Sometimes, the only time we have to get anything done is while our kids are napping. Check out the 9 tasks that will help you leverage this precious time, as well as 13 ways to keep older (or more stubborn) kids occupied.


Don’t Put Unnecessary Limitations On Your Children


On a 13 on Thursday post, I created a list of 13 ways to build creativity in your children, and decided that it would make for a great series! So this is the 1st post, based on the first item on the list (not placing unnecessary limitations on your children)… next will be the 2nd item, and so on. Enjoy!

Recently I saw a post about a sustainable plastic wrap alternative, made from beeswax… cool huh? Having never run into this sort of product, I started reading the comments to see if anyone had used it/liked it (they had!)… but then I found a comment that stopped me in my tracks.

People were posting their non-traditional uses for this Bee’s Wrap, and one lady said that her 6 year old son (who has some kind of condition that affects his coordination) uses the wrap to stabilize his knife when he’s helping her cut vegetables for dinner.

Most of the responses were encouraging, but there was one lady who replied in horror that this woman would allow her son to use a knife, because children shouldn’t be in the kitchen helping at that age.

Stop right there. (Generalizations ahead, not applying to all persons… just a very, very, large number.)

Did you know that we have an entire generation that doesn’t know how to balance their own budget, because no one’s ever taught them to manage money?

We have a generation that doesn’t know how to cook, because they’ve grown up on pre-packaged, microwaved, or fast food.

We have a generation that doesn’t know how to make a bed, do laundry, or even hold a civil conversation. 

We have adults, who are ill-prepared for being adults, to the point that books are being written to teach someone how to be an adult. And why? Because we’ve created a culture that enables this mentality. No one loses games…. everyone gets a trophy! Children can’t play in their backyard, without nasty neighbors calling social services to claim neglect. No one’s precious little angels are held accountable in school… blame the teachers! And it goes on and on.

Let’s travel back in time about 200 years…

Children had chores… and they didn’t even get an allowance. Shockingly, they were expected to do chores as a member of the family.

They collected eggs.

They milked cows (or goats).

They helped in the garden.

They sewed. (Psssst… they weren’t using “safety needles”)

Children as young as 6 were learning to knit, and those too young to knit were carding wool.

And you don’t even have to go back 200 years to see this… click here to see a picture of Shirley Temple knitting as a young girl… I have friends who have farms, and children still collect eggs, and milk cows, and such.

So you may be curious what this has to do with creativity…

This woman was shocked that someone would allow their less-able child to learn to cook, when she wouldn’t allow her fully-able children to help her in the kitchen. But that’s not a limitation of the child’s skill… it’s a limitation that she arbitrarily placed on them. 

Can every child help at that age? No… Should they cook unsupervised at that age? No…

But is it true that no child can help at that age? Certainly not. The very best training happens at a young age, and it starts with attitude. Teach them that the worst boundaries they ever encounter, will be the ones they allow to be placed on them. 

13 Ways to Build Creativity in Your Kids

I was originally going to go into depth on these… but then I realized I’m very passionate about this, and it would turn into quite a lengthy post. So, look out for 13 posts (1 on each topic) going into more detail about this. 🙂 If you don’t want to miss any of these posts, you can subscribe up top, or stalk my FB page.

1. Don’t put unnecessary limitations on them.

2. Create an art box.

3. Don’t pressure them to live out your dreams.

4. Have multi-use toys.

5. Expose them to creativity in various forms.

6. Discourage boredom (but don’t fill their time either).

7. Teach your child that creativity lives beyond most people’s boxes.

8. Discourage perfection (yes I said it).

9. Don’t make comparisons between them and their siblings (or friends).

10. Raise them to believe that you can make a living with art.

11. But remind them that it doesn’t have to be monetized.

12. Encourage silliness (and play silly games)!

13. Be creative around them.


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13 on Thursday: 13 Reasons I’m Excited About My New Erin Condren Planner

Recently I purchased my very first Erin Condren planner, and I posted on social media about it. Instantly I had people commenting to tell about why they love it, and how much it was going to rock my world. I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve had it just a few days, and I’m already pretty stoked!


1. It comes in a pretty box

Forgive the smudgies… it did come through the mail, which tends grime things up a bit. But isn’t it nice getting pretty mail? I love any company that makes me happy before opening their stuff… like Ipsy* or Photojojo.

2. Great customer service

I’d heard that there are bonuses that they give to first time orders… but I signed up on her list ages ago, and no longer have my code. So I emailed them, and within 24 hours they’d already gotten back to me with the info I needed.

3. Arrived reasonably quickly

I used to hear horror stories about how long it would take to arrive. Apparently that is no longer the case, unless you’re ordering from overseas. Yay!


4. It’s got my name on it

There’s just something about personalized items…

5. And a pretty cover (that I picked)

Isn’t that lace pretty?

6. You can switch covers

Not that I really think I will, but it’s nice to know I have the option. 😀


7. It came with pretty stickers

I love that it even comes with a sticker to remind you to vote… it’s a patriotic planner! 😀

8. You can order more stickers on Etsy

Go type Erin Condren stickers into the search box of Etsy, and you’ll be met with a smörgåsbord of options. Look out for an upcoming post where I tell you what I settled on!

9. You can pick between colorful pages or black & white

I went with black and white, because I know that between stickers, gel pens, and washi tape, I’ll have plenty of color in there. But if you prefer to have a color background, and write in black, they’ve got that option too!


10. It has inspirational watercolor-style pages

I love this so much…. any planner that has pretty little pick-me-ups through out it, will definitely grab my attention. It’s one of the things that drew me to Happy Planners too!

11. There’s a big community on Instagram

Okay this is a more minor benefit, but still… when you post pics to Instagram, it’s nice to know that there are thriving hashtags in place.

12. There’s a monthly calendar AND a weekly 2-page spread

I love the ability to write my very “at a glance” sort of things in the month, and then dive into the details for the week!


13. Plenty of writing space

I love that it has lots of room to write, and the paper is thick enough that I can use gel pen. I have run into issues with that, in other planners.

And now for the fun part!


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13 on Thursday: 13 New Changes to Cheeky Visionaries

Back in the day, I had no business… just a regular old ordinary blog. Okay just kidding. Nothing I do is ordinary (bwahaha), but I did have a blog.

One of my favorite things about blogging back then, was blog memes. Now when you say “meme” most people picture Ryan Gosling saying “Hey girl“. But for those of us bloggers, a meme referred to a themed post with a linkup. Like “Wordless Wednesday” were everyone would post just a photo.

One of my favorites was Top 10 Tuesday. But after a while, the host turned it over to another blogger, who later teamed up with another blogger, who later took it over… and now it solely exists in the realm of homeschool bloggers.

And while I DO homeschool, I don’t want to ONLY make lists of homeschool stuff. So I looked. There are a few Top 10 variations, but they’re mostly hosted by book bloggers (look for that to reappear on my book blog The Well Read Unicorn).


So here we are… after chatting with my Mom, and a few other souls who remember the good-ole days (and I can say that! I’ve been blogging since LiveJournal…. ooooooh!), I decided to start my own, 13 on Thursday. This also gave me the kick in the pants to finalize some changes I’ve been working on around here.

1. Fresh new look to the site…

  • Tweak on the colors
  • New, airier theme
  • More room for my photos 🙂

There’s still a few kinks to work out, but it’s a start!

2. Virtual assistance has been removed from my services

At least for now… I’ve got a full VA roster at the moment, so a waitlist will be created soon, in case I add more clients down the road. But for now, my focus will be on supporting creative mamas who are ready to conquer the world.


3. More geekiness

It’s a well established fact, that I relish the worlds in geek-dom… Firefly, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, (but no BSG). But it’s not something that gets referenced all that often on my blog. No more! I will be letting my pop-culture flag fly high, and feeling free to drop references to the books, movies, and shows that capture my affection.

4. More short posts

Most of my peeps are busy. Mama, entrepreneurs… heck just being a woman is busy. And I’m aware that you/we/I don’t always have time to devour a super-long post, so stay tuned for a better mix of posts, including some video, some longer-form, and some shorter ones.

5. More sassafrass

Despite having the word “cheeky”, I’ve been afraid to let too much snark fly. I’ve seen some bloggers fly straight over the line of sarcasm/sass, right over into territory that I find to be inappropriate. So I shied completely away from being cheeky, because I was afraid of being classed with bloggers like that.

But here’s the deal… my personality type is snarky (INTJ), I’m snarky, and my some of my favorite comedians have a very dry/wry sense of humor (Jim Gaffigan being high on the list). But don’t worry, you won’t find me talking about my sex life (ever), or joking about my kids being a-holes (seriously!?), or bombing my posts with strong language.

6. No more comments about me being an INFP

You may have noticed above, that I referenced being an INTJ. We figured out that I had been mistyped… there were some facets of INFP that were very much me (now we know it’s where the IN part is), but as my sister likes to point out… I’m very judgey. Not in a “judgemental” sense (something many people misunderstand about the J part of MBTI), but more in a “I make instant assessments”. J’s are also the listy/planny people… 😀

Actually, hilariously enough, when I was re-testing, and questioning if I’m “truly” a list person (because I don’t always remember to use my to-do lists), my sister pointed out that I have an Evernote list of the MBTI types of other members of our family. Ha!

7. Less “business with a blog”, more “blog with a business”

I love the more personal feel that mom-bloggers, craft-bloggers, etc., and I want to evoke that feel on here. So yes, I will still have coaching, ebooks, etc., but it won’t take up the majority of my blogging/social media/networking time.


Flower and brushes

8. More peeks into my creative side

I have a vast array of creative pursuits, which very rarely make appearances on here. But I don’t just work with creatives… I’m a creative soul too! I love seeing what other people are up to, so I’m hoping you feel the same way. 🙂 And I’m taking a class on a new creative skill, I’ll share the deets here, so you can join me if you like!

9. Change to coaching style

Previously, I’ve done a monthly group coaching program, and one-on-ones… my one-on-ones were just for general creative coaching, or general business coaching.

Coming soon: I’ll be opening up limited time slots for very niched coaching (such as: creating systems to prepare your business to take on a virtual assistant). For any group programs, I’m looking at more of 1x virtual workshop feel, as opposed to monthly programs. We can dig in as a group on another (specific) topic, and have fun!

I adore monthly programs, but as a mom of 5 kiddos, I was running myself ragged trying to keep up with all of it. So I’m creating programs that will work better with my crazy life, and hopefully better with your crazy life too! 🙂

10. More community building

Coming soon: Interviews, features, and guest posts! I want to build a tight community of creatives, and shine a light on the amazing things you’re doing out there!

11. More about running a biz with kids

This is probably one of the biggest questions I get… how do you run a business with 5 kids?… especially when they find out that we homeschool too. I’m not super-woman I swear, but I have been fairly quiet about this aspect. Mostly out of the assumption, that it wouldn’t make a very interesting topic… but it’s my life! Plus, I think it would be helpful to other mamas, if I drop the curtain, and remove the mystery from this aspect of my business.

12. More about my kids in general

So it may have been mentioned a time or two in this post… but I have 5 kids. They are (obviously) a HUGE part of my life… but again, I’ve shied away from really talking about my kids. But then a business friend of mine (shout-out Mayi) mentioned that she loves my Facebook posts about my kids.

I know a lot of people who think kids are boring, but they’re anything but… my 3 year old has said things that have had be laughing my face off. Even my husband, who’s not very active on social media, will frequently say “that’s totally going on Facebook, isn’t it?”

So watch out for wackiness from my kidlets, cause they’re a hoot, and with all the crazy in the world, we could all use a laugh, right?


13. This feature…

It’s a party, and you’re invited! Each week, pick a topic, and post about 13 things related to the topic of your choice: 13 jobs I’ve had, 13 things no one knows about me, 13 of my favorite books, 13 things I loved when I was 13… anything! The only thing I ask, is that you keep it PG. 🙂

Then you just come here, and add it to the linky! <3

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7 Creativity Boosting Coloring Books (that will look cool in your pillow fort)

I love coloring books. There. I said it.

Just kidding, that really didn’t need declaring, yet somehow we feel the need to clarify that we’re using “adult coloring books”, or “Prismacolor pencils”, or *insert expensive art supply here*. Or it’s declared, but as a defiant joke… “I’m tired of adulting, so I’m gonna make a pillow fort and color!”

What if you can color, without needing to justify? What if I told you, that it’s a perfectly legitimate creative outlet? It’s a great thing to do with your kids? You can even use it to practice things like shading, or color theory. Shocking right?

Of course not. You’re a freaking rockstar unicorn, so you already know this. I’m just going to tell you a few of my favorite things coloring books, so you can join me in the big coloring party in my pillow fort. (Shhhh there’s even Play-Doh, and cookies!)

1. Lost Ocean

I know, you thought I was gonna go for Secret Garden, but I actually like this one a teeny bit more… I think maybe I’m a pirate at heart. Arrrrrrggh!!

2. Creative Coloring Inspirations

You can actually find that first page for free, but there’s 29 other adorable designs inside, and best of all? One sided! So if you want to pull these out (and they’re perforated!), you can color these with marker (just put some scrap papers under, because it WILL bleed through).

3. Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs

I just picked this one up, so I haven’t done much with it, but I had a blast with an eagle design inside. It’s not quite finished, but you can always stalk my Instagram to see the completed page.

4. Secret Paris: Color Your Way to Calm

This is one of the very few on the list I didn’t buy myself (one I don’t own at all yet, and another is on pre-order). My sweet friend/client (aren’t those the best clients?) bought it for me when I went to go see her at CreativeLive. She bought coloring books for all of the audience members, but she carefully chose which ones went to which person!

5. Vive Le Color! Japan

Okay, fair warning… I don’t own this book, YET. I actually just found it when I was pulling up the other books on this list. You should know (since some of the reviewers didn’t read the info) that this is 7″ x 7″, so it’s smaller than some of them had anticipated. But why I’m super intrigued? It’s rubber-glue bound AT THE TOP, so it’s leftie friendly too! And these are single sided, so if you want to take them off and marker/watercolor, you can! (Again, put scraps underneath, because I don’t know how thick the paper is.)

6. Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition and Coloring Book for Adults

This is the second Johanna Basford coloring book on the list, and I don’t own it. But to be fair, it’s not even out yet… I’m pre-ordering it, and it comes out just before my birthday (it’s my birthday present to me!).

7. Day of the Dead Coloring Book

Okay no one ever said that unicorns can’t dig the weird and wonderful, right? I’m totally fascinated by Dia de Muertos (which for the record is a wholly misunderstood holiday), and these sugar skulls are a blast to color. It’s a great opportunity to go crazy with colors!


Okay, so give me the goodies… what’s YOUR favorite coloring book right now?

**Yes. If you buy from these links, I’ll get a tiny kick-back. Enough for extra pillows, crayons, and world domination.​**

What Happens When You Learn That You’re An Artist?

Quite frankly, I don’t remember what it’s like to not be able to read. I don’t remember what it’s like to not know my colors, or numbers, or how to cook. Education is an incredible thing… it not only changes your future, but it re-shapes your past.

Me reading
Wasn’t I cute?

A similar (and most interesting) thing happens when you go on a voyage of self-discovery. You’ll take a personality test, or someone will make an off-hand comment that brings something to your awareness, and all at once you’re both shocked to discover it’s true, and boggled that you never realized it before.

For example, I recently had a session with my business coach where she pointed out that one of my number one hindrances to my personal productivity, is that I feel compelled to solve everyone‘s problems. Right now you may be thinking that it’s my job to handle my client’s problems, or my family’s problems… but no…

She really does mean everyone. And it’s true.

If I overhear someone ask a question, I want to help them find the answer.

If someone off-handedly mentions that someone in a TV show looks familiar, I have to look it up.

If someone in a Facebook group asks a question that even begins to be in my random storehouse of knowledge, I want to help them.

If one of my friends creates a program, I want to jump in so I can support them.

At one point, I was in almost half a dozen Instagram challenges, because I wanted to support every friend of mine that was running one. Did I mention that I was running my own at the time? You know what happened? Almost none of them got done, including my own. Boooooo hisssss.

When I told my Mom about the conversation, she started laughing. “Boy she’s really got your number”, she said. I would have protested, but I’d already realized it was true. Over the course of the next week, I had to tell myself “no!” on about half a dozen courses, 3 month-long challenges, and a couple more Instagram challenges. I have issues, man.

In another conversation with that same business coach, she mentioned me being an idea person, and how I need to really focus down and keep my eye on the prize. It may come as a shock to you, but despite the fact that I’ve brainstormed half a dozen courses, a dozen future Cheeky Guide topics, a monthly Instagram challenge, and any number of other things… I was blissfully unaware that I’m an idea person.

It gets even more hilarious, if you know that I’m an INFP. An INFP is literally categorized as an “idea generator”.

I can’t make this stuff up… don’t you feel normal now?

So something I’ve never grasped for myself, is being an artist. I’ve been called an artist (or artistic) probably most of my life. When I was young I was praised for my very neat coloring, and it won me a stuffed animal (can’t recall if it was my Mickey or my Big Bird… I had a lot of stuffed animals as a kid). I had a book about drawing horses and prided myself on how quickly I picked up drawing them… I even showed them to our hometown artist (who specialized in drawing/painting horses).

I paint, draw, doodle, crochet, knit (a little), photograph, write, sing, story-tell, quill, cross stitch, hand letter, color, write calligraphy, cook…

Crocheting | What Happens When You Learn That You're An Artist? | Amanda Sue Howell |


Okay so I’m not trying to brag here…. I really just want to paint a picture, because it should have been obvious to me, but it wasn’t. Not until I wrote about the undervaluing of artisans last week. It’s a topic I feel very strongly about, and I’ve ranted about it in person dozens of times, but never really on my blog. And when I did, I had an instantaneous response. One person even asked if they could gush over one of the sentences. Gush. Over something I wrote?

The more I thought about my post, and the more response I got to it, the more I realized why it’s such a fire-inducing topic to me. Because I am an artist. Me. An artist. Who knew?

Uhhhh basically everybody but me.

I am an artist.

Seriously though, there’s something special that happens when you step into what you’re designed to do. In my case, I’ve colored more in the last week than I have in months. And you might say that coloring isn’t “technically” an artistic endeavor. In which case I’d say that I dare you to google “johanna basford coloring tutorials” and tell me some of those people aren’t freaking artists.

Lisa Frank Ship | What Happens When You Learn That You're An Artist? | Amanda Sue Howell |

But it’s not just the coloring. I’m feeling inspired to step back art forms I haven’t played with in months, or even years, because I didn’t feel like I could justify it. It was something I could do in my “spare” time. Have you ever noticed that spare time doesn’t really exist? We humans are experts at finding ways to whittle away every second we have with busywork.

So I ask you, will you join me in this journey? We’re closing out the first quarter of March, and I’m ending it with a beautiful discovery. I plan to spend the rest of 2016, discovering what my true bent (or bents… yay for multipods!) is/are. If you’re a fellow artist, I’d love for you to declare it in the comments below… shout it out, loud and proud. Link to something you’ve made!