Archive of ‘Book Club’ category

Nature Play: Part One

Spring is in the air and I’m craving barefoot walking through the grass, Sangria on the porch and the excitement of little toddlers discovering a new experience in nature. I will be doing a four part series in the month of March on the subject of nature.

This week is an introduction to a primary text from Charlotte Mason (volume 6) on nature study. Her sincere belief in time outside is beautiful:

“It is infinitely well worth the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation…

(FAQ: But how do you stop them from eating the dirt? A: You don’t. I mean you can tell them no and redirect all day long, but the truth is that they are learning. Obviously try not to allow them to eat mouthfuls but a little dirt probably won’t hurt them. In fact, some believe that small traces in the bacteria in dirt actually helps children.More to come on this topic another day..) (FAQ: What do you do with her outside all day? A: Follow her lead. Let her explore and discover the world around her. Sometimes I offer “Toy prompts” like this large metal cooking pot. But very often, I just let her use her imagination. You don’t need a bunch of activities outside to reap the benefits. In fact, I would argue that by not providing many objects outside of nature’s gifts, you are giving your child the opportunity to learn in the most authentic way)

The child who learns his science from a text-book, though he go to Nature for illustrations, and he who gets his information from objects lessons, has no chance of forming relations with things as they are, because this kindly obtrusive teacher makes him believe that to know about things is the same as knowing them personally…

Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life…”

Charlotte Mason, Volume 6

She stumbles. She stands.

It only seems fitting that Lydia began walking last week. It was a week of change and forward movement for all. We moved to South Carolina. It took a leap of faith, mindful consideration and a whole lot of leaning on family to get us through the transition time, but we are here.



And just as my husband and I are learning our way in a new town, Lydia is literally taking steps forward.


As I sat with my coffee this morning, I couldn’t help but to smile at the beautiful lessons in her steps. She stumbles. She stands. She stumbles. She laughs. She stumbles. She looks to family for reassurance. She stumbles. She keeps trying.

The move up here was based on family settling in the area and our strong belief in raising children by family. (OK, and the mountains were calling us…) After a great deal of thought, we decided to rent up here in order to learn the town better. We feel so blessed to have found a beautiful cottage based rental community just fifteen minutes from town. The walking trails are gorgeous and they have this perfect little pecan orchard on our morning walk. One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Wadsworth, ” And early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” We made it a family mission to walk each morning together. It has been a wonderful change of pace to have my husband and pups join us for our morning adventure. Walks have always been a really special time for my husband and I, and to cherish these walks with each other, “The Biscuit” and our family, is just a dream come true.


Also… the start up bug is running strong in my blood. I’ve been working hard to listen to other lately. To hear what they are saying. To feel what they are feeling. And to think how they are thinking. It has been a wonderful practice for my mind and my soul. It is always guiding me to my next venture. How lucky I am to constantly be learning from all of you.


A New Season


When the mornings are crisp and the afternoons heat up, giving us a glimpse of summer bliss.

IMG_3446 (1)

When the flowers are blooming and seeds are planted with patient anticipation of summer crops.


When the school year is cranking and you can almost taste the sweet success of summer break.

IMG_3505 (1)

A period of time that I push through the get to… summer.

IMG_3286I sat down to write this post thinking I would be sharing my thoughts on how spring is a season that is usually a period of time that in each year that I wait for summer, rather than see the beauty in.  don’t want it to be like that. I want to value each season for what it is. I want to embrace each season with joy and appreciation. But, as I sit here and look at photos of my spring this year, I finally feel the absolute beauty of the season.

I feel the grass on my feet. I feel the dirt on my hands. I feel the flower vibrant flower petals. I feel the cold jar of lemon water. And I definitely feel the utter joy of watching Lydia see spring for the first time. So, what was going to be a post about how I needed to re-think my outlook on spring, has turned into my very own therapy session, teaching me that if I am just mindful of nature, then all the beauty will come alive for me. This spring is not just a waiting period of summer for me. This spring, is a brand new season to experience.


IMG_3739However, this spring has been emotionally difficult. We will be moving in early June to South Carolina to be by more family and for Zach to take a good job opportunity within his company. This move is by choice and we are so eager to be surrounded by more family and soak in some mountain air. This mama is overwhelmed with the house selling and house hunting, not to mention the fact that as the date gets closer and the reality of leaving my hometown that I love dearly sinks in. I just keep telling myself, that it is only as stressful as I make it and let’s get real… I haven’t exactly reduced my baby snuggles or Lydia play time so how bad can it really be? 🙂

IMG_7531So whenever my mind begins to wander or my heart begins to race, filling my soul with anxiety, I take a step back. I rub some lavender oil on the back of my neck, temple and wrists, pour a big old cup of lemon water and get outside. Because, to me, fresh air, dirt, babies and dogs heal everything! (For all of those who know me perfectly, know that I am my mom’s mini me in regards to this!)


(If you are wondering.. yes.. she is chewing on a leaf or grass. That is her sneaky girl face when she doesn’t want my to snatch out whatever she is munching on. She can store things in those cheeks for hours!)

Most of you know that my background is in special education. Prior to running my play-based tutoring company and staying home with Lydia, I taught Kindergarten through second grade special education. One of my favorite parts of teaching was helping these children with sensory integration. I firmly believe in sensory play and exploration at a young age. I find it interesting that some of my favorite parenting activities are also sensory based.

Yesterday, while working in our small veggie garden, Lydia and I happened upon an easy sensory activity. I had just gulped down my lemon water and Lydia was, like always, grabbing at my cup. This mason jar with a lemon in it turned into a 10-15 minute game for her. She worked on getting the lemon in and out of the jar. Her little hands had to learn how to grasp the jar, turn the jar and reach in without getting her fingers stuck. She loved it. And the reward? A sour little lemon slice to suck on!


IMG_3780 (1)



I just love seeing her little dirty hands hold that lemon and grin at me with such pride and sense of accomplishment. We practiced and practiced. I put the lemon back in. She learned how to get it out. The smell of lemon radiated in the air and the freshness of spring washed over me once again.

But my point being, sensory experiences can be so so easy. Just a jar with a lemon. Or a patch of grass to stand in and grab at. Or a flower to rub between their fingers. Or a stick to hold ( ok, or eat if you child thinks they are a dog like mine does)…You don’t need to buy a sensory toy. You don’t need to create a special sensory bin (although I do love them and have some of my own for indoor play). You simply need to step outside your door and let them explore.

IMG_7384 A child from birth to about age seen experience the whole world through their body. They take in all of the senses, each one very new to them. I believe it is our job as parents to embrace this amazing sensory time. It is our job to protect them from sensory overload. And it is our job to give them opportunities to learn.


As always, if you have any questions regarding sensory integration or outdoor learning, please feel free to comment or message me on Instagram or Facebook. I love hearing from you all and learn so much from this wonderful online community.


Sending love, sunshine and beautiful spring days to each of you.

XOXO, Natasha

PBD Presents: Parent’s Book Den

IMG_3167Welcome, to our virtual book club. I sit here already feeling the energy from this newly forming group. My hopes is that we are all able to get to know each other a little better through our book discussions. You all did a great job getting your votes in for the first book. Brain Rules For Baby by John Medina was voted as our first book to discuss. I truly hope you join in on our discussion, even if that wasn’t your top pick though. It is an insightful read that dives into early childhood brain development just enough so that you understand the why behind behaviors but not too technical that you feel like you are reading a textbook.

Friends and followers of me know, I like to create visions, document and research. I love pouring over words (hints, the book club!) and learning through others. But, I know that everyone is super busy and we have some new wonderful faces joining our tribe so I want to make this post quick and easy for you all.

Here are your next steps:

  1. Purchase or Check Out Brain Rules For Baby by John Medina
  2. Join our closed Facebook group.

That’s it! We will go through the next steps once you are in the Facebook Group.

I will leave you with a quote from Brain Rules for Baby that is such an important part of our group here, parenting and life,

 “Parenting is not a race. Kids are not provided for adult success. Competition can be inspiring, but brands of it can wire your child’s brain in a toxic way. Comparing your kids with your friend’s kids will not get them, or you, where you want to go.” 

We will begin discussing Brain for For Baby on March 6th. Please follow along on our Facebook group for more information on when chapters will be discussed and the rules for our group. But the main rule is very much related to the quote- we will not be competing with each other. Kindness comes first.

P.S Thank you for all of your sweet and encouraging messages and emails. You all know how to make this girls’ day!



We will be using the hashtag #PBDreads to organize our posts.

If you haven’t already and want to, I would love for you to like Playful By Design’s Page and participate in our general discussions there. I share some great articles there. (Or you can snoop at my life through Instagram if you want!)

1 2 3 4 8