{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.

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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!

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Link ups and loves

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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!}

Splish Splash…

Hands down my favorite thing about spring. Puddle jumping. It was my favorite thing as a kid too. A close second was ‘getting the bikes out of the garage day’. Or new rubber boots day might win. For the puddles. And this year, armed with new rubber boots of my own, I’m splashing lots.

What’s your favorite spring thing to do?

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We’ve been sharing articles and such on this week our Fabebook page — are you following us? have a look — you can even see the Easter eggs the kids and I dyed this week-end using red cabbage & turmeric for fun! Please stop in here or on our facebook page and say Hello!

Oh — and please stay tuned for lovely fan mail we’ve received in the last few days — we’ll be sharing in the next few days! So nice to get feedback, especially when it comes from the kids themselves! (though to the grownups: yours is incredibly valued as well!)

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!

Winter– My thoughts.

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So while Annie proclaims her love of winter, I am a bit more hesitant. Don’t get me wrong, I get out there. I sled and skate and ski and I build snowmen and snow forts with the best of them, but do I say I love winter? No, not really. I am the type of person who is always cold. Even in summer, I have a sweater on. The thought of going out into -20C temperatures for a day of fun is, well, not my idea of fun. So why do it? Because where we live it gets cold. It is just a fact of life and so I make the most of it. Sometimes as grown ups we have to because I have two little faces that look up at me excited to see snow, even in February, despite having snow for the past 4 months. I want them to love being outside. I want them to love every season. I want them to never look at the thermometer and say, “Oh too cold, we couldn’t possibly go outside”. There are treasures to be found, tracks to be followed, paths to forge, and adventures to be had Spring, Summer, Fall, and yes, even in Winter. I am trying to push myself to see this, to see the beauty in every season and not the limits of temperatures.

As adults we do what is comfortable. It is warm in front of the fire, why go out into the cold? Think though of what that says to our children though. To deny them the experience of each and every season. Even if your only seasons are dry and wet, you still have them. Who doesn’t remember splashing through mud puddles as a kid and staying outside in Winter sledding until your cheeks were frozen? These are moments my children deserve to have and so, out we go. Oh sure, I have on 3 under layers, 2 pairs of socks, the puffiest, warmest coat I could find on the market, but I am out there, enjoying every flake, every gust of blustery, cold wind.

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I won’t lie, I am constantly checking for signs that perhaps, maybe Spring will be soon arriving. I don’t hide my complete relief when at last the birds return and the snow starts to melt, when green starts to take back the white landscape. I will admit, though, that I am always slightly sad to see it all go. Does this mean that I love Winter? No, but it does mean that come October, I will tip my hat and welcome its return once more. You see, we have an understanding Winter and I. I promise to enjoy its beauty and get outside everyday to take in all I can from it, and it promises not to freeze me too much.