After several days of cool weather and rain (Sunday we fired up our wood stove it was so cold), we finally had a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors. We filled it up with a morning outing to a nearby beach then more time outdoors at home, whereas this mama tended to the garden and bees then hiked up our back ridge with the kids in search of ripe berries. I usually find a few blues before the 4th of July, last year at this time we found a few more than we did today, but we did find some! It has been a great day to experience the sunshine.
A week ago today I traveled just a little farther up the road, joining three of my great friends at a Northwoods women's retreat at Camp DuNord. Over the weekend we spent a lot of time outdoors, we were fed great food, we jumped in the frozen lake after a sauna, we were pampered at a local spa had time to reconnect.
Although we are experiencing some sub zero temperatures, we are finding our way outdoors. We have a solid base of snow for cross country skiing and between after-school ski practices, MYSL and weekend outings, we're logging a fair amount of kilometers on the trail.
We are staying warm, even given our recent sub-zero temperature cold snap. We recently tried out a new coffee shop in town with a welcoming atmosphere after a cold and snowy ski. We have been keeping ourselves busy inside, the kids experimenting with duct tape crafts, the mama with some knitting projects. On these winter days we are also savoring summer blueberries and backyard maple syrup with pancake breakfasts.
The toys are designed by Sarah Lee in Forestville, CA. You can see her oldest son Josh hard at work making string games in the image above. Sarah's family even raises their own raise silk cocoons on Mulberry Trees!
Sarah's Silks partners with families in a village in China to produce hand hemmed scarves for the play silks. In the village where the scarves are sewn, the families work together in neighborhood homes. Sarah's company is connected to them and pay them decent wages for their product.
In the USA they do finishing work, some dyeing, packaging and more. "Our shop is in our home and we employ mostly moms to help us. We have a "bring your kids to work" policy that works out very well for all."
Sarah's play silks, giant silks, dress-ups and toys are played with all over the world! In Waldorf schools, in play therapy groups, dance classes and homes.
Check out this fun video to see Sarah's Silks products in action:
Now it's time for a GIVEAWAY!
Win a $50 gift card to Sarah's Silks!
Watch the "Magical Playsilks" video (above) and leave a comment below telling me how you imagine your child would play with silks.
Mama got a new toy. Well, mama paid for it anyway. Just over a week ago I purchased a second hand inflatable paddle board that we have been enjoying on the lakes near our home and, most recently, on a calm evening on Lake Superior. We are finding the paddle board pretty versatile - we use it for paddling, a jumping raft, a gigantic kick board and a boat. It is extra fun when something like this can be enjoyed and shared by a family of 6!
The kids and I took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday and we took a day trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior. Just over an hour drive yields opportunity to explore state parks, pebble beaches and waterfalls. We spent the day picnicking, collecting rocks and reuniting with the sound of crashing waves. Such a lovely way to spend a Thursday.
These images sum up our weekend. I took the kids to nana's and papa's where the kids and I all took our first swim of the year. (Last weekend it was snowing - this weekend we were swimming!) James got contracted out as a wild land firefighter to help at a local wildfire not too far from home - those big planes we visited at the airport the other day are now at work!
The suckers are running! This is such a telltale sign of Spring in our little corner of the world. Every Spring when the suckers are making their way up our creek we all splash around searching for these ugly fish as they make their spawning runs. This year our four children (and the dog and cat) were part of the experience. The kids were independently making their way up and down the creek, two boys racing boats they made out of scrap pieces of wood. After a full week at school and a full Saturday of cleaning and laundry, I had to resist my urges to stop them in their play, just for a while, so they could live this experience today and make these memories of their childhood without their mother nagging them about getting their clothes dirty. As their mama, I know these memories are far more valuable than the inconvenience of another full load of laundry and the mud and dirt tracked into the house. Sometimes all it takes is a moment to pause and take a breath, to gain the perspective that I need to just let them play.
Spring is here! This lake that still had ice on it yesterday afternoon now is ice-free!
These days I am making time to pay attention to the beauty and reminders that a change of season brings. I am also working to share mindful practices of noticing and paying attention with the children in my life, both at home and at school. It is so simple, yet so meaningful to make these connections with the natural world each day.