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SouleMama Speaks: Q&A With Amanda Soule

©iStockphoto.com/vkbhat

©iStockphoto.com/vkbhat

by Mary Jessica Hammes
September 15, 2008

It’s rather inspiring that Amanda Soule—one of the craftiest and deservedly popular mamas of the Mom Bloggers set—did not consider herself a crafty or artistic child when she was growing up.

“For me, my creative spirit was awakened—and awakened loudly—through the presence of my shining children and the lessons I’ve learned from them,” writes Soule in her recent book, The Creative Family (Trumpeter Books, 2008).

In her book, Amanda—that’s SouleMama in the blogging world—not only gives the reader a generous helping of craft ideas for little ones, but also a gently encouraging nudge to pursue their own artistic natures. Even if a lifelong fear of drawing “the wrong way” holds you back from other crafty projects, Soule shows us that there are lots of ways to be creative and engage your children—including imaginative play, exploring the outdoor world, celebrating family rituals and feeling a connection to a larger community. Plus, Soule’s photographs that accompany the book are as beautiful and sweetly intimate as they are on her website.

Amanda lives in Portland, Maine, with husband Steve (who works in civil engineering) and children Calvin, 7, Ezra, 5, and Adelaide, 3 (plus one on the way!). I was thrilled to interview Amanda for baby gooroo. And guess what? Thanks to the generosity of the kind folks at Shambhala Publications, Inc., we have two copies of The Creative Family to giveaway! Keep reading to find out how you can win one.

baby gooroo: Early in the book, you address the idea of giving yourself permission to be creative—a “job responsibility” of parenting. I loved this, since I know too often that parents deny themselves creative opportunities because they aren’t as pressing or “important” as other chores. How do you think adults learn to dismiss this side of themselves? Do you think this attitude goes hand-in-hand with the fear many adults have of making art (perhaps intimidated by not being able to make something “good”)?

Amanda Soule: Yes, exactly. And sadly, for many of us and for many little ones, I think we actually adopt that fear in our youth from the many messages we get about art and creativity from school or family. Like a language, if your ‘creativity’ isn’t nurtured or encouraged, it’s something that can be ‘lost’ and forgotten about as you age and grow. The key for such adults is to regain the fearlessness in creating that children inherently have. As parents, the ‘job responsibility’ is to nurture the creative part of our children’s selves, as we do other parts of who they are. In doing so, we often do the same for ourselves.

bgr: Some of your advice is to cut out TV and get more sleep. Do you have tips on how to phase out TV and bring in more sleep? Some people find it truly hard to do either or both.

AS: I don’t mean to oversimplify the time issue by saying ‘cut out TV and get more sleep.’ Finding time to incorporate more creativity into our everyday lives truly is a challenge, and one that is often on my mind. I find that there are those two components though, that are essential in making it happen. The first being self-care. For me—and I’m sure many other parents of young little ones —getting enough sleep is so essential to my general wellness and state of mind! I can’t do anything without that first. But for other people, the self-care might be something else entirely—exercise, good food, a combination of all of the above. I use sleep only as an example.

The second piece of advice—of cutting out TV—could be better generalized by ‘prioritizing.’ I say TV because it’s something that many of us have in our everyday lives and it can easily eat up so much of our time and energy without adding a whole lot of benefit, necessarily. Maybe it’s something else in your life—spending less time online, reading fewer blogs, etc. Giving something up that’s less important as a trade off for making room in your day for creativity.

And then a third component that I don’t really spell out, but that I think is organically woven into the book, is that of incorporating your creative time into the time that you spend with your children. Creative tasks, projects, activities together as a way to ‘feed’ you all creatively. That’s what I hope “The Creative Family” provides families—ideas on how to make that happen.

bgr: I love the nature table idea (establishing an indoor area that holds gathered bits of nature reflective of the season), but I can imagine some fastidious parents being reluctant about bringing bits of the outside inside. Do you have any tips for people wanting to shift from that way of thinking, and becoming more open to getting dirty?

AS: I completely understand the resistance to having a pile of acorns, pine cones, grass, leaves, and all the dirt that comes with that into the house! We spend enough time cleaning up already, don’t we? And yet—the beauty and the life learning that comes from these little bits of nature brought in is just so invaluable, I think. For those concerned with the mess, keeping the materials in designated areas helps—having a nature table or shelf as the home for these things. Bowls, tins, and baskets all can help contain the mess a bit too. Sometimes, there are things that I request stay outside—or on our porch steps, or a sun porch—kind of an in-between spot where a bit more dirt isn’t going to really matter much.

There’s a moment that happens often in our daily life—when a little one is about to jump into a mud puddle fully clothed, or the scooping of flour is about to spill over the mixing bowl. My response in that moment can be torn between what the consequences of this ‘messy’ action will be, and on the other hand, the valuable learning and exploration that can happen for our children should the action proceed. As adults, we’re often instinctively guided to the first thought—to stop the mess from happening. But I think as parents aiming to nurture our children, we need to keep the latter thought in mind as well. Striking the balance between the two, and gently guiding our children, while also letting go a bit ourselves….that’s a true goal and challenge for me as a parent.

bgr: Do you ever have moments of feeling creatively blocked, either in your own art or figuring out what to do with the kids? How do you get past that?

AS: Oh yes—in both ways—personal creativity and as a parent. The personal creativity can be sparked pretty easily for me, though —with a bit of exploring (books, fabrics, blogs, magazines, flea markets, etc.). Sometimes just making ‘something’ helps—even if I’m not totally inspired by the project, I become inspired and energized in the process of the making of it to create something else.

As for the children, for the most part, I find their ideas and energy boundless, and the challenge then lies in me keeping up! On the more rare days when their creative motors need a little juice to get started, we often head outdoors. Everyone always comes back inside either inspired to do something, or a bit more at peace with where they’re at—usually both.

bgr: You often champion a sense of gratitude for the earth, a grounding connectedness with nature; it’s such a refreshing change from a lot of “plugged-in” kids who are disconnected from each other and the greater world. Was this philosophy of being more connected to the earth already important to you and Steve before the children arrived? Or has it become magnified since you became a parent?

AS: I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors, and with parents who took us camping and hiking all summer long. When Steve and I met, he had just spent 10 years traveling and living outside— kayaking and guiding rivers in the summer, and snowboarding and working on the mountains in the winter. So I suppose it was only natural that a connection with nature would carry into our life as a family as well.

I think what might have been the most surprising to both of us was the challenge in making that happen sometimes. Getting three young children outside, reasonably warm and all happy for more than five minutes in the midst of a February cold snap? Tricky.

On the flip side of that, I never could have imagined how inspiring and beautiful it would be to watch them discover the world around them. The magic they see everywhere in the small and bigness of nature— it’s something we can easily lose sight of as adults. Their reminders help me to see the world in a different way – a way that feels full of wonder, magic, and hope.

bgr: Could you tell us a little bit about Steve? What creative and inspiring qualities does he bring to the family?

AS: Oh goodness. Are you giving me permission to gush about my partner? I love that. Steve and I met through a mutual friend, and had an instant connection. We’re very different people in many ways, but since the first day we met, we’ve always been in sync in terms of our values and the things that are most important in our life. Family, a connection to the natural world, homeschooling our children, simple living, and on and on. Like many couples, I think the differences in our personalities keeps a healthy balance in our relationship, while keeping us both on our toes! Steve’s creative influence on the family comes in many ways—his selfless support of what we do first and foremost—but also his writing, music, and a serious amount of humor and wit. He keeps us all laughing…and focused on the important things in life.

bgr: Finally, what are each of your three children particularly into making these days? How about yourself and Steve?

AS: Calvin’s super passionate about baseball right now, so all of his ‘making’ happens around that—making baseball figures, an elaborate scoreboard for the backyard, etc. Ezra loves to make drawings and books and music—he writes a lot of songs. And Adelaide has just begun a stretch of really tactile play—making things with dough, washing things, etc.

Right now, most of my ‘making’—and Steve’s, too—center around getting ready for the upcoming seasons. There’s a lot of canning, preserving, woodcutting, warm-weather sewing and knitting, and of course, making things for the baby who will join us in just a few short months!

Mary Jessica Hammes is an Athens, Georgia-based writer, trapeze instructor, knitter, gardener, comic book enthusiast, and hula hooper. She is mom to Tommy.

  • http://lilsongbirdmama.blogspot.com Ansley

    Thanks MJ for the great interview!

  • http://www.asmallgreenfootprint.com Sandy

    A friend turned me on to Soulemama and lent me a copy of her book. It is full of really inspiring yet simple ideas to bring crafting into your child’s life. I also found the ideas for what to do with those crafts (those many, many crafts) very helpful. I agree that starting some project, any project can open you up to new crafting ideas and I love picking parts (or entire..) ideas from Soulemama. Mary Jessica, thanks for the wonderful article!

  • Julie Reitzel

    Getting outside helps our family stay creative and get out of a “bored” funk. I’d love to read some more ideas from SouleMama.
    Thanks for a great interview.

  • Nicole (ikkinlala)

    I love this interview, especially the focus on nature (and the advice to get more sleep!).

  • http://www.teachingchallenges.blogspot.com Penny

    I don’t have my own kids yet, but I always refer to my class of 20 six year olds as ‘my kids’. My kids love to get creative, which hasn’t always been easy to manage. But I got 10 sets of watercolour paints, 20 paintbrushes and some paint tins with sealable lids that I use to hold water. In 5 minutes my class can be responding to a story with watercolour paints. I also set up a “Creation Station” where I can invite kids as a reward. At the “Creation Station” they have crayons, paints and some creative worksheet ideas to get them inspired. This week they have been creating their ideal icecream sundae!

  • Cyndi

    Great interview and great book!

  • Jessica

    Always inspiring!

  • Kelly

    Wonderful advice on self nurturing ~ mamas can’t be reminded enough!

  • Debbie Pyszka

    I’ve been reading SouleMama’s blog for probably 6 months now & look forward to the inspiration & her incredible, yet simple crafty ideas.

  • Brittany

    I have had to return my copy of “The Creative Family” to the library and with three small kids of my own I haven’t quite managed to get through it during the time that I’ve had it checked out…making time to read it is definitely on my to do/wish list. The greatest gift I got out of perusing the book so far has been getting connected to the SouleMama blog. I now read it every day and it has truly helped ground me and better focus on spending time with my family mindfully (not to mention changing the way I take photos – what fun!).

  • http://www.kristenknits.wordpress.com Kristen

    I found Amanda’s blog through Amy Karol’s blog (www.angrychicken.typepad.com) and have been hooked ever since! I’m still working my way through her archives. I am almost spellbound by her way of writing. She’s inspired me to be more encouraging in my children’s creativity (more specifically my 6 yr old, who insisits on taking any piece of recycling to school so he can make art…he doesn’t know this yet, but we are going to ‘try’ to make a birdhouse out of a milk jug this weekend) and to get my kids outside. I took our family on a nature walk this past Sunday to a tree park that’s right in our neighborhood. It was so nice and the kids loved it! Our next goal is to find pinecones (hard to come by here in Texas!!) to make pinecone turkeys and fallen leaves (that aren’t pass their ‘prime’ yet) to make fall placemats (we are going to put them on some neutral colored fabric and hammer them to make leaf prints! I think I’m more excited about this than the kids haha). I could go on and on about how Amanda’s blog has blessed our family. I think if I ever had the chance to meet her in person, I might just pee my pants. For those of you who haven’t read her blog yet, I highly recommend it! Every post is an inspiration and her outlook on life and the little things is just amazing. Thanks for a great interview!!

  • heidi b.

    the book looks beautiful, I would love a copy!

  • Michelle

    Amanda’s blog inspired our family to all get out and pick apples at a local farm together, it was one of the best family outings we’ve ever had!

  • Lisa Dulany

    Thank you for a lovely interview–and thanks to Amanda for sharing her beautiful thoughts with us all!

  • Kim

    Nice interview, cutting back on t.v. viewing has really helped our family (we got rid of dish). I didn’t quite realize how much time we wasted in front of the tube. The kids and I play outside much more now.

  • elizabeth

    i love soulemama’s website – and it sent me over here this morning. :) fun to read the interview!

  • JBS

    This was a very good interview.

  • jennifer Montezuma

    this is really inspiring, i have a 7 month old daughter, she has recently begun to interact more and notice things around her – i was wondering if you had any suggestions for creative activities that I could do with her. thank you for sharing your lovely family with us. jennifer

  • tara

    I have followed Amanda’s advice on having the art supplies organized and at hand right next to the kitchen table. I have always had a nature table for the little one, but now I have an adult version that is on a higher table with seasonal flowers, I feel this inspires me and then the kids in turn.

  • Erin

    A wonderful interview! I have been reading SouleMama’s website for about a year now and love every post. I’m expecting my first child any day now and can’t wait to bring some of her wisdom on crafts and nature into our household.

  • http://coutureetgourmandises.blogspot.com deedeen

    I don’t have kids for the moment, but as I’m a kid inside, I can rely to all that… And I love when Amanda says that adults tell kids “they don’t know how to draw good”… My mom kept telling me that, and now I’m so afraid of drawing, it’s a shame…

  • Margaret

    Thank you!

  • http://www.lappesola.blogspot.com Sol Stensland

    The Soulemama blog is a huge inspiration to me

  • Diana

    I loved the idea of getting a crafting cabinet, and was so inspired by Amanda’s! So off we went to find a free cabinet and make it our own. That has helped get the art materials closer at hand for anytime the painting/gluing/sewing mood strikes us.

  • Andrea

    Surrounding ourselves with beautiful artwork and time to create.

  • http://www.ladybug-zen.blogspot.com cyndi bates

    what a wonderful interview. i’ve learned a bit more about soulemama and her clan. wonderful.

  • Alicia

    Getting outside is great for creativity. We also always have all of the necessary items to spark the creativity – paper, markers, crayons, string, toilet paper tubes rocks and anything else that doesn’t move in our house. (or sometimes it might move) My 3 boys love to create using their imaginations and unclaimed items from anywhere and their mama’s willingness to display, help create and sometimes have a mess helps their process.

    Thanks for a great interview!

  • Karen Yoder

    Great interview! I love reading SouleMama blogs. A friend of mine told me about her. She has inspired me to be more creative with my 3 children and allow them to really discover their creativeness and interests.

  • http://www.hobocampcrafts.com melissa oat

    I only just got Amanda’s book from the library, but I devoured it in one night. I’m currently pregnant with my first child and see this book as a guide to the spiritual and creative. I love reusing fabric and turning it into something else. I can’t wait to teach my little one to sew. There is nothing like the feeling of spending a few minutes- hours sewing, knitting and creating and having something beautiful & functional afterwards.

  • http://skatesfamily.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    I ♥ SouleMama! thx for the wonderful interview – new, fun questions & i too love the focus on nature!

  • Mallie

    As a new mom SouleMama has inspired me to let go of having the house perfect and instead make being creative and having fun with your children a priority! I am inspired everyday by SouleMama’s post!

  • sam

    this makes me wish my kids were young again. we always had plenty of “be creative” supplies on hand, and much creating was done, but I love learning more ways to incorporate creativity into daily living. i would love this book to tuck away for my daughter.

  • colleen donfield

    what a wonderful interview with a very gifted — and giving — soul(e)!

  • Celia

    Great interview!

    I am trying very hard to let go of that first reaction (oh, the mess) and let the spill the flour when we cook together. That is probably our most creative area, as both of my boys love to cook.

  • http://thebonnymess.blogspot.com Kristy

    Awesome giveaway! I think one of the most important things we do to nurture our creativity is to let go of the need to be perfect all the time and “accomplish something.” I have been such a perfectionist in the past (and proud of it!) and when I noticed those same tendencies in my little toddler, I realized how damaging to creativity and imagination it can be when there’s no room to experiment, make messes, and fail.

  • avr

    What a great interview. Your questions were interesting and let us dig deeper into that magical creature that is Soulemama! She is truly inspiring in that her suggestions and attitude are inclusive and encouraging- I know I can do it too! Thank you MJ & Amanda!

  • http://www.happygreenbeings.com anja

    even though Amanda is parenting children much younger than mine, her thoughts take me back to that magical time when they are little and your life slows down to meet their needs. It helps me to continue to think about slowing them down now that they are teens and pre-teens, so that I can enjoy them and their creative spirits for a few more years.

  • http://www.thestitchinchicken.com Cheryl

    What a great interview! I have been reading SouleMama’s blog for a few weeks now. Her connection to her children and nature are so evident. There is a calmness about her blog, even though she is always involved in so many things! She is right, all things are connected, and I have always felt about incorporating nature into crafts, and everyday life an essential. Thanks again for such a great interview!

  • http://alicemarysmith.tumblr.com Alice

    I have an almost two year old boy and my creative energies are going towards figuring out the ways he enjoys learning – it has been fun for me to get to know his brain and continue to teach him about the world.

  • Ashley

    I love reading Amanda’s blog each day and being inspired by her. I would love to win her book and impliment many of her ideas into days with my children. Thanks, too, for the questions in this interview and getting to know her family a little better.

  • http://weavergirlguz.blogspot.com Carrie G

    Great questions and answers. I like to encourage my kids to be creative by always suggesting coloring or painting or collage. And if they bring it up, I get all excited and when they see that excitement, they are so proud of their achievement that the final product doesn’t really matter as much as the process. My other trick is that when they want a new car or toy, I tell them they can pick out an art supply instead. I get more creative time with an art project than some toy that gets forgotten in a couple hours.

  • Megan

    SouleMama is just so inspiring! Thanks for the great interview! :)

  • Heather

    Thank you for the wonderful interview. I find Amanda Soule very inspiring. The hardest part is the “mess”, but I know if I let go of that thought that they will be more creative & have more fun.

  • http://bigandlittlegreen.wordpress.com Krista

    Wow – another great interview. I loved your questions as they were things I had wanted to know myself, but other interviews hadn’t covered. I find the best way (and Amanda shares this in her book as well, coincidentally) to inspire creativity in the home is by modeling. Be creative. Find what you like and do it to your heart’s content. Let you kids see you do it. Invite them in. Play on equal ground, even if it’s something you do well and your kids are just discovering. Let them explore – baking, cooking, painting, singing, writing, storytelling, drawing, sewing… Do it, and they will come.

    I’d love to win a copy of the book because our homeschool group’s library NEEDS one. Needs TEN, actually!

  • http://walkinthewoods-waldorf.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    What a great interview. I follow Amanda’s blog and am inspired by her and her family to make more time for creativity in our lives. We have a craft cupboard set up where the children have access to supplies for artwork all the time. We also set aside some special time just for doing creative work each morning.

  • http://www.anunincorporatedlife.blogspot.com Linda

    I love Amanda’s book, and her quest to slow things down and be more present with her children. As a single, working mom I’m in a very different situation, but I’m trying to focus on those small moments. We’ve enjoyed more meals outside this summer and explored the neighborhood on our bikes and our feet more than we ever have before. I’ve also made the art supplies more accessible for the kids so that when the mood strikes them there’s not a lot of time wasted hunting for things. Is my house spotless and perfect? Far from it, but we’ve all enjoyed the time spent creating something together.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.fostering.blogspot.com Robyn

    Thanks, Amanda, for the wonderful advice. I am always inspired by your blog and your family. And we, too, have a fourth little one, to arrive in November! Congrats!

  • http://www.oliverhandmade.etsy.com Erin Moore

    I started reading Amanda’s blog soon after I had my first baby this past spring. Through her writings and other resources that I found via her blog, I was inspired to start my own home handmade gift business! I have been a Montessori teacher for six years and though I still love teaching and all that Montessori entails, I am determined to find a way to stay home with my baby (and hopefully future children) while still creating in some capacity and contributing financially. Soulemama showed me how feasible and simple it can be to make that dream come true! Now as I work on my handsewn projects, my little 5 month old is already watching me and I daydream of all the wonderful crafty projects and playful adventures we will share.

  • Kathy

    What an inspiring mama! I firmly believe in the connection between hand, heart, and head. All must be nurtured in order for us to become whole people. Love the interview! Thanks for sharing your ideas (and your beautiful photography!!) Amanda.

  • tatjana

    thanks for the interview, I’ve been visiting Amandas blog for years…(wow, I didn’t even realise how long…) I have kids the same age and always find ideas and inspiration.

  • http://introvertreflections.blogspot.com Faith

    Great ideas in this interview. I feel like I had a childhood that encouraged creativity, and my mom was deliberate about encouraging us (TV was well-monitored and limited, which afforded much time to play).

  • Diane

    Since we live in a cold climate, we really cherish the fine days and that’s helped me view them as precious. And some of the indoor winter art messes weren’t as messy as I feared. Thanks for the interview….

  • http://www.athomelaurel.blogspot.com Laurel Sauls

    I love SouleMama and this was a great interview! Thanks for the chance to win her book!

  • Joan

    This is a great reminder to relish the wonder that children bring into our lives. As a working (outside of the home) mom I find it easy to escape into things at the end of the day that disconnect me from my family, spirit and creative side.

    I look forward to reading the book to find more ways to tap into a creative family centerd approach to be more present for my amazing and magical children :)

  • http://whichname.blogspot.com/ nicola

    i have been enjoying amanda’s blog for some time now and always enjoy the interviews as well. being creative, for us, goes hand in hand with the need to be frugal. our older child loves to help with activities around the house and incorporates her imagination into the most mundane things. it helps keep me young, too!

  • http://cherishthisblog.blogspot.com/ c.f.

    I just recently stumbled upon Soulemama blog and love it. A very inspiring mama she is. I am a true believer in creativity with my kids and without. Looking forward to reading her book!

  • http://mountainmama-jenny.blogspot.com jenny

    I always include my kids when we go outside to do things or inside things. Once, our cats caught and killed a chipmunk, we took a sad moment and turned it into a home school science project by checking the body daily, noting the decomposition, the bugs, and then finally, the skeleton. We washed the skull and compared to pictures of a human skull. I wanted my kids to be aware of natural life and death events that happen everyday.

  • Lori

    Thanks for the interview. Soulemama inspires us to be creative in many ways. We just made lemon scones with blueberry jam after reading about it on her blog. My kids love to help and eating the finished product was so yummy!!

  • http://www.rebeccaringquist.com Rebecca

    Thanks for interviewing Amanda! I love her website and am so looking forward to reading her book.
    Hooray for cool mamas!

  • Char

    My little one is just 9 months old (and has 6 teeth coming in!) so all of our creative play revolves around finding new things to taste and bite. Would love to get more ideas from Soulemama’s book!

  • MystikMomma

    The interview was insightful into the life of a creative parent. I recently decided to home school my first grader and have arrived at some interesting revelations on being creative. As a mother, there is so much to do, cook, clean, shop for groceries, manage the house, fold the laundry, chauffeur the children, etc. As a teacher, that are other focuses including, finding the teachable moments. As an educator in the sense of holding a Master’s Degree in Human Development, I taught at the college level and held numerous training programs. Creativity was paramount in my approach to opening the mind, heart and spirit. Home Schooling allows me to bring these two aspects together and now I am not just a momma with a to do list, I am a creative woman living a creative vision with her children. I feel free and this I think is the ultimate goal of being creative… being free to express whatever comes along. My suggestions for mothers out there stuck in their mothering role… bring the idea of finding the teachable moment to the table instead of the table manners guide book. Ask questions with real interest in your voice and let the children teach you. Allow their voice to inspire your life.

  • Lori

    Thanks for the interview…SouleMama always inspires us to be creative. My kids love to paint, cook and are learning how to sew. Thanks for the inspiration, Amanda!!

  • http://mystikmomma.blogspot.com/ MystikMomma

    Forget to add my blog site!

  • Jen

    I’m addicted to Soulemama and enjoyed the interview.

  • Michele

    We made our first family camping trek this weekend with our daughters, 2 years old and 6 months. The trip was largely inspired by Soulemama’s beautiful writing and photography of her own camping. Though it was tiring– there was so much family togetherness and discovery we will do it many many more times in the future!

  • http://www.theyawnfamily.blogspot.com Hayley

    Great interview!!!!

  • hilary

    thanks for the great tips!

  • Maliha

    Soulemama has become one of those creative inspiration-points for me. I love how “organically” she weaves creativity into her life. I am not a crafty person; but we love to draw/explore nature/read and read more books around here. I got rid of my TV when my first baby was born 3.5 years ago and we have never looked back! Good advice, great blog and awesome interview :)

  • Joanna

    What a lot of great ideas to be chewing over!

  • http://www.oneordinaryday.com/ Ashley

    I love SouleMama and her way of making things feel so simple and peaceful. She’s made me want to incorporate more of that into my life.
    Great interview.

  • http://julieua.blogspot.com Julie

    Dressing up in thrift finds, turning everyday objects into props, and making up stories! Thanks for the interview!

  • Jami

    Amanda is such an inspiring person! Thank you so much for doing this interview and allowing us to take another small peek into this awesome families life : )

  • Laura

    Amanda is an inspiration! Great interview.

  • http://www.yourimpactmatters.com The Mommy

    I love to be creative with my children, beginning as soon as they are out of the womb! you can create so many wonderful gifts and decorations with little hand and feet prints! My kids teach me creativity more than I teach them…I love and adore them and spending time with them in any way is a beautiful creative experience for all of us. What a blessing it is to be a mommy!

  • http://www.myboyandme.blogspot.com/ Madeline

    Great interview. Her book is on my to buy list.

  • Kristi

    Another great interview with Amanda. I always find something relevant from SouleMama.

  • http://inkdropjs.blogspot.com JILL

    Soule Mama is an inspiration to me. I love how she has created an attitude of openess and creativity in her home, and how she enjoys her childrens individuality. Thanks for this interview, the questions were awesome.

  • Heidi

    My creative tip is to let the kids tell you stories and dreams. You can start by showing them a picture and let their minds go as they explain the story that “comes” to them about the picture. It works well with music too.

  • Bridgette

    Thanks for the great interview with Soulemama! As a busy city dwelling mother of 1 I find her so inspiring. Reading her blog reminds me to stay connected to the natural things around me and to make sure that my daughter never takes these things for granted despite our urban setting.

  • Lesley

    No kids yet…but I like to unwind on my own by crafting (needlework, knitting, sewing…) and listening to the great array of programs on NPR. I’d love to have a peak at this book!

  • http://angiesangels.wordpress.com Angie

    I would love to win a copy of her book. She is so full of great ideas.

  • http://tartletblog.blogspot.com Amanda

    Wonderful! I just try to remember to slow. down. To take time to enjoy the tiny, miraculous discoveries of each moment. It’s no easy feat!

  • http://www.livinginourvan.blogspot.com Jenny

    in a world where some value a clean house more than a nurtured child, this interview (and blog) are such a breath of fresh air. i loved the ideas about self-care as a mother and setting priorities. it seems to be all about living intentionally…something we all can relate to. thanks :)

  • http://www.preemieparenting.blogspot.com Debbie C

    Great Interview! I love the idea of making crafting just a part of your everyday life and world. Good reminders for all of us. Thanks!

  • http://dyanwhyte.blogspot.com Dyan

    I really enjoyed reading this interview, I find Amanda’s blog and book so inspiring for parents and anyopne who knows children. Thanks for the interview.

  • Kelly

    In my husband’s family, everyone makes things for each other for Christmas and birthdays. Excellent “forced” creativity, especially if there are many people in your family. Last week’s photos of Amanda’s family getting ready for her daughter’s birthday brought that to mind.

    Her website is inspirational and motivating, don’t you think?

  • Marcie

    Thanks for the interview! Thank you, also, for being so willing to share pieces of your life and family with us! As always, it’s a challenge to remain creative in a fast-paced world–but it’s so important and so worth it:)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/3bees Amanda

    What a great interview, and ideas I can use in my home. Thank you!

  • Tania

    Loved the interview. Her blog is such a wonderful read. I enjoy it every chance I get!

  • Kelly

    Great interview! I love the SouleMama blog!

  • Katie

    I’ve been reading Soulemama for YEARS. Our lives are so different and for all kinds of reasons – but it never stops me from reading and learning.

  • Maria

    I live in Greece,mothering two great kids who teach me a lot every day,and I absolutely LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Soulemama’s ideas.It’s one of the most inspiring moments of my day when I read her e-journal…All these simple things are little daily treasures!

  • http://inkstitch.typepad.com/inkstitch/ denice

    As always, Amanda is inspiring with her young family. Ultimately, letting go and letting yourself create with your kids is MORE restful, rather than more work. Thanks for a nice interview.

  • http://www.hyenacart.com/breezybabies Andrea

    I have 4 kids and to me it is really inspiring the way that Amanda talks about raising her own. Through reading her blog I realize that raising kids doesn’t have to be hard, or burdensome, a tedious chore. I feel like we live in a society that in some ways promotes that kind of thinking. We are permitted to relax, have fun, be messy and enjoy these little gifts while we have them.
    I have been wanting her book for a long time and hoping that my library will get it.

  • http://claredujour.blogspot.com Emily

    Awesome interview! I liked hearing about Steve–he is so behind the scenes but I’ve always thought he must be an amazing person.

  • http://www.lenartusa.blogspot.com Ursa

    I love Amanda’s ideas on creativity. I embrace my little ones messes and turn it into a learning experience. I can always do laundry, or clean kitchen. I like being at peace with myself knowing my son is living the life, learning. Thank you for a great interview.

  • Pam

    my daughter is only 2, but I’m loving the opportunity to have fun and be creative with her. to watch her scribbling with crayons with full abandon across a broad stretch of paper the full length of her arm is so much fun. It wasn’t intentional, but we have creative supplies in every room – homemade playdough and crayons in the kitchen for instance, keep her satisfied while waiting for meals to be served. I’ve read Amanda’s blog since I was on maternity leave and am inspired by her photos and ideas.

  • http://textilejunkie.com michelle

    What a great and insightful interview.

  • bethany

    I love The Creative Family–we’re always looking for new ways to be creative!!

  • Rayna

    I love SouleMama’s blog. Our family has similar values and tastes and I often get inspiration from Amanda. Thanks for a great interview.

  • Jenny

    I am dying to get my hands Amanda’s book! Love, love her blog–I check it as part of my daily ritual.

  • shana

    i borrowed “the creative family” from the library and loved it. my 5 kids and our entire family have benefitted from it’s insight. thanks for the great interview.

  • Rose

    Great interview, and it sounds like a great book!

    I know for my family, we need to get out and soak up new experiences to refresh our creative urges. Whether it’s visiting an art museum, hiking, or going to the local llama fest, we need to be exposed to new things so we have new ingredients to combine together. Plus, it builds unity, which is always good to have when it comes to dumping pine needles on the table and making messes!

  • marissa jude

    Amanda Soule’s blog, which I read every morning, has given me wonderful ideas for working with my “kids”. I teach life skills to 4 adolescent males who have behavioral issues resulting from psychiatric diagnoses. They are some of the most creative people I know, and they remind me daily to relish the simple things in life. I am constantly inspired by their energy and enthusiasm for art. With the seasons changing I am looking forward to projects with them involving Autumn treasures such as colorful leaves, nuts, and pumpkins. Thanks for this lovely interview. =)

  • http://www.tigersquirrels.net Lisa H

    When I started reading SouleMama, I was so intrigued…and I admit, a little intimidated…by her family and all their creativity & life. I started putting bits of what she does with her family into our time together. My kids have loved it! They’ve gotten interested in her website now, too. We watch what they’re doing and see how we can adapt it to our own little world (which is sometimes challenging, as we live in a very different environment). :) We’re having loads of fun, though!

  • Mary-Jo

    Amanda and her book are so very inspirational! I’d love to have this book on our bookshelf!

  • michele

    I am always looking for ideas to motivate my homeschooled children creatively and soulemama’s blog does this very thing for me. I love to be inspired by nature and by people!

  • Beverly

    What a wonderful interview. When I read SouleMama’s blog, I am reminded that indeed the most beautiful things in life are often the most simple and basic. Her photos and lifestyle are an inspiration for nurturing my own creativity, as well as my young nephew’s and nieces’.

  • Jessica

    Feeling like a control freak a lot of the time, I really appreciate what Amanda has to say about letting the mud-puddle-jumping happen, and how to consider stepping back from inevitable “mess” in order for kids to explore, and experience the learning process on their own. Thanks for sharing this interview!

  • Beth Lehman

    I’ve found through reading SouleMama’s blog a new appreciation for beauty in every day things and trying to make things beautiful, very simply in my home. I have also realized it is necessary to allow children to bring in those “outside” things. We try to contain them in trays, decorative dishes, etc. but if they are important to the kids, they are important to our family. We have cut out TV entirely and are much better and have more time b/c of it!

  • http://sevendaysofsocks.blogspot.com Melanie

    It’s so important to remember that creativity is natural and not something you have to be “good” at. Fostering creative confidence and expression early on for children and communally as a family is sorely missing from our broader culture today. Thanks for the interview!

  • Meg

    My creativity really came out through spending time with my niece. Great interview!

  • Kelly

    What great advice! My son is only 12 months old, but I am already trying different ways to let him experience nature and explore the world–I love the nature table idea…we’ll have to get that one going pretty soon!! Thanks for the help and ideas!

  • Mary

    I have recently been introduced to Soulemama’s blog. I really enjoy her sense of wonder, joy and creativity. What a great inspiration! Thanks for the interview…

  • Kim

    I have vivid memories of being a creative child and feel like I lost my creativity somewhere on the road to adult hood. I loved reading The Creative Family because it gives me hope that I can rediscover that creativity alongside my 4 children. Thank you for this wonderful interview and Amanda, thank you for sharing your wonderful world with all of us!

  • Britt

    The flour over the bowl image really resonates with me as I struggle to switch my brain from Product to Process with my two year old. Thanks for all of the inspiration — here and on your blog.

  • aisling

    Mmmm sleep. Soulemamas blog is one of my very favorites. All of us moms need the inspiration.

  • http://www.knittywit.blogspot.com Heidi

    following my children’s lead and not having any pre-conceived ideas about projects we are working on together has always kept us being creative… just going with the creative energy that they have an abundance of is an adventure

  • http://seemommysew.wordpress.com Kristin

    Thanks for the great interview! I don’t really have any tips other than, don’t get too busy to have time to be creative.

  • http://hippiepotomus.blogspot.com Blayne

    I follow Amanda’s blog, and think so many of her ideas are great. I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who planned a creative activity for me every day when I got home from school, and to a large part, I credit this as part of the creativity that I have to this day. I’d love a copy of her book!

  • http://www.laurafrantz.com Laura

    I think a good “technique” for encouraging creativity is to say “yes” more often. “Yes, you may bring that worm inside for a closer look” can result in a great worm drawing. Or, “Yes, you may dip your alphabet block into that mud” can result in an impromptu block print. I struggle in this area myself, so I know it’s not so easy.

  • http://simplybrandy.livejournal.com Brandy

    Great interview! Include me in the drawing–I don’t have a tip, but I’m about to start my own creative family with a baby due in October. :-)

  • http://rootsofmountains.blogspot.com elena

    what a great interview! i love her blog and would love a copy of the book!

  • Andra

    Yay! Great interview.

  • http://ifsew.typepad.com shannon

    Thanks for this great interview. I so enjoy reading Amanda’s blog and am truly inspired by her.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/19337958N02/ saganaga

    I’m currently listening to the book on CD “Last Child in the Woods”, our kids today are denatured, they know the names of Pokemon characters, but cannot identify otter, beetle, or oak trees.

  • http://stacyborden.com/blayneandsimple Blayne

    Great interview. We could use some creative ideas around here after an exhaustingly hot summer!

  • tracy gibbons

    I have been reading Soulemama now for a few years – I was searching for a sewing pattern and came across it. I have always liked the connection to nature and I think observing the wonderful in everyday moments. I have recently found out that I am going to me a first time Mum and I can finally share her ideas and insights. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • http://liz-scanlon.livejournal.com/ Liz in Ink

    What a lovely interview. My girls are older already — 7 and 10 — and the time demands of a school life has cut into the creative flow of our family, for sure. That said, we incorporate creative living into our daily tasks — by making birthday cards and wrapping paper, adding surprise ingredients to our smoothies, and setting the table (with candles or pretty stones or what not…) Love that you’re encouraging families to live this way…

  • http://www.mon-petitlapin.blogspot.com Rebecca

    Thanks for the interview, I’ve been itching to read Amanda’s book and would love to get my hands on a copy! Tips on a creative family? Hmm its gotta be all about the finger paints ;)

  • http://thystle.blogspot.com Thystle

    I second (or third) the advice to get sleep. Although sometimes I admit that the need to “make” takes precedence over sleep and I stay up and deal with sleepiness the next day. Not always, but about once a week I listen to my intuition and make it a late evening to feed my creative juices. I always feel good (but sleepy) when I listen to that voice.

  • http://mallmadness.blogspot.com Cari

    Beautiful interview. I love hearing more about Steve’s creative exploits too. I’m single, but have a friend with 3 girls and a baby on the way who would be so inspired by your family, Amanda.

  • water works

    We ditched the TV a few years back and don’t regret. There are still some things that they or we watch..but mostly it’s just off. I am amazed how much more we do together. All reading in the same room, but separate books. What better example for our kids than parents reading and laughing out loud? Getting them in the kitchen to help and think through the math. I love watching their brains and faces at work with all those measuring cups!

    Thanks for the interview.

  • http://www.webstersplace.typepad.com Marcia

    I love reading Soulemama! I always walk away inspired! I can’t imagine not being outside with my kiddos – those are some of the best times!

  • Ryane

    Great interview. Thanks! Amanda has inspired me to change some things about the way I raise our children.

  • http://pink-yarrow.blogspot.com/ Melanie O.

    I love SouleMama and am an avid reader of the blog. I would love to own The Creative Family, as of yet I’ve only checked it out from the library (and renewed it a zillion times). Great interview – really complements the book. Thanks so much!

  • Vicki

    I have been reading Amanda’s blog for about a year now and I get inspired everyday from reading it. I am almost all of the way through her previous posts and must say that there is a wealth of information from the Soule Family. Thank You for a great interview!

  • http://loomingintucson.blogspot.com/ Michele

    Great interview! I had checked out this book from our local library and I loved it! I would be thrilled to win a copy to own.

  • Brianne

    I love SouleMama! I always look forward to reading her blog first thing in the morning because she is so inspiring. She is just so full of energy about living life to the fullest and nurturing her children in the most creative ways.

  • http://www.prairiemama.wordpress.com Kim

    One thing that I find helps in creativity, is letting my children just be children. I let them pretend, and play and not have to worry about the day to day “stuff” that adults do. This opens so many doors of creativity for them, and for me!

  • Erin

    I just love Amada’s message and find it so inspiring. I love her blog and have had “The Creative Family” on my Amazon wish list for sometime ….

  • Dorothy

    wonderful interview. I’m such a great fan of amanda’s. I often take ideas and inspiration from her blog and incorporate them into everyday life, especially at work, where I am a nanny of three small children!

  • http://foothillhomecompanion.blogspot.com molly

    there are so many creative families out there! i was fortunate to be raised by a very creative family and enjoy seeing my own family’s creativity flourish. having supplies accessible and thinking outside the box are great ways to get started.

  • http://www.evil-eye-emporium.com/wordpress Natalia

    I’m a brand-new mama of a 7 week old boy. Right now the most I can do for myself is get a little sleep, and knit while he naps, and find inspiration for the future in blogs like Soulemama’s.

  • http://beeeesharp.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    What a great interview! Getting outside and away from the television was always something that was done in my household growing up. My brothers and I would make tents out of old sheets and “camp out” in the backyard. Those are some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I think too much of our lives nowadays revolve around television and video games. It’s so refreshing to read about someone’s daily happenings that is putting fun, nature, and creativity before the hustle and bustle of our modern world.

  • laura

    As a new mommy, I have been trying to help my son continue to see the world with wonder in his eyes… It’s so amazing to watch a new baby discover and that discovery is a bit harder to see as they get older, but it is so rewarding!

    Thanks for the inspiration and the reminder to be surrounded by nature!

  • Natalie

    I love this interview, and I love Amanda’s blog! She has inspired me to tap in to my creative side and do more interactive things with my child (albeit he is only 9 months, but it is never to early to start!). I look forward to the day when I can get “crafty” with my children and share all of my loves and hobbies with them. Amanda’s outlook on life and nature is refreshing, especially since too many children are plopped in front of a TV or computer “babysitter” these days. I am inspired by all the creative ideas SouleMama presents on her blog, and I would love to read more!

  • Erin

    I love all the ideas from Amanda, great interview by the way! An very inspiring woman to say the least! And now with my toddler running around, and finding interest in crayons, pencils and paint, sometimes I have to sit back and just watch, vs. steering him away from the walls. Not that he heads to the walls THAT often, paper is always on hand! To some parents this is a nightmare, but for myself, I always know there’s wall paint in the basement, or a Mr. Clean “Magic Eraser” in the cleaning cupboard.

    Thanks again for the interview!

  • http://hashiworks.blogspot.com Hashi

    A lot of our family creativity happens in the kitchen. I encourage my kids to help me cook, and also let them select a recipe and make the family dinner one night a week, during which I try to be as ‘hands-off’ as possible. It’s fun for them and usually edible!!!

  • http://lomaislings.com Lauren

    I really enjoy reading the SouleMama blog and, of course, enjoyed this interview. She seems to be such a wonderfully creative spirit and (she and SoulePapa) obviously have planted, nurtured, and grown the same spirit in their children. As a mama of two strong spirited little ones (and one on the way), I pray my husband and I can nurture their creativity, energy, and bright imaginations through the filter of spiritual gifts they’ve been given. It’s exciting and challenging stuff and I love to read thoughts and ideas from other passionate parents! Thanks!

  • http://applecyder.com molly

    Thanks for this great interview and the opportunity to win a book!

  • Kristy

    I am pregnant with my first, a boy named Finn who will be joining us in a few short months also! I have been reading Amanda’s blog for a year now and every post had me dreaming of my own family. Now when I read it, I am still dreaming and am also so excited to be able to get her book and actually have a child in our home to share all those wonderful ideas with.

  • Theresa

    I’m excited to introduce my 20-mo old son to a world of creative play, especially through the outdoors. I haven’t been able to come up with crafts that he can handle though – either the concept is too hard, or he doesn’t have the manual dexterity yet. I can’t wait to read Amanda’s book, as I’m sure she’ll have some ideas for me!

  • http://none julie

    I’d love a chance to win Amanda’s book!

  • http://www.ashmilydesignedlife.com jOi-C

    I love SouleMama’s blog. I have 3 kiddos of my own but definitely need the ‘push’ to tap into our family’s creativity! Time is our worst enemy around here (well that and high energy levels that can’t stay on task for more than 2 minutes hahaha) Did I mention I have 3 energetic kiddos?? Send her book this way! We definitely want the push and inspiration to get our creative juices flowing…

  • Penelope

    I have been attracted to Amanda”s blog for maybe 2 years—My children are all grown, with their own children–however, Amanda’s ability to blog about home,family and little ones ( and make them sweet, precious, tidbibs of life is soooo inspiring. I wish that I could have had this inspiration all those years back when I was a young mama—Thankyou Amanda—you make my day!!!!!

  • Kirsten

    An inspiring woman she is…thank you for sharing.

  • http://livinginspired365.blogspot.com/ Ariella

    I think all of us in blog land love learning more about the very special Soule family, so thanks so much for this interview.

    I was tired of never having enough time to craft in my craft/guest room, so I set up 3 cheap white short bookcases for my kids. Each child their own bookcase where they can store all of their supplies and inspiration. The table is a rectangular folding table from Costco and 4 folding chairs that can be easily stored if we have sleepover guests. It has made such a huge difference in the amount of time I can spend doing the things that I love, and it encourages the kids to continue new ideas, since I’m sitting right beside them doing my thing. AND…it keeps things orderly since they are each responsible for their own bookshelf.

  • Megan W.

    I really admire how fully Amanda Soule’s family embraces nature. I think The Creative Family would be a really inspiring book to page through when inspiration is escaping me! I hope I win a copy! My son and I would surely put it to good use.

  • Helena Witherall

    Thanks for the interview! As a mother of two small children I am just learning what it means to be creative with them as they begin to discover this world they live in. I am really encouraged by mothers like Amanda who are taking the time to enjoy their children and be involved in the day to day adventure that is their life.

  • http://bookgeekgirl.blogspot.com Chris

    Great interview! I really enjoyed getting to see inside Amanda’s head a little more.

  • http://www.tirzahs.blogspot.com Tirzah

    Right now I’m reading “Printing by Hand: a modern guide to printing with handmade stamps, stencils and silk screens.” When I get through that I’d love to read my very own copy of The Creative Family!

  • http://breannasknitbits.blogspot.com BreannaS

    I have heard several wonderful thigs about The Creative Family. I hope that my name is chosen so that I can share this joy of creativity with my family and preschoolers.

  • Mary

    This is a great interview. I especially appreciate the advice about balancing our reaction to what our kids are doing — seeing the learning too, not just the “mess.”

  • Chrissy

    I wait each day to see what will be on the Soulemama blog. i have rekindled my interests in embroidery and sewing by seeing the things she is able to produce. I have worked at a Waldorf school in the past and I am so inspired by allowing children to experience the natural world and take part in creating. We try to keep a “nature tree” by making “ornaments” that reflect the different seasons. This helps keep some of the smaller natural objects away from little hands but it still allows us to use outdoor/found objects in a new way. I have a big brnach that is secured in a metal bucket as the “tree” and then we make our own things to hang by attaching yarn/ribbon to leaves, nuts, rocks, etc.

  • http://www.thecleanplateclub.net kate

    i read the soulemama blog daily and love it.

    for us, our biggest creative outlet is in the kitchen. whenever we can’t seem to figure out what to do with ourselves, we bake. anything. muffins, brownies, crackers, bread. my son started baking when he was a toddler and he’s very proud of his skills.

    we also love to make “nature cards.” put double-sided tape on some card stock and then collect flowers, grasses, leaves, moss, bark, shells, sand–anything and stick it on and display. it’s great fun!

  • Christy

    Thanks so much for the interview! I love reading Soule Mama’s blog, and am always amazed – how does she do it all? Whether crafting, cooking, redecorating, exploring the great outdoors or just lovin’ up on her family, she inspires me to live a little better every day. She’s awesome! I would REALLY love to read her book…

  • Melissa Robb

    How could anyone NOT want a book by Amanda Blake Soule? I soak up every word she says and my mornings are brighter for it!

  • Becky Stevenson

    Like Penny, I don’t have kids yet… but i cannot wait to be creative with them when they come. Thanks for writing a book that encourages this spirit. I was just at a local craft shop on Sunday, walking around and brainstorming, thinking about all of the things to do with little munchkins. My husband and I are creative by nature, and i can’t wait to instill creativity and imagination in kiddos. Thanks for the article!!

  • Christine

    I have been reading the SouleMama blog for a while and I really enjoy it. Although my daughter is not quite 1 year old I am looking forward to exploring nature with her and encouraging her to explore her imagination and creativity as well.

  • Jaime

    Great interview! I’d love a copy of the book.

  • Nathalie

    thank’s for this interview! i find soulemama’s blog highly inspiring. :)

  • sandra schmid

    SouleMama is always a great place for me to turn to be inspired to keep things simple. I feel surounded by activities offered for children but find that we have our best times when we spend time together outside or doing art and crafts.

  • susan brinza

    We love to draw and sculpt with clay. My children draw many times each day! Thanks for an informative article.

  • http://www.4hamiltons.com/sheacyee Sheac Yee Lim-Hamilton

    I just stumbled upon Amanda’s blog recently and I am truly inspired by her creativity, the unique connection she has with her kids and just the gentle spirit with which she writes and conveys the events in her family’s life. And of course, the beautiful pictures always helps.

  • http://www.thimblythings.com Kristena

    Amanda, you’re such an inspiration! I really appreciate how you make me think about my family and my home in a new way.

    How do we stay creative? By constantly looking to our needs and seeing how we can make ends meet without spending money. Seriously, being financially responsible can really bring out one’s creativity. With cool weather rapidly approaching, I ask myself what do the babies need? Then I start making what I can out of what I have. It’s a good place to start for everyone. I guess the next question is how do I get a toddler involved? That’s tough. Eventually, I’m sure she’ll be able to help. Until then, she usually plays alongside me as I create.

    Thanks for the great interview and the opportunity to win the book!

  • Angela

    Thank you so much for the interview! I checked her book out from the library, but of course, couldn’t mark the pages and refer back to them over and over! Alas, it had to be returned. The advice to get more sleep…love that she spelled out it’s about priorities!! :) Thanks!

  • Jess

    I have been reading Amanda’s blog for awhile, but I love reading interviews because it gives you a chance to hear something they maybe wouldnt normally talk about! Thank you!

  • Amanda M.

    I only recently discovered SouleMama, and I’m so grateful that I did! I feel so inspired by Amanda and her family! Thanks for this wonderful interview and another glimse into the life of SouleMama!

  • Jasmine

    I read the soulemama blog several times a week and love the insights into a family with similar values as our own family. The photos are beautiful, and I love seeing those great sewing ideas.
    Thanks for the nice article.

  • Lisa

    Thanks Amanda for sharing so much of yourself, your creativity and your love of kids and outdoors here and through your blog. How wonderful for us mommas to be inspired to treasure the precious time with our little ones.

  • Kailey

    i’d love a copy of this book! in our family, i find just slowing down and not having a plan brings on lots of creative fun. without the tension of getting going to ‘do something’ everyone’s in a good mood and we get to enjoy all being together. inevitably, we end up on a long walk (with an ice cream treat at the end!) or making a big pancake breakfast or painting a gazillion pictures (and each other’s hands and making prints).

  • stacey davis

    thanks for the great interview! i love soulemama’s blog and find it an inspiration to constantly challenge myself in providing creative opportunities for my kids!

  • Kari

    I find Soulemama a great source of inspiration. I’m so excited for my 3 month old to get big enough to really get into creative play. I realize already though how many great opportunities for creativity that already exist. So much fun!

  • http://www.craftknife.blogspot.com Julie

    I’m continually inspired by SouleMama’s blog and her book to live more creatively with my family, and I’m constantly pointing people her way–when they say things like, “What a great idea!”, I usually say, “I got it from SouleMama; here’s her blog address!”

    With my kiddos, I find incorporating them into all of my own work and play adds meaning and purpose to all our lives. I teach at a university, and one girl or another often attends class with me and watches me teach; at home, any girl who wants to has the right to be included in any household activity, from “sewing” with Mama to cleaning the tub to making dinner. It takes priority away from completing the task at hand, often (how clean can the tub really get with a two-year-old helper?), but I like how the purpose of the activity is then not cleaning the tub, which is really a lousy way to spend your time, but instead teaching a daughter to clean and working her motor skills and spending time with her and imparting a work ethic, etc.

  • http://www.thedesignalphabet.blogspot.com jo

    I read Amanda’s blog every day and have started to change the way I parent too.. I am so incredibly inspired by Amanda, and am seeing the benefits throughout our whole family – from me finding my own creative joy, to my boys getting to ‘experience’ the outdoors rather than rushing through it – Thank you so much for the fantastic interview, and for the opportunity to win such a great prize! x

  • Annette

    Thanks for a great interview! I am so inspired by soulemamma’s blog and love the photography.

  • http://gummiespazz.blogspot.com Hannah

    Great interview! I so appreciate all she shares of herself and her family. My kids both have the natural artistic creative bug and I was trying to nurture it as best I could. Her site has been so great for me and I have flipped through a copy of her book and hope to buy (or win!) it soon. Being a creative family for us can be as simple ad going outside together on a hunt for new mediums to bring home and create with, or leaving it all out there for the next family.

  • Jessica

    I love reading Sloulemama’s blog and her thoughts! I too love to let my kids get messy and muddy and am glad that I’m not the only mom who does too! Bring on the mud puddles! We have set up a nature table and the kiddos looooove to bring nature inside – everything used to be scattered around the house and now it has a home! Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  • Jen

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Carol

    I enjoyed your interview. I enjoy reading Amanda’s blog everyday and find her an inspiration and
    a joy. Her photographs are beautiful too. Even though I am a grandma now, I enjoy doing many of the things she talks about, with my grandchildren. Thanks again!

  • http://www.bagelsandcrawfish.blogspot.com Lucia

    I have been a long time follower of SouleMama and I keep renewing her book from the library…would love to own a copy for our family library:) Thanks for a great interview. Amanda is a great source of inspiration for me and my little family.

  • Candice Kingston

    I have been an avid fan of Amanda’s from the start! I too have 3 small one’s and so follow closely as she talks about how she manages to keep sane, and use creativity to do so! I know we just see snippets of her life, but they mean a lot to me. Her book was a work of genius! I don’t have my own copy, and like another commenter, had to return mine before I had a chance to do many of the projects. But like her blog, it is very inspiring. Here’s to the next one (book and baby!)
    Cheers,
    Candice

  • http://treasurequests.blogspot.com Gitsy

    Amanda’s blog is always inspiring. My kids loves words and wordsmithing. They love to make up new words for things by combining related words or syllables from a number of words to make a single word. I think it all started with the “Anna Anna Fo Fanna” jingle we used to sing on road trips.

  • http://www.julie-bird.com julie

    Amanda is such an inspiration to living a simple, but very enriched life. I love her book and blog!

  • Anne

    What a great interview! I check on Amanda’s blog a couple times a week and I’ve been drooling over her book at the local bookstore. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  • http://simplyserina.wordpress.com serina

    i’m enjoying the copy i got from the library, but i’d love my own. :) thanks for the interview.

  • http://lauren-thereluctantblogger.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Thanks for the interview! I’ve found that a big part of being creative as a family involves a willingness to be spontaneous… Seize those opportunities as they come. Sometimes the dishes can wait, but the crayons or the music or the dancing can’t.

  • caly

    what a wonderful interview. Would love a chance to win a copy of the book

    best advice i have is allow children to take the lead and use their imagination. my kids have some amazing ideas and things i never imagined of thinking outside the box, sort of speak :)

  • Shelli

    I would love a copy of this book. I have been reading Amanda’s blog for about 9 months now and have a 1 year old son that I would love to encourage his creativity. Thanks for the great interview.

  • Angela

    I LOVE Amanda’s blog. I discovered it about a year ago and the more I learn from her, the more I appreciate everything life has to offer. I’m really looking forward to getting a copy of her book and using it to further inspire activities with my son. He’s still quite young — just 14 months, but babies grow so quickly and he’ll be composing songs or juggling before I know it.

    Thank you for the interview and thanks to Amanda for being such an inspiration!

  • kristi

    I have just started reading amanda’s blog and it has inspired me to go back to the way I was 15 years ago when my first child was born. Life was simple and homemade. Now after a few more kids and a lot less time on my hands I have found myself just getting through the day without extra messes to clean up and very little creativity. But all that needs to change…for my kids sake. Thanks!

  • Dulcie

    Thank you for an inspiring interview. I enjoy Amanda’s blog often. Sometimes outside interferences can cloud my focus. SouleMama reminds me to breath and see what lays right before me.

  • http://netteyoung.blogspot.com/ Nette

    I have been reading Amanda’s SouleMama blog for only a month and it makes me so happy to see color and activity in each post. When my mother was encouraging us to be creative she would include other children from the community and I got to see how varied people’s talents and interests were. We also did not have a tv for much of my childhood and it led to reading and drawing and interaction. Hooray for creativity!

  • Stephanie B

    Loved the Q&A. Its nice to get a little more detail behind books!

  • Leona

    Great interview! I love SouleMama’s blog and a copy of the book would be great. She’s so inspirational and down-to-earth.

  • Jennifer

    I would LOVE to win a copy of the book! keeping my fingers crossed! I love SouleMama’s blog. It’s my fave.

  • Anna

    Thanks for the interview. I always like hearing about how people’s personal lives influence their creativity.

  • http://www.occasionallyedible.blogspot.com Anna

    I struggle with that instinctive “no mess” reaction so much! It takes practice…

    When I cook, the baby gets a stool and her own bowl and spoon. Whatever I measure out, she gets to put a bit of in her bowl–onion peels, flour, whatever. She stirs and spills and feels new textures and is always allowed to taste. When we’re done, we exclaim over her creation and then compost the lot.

    We also painted a wall with chalkboard paint, so she can create large-scale pictures whenever she feels like it with minimal mess. I am surprised by how many times she’ll grab a piece of chalk on the fly and draw a quick picture…

  • Margaret Koehler

    I don’t see or meet many mothers like Amanda. It is nice to have an example to emulate.

  • http://www.trendyblogger.com Tracey

    Thanks for a great interview. I think Soule Mama (Amanda) is very inspiring as a blogger and creative person. Her imagination and creativity knows no bounds, or so it seems!

  • Darla

    I have been reading Amanda’s website for several months and absolutely adore her book. She has many wonderful ideas on a broad range of topics, so there is literally something for everyone. We have gone in and out of a variety of creative ideas through the lives of our 6- and 8-year-old, but sewing is the idea I’ll share today. When they were very young I used to give the children a piece of burlap, an embroidery hoop, yarn and a thick craft needle. They would sew up and down on an outline or just free form. They loved adding buttons, felt applique, etc. This past summer finger crochet and finger knitting have been the rage, to the point that everywhere they went they had a ball of yarn. Belts, headbands, collars & leashes for stuffed animals, ties for packages, and bracelets are plentiful. Children will go through creative jaunts, but it is so fun to go along the ride with them!

  • http://intheacorn.blogspot.com vickie pellouchoud

    We sketch together. both my husband and i are artists and it seems one of the easiest things we can do is pick up a pencil and sketch in our sketchbooks…our kids 3 and 5 years have their own sketchbooks and sometimes it works out that we can draw for a nice period of time. that time together is magical so we try to do it as much as possible.

    i love Amanda, she is someone i read every day and am drawn to her warmth, creativity and philosophy of life. wonderful interview. thank you!

    Would love love a copy of her book!

  • http://tumblieweed.blogspot.com shawna

    What a great interview! I definitely can identify with the group that believes they are not creative enough. So to get over myself, the family gets together and does a project once a week, no matter what it might be. Sometimes we pull the theme from unplugyourkids.com, which is a great resource. It’s definitely important to squeeze in family time each week, and it’s helping us get out of our “not creative enough” funk!

  • Heather Davis

    Thanks for this great interview! My own baby is still too young to engage in arts and crafts, but I can’t wait to dive in with her in a couple of years. I’ve worked with tons of kids as a Teaching Artist doing puppets, drawing, photography, and creative writing, and am eager to share with my daughter.

  • Becky VanDeren

    I enjoy Amanda’s blog as a lurker! My boys are a bit older and try to modify ideas to entertain them. The best thing I did recently was to use construction paint to spray birthday wishes in the grass. My 13 year old loved waking up, looking out the window and seeing a message just for him! I’d love a copy of the book.

  • Sonia

    i really need to awaken my creativity! amanda is certainly a great inspiration. i get too boggled down by the day-to-day. i know i need to make a habit of encouraging creative play in my children.

  • leah

    Thanks for encouraging us all to be more creative with our families. I like to just let my very young daughter crawl through my sewing material while I’m sewing and see what she does with the different textures and colors. I feel like we’re “sewing” together.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/lisasteinbrueck Lisa

    Hi, just popping in to say how much I enjoyed this interview. Amanda, I cannot tell you how inspiring it is to read your ideas and take in your calm and hopeful and joyful ways of being with your children in this world. Your approach resonates so deeply with so much I already feel about how to nurture, but also feels so new and alive. Mary Jessica, I’m so looking forward to taking a longer look around the site! Thank you both.

    (I’ve already got a copy of The Creative Family, so no need to enter me in the drawing!)

  • Carol from MD

    I have heard great things about the book and would love to win a copy!Loved the interview!

  • http://www.makingthingsup.com Melissa

    Great interview!

  • Heather Fleming

    I LOVE Soule Mama and find the blog and her book so inspirational. A friend let me borrow the book, but I’m itching for a copy of my own. As my daughter gets older, I look forward to seeing her creativity blossom. At less than 2 yo, she already is collecting nature bits (one creative idea mentioned by Amanda). Thanks for a wonderful interview and great ideas to inspire families to get open up their creative paths.

  • Rachel

    SouleMama was the first blog I ever started reading. I have been so encouraged as a mommy and a wife by Amanda. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of her book.

  • http://www.johnandallison.blogspot.com Allison

    Love this interview! Whenever I need inspiration to be creative or any inspiration for that matter, I just visit Amanda’s blog. I’d love to say that I go to her book, but sadly, I don’t own a copy! Finances are tight and I’ve given the book away as a gift to 3 people now but don’t own my own copy. Thanks to babygooroo.com for the interview with Soulemama. Always a treat!

  • http://gidgetgoeshome.com Gidget

    I found out about soulemama and her book from simplemom.net. I checked Creative Family out at the library and loved it!! Since my daughter is so young still, our creativity is very simple -playing with yarn, a photo, attempting to color, but i look forward to expanding our family creative activities as she grows older!

  • http://www.californiamomma.blogspot.com alina

    I would love a copy of this book. Although my daughter is 14 months old, I am encouraged through Amanda’s blog to look at the world through the eyes of a creative, curious child.

  • Rachel C

    Great interview! Thanks for the chance to win…I’d love to read the book! :)

  • Alissa

    It is really hard for me to get past “mess” but you do bring up some interesting points. I hesitate to let my kids paint because they both end up with paint EVERYWHERE. Really-my six year old loves the feeling of paint on her skin, so she paints her stomach, arms, legs, etc. I used to lecture her before every painting session, but after reading this, I feel like it isn’t such a big deal. So she has to take a bath and so we have to scrub her clean. She is willing to make that trade-off so she can enjoy painting her way. Why should I care? I feel bad now for putting a damper on six years of painting fun.

    I started reading the SouleMama blog this spring, and I have to say that it has inspired me to knit! I used to save my knitting for when my daughters were sleeping, but how are they going to learn to love creating something when they don’t see it modeled? Now my yarn is always out. My older daughter is slowly learning to knit, too, which is fantastic. Thanks for the great interview!

  • Rebecca

    thanks for the wise words, soulemama! i am filing all of this beauty & inspiration away for the day that i am a mama.

  • Amanda L.

    Thanks for a detailed and inspirational interview. I’ve been a Soulemama reader for a few years now. I have been searching our library system for The Creative Family, but to no avail. I would love to win a copy!

  • Toña

    Thanks for the great interview. Amanda (and her blog) are such an inspiration to me.
    For our family, it is all about apples right now. We are inundated with them so we’ve been making cider, sauce and drying them. After reading Blueberries for Sal, my daughter is really into the idea of storing up for winter.

  • Erica

    Thank you for sharing this interview. After recently discovering her blogs, it’s great to ‘hear” her in an interview. I do not own the book, so I would love a copy. Amanda’s words inspire me to be more creative. My daughter and I are discovering the seasons this year with books and art projects… She’s 2 1/2 and we’re having so much fun. I love leaving the housework and just leaving the afternoon for our discovery time. Thank you!!!

  • Ching

    I love the nature table idea. I saw the nature table in my daughter’s preschool, but never thought of doing it at home.

  • http://heddadabbler.blogspot.com ru

    amanda’s book is the kind of book that makes one regret having checked it out of the library – because you know that someday far too soon, you will have to return it!! we are busying ourselves with some handcraft holiday projects that probably would not have been embarked on if not for the fortuitous intervention of the book. just this morning my 21-month-old son and i went on a “nature in the neighborhood” walk, which culminated in me falling down in the mud with him riding my shoulders (eek!) while exploring the ravine in the middle of our neighborhood. after the initial tears, though, it was will worth it!

  • Janet

    From reading Soulemama’s blog entries, she seems to be such a peaceful and loving human being. I love how she promotes togetherness, family and creativity in everything she does. Kudos to her and her family! I look forward to reading her book.

  • Callie

    Great invertview! I’d love to win a copy of Amanda’s book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Marcela

    What a great interview. I love reading about what Amanda has to say on raising her, growing as a family and their creative life. I would love to get a copy of her book. Thanks!

  • http://www.floatingworldviews.com suzy

    Thanks for a great interview!
    I have been reading Soulemama for years, and have found her creative parenting an inspiration now that I have my own baby. I would love to read her book and learn more!

  • Tara

    Great Interview!!! I’ve been reading Soule Mama’s blog for over a year now and it continues to inspire me and my family. It’s so fun to experience all of Amanda’s wisdom and creativity as well as Maine’s beauty by reading her blog.

    Inspired by some of Amanda’s posts, I now skip the chaos of the playground when I pick my boys up from preschool and instead head to the dock of a local boathouse to have a picnic.

    If I am lucky enough to win a copy of the book, I will be sure to pass it along to all my mom friends in the neighborhood hoping it will inspire them as well. Thanks!!!!!

  • MissuzC

    After reading SouleMamma blog for several weeks, I finally borrowed a copy of Amanda’s book from our local library. LOVED IT! I wish someone had encouraged me to be creative when I was a kid. Now– it is my turn to encourage my little one. Thanks, Amanda, for all the inspiration.

  • Jennifer Bresnan

    As a teacher in public school, I see so many creatively-stunted children. Parents too often take the “easy” way out – television babysitting and fast food, for examples – and it is refreshing to read the daily adventures of a family thinking outside the box. If only more people would hop on this bandwagon!

  • http://www.madalinejane.com Jenny

    Great interview!

  • Jonnine

    SouleMamma is a very inspirational woman. Great interview!

  • Jenn

    That was a lovely interview. I’m excited to read the book!

  • Kelsey

    Soulemama makes my day! :)

  • Jenny

    I always enjoy Soulemama’s blog and her insightful thoughts on motherhood and all that goes with it. Amanda is great at keeping it all in perspective and helping me remember what’s most important when I seem to get caught up in the whirlwind of things. Great interview, looking forward to getting my hands on her book.

  • Gia

    For me a nature table came as part of the parenting topography. Things dragged home, things found, bits, pieces and collections slowly gathered and placed. I have two children who love the freedom to bring nature indoors, collect at will and gather with abandon. We always had a nature table in school, in each classroom reflecting the season and what we were learning. As an adult, and as a parent I find it hard to let go of the found collections as the seasons change and as the children grow. My son says to friends, “My mamma is making our house beautiful again.” as we change the natural scenery. My daughter gathers sticks and brings them in piles for the dog to play with at home. As I gather the bits and pieces and collections I look for places to help them reside within our ordered home. Thank you for your wonderful blog and a great interview. I so appreciate the images and inspiration of soulemama.

  • Jen Costigan

    Great advice about learning to let go and give a little when it comes to the “mess”. I love all her insights and love the Creative Family Book!

  • http://littlebuttercups.blogspot.com/ Monica W.

    The heated debate in our house lately is how to pay for our daughter’s education/college. Our daughters are only three, four and five and we’re terrified already how to make sure that we can contribute to their college. Well of course we have we college funds, but it’s just not enough. After talking about it for hours and receiving advice from friends and family we now feel confidant that we are on the right track. We will be purchasing a small home, nothing over the top so that we can keep our girls in private school and in extra ciricular activities that will help ensure them in the long run. Being a creative person myself, I feel it’s ever so important to make that part of the everyday ritual! I feel it offers many other ways to look at the world!
    What a wonder interview! Thank you for sharing!

  • Elesia

    Great interview. I love SouleMama :)

  • Kristin

    Great interview! I love Amanda’s blog and am very inspired to be a more creative parent! Her book is on my wish list!

  • Beth

    Such a wonderful interview. Can’t wait to read the book.

  • May

    I love reading SouleMama’s website. She is so inspiring and I look forward to reading her blog each morning. Thanks for the great interview!

  • Lucie W

    Great interview – some lovely ideas shared here. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book – it would be great for my family.

  • http://cyndyavablogspot.com cyndy

    I am a single mother. Basically, anything I do around the house, my little girl loves to join in and help. I take time to teach her what I do as I do it, like making a loaf of bread or writing a letter or card to a friend. Any moment is a chance to be in the creative moment, if you stay in touch with that. Thank you, Amanda for all you are contributing to our world!
    xoxo

  • Tracey

    I’ve only just recently found SouleMama, but she has inspired me tons! Thanks for the great interview and for spreading the word about finding crafts!

  • http://www.froginthepond.wordpress.com Iona

    For me, and my family, allowing ourselves to pause and reflect opens up our creativity. When that is supported by a house set up for creativity – in our place it means work tables for each child, knitting baskets dotted over the house, pencils upstairs and downstairs – it’s much easier to see the possibilities when you’ve paused for thought. Letting go is also good, but sometimes difficult!

  • http://www.nopod.blogspot.com Cristy

    Blogging has been a huge source of inspiration for me to get more creative – both because of all of the inspiration available on other people’s blogs and because it gives me a little reminder to make something with or for my daughter most days (in order to have something to post).

  • Lisa in Korona

    Thanks Amanda for sharing your creativity and family with all of us readers in blog land!

  • http://lemontreesanddirtystreets.blogspot.com Kendal

    I am always interested in new ways to come together without involving the tv. I love the space that can be created around a spontaneous art project, or the learning that we get from going outside. My daughter is only 8 months old and I’m interested in finding new activities for her that are safe and constructive. Too many electronic toys in the world. We love cardboard boxes, wooden blocks, and dirt! Thanks for this interview.

  • http://nicolaysseljohnson.wordpress.com Nicola Johnson

    Fun interview.

  • http://www.cocktailmoms.blogspot.com Gretchen Skovron

    Wonderful interview! Awesome questions! So glad you asked about Steve…always wondered what he did for a living and how the 2 of them met. I already own the book but if I happen to win one I would like to donate it to my local library, there is quite a list of people waiting to read it.
    Thanks!

  • Heather

    This was a great interview :-) Amanda has so much insight into crafty things…inspiring really. Can’t wait to read her book!

  • Leana

    Thanks for the interview. I have not read the book, but after reading the soulemama blog and this interview I’m even more inspired to a) win it from babygooroo or b) by it at my local bookstore. I live in Montana, so the outdoor world is part of my 4-year old’s every day life, but it sometimes feels too easy to stay inside the house and not be creative.

  • http://www.SherriAllen.com sherri

    Great interview. The soulemama blog is such an inspiration.

  • http://www.rusulica.com Sana

    thanx for the interview-i read soule mama’s blog and thoug i have no children of my own (yet!) i found it so full of inspiration. my tip would be: have a house full of craft supplies. materials themselves inspire me to do sth with them. and, do things together with your children – no matter how bad you (think) you draw/sing/tell stories (umm, is there anybody who doesnt know how to tell stories ? :) ), do it with your child, because one of my most herished memories from childhood is my mum making&painting haloween masks together with me and my sis! and give your child opportunity to help you in the kitchen if they offer! i loved that as a child, too.

  • Janine

    I love SouleMama – her book and blog. So inspiring!

  • http://www.MamaSaidSew.blogspot.com Christy

    I love to read Soulemama’s blog. Her family adventures and photography are so inspiring.

  • Jen

    Thanks for a great interview! I just recently discovered SouleMama, and am enamored and inspired… We just reorganized our (kid) art space to be more accessible and generally user-friendly. Hopefully some kid-sized inspiration follows!

  • Sarah.

    I love Soulemama and would love to read her book. So much inspiration.

  • http://www.suidafricameetsusa.blogspot.com collette

    love souleMama. Amanda has such wonderful insight regarding nurturing and growing a family.

  • mary

    As mama of 3, art teacher, and artist and I am inspired by Amanda’s blog, her appreciation for nature and the gift of seasons. If she lived closer, I’d invite her for a cup of tea.

  • http://www.marissamay.com Marissa

    Wonderful interview!
    At our house, a lot of creative inspiration comes from going to the library once or twice a week and getting a huge stack of random books. My son will sift through those and get inspired to start a project based on what he saw in the books. We also do this with hiking or going to the beach….gathering a huge pile of shells or leaves and then drawing them and researching their names at home.

  • Melissa

    Each time I read another Amanda Blake Soule interview (any with every day I check her blog) I am in more awe of her wisdom and advise. Thanks for the interview!

  • Debra

    As a parent of very creative kids, who did not get the creative gene myself, I find I fulfill my role by always providing them with endless opportunities to express their creativity and keeping the cupboards overflowing with supplies to support their expressions in various forms.

    I subscribe to the soulemama blog but cannot find Amanda’s book in Australia yet so would be thrilled to win a copy!

  • http://ebprice.wordpress.com Amanda

    I don’t really have anything creative to add, just so much to learn! I have been eyeing this book for quite some time now! :)

  • Beth

    Amanda,
    I find you so inspiring! I check your blog each day and always look forward to hearing a bit about your life. I would love to win a copy of your book!

  • jenn

    I am loving the Creative Family book that I just borrowed from the library! I think Amanda has some fabulous ideas and her values shine forth with brilliance. It has been a great encouragement and reminder to me as it’s easy to get sidetracked with ‘busyness’.

  • amy

    We make an effort to do something creative every week. Every weekend we make an effort to take a break from the TV, from chores to do something to nourish our creative self. Some weekends this will only amount to cooking a different meal, or taking a trip to the park to watch the birds. Sometimes we do things like making recycled paper or sewing clothes for the children. It helps keep me sane!

  • Katrina

    We love Amanda in this household. She’s been such an ispiration for us and reminds me to take a moment to enjoy all the little moments in life. Truly those are the things that are important.

  • Alina

    What a wonderful interview. I try to get outside daily with my kids or at least explore something in the home through a book or what not.

  • Jennifer Ness

    I recently checked out The Creative Family from the library and read it cover to cover in about 4 days. it was very inspiring and I have started to implement various ideas into my family’s routine. Thanks Amanda!

  • Christina

    Thank you for this wonderful and inspiring interview. It’s amazing to know so many things we can do as a family. Thank you Amanda for sharing your precious moments with all of us.

  • Asiyah

    My two cents on how to be a more creative family are to 1) turn off the tv and 2) follow your child’s lead. We adults sometimes forget how fun it is to be spontaneous.

  • http://www.anaturalnester.com Liz

    An inspiration to me on so many levels – as a writer, a mother, a nature enthusiast and a blogger. Thank you SouleMama & babygooroo.com!

  • candina

    I love Amanda’s blog — such a feast, visually and creatively. Thanks for this interview. Children are naturally so creative. Often if we just get out of their way (by not trying to package imagination and sell it in little kits tied to television shows), they will absolutely amaze us.

  • Susan D

    Slow down and pay attention.
    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • Bobbie Jo

    I also heard about SouleMama from a friend. I am addicted to reading her every post. Thanks for the interview.

  • frances

    inspiring! i’d love to find out more about bringing creativity into my family’s everyday life. thanks for the interview :)

  • Sarah Cannon

    This is great! I just found Amanda’s blog and am already inspired. My husband and I have two children (4 and 8 months) who we are trying to raise to appreciate beauty and God’s creation. I want them to just experience things with all their senses and really learn to love life. I can’t wait to read this book!

  • Dana

    I’ve followed Amanda’s blog for more than a year, now. It’s interesting to enter into someone else’s life that mirrors your own so much. You just know you would be friends if you lived closer. It’s like a friend to share your ideas with.

  • Emily Conner

    I recently got the creative family book and I love it. I feel like I have been heading in the right direction with making more creative time for my little ones and this book gives me more ideas on how to reach my creative goals. I also love the blog. Thanks Soule Mama

  • Katy

    Dear Amanda,

    What an inspirational attitude towards motherhood and creativity. Your blog is a boost to my day. Keep up the great work. (And I can’t wait to get a look at your book.)

    And, thanks to Babygooroo for the wonderful interview.

  • http://jennbenn.wordpress.com/ jenn

    Lovely interview! I could not agree more, less tv and more time to creative pursuits. This world is crazy and a mess, but if we take time to create and appreciate the beauty around us, then we are more capable of handling everyday stresses. I am trying to pass that on to my children. It is ok to go a little slower and not follow the crowd, being an individual means so much more.
    jenn

  • http://www.weepereas.blogspot.com Beth Radatz

    What a great interview! I read the blog everyday, and would love a chance at having this book!

  • http://chmiley.blogspot.com Michelle

    Great interview! Thank you. I always love hearing from Soulemama!

  • http://www.zigzagmama.com Zigzagmama

    With my older children, we kept a pretty bountiful nature table year round. As they grew older, and we grew busier (especially with a new baby) the tradition kind of slipped away. Thank you for the reminder! I’m looking forward to setting up a new one tomorrow!

    (And, of course, we would be thrilled to win a copy of the book!)

  • michelle

    Keep up the great work!

  • Sara

    I like the comments about letting things be messy sometimes. I grew up in a family that allowed lots of time outside exploring and inside creating. I hope to have both in my family . . . Haven’t had time to check out the book yet, though I’d like to.

  • Georgia

    I love reading your blog and seeing the amazing photos that go along with it! I agree with many of your lifestyle practices and reading about someone who can pull off doing things like that makes me put more effort into leading a healthier and more artistic lifestlye for my family. I often find myself thinking what would soulemama do? :) We were at a park this weekend that happened to have a hazelnut grove in it. My 2 year old son and I spent some time gathering nuts and have been been enjoying the suspence of cracking nuts all day for snacks. Is it a good nut? Bad nut? No nut? Or a worm!?!

  • Amy

    I love the Soulemama blog and check for updates every day! She finds so much joy and celebration in every day life. Her writing gives me inspiration to be creative with my kids!

  • renee

    thanks for a great interview. like the others here, soulemama’s blog is a daily inspiration in keeping things simple, and finding joy in that simplicity. my best idea towards becoming a creative family, is firstly to decide you value creativity, and secondly to do it! For me, figuring out what I value helps me decide whats more important, the dishes, the laundry or the painting and play dough.

  • http://conmismanos.blogspot.com Verrito

    First… thanks for the interview.

    I don’t have kids yet, but I would love to win a copy, I’ve been reading Soule Mama’s blog for 2 years now, and I really enjoy it :)

  • http://www.frugalgranola.blogspot.com Michele @ Frugal Granola

    I just finished reading “The Creative Family” book that I picked up from the library. (Oh, I would love to own a copy!). It is full of so much inspiration.

    My daughter is 21 months old, and I love watching her begin to create and imagine… whether it’s with crayons, dirt & plants outside, fabric scraps, etc. :)

  • Tricia

    It’s great how hanging out with little ones gives us permission to do all those silly, funny things we might not do otherwise (spin around in a field, trace each other in sidewalk chalk). Thank you for always adding to our ideas.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5270364 Tina

    I am a parent, scout leader, crafter of many crafts. I do not consider myself an artist by any means but more of a tinkerer of craft on many facets. I can tell you that i use craft on my children at home and at scout meetings and the engagement by kids of all ages is amazing. Art/Craft has a very necessary place in childrens lives and our own. Craft On!!

  • shana

    Sometimes when I am in a funk parenting I think to myself “What would Amanda Soule do?” Thanks

  • Caroline

    I love the way I feel after reading the Soulemama site. I re-channel my artistic side and how it relates to my little guy. I was a pre-school art teacher for many years and I think the voice that Amanda Soule has created for families is brilliant. She lets the window open for some fresh air. (so to speak) Right on! Keep up the good work soulemama!

  • http://www.mmmmmama.blogspot.com Amanda

    I adore SouleMama and don’t know why I haven’t picked up the Creative Family yet. I just don’t understand how she finds time for everything she does and often wonder if she sleeps at all! Thanks for the interview.

  • Louise

    Family times make the most special memories! Thank you for your inspiring thoughts!

  • Stephanie

    I think I most like the advice about getting more sleep :) My creative juices get the chance to flow when I am rested and I much less likely to be grouchy about the dirt nature brings into the house.

  • http://highcountries.wordpress.com Jamie O.

    i haven’t read this book, but i’m so excited about all the things in it! my little one is just at the cusp of all the creating now, being 17 months. we can start cooking and baking together in little ways, when i’m brave enough to let it get REALLY messy. letting messes happen in the home might be one of the best pieces of advice i’ve gotten about fostering creativity in your children.

  • http://www.creativedomesticity.blogspot.com Tammy H.

    Amanda is about the most creative, inventive, inspiring Momma, I have ever known (via her blog) I so want to be her in another life. But until then…I would love to win her book! That would be amazing!

  • gemma

    It’s always funny to me when I read something online that inspires me to turn off the computer (it sucks too much of my energy sometimes), and pick up my knitting needles or just simply sit still and set some intention for the next day. It feels good to be reminded as gently as this interview entreats the reader.

  • Pina

    Thanks for the interview. I still wonder how mamas with so many children manage everything in their daily life and still have time to be so creative as Amanda. It is so wonderful to read her blog each day and take a peek into her creative life.

  • Helen

    I have read bits and pieces of this book recommended by my daughter who has her own blog and is finding her creative side through being a new mother and other mothers like soulemama. She is also a teacher/librarian, so being creative seems to come naturally. I never thought of myself as a creative mom who instilled that creativity in my children, but I had my moments and enjoyed most of them. I am enjoying even more, looking for ways to be creative with my grand daughter and in watching my own daughter with her. It tickles me to see her make a birthday crown that she found in soulemama’s book. It tickles me to watch her build a “banging wall” in the woods. It tickles me to see her make play dough. She is suddenly this creative little super mom and I love it.

  • http://lanelikethestreet.blogspot.com/ Lane.like.the.Street

    SouleMama is my morning sit-down-with-apple-cider-while-the-kids-start-their-breakfast blog check, then it’s on to our day. Thanks for a great interview!

  • http://www.missusmoonshine.blogspot.com/ Alicia

    Thanks for bringing us this great interview, The Creative Family is on my “to buy” list.

  • Aino

    Thanks for the interview! I’ve been a regular reader of SouleMama for a month now and it has helped me a lot in finding my priorities and sticking to them.

  • rosesmama

    we have always kept the materials for art and science projects at hand, with great results when the kids just start with their ideas without needing to be ‘set up’ by an adult. i’d love to have a copy of ‘the creative family’ for my neighbor.

  • neža

    Through Amanda’s blog I get inspiration and an impulse to create whenever I need it. I hope I will not lose this urge to do something with my hands when I have children (soon)! Thank you for an interesting interview and the possibility to win her book, which I would love to have!

  • Laurie

    TV seems to be okay with me if it is in moderation– ah but that is the difficult part. To control it we have stashed ours in the corner, covered it with a red and black african cloth and have recently placed a large chair in front of it with its back to it. Turning our backs on tv seems to keep it in check in our home. Olympics, a seldom movie but for the most part we forget it is there. After 40 straight days of rain this fall we may need a little tv now and again. Maybe winning a copy of this amazing Amanda book can help us keep our back to the tv a little longer with some new creative family ideas.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/23rdspiral/ cate

    Thanks for the new interview! I must thank Amanda and her family for sharing their life with me. Through reading her blog, I am no longer freaked out by the idea of having children – how to carry on ‘being me’ and living a fun life, in fact it looks like it would be more fun with a big family! So thank you Amanda. All the best with the new baby. Last week i was scrumping apples and gushing over cute baby slings at a park event – i blame Amanda Soule!!!

  • http://sewsarahblogspot.com Sarah C.

    I’ve encouraged creativity by having lots of those supplies around the house. My six year old wanted to know how to sew. So he has his own little car embroidery project going whenever he wants to join me.

  • http://lesleysbooknook.blogspot.com Les in NE

    I’m past having my own children, but I plan to give copies of The Creative Family to all my young girlfriends who are just starting their own families. I’d love to have my name thrown in the hat for the drawing. Thanks!

  • http://www.mellimoomoo.blogspot.com Megan

    I love having discovered soule mama’s blog… so inspiring. My little one is 19 months and she reminds me every day what true creativity is. I love being able to drop into her way of viewing the world – the simple joy of jumping in puddles as Amanda describes! Children give us permission to be silly, and joyful and to live in the moment.

  • http://www.simplyplainjane.com Jane

    i’m dying to read this book… as an artist myself, i think creative conection with our families is extremely vital. A little beauty, truth , and goodness can be such a blessing!

  • FranciePants

    Don’t fear the messy. My mom handed me a threaded needle and some muslin when I was 4 and I haven’t stopped stitching since. And it allowed her to get her own projects done.

  • http://mini-mcgoo.blogspot.com Suzanne

    …very inspirational. I can’t wait to do some of the activities with my new baby.

  • http://scarletsongbird.blogspot.com Heather

    Thanks for the great interview!

    Amanda has inspired me so much over the last few years, as a crafter and certainly as a parent. I read her blog often, but when I’m down or having a “parent block” and I feel that my children aren’t getting the best of me, Amanda has always been there. I take a deep breath, sit down with a cup of tea and read through a couple of her posts and feel uplifted and inspired and ready to be a mom again. So thanks again for the lovely interview with one of my favorite bloggers. And thank you, Amanda for being such a wonderful inspiration!

  • Halley

    I enjoyed reading more about Amanda’s sweet family and look forward to reading her blog daily. Thanks for the interview. I would love a copy of her book to use with my own family.

  • http://clinebug.blogspot.com dig this chick

    I so look forward to my bug growing so I can incorporate Soulemama’s great ideas into my household! Thanks for the great interview.

  • Quinn

    I loved Amanda’s blog and really enjoyed this interview. I have been looking at getting her book and with each thing I read I know I need to get it! While our house has been in upheaval with relocating, packing, unpacking and starting school we have not had time to focus on just playing. While I unpacked I always tried to get the kids involve from coloring on the boxes to creating tunnels from unpacked boxes. Also when I have work to do (online or something else) I find the kids always want to participate so I have extra paper or notebooks next to me ready for coloring and writing. They seem to like it.

  • Lillian

    Reading interviews and writing never ceases to inspire me – thanks for sharing even more than you already do Amanda!

  • cookie

    I would LOVE to win a book!!!! Please pick me!!!! i would appreciate the inspiration it appears to portray in amanda’s website and other’s website comments and gushing about all of the wonderful-ness… Good luck to me-lol. i will be waiting with bated breath to chekc my e-mail when the winner’s information comes!! Thank you!!!

  • Misty

    Great interview. Soulemama’s site is a daily addiction for me.

  • julie peace

    I have just recently discovered Soulemama blog and I love reading it. Amanda is so inspiring. I would love a copy of her book!

  • http://www.familytreemedicine.com Amanda

    We simply leave the tools for inspired creativity out for the kids to find. More often than not, they’d rather be creating than doing much else (well, besides reading books!!) The 5 year old esp loves using whatever she can find (rubber bands, ribbons, etc…) to create puppets and animal friends.

  • Rachel

    What fun! I especially like the idea of more sleep and less TV. I’ve got the TV one down (we don’t watch any), but the “more sleep” idea is next on my list!

  • coffeechris

    I really enjoy Soulemama and read the blog daily…she is inspiring and “real”. I too, agree nature and the outdoors are where it’s at. Since my son was young we have been pretending, imagining and making things from simple items we find and have….all creative. Would love to win a copy of The Creative Family. Thanks

  • Judith

    Thanks for an inspiring article! I’ve been reading SouleMama’s blog for a few monhs now, and have been so encouraged to embrace the simple, homemade lifestyle that she’s built in her family. It’s just my husband and I for now, but as our family grows, I’m looking forward to putting her ideas into practice!

  • Sonya

    love the blog & the interview too!
    Thanks.

  • Cindy

    Just surfed over from soulemama…great interview. thanks!

  • Claire

    I really enjoy reading your blogs daily. They really help me get through the day with three children. My youngest is very curious and I really enjoy spending one on one time with her. I know your book would have some great ideas. I have not purchased the book yet but would really like to. Thanks again!

  • http://burliblog.blogspot.com chris

    thanks for the interview! i do find amanda quite inspiring. i haven’t had a chance to pick up her book yet, but would love to read it. i have found that my son (3 1/2) needs encouragement to be creative, so i always join in. (this makes me wonder how other moms have time to do anything else!)

  • http://faulkner-family.blogspot.com Sally

    Such a great interview! We love SouleMama here! In our family, as we learn to breathe a bit (read: loosen up) we have found that doing our own thing TOGETHER feels great! I knit, Papa reads or paints, and the kids do their thing. So often, we stop to share ask questions, and often we find that the work we were doing is influenced by the others around us. It has been great fun!

  • Erica

    I bought the book for a friend as as gift when her second child was born. Now I have my own little tiny bundle of joy, and am looking forward to getting creative with her one day. I read Amanda’s blog regularly and love it. I find it very uplifting and fun to read about someone with such similar values.

  • http://bloomingheather.wordpress.com Heather

    How to be creative as a family? Get everyone involved. My husband claims not to be artistic, but he has made some beautiful things when he gets going. Everyone can do it!

    I love doing collaborative drawings with my little ones. The two year old and I work side by side or sometimes even on the same piece of paper. I try to follow her lead and work in a rather abstract way. It can create some lovely drawings.

    We had a lot of fun recently making a “mailbox” out of a cardboard box, writing “letters,” decorating envelopes and sending them through our box. And then of course, we needed to deliver the mail. It was hours of fun.

  • Serena

    I really hope to become the sort of mother that Amanda is – always encouraging creativity in her kids – much more than most.

  • http://katypark.wordpress.com/ katy

    i have so enjoyed gleening insppiration from soulemama’s blog and am so interested in the ideas she sharesd in the book…i have found that creating a space to create and learning how to sit with a bit of a mess in the process has been key for us. also key is providing an endless supply of duct tape for our resident 5 year old inventor:)

  • Kate

    Thanks for a great Q&A. In our family we love children’s books with recipes built in — I’m the snack Mom tomorrow in our coop preschool so my three year-old and I made A-Z (apple – zucchini) cake tonight from one of our favorite books “Olga’s Cup and Saucer” and we’ll bring the book to school with us tomorrow to read while we munch. I enjoy the Mama blog and would love a chance to read the book … we are always looking for new ideas and inspiration …

  • Monica

    thanks for interviewing Amanda! I have been reading her blog for many months and would LOVE to have a copy of her book! My twin 5 year olds are so naturally creative – constantly creating something new out of paper, tape, whatever they can get their hands on. I find that just watching them can be a huge learning experience in how to let loose, have fun, and express myself! Kids are sometimes the best teachers!

  • Kathy

    Great interview! It seems so formal compared to her blog, in a good way.

  • http://www.artfulindustry.blogspot.com Becsta

    I love reading Soulemama’s blog and always come away inspired. Just lately I’ve been trying the whole getting up early thing, and it’s really working for me. It’s a different kind of creativity, plugging away on projects in bits and pieces during my early mornings, rather than all in one go, but that makes it more sustainable, and kind of a surprise too, when I finish something! Like finishing it might only take a small amount of effort cos the majority of work was done on previous mornings. Anyway, thanks Soulemama!

  • Karen

    I can totally relate to the trickiness of getting all the kids outside in February during a cold snap while keeping them reasonably warm! Except we have five children, so even bigger the challenge! Some how we manage, though, and in doing so we are creating in them lasting memories and a love for nature that will carry on through their adult years.

  • http://thegreatbighappy.blogspot.com Ashley

    Thanks for the interview! I just discovered Amanda’s blog and spent almost an entire night reading through it. So inspiring! Already I have felt a sense of renewal and am loving being more involved in their little lives.

  • Nicole

    I really enjoyed the interview! And even if I don’t win the book :P , I’ll definitely check it out. I’ve always felt that my own creativity was stifled during my childhood, and encouraging it in my son is a priority for me!

  • Lisa Flowers Ross

    Nice interview. I enjoy reading Soulemama’s blog. I definitely agree that we need to have kids out in nature more.

  • Amy

    Amanda has inspired me to seek out more creativity in our own household. Thank you!

  • Carole

    Great interview, it was nice to hear a bit about Steve – he obviously contributes a ton to this wonderful family, and I’m grateful to also have a husband who is active and creative. What a joy to get to read Amanda’s blog, and I’ve already checked her book out from the library. I’d love to get a copy of my own, so thanks for the opportunity!

  • http://ladytaluka.com Katie

    What a great interview! I agree with less TV and more sleep! My 2 boys just love to play outside and find rocks and acorns. I think I may need to start a nature table because they always want to bring them inside and keep their “treasures.”

  • Angell

    Great article! It is soo easy to get caught up with life that sometimes it’s hard to be a great parent. Amanda is nonjudgmental and offers solutions that work with any family structure.

  • http://www.thefreakofnature.blogspot.com thefreakofnature

    I enjoyed reading this interview. I am not crafty myself, but I do try to abide with this rule: Always say “yes” when the kids want to paint or do art. I have a cabinet stocked with art supplies and easels always ready for my kids to draw or do what not.

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  • emily

    Great interview – I have yet to read the book yet, but am really looking forward to!

  • Kristi

    Loved the comment that if you don’t use your creativity you can lose it when you get older. I have found this to be true for me, but when I moved from a sales career into teaching primary grades…the creativity started flowing back – and I so glad!

    Sounds like a fun book!

  • http://daisyyellow.squarespace.com Tammy

    Wonderful interview with thoughtful questions, well done!