Life Outside

Some of my most treasured memories growing up are from the time I spent at my grandparents farm in Northampton, MA. There was no cell phones, social media, filters, text messages, internet, email, YouTube, Netflix, or Apps, and looking back I am so grateful there wasn’t. I cherished the time I spent milking cows, feeding the chickens, getting chased by chickens, picking cucumbers, playing in a hay loft, seeing kittens being born, gardening, cooking with my grandma, clothes line drying clothes, playing hide and seek and watching cartoons on a black and white TV. Most children these days just do not have that experience and in my opinion they miss out on so much! I am glad I did not have the distractions of Facebook and the so called “cancel culture.” Sure it was hard and not always exciting, but I learned how to value work and how to value the farmers who worked so hard day in and day out to give us fresh foods, how to keep myself amused and what really mattered.

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

I believe we need to get back to what really matters and I like to think of challenging times we find ourselves in is natures way of telling us to reset. I am definitely not minimizing the severity of the pandemic, the lives that have been lost or the uncertainty it brings to everyone in some way. I just think that we can all come out of this better people, better parents, better friends, better spouses, just better all around and I believe that starts with unplugging the virtual world and tuning back into the outside world. It has always been important to me to show my son a little bit of everything especially when it comes to nature, animals, gardening, farming, camping and cooking. If the internet was to collapse tomorrow so would a lot of people and that to me, is so sad. We as people have become so used to interacting with people thru a screen that we sometimes forget how to interact with people in real life and the scariest part of this is that the majority of a new generation is being raised this way. Taking into account the current pandemic and how we are all probably getting more screen time in than we should it is especially important to get outside every chance we can and interact with our environment.

This spring/summer was hard financially on us as I lost my job when the Pandemic hit and there really is not a sure sign of when I will be able to work so like most we have just been doing the best we can. We did what we could to make the best of it by planting a garden in our small back yard, going on hikes, reading and learning about the different bugs we found and different nature related activities. I know so many families are in the same boat right now and just not able to give their children the spring and summer they had envisioned and my heart goes out to them. The truth is right now things are so very tough for so many people and it sadly it is going to be that way for quite some time. I truly believe nature in all its forms can really lift our mood, brighten our spirits and center us when we are feeling very off. The fall is also going to be a rough time as days in some parts of the world will get colder so I encourage you to do some of the simple things listed below to bring the outside inside:

1.) Put plants and flowers everywhere – The most common way of including nature in our home’s décor is with potted plants and fresh flowers. Put these fresh accents everywhere you can, including the bathroom. Make it look and feel like a spa. Certain types of plants thrive in humid environments and are perfect for this purpose.

2.) Teacup Succulents – Give a tiny houseplant a place to shine. Inside a teacup a succulent can show off it’s crazy curves and angles without competing with it other full-leaved plant friends.

3.) Hanging Terrariums – While you are at it, build an entire plant world with a terrarium and hang that in a sunny spot. It’s a completely unexpected way to bring greenery inside.

4.) Indoor Herb Garden  – Place a tension rod across a window and plant herbs in hooked plant holders to create a beautiful and super useful indoor herb garden.

5.) Botanist Art – Press flat any plant cuttings or flowers that catch your eye, once they are dry you can press them between glass for permanent exhibit on your wall and show off your inner botanist.

6.) Display Those Stones Or Rocks You’ve Collected – Ever grab a shell from a sand beach? Or a pretty stone or pebble from a stream? They tend to end up shoved away somewhere, but bust those bad boys out and display them on a shelf. It can also be therapeutic to rearrange them like a Zen garden.

7.) Fill Pretty Glass Jars With Sand – Find some pretty glass jars to fill and display them around the house.

8.) Paint In Earth Tones – Give any space a quick and easy makeover with a fresh new color on the walls. Choose earthy browns, greens, blues and whites.

9.) Buy Yourself Flowers – Don’t hesitate next time you’re at the market… Just find the bouquet that speaks to you and buy it. Bring them home and display them in a pretty vase.

10.) Incorporate The Smells Of Nature – Trick your nose into thinking you’re outside by using scented candles, diffusers, incense or potpourri.

This is only a fraction of the ideas out there so please explore check out different websites, go to your favorite craft store, look on different blogs and forums for the thousands of ways to bring the outside in.

As kids now spend more time with entertainment media, they’re getting less and less time outdoors, despite the mental and physical health benefits. Ben Klasky, CEO of IslandWood, a 255-acre outdoor learning center, proposes a free and natural remedy to the physical problems kids face: the Great Outdoors.

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