Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Feeding Our Friends

A rainy day yesterday called for some fun indoor activities. After baking some cookies Reece and I made some lovely little bird feeders out of apples and oranges, inspired by these. We headed outside after making them, hanged them up, ran back inside and watched from the back door to see who would visit first. Within minutes there were chickadees, gold finches and red breasted nuthatches. So exciting for my little man...and me too!

Last week we started a little list of all the birds that visit our backyard. To our surprise this weekend we were treated to sightings of an eastern towhee on both Saturday and Sunday. The three of us stood at the kitchen window watching the pure beauty of this bird. Such a special treat for us.

What birds are visiting your backyard?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Into the Woods

His hand in mine,
we step into the woods.
It is quiet.
The distant sound of a woodpecker
breaks the silence.

I take a deep breath.
We walk.
He stops,
looks down.
A track captures his gaze.
He examines it,
and calls me to join him.
I do.
We are swept up in the challenge,
of finding out who it
belongs to.
We follow the tracks,
we search,
we question,
we enjoy the adventure.

He stops,
He looks up,
a bird call has grabbed his attention.
He searches for it.
He asks if I hear it.
What bird is it, he asks.
I ask a few questions,
guiding him to
the answer...

He smiles,
a full, happy
My heart is
Time stands still.
He reaches for my hand.
We walk,
quietly at first,
then he breaks the silence with a
as he drops my hand
and runs after a butterfly.

There is joy,
pure joy,
in his movement,
his laughter.
I soak it in.
I slow the moment down,
capturing it in my mind.
I am here,
with him.

He runs back,
takes my hand,
guiding me along the trail.
There are no words exchanged,
just a smile.
We walk,
his hand in mine.

Friday, April 26, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Backyard Birding

We are all about birds right now, and I love it!

Walk into our kitchen in the morning and you might find Reece with binoculars checking out the birds at the feeder. A few moments later he will be pouring over this book trying to figure out what bird he just saw. And then he comes running, asking me to read him the details about the bird. It is pretty amazing to watch as he dives in and learns about the world about him.

I made a little suggestion on the weekend that we make a list of all the birds he sees in the backyard. He loved the idea and we got paper and pen out to start the list.

Since the weekend we have seen:
~ robins
~ bluejays
~ white throated sparrows
~ cardinals
~ purple finches
~ starlings
~ chickadees
~ juncos
~ red breasted nut hatches
~ goldfinches
~ downy woodpeckers
~ chipping sparrows
~ morning doves
~ red winged black birds

I was pretty amazed at this list, and so was Reece. On Tuesday he spotted a robin building a nest and has been watching her a little bit each day as she brings bits and pieces to her nest.

Yesterday at the library he was all about the bird books. A great little book about birds, nests and eggs came home with us, a story about loons and we picked up one about owls at a book sale on the weekend. And of course How the Robin Saved Spring is still on the list of must read books before bed. 

It is fascinating to watch this process. To see his mind working it all out. To see him make connections between what he sees in our backyard and what he sees in the book. To see him put it all together. Feeling grateful that I can participate in this process and allow him the freedom to learn what he wants to learn when he wants to learn it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


There are moments, like this one, 
where he seems to be deep in thought.
 I sit back, quietly,
trying to catch a glimpse
of what he holds inside.
I wonder where his mind is
and just what he is thinking.
I may never know,
but I can be there 
when he is done, 
with an ear to listen,
a hand to hold,
and arms 
ready to embrace him.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Celebrating Earth Day

Every day is earth day in our home, so yesterday we did what we usually do. We offered gratitude to Mother Earth before our meals. We sang songs of thanks and read this lovely story during our morning circle time. We hit the trails for a lovely little hike and left bird seed here and there for our feathered friends to enjoy. These are things we do day in and day out throughout the year because we enjoy showing our appreciation for this earth and all that it offers us.

We have started seeds over the last few weeks, started the yearly yard clean up and added some new bird feeders as well as nesting material around the yard. With Earth Day fast approaching I wanted to have something special for us to do to celebrate and make the day special for Reece. We decided a few bat houses around the yard would be really useful and the road we walk on for our daily family walks could use a little clean up.

After lunch yesterday Justin and Reece made up a few bat houses and we found the perfect place to hang them. Now we wait patiently to see if any bats will use them, fingers crossed. We then headed out for a family walk with garbage bags in hand. We spent over an hour out there and filled two large bags. It constantly amazes me what people will throw out their window as they drive by.

We sadly found a chicken in a shopping bag on the side of the road. We noticed the bag yesterday, but didn't look inside and today it looked like some animals had been in it and you could tell it was a chicken. We decided leaving it on the side of the road was not the best thing, so we went home to grab a shovel, dug a hole at the side of the woods, just off the road and buried the hen. We offered up a prayer and gratitude and said good bye.

We came home after that, I did a little yard work and Justin and Reece started a fire. We then sat around the fire talking, laughing and enjoying the afternoon, together.

It was a good day.

How was your Earth Day? What did you do to celebrate this amazing planet we live on?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Our Weekend

Our weekend started on Friday morning with pancakes topped with our maple syrup. Reece and I then headed out to do a few errands and headed home for an afternoon of playing, reading, crafting and a little nature walk in the woods. Justin and Reece had a daddy and son night at home and I headed out for an inspiring evening with some ladies from our community. We started the evening with a hike in the woods and then enjoyed a gratitude blessing, shared some stories and nature treasures, talked and sang together around a fire. It was an amazing evening and I felt so very full of inspiration, love and gratitude driving home.

We awoke Saturday morning to a dusting of snow and strong winds. Our plans to do some yard work were quickly changed and we hit a local book sale in the morning and spent the afternoon "arting" together. It was the perfect way to spend a windy, cool and snowy spring day.

Another dusting of snow greeted us on Sunday morning, but the sun came out and the temperature went up so it quickly melted. We got outside right after breakfast to get some yard work done. There was a little surprise in one of our raised beds...the garlic is up! So exciting! After lunch we met my parents for tea and a hike, then it was home to enjoy vegan BLTs for dinner.

We have officially declared it a long weekend to celebrate Earth Day. We plan to enjoy as much time outside today as we can. I have a few fun activities planned and will be sure to share them with you tomorrow. Happy Earth Day!

How was your weekend?

Joining in with Amanda

Friday, April 19, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Make and Listen


~ Inspired by a craft we did last summer and Jennifer's birds from last week, Reece and I made some little butterflies to bring a little smile and colour to our days.

~ We had a blast with window art, and love how they look in our living room window.

~ A little milo for a friend and her soon to arrive little one.

~ A couple jars of hand salve, one for a friend and a few for our hands here at home.


~ I was given the audio book, Speaking Peace, a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it in bits and pieces in the car. It is so good.

~ I have been singing along to a little bit of Colbie Caillat, Dido and Norah Jones while I prepare dinner.

~ Sunday morning just wouldn't be complete without Back in the Day, music from the 70's, 80's and 90's. And yes now I feel old.

What have you been making and listening to this week?

Joining Dawn

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sowing Seeds

Seeds were started this weekend for the first time on our little homestead. While we have started a few things over the years, the truth is there just isn't room in our little one room schoolhouse to start seeds. So we usually shop the farmer's market for seedlings, maybe find some seedlings for sale from farmers in our area and direct sow what we can. It has worked well for us over the years. But I wanted this year to be different.

A few weeks ago Justin built our first cold frame. We had plans to build one this summer to extend our growing season into the winter, but then Lisa built one to start her seeds and well, you know, I just had to have one now. We immediately got started with the plans, figuring out if we had enough wood around to build one and then finding the time to build it.

While Reece and I were out one day, Justin got to work. When we returned home it was waiting for me in the driveway.

Justin made it from some old barn boards and some windows we removed from the house when we moved in, all those years ago. It will stay on the driveway for now, and then later in the summer we will find a permanent spot for it so we can grow right in the ground into the winter.

The ground was covered with a dusting of snow on Sunday morning, but the sun was shining, finally. The seeds sowed on Saturday were placed inside to start the long journey from seed to plate.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


There was no fight.
The tree did not claim this spot as his.
The fence did not claim this spot as his.
They may have struggled,
A little, at first,
But then they let go.

They found common ground.
They grew together,
Around and with each other.

They decided together was better,
Then against.
They knew there was a plan,
They just had to trust it.

And now,
They co-exist,
In harmony,

My heart is heavy with the sadness in our world today. From teen boys sharing photos of sexual assaults via email to bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, to the many things going on in other parts of our world. When I loaded the pictures from a family hike on Sunday onto the computer, I found these of a fence and a tree. The tree has completely embraced the fence. Who came first wasn't a concern. Who this spot belongs to wasn't a concern. A tree and a fence are different, and that wasn't a concern. Instead differences were embraced. Common ground was found and they grew, together. Mother Nature has so many lessons for us, and this one we need to hear loud and clear.

We need to accept that we are all different. That we are traveling different paths. That we have different beliefs. And we need that to be okay. We need to treat each other with respect, we don't need to be friends, we don't even need to like each other, but we do need to appreciate that we are all human beings and accept each other, flaws and all.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Boston, but also with our world. May the light shine through all the darkness we are experiencing and hope keep us reaching to make this world a better place for all of us to live in.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Old Maple Tree

We have admired this tree since we moved into our home sixteen years ago. It has provided us with sap for maple syrup, it has provided shelter to many, many birds and always provided much needed shade during the hot humid days of summer.

As I looked out back on Friday afternoon at the old maple tree there was a sadness in my heart at the loss of such a great tree. Mother Nature covered her in ice Thursday evening and most of Friday morning. Under the pressure of so much weight she just couldn't hold her own anymore.

She let go.

I stood quietly and offered gratitude for her beauty, her strength and for everything she provided for us and the other living things in our world. Reece stood with me, looking at her, and then calmly looked up at me with a smile and said, "It gave us sap and now it will give us wood."

Such sweet, wise words from my little man. They melted my heart and made me smile too.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekend Links

:: looking forward to a little window art with Reece

:: love these jars, and the window shelf...which Justin has already made for me :)

:: a thoughtful post about raising the next generation

:: one that made me cry

:: a great homeschooling post

:: a few ways to make today magical

:: invite wildlife into your yard with these tips

:: more reasons to get our kids outside

:: and here are 50 things to do outside with your kids for FREE

Wishing you a weekend full of wonderful things.

Friday, April 12, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

P.S. Last chance to stop by and enter this lovely giveaway...I will be choosing a winner this evening.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gratitude Buddy


Sometime last year this lovely lady, Renee, and I found each other in the blog world. You know how it goes...you find a new blog, a little something about it draws you in and before you know it you have found a friend. Renee and I would read each others blogs, and then one day I got an email from Renee. We chatted about a few things via email and our connection grew stronger. Towards the end of December an email from her showed up in my inbox asking if I would like to be her gratitude buddy.

I had never heard of a gratitude buddy, but followed the link Renee had sent to learn more. Basically we email each other at the end of each day with a little list of the things we are grateful for. It is a very simple practice with profound benefits. I had been keeping a gratitude journal already and thought sharing my gratitude would be a wonderful next step.

So I sent the first gratitude email on January 1 and we haven't missed a day. The really amazing thing is that it is more than just gratitude we share each day, we share so much more. From tough parenting moments, to the really good ones. From trips to the yarn shop to the little moments of time we carve out to knit and read. From little successes in our lives to the bits of sadness and disappointment that make our hearts ache. These last few months have been the beginning of a wonderful connection.

What I have failed to mention so far is that Renee lives in the UK and I live in Canada. You can imagine how happy I was to learn Renee's parents live just a short 90 minute drive from my home and that she was coming to visit for Easter. We made plans to meet for lunch.

Yesterday was the day. We met at the lovely Raw Aura for lunch and had a wonderful time. I felt so comfortable in her presence, like we were long lost friends, soul mates from another time. We enjoyed delicious food, swapped some gifts, introduced our children to each other and I got to met her hubby. We talked, laughed and enjoyed our time together.

I was sad to see it come to an end, but little ones were getting antsy and the time had come to make the trek home. A few pictures, some hugs and fond farewells and we were off. It was a lovely visit and I know our friendship will continue to grow as we share our gratitude and lives through our emails each day.

Love and hugs to you Renee. Thank you for a wonderful afternoon.

P.S. Yes, that is my shalom I am wearing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yarn Along

The shalom is done and being blocked. I am hoping to be wearing it today and will get a picture to share with you. I definitely think another one in a different colour will be made sometime soon.

The needles didn't stay empty for long, a milo was cast on for a friend who is expecting her first baby. Since the baby is due in May, and a milo won't really be necessary, I am knitting the 12 month size. It will be perfect for next winter.

I found myself devouring the pages of Kindred this week. It was lovely. I also opened the pages of Sacred Hoops, a book recommended in the 8 Gifts From Nature Course I am taking. So far I am really enjoying it.

What have you been knitting and reading this week?

Joining in with Ginny and Nicole

P.S. Have you entered this giveaway yet? You should!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Good Lessons

Sometimes life gets a little crazy, things happen, and you wonder what landed you in this place at this time. I have had a few moments over the last few months that have had me searching for the lessons, searching for what I was suppose to learn from these experiences.

There have been many lessons learned, but the one really great thing to come out of all of it is a clear direction of where I want to put my roots. By roots I mean who I want to spend my time with, who I want to learn from, who I want to journey this life with. The people we choose to surround ourselves with is not something to be taken lightly.

I want to surround myself with like minded community, with people who understand where I am going and can support me. I want to have people in my life who appreciate the beauty of the world around us and enjoy sharing time connecting to nature. I want the people I choose to spend my time with to stretch me, push me past my limits, make me walk my edge and then allow me the space to grow and change.

I have been lucky enough to find these people and we have been spending more time together as our connections grow. Watching our kids play and enjoy time together is a joy. Sharing conversation with them and exploring the world around us invigorates me. Soaking up the pure positive energy these people exude inspires me.

The last few months have definitely been filled with a fair share of disappointment, but there has also been light, a bright shining light which is leading me to something so very wonderful. And for that I offer gratitude. I am feeling so very blessed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Weekend

A morning spent with friends in the woods exploring and playing. The kids started seeds in egg shells, the adults chatted. A story was read, a fire started. The sun shone, snow fell, the wind whispered in our ears. It was a great start to the weekend.

We spent the rest of Friday, just hanging out at home. The day started off a little lazy on Saturday, just hanging out and enjoying time at home. I took a little time after lunch to head out on my own to get some new running shoes (much needed), visit the yarn shop and stop in at the garden center. As I drove past the conservation area on the way home it was calling out to me, so I stopped in for a little hike and a sit spot. Once home there was Mexican for dinner and then a lovely after dinner walk.

Justin boiled down the last of our sap on Saturday night and we enjoyed fresh maple syrup on our Sunday morning pancakes. After breakfast Justin and Reece played while I made some soap, and prepared food for the community potluck later in the day.

The afternoon and evening were spent with friends at a community potluck. We shared stories, watched the kids play, laughed and enjoyed good food and conversation with wonderful friends...it was the perfect way to finish the weekend.

How was your weekend?

Joining in with Amanda

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mothering with Mindfulness Sponsor - Enchanted Cedar: The Journey Home

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my April sponsors Enchanted Cedar: The Journey Home

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up on Long Island in an old Whaling Town. When I was 11 my family broke away from the mold (and everything else that was “normal” and familiar to me), my mom pulled us out of the public school system and we went on the road. The first RV I ever saw was the one that was to become my new home..ha ha! We were a traveling sales family for a little over 9 years. It was a beautiful, memory filled and very colorful journey, I’m not sure I would be brave enough to go on the road with my family, but I am grateful for all the life experience my parents decision gave us kids and for the strong family bond that was formed over those years on the road.

I spent a few years traveling on my own, working and finding out a little bit more about the me apart from my family unit. 

I married the most amazing man on the planet in 2003 and we began our sweet little family. We moved onto a farm in Central Texas where we are now raising our three precious kiddos. Our family is passionate about organic farming, homeschooling and sustainability which keeps us all pleasantly busy.

We own and operate a local Chaga house/ Waldorf Store/ Raw Chocolate shop in Lorena, Texas called Enchanted Cedar along with all of my crazy awesome family members. If you are ever on I-35 you should stop in for a cup of Chaga.

Enchanted Cedar: The Journey Home is your first book, what inspired you to write it?  

A deep desire for things to be different than they currently are. My dream in writing this book was to begin a series of books that would introduce the beautiful and magical world of natures medicine to young children. To help them become familiar with nettles, chaga, reishe, dandelion..etc So that maybe someday when their body is in need of healing, they might consider looking to nature for cures. 

For a little sneak peek at this lovely story, stop by here to listen to  Brooke read it.

The story takes place in the forest; can you explain the role nature plays in your life?  

When I am disconnected from Nature, I feel disconnected from myself...it’s that simple!

The story is beautifully illustrated; did you work closely with the illustrator to bring the characters to life?  

I saw Vicky’s profile on elance when I was in the “thinking about it” stage of  my book. Her smile lit up my world and I knew she was my girl.  From the very first time we talked she just got me! Everything I saw in my head and tried to explain she somehow  managed to bring life to it. She is so incredibly talented! We were meant to be friends and this book brought us together!

You mention “finding the magic” in each day on your about page, what does this mean?   

Magic: Sparks of positive energy spun with hope, love and excitement.

There’s a glittering, sparkling magic in everything, it’s there when you are doing laundry, paying bills, cleaning floors or the chicken coops. There is magic deep within all of us. The world is glittering with love, light and possibility. Many of us, like me have to find something that will help us stop spinning long enough to see that beauty and magic in our “ordinary” days!  For me that something has been Nature.

You have a free day, no plans, how do you choose to spend it?  

That’s easy:) Barefoot in the muddy garden with my babies, my chickens and my sweet man!

Would you like to share a favourite quote with us?  

You already know it because it’s one of your favorites too.

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~ Eleanora Duse

Thanks so much for taking the time to share a little bit about yourself with us. It was wonderful getting to know you a little better Brooke. 

You can connect with Brooke a few ways:


Brooke has generously offered one of her books, Enchanted Cedar: The Journey Home 
to one lucky Mothering with Mindfulness follower.

To enter leave a comment, one per person, below.

Giveaway is open until Friday April 12, 2013 at 7pm.

I will draw a winner after this time and announce it in this post.

Thanks so much Brooke!

And the winner is entry #22
Mama Gone Green
"Sounds like a wonderful read."


Friday, April 5, 2013

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single few photos - no a few words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

 A winter walk on April 2...yikes!