Resources for Creatives

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

In March, I wrote a blogpost sharing why my family loves to celebrate the the change of seasons:

For the last three years, my family has made it a point to celebrate the start of each season. The Earth has given us a natural ebb and flow of seasons. The progress of time is marked by nature's quarterly rhythms. 

These seasonal changes provide the perfect moment to pause as a family and create a family ritual.  A celebration causes us to stop time and reflect on the past year - the growth, transformations, hardships, and joys. In the pause, we acknowledge our gratefulness. We also look to the upcoming year with anticipation and hope. 

Family celebrations should be simple and speak to each member of the family. It should include traditions that will carry on each year, as well as room to add new elements as the family evolves and grows. 

Honoring the Summer Solstice 

1. HONOR THE SUN

2. ENJOY NATURE

3. READ BOOKS ABOUT SUMMER

4. SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS


1. HONOR THE SUN

-START THE DAY WITH A YOGA SUN SALUTATION

I wasn't able to wake up with the sun and watch it rise this year (two young kids, you get it) but it can be a great tradition to see the sunrise on the solstice. The next best thing is to do a sun salutation. I've attached a video of how to complete a sun salutation with Adriene (Yoga with Adriene). I enjoyed starting my day with a quick 10 minute yoga flow to celebrate the Summer.

 

 

-MAKE A WATERCOLOR SUN MOBILE

My children really enjoyed creating this sun mobile! All we needed was watercolor paper, paint, brushes, scissors, and string. I drew simple sun outlines on the paper, all three different sizes. Nora painted the suns with red, yellow, and orange. She used a spray bottle to move and blend the paint around. Once it was completely dry, I let Olsen use warm colored sharpies to color the back. I cut the suns out and with then out a circle in the center of each sun. I taped fishing line to each one and hung them up! Nora kept singing, "Oh mister sun, sun, mister golden sun, please shine down on me"!

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-Create a "Ojo de Dios" Mobile 

Does anyone remember making these at summer camp? This is our 3rd year making this yarn art (also called God's Eyes). This year I decided to make them all using warm, sunny colors. We hung them like a mobile to welcome the sun and good wishes for this season. 

Sun craft | Ampersandmother.com
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2. ENJOY NATURE

- Go camping

Spending time outdoors is what summer is all about. Camping is the ultimate way to embrace nature and celebrate the long, slower pace days of summer. Plan a family camping trip and invite friends along!

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Camping | ampersandmother.com

- Play in water

Nothing says summer like water play. Celebrate the first day of summer, and really any day of summer, in water! This could be at the lake, beach, river, pool, splash pad, or a backyard sprinkler!


3. Read books about Summer 

Check out our list of books below. Books are a great way to teach children new concepts!
(Click on the images of the book covers - it will take you to the amazon page). 

summer solstice | ampersandmother.com

4. SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS

- Build a fire 

Nothing says "summer" more than a bonfire at night surrounded by fireflies! In many traditions, building a bonfire is part of the celebration to celebrate the new season.

- HAVE A FEAST WITH FRIENDS

Find a poem, light a candle, and honor the new season with friends. Share a meal, build a fire, and sing some songs. I am blessed to be part of a potluck group that meets every week. On this solstice, we passed the guitar around many sang songs as the children caught fireflies. It was pretty magical!

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The summer heat can feel unbearable and schedules may be chaotic without kids in school. Take time to honor with warm and bright season. Find ways to celebrate the good things in your life!

Stories for Mothers

A Closing Womb Ceremony

My family is complete. We made the decision to officially close our chapter of growing new life. We honor so many important passages throughout our lifetime, but our culture leaves women to sit in that void of ‘no longer bearing children’ with little room for closure. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to honor the power of my body and the beauty and connection of my family of four. To commemorate, I created a “Closing Womb” ceremony. 

Stories for Mothers

How to Create a Mother's Blessing Ceremony

A Mother’s Blessing, also known as a blessingway, is an opportunity to create a moment in time that celebrates and honors a pregnant woman and her journey into birth. This ritual is derived from a Navajo tradition that recognizes and honors the journey of pregnancy and the transition of birth as a momentous occasion in a woman’s life. It is a celebration of pregnancy and birth as a sacred and unique journey where the collective energy of loving women can help guide the mother through birth. 

Learn how you can create your own Mother's Blessing Ceremony and download a FREE set of Birth Affirmations!

Resources for Creatives

Strawberry Fairy Garden DIY

Celebrating seasons can be such a fun activity with children.  One idea for celebrating spring is creating a fairy garden. These little indoor gardens are a creative way to inspire imagination with children, while incorporating art and nature. Follow these simple steps to make your own fairy garden. 

Resources for Creatives

Celebrating the Spring Equinox

I love holidays. I love the anticipation of an exciting event. A celebration that is repeated each year is full of tradition and quality time with family. For the last three years, my family has made it a point to celebrate the start of each season. The Earth has given us a natural ebb and flow of seasons. The progress of time is marked by nature's quarterly rhythms. These seasonal changes provide the perfect moment to pause as a family and create a family ritual. Discover 7 ways you can celebrate the Spring Equinox with your family!

Stories for Mothers

Building Resilience Through Your Family Narrative

Capturing the magical chaos of motherhood & your family's story as it unfolds is important, fosters gratitude, and opens your eyes to "big picture" thinking when it's hard. Those memories also have the power to build resilience in our own family's lives. Utilize the tools in the blog in a way that doesn't add another thing to you to do list. I hope you discover the beautiful way reflecting on memories align us with gratitude.

Stories for Mothers

What is the Fourth Trimester?

Have you heard the term "fourth trimester"? Did you know that those first 3 months after having a baby is a sacred time in a new family's life as they adjust to their growing family? 

It is a time to rest and bond with your new baby. It is a time for your body to heal after the incredible changes it went through over 9-10 months, plus the intense process of birth. It is a time to create a new normal and learn who you are in your new skin. 

Stories for Mothers

Creating: Who You Are Without Your Titles

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Creating paintings for "What Are You Without Your Titles?"

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This was a really special week because I got to collaborate with my sister on the paintings. Merrill was the guest writer for the blog and reading what she wrote inspired so many great ideas. There were so many ideas that we came up with two paintings this week. You can read her post here.

Painting One- "I Finally See Myself"

The concept for this painting really came from Merrill, with Sleeping At Last's song, Three, as the inspiration. We based the painting on the lyrics:

I finally see myself, through the eyes of no else

I wanted the painting to be simple. The idea was taking the layers or masks off (something three's are good at wearing), revealing the authentic beauty underneath. I kept the clothing as a line drawing so it wouldn't distract or compete with the color. 

It was also important that I didn't include a background. We wanted it to represent how we should get our value and worth internally instead of externally (our titles, jobs, accomplishments, etc). 

Originally, we wanted to make the "reveal, true self" body covered in florals. I am a fan of symbolism, and I chose herbs and flowers that symbolize self worth. These are the few I picked:

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Peony: Happy Life, Strength

Blue Hyacinth: Constancy of Love

Aloe: Healing

Thyme: Courage

Coriander (Cilantro): Hidden Worth

Marjoram: Joy and Happiness

Morning Glory : Affection

 

 

 

I began to paint the flowers under the clothing and it just didn't feel right. I decided that all the florals would be better suited for a separate painting (see below). It isn't as subtle, but I added the lyrics to the body to finish it off. I really like how the final product turned out!


Painting Two: "I Am Enough"

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I knew I wanted to include all the herbs and flowers listed above in a new painting. At first, I was going to create a wreath and put a quote inside. I am trying to stretch myself and try new things. This mantra has been so important to me this year:

I AM ENOUGH

I've been discovering more about what drives me. I thrive off of "success" and "being the best". By the way, just like my twin sister - I am ALSO an enneagram Three.  I am learning to let go of finding my value in my achievements and instead, finding my worth in just being me.

I drew out the words and surrounded them by the flowers and herbs that symbolize happiness, joy, affection, self worth, strength, etc. 

I hope this painting means as much to you as it does me! I feel like everyone needs a reminder that they are enough. You being you is the best thing you can bring to the world. Authenticity is a beautiful thing.

If you are already subscribed to Ampersand Mother, you will receive an email with a discount code for the "I Am Enough" print. If you haven't subscribed, put your email below and you will get a code for 20% off!

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Resources for Creatives

5 Tips To Make Painting With Children More Enjoyable

 As an ampersand mother, I am always trying to balance family and work time. I have found that mixing painting and family time together can be a really enjoyable experience. 

I have provided 5 tips to make painting with children more enjoyable. They are foundational when it comes to painting with children, especially young ones! Some of these tips are pretty simple but I have found that the simple ones are the easiest to forget when moments get crazy. I hope this helps you and your little ones when you begin your next painting project!

 

Stories for Mothers

What Makes a Home?

It is always very vulnerable to talk about the things in your life you aren't satisfied with, but that is the point of Ampersand Mother. To be honest about where you are in life, accepting it, being aware when it is unhealthy, and making the changes needed for growth. 

Follow my journey on figuring out, what makes a home?

Stories for Mothers

What is an Ampersand Mother?

We want Ampersand Mother to grow into a place where women can share their stories, the good, bad, and ugly. We definitely plan on sharing ours! A place where talking about nasty postpartum depression is ok or how lonely being at home with young children really is. We want to encourage women to go after dreams while still being stellar parents. We hope to have posts and resources to guide mothers towards their goals.