an open letter to a homeschooling mother

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Dear mother, I’ve been thinking lately about the looming school year and also about this oppressive heat, how every living thing seems to wither under it. “And consider, always, every day, the determination of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles,” my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, wrote in her Evidence poem. And I can relate, as […]

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simply living | a webinar to clarify your daily routine

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. ― Mary Oliver On my personal (and familial) quest to live more simply, I have learned one overarching truth: simple and easy are not always the same. Living simply requires thoughtful…
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nurturing the whole self | unplugging

Consider the regular practice of unplugging a cleanse for the soul, an opportunity to listen to both yourself and others in a different way. Like many thirty-somethings, I am old enough to remember life prior to the internet, before…
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a sample meal plan for summer

I regularly have people ask me how I plan our family meals, and also how I include the kids in the kitchen. I've been working on a small upcoming project regarding this topic, which I'll have more on soon, but for now, I thought I'd share…
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for the weekend | an outing to the garden shop

When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness. I would almost say that they save me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope…
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cultivating kindness in children

A simple act or word of kindness can be a light for the soul, so can be a listening ear. From personal experience, the two are not entirely separate. During those playful and harrowing toddler and preschool years, it didn’t take long for…
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for the weekend | eight watermelon recipes

Today marks the beginning of a new month and a long holiday weekend here. We're packing up again to travel and visit family, and also to find ways to keep cool in this Southern heat. When the weather grows this stifling, it seems our family only…
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packing light | family travel with economy

Deciding what is essential to pack for each family trip can feel like simplifying a complex math equation, one that includes a limited travel budget, growing children, and shifting weather. Roughly nine years ago, when I had three babies…
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saving seeds from the home garden

We didn't plant a spring garden this year, minus a few yukon gold potato plants (which we've already harvested) and a handful of herbs. The spring felt heavy with projects around our home, and I felt the need to let the soil and my management…

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Cloistered Away is a lifestyle blog, focused on simple, purposeful family living, written by Bethany Douglass.

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