Valentine's date night in

I love date nights at home. Honestly, I'd choose a quiet night at home with Mark over going out almost anytime. We started these dates when our children were babies and went to bed early. It felt expensive and tiresome to regularly set…

our homeschool in pictures | January

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell others. ― Mary Oliver, Sometimes ________________________________ reading lessons on the kitchen floor lettuce snipped from the winter garden a beginning in Latin,…

for the weekend | a winter cocktail

It's Friday, friends! Do you feel a deep sigh of relief, too? The weekend is here, and again I'm ready for it. I'm beginning a new series here this year creatively titled "for the weekend"–I know, how did I ever think of it? Anyhow,…

a gentle beginning to math at home

Although I did well in maths growing up, teaching it is an entirely different story. For me, each class during my childhood to early-adult years was a practice of mastering one section of a puzzle without understanding its connection to…

our family Sabbath meal revisited

Last autumn, our family began practicing a weekly Sabbath meal together, which I wrote about in more detail over here. Six months into this new family tradition, I have a little more to say about both the difficulties and surprises of this…

for the weekend | books on simplicity

For as long as I can remember, Mark and I have used the term simple in relation to some aspect of our life and personal aesthetic. For us it has always been a way to draw attention to quality over quantity, to enjoy having less amid the…

homemade broth | a beginning lesson in economy

Last year, I read Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal for the first time. Subtitled Cooking with Grace and Economy, it was those final words that allured me most. Grace. Economy. Those two words have at times felt at odds with one another…

hello, 2016.

Thank you, thank you for all of your patience while this space has been down the last couple of weeks. The re-organization here certainly took longer than I intended and often mirrored the tidying process in our physical home–clearing one…



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


I've recently realized how much I want the best of every season of life at once: the wisdom of my eighty year old self; the body of my twenty year old self; the whimsy of youth; the grounded-ness of maturity; the simple routines of early motherhood; the quiet independence of later motherhood. The reality is I was never intended to have it all at once. Each season expectantly folds into another. Each one offers a different joy and surprise. The best thing I can do is pause for a moment and give thanks right where I am. Even when that place is a mess. 
Take a deep breath. Do you feel your chest patiently rise and fall? Today you are alive. Gratitude is that simple.
I woke up the kids this morning, and Burke greeted me, "it's hump day!" Haha! We're downhill to the weekend, friends. 🙌  I shared some ideas on le blog for a special Valentine's date night at home because they're truly my favorite kind of date and also a good excuse to eat Spiced Pinot Noir + Goat Cheese turnovers. That's right. Yum. More via the link. And happy humpday! #hatcherymade #thecloisteredtable
Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell others. —Mary Oliver 
I'm reviving an old project on the blog, after finding it buried in my archives. Although the old pictures were somewhat crummy in quality back then, I realized how much I treasured them anyway. They were a gentle reminder of how much growth and change has occurred in all of us on this meandering path of home and education. All to say you can find the January edition of our homeschool in pictures (and books) via the link. Also I hope you all are enjoying some of this delicious winter weather.
The other day, while we were walking, she came beside me and held my hand. After a short while she said, "Mom, I really love you and I hope one day I'm just like you." And then she started talking about something else and ran off, just as if we were talking about the weather. All the while my heart was bursting, and I whispered back, "dearest one, you will be even better." Because it's true. As parents, somewhere deep within us, we know our job is to build foundations for our children to stand on, and eventually, when they are ready, they will grow far beyond our own capacity, far beyond what we can imagine for them. So it is with you, my little songbird.
Sometimes spelling is best practiced on the wall, especially for those with the wiggles. 😉
The kids are bathing now, washing all the day's dirt and outdoor play from their skin. I spent the afternoon in the kitchen testing out a few new recipes and flavors. It's a rare day when I have the kitchen all to myself, without a sidekick or the need to offer instructions. I forget the therapy of working on my own with food—the music, the comforting smells, and my own thoughts. One of the most surprising bits of motherhood was realizing how much time I spend talking with someone else. As an introvert, it's nice when my mouth and ears can rest, when my thoughts can simply follow my hands or float elsewhere altogether.
Some days, I'm overwhelmed by the goodness of being their mother. For all of the time I spend worrying about screwing up as a parent, there's a million redeeming things to say about simply enjoying them right where they are. Children are a gift. And so was today.
Friday always welcomes me with high-fives and hugs, even when all I have left is a heavy sigh in return. The weekend is so good and so is this seasonal cocktail. Recipe is on the blog, if you're interested. And happy weekend, friends! xx #thecloisteredtable
I really love our trees, but I also love how much light comes into our home during the months they are bare. On a different note, we clearly have a book problem in our home and a cleaning day ahead of us—because it's FRIDAY!
January 28. The day was warm enough to open the windows and let the winter light and fresh air flood our home. I stripped our linens for washing while Olive watched her brothers and sister play tag in the yard, pouting a bit because she had no one to play dolls with her.
I've never really had the same intuition about numbers that I do with language, so I was a tad terrified about math when we first began homeschooling. For any of you in the early stage of this journey and feeling the same, I wrote down some ways to gently introduce maths within your own home. In short: don't be afraid. Link in the profile. xx
We're off to a slow start this morning, which sometimes feels refreshing, doesn't it? These two are setting up their daily math facts race against the timer, while I begin reading lessons with the youngest, and the oldest writes out Latin vocab cards. The sun is bright, my husband is just now home from a work trip, and tonight we have a long overdue date night. Wednesday's looking good, friends. 🙌