Today’s Creative Woman, Invisible Friends, is the fabulous Jen from Curious and Creative Kids. Jen is a former teacher who is always on the cutting edge of fun creative things for kids, whether it be books or crafts or educational activities. Let’s chat with her, shall we?
How did you get started blogging?
I learned about blogging from a Web site that was for stay-at-home moms looking for an opportunity to work at home. I ordered an e-guide that focused on how to start a blog and how to make money from blogging. I’ve been at blogging for almost a year now and have fallen in love with writing, sharing with others and meeting wonderful people online. The money part hasn’t happened, but I’ve gained so much from blogging!
How did you come up with your name?
Encouraging creative thinking and curiosity in my children began at a very early age. When they started coloring, I would give them blank paper instead of color books, I would record their ideas for stories and I would read books to them based on their interests and questions. A variety of materials were also available to them to be creative, such as puppets, art materials and instruments. I came up with Creative and Curious Kids because I knew that I wanted to record my children’s adventures and share ideas with other parents. With my educational background, this seemed like a natural theme for me.
What does being creative mean to you?
A way to express ourselves by sharing a part of ourselves that is unique. This can be through writing, art, music, cooking, dance, etc.
Why do you think it’s important for women to balance creativity in their daily lives?
To me, being creative brings joy to my life. It is relaxing and almost a way to meditate. As women, we all need this outlet, especially with how crazy and fast life has become. Taking the time to be creative slows us down and give us the opportunity to enjoy what we love.
What kind of creative things do you do every day?
Writing is my main creative outlet, but I love doing creative things with the kids such as painting, molding clay, or making up stories. There is so much that I would love to learn still that I haven’t- such as oil painting, playing the guitar, and knitting.
Tell me about your family.
I grew up in a small town with two sisters and one brother. My parents still live in the same house where I was raised. My husband and I have been married for almost 14 years. We met in a grocery store 23 years ago! We have two daughters ages 5 and 7 and one on the way! Family is very important to us and we are very blessed to live near our family members.
Anything Italian! I love pasta! Chocolate is right up there, too!
Barney- I love you, you love me! Just kidding! Hmmm. Favorite song? I love a Christian song by Sarah Groves- “Add to the Beauty”.
Do you like to dance?
Oh yeah! If you were a fly on the wall, you would see me dancing around with my girlies! We sometimes get Dad in on the action, too!
If you could take a trip with anyone and go anywhere, where would you go and who would you take?
My girls want to go to Disney World more than anything. They started a Disney jar for the family to start saving. So even though my first thought was to run as fast as I could to the islands with my husband, I’d have to say Disney with the family.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?
My husband and I were struggling financially and he used his birthday money to buy a bracelet for me for Mother’s Day. It has my girl’s names engraved on it. It was such a beautiful and thoughtful surprise.
What’s your ideal pet?
A dog, which we don’t have yet. I think a pet is like having another child and that just might put me over the edge right now! We have two water frogs at the moment- named Ginny and John. The girls continue to beg for a puppy. Someday!
There’s an enormous present waiting on the kitchen table for you. What’s in it?
Surprise! A personal organizer jumps out of the present and organizes my entire home in one day! Yea, I can find the shoe that I’ve been missing, I can see my bedroom floor, and my children’s toys are put away nicely in labeled bins! The clutter in the basement, storage room, and every other room in the house- gone! What an awesome gift!
What made you want to support creative children’s literature?
My support for creative children’s literature started when I was going to college to be an elementary education teacher. There is so much research that supports the importance of literature in the lives of children. Those who are read to and exposed to literature from an early age are more likely to become readers themselves, have better success in school and later in life. When I was pregnant with my first child, I actually started reading to her when she was in my womb. My husband read her first book to her when she was just a day old in the hospital. It has always been such a big part of our lives. I actually enjoy reading new children’s literature just as much as my kids!
Why do you think it’s important to stimulate creativity in kids?
When children are little, they are so open to learning and thinking outside of the box. It is so sad for me to see children who have lost that creative spark as they grow older. Often, creative thinking isn’t encouraged in schools. My children seem happiest when they are creating. They are smiling and humming as they paint or create something new–something that is unique and truly theirs. I have often said that it isn’t necessarily the person with the highest grade point average who solves world problems, or a cure for cancer but the person who is creative-who is able to think differently and has flexibility.
What’s been your favorite part about having a blog?
For me, it’s having something for me that I enjoy doing, a hobby of sorts. I enjoy exploring technology and learning new things all of the time.
What’s your favorite holiday to do crafts for?
Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, so I also love to do crafts during this time of the year. My mother passed on a lot of Christmas traditions that I enjoy sharing with my family. We loved making Hershey Kiss wreaths and marshmallow snowmen this past Christmas.
What’s the most creative thing your kids have ever done?
My five year old recently won an inventor’s contest for her “Robotic Turtle.” I thought that this was so creative! My seven year old wrote and a published a story titled “The Missing Glasses” about a desert ant who lost his glasses. His desert friends helped him find the glasses that were swallowed by a snake. She entered this in the Reading Rainbow writing contest. She didn’t win, but I was so proud of the work that she put into this creative project!
Where do you hope to be with your blog in five years?
I hope to continue to inspire others to be creative with their kids and to guide them based on their interests. Also, it would be wonderful to get other writing opportunities that would help me to be able to continue to stay home with my family.
What do you hope people get from your blog when they visit?
I hope they get ideas that they can do with their children, to inspire others to have fun with their families and to simply make people smile.
What’s one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
This is a hard question, because I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve. There isn’t a lot that people don’t know about me.
One thing that people are surprised to learn about me is that I modeled as a teenager and eventually had the opportunity to travel. My first modeling adventure started at 18 in Barcelona, Spain. Next, I was offered a contract to work in Chicago. Five years later, I was on a plane again! This time, traveling very far away to Tokyo, Japan. My agent often said that I just wasn’t passionate about modeling. I found my true passion when I stepped into a classroom for the first time. Much more rewarding than modeling!
Thanks, Jen! For more information, visit Creative and Curious Kids.
Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! We’ve got a week of whimsical fun coming up! New stories, new recipes and much more!
For more fun, visit my sister blog, Words n'Whimsy or sign up for my newsletter (both buttons on sidebar!)