our homeschool in pictures | March

  Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. ― A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh _____________________________ spring herbs + tales of Benjamin Bunny a small lesson about finding God in the ordinariness the…

morning tricks: a story of kale + gruyere quiche

Yesterday morning began harrowed, everyone impatient and on guard, like the friction of too many short notes held together. Even on my best mornings those emotions can be exhausting to direct, but on this morning I too felt myself sucked in,…

for the weekend | an easy handmade bread

Every Friday evening, our family shares communion together during our Sabbath meal. I love the concreteness of communion, the plainness of the metaphor. God found in the most ordinary and humble place of crushed, fermented grapes and a…

on perfectionism, vulnerability, and motherhood

On the first day of this year, I woke up long before the sunrise, seized with anxiety. The same thoughts were spinning circles through me again, doubting my abilities as a mother and educator, doubting my work here, doubting whether I'm good…

for the weekend | favorite books on parenting

Weekends are always the best time for personal reading. On Saturdays, I tend to stay in my PJs longer and often meander back into my bed with coffee and a book, a small gratitude with having older children. A couple of people have recently…

the slow unfolding work of home and heart

We moved into our cozy 1920s home two years ago this month, although it hardly feels two years of work have passed. When we purchased the property, the house was neglected and unsavory, stained from leaky faucets and uncleaned dirt. Indoors,…

our homeschool in pictures | february

“Why else do any of this if not to become who we want to be?” ― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See __________________________ planting potatoes, the first of our spring garden handmade valentines journaling about expectation; working…



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


Checking on our garden cabbage and listening to Olive sing a song about love and enchiladas—a lyricist in the making. 😂
It's cold and rainy outside today, and I'm building Platonic solids with Liam. Burke is still tucked in his bed reading The Lord of the Rings, and the girls are in the other room pretending to be on a rescue mission of some sort, deciding to capture their enemy instead of hurting them. ☺️ #cloisteredaway_homeschooling
A Sunday road trip. Also garden dreams. 🌿
I've been learning much about the importance of personal care this year and plan to unfold more on the blog in the coming weeks. I know it's the weekend and everyone's out and about, but sometimes we need to make space for rest too, especially within family life. On the blog today, I'm sharing my favorite weekend juice recipes and talking a bit about the permission we have to rest. Link in the profile, if you're interested. Happy Saturday (and sorry for the grainy image. 😉) 🌿
We took a break from formal schoolwork this week. I think we all needed the change in rhythm, the room for other things, even simply lying around indoors and out. I find its good on occasion for my children to intentionally have "nothing to do." It gives them the power to create something with the blank canvas of imagination and time. #cloisteredaway_homeschooling  #simpleparenting
We're planning to re-design the  kids' rooms this summer in effort to give each a little more privacy within their shared spaces. I've been scouring the online classifieds looking for old bed frames and am completely inspired by the layered linens in the latest #schoolhouseelectric catalogue. Each of them have unanimously requested shelves and light near their beds for books and bedtime reading, and as Olive is showing me, she would like a tiny lamp just like this. 👆🏻 The projects never end, but I love that they're old enough to now contribute to the conversation, to help make their spaces their own. #thecloisteredtable
A storm's been stirring in my heart the last few days, kicking up the same old anxious thoughts and doubt. Sigh. We mothers can be the hardest on ourselves, demanding much of our minds, souls, and bodies in the process. 2016 is teaching me to be gentler with myself, to offer grace and generous words to myself, just as I would to a friend. Today in lieu of our typical afternoon routine here, I turned on a film for the kids and set about putting away winter sweaters and laundering summer dresses and delicates. It's strange but there's something so soothing for the soul about working with my hands, about the gentle and rote rhythm of folding. I opened the windows and turned on some music and let my soul breathe. Sometimes taking care of the home overlaps with taking care of the self.
I always find Olive walking in the garden, sampling leaves and making salads. Perhaps one day, years from now, I'll be visiting her own home, watching her snip leaves from her garden for dinner. I will remember this.
He spent most of today sanding the front porch (which we plan to stain afterward). This old house is definitely a work of patience, and I'm so grateful for his persistence. We'll get to landscaping at some point. 😉 #theslowrenovation
Toward the end of our date night last night, enjoying drinks together in the backyard. I love the smile lines we're growing in life together.
Trying hard to tidy up our eating a bit again and made raw brownies with berries for dessert instead of our usual cake. If you haven't made them before, they're easy, quick, and  delightful when warmed a bit. 
Raw Brownies
Mix 1.5 c of walnuts and a pinch of salt in a food processor until the nuts are fine. Add 1 cup of pitted medjool dates, 1/3 c of cocoa powder, and a splash of real vanilla extract. Process until well blended. Roll into balls or scoop straight into a bowl. Top with shredded, unsweetened coconut and fresh berries. Happy weekend! #thecloisteredtable
The windows are open, and the day is clear and full of song. It feels a bit miraculous after days of rainy mornings. #tgif