I know many people—adults and children—right now who are feeling anxious and worried. One expert I spoke with recently told me that today’s kids are the most anxious of any generation.

As our kids most influential role models, what are some simple things we can do right away to help ease stress and anxiety for ourselves and for our kids?

1. Limit violent images. Sadly, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, violence is a daily part of life that we invite regularly into our homes. If we overexpose ourselves to hostile, dark images and stories, we risk growing increasingly angry, fearful and aggressive. We are what we consume. In the same vein, if we allow our kids to regularly view death and destruction on TV, in the news, and in video games, I believe we effectively manage to terrorize and desensitize these most precious, vulnerable spirits. We don’t want our kids to begin to see the world as a cruel, cold place. Indifference is the enemy of empathy and can feed narcissism.

2. Swap good news. Search the back pages of your daily newspaper or online for interesting nuggets of news that you can share with your family around the dinner table or when you’re headed to extracurricular activities. What are stories that bring you hope? Who inspired you today? Who showed generosity in an interesting, unusual or thoughtful way? What is a story that made you laugh? And ask your kids: “What’s something you heard, did or witnessed that made you feel good today and made others feel good?”

3. Show gratitude. When we take time to give thanks for the gifts in our lives, we can move away from feeling like we don’t have enough or that we aren’t enough to the people we care for and love. Ironically, the scarcity mentality is rampant in our abundant culture. And yet, there are people who literally have next to nothing and still find reasons to be grateful. The more energy we put into enjoying what we do have in our lives, the less we’ll focus on what we don’t have. Gratitude provides a solid return on investment for the spirit.

4. Create a family bulletin board. Put up a bulletin board in your house where you post the good stuff. If you don’t have a bulletin board, use your refrigerator or a door in your home that everyone regularly sees. Include a collage of accomplishments of each family member, favorite photos of your family having fun together, uplifting quotes and inspiring stories about people in your community and around the world.

5. Share positive news online. While we shouldn’t ignore what’s happening in the world, we can help spread joy to counterbalance the negative. Share uplifting, humorous and thoughtful items. Begin following organizations, writers and artists that will help fill your news feed and inbox with more uplifting, creative and inspiring items. Some that I personally like include TED, Project Happiness, Uplift Connect, SARK, Flora Bowley, Martha Beck, Christina Katz, Marie Forleo and Wayside Waifs (an animal welfare organization here in KC) .

6. Tune in and then move along. If you’re a news junkie, too much news can drive anxiety and stress and harm your overall sense of wellbeing. Try limiting your news intake to twice a day. Avoid fear-mongering personalities and mean-spirited commentators. After reading an article, move on to something else rather than reading the rancorous comments that follow. If you’re worried about missing out, sign up to receive breaking news from one of your favorite news organizations.

7. Unplug. Turn off social media. Focus on a work project, go fishing, meditate, read a book, cook a new recipe, craft, play a game with your kids, clean out the junk drawer, journal, shop or write a letter. The options are endless. If there’s an issue that is particularly bothersome to you, take action rather than ruminating. Write that letter to the editor, call your congress person, contact the customer service person about the problem or work to resolve a conflict in an important relationship.

8. Call a friend. Talking to a good friend can help ease anxiety. Schedule lunch or go for a walk together. Gather your friends for happy hour. Social time can give us a break from the worries that plague us.

9. Engage in self-care. Make a list of everything that makes you feel happy, comforted and cared for. Then pick one and go do it. Carve out 15 to 30 minutes a day to do something that invigorates and calms your spirit even if its something as simple as a hot bath or painting your toenails.

10. Run it out. Exercise can have a profound effect on your overall wellbeing and can help reduce stress, anxiety and tension. Run, dance, walk, do yoga—whatever you enjoy that gets you moving.

11. Listen up. Turn on your favorite music station, listen to Pandora, play soothing classical music in the background or tune in to an inspiring podcast.

12. Laugh. Follow comedians and funny writers online. Watch your favorite sitcom, late night show or a funny movie. Invite your kids to take turns telling jokes at the dinner table. Listen for laughter in your home. Nothing makes me laugh like listening to my 11-year-old cracking up as he reads Calvin & Hobbes or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Laughter truly is the best medicine. 

What do you do to manage stress and anxiety?


Refresh, Renew, Rejuvenate: Spring Articles Are Out

by Christa Hines on March 17, 2017

Even if the weather is still cold outside, I love curling up with the spring magazine issues. Nothing rejuvenates my spirit after a cold winter like cheerful daffodils, crisp, clean decorating ideas, fresh meal ideas and even adorable bunnies hopping across the glossy pages. As a writer, I’m also reenergized when I see my work from the past few months appear in these issues!

Below is a sampling of articles that I wrote for publications across the U.S. this month:

Woman’s Day

My article “Small Horse, Big Heart” tells the story about a Kansas City nurse who rescued a miniature horse from starvation. Now Sweet Pea is a certified therapy animal, gently nuzzling her way into the hearts of people in domestic violence shelters, retirement communities,  inpatient mental health facilities and schools that support youngsters with special needs.

Black Hills Parent (SD)

Check out my articles How Dining Out Builds Skills and Support Your Spirited Child.

Arizona Parenting

How can unplugged time benefit our kids communication skills? Find out in my article “Unplug!”

Sonoma Family Life (CA)

Pregnant? Consider if a postpartum doula would be a good option to help support you during the “fourth trimester”. A postpartum doula can help provide emotional and physical support to mom and baby. Find out more in my article “Bringing Home Baby: Can a Postpartum Doula Help?

Today’s Family (OH)

An over-scheduled, hyperactive lifestyle can leave you feeling emotionally and physically burned out. Furthermore, living this way can be incredibly risky to your health. Nefertari Williams shares her story and some sage advice for every busy mom in my article, “How to Mindfully Bust Out of a Hyperactive Lifestyle”.

Kansas City Parent (KS/MO)

Can you believe it’s already time to start planning summer camps for our kids? If you’re at all hesitant about introducing your child to the camp experience, check out my article about the “10 Benefits of Summer Camp”. After doing the research for this piece, I immediately signed my son up for his first overnight camp. He’s beyond excited!


People in the fitness industry like to say if you “don’t use it, you lose it.” We need to flex our muscles or we grow weak. It’s no different when it comes to our social skills. For kids this is especially true. They are only just beginning to develop the skills to interact with others face-to-face and on the phone. But if most of their communication happens through texts and social media, they aren’t practicing life skills that will help them feel more comfortable interacting with people in a variety of settings and situations.

Luckily, we have plenty of fantastic, fun-to-read resources at our disposal that can help all of us grow stronger in how we connect with the world.  Here are a few to check out:

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help that Actually Works—A True Story by Dan Harris

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger

The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World by Christa Melnyk Hines

Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids by Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D.

The Power of Curiosity: How to Have Real Conversations that Create Collaboration, Innovation and Understanding by Kathy Taberner and Kirsten Siggins

Raising Can-Do Kids: Giving Children the Tools to Thrive in a Fast-Changing World by Richard Rende, Ph.D.

Books I plan to read:

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin

10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children—and Ourselves—the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Healthier, Happy Lives by Goldie Hawn

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Do you have a book recommendation that would be a great addition to this list? Please tell me about it in the comments below!

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Tips for Rekindling Romance in the Midst of Parenting

by Christa Hines on February 9, 2017

Between balancing busy schedules, sick kids, work deadlines, and sheer exhaustion, parents often find making time for intimacy challenging. But romance and intimacy are two important ingredients for a happy union. And when you have a happy partnership, you’re providing a sturdy foundation for a happier, more secure family.  So how can busy parents add a little more pizzazz to their love life?

Next Monday, February 13, author and sex educator Sarah J. Swofford, a.k.a., The Mama Sexpert, will be guest-hosting a free, virtual workshop in my Facebook Group *Confidently Connected Moms.

Moms will learn about:

  • Common intimacy and romance challenges parents face.
  • How to improve intimate communication in a long-term relationship.
  • How sex can be better than ever, even as parents.
  • Strategies to identify and build a life-long sensuality.

Whether you’re married, in a long-term relationship or a single mom, you won’t want to miss this informative presentation. Not only will Sarah share helpful ideas and tips, she’ll also be available to answer your most pressing questions.

About Sarah J. Swofford, MPH:

Sarah J. Swofford, MPH, is a freelance writer, sex educator and author of From Ouch to Ahhh…The New Mom’s Guide to Sex After Baby.  She believes “moms—especially moms of babies and little ones—are underserved when it comes to easily accessible, relevant to a mom’s life sexual education.” 

A sexuality educator with a master’s degree in public health, she supports women who are navigating sex and intimate relationships amidst the demands of parenting. She writes about women’s sexuality throughout motherhood and teaches workshops on sexual intimacy for moms. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children. Connect with Sarah at www.sarahjswofford.com; On Twitter: @sarahjswofford; or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-J-Swofford-MPH/22365021104783

*Please note: To protect the privacy of group conversations, Confidently Connected Moms is a closed Facebook group just for moms. This group is for any mother seeking a supportive, positive online space featuring helpful resources and periodic educational workshops. If you’d like to join, please submit a request. If you’re already in the group, you may submit a request to add your mom friends.  

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What to Do When Conversation Turns Ugly

by Christa Hines on February 2, 2017

Conflict and confrontation are part of the human experience, but that doesn’t make these difficult conversations any easier. Last week, I discussed ways to approach differences of opinion in a more thoughtful, measured way by being informed and listening. But what do we do when a discussion turns aggressive or mean-spirited? Here are a few common scenarios (particularly in the social media realm) and suggested solutions.

The shut-down. A controlling friend or relative strongly suggests that you pipe down on a topic that you feel strongly about. They might say something along the lines of “get over it”,  “maybe you should unfriend me”, or “you’re making people not like you.” 

Solution: Women, in particular, are frequently the target of the “be nice” card. Ask yourself: This is important to me. Am I willing to risk alienating myself from some people by voicing my thoughts on this topic? Are they really my friends to begin with?

Maybe unfriending them is the best case scenario if they can’t handle differing opinions. True friends and loved ones are much more tolerant of diverse opinions. They know you, appreciate you and respect you despite any differences of opinion. And chances are if they disagree, they’ll just keep scrolling along.

Contempt. A friend, family member or acquaintance responds to something you say in a dismissive way, discounting your feelings and attempting to make you feel as as if your thoughts are beneath them or simply don’t matter.

Solution: Dr. John Gottman calls “contempt” one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” and it is one of the number one predictors of divorce. Contempt is destructive to other relationships too. It’s defined as “the feeling that a person is beneath consideration or worthless or deserving scorn.” Often there’s name-calling and sarcasm involved (i.e., “maybe you should run for office if you have such strong opinions”). It’s OK to say, “I don’t allow people to talk to me the way you’re addressing me.” If the behavior continues, say goodbye—or put them at a healthy arms-length if you can’t completely dump them from your life.

Anger. You’re engaged in a confrontation where you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with emotion.

Solution: Give yourself permission to walk away. This is a form of self-care. Tell the other person that you’ll have to continue the conversation later when you feel calmer: “This conversation is blowing my emotional circuits right now. I don’t want to say something I’ll regret so I’d like to continue this conversation when I feel calmer.” Take at least a 20-minute break to go for a walk or engage in an activity that steadies your heartbeat. By taking a break, you aren’t conceding defeat, but you are doing something much more valuable—you’re honoring your feelings and preserving a relationship that you care about.

Online confrontation. You’ve said or posted something that gets under someone’s skin or makes them hopping mad. This person lashes out. You angrily lash out in return. People dig their heels in deeper. Friends jump in to take sides. Trolls show up. And the online mudslinging commences.

Solution: Most of these debates tend to be relatively pointless and generally leave both sides feeling emotionally shattered. You can’t see the other person’s body language. There’s no real opportunity for closure or relational repair through nonverbal signals, like softening of tones or kind gestures as in face-to-face situations. Thank the other person for their opinion or suggest you take the conversation offline. If someone is trolling you or making inflammatory remarks, take the behavior in hand, instruct them to move their opinions to their own page and/or kick them out of your space. 

Email bullying. Someone decides that attacking you on social media wasn’t enough so they begin emailing or messaging you in an aggressive way.

Solution: Unless you see an opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding, either ignore the message or tell them to stop or you will block them from contacting you in the future. 

What are some of the most difficult confrontations you’ve dealt with? How did you resolve the situation? 


How to Lead the Way Toward More Civil Conversation

by Christa Hines on January 26, 2017

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~ Mother Theresa

I’m sure you’ve noticed—we appear to be mired in a polarized, poisonous conversational environment right now.

Somewhere along the way, many of us have forgotten how to discuss our differences in a way that’s thoughtful and amicable. Or maybe we never learned in the first place.

By sinking ourselves into echo chambers without others to challenge our views, we can be lured into the dangerous and false assumption that there is no compromise, no middle ground and no common ground.

We’ve divided ourselves between us versus them without considering the possibility that maybe the other side has a point. Maybe.

We fall under the belief that if someone doesn’t think like us then maybe we can’t like that person. (And sometimes we can’t—more on that next week.)

For those of us who desire creating a more positive, civil environment in which we can discuss opposing opinions in a healthy way, we have to begin educating ourselves and committing to being part of the solution.

Support civil debates. I’ve joined an organization called American Public Square, which was started by former U.S. Ambassador Allan Katz. The group brings experts from opposite sides of the aisle together to discuss important issues affecting our communities like social reform, education and health. A civility bell helps remind speakers to keep the dialogue respectful. Fact checkers watch for misleading information and audience members are given opportunities to question the speakers. Look for organizations like this in your community or start one yourself.

Look to role models. Watch professional debates where people don’t freak out at each other over opposing view points. Watch how they model themselves, how they present their opinions and keep the conversation civil. Watch how they conclude the conversation.

Use curiosity—then listen. When a friend says something that you disagree with, don’t get mad. Ask questions. And as hard as it may be (believe me, I know!), listen without interrupting. Be curious about why they feel the way they do. You might say, “hmm. I can’t say I agree with you there, but I’d like to understand your point of view. Why do you feel that way?” Often people just want to be heard. 

Keep learning. Expose yourself to a variety of media and news outlets. Read editorials from both sides of the aisle. In addition to relying on news sources that tend to support your views, look to credible news outlets that tend to be more moderate, accurate and balanced, and not simply using sexy headlines to attract eyeballs. Watch and listen for language that seems overly partisan in headlines and news bits. Pay attention when something is said that upsets you. Why does it upset you? Is it creating fear or anxiety? Rise above party political rhetoric and pursue verified facts.

Get involved. Be aware of what’s happening in your own community. Learn about the political leaders in your local community. Instead of assuming you’ll agree or disagree with them because of their party loyalty, be aware of how they’re actually voting on issues that you care about and that affect the community. Visit their websites. Read their policies. Read profile articles about them in your local paper. Read about the people who are affected by these policies. Realize that our elected officials work for you the constituent and you have a right to call and ask questions and politely share your opinion. Attend town halls and community events to better understand what is driving their decisions and their votes.

Find support. Surround yourself with other people who share your goal for more civil conversation, even if they don’t share your same policy views.

Next week, I’ll share tips for keeping dialogue civil, including on social media, and knowing when to walk away from conversations and toxic individuals. In the meantime, please feel free to chime in on ways you pursue more civil conversations in your life.


Making the Case for the Personal Day

by Christa Hines on January 19, 2017

January can be a difficult month. The days are cold, short and often gloomy. And I don’t know about your kids, but mine are grumpy about the transition back into school after the winter break. We spend less time outside and more time consuming media. Too much bad news–and lately, politics–can drive anxiety, frustration, anger and irritation.

To be honest, I never used to make personal days—or mental health days—a priority. But I’ve learned that no matter how many to-do lists I conquer, another task or assignment never fails to pop up and flag down my attention. When I begin to feel drained, impatient, less creative and annoyed more than I feel inspired, enthusiastic and productive, I know that a personal day is needed. But I try not to wait until it gets to that point. Besides I’ve noticed that when I block out time on the calendar for myself, I have something to look forward to and I end up being more productive than ever. 

Logistics. If you can’t find a week day, schedule a weekend morning or afternoon for yourself. If you’re a stay-at-home mom with youngsters who aren’t in school yet, find a babysitter to come in for a few hours. If that’s not possible, take time for yourself when your husband is home to take over childcare. Consider swapping babysitting care with another mom. Also, check to see if there’s a reputable drop-in child care center in your area where you feel comfortable leaving your kiddos for a couple of hours.

**Most of all don’t feel guilty. When you give time to yourself, you’re better at giving more focused time and attention to the ones you love. Need inspiration? Here are a few self-care ideas (just remember that the idea is to do something you want to do, not something you feel you should do):

Sleep. Take a nap or sit with your eyes closed for a little while. Rest is restorative both mentally and physically.

Read. Buy a cup of coffee or tea and sit in your local bookstore reading inspiring magazines or books. If you can’t get away, light the fireplace and park yourself on your couch to read. If your kids want to snuggle up next to you, tell them they need to bring their books too because you need silence.

Practice yoga. I’ve found yoga to be a grounding activity that supports the body and the spirit. Drop into a yoga class at a studio you’ve never visited before.

Pamper yourself. Take yourself shopping, out for a manicure and/or pedicure, or schedule a hair appointment. Buy some yummy smelling bath salts and take a warm bath. When we feel good on the outside, we feel good on the inside.

Go see a movie. There’s something freeing about sitting in a movie by yourself where you can sink in and enjoy it without worrying if your friend or spouse likes it or not.

Rewatch your favorite movie. Have the house to yourself? Fix yourself a snack and re-watch an old favorite. (Mine is “My Fair Lady.” I drove my family crazy after I rewatched it because I was singing and humming my favorite songs for days afterwards—I’m not known for my singing abilities.)

Visit a boutique. Personally, there’s something about those artistically crowded displays in local boutiques that appeal to my imagination.

Play with art. Relax in a ceramics cafe and paint. Find a space in your home where you can retreat to paint, collage, color, draw, write from a list of prompts, journal, scrapbook or sew.

Cook. Make a soup or another hearty winter meal. Chopping vegetables and making a healthy meal for your family is a meditative act of love. 

Bake. Warm your home with the smell of bread, cookies or another treat baking.

Walk outside. Find a trail and take a hike. Inhale the sharp chill of winter and the smell of pine and fireplaces burning. Watch for wildlife and listen to the crunching and snapping of the sticks and leaves beneath your feet.

Practice a random act of kindness. Doing something thoughtful and unexpected for someone else will make both you and the other person feel good.

What do you do for self-care? Why is it important to you?


How to Make Resolutions Stick

by Christa Hines on January 12, 2017

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into 2017, you may be finding it harder to stick with your resolutions or maybe you’re just now starting to put your wishes into action (like me!). Wherever you are in your journey, finding long-term success in our resolutions or goals is often linked to the messages we tell ourselves, the way we approach our goals and the people who we seek support from. Here’s how to set yourself up for success in all areas of your life this year:

Take a more childlike approach.
 Why should kids have all of the fun? Make the steps towards your goal playful and enjoyable. For example, rather than starving your body into submission with the goal of losing 15 pounds in two weeks (which will only make you and everyone around you miserable), engage in activities that bring you joy. Learn to cook healthier meals. Commit to walking with a friend. And instead of slogging through a treadmill workout, sweat it out in a Zumba or Jazzercise class. And don’t forget to offer yourself small rewards along the way like a new music download or new workout gear as you reach individual milestones toward your specific goal. 

Change your story. Many of the messages we tell ourselves are self-defeating. Telling yourself things like “I have to lose weight” or “I need to make more friends” sounds like a lot of drudgery and work. Instead tell yourself that you want to live a healthier lifestyle. Sign up for a cooking class or an exercise class that sounds fun. Be kind to yourself and honor wherever you are on your journey. If you’d like to make more friends in your community, decide that you’re going to be a joiner–as long as it’s something you think you’d enjoy. If joining things is hard for you, choose one organization that truly interests you and commit to that for a few months. If you don’t like it, leave and look for something else.

Visualize success. Create a vision board (check out Pinterest for ideas). Try setting an intention each day by writing it down somewhere where you’ll see it. Squash negativity and celebrate each day that brings you closer to your goal. 

Seek support from loved ones. Goals are often easier to achieve with your favorite teammate in your corner. Talk to your spouse about the changes you want to make and ask him for his support and if he’d like to join you. For example, if you suspect that too much technology-use is contributing to your anxiety and stress levels or taking away from quality family time, discuss ways that you can unplug for a certain amount of time each week as a family.

Make change fun for the family. Your kids will watch you making adjustments in your family’s lifestyle, and they may not like it. They may be resistant to healthier snacks or resent less time with electronics. Invite them to help choose from the snacks that are on your “yes” list, grocery shop in the produce aisle together, and plan fun activities as a family for unplugged time. If you’re trying to get more active, invite your kids to go on walks, bike ride or do yoga together. (Yoga is great for working on listening skills too!)

Seek support from like-minded individuals. If you have a specific goal that others in your immediate circle don’t share, seek out people who do. Take a continuing education class at your community college. Check out Meet-up.com to find local groups with specific interests, from running and writing to photography and gardening. Ask moms in your moms group if they want to join you in a specific endeavor. If you want to work on your presentation skills, join Toastmasters. Or start a book club if you like to read and want to meet others who are literary-minded. You could also start an accountability group on Facebook or create your own Meet-Up. Get creative and build your community based on your interests.

Begin living what you’d like to see more of in your life. While you can’t change other people’s behaviors or lifestyle choices, you can change how you approach your relationship to your personal goals and who you’d like to invite on your journey. In fact if you make only one resolution to make this year, why not make it one where you’re having a little more fun for a change?


A wonderful way to connect with your kids and to help them build confidence in themselves is to introduce them to the art of journaling. Not only is journaling a way to slow down the world and help your kids reflect on their experiences and thoughts, you can use journaling to connect with each other. Next Monday, December 12, journaling expert Sara Marchessault, author of Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling, will tell us how.

In this free, all-day virtual workshop in my Facebook group Confidently Connected Moms, participants will learn:

  • The benefits of encouraging kids to keep a journal
    • What we know they get out of it
    • What we tell them they get out of it
  • Strategies to include journaling in daily life
  • Using a shared journal to communicate
  • Ideas for writing over the holiday break for moms and kids

          Sara Marchessault

About Sara: Sara Marchessault creates books and journals that teach the use of journal-writing and self-reflection to dig deep and build a meaningful life experience. Sara believes clarity and productivity increase when journaling is used as a consistent tool. Regular writing practice helps to remove overwhelm and maintain focus. All with the added bonus of leaving a legacy in words. Sara teaches clients and readers self-awareness as the key to life-long learning and reaching their full potential. Her book, Beyond Pen & Paper: 33 Experiments in Journaling, is full of ideas to jazz up your journaling experience and get your pen moving – or even get the benefits of journaling without a pen! Sara has also published The Vision Journal: A whole brain journal and portable vision board, which gives writers a place to work with both images and words. When she’s not playing with her kids, writing, or teaching, Sara can be found on www.saramarchessault.com along with her books, blog, and freebies for journal writers.


How to Make Conversation Gems

by Christa Hines on November 17, 2016


Want to liven the conversation on your next car trip or when your family gathers for dinner this Thanksgiving (or any time)?

While there are fun chat packs on the market, if you’re someone who likes to get crafty this is a fun project to try. I provide conversation starter ideas, but try asking your kids what types of questions they think would be fun to discuss.


  • Clear decorative filler stones, jumbo about 1 1/2 inch in diameter (I found mine at Michael’s in the floral department.)
  • Mod Podge glue
  • Foam brush
  • Felt, Washi Tape, foam sticker or decorative tape (optional)
  • Conversation starters, printed in 9 pt. Arial Narrow font
  • 1 1/2” scrapbook hole punch or scissors


  1. Type up questions in 9 pt Arial Narrow font. (For question ideas, visit http://www.christamelnykhines.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Conversation-Starters.pdf).
  2. Make sure you’ve formatted each question on the page so that it will fit on the stone. *You can write the questions out if it’s easier.*
  3. Print off conversation starters.
  4. Cut the questions out as circles using scissors or a 1 1/2” scrapbooking hole punch.
  5. Using a foam brush, paint Mod Podge glue over the top of the question. (Mod Podge dries clear.)
  6. Place the flat side of the stone down over the question, pressing out any air bubbles.
  7. Allow the glue to dry.
  8. You may need to trim the paper around the edges of the stone using scissors.
  9. For a pretty backing, stick a foam sticker, round stickers, sticky backed scrapbook paper, felt or washi tape to the back of the stone to cover the paper.
  10. Place your gems in a mason jar, in a pretty dish on your dining room table or in a small canvas bag to take with you on car trips.

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