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…

for the weekend | a family day hike

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity. ― John Muir, Our National Parks We live in Central Texas, far from foothills…

homemade mayonnaise three ways

Although I've mentioned literary influences in the kitchen a few times in this space, I've been most influenced by my younger [and more talented] sister, Kristen. She has a natural intuition about food that I've learned by watching her…



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


Some children are born old in soul, and I keep telling him he'll grow into his own one day. When he recently picked out a new pair of glasses, I could suddenly see him—the boy becoming man. Children truly are gift, and what a delight to observe and help them become. #jonaspauleyewear
I'm beginning a new series on the blog about self-care, mostly based on lessons I'm learning this year in how to nurture the whole self. Today, I'm talking about morning rituals. 🌾
To a woman who has known the humility of the Great Depression and World War, who nursed her late husband until his passing and bravely found love again in her eighties, to a woman who raised young children on an isolated cotton farm in south Texas without a car or a phone, who has suffered loss more times than one might count and yet who still testifies of God's goodness in it, to a woman who wears the pink feathered boa for her grand/daughters and who tears up at the mention of her 16 great-grandchildren. You are one amazing woman, and today we celebrate you, Nana. Happy birthday.
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