inspiration Feed

Mama Recharge

Can you guess where I might be this weekend??

Enjoy this re-post of my 2018 December column in Minnesota Parent Magazine.  

Take it as inspiration to schedule a weekend away of your own!!!

Northwoods girls weekend

It’s booked — three nights at a vacation rental on the North Shore of Lake Superior for me and three of my great friends. Whoo-hoo!!!!

This will be our third-annual Northwoods “girls weekend” getaway. 

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, as a mother of four, I spent a long time in the thick of the baby years.

During that incredible but long chapter of my life, I felt defined by my role as a mother of a baby. I didn’t stray too far from the house. I spent a lot of time caring for the children, but not a lot of time caring for myself. I don’t have to tell you: It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I felt bogged down with the responsibility of it all.

Now ages 13, 11, 9 and 7, my children are becoming more independent. They have their groups of friends and are involved in all sorts of activities. We’re in a fun new stage of our life as a family. And I feel I have a little more time and freedom to nurture myself as an individual. 

I’m able to focus a bit more on my own physical, spiritual and mental well-being, which, in turn, helps me to project myself as the person — and the mother — I want to be.

Several years ago, I reached out to three of my friends to see if they would want to attend the popular YMCA Camp du Nord Women’s Ski and Snowshoe Retreat on the North Arm of Burntside Lake near Ely. 

They responded with a resounding, “Yes!” “Yes!” and “Yes!” 

We all registered and were soon together — all in one place at the same time, without husbands or kids, for the first time in years!

Although the camp where the retreat was held wasn’t far from my home, I felt a world away. Distancing myself from my day-to-day responsibilities — and distractions of work and home — gave me an opportunity to relax and reconnect with my dear friends.

At the retreat, we were catered to with great food, wine and full days of unstructured time. We had opportunities to participate in yoga classes, get massages, go for hikes, talk, laugh, read and sauna. It was an amazing experience!

We had so much fun that we decided to make our girls weekend an annual tradition.

The following year, we had intentions to do women’s winter retreat again, but it filled up before we were able to make our reservations. 

So we decided to try a ski weekend on the North Shore. We booked a vacation rental and planned on a day of downhill skiing at Lutsen Mountains and a day of cross-country skiing on the Sugarbush ski trails for our second-annual girls weekend. 

We lucked out with mild temperatures and a dumping of 10 inches of snow that made our ski day at Lutsen feel like we were in the mountains! Meanwhile, our cross-country ski trails were perfectly groomed, which made for an outstanding experience.

Although we might not be so lucky to get perfect conditions again, we all agreed we’d have fun together, no matter what we were doing!

I’ve come home from these weekends with my friends refreshed and recharged. 

If you’re in the thick of the baby years — or don’t have the finances or support to get away for a night or more — I encourage you to be creative and find ways to take a break closer to home. Maybe it’s dinner with friends or an afternoon or day trip. 

I think it’s important for our kids to see us having fun and doing something for ourselves.

Remember, if you’re a healthy and well-balanced individual, it can help you to be a better mother!

Be the Change

"the time is always right to do what is right "
-Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and with hope for good I share some of own little peaceful activism with links to some of my writings and school projects: 

0119 Kindness - 1

Be a Force for Goodness - (My January School Days Column in Minnesota Parent Magazine)

Screen Shot 2019-01-13 at 7.28.24 AMAt this Dividing Time, I Choose Kindness - (a post I wrote for

MLK - Megan Devine

Sharing Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy with Young Children - (a post I wrote for

Images4 Smart Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s Vision Now and in the Future - (a post I wrote for


Click the image above or click here if you want to check out the activity I created and am facilitating in my kindergarten classroom.   I posted it free on if you would like to try it yourself or share with a teacher you know.


M is for Martin  I completed this project with my kindergarten students earlier this week inspired by a post on New Creation Preschool.


Be inspired - be the change you want to see in the world!


Alabama Chanin Sew Along - Taproot Magazine Issue 20 ::Share


This week I recieved issue 20::SHARE of Taproot Magazine.   I have felt privileged to have contributed to this lovely magazine in the past and this current issue I contributed in a different way - not through my printed word, but as a participant in an Alabama Chanin sew blog project that my friend Christine organized and wrote about in her feature article:  

The Power of Handmade.

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When Christine presented the idea of working together to craft a beautiful garment for someone who needed a touch of joy in their life, I was immediately drawn to the proposition.

 Together we could make beautiful things and spread some handmade joy.” -Christine

I responded to the invitation without hesitation and soon joined an eager group of makers that Christine pulled together from around the world.  Christine sought nominations from group members and two courageous women in my life were chosen as recipients of the gifts:

My dear friend Jen, a mother of three children ages 17, 15, 11 had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She just had a double mastectomy and was in the initial stages of chemotherapy treatment.  I knew Jen would be a perfect recipient because she loves both surprises and handmade gifts.  Jen is such a beautiful individual both inside and out and cancer and chemotherapy had taken away some of the beauty she enjoyed sharing with the world. 

Jen’s husband Tim was thoughtfully involved behind the scenes at the start of the Alabama Chanin project by discreetly finding Jen’s measurements and giving input of Jen’s style and color preferences to help Christine chose to perfect garment for us to make for her.  She received the gift of the Classic Coat in a pallet of rich blues while going through a rough patch of her chemotherapy treatment.  She was absolutely delighted and touched by the surprise.  When she opened the package and read all of the kind and thoughtful notes that accompanied her beautiful gift, she was moved by the group partnership and sentiments.

“Throughout my journey battling cancer there have been many unpleasant physical feelings along with feelings of fear and sadness, but along with these - joyful, delightful and happy experiences.  So many people have reached out to me to offer support.  It is this support that makes it almost impossible to have a good attitude.  This gift definitely brightened my day!  Just looking at and wearing the garment fills me with memories of friendship and joy!” -Jen

Alabama Chanin Coat - Jen I made Jen a bucket hat from the Alabama Chanin DIY as a complementary gift in the same style as her classic coat.

Alabama Chanin Tunic Panel 3Betty, a brave woman in my family circle, was chosen as a recipient of a beautiful A-line Top to spread some joy, hope and light into her life.  Betty is a mother who has been enduring the most excruciating suffering of losing her firstborn child.  She experienced a preterm rupture of membranes at twenty-two weeks gestation while pregnant with her son Henry.  Henry was born premature on September 22, 2015 at twenty seven weeks with neonatal complications.  Henry was loved, cared for and supported by his mom, his dad and medical professionals in the NICU for two full months before he passed away peacefully in the loving arms of his parents.   Betty is still grieving and will always have an emptiness in her heart, but being a recipient of this project certainly lifted her spirits. 

“I was blown away by the kindness and intent behind this project.  I received the package in the mail on a particularly hard day.  The timing of this gift was like a smile from God, it was as if it was work from angels.  When I received the gift and read all of the thoughtful notes that accompanied the project, I cried happy tears”  -Betty

Alabama Chanin Tunic Panel 4

I was a participant in the sewing circle for Betty, sewing on of the four panels in her A-line tunic.
Alabama Chanin TunicParticipating in this act of giving has not only been healing and supportive to these deserving women, but also for myself as a maker and giver.   Going into the project I did not anticipate how my involvement in this act of giving would elicit such inspirational happy feelings in my own heart. Participating in fellowship in this genuine act of kindness and creating something of such beauty and purpose to delight another individual has been such a wonderful experience.  I know that I have been inspired by Christine’s initiative and the comfort and joy that both Jen and Betty experienced as result of the efforts of our sewing circle.  It is my hope that our stories of this experience will have the potential to influence a ripple effect of generosity in the broader community of makers, doers and dreamers. 


 You will be lucky if you can get your hands on the new issue of Taproot Magazine issue 20::SHARE, read Christine's The Power of Handmade and all of the other great content in the issue as well.


kids, chickens, bees, rabbits.....and airplanes


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This post might not exactly fit with the homesteading theme of this blog, but it fits with the culture of the north woods environment in which I live, and one of my deep rooted interests from a time period earlier in my life -aviation!   I love to keep just a spark of this interest alive by visiting our local airport each Spring when there are large, contracted aircraft stationed and ready to aid in wildland fire suppression.

At our small airport outside of town there is an U.S. Forest Service Tanker Base.  Every Spring some (pretty awesome) aircraft make their way to our neck of the woods and I work to  coordinate a kindergarten field trip to tour the airport to check out the airplanes, and to get some hands-on instruction by some wild land fire fighters and Smokey the Bear.

Last Friday was our field trip, and the weather and activity cooperated so we got to see some impressive airplanes and helicopters! To scope things out my daughter and I went out to the airport Thursday after school and we were lucky enough to have a chance to talk to some of the pilots and crew from Neptune Aviation.  We even got a chance to go aboard and sit in the cockpit of one of the planes.  The Neptune BAe 146 aircraft have been stationed in Ely and have been flying and dropping fire retardant on local fires and fires in Canada.


So I got a little fix of the aviation bug this past week - and got to pass that on a bit to a bunch of young little dreamers and doers in my life. 

::Gift of the Heart


I recently had the opportunity to take Harriet Goodall's online workshop Gift of the Heart offered through Squam Art Workshops.

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I was lucky enough to have won a spot in the course through an opportunity on Squam's Facebook pageParticipating in this class was such a gift!  Harriet was able to convey such clear directions through the course of the online class, I was able to experience success on my first try!

...and my second:


I think I have just enough material to make one more small heart before I need to reorder some supplies, which I will be doing because I want to make more!  I am excited to start spreading some love and giving some of these beauties away for others to enjoy!

Taking this class has some extra special meaning in my life.  I was able to meet both Harriet and Elizabeth at my first Squam* a couple of years ago.  

I was able to witness and experience first hand the magic and inspiration that these gatherings are well known for.

Here are some pictures from my Squam experience September 2013:




...and yes....the heart!

And now I have my very own - and the skills and know-how to spread some love and beauty by giving gifts of the heart made by my own two hands inspired by the amazing creativity of Harriet and the mission and magic of Squam Art Workshops.

Thank you both Harriet & Elizabeth!

Find out more about this wonderful class in the video below:

Gift of the HEART :: with Harriet Goodall from Squam on Vimeo

*note - I reference my experience as my first Squam - because I am feeling the pull to go back again!

::hands and heart::

Hands and heart

A friend recently pointed me in a direction of this quote, which pretty much sums up the way I strive to live.

I am writing this post on a Friday evening.  My own children are tucked into bed and I am working to quiet my mind after a full week of both being a mom and kindergarten teacher.

Reflecting upon a couple of moments captured in snapshots that are true reminders of what wonderful gifts that these children I care for are in my life. 

I really do have room in my heart for them all.

PicMonkey Collage


.:happy weekend friends:.


::the reset button






Note to self:

When you are overwhelmed with the never-ending cycle of laundry, dishes, bills, meal planning, grocery shopping, etc;

:.go outside

:.take a breath

:.soak in some sunshine

:.notice and pay attention

:.practice gratitude

Hit the reset button and come back counting your blessings for the experience of living a rich and full life.


Artterro Eco Art Kits Giveaway!


Kids and Eggs Sponsor ~



Check out the New & Improved Artterro web store!  Now featuring a convenient, fun, one-stop shopping experience for high-quality arts and crafts supplies and gifts, the site includes a brand-new selection of Creative Gift Sets, plus crafting tools, extra materials, and the full line of Artterro Eco Art Kits.  With a new Resources page and an expanded blog, it’s also a place for families to get inspired and easily access DIY family craft tutorials, mindful living tips, art education. 

Website Relaunch Graphic

 Artterro is celebrating the launch of their newly site with some very special coupon codes

(good through 11/10): 

PAPER2014: Free Mini Paper Pack with your $20 purchase

FELT2014: Free Assorted Felt Shapes with your $30 purchase

Artterro is also generously offering one Kids and Eggs reader:

a Paper Craft Inspiration Gift Set


which includes: (1) Creativity Kit & (1) Bookmaking Kit -- a $40 value!!!!

To enter, use the rafflecopter below:

Thank you Artterro! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Simple Step to Live & Parent With Greater Ease :: Guest Post by Hunter Clarke-Fields (and Giveaway!)

Today I am so happy to share with you a guest post by Hunter Clarke-Fields!   Hunter has inspired me personally to focus on self-care on mindful living.  Today she is contributing in this space and offering a generous giveaway! 


This morning my 4-year old balked, fussed, and cried at brushing her teeth for the 100,000th time. Okay, maybe it wasn’t refusal number 100,000, but it felt like that. It’s so frustrating. I know that this kind of situation can trigger my temper.

My mindfulness practice helps me in moments like these.

I know from my stillness practice each day that the way out of these difficult feelings - frustration, anger, anxiety - is not to stuff them down or avoid them, but to go through them.

So this morning, when I started to feel that frustration instead of stuffing it down, I felt it.

I put my awareness into my body and felt the surge of energy that means my fight-or-flight response has been triggered. My mind was going. So I greet it: “Hello frustration.”

I didn’t try to pretend that everything was calm and peaceful, hoping it would be that way.

I told my daughter, “I feel really frustrated when you refuse to brush your teeth in the morning!” I felt the feelings, and I breathed into it.

The cool thing was that it didn’t escalate. I went through the feelings with awareness, and then was able to let them go. Escalation often happens when we try to deny or suppress our feelings. They come back to bite us until we are forced to feel them.

Notice I didn’t mention my daughter too much here?

That’s because mindfulness helps us realize that we can only control ourselves. If I work on taking care of my own feelings, my daughter see that.

In fact, children naturally just feel what they are feeling (sometimes really intensely!), and then move on. She doesn’t linger. Tantrum and tears in the bathroom to smiles on the mini-trampoline. She instinctively knows how to let her sad out.

The work of mindful parenting is work on ourselves.

We are the ones who were taught by our parents and culture to suppress our feelings (“Don’t cry. It’s not that bad. Buck up.”), not to pay attention to our bodies (“You have to eat everything on your plate.”), and not to trust ourselves (“Parents and teachers are always right.”).

These voices of our parents and culture still ring in our heads: “She shouldn’t disrespect me like that.” “You deserve this for what you did.” “Just do what you are told.”

Of course they do. That’s how most of us were raised. It’s natural that we should default to that place - we were trained in it.

That’s not to say it’s how we want to live and parent. We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves when we have those thoughts. When our parents words sometimes come out of our mouths.  Compassion begins with ourselves.

And this is where mindfulness practice really helps.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present. To be aware of where we are and what we’re doing. Not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us

Mindfulness practice gives us the space to objectively look at our thoughts. Then we can choose what we want to believe. It gives us the grounding to be able to feel our feelings. We don’t get pushed and pulled by the emotional winds as much.

That’s why my coaching clients report more patience, more self-awareness and generally greater ease when they start their mindfulness practices. It’s not that the frustrations of the world have gone away. They can handle them with greater equanimity.

You can try it right now.


Sit up tall wherever you are. Close your eyes and take a minute to feel your breath coming in and out. Let your belly be soft. Focus on your breathing.

When thoughts come, notice them. Then come back to your breath. When you are ready, continue reading.

This is very simple, right? Hard to stay focused on your breath, right? Our thoughts drag us away from present at a dizzying speed.

This is how we practice separating ourselves from our thoughts. And the benefits it can bring are many - from physical to mental health and more.

Support for you.

I want you to have the support you need to develop a mindfulness practice. I know that as each of us creates more peace in ourselves, it makes for more peaceful families and ripples out into the world.

That’s why I’m hosting a Free 14-day Virtual Mindfulness Retreat starting this November 10th. Please go check it out and join us in creating more peace.


Mindful self-care incorporates all of you - body-mind and spirit. That’s why I’m offering two of my Yoga Mama Home Practice video packages as a giveaway too!


Now it’s your turn.

Do you incorporate mindfulness practices at home? Would you like to? Please share in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading! It’s really a treat to meet some new folks, so please come over and say hello on my Facebook page. I always respond and love hearing your stories.

With warmth & lovingkindness,

signature.jpg10710767_10152737553654350_7415973879415876714_nHunter Clarke-Fields, MSAE, RYT, helps mamas let go of stress and overwhelm and bring more peace and joy to life using the traditions of yoga & mindfulness. Hunter has over 18 years of experience in yoga & mindfulness practices. She has the dharma name, "Calm breath of the heart." Find out more about Hunter at as well as free resources and how you can work with her here.


Thank you Hunter Clarke-Fields!
Enter below for your chance to win Hunter's Yoga Mama Home Practice. (a $49 value!)   
I recently purchased the package and it has been just what I needed.  The Yoga Mama Home Practice offers a variety of streamable and downloadable yoga videos that range from 5 minutes to 75 minutes long, with most in the middle at about 15-25 minutes.  I highly recommend this practice and am grateful to Hunter for offering two readers a chance to win!
Enter below!

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