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…



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


My children often tease me that I'm trying to allure koalas with all of the fresh eucalyptus we keep around our home. This week I dried some of the leaves to make lavender + eucalyptus sachets for our winter closets and drawers. It was easy and a great way to further use a plant I love. More on the blog if you're wanting to add some natural, gentle scents to your own closets this season.
This winter weather has been an absolute dream, reminding us springtime is lingering just around the corner. Today the kids and I are heading to a small class with a local master gardener to learn about growing potatoes. We're definitely amateur gardeners over here, so every little lesson helps. Do you have any favorite gardening resources to share with us? 🌿
Shadow play, on our way to a birthday lunch with Nina.
Good morning, friends! I shared some more thoughts on introversion, motherhood, and the homeschool on the blog this morning, including a few bits in how I've made room for solitude in our busy home over the years. I hope it's an encouragement. xx
When we first began #homeschooling, I regularly tried to project how it would look if we continued. How could a variety of ages and needs be met at the same time? Years later, I still don't have a specific answer. Some days it works like clockwork, and other days seem to crash on us. What I do know is the crashing days happen less as they grow older, so mamas with littles: be encouraged. 
For the moment, one is sketching and labeling the human digestive system. One is illustrating and writing the life cycle of a frog. One is diagramming a sentence from her Oz book. And the youngest is copying and illustrating a sentence from her read-a-loud. I'm going to tiptoe to the other room and try not to jinx it. #cloisteredaway_homeschooling
Keeping a home is hard work, especially when we are busy living in it all the time. My children sigh at these jobs just as much as the next, but I hope in all of their little household tasks they are building a lifelong habit—not of keeping a perfect home, but one in how to take care. We're all a work in progress over here. 😉
Every Sunday morning, I find a quiet spot to think about and plan the upcoming week: what activities we have scheduled, what books we'll read, what writing or art projects might match up, what I want to write about, and so on. I know this sort of time makes some people yawn with boredom, but it helps give me a clearer mind and focus in the busyness of our days. Add warm morning light, hot coffee, and fresh blueberry scones with lemon curd, and this time become a personal retreat. #itsthelittlethings
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. 😉