how to make recycled paper

the creative family, a gift to the earth

the creative family with a cup of tea

Amanda's book, The Creative Family, arrived the other day! The minute it emerged from the packaging it seemed to stick to my hands, not allowing me to put it down until I had read every word. Yes, it's that good my friends!

reading the creative family

We all love Amanda and the genuine warmth that emanates from her blog via her words and gorgeous photography. If you're already an avid Soule family fan, this book is your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If not, well ... then once you've read it you will have been caught hook, line, and sinker.

I very much appreciated Amanda's encouraging yet self-assured voice which, throughout the pages, advocates for a close-to-nature, less-"stuff"-is-more approach to family life. What is also very clear to me, as a Montessori educator, is that Amanda's mindful approach to parenting is wonderfully on the mark. Her respect for, and observation of, the needs and interests of her children are what is most inspiring to me, both as a teacher and a future parent. Amanda arrived at all of these thoughtful, creative ideas due to her ability to be truly present and tuned-in to the pulse of childhood - that constant beat that can be heard even in the midst of the chaos of everyday life which says: "I am a creative, immensely curious person who can teach you so much about the beauty of the present moment. Please walk this path with me as I learn about myself and this world of marvels."

The Creative Family is a happy mix of ideas on leading a creative family life. I love how Amanda defined "creativity" very broadly, including within its definition traditional craft, theatrical productions, living in-tune with nature, imaginative play and thoughtful daily and seasonal rituals and celebrations.  Creative living, in any form, provides intellectual and emotional grounding for adults as well as children, and the act of creating together as a family can create deep, lasting bonds. I came away from the book understanding very clearly that the best gifts I can give to my future children are time and freedom to be creative.

Some of my favorite ideas include Family Drawing Time and the Gift to the Earth, although the Everyday Rituals chapter takes the cake with the oh-so-heartwarming description of the morning "Meeting in Bed," during which you and your children jointly plan the day's creative exploits.

Peppered throughout the book are well-written instructions for a handful of creative projects, such as making children's pants from an used shirt, freezer paper stenciling, dyeing clothing with natural dyes, henna art, beginning embroidery, finger knitting, making your own knitting needles, felting with children, bedtime bags, felt birthday crowns, and more.

But, more than a project book, The Creative Family is a book of ideas - an inspirational manual for living a joyfully creative life with your young children. I can't recommend it highly enough. Of all of the parenting books that I have read (and I've read a lot,) The Creative Family is the one that will be my handbook - the one I will refer back to time and again. Bravo, Amanda, for writing a real Gift to the Earth!

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