Inspiration natural nature

Celebrate Autumn

Autumn Song

The fiery red and glowing sienna of an autumn oak made me appreciate today the simple beauty of fall. It is a season that calls out to children to frolic in abandoned piles of crunchy leaves and stay outside until dusk.


Picture Book Selection of the Day for 11/9/11 is …

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

by William Steig

Yes, the author who brought us such classics as Doctor De Soto and Shrek, won the 1970 Caldecott Medal with this modern classic beloved by children everywhere.

books Inspiration

Picture Book Month

As those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know by now, I am officially celebrating Picture Book Month, along with many other avid fans of the genre.  To honor the timeless tales that remain in our hearts well after we move to chapter books (and really, should we ever stop admiring picture books?), I am sharing a new book each day this month.  To catch you up, here are my picks for the first week of November.  What are your favorite picture books?  Why?


Come and visit me on Facebook and Twitter

I’ll be back with two new posts on my picks for your baby registry  and current favorites in children’s literature soon, but if you miss me, come over to my Facebook page ( or find me on Twitter (@playeatlove) where thought-provoking conversation ensues. You’ll find articles to stimulate your mind, book recommendations for you and your children, and discussions about simplifying your life, letting your children explore their creative selves, slowing down, eating well, and reveling in each moment.  Hope to see you there!


It’s Cold & Flu Season … Salt Room/Halotheraphy, Anyone?

Two kids and one darling husband down with their first colds of the season.  As the last woman standing in the house that sick built, what’s a girl to do?  If you are anything like me, you’re alarmed by the constant recalls and changes in dosage and age guidelines on children’s cough and cold medicines.  I found myself standing in the aisle of Rite Aid yesterday pawing through boxes of cough suppressants in a desperate search for a “natural” option.  Nothing I found satisfied me, so I came home empty-handed.  My go-to solution for coughing is honey.  A spoonful or two of honey before bedtime.  My kids are jubilant, of course, and I see results.  The thing is, I don’t want to suppress the cough because I know it serves a purpose; I just want to help my children get a good night’s sleep. 

Lightning Bugz open ended play toys Waldorf

A bit of natural wonder for Valentine’s Day …

A very quick post to share a wonderful (yes, as in full of wonder), natural, open-ended, handmade gift that any child would love to receive for Valentine’s Day, Easter, a birthday … is there a day that wouldn’t be brightened by Wonder Wandz by Lighnting Bugz?   On Valentine’s Day, I plan on setting up a little trail of chocolate kisses (in different colors for each child) from their bedroom doors to our living room where they will find two magical boxes.  Open the boxes with me, and see where your imagination takes you …

The woman behind the wonder describes how her latest creation, perfect for girls and boys, “can be used for everything from dancing, to running and twirling, to casting magical spells, to helping fairies, to piloting space ships, to fitting in gnome homes, to digging wondrous caves! The possibilities go on forever!! I love how children just seem to know what the wand should be used for at the exact moment.”

books Heaven on Earth Inspiration Sharifa Oppenheimer

Winter reading suggestions …

If the snowy landscapes and the winter chill make you want to hibernate until spring, cozy up to a good book and take heart!

I thought I’d share some books that have significantly shaped the way I parent.  I hope you are equally moved by them:

1)  Heaven on Earth

2)  Simplicity Parenting

3)  Making A Family Home

4)  Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars (really for grandparents, but fantastic for parents too)

open ended play toys

Felt Storyboard/Storybox

Looking for a quick, painless and easy craft that will entertain your children long after the crafting is done?  Look no further …

As holiday gifts arrive at my doorstep, my house becomes increasingly overtaken by cardboard boxes of every imaginable size.  What to do with so many bins as we await recycling day?  Make a traditional, old school storyboard or storybox, of course.

Inspiration school days

A Support Group …

N.B. As always, I’ve changed the name of my son’s preschool for obvious reasons.

Is it odd (be truthful, Reader!)  that I find myself frequently lost in a daydream about my son’s preschool?  That I visit and revisit in my mind’s eye each landscape, every private nook dedicated to reverie, and one by one the spaces, colorful and orderly, where shared stories morph into dramatic play?

I think I need a support group for parents obsessed with all things Room to Bloom.  I near went into withdrawal last week when my son was out sick for two days.  I say this in jest (slightly), but I am sincere in my devotion, my curiosity, my awe.  I realize how much work, both physical and cerebral, must go into every aspect of the learning environment created there, especially as I educate myself more on various philosophies of early education; however, the director, the teachers, and the staff sustain a microcosm of the world, minus the distractions and feedback of modern society, within the walls of their schoolhouse.  It is miraculous, really, that children can still get right down to the work of being kids, of reaching out to their environment, turning it around in their little hands, evaluating it from various angles, and reporting back to their friends (my son calls them his “fratelli e sorelle” – brothers and sisters), so that the learning loop continues without end.

Inspiration natural open ended school days

Time travel

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but as you’ll surmise, I am experiencing many new beginnings and some happy returns.

Welcome autumn!  Enjoy these brilliant, colorful days!


N.B. – I have changed details/names in the piece below, but the tale it relates is true.

We stood together, my son and I, his little hand encased in mine, at the threshold of the familiar red building.