Creative Family Living

Why I Am The Artful Parent and Not Pioneer Woman



I love art—kids’ art, any art. You know that. I write about a lot of the art-making that happens in our family and I hope to encourage and inspire others to make art a bigger part of their children’s lives.

I’m also constantly thinking of new ideas and new combinations of art and craft activities, techniques, and materials. Not on purpose. That part of my brain just doesn’t seem to turn off.

I think of ideas for arts or crafts projects at the most random times.

Like when pulling out the aluminum foil to cover a dinner dish before sliding it into the oven. I’ll look at it and suddenly envision the foil with a punched-out lacy snowflake design and sandwiched between wax paper or contact paper and hanging as a holiday bunting—reflecting candlelight and white Christmas lights. And I wonder if my kids would like cutting foil with their scissors. And then I think, hey, what if they did a mixed-media artwork with foil bits and paint? Or, hmm… I wonder what it would be like to sew through foil. Maybe we could try some holiday cards with foil shapes sewn onto paper.

Does that happen to you when you make dinner?

I’m not saying those are good ideas. They might be complete duds. But I’ll give them a try. And I’ll probably blog about it when I do.

I have index cards and notebooks full of ideas like that. I have way more ideas than we could possibly execute or I could blog about.


I write about children’s art and encouraging creativity through art because it’s a subject that I’m passionate about. And I write about the random arts and crafts ideas and combinations we try because that’s just me and my brain. So that’s what you get when you read my blog.

Sometimes I wish I were different. I wish I were uber-organized, oh-so-chic, witty, an awesome parent, a great photographer, and that I cooked delicious, healthy dinners every night.

Sometimes I wish I were a different blogger.

Sometimes I want to be Pioneer Woman

I want to cook spinach artichoke pasta and have everyone in stitches while they drool over my 30 gorgeous step-by-step photos. I want to live on a ranch and ride horses. But I didn’t marry Marlboro Man and don’t live on a ranch. I’m not funny like she is. And you’re more likely to find a salt dough creation in my oven than a mouth-watering dinner despite several failed attempts at meal planning on my part and all the recipes I pin.

I couldn’t be The Pioneer Woman if I tried. Maybe I’d rather just eat at her table, anyway.

Sometimes I wish I had a homesteader lifestyle blog like SouleMama and write beautifully about knitting, raising pigs, and unschooling.

I want to live in the woods and off the land. But that was my parents’ dream, not mine. I remember holding tiny, fuzzy chicks and collecting eggs and I also remember chicken slaughter day. I’m not a homesteader, even if I dream about it sometimes. I give up gardening by the end of May every year when the mosquitos come out and it starts to get hot. I gave away my canning supplies after one sweltering afternoon of canning tomatoes. And knitting? I knitted a washcloth once. It took me an obscenely long time and I don’t care to repeat the experience.

So, no, I’m not SouleMama. And I can’t blog like her.

Sometimes I want to be Design Mom and have a perfectly outfitted passel of children living and learning in France. 

But no. My life is decidedly not upscale, let alone European. As a teenager, I dreamed about living in Paris, but I doubt I remember enough French to order lunch at a cafe, let alone have a parent-teacher conference. And the idea of raising six kids? Let’s not even go there.

So no. I’m not Design Mom. And neither is my blog.

Sometimes I wish I had all the parenting answers.

I wish I were more like Amanda from Not Just Cute. Her tagline is “Intentional Whole Child Development.” Doesn’t that sound great? Exactly what we all want for our kids, right? But I think my approach is more like “unintentional, lopsided development.” I am so not the perfect parent. My best bet at this point is to just read her book, Parenting with Positive Guidance. I try to be the best parent I can be, but mostly I just hope I don’t screw up my kids too much.

So no, my blog isn’t like Not Just Cute.

Sometimes I wish I could be Allie from No Time for Flash Cards and turn everyday life into a learning opportunity.

I watch how she turns Halloween activities into math lessons and learning the alphabet into a game, and I think, I should be doing that too! After all, I always thought that I would homeschool. But I just can’t get excited about it and find myself telling my kids to go play outside instead. Or I bring out the dress-up clothes and the paints. I failed as a homeschooler before I ever tried.

So no, I can’t write a blog like No Time for Flash Cards.

I can work myself into a tizzy of “Not Good Enough” at this or that when I’m reading other blogs (and even when I’m not), but maybe I just need to be good enough at being me.


The only person I can be is Jean Van’t Hul and the only blog I can write is The Artful Parent: kids’ art, creative drawing prompts, crazy craft experiments, chocolate, flowers, a love of color, too many exclamation points, book addictions, periodic mental breakdowns, and all.


  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Wow Jean! What those (fantastic) blogs do to us! I have recently started a habit of leaving your blog page open on my laptop at all times because it looks so great and refreshing! Don’t you know how good The Artful Parent is? The content, the look, the woman behind it? Personally, I love it all!

  • Reply
    Eddie - The Usual Mayhem
    October 12, 2012 at 7:07 am

    You’re fantastic just as you and I enjoy your blog immensely. But I definitely get what you’re saying….I wish I could make wonderful notebooking pages and preschool packs like Jimmie and Cassie at 3Dinosaurs. Since I can barely draw a stick figure, it seems unlikely.

  • Reply
    This girl loves to talk
    October 12, 2012 at 7:37 am

    oh I hear ya! (and I read and love those above mentioned blogs!) but atleast you have art!! my blog is a mish mash of everything.. big family (well four kids) cooking, art, trying my hand at writing essays… that it often all seems a big fail and I would probably get a lot more readers if I could just settle on a theme or type of blog I am… but as I like to say… I’m a jack of all trades and master of none! it is sadly very very true.

  • Reply
    Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum
    October 12, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I love your blog for the ideas, inspiration and the truthfullness of it. You are the C that makes creative, you are unique and you which is why I read and love what you do – I wish my kids were that little bit older so we could try more and then realise that the archieves will always be there I have my ideas pinned that I want to use as they grow.

  • Reply
    Angel Funk
    October 12, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Jean, thank you for all your hard work, compassion and creativity! I have followed your site for many years, and the progression and growth is phenomenal. I like this blog just the way it is, the parts that are “you” make it what it is!

  • Reply
    All Things Beautiful
    October 12, 2012 at 7:59 am

    And, oh, my goodness…we are so glad that you are The Artful Parent…because we really want her, too.

  • Reply
    Sarah M
    October 12, 2012 at 8:14 am

    …and we all love YOUR blog for it being an inspiration to us to share art with our loved ones! I, for one, am glad you can’t turn that ‘art brain’ off, for I would never be able to think of half the things you come up with!
    I think all blogs that you mentioned (that it seems a lot of us read) hit us all in different ways, even though the bloggers lives are all SO different from one another. The French student in me idealizes the Design Mom lifestyle, but if I were to *actually* think about it for more than 5 minutes, I’d probably get nauseated from the idea of having 6 kids (my limit seems to be 2). I love the idea of ranching, eating amazing food (and having a couple cookbooks out) along with a tv show, etc. but the fact is I’ve been to Oklahoma (midwesterner here) and I’m trying to Move Away from it because it’s so hot and humid, and frankly, stinky!
    And on, and on. I think partly why a lot of these blogs resonate with a lot of us is because of the beauty they portray, and we’re always attracted to beauty and growth (perfection); and it’s then easy to compare, ya know? I think you hit the nail on the head when you said art is what you’re passionate about. That’s why people follow your blog, it seeps through the internet! I can tell you are passionate about it, and somehow, though never meeting in real life, we’re able to take that passion and the wonderful ideas, and put them into our own lives, with our own children, students, family. So thank you, the world needs more passion!
    Sarah M

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

    And we are so glad you aren’t all those other people, because we already have them to read about! We need you as the artful parent! Keep up the awesome work!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I have not read the comments above and don’t know how many answered this post with: “and I wish I could be like Jean – an artful parent” I certainly wish I was an artful parent and could even blog about it like this. But then I am another kind of blogger but thanks to your blog I remembered how much of an artful parent I was until second daughter was born and in the few weeks since I discovered your blog very much artfulness has been restored in our family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank YOU.
    I love your blog just like it is.
    German Huppicke (not fancy french)

  • Reply
    Liz ~ A Natural Nester
    October 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Jean. It’s so easy to start comparing yourself to others, especially in the blogosphere, and count the ways you wish things/you were different. But there is so much to be said for AUTHENTICITY and you’ve got that in spades! As do the other bloggers you mention. I’m so greatful we are all different and can all find unique places for ourselves in this world… and then share the beauty of our everyday moments with one another. To inspire and guide and offer peaks into something different.
    I totally get the “brain not turning off” thing… I can’t seem to stop the flow of creative ideas coming from my brain. It’s wonderful and overwhelming all at once. My mother is an artist and she’s always been this way too… she can hardly drive down a road without pulling off to get a better “mental picture” of a scene and jot down notes about how she will incporporate it into a painting. She used to forget to pick me up from school as a kid because she’d be so absorbed into her art. I loved her creativity and never noticed her imperfections… that being said, I’m guessing your kids are much happier with saltdough in the oven than spinach artichoke pasta on the stove. :-)
    So…. thanks for the reminder to BE OURSELVES. And APPRECIATE our differences.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I’m so glad you’re an art parent blog – because all those things you mentioned that you CAN do, I really really can’t. Thank you so much for doing this blog because it makes my life, but more importantly, my kids’ lives, more artful and interesting!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Your blog is fantastic, and I love all your ideas too! I am always saying to myself “why didn’t I think of that…genius!”. But I do think that blogs can be what people want you to think their lives are and not reality. Who wants reality, we live it everyday! We like to look at perfect children doing all the school work and art projects perfectly. But it is not reality at all, it doesn’t show the times the child refuses to do something, or that the child is dealing with ADHD issues and really has a hard time focusing. We just see snapshots of the day and they are usually stills of when everything is going as planned. I at times wonder why things are not working perfectly for me like in so and so’s blog post. We are all too hard on ourselves. Blogging is great, we get great ideas, but let’s be real, it doesn’t always turn out like the blog.
    Thanks for your blog…I love your ideas and your love of ART. I am trying very hard to incorporate more of it in our everyday. I just wish I had your ideas! But then that is why you blog, to share. Thanks for that!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 9:39 am

    And I am not the Artful Parent, but I like to read you anyways. Because you are different from me, so I get ideas, and sometimes I use them, but mostly I’m just happy to see inside someone else’s house and what makes someone else light up.
    Before blogs, I think I had a much more limited view of what it means to be a mom, a family, a grown up woman. My expectations were based too much on what I saw in the media, or what I was promised by a walk through the aisles of a store. I know that blogs generally show the good points, but I’m okay with that. I’m just happy that everyone’s good points are a bit different, that there’s room to find joy in whatever little piece of creativity transforms your day. Sometimes I get to copy those points–start a project with the kid, repeat a recipe, take some advice. But it’s not about doing everything everyone recommends, for me it’s about enjoying the peek into the minds of so many great moms.
    And, for the record, I don’t read Pioneer Woman (although I made her brisket once.) You’re on my blog feed. :)

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Grateful for you. Just who you are!

  • Reply
    Carrie @ Oh Baby O
    October 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Sometimes I wish I could be a different blogger too. Soulemama is my super blog crush. We all have one, don’t we?
    This blog, your blog, is so beautiful. What’s more, it’s accessible. When I come here I read about experiences, ideas, and projects I feel like I could actually do.
    I always try to remember when I’m suffering from blog-inspired-not-good-enough-syndrome, that what we see on a blog is only part of a person’s day to day. I’m sure you know that already though. :)
    Take care, Jean, and thank you for inspiring us!♥

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

    You’re brilliant and inspirational just exactly as you are – don’t ever try to be something you’re not: we can visit those other blogs if we need what they offer, or not….

  • Reply
    Lori Summers
    October 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

    That was beautifully written and I think as moms, we all go through that. I know I do. I think it’s part of being a mom and wanting the best for our kids so we feel we should be better. But I think we all need to remember that we are the best mom we were meant to be. I look at a lot of different blogs and wish I could be as organized, creative or stylish as they are. But I’m not. So I live vicariously through them and try the things that I see. Some are successful and some are disasters, but I guess I’m in the middle as I’m not creative and can’t come up with awesome things to do, but I find them and do them with my daughter. You do a great job and I enjoy reading your blog and gaining insight and fun activities for my daughter! Keep up the good work!! :)

  • Reply
    Julie A.
    October 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Jean – your blog is the one that I visit the most for art inspiration with my 3 and 6 year old daughters. Just as you think you should be more like these other bloggers, I usually feel that I should be doing more art with my girls like you’re doing with yours. It is a hard thing to just be content with ourselves doing the best job that we know how to, isn’t it?! I thank you for all of the art inspiration that you have brought to our little family!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    You are perfect. Thank you for your ideas!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Dude, you could be the blogger from my blog (which doesn’t even have a theme) and not have blogged for two months. Or you could be the 41 year old blogger that still uses the word “dude”. You have a passion for creativity, it is something I aspire to instill in my kids, because really, they can always learn to read and write, you never loose that abillity, but the ability to create is a skill that needs to be encouraged and practiced. Imagination and smarts are a powerful combination. And seriously, aren’t husbands supposed to do the cooking? Maybe add that to your girls art lessons. Find a man that cooks somyiuncan create while he makes dinner.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve heard of some of those other blogs and have visited some on occasion. But the ONLY two blogs (of any subject) that I actually subscribe to and allow into my cluttered email inbox are The Artful Parent and Smitten Kitchen. Those are perfect for me and I can’t handle any more. I used to be a client of Harry’s and he told me about your blog when I had just had my first baby, so kid art projects seemed a long way off, but I loved it and have been with you ever since. Your blog is inspiring, educational, and accessible. It is my go-to source when I’m looking for something fun to do with my daughters. So you alone have had a very positive impact on their childhood and development. Thanks for all you do!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Jean, I read a lot of those blogs too, but yours is the one I turn to time and again for ideas with my 7 and 9 year-olds!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you for your blog. I always enjoy reading it and learning about your creative ideas. I don’t have a creativity gene, so I am always looking ideas for my 6 yo. You have a lot of good ideas. We are all different and have different attributes, which makes the world more exciting.

  • Reply
    melanie baron
    October 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Did someone ask you to be more like someone else? Please don’t! I don’t know if it will make you feel any better, but your blog was one of the inspirations for mine. See…someone wants to be you! Please keep it up!
    -melanie baron
    a crafty mess:
    i also blog for a local parenting newspaper here in Charlotte, NC, and recently linked to your suncatchers post – i hope you don’t mind, and that it sent some extra traffic your way!

  • Reply
    Beth-Anne Jones
    October 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Love this post! Thank you for reminding me to just be me :) I am very good at pushing this message to my kids but not so good at receiving it.

  • Reply
    Amy Fields
    October 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    And I wish I could be more creative like you:). I drool over your blog and then wig out trying to get a special needs kid to do some of that is like herding cats! I can only be me and blog about life, family, and adoption. So you aren’t the only one and I like you for you so don’t change. I can’t live up to another pioneer woman:)!

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle, ART IN HAND
    October 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Bottom line…we all have something to offer in this world, whether we blog about it or not! So yay for all of us, doing our best at whatever it is we do, or try to do, or aspire to do, or hope to someday do! We need to embrace each other for the gifts we each have to offer, and forgive ourselves and others for the ways we tell ourselves we are falling short.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Hi—haven’t read all the comments above so this may have already been said…
    1. I visit all the blogs you mention but love and am inspired by yours the most :)
    2. Your blog influences me to spend more $ than any other blog ever… SPONSORS take note! Jean blogging about any new art materials and I MUST HAVE IT! ;) am embarrassed to tell you how much!
    I am sure am not the only one… You are so genuine and I love your focus and reflection on the process.
    To quote all the middle school year book quotes, “don’t eva change.. ”

  • Reply
    butterlyfly wishes and wonderland dreams
    October 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Love this post, that is the down fall to blogs sometimes they make us feel like we are lacking in something.
    I love your blog and your a art inspiration!!! Keep up the amazing art work!
    have a wonderful, peaceful and artful weekend.
    ~ butterfly wishes and wonderland dreams

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    “Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.”
    ~ Henry Van Dyke
    I don’t know if it is your blog where I saw this quote, or someone else’s. But it doesn’t matter. I love the quote and I think it is very relevant given your blog post. I am constantly wishing I had more time to do so many things. I try to avoid reading TOO many blogs, because it makes me realize all the things I am NOT doing as a mother. I need to try harder to remember that I can only be the mother I can be. I would love to have more time to do my artful hobby of making mosaics with glass, rocks, etc. But not only am I living in temporary accommodation where I cannot sustain this hobby, but I have a very busy toddler and a baby on the way. So I will put that dream on hold and do other creative things with my children – inspired by the Artful Parent! Thanks so much for all you do! And keep on adding your very talented voice to the birdsong in the blogging forest.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    And here I was, wishing I was Jean from the Artful Parent! Why do we all do this to ourselves? You are amazing and I come to your blog often to get good ideas for craft projects with my two children. Thank you for being you!!!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    We do what we are good at/what we enjoy with our children. I’ve planned so many educational activities with my children that I’ve never followed through on. But we read a lot of books, count everything, randomly do adding and subtracting, and talk about geography. I’ve accepted that their teachers and their grandmother (a grade one teacher) can do formal teaching. I’ll stick to what I can handle – lots of (your) art projects, lots of time outside, lots of cooking and baking, lots of games, and lots of love.
    You’re a great mom. You can’t do it all so do what you enjoy.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you for saying this. Lately I have found myself feeling inadequate, inferior and insecure as a parent after spending too much time in looking at blogs and Pinterest. I don’t blog. I frequently send my kids out to play just so I have a few minutes of quiet. And, most days, I barely manage to get the laundry done and food on the table. Your post was a good reminder that I don’t have to be just like the amazing bloggers that I follow; I’m just me and that’s okay too. So, I thank you for the reminder and taking some of the pressure off.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Wouldn’t want you to be anything else – love your blog and your work!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    That was awesome………. :)

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    that’s beautiful, jean! you know we all love you for exactly who you are and what you do. and there are hundreds of moms out there who wish they were as cool as you, i’m sure! xoxoxo

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Oh Jean, we don’t want you to be anyone else! We come here because of YOU! Because of your strengths, your gifts, your inspiration, your authenticity, your voice…not anyone else’s!
    May I suggest stepping away from reading other blogs for a bit? It can be so easy to compare and find ourselves lacking, but that’s not real. Maybe these other women aren’t so fabulously put together as they seem; maybe they are and I just don’t want to know. Spare yourself and your feelings, and just enjoy being you with the strengths and gifts you have. We appreciate you!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you, everyone, for all of your thoughtful and kind words! It’s been a tearful day for me, but your comments and thoughts brought the good kind of tears. Thank you. We all just need to be the best self we can be, right?

  • Reply
    October 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Thank you for this post! We can be lost in our ‘not’ and I hope to be more celebratory about all that we are :)
    I truly enjoy you just the way you are :)

  • Reply
    Hannah @ Making Boys Men
    October 13, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Ooooooh, please don’t change your blog! Where else would I go for such great inspiration! My sister isn’t really into blogs she told me she only reads two, mine (compulsory as she’s my sister, I may have even subscribed her myself!) and yours! Who needs amazing dinners and perfect parenting, you’re creating memories – at least that’s what I tell myself when I have to push the paints out the way in my kitchen to make room for the frozen pizza!! Thanks for all your inspiration!

  • Reply
    Ashlea Walter
    October 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I think this might be one of my favorite posts. Thank you for your honesty and your ability to be so humble and inspiring and likeable all at the same time. I always try to remind myself when I’m reading those other blogs that sometimes make me feel inadequate (I know, it’s ME and not THEM, ahem, anyway), that they are changing diapers and cleaning up messes too. It’s not perfect like it looks in a carefully and beautifully-curated blog. It’s just a tiny snippet.
    I’d rather have paint on the dining room table anyway. Most of the time!

  • Reply
    Ashlea Walter
    October 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    p.s. kids need to play outside more anyway!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Jean, I have so much to say to you right now, I hope I can get it all out of my head!!
    First, thank goodness you are you and NOT like those other blogs. YOUR blog is my favorite blog and yes, I am envious of your creativity and wish I did more projects with Naomi, and often feel the feelings you described above when on YOUR blog!! However, one thing to me that sets you apart from many of the other blogs is I truly feel you are keeping it real. Your spirit, and the essence of who you are, the good times and the bad, shine through……… are a whole person, not some shining ideal we all have at times of the perfect life or American dream. You have an endearing quality and ARE the perfectly perfect Jean!
    I have felt guilty for being stressed as a mother of only one child. And have gotten the looks from other mothers of more children because they think I have it easy. But the truth is, everyone handles the amount that they are able to, and for some, they seem to be able to do it all. I have for the most part come to terms with that not being me, and that I need looking inward to make sure I keep stress low, because that’s what is best for me!
    Thank you so much for posting this. I have often felt in-adequate because of my blog reading……..or from looking at the perfectly decorated houses on Pinterest, etc. You’ve actually given me encouragement to take stock of the good things I do in my life. And remember not to compare myself to others. Off to have a “life is good just as it is kind of day!”

  • Reply
    October 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I think you have a lot to be proud of! Don’t worry about being anyone but YOU. You’re loved in the blog world and your work IS valued! xox

  • Reply
    October 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Love you just the way you are, have for years! I’m glad you’re not the pioneer woman and many others because I relate to you much more!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    October 14, 2012 at 1:00 am

    I agree and often have the same feelings. I follow the other blogs too, but am most inspired by yours. If you were to look around our home and creative spaces they have been shaped by ideas you have shared. I have hosted art playdates and created (and pinned) many of your activities. Yours is the blog we most relate to and are grateful for. Thank you for being you and sharing with your readers.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

    You are unique and creative mama and your blog has so much to offer and inspire. Of course , you are not any of those ladies, it would be shame if you were, there would be no “The Artful Parent’ Blog, and believe me lots of moms and families would really miss that. So continue your journey through motherhood and art, and please share and inspire others to do so :). Thank you for being you :).

  • Reply
    October 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    All the points you made in your post are exactly WHY I follow your blog. If you bought a chicken coup and started constantly posting recipes I would move on. Please don’t change – just keep inserting creativity into the world in your own way. I am an art teacher who refers to your blog for my classes and with my own children. I do so because you remain true to the process – revealing mistakes and do-overs along the way. Isn’t that what the artistic process is all about? Isn’t that what parenting is all about? I don’t need another pretty product. I need to know that this creative journey is a shared one.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Um just noticed my spelling error in “chicken coop” above. My bad. However, if you did start a “coup” of any sort that would be worth blogging about:)

  • Reply
    October 14, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I love your posts. :)

  • Reply
    October 15, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Love your post! I was just thinking about this earlier today – and about how I wish I could find more time to be like you and put more art what I do with my kids. But I have to be me and get by best I can as myself!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Jean, I’ve been meaning to get on the computer and tell you how much I love this post. (I read it on my phone and commenting on the phone is not at all easy for me!) I can completely relate to what you are saying, I often look around my house and think – what exploded in here! And the thing about having random ideas, totally happens all the time (like that email I sent to you the other day about ice cubes as mosaic pieces in the winter…oh I hope it snows this year!) Anyway, I love all those blogs you mentioned, but love your blog especially for what it is and who you are!!! :)

  • Reply
    October 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Very well said…. it’s hard to read other’s blogs and not compare ourselves. I love your blog and your ideas. I love Pioneer Women! She’s awesome, if you haven’t read her novel yet, read it! Sublime distraction :) Thanks for not trying to be anyone you are not. We all have something to give, and there isn’t one perfect way to parent, cook, and “BE”. Thanks for sharing! When my kids were all little (some still are) I had tons of time and energy and ideas to get art into their everyday lives. Now that I have a Senoir, Sophmore, 8th, 6th, 3rd, K, and preschooler…. it’s all I can do to volunteer in their classrooms! I developed an art curriculum for elementary schools, I would love to have you check out our website. It’s a great way to get into the schools and bring art to everyone through a parent volunteer. Again, Love your post… great ideas and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing. is my site

  • Reply
    Debbie Rosenkranz
    October 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    okay lets get real…I think we all wish we could blog like all of the above wonderul ladies (YOURSELF INCLUDED)let alone live their seemingly perfect lives, but we are all just doing what we can and wishing for alittle bit more of what seems to be perfect. Day by day…hey at least you have a blog. Some of us don’t even have the courage for that. ahhh, maybe one day.
    Your blog is pretty GREAT too, so give yourself a big hug and a pat on the back!!!

  • Reply
    Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree
    October 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    You have a great blog and you are who you are…. Many parents, teachers, bloggers, and countless others look up to your blog in the way you look up to all the blogs you mention. Thanks for your inspiration each week. Don’t change anything.

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    Katherine Collmer
    October 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Jan, you have gotten me inspired again about using art and “simple creativity” in my sessions with children. Please keep us inspired:) And thanks for being so awesome about sharing the blogs of others that you have learned and grown with. That was “artful” indeed!

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    October 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

    This is such a brilliant post and you are such a brilliant woman — like you just the way you are and can totally relate to your thoughts here, only I add to my list that “I am not the brilliant artful momma.” Truth is, we all have our gifts and isn’t blogging a wonderful way to share and experience moments from each other’s lives?
    Anyhow, just had to drop you a note to tell you how much I enjoy your blog.

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    Jean Van't Hul
    October 16, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Thank you everyone! I’m still reading and loving your comments! You’re the best!

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    October 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I just felt I needed to add my own I love your blog comment… I do!! Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I haven’t commented in like a year but oh, I so get this and so many times I think I want to be like you (and all the others you mentioned). And then, like you, I remember who I am and what our little family is.
    THANK YOU for your inspiration. Thank you for being you and blogging.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    It’s so easy to compare us to others and feel that we lack something… I constantly do that, even do I know it’s wrong. I cannot imagine you feel that, you have such a wonderful blog, you are full of creativity and wonderful ideas!!. The way I understand and approach children art now wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for you. I owe you so much for that. Your blog is definitely authentic, interesting, creative and fun, you don’t need to be anyone else, we love you as you are.

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    October 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas. I am so so glad you are the Artful Parent.
    No need to compare yourself to any of the other bloggers. Always remember how amazing you are!

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    Darcy Troutman
    October 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    thank you for continually inspiring us!! i loved this post!

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    Curly Birds
    October 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

    How many times I’ve looked at your blog and thought… I wish I was more artful, and had a book coming out, and lived in the NC mountains.
    Your blog exudes friendliness, honesty, loving support of your girls, and artsy fun. I love it so.

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    Pink and Green Mama MaryLea
    October 18, 2012 at 11:09 am

    love, love, love.
    love the post.
    love your blog.
    love you and your beautiful family.

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    October 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Oh, this made me cry. Thank you for sharing your wonderful self on your blog. I’m just going to be me today!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    You are my go-to lady for all things KID CREATIVE. You have brought art back into my life, made it very easy and accessible for anyone with a child, no art degree needed. And FYI, I get more “you’re a great mom!” compliments due to the kid art projects around my house than I do thanks to the PW dinners I make! ;P THANK YOU for what you have brought to my life!

  • Reply
    Catherine Chapman
    October 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I love this post! And I feel the same way… ;p

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    October 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    This is such an awesome post!! And you are funny–this post proves it ;-) I grew up with back-to-the land parents I especially giggled at that part. I love your blog and am so glad you are you and that your blog is just the way it is!

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    November 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Haha – it is so funny that you write this, because I had a moment like that when my son was just a toddler (so, about a year and a half ago) when I saw all the art that you were doing with your kids, all the little crafty things you had displayed in your house, all the stuff you cooked and sewed. I felt like such a failure for not doing any of these things! Of course, I was sleep deprived before my son started sleeping through the night at 18 months, so everything seemed more dire, in general :)

  • Reply
    November 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I love this post! You have obviously stuck a chord with all of us readers! Wouldn’t it be boring if all the great mom blogs were the same? You are awesome and your blog is awesome because it is a true reflection of you and your talents (and your children’s talents).
    So thanks!

  • Reply
    The Belvedere- Alyssa
    November 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Wow! What a great, wonderfully written article. Coming from a non-momma I think everyone can really relate to this feeling of ‘why not’ or ‘why can’t i be’. Why can’t I be raising chickens, why can’t i be whipping up perfectly fitting garments on the sewing machine, why can’t i be juicing my heart out and losing weight while doing it? Really puts things in perspective, we’re all just perfect as we are. :)

  • Reply
    January 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Love it!

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    January 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Love, love this post.

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    January 22, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Just found your blog through pinterest and I already have 8 different posts open from your site, waiting for me to read them. So far, I love what I see! I am familiar with only a few of the other mentioned sites, and I agree that they are wonderful, but a little creepy. Do people really live like that?
    We prefer the mess and clutter that our creativity brings :0)

  • Reply
    January 26, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I love your site and apparently you struck a chord with many of us. We all fall into the comparing malady from time to time and sometimes I actually have to just not read blogs for a few days to focus on the gift of my own life, imperfect as it is. Thanks for sharing your many, many gifts with us.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2013 at 11:33 am

    You may just be the best kind of homeschooler. If you haven’t watched Sir Ken Robinson’s talk “Do schools kill creativity?”, you should.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Wow what an amazing journey! I love your blog thanks so much for all the inspiration!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Thank you for sharing. I was literally just complaining about how I wish I was one of those moms that always knew what to make for every meal at home and their kids ate everything well. It helps to simply know I’m not a strange specimen or failure and there are other women who sometimes struggle with these thoughts and insecurities. It helps put into perspective the individuality we all have and should embrace.

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