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…

chai waffles with sautéed pears and berries

The gifts are wrapped. Our school work is finished. Mark is home, and yesterday marked the final Sunday of Advent, meaning Christmas is merely four sleeps away. Our family welcomed this week with a leisure breakfast of Chai waffles with…

handmade salt dough ornaments

These weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to pass too quickly each year. Between the fluster of finishing our school work, giving or making gifts, visiting family, and joining local celebrations with friends, time feels so…


Although, like most children, you all have always loved the Christmas season, we're bridging new years as a family, years where you enjoy the giving of gifts and crafting just as much as receiving. You are also beginning to understand the…

essentially styled | a warm cashmere sweater

Once upon a moon, I shared simple basics from my closet here. It was a way I celebrated what I already owned and some of the ways I reinvented these essentials with a new piece or two each season. (And yes, these are inadvertently the…

keeping a snug winter home with dignify

I've said it before, but I love how this season full of early darkness and cold winds brings a slower rhythm to our home. Like the leaves on our tree, our school routine is beginning to fall apart, leaf by leaf. A season of rest is looming.…

a gift guide for the homeschool

We tend to keep the holiday season in our home fairly simple in terms of gift giving, both the quantity and expense. This isn't from a desire to be Scrooge-like or withholding, but instead another way we've learned over the years to simplify,…



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


Last night, as I snapped this blurry conversation between cousins, my sister hurt her back, the baby was fussing, my husband was called for an emergency, and hurting friends in our community needed our time for a different emergency. The table was set, the candles were glowing, and although we ate together, the meal didn't happen as typically planned. This too is the reality of our Sabbath meal, knowing it is something deeper than food or a pretty table. It is, for us, also knowing when to pause in a different way, to pray and to bless others, to share our work with those in need, or on occasion to leave the table altogether. #reallife #WHPthisislove
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.