{this moment}

{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama.
To follow others who are also inspired, visit SouleMama’s Friday posts. Please feel free to share your moment here.

{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.

Monday links and loves

Well, just like that, Summer is here. Forget about Spring, here in the Forest temperatures have reached summertime highs and the trees and plants are struggling to keep up. However, in keeping with the calendar rather than the thermometer, we have some lovely Springtime links today. Enjoy!

  • Looking to introduce yoga to your little ones? Here is a wonderful Garden themed sequence sure to get your littles garden worms wiggling and stretching.

  • Here is an interesting article about alternative ways for children to connect with nature.

  • Another article to share, this one explains why letting your children be bored is one of the best things you can do for them.

  • This was made twice this weekend for breakfast.

  • We found this store (Canadian based) that sells ladybugs larvae!! If you have tried hatching butterflies, why not try ladybugs next?

  • And one last one, just in case the heat has hit you as quickly as it has hit us. This looks like a ton of fun!

Happy Monday everyone!

Earth Day Links and Loves

Happy Earth Day! In celebration, here are some of our favorite links on celebrating with your family. Also don’t forget that the best way to celebrate Mother Earth is to go outside and enjoy her beauty!

  • The boys and I made these this weekend. Fun, easy, and really cute.

  • This list has some really great simple ways to go out and enjoy Mama Earth with your little ones.

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a great activity book that could be used for older kids. Lots of things to explore about climate science.

  • This is a great article about how too much technology is killing children’s relationship with nature.

  • Finally, how about gardening on this Earth Day? No space? No worries, grow some seed in egg cartons!

Also, depending on where you live, there are Meteor showers expected tonight. If the weather cooperates where you are, take a blanket outside and look up at Mother Nature’s fireworks display.

There are lots of other great ideas, books, crafts, and such out there celebrating Earth Day, but really the best way to teach your children how to care for and love our planet is by example. Go out, enjoy her beauty, tread lightly, care for her, and your children will do the same.

Monday links and loves

It’s Monday, so time to link up our favorites of the past week and what we have been reading and discovering.

  • We love this simple list of Spring activities to do with your kids.

  • Speaking of activities, this post gives lots of simple, fun things to celebrate Earth Day with your little ones.

  • We are loving this etsy shop. I think she could furnish the whole of Mariposa Forest!!

  • Heather over at Beauty that Moves, is sharing a grown up colouring page this weekend. It is one of her beautiful drawings and she is allowing you to fill in the rainbow of colours that suites you best. Who said colouring is just for kids?

  • One last one here, just in case you can’t make it out into the forest today.

Happy Monday everyone!

006

A letter for Annie and Me

004
Last week we received an email from one of the several Preschools that receive our letters. This one is a cooperative nature based Preschool for 3 to 5 year olds. Receiving the letters in a classroom setting is different that getting them at home. There are lots of little voices that have opinions and questions. Lots of eyes noticing things in the photographs, and lots of little imaginations all drawing up the world that they each see inside their heads. In a class full of 20 students, you will have 20 different images of what Alfred Gnome looks like.

Imagine our delight when we received this…

“We LOVE our subscription! We always save the letters to read on our Outdoor Days (Wednesdays) and the children love it when I say to them ” We got another letter! ” . At the beginning it was difficult for them to sit still and listen to a story that was not a picture book. However, the adventures of the creatures in Mariposa Forest soon drew them in and we have relatively little difficulty now. I ask lots of detailed comprehension questions at the end of each letter and the children always understand exactly what has happened! The latest fun is guessing who the letter is from by the colour of the envelope! I also have to admit that it was the children who noticed the stamps with the animals on them. Well done!”

It doesn’t really get any better than that for us. Thank you to all of the teachers and parents at the Chelsea Cooperative Preschool who allow us to come in twice a month and spread a little magic into their day.

Link ups and loves

20100924_1116

Happy Monday! Hope the weekend was warm and Spring like where you are, because it certainly was not here in the Forest. Oh well, it has to arrive sometime right?

Here are a few of our favorite things right now to start the week off right.

  • The Children and Nature Network launched their month long campaign, Let’s G.O. (Get Outside). Visit their website to read more about it and to find activities happening where you live.
  • We love this article on finding a playground in the natural setting. Playgrounds and structures are fun, but Mother Nature has quite a lot to offer as well.
  • This clock is fantastic!! Every home should have one.
  • Earth day is fast approaching. I think this week we are going to try and make up some seed bombs and go color Mother Earth to celebrate! You can find out how to make them here or a little different method here.
  • It is fairy garden time! Will you join in this year?
  • With all of the talk of unplugging going around, we found a wonderful little post here about how one Mom took back her children from the media zone.

What links are you loving this week?

{this moment}– The very windy day

{this moment}

Inspired by SouleMama.
To follow others who are also inspired, visit SouleMama’s Friday posts. Please feel free to share your moment here.

{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.

{making the most of a very windy day!}

A Letter to Pika Bird

20130403_0022

Another letter this week to feature, and once again not addressed to Annie or I. This one actually came in a while ago and was sent from a little boy who has just turned six. Everytime we open the mailbox and see one of those shaky lettered notes, my heart just melts. What we aim to do is so much more than just send a story to your child in the mail. We really want to help grow and nurture their imagination. As adults it is hard to sometimes grasp how just a simple thing as a short little story can really inspire a child. We read it with adult eyes and it appears to be a simple, sweet story. However, for the child, it is a world to be created in their minds. The characters and forest can look however they like. In their minds, they can interact with them, they can see them going about their adventures. This is what we want to deliver to your child each month. So when we get a letter addressed to Pika Bird with a little boy of just barely six expressing his love for her, we know we have done a good job fulfilling our goal. Thank you for sharing with us little one and Pika Bird thanks you as well!

20130403_0026

test1

How about you? Do you receive our stories? Feel free to drop us a note and let us know how they are being received in your house. They don’t need to be child written, we have many from parents, grandparents, and teachers telling us how the children in their lives are enjoying Mariposa Forest. We love getting mail almost as much as we love to send it!

Plink, plink, plink

Here in the Forest, the snow is finally beginning to melt. Mind you we still have snow drifts 6 feet high, but that is an improvement from the 8 foot ones last week! As the snow melts and the sun grows stronger, there is another bit of magic that happens here. One that is hidden within the mighty giants that surround our house. A few weeks ago we felt the warmer temperatures during the day and noted the colder temperatures at night. We dug out the buckets and hats, the taps and the pots. We ventured through the thigh deep snow with drill in hand, selected a south facing spot low enough for the little ones to reach and drilled a hole in our mighty Maple. My oldest son hammered in the tap, my youngest hung the bucket. Sugaring season had officially begun.

Maple sugaring season happens only a few weeks of the year in Early Spring. We are lucky enough to live in a place that provides majority of the maple syrup produced in the world. We are also lucky enough to have a few Maple trees to tap on our property. Sugaring is a commitment though. The sap collected has to be kept cold and out of the sun until it can be boiled, and it has to be boiled within 5 days of collecting. The average boil takes anywhere from 6-12 hours and has to be done either in a sugar house that is well ventilated or outdoors. We are small scale so we do ours on a small cinder block stove that we built outside. The result of all of these hours of collecting wood, tending the fire, skimming the sap, and monitoring its progress is delicious maple syrup. It takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!

So while the adults are working, what are the little ones doing? Lots. They collect the sap, collect the wood for the fire, they are always there to help you taste it, and they are outside all day. The thing is, what they are learning is huge. This year, my oldest who is 6, recognized that the sun was stronger and the days were growing longer about 2 weeks before we tapped. He felt the season beginning to change, not by reading it on a calendar, but by feeling it with his senses. He understands the reason that the sap is rising, he understands it means the trees are starting wake up, how they use the sugars in the sap to make food to grow the leaves. He knows that this means Spring is close, that the Earth will soon be dressed in green again, and that the birds and animals will be returning from their Winter’s retreat any day. All of this just from hammering a simple tap into a tree. Nature is amazing that way. She has the ability to teach us so much if only we stop and listen.

Not everyone has this opportunity, but there is something, no matter where you live, that signals the change of seasons. By connecting our children to nature, they can read these signs, they feel their place in this great big world, and they learn how to quiet down and listen to what Mother Nature has to teach them. Our reward for stopping to listen? Jars of sweet liquid gold, yum!