Tender Sapling

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Homemade Yogurt Grows Good Cultures + Character too!

Want a fun food project to enjoy with the kids that’s healthy, green, globally-loved, and cultivates some wonderful qualities of the heart too? Look no further: Yogurt!

How can all these lessons be packed into one food? Here’s a quick run down:

* Healthy: Yogurt is considered a health food. We’re talking ideally homemade, no sugar added, real yogurt. Historically, yogurt is credited with curing at least one king from an incurable case of diarrhea. Yogurt is a great pro-biotic with awesome bacteria for your body, which I recently learned that 90% made up by microbes according to this fascinating article by Michael Pollan. (While our yogurt-making experience is solely with cow’s milk, there are non-dairy options and recipes out there, if you prefer that route.) Continue reading

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Mama – Magic in the World

A magical mama-baby moment.

A magical mama-baby moment.

Forget Harry Potter for a moment. There is real magic in the world. And it’s sprinkled everywhere. It’s in you, mama!

This day (Mother’s Day in the United States) always reinforces for me just how magical mama really is. Just watch a babe in utero kick and mama caress her belly. Or remember the first moment you held your baby, radiating love-beyond-compare to this new being. Pure magic!

But Mama can get worn down and tired and sometimes needs to know how much she is loved, how special she is, even if dinner is just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the kids haven’t bathed in days.

Mama tends to be her own worst critic, and while I’m all for self-improvement, an important part of doing our best is forgiving and loving ourselves. When we do that, we model some mighty awesome virtues for our own tender saplings too!

So, in the spirit of helping support you in loving yourself as a mama, here is a simple little poem I just composed as an ode to celebrate YOU! Continue reading


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5 DIY Ways to Pamper Mama this Mother’s Day

What will you do this Mother’s Day for the sweet mama in your life? As a parent working on mindfulness and striving to raise mindful tender saplings, I find this American holiday a great way to teach our little ones about honoring their mother. And I love the idea of trying to make our gestures more mindful and meaningful.

It’s traditional and appreciated for dad and the little ones to come through with flowers, homemade cards, and/or chocolates (like these fair trade bars from our Global Kids Gift Guide) for Mother’s Day. While these are all wonderful, how about adding one or more of these fun, thoughtful do-it-yourself ways to show you care? Continue reading


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Migrate to Mongolia: A Tender Sapling Travelers Cultural Adventure – Part 2 (Prayer Wheels)

This post is part of the Tender Sapling Travelers Series and Part 2 of a 3-part installment on Mongolia. See Part 1 here.

After a wonderful introduction to Mongolia, covered in our Part 1 post, our oldest son was ready to focus on an area of interest to present on at our monthly Culture Club homeschool cooperative. In past years’ learning about Mongolia, his interests veered toward the incredible dinosaur discoveries of Roy Andrew Chapman and team (see book recommendation in the Part 1 post). But this year, he chose to focus on the Mongolian Prayer Wheel.

What’s that? Read on to learn about this fascinating prayer tool, if you will. Plus, use objects around the house to create your own! The step-by-step craft instructions follow the prayer wheel intro:

MONGOLIAN PRAYER WHEEL

Mongolian hand prayer wheel

Our oldest tender sapling found the Mongolian prayer wheel interesting from several perspectives: its design, its spiritual significance, its history, and its recent rebirth as a sign of the revival of Mongolian culture following decades of repression. Here are some of the points he enjoyed learning and sharing with the thirty other children who had each been studying Mongolia on their own: Continue reading


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May Day Fun: Dandelion Soup Recipe

Picking dandelions.

Picking dandelions.

You know the saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?

Well, we decided to apply that to dandelions last week!

It all started when we walked outside to see a sea of dandelion blooms dotting our grass with happy, yellow splotches. It brought to mind my friend Heather’s brilliant easier-than-weeding plan to arrest the spread of the dandelions in her yard. She hired her four boys to pick them, paying them per flower.

I offered a deal that couldn’t be turned down to my two oldest boys: 1 cent per flower. They paused and I feared they would scoff at my low-ball offer. But, seeing as they have precious few opportunities to make money around these parts (something we’ve been meaning to remedy), they got busy. Pails in hand, they fanned out across the yard, hunched over in determination to rid the yard of the splashes of sunshine. (Can you tell I have mixed feelings about losing out on their beauty? Plus childhood seems so much sweeter with plenty of dandelions to make wishes on and blow their seeds into a carefree dance on a spring breeze.)

My father arrived soon after and, learning of the kids’ mission, mentioned that we should use the dandelion flowers to make soup! He had tried a dandelion soup while living in China and liked it. We had used dandelion greens in salads before, but I had a long list of to-dos that day and making dandelion soup was not high on it. Yes, I know, my father’s words can be well worth listening to, but I tried not to this time. Continue reading