Nothing evokes a summer idyll like a lazy day spent at water’s edge. In Vermont, this means a lake or a pond, which means the water is as likely to be bordered by gravel or stones as sand, rather than the white sands a beach photo usually brings to mind. In any case, one thing we’ve learned in fifteen years of parenting is that while great memories can be created spending time at the beach, there are no guarantees that … Read More...
Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and Charlotte Mason might not have agreed on many things regarding children and the best way to support their development. However, they all shared at least one similar premise, that children enjoy and even need work and other kinds of purposeful activity. They each had different ideas on how adults should meet this impulse but they all agreed it was there.
One place you might see it surface in your own children is through their … Read More...
A friend recently confided that she loves hammocks, but mostly to look at; she’s not the sort to laze about on a summer afternoon. Despite being, like my friend, averse to slothfulness, I choose to hang out a hammock. I have my reasons (which I will share) and my goal is to sit in it at least three times per summer. Otherwise, it’s mostly full of children, and that’s not a bad job for a hammock. Perhaps you have your … Read More...
Many of our generation did not have the privilege of regular gardening with a parent or grandparent, and we’re trying to simultaneously learn and teach our own children the joys of the garden. But, gardening, like parenting, can at times be a tremendous amount of work with few obvious joys. Gardening is rewarding, and often on a shorter timescale than parenting, but it can lack an immediacy for children. You might find additional frustration in thinking your children should be … Read More...
What could be more festive than confetti-filled eggs? Breaking cascarones is a celebratory tradition in Mexico and the southwestern US. When you break the egg over someone’s head, they are showered with confetti (and good luck). Instead of an Easter egg hunt, how about an Easter egg chase? If you don’t want to use confetti, you can put a small toy, wrapped sweet or even birdseed in the egg (if you’re chasing and breaking outdoors, the wildlife can benefit too).… Read More...
When my children were younger, I copied this list of ideas from a post on one of Mothering Magazine’s message boards. (Though I’ve created my own examples of how to use each one in the hard won lessons of raising my own kids!) I’ve carried it in my purse for more than ten years to help me remember and refocus when I am at my wit’s end with one of my children. I have found the strategies useful for each … Read More...
At a physical for my children a couple of years ago, the nurse practitioner worked through a standard list of questions that I had answered for at least ten years. “Is there violence in the home? Does anyone smoke in the home?” But her last question was new.
“Does your child get at least one hour of focused physical activity per day?”
I did not ask why, but I did ask her to define what “focused physical activity” meant. I … Read More...
Wool undergarments feel more like a necessity than a luxury this time of year. Whether or not they are blended with a little silk, they cuddle your body’s warmth a little closer to your skin and protect you against biting weather from late fall to early spring. Still, if you’ve layered yourself or your child in organic Merino wool, it’s an investment you probably want to last a couple of seasons.
The first step to making woolens last longer is … Read More...
Here in northern Vermont, the days are very short from early December until mid-January. Intellectually, I knew this would be the case when our family moved here from Texas, where the shortness of days is not as pronounced, but experiencing it in the flesh was another thing entirely. Indeed, there is so little light that my understanding of the focus on light in mid-winter across so many cultures has increased. If you feel the same, perhaps you might like to … Read More...
Winter is a great time for baking; there tends to be a little holiday free time, baked goods make great gifts, and the oven makes the house just a little warmer. Most children, at almost any age, will enjoy helping you in the kitchen. With a little deep breathing and careful planning, holiday baking can be a memory-making experience.
As you choose your recipes, consider the ages of your helpers. If your children are younger, you might stick with simple … Read More...
A Loaf of Fresh Baked Bread
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Package Instant Yeast (2 1/4 Teaspoons)
1 Tablespoon Honey
- Measure flours and salt into bowl and mix to combine.
- Work the butter into the flour mixture by hand.
- Dissolve honey in the warm water and stir in the yeast.
- When the yeast mixture is foamy add it to the flour.
- Work the flour and water together, first with a spoon, then by hand until you have a ball of dough in the bowl. Add more water or more flour bit by bit to make a fairly sticky dough.
- When the dough is formed, cover it and leave it in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and knead it for 3-5 minutes in the bowl, then cover it and let it rise again for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9″ x 13″ loaf pan.
- Punch down the dough and form a loaf. Put it top side down in the pan and then flip it over so the whole loaf is buttered.
- Allow to rise 30-45 minutes, then bake for about 30 minutes. Let your nose tell you when it’s done. It should sound hollow if you give it a tap.
- Turn it out of the loaf pan and let it cool before slicing.