“A sister never whispers. She yells.” How brilliant is that line of poetry written by my patient big brother a gazillion years ago?!? Letters like these that my parents have kept over the years are absolute treasures to me now. Happy Heart Day to everyone out there, but especially to all the big brothers of the world with loud little sisters. Lovelovelove!

Letter and artwork by Brady Smith.
Photograph by Rebecca Sanabria who never yells. She whispers.


A simple craft with your kiddos is no less special and no less creative than one that requires lots of supplies and lots of time. Case and point: Valentine Heart Faces. Yep, its exactly what the name implies—drawing faces on hearts for Valentine’s Day. I cut the hearts, he drew the faces. Simple dimple. While he drew, we chatted about really important things like, “Why do we have eyebrows, Mommy?”
We also got to think about all the special people in our lives who we wanted to give these to. It was such a sweet moment for us to share that wasn’t clouded by complicated instructions or frustrating requirements to do it “right.” Empowering our kids by giving them less so they can explore more on their own is sometimes the absolute best!

Supplies needed: construction paper, scissors, oil pastels or any type of crayon or marker. We used these.
Photography by Rebecca Sanabria who is still not quite sure why we have eyebrows.

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, DRAW » Jill Smith - […] me lazy, but I often shy away from fancy crafts with my kiddos. Remember the easiest Valentine project ever? It’s not that I don’t appreciate exploring different media and investing time in a well […]

Meet Pencil Pusher, Jill Smith in my Masterclass Series - […] talked about a few very simple creative projects on my blog here, here and […]


I have been thinking a lot about my family lately. The little part of it that just started with my parents and my brother and me and has grown over the past decade or so to include our spouses, kiddos and extended loved ones who are somehow related and a few who really aren’t but we feel they are. Even with all of those additions, we are still a pretty small bunch. And thankfully we are really close and enjoy each others’ company. Not to say that we can’t drive each other crazy at times too, but there is always humor and never drama. I couldn’t be more grateful for that last sentence. It’s been that way my whole life.
Jill-Smith-family-time-02I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks over the holidays with my family vacationing. It was my favorite gift of the season by far to be in the presence of these amazing people and to have a blank to-do list. My husband likes to joke that I cannot sit still, and he is pretty spot-on there. But while on this holiday ‘break’ with my family, that is essentially what I did. Although, I should clarify, there are little kids involved so there was really no actually sitting still, yet more my mind was still and content. Present. I feel this in my everyday life as well, but I often start to make lists or think of what needs doing.
Jill-Smith-family-time-03But here I am a month later and still feeling the happy effects of our holiday. I hope to carry it far into 2014 and beyond. To focus and work when it’s time and to completely play when it’s not. Falling asleep with the kiddos at 7:30 pm accidentally, but deciding to stay put. Choosing to pick up a basketball and practice my own dribbling skills when my kids are, instead of picking up a broom and sweeping the porch while they dribble. Listening fully. Being silly (have to admit that one comes way too easy for me). Soaking up conversation heard from both the youngest and the oldest and begging my brain to remember as much as it possibly can.
Photography by Rebecca Sanabria who we were so happy to have join us for a whole day during our family holiday time.


“I really regret playing,” said no one ever. Here is where I will share a photo that could make me happy forever. If you’d like to see all of the photos in my PLAY, PLAY, PLAY series, click here.

{ Two chickens and one silly goose. }Jill-Smith-play-play-play-08Feliz fin de semana everyone!
Photograph by Rebecca Sanabria.