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Meet the Kids Behind the Blog

Without kids, there is no such thing as a mom blog! Get to know the four kids behind Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting.

Without kids, there is no such thing as a mom blog! Get to know the four kids behind Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting.

I started blogging when my oldest child was two years old. My second child was under one, and children three and four were born after I started blogging. So my four children really have no idea what life would be like if their mom didn’t blog.

Thankfully, they think the blog is pretty cool! Today I’m introducing you to these four awesome children, and writing a little bit about how they influence this site.

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All About the Kids Behind This Blog


Emma was a toddler who CRAVED activities. She wanted to go somewhere, and do something, every single day of the week. That personality led to most of the toddler and preschooler activities you find on this site today!

These days, 13-year-old Emma runs her own blog, Maker Emma. She also runs an Etsy shop, which she opened after taking this Selling on Etsy Masterclass for Teens. She spends her free time writing, crafting, playing cello, and singing (she loves those high soprano notes!) This fall she started teaching herself ukelele. She has some very dedicated babysitting customers who she looks forward to seeing every week.


The only boy in this family, 11-year-old Johnny loves fencing, basketball, running, and ultimate frisbee. He also enjoys drawing, and you’ll find a lot of his art on my instagram page.

Johnny plays piano and viola, and sings as well. This past year he became a bit of a cardboard wizard, creating masterpieces like this cardboard play shop. Johnny brought our hamster into our home (it really is his, but I love it, and so do Johnny’s sisters).


10-year-old Lily loves ornate crafts, and she is patient enough to put hours into a project (like this felt doll that she made when she was only six years old). She practices her violin first thing most mornings, because she enjoys having control over the rest of her day. She enjoys singing (family trait), and values time with friends.

She also loves swimming in the pool and taking care of our dog, Cali. She desperately wants a cat, but Mike is allergic to them, so she draws lots of cats to fill the void.


7-year-old Anna didn’t use her left leg when she was born. At one point we were told she might have a brain tumor. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, but it took a lot of physical and occupational therapy to get her to really use that leg. She’s been dancing away ever since.

Anna plays violin, sings, and spends much of her free time drawing. She’s turned into a real reader this fall, and is currently devouring the Kingdom of Wrenly series. Anna loves to swim, and she is always ready to spend time outside at the park or playground.

meet the kids behind Mama Smiles

How to the Kids Influence this Blog?

It’s tricky running a blog that’s about your family! I’ve always talked to my kids about blog topics, and they always have veto power over what I write about and what images I post on the internet. Because of this blog, they are very aware of social media and how it is used by companies. I think carefully about what I write and how it will impact their lives – now as well as later on.

Their main influence, though is in the content you see here. Activities on this site were nearly entirely derived for – and often by – my children. I started blogging because I felt frustrated by the narrow way people viewed the job of motherhood. I wanted to highlight the things I love about parenting, tips I find helpful, and ways to embrace mindful parenting.

Blogging leaves me more aware of my own parenting and the choices I make. It’s an amazing hobby turned part time job. I’m excited to see how this site grows as I learn alongside my four kids.

Do you blog? How do your kids influence your blog?

Share comments and feedback below, on my Facebook page, or by tagging me on InstagramSign up for my newsletter to receive book recommendations, crafts, activities, and parenting tips in your inbox every week.

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

3 thoughts on “Meet the Kids Behind the Blog”

  1. natalie planetsmartypants

    Yay! Blog comments are working again :) It is a great post, and I love that you are sensitive to how your kids feel about what you post. It’s so important in this day and age.

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