Capturing the Facts of Life
Taking the good and the
bad, former TV star Lisa Whelchel Cauble relishes her role
as mother and scrapbooker.
By Kerry Arquette
It's a fact of life that child stars grow up. Lisa Whelchel
Cauble, who spent nine years playing young Blair Warner
on the NBC television sitcom "The Facts of Life," has certainly
done so, becoming a pastor's wife, and mother and a scrapbooker.
After paring back her theatrical work, Lisa turned her
creative efforts toward the raising of her three young
children. She has shared insights gleaned from motherhood
with readers of her two popular books: Creative Correction:
Extraordinary Ideas for Everyday Discipline and The
Facts of Life and Other Lessons my Father Taught me. And
she's captured and recorded the experiences that led to
those insights in a dozen creative scrapbooks featuring
"Childhood is one of the most precious times of life and
yet kids lack the maturity to full appreciate it. What
a shame!" Lisa says. "But scrapbooks can capture those
moments and memories so that we can enjoy, value and learn
from the experiences when we get older."
The kinds of experiences Lisa's children enjoy extend
far beyond the neighborhood birthday parties and park outings
that define most children's early years. There are definite
perks to having a famous mother-including tan opportunity
last fall to be with her on the set of "The Facts of Life
Reunion" television show that was shot in Toronto. ("I
called a local Creative Memories consultant in Toronto
and got supplies to make the other actresses, the director
and producer of the show Sentiment Albums. They brought
tears to everybody's eyes. They're something that will
remind everybody of a wonderful shared memory," Lisa says.)
Lisa's writing career has led to its own wealth of memory-making
opportunities for her family. When her publisher recently
proposed a book tour to promote her latest work, Lisa initially
declined. As a homeschooling mother, she felt it would
be impossible for her to leave her children. Then with
typically creative thinking, she set about finding a way
to continue her parenting duties and fulfill her publisher's
wishes. She and her family moved into a 40-foot RV on July
14, 2001 and set off on a yearlong jaunt across the United
"We try to map out our journey so we end up each weekend
in a large town where I do book signings, appear on local
television shows and participate in radio programs to speak
about my books," Lisa says. "The rest of the time we visit
the places my children would normally only have had a chance
to read about, memorize the dates and forget again over
Hands on History
When planning the trip Lisa scoured the Internet for educational
and historic sites sure to inspire her children to ask
questions and find answers. High points on their tour include
Colonial Williamsburg, Plymouth Plantation, Mystic Seaport,
New York City, Philadelphia, Yellowstone National Park,
Walt Disney World and factories such as Crayola. But Lisa
says that her children are not the only ones learning and
growing from the road tour. A stop at Mount Rushmore provided
Lisa with an insight she'll carry long after the family
has returned to their Santa Clarita, California, home.
"In looking at the mountain I suddenly has a clearer perspective
on my own purpose," Lisa says. "I realized that, just as
it took the artist years of shaping and molding to encourage
the images of those famous men to emerge, it takes years
of constant work for parents to bring their children into
focus. We parents are the sculptors whose hard work can
create something magnificent that will, ultimately, hopefully,
bless many people."
Keeping a Record
Lisa records each leg of her family's trip with a digital
camera. She's taken thousand so of pictures-all organized
on CDs-or events both small and large. Each evening she
posts pictures from that day's adventures along with a
journaled account of the family's progress on her Web site-LisaWhelchel.com.
According to Lisa, thousand of families across America
tune in to the site and are participating, vicariously,
in "The Family Dream" trip.
The only negative part of this journey is that I'm not
able to scrapbook while we're on the road this year," Lisa
laments. "Still, that means I can look forward to creating
a lot of albums when we get back to California!" She confesses
to being a reluctant journaler in the past and feels relieved
to know that her commitment to her nightly Internet postings
will make the task easier. "I'll already have the journaling
done and will just print the stories out and add photos
to the pages once we get home! I can't wait!"
Once home, Lisa is also looking forward to renewing subscriptions
to her favorite scrapbooking publications and immersing
herself in reading.
"I canceled my subscriptions for this year because I thought
it would be to difficult to read the articles and not be
able to try out the ideas! It would be like being on a
diet and reading through Gourmet magazine!" she says laughing. "Too,
Scraps of Life
Although Lisa can't scrapbook much while her family is
on the road, she looks forward to getting back to one of
her favorite hobbies when they return home to California
in July. Here are a few of Lisa's scrapbook favorites:
Favorite Place to Scrapbook: I live five minutes from
a place called Teacups and treasures. It is an amazing
facility where you can buy supplies and scrapbook with
friends and strangers.
Favorite Place to Scrapbook at Home: My dining room. I
leave everything on the table even though there are no
doors to close the room off. I go in on Sunday afternoons
or after the kids go to bed and just-attack!
How Often Do You Scrapbook: It goes in spurts. If I'm
not working on a book, or it isn't holiday time, I'll scrapbook
for 30 minutes several times a week. But I can go three
months and never pick anything up when I'm on a deadline.
Favorite Time to Scrapbook: At a retreat-maybe a three-day
retreat (but a seven-day retreat would be even better!).
Favorite Scrapbooking Tool: Corner rounder because I try
to get a lot done and don't have the luxury to take hours
on each page. I'm also just not that creative and the corner
rounder lets me make a nice-looking page with little fuss.
Favorite Stickers: Border stickers because they allow
me to make a page quickly while giving it a lot of color.
They also take up space on the page so I didn't have to
add much more for it to look complete.
Favorite Scrapbook Page: When my kids were smaller we
let them make mud pies. I took a million pictures. I colored
my daughter's hand with brown marker and pressed it on
the Mud Pie page. It's not only perfect for the design,
it preserved her tiny handprint forever.