaJenn.com/blog Mama Jenn

      Hi Brandy, I am so glad you were inspired and I would be honored if you linked back to my site. I would love to see what you came up with!

  • Nicole Beard

    I just love this! I think this would be fun for a daddy & me journal too with sons! Thank you for sharing.

    Nicole @ Working Kansas Homemaker

    • http://www.MamaJenn.com/blog Mama Jenn

      You are very welcome! Hopefully I will get around to making a Daddy and Me label soon!