cloistered away | enjoying simplicity



April 2014



spring wedding bits

Written by , Posted in life lately


I know it’s been silent here recently, and I’m hoping to talk about it with you soon. The last two weekends we spent celebrating two favorite couples in our life. The kids and I were in one. Mark was in the other. Our days have been fast and full of so many emotions mixed with sweet and hard things. For the best part, Spring is here, and we’re trying to soak up every bit of it. I hope Spring is treating you all just as well.



April 2014



PreK at home | an introduction to color theory

Written by , Posted in homeschool

color theory-7

color theory intro

color theory-2

With our move last month, two important wedding weekends, and the arm-length list of TO DOs in our new place, our homeschool routine has been shuffled and eclectic. I’ll tell you more about that soon, but today I’m sharing another one of our simple homeschooling lessons over at The Emerald Homestead, an easy introduction to color theory for young children.



April 2014




Written by , Posted in the 52 project


week15-4week15week15-2“a weekly portrait of each of my children in 2014″

liam // Our school work has been simple and sparse this last month with all the moving and change. Still, you’ve been working hard to commit 500+ facts in eight different subjects to memory this year (including a historical timeline). You’ll recite this information four different times, with four different adults within the month.  This week, we have been reciting and reciting and reciting. I see your face light up as you near this goal.

burke // This week we worked to clear more of the yard encroaching the house. You tapped me on the shoulder, “Look, mom! He likes me.” This was only one of four snakes you all found this day. Each one you studied and played with and released back into the grass.

blythe // Since you were young you expressed yourself with neatly organized, vibrant color. At seven, this is still true. I see vibrancy in your clothing, your art, your heart.

olive // We took you out for frozen yogurt this week to celebrate a week of nights without sucking your thumb. You picked all of your toppings, which included a hot pink Peep.



April 2014



kate amunrud | clear the way

Written by , Posted in sponsors + giveaways

Clear the Way Kate

Today, I’m introducing the lovely Kate Amunrud, the brand developer and talented woman behind Clear the Way. I always love the variety of content at Clear the Way, everything from how to pack your travel bag to highlights of amazing women around the globe to insightful one word collaborations with other bloggers. Now, Kate, please tell us more about yourself.

What are three words that best describe you? Passionate, Spiritual, Analytical

Tell us about your business. How and when did you begin? I am the brand developer and marketing director for Women Ignite which seeks to empower women by supplying organic apparel that celebrates who they are and what they love. I joined with my colleague and friend, Shari, in order to make her dream for Women Ignite come true. Women Ignite supports awesome women who bike, climb, surf, etc. and we want to help women visually express these qualities about themselves in order to share how awesome they are with the rest of the world. Even though we’re in the beginning stages (we’re preparing for our Kickstarter campaign now), I am really excited to be a part of a brand that is a real game-changer.

Who/what most inspires your work? I am constantly inspired by women of all kinds and walks of life who stand up for what they believe in and boldly run after what they care most about. When I read about a young girl blasting a surfing magazine for how they depict women or when I hear about women accomplishing amazing feats of endurance and strength, I can’t help but spread the word.


How do you balance work and home life? Do you have a tip to share? While I do not have a family of my own right now, various events with my five-sibling family keep me busy. Add my volunteer work, blogging, a part-time job, various attempts at having a social life, and my boyfriend… I feel swamped! I make sure to set aside a good amount of time for myself every week. A couple hours of relaxation with just myself rejuvenates me enough to get back up and continue pouring myself into all the other areas of my life.

When you’re not working, what might you be doing? I’m reading (most always feminist literature/scholarship) or outside, enjoying nature on a walk or hike. I’m lying still on my bed quietly thinking or playing my guitar, writing some new music. I’m on the phone with a friend while I stir my latest Vegan, Gluten-Free concoction. Or maybe I’m in some awkward yoga pose behind closed doors.

Kate’s favorites// Thing in your closet right now? My go-to black ankle booties. Place you’ve ever traveled? Most recently, Fallingwater in PA. Meal you’ve recently made? Tofu Frittata with Swiss Chard. Book? Recently finished and loved The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks. Object you can’t live without? My guitar.

Thank you for sharing with us, Kate!



April 2014



the season of resurrection

Written by , Posted in writing in the margins


Spring has finally arrived in our part of the world. Everywhere I turn, color bursts from greyed, barren branches and forgotten fields. Even my skin is different, now pink with sunlight, toes exposed to the chilly fresh air. It is the season when life and death meet, when we behold in nature what C.S. Lewis described of Aslan and the White Witch meeting together in Narnia, “the golden face and the dead-white face so closely together.” This is the season of resurrection. We experience this restoration to life in our surroundings in nature, but also in the celebration of Easter, the celebration of the risen Christ . . . . {sharing more today over at We Resolve}




April 2014



cheers to spring! | three fresh ways to toast the new season

Written by , Posted in on the table


The kids and I picnicked in the yard earlier this week, afterward pushing our plates aside to sprawl across the blankets in the warm sun. Each day it seems we find new plant life sprouting around this old house, and the kids pick wildflowers by the handful. Both make me so happy. Since our kitchen isn’t fully functioning yet we’ve continued eating almost every dinner at my sister’s house. Only now, we can take our meals to the backyard, and the kids run off to play as soon as their bellies are full. We’ve been using the fresh herbs in her backyard to make our dinner cocktails, playing with the flavors. Each one tastes simple and fresh. Since several people have asked about these drinks after recently posting a few on Instagram, I thought I would share three here before the weekend. Enjoy and happy Friday!


one // freshly squeezed grapefruit + 2oz. gin + a splash of sparkling water + a chopped basil leaf

two // 1/2 orange + 1/2  grapefruit (both freshly squeezed) + 2 oz. of tequila + a squeeze of lime + a few sprigs of muddled mint

three // sparkling water + 2 oz. vodka + cardamom simple syrup (infuse a homemade simple syrup with cardamom pods) + muddled mint




April 2014




Written by , Posted in the 52 project



“a portrait of my children once a week in 2014″

liam // you’re always imagining and building something new.  You inspire others with vision.

burke // you love most everything written by Roald Dahl. I love to hear your deep, guttural laugh as you retell your favorite parts.

blythe // your face smashed into a pole on the park slide earlier this week while you were running. The skin just beneath your right eye immediately became broken and swollen. Days afterward, I decided to take a picture. This is your “I’m-not-happy-you’re-taking-a-picture-of-me-with-a-busted-eye” look. You held it for about 3 seconds before you burst out laughing.

olive // you learned how to mix primary colors to create secondary colors this week. Here you’re painting two mice dancing in paint, inspired by one of your favorite books, Mouse Paint.