17 November, 2015  |   1 Comment

Make Paper Bag Popcorn – with me, Nora Lea


This weekend Nora Lea worked on a project with me. She wanted to show kids how to make popcorn in the microwave. She organized the steps, set up the script and the different shots and didn’t even need any second takes!

Back when I was a kid, I could never comprehend that this was a thing I could do — much less with my daughter. I’m a-goggle at the many forms of communication and connection our kids will intuitively know how to use.

On with the show!

30 October, 2015  |   Comment

Helen Jane’s Apple Crisp Sipper

My first apartment.
Winter in Wisconsin.

(This is me back in the mid-nineties, all film camera and apple crisp.)
Helen Jane, mid nineties

During a particularly brutal winter, in those early grown-up years, I learned to bake apple crisp.

The ingredients?
Inexpensive staples.
The outcome?
Warm and loving.

Now that I’m in sunny Napa Valley, November temperatures can reach the nineties. So when I’m craving something cold and cozy, spiced and sweet, fresh yet comforting, I make this Apple Crisp Sipper.

Turns out, this autumn-inspired cocktail is the perfect pre-Thanksgiving cocktail. Pair with gently spiced nuts to keep guests cheerful when the turkey roasts.

Helen Jane's Apple Crisp Sipper recipe

2 ounces apple juice
2 ounces cranberry juice
1 ounce amaretto
2 ounces rum
2 ounces hard apple cider

Add the first four ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into an pre-iced old-fashioned glass. Fill the rest of the glass with hard apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon-sugar crusted apple slices if you’re feeling ambitious or a cinnamon stick if you’re not.

Helen Jane's Apple Crisp Sipper recipe

Three cheers for cozy, icy drinks!

4 August, 2015  |   Comment

During June, I drew monsters

One of the fruits of my fits and starts was a daily monster drawing over on the Insta. It was a fun little daily thing. These days, I seem to be into smallish creative daily things.

All my silly drawings are here in one happy monstrosity.

6-1 6-2
6-3 6-4
6-5 6-6
6-7 6-8
6-9 6-10
6-11 6-12
6-13 6-14
6-15 6-16
6-17 6-18
6-19 6-20
6-21 6-22
6-23 6-24
6-25 6-26
6-27 6-28
6-29 6-30

2 March, 2015  |   Comment

We made puzzles

Resourcefulness is a skill my family has always prided ourselves on. Now that I am sheparding my own family, and choosing our own values, resourcefulness comes up a lot.

Much like the plastic bag kite, this puzzle project is so easy it’s nearly embarassing.

You’ll need Avery Business Cards and markers.
Easy peasy.

Draw a picture of your favorite food, person or feeling on that business card paper.


Got it all in one piece? Good.



Now separate the pieces. Until all our small people are good at puzzles, we write numbers on them to help with the process.

Then put them back together


And grin with pride.


5 February, 2015  |   2 Comments

Hearn Family Values

Hearn Family ValuesI’m sure you’ve seen those family sign-things on Pinterest? The family rules signs?

James and I wanted a visual representation of the things we value as a family. But most weren’t right for us. Too kitchy, too Jesusy, too trite — they seemed to be filled with jokes and winks and not enough action.

So our family collaborated and distilled. We shrunk our family values into one short active word each. We shared some of the thinking behind each word below.

We Try
At least once, maybe twice but preferably three times, we try things new to us.

We Fail
Failing is a virtue. It’s learning. And since childhood is chock full of failures, we might as well celebrate the fail.

We Host
We take pride in having people over into our space. We offer drinks, food and healing love. We comfort.

We Amuse
Entertaining, engaging and enlightening. Our family values the act of amusement.

We Question
Why? Where? How?
We value the act of questioning, even when it gets us in trouble (especially when it gets us in trouble).

We Adventure
Going out into the world means we open ourselves up to risk. That risk is always worth it.

We Collaborate
We reject popular media’s biggest lie. Our best work is not done alone, it’s done with other people. We welcome collaboration, it makes us stronger.

We Create
We make connections, we make art, we make progress, we make hope.

We Share
We have enough. We have more than enough. Even when we don’t think we have enough, we can share.

We Thank
Grateful hearts are a shortcut to a happy life. We thank the people, places, animals and things that contribute to the fullness of our lives.

We Move
Our bodies are happiest when they’re moving. We move by dancing, running, skipping, galloping, hiking, swimming, paddling, waving, pushing, pulling and hugging. We value movement.

We Toot
Just like every other human in the world, we toot. And it’s pretty dang funny.

We Act
When we see something that requires action, we act. Even when it’s uncomfortable (especially when it’s uncomfortable).

Hearn Family Values - we toot too!

When developing our family values image, we asked ourselves three questions:
1. What activities do we want to do as a family?
2. What are the attributes that make our family different from other families?
3. If we made poor choices — choices that didn’t reflect what’s important to us — what would those choices look like?

Have at it! You can do it too!

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