For those of you not familiar with her blog, Soulemama, Amanda Soule lives in the Maine countryside with her husband Steve and their five children. I enjoyed her first two books, The Creative Family and Handmade Home, so when I knew she was coming out with a third, I made sure to request that my library ordered it. They did, and I was first in line to have a peek.
I must say, it's a lovely book.
This time Amanda and Steve joined forces to write the book, which is divided into the 12 months of the year. For each month, there is one essay by "Mama," and one by "Papa." These essays were well written and a pleasure to read. In them, the Soules share moments in the life of their family, which have to do with the unique mood of each month.
After each month's two essays, there is at least one "Make" activity and a "Do" activity. The Make activities are some kind of seasonal craft, and the Do ones are simply something you can do with your children. For example, for October there are instructions for making a banner with homemade leaf prints, and then the suggestion of taking a "season's walk" with the children on a favourite trail to observe the changes there since last season.
The book contains quite a wide variety of crafts, recipes, and activities. All of them are pleasingly doable--even the knitting project looks like something I might be able to handle. I have not had a chance try anything yet--and sadly, I need to return the book to the library tomorrow!--but I will certainly take it out again and give some a try. Some activities I'd love to do: Double thick homemade hankies (with a special bag to store them in), herbal throat lozenges, oat bread...I love her tips on taking a family picnic and celebrating the winter solstice. Especially appreciated by me, bookworm that I am, is the extensive booklist at the back on topics such as gardening, natural healing, and whole foods.
This book does not deal with religious holidays, but rather the changing seasons of the natural world, and in this way it is appropriate for everyone, everywhere. If you are like me, and you'd like to do more with your children to mark the turning of the seasons, but lack the creative energy to think of something to do, I recommend picking this one up. I personally would love to have it in my permanent library, but as our budget can't currently handle that, I'll have to be content with borrowing it from the library. (Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am to have a beautiful public library only a few blocks away from us?)