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 swear the older my children grow the pickier they’re becoming about vegetables. Am I alone in this? 😬 To make sure they’re getting a variety of nutrients, I sneak raw beets and leafy greens into juices and smoothies and we chop handfuls of raw veggies to keep in the fridge for easy snacks. I’ve recently added two daily vitamins to our breakfast routine after partnering with @ollynutrition, and the kids love the flavors! I like that they’re naturally colored with fruit and veggie dyes instead of pesky synthetic ones and that they sneak sea minerals and Vitamin D into Growing Bones. 🙌🏻 Check out their other varieties at Target and @ollynutrition! #sp #OllyKids
"Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light." [Matt. 6:22] // I'm sitting on the front porch, sipping coffee next to my girls, listening to the songbirds, watching the sunlight flicker between the swaying branches. I love how this season reminds me to open the windows of my eyes, to be renewed with hope and strength and belief. 🌿
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.