Our big backyard
Organic tomatoes post-boiling-water-dunk and ready for step #2 in the process of making pasta sauce
Our daughter under the weeping willow tree
I've never been one to love the outdoors despite growing up in the country. For one, I despise being hot. For another, I do not like animals. And lastly, mosquitoes LOVE me.
However, having a child has motivated me to embrace what nature has to offer. Plus, I know there are many health benefits to being outdoors, including boosting one's vitamin D level (very important, especially for people with diabetes), being active (yeah for exercise!), and getting away from technology and the stress of every day life.
We are blessed with a fabulous backyard---it's large, flat, and grassy. My favorite part is the weeping willow tree---a sanctuary of greeness. My husband grew an organic garden this summer which produced a ton of tomatoes and made for a great learning experience for all of us, including our daughter who got to see the garden grow and produce food for our family.
I'm learning to appreciate nature more, but I have to admit, I went to some resources for help. Here are a few that have inspired me, and I hope that they'll inspire you, too:
The Gentle Art of Domesticity (Jane Brocket): I cannot recall exactly where it was stated, but the author asks her readers, when is the last time you connected with nature by touching the bark of a tree? Such a simple question. However, that was hint enough for me to do it. My daughter and I touch the bark of our weeping willow and also touched the bark of a tree at the local park. In a world full of keyboards, it was surprisingly refreshing to touch a tree. Give it a whirl! And when you're finished, read the rest of Jane's book for more fabulous ideas.
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms (Clare Walker Leslie): This book is perfect for school aged children and would work well for families who homeschool or just want to appreciate nature more. I have NEVER liked science, but this book offered so many wonderful activity ideas that I reconsidered what "science" actually means in everyday life.
The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections (Amanda Blake Soule): LOVED this book. Beautiful illustrations and inspirational tips. One of my favorite nature activities in this book is to create a seasonal nature table. The author's family used the top of a piece of furniture in their dining room to display nature finds---pine cones, a leaf, an acorn, a smooth rock, etc. Her kids were encouraged to find beautiful things to add to the display.
The Toddler's Busy Book (Trish Kuffner): My favorite nature activity from this book: tape a bracelet around your child's wrist (sticky side out) and allow him or her to stick natural finds onto the tape. My daughter and her friends loved this activity at a recent play date.
Please visit some of my favorite blogs, in honor of the Fall Into Fall project, to learn more about healthy, happy living: