Nature Nurtures – May is Mental Health Month

On Mother’s Day this year a rare Sun Halo or Whirling Rainbow appeared over Massachusetts. It was a magical moment that hovered in time and caused me to pause and take notice as nature so often does.

However, this moment in particular had a special meaning as I shared it together with my family as we were just emerging from a stretch of mental health challenges that rocked our world and we each seemed to be carving out time to spend in the great outdoors as a part of our recovery.

Actually what I have noticed most since our heightened mental health moment is that we have not only been carving out specific time to spend in nature many of us are actually craving it.

Whether it is gazing upon a bed of tulips mindfully planned to bring forth a painter’s palette of color as we exit the last of winter’s embrace and stretch towards the longer daylight hours of spring and begin new plantings in the butterfly and veggie gardens or . . .

spying dandelions springing up in unexpected places with a burst of golden yellow in both the meadow and wherever the seeds have spread over the years, all of these beauties and outdoor activities fill our tank with a much needed sense of calm and renewal.

Stumbling upon the graceful unfurling of the ferns down near the river’s edge on a nature walk or . . .

seeking out the apple blossoms on a bird walk as they are beckoning bees, hummingbirds, and humans to share in the celebration of their annual return bringing new hope to the landscape for another season of sweet goodness.

May you and yours always find your way home again, especially when it feels like your mind or body or spirit have lost their way, by relying on nature to nurture you in times of these great challenges and may every day be a time to focus on your mental health so that you may all bloom and continue to grow into the very humans you were meant to be.

Mental Health Matters

Your unique and beautiful presence in this world is very much needed and is the gift that keeps on giving.

Be kind to yourself and simply be kind.


Sending a smile filled with loving kindness to help light the way,

Karen ;0)


Pair this reading with – A Simple Gift: U-be-U

P.L.A.Y. – Pass it on!

Curious Capkins love getting outdoors to P.L.A.Y. with you in all seasons and all kinds of weather!
So step into the sunshine, snow shower, wind or rain and enjoy the adventure.

You and your kiddos will be so very glad you did!

Family Gardening #5: Why Growing Food Matters

P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Time to Get Growing!

Warning – Taking a Sneak Peek Ahead – What’s for dinner???!!!

Butternut Squash, grown right here, turned into delicious soup to take off the winter chill.


This is all about you and your family. Time to P.L.A.Y. and Grow a Garden one small seed at a time and reap the rewards the whole year through!


As you continue to follow this Family Gardening series HERE and your seedlings continue to grow and are nearly ready to plant outdoors I wanted to encourage your efforts with a sneak peek of the gifts you are about to receive for your efforts.


The beautiful butternut squash soup in the photo above was the result of a generous gift of x4 squash bestowed upon us back in February as our fellow community members prepared to leave for a trip and wanted to make sure their root cellar didn’t have things spoil while they were away.

The squash was lovingly grown right here, as local as you can get, which meant that my family was receiving the best nutrition possible and the squash traveled the least amount of miles possible  with only a few hundred feet from their garden to our table!

~Many thanks E + E!!!

All of their efforts matter and yours do too. For every seed or plant you can put into the soil and grow local foods you and your family will benefit ten fold. Start small if it is overwhelming and ask for assistance from family members if you are not a member of the “green thumb club” (just like me and my brown thumb). Simply finding a way together to grow a few veggie or fruit plants where you live will actually go a long way in terms of sustainability and nutritional benefits. Truly a win-win.

And as you slowly expand from one potted plant to two and then a 2×2 garden to 10×10 always remember you can also be purchasing locally grown delights at your farmer’s market or local CSA to support their work, especially as you gain appreciation for how much time and tending to is required to grow quantities of food!

Local strawberries + rhubarb come together in a delicious pie! Yum!


Honestly the YUM factor is not to be missed!!!

Just look at this strawberry rhubarb pie created from our frozen stash of locally grown berries and stalks. Buying in season and preserving by freezing, dehydrating, or canning are all tried and true ways to enjoy your garden and local produce the whole year through.

It is well worth putting time and effort into this P.L.A.Y. practice of Family Gardening, a perfect P.L.A.Y. in Place Plan, with bonus benefits of being in nature throughout the seasons and being able to see amazing changes right in your own backyard!


  • This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
  • The specific gardening needs you have can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).
  • P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

Creative P.L.A.Y.-filled Connection Opportunities:

  • Suggest family members make list of foods they’d most like to grow or purchase locally as they think with their taste-buds of recipes they’d like to make. Strawberry rhubarb pie anyone?
  • OR – Another way to go about this is to cover the kitchen table with your cookbooks and have family members bookmark their top 3 recipe preferences. Then determine if you can grow any of the foods on the ingredients list. A veggie soup perhaps? Create a tangible, and eatable, goal!
  • Research as a family what foods grow in your area and in which months do they arrive. Most local CSA’s will have a chart online that you could reference so that you start to know in addition to the small garden you are creating you’ll also know when to purchase and freeze bulk produce for your family meals (ex. blueberries arrive in July in our area).
  • READ for Inspiration + Information + Conversation – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver has a wealth of gardening inspiration, a great deal of information on why local foods are important, and many leaping off points for conversations where your family may or may not all agree (example – omnivore vs. vegetarian vs. vegan). My husband and I read this book back in 2008 and requested my two homeschooling tweens (at the time) do the same. This was a catalyst and very much a part of the change of the trajectory of our family’s eating, growing, and way of being. We did not all necessarily agree with all the points Barbara made however it did get us all thinking about our actions in this world and openly discussing them. Just this month I decided to revisit and read it again. Wow! It is amazing how over a decade later I can see the changes we’ve made AND so many more possibilities for change to go and how everything she has shared in this volume is still so very relevant. The part I like best about this book is how Barbara takes you month-by-month through the growing cycle and highlights the how and why for gardening and local foods.

Pass it on!!!

More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Family Gardening HERE

This P.L.A.Y. series is offering encouragement for all. Sharing is caring so please pass it forward!

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee” (Yay! The bees are back = spring special!).

Simply BEE!

Rx – Nature Nurtures – Breath of Fresh Air

Short and Simple Spring Tidings in Odd Times

Nature Nurtures us and is good ” Rx medicine” for one and ALL – always.

In this time of feeling like the world is upside down take a moment to get grounded by connecting to nature.

A momentary breath of fresh air,

seeing buds on the trees,

searching for seedlings sprouting in the spring soil,

simply watching the clouds go by,

or soaking up some sunshine

are all ways we can bring peace and calm back into our lives to help navigate the challenges ahead.

Once you are there in that space pay attention to the kiddos and pets in your life and find moments of laughter and silly to help light the way.

❤ ❤ ❤ We are all connected and in this together. ❤ ❤ ❤

For more inspiration follow my blog posts to get a great daily dose of nature and P.L.A.Y. and consider purchasing my latest activity books by ordering online for more outdoor or story time options <HERE>.

Nature feeds our mind, body, and spirit – get your daily dose of P.L.A.Y. today!

Be well, be safe, and simply be,

With hugs and a smile,

Karen :0) ❤ 

Simple Gift: Moments of Inner Stillness

~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~

Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being

by Thich Nhat Hanh

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles 

 by Thich Nhat Hanh

~ Review & Reflection ~

Are you seeking simple steps to have moments of daily inner stillness?

Is this challenging to envision when life seems to keep you in motion day and night?

Well look no further than these two calming and family friendly books by Thich Nhat Hahn that will help you and your loved ones begin a set of simple mindful practices that can be done anywhere in your day – indoors or outdoors, all together, partnered up, or solo!

I like to begin my day with Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises For Well-Being just as the morning sun begins to peek over the top of the ridge near our home. I am also very much a morning person so be sure to select the best time for you and your loved ones to engage with these simple mindful exercises to get your circulation going and to feel more centered and focused.

<breathe in><breathe out>

The movements Thich Nhat Hahn recommends are gentle and suit most folks. I like to use this as a beginning to my warm-up and typically add either a few more repetitions or a few extra yoga style stretches to feel fully awake. Focusing on the breath throughout this practice truly makes all the difference as you connect to your “aliveness”.

Then later in the afternoon, whether I’m indoors or typically outdoors on my walk, I take a moment to practice the principles of A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles. I have a true fondness for finding what I call stripey stones down by the river that suit this practice nicely.

I’ve also adapted this practice, in addition to using pebbles, to sometimes using sticks, acorns, leaves, or gathering anything along my walk to then focus on my breath as I hold and release the items back into nature. I take care not to disturb things that are growing and typically select items that have fallen to the ground.

With each nature item I hold in my hand and I practice the in-out breath and connect to what I want to see and be in this world: peace, prosperity, and most of all love. This really creates clarity and gets to the true heart of this practice for me.

And so over time practicing these movements and meditations routinely has become an important part of my P.L.A.Y. path filling my tank with loving kindness towards myself (inward) and setting the intention to share this with everyone I meet (outward). And little by little these simple practices have created an inner stillness that I can connect to again and again, especially when the world seems to be constantly in motion around me.

Wishing you and yours the simple gift of accessing and connecting to your inner stillness throughout the seasons so that you too may find your days filled with peace, prosperity, and most of all love.

~ Recommended P.L.A.Y. ~

  For more inner stillness opportunities visit the Skyscape Simplicity posts HERE.

❤ ❤ ❤

P.L.A.Y. daily and Pass it on!

Skyscape Simplicity #8: A Meditative Moment

❤ ❤ ❤

Look skyward

<Breathe In>

<Breathe Out>

Take a moment to watch the clouds roll by . . .

and connect to the calm and beauty of nature that is always there for you.

Wishing you much peace & prosperity throughout your P.L.A.Y. days.

❤ ❤ ❤

peace: inner calm

prosperity: good fortune & well-being

A Simple Gift: Nature Nurtures

Passing forward this Simple Gift to inspire and encourage everyone on their

naturally curious and creative P.L.A.Y. journey. 🙂

Our family has the good fortune of living in an intentional community situated on over roughly 80 acres and the moment we step outside our door we have access to fields and meadows, both a babbling brook and a river, mountain and ridge, forest and old orchards and gardens. And there are animals too. ❤ ❤ 🙂 ❤ ❤

Goats, chickens, ducks, cats and a dog all share our homes and community spaces as well as the wide assortment of woodland creatures that visit us outdoors both day and night like wild turkeys, coyotes, deer, skunk, woodchucks, porcupines, foxes, birds, owls, and so much more.

Living up here in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts provides daily opportunities to explore, make connections, be in awe of nature, and follow the P.L.A.Y. path.

Each time I take my daily walk I chance upon a new delight and inspiration for my work. Wandering about in wonder and being present always provides the simple gifts of creating new thoughts or connections. Nature always seems to have a wonderful nurturing effect on the mind, body, and spirit.

Looking forward to snowscape season . . . just around the corner! Hooray!


Nature can also bring about the playful, childlike essence in all of us like creating a dam down at the brook, stacking rock cairns at the river’s edge, or building gnome homes in the woods. Racing to see who can sled down a snow covered hillside first, frolicking about with the playful baby goats, or simply getting curious with your Capkin to see what new ice sculpture appeared overnight, are all ways that  nature nurtures that desire in us to be curious and playful and to *be a kid again* or quite simply to be a kid.


Exploring, getting curious, and being present out in nature daily are all wonderful and necessary parts of the P.L.A.Y. journey.

Are you in?

Time to gather up your family or a few P.L.A.Y.-mates, all ages are welcome, step out your door, and begin the adventure today!

And no worries as it is guaranteed that mother nature will have plenty of magic and mysteries, in any season and any outdoor location, just waiting for you and yours to P.L.A.Y.-fully discover if you are simply present to receive the simple gifts.

Sending smiles,

Karen ;0) 🙂

Purchase Here P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

Skyscape Simplicity #6: A Meditative Moment

❤ ❤ ❤

Look skyward

<Breathe In>

<Breathe Out>

Take a moment to watch the clouds roll by . . .

and connect to the calm and beauty of nature that is always there for you.

Wishing you much peace & prosperity throughout your P.L.A.Y. days.

❤ ❤ ❤

peace: inner calm

prosperity: good fortune & well-being

Skyscape Simplicity #5: A Meditative Moment

❤ ❤ ❤

Look skyward

<Breathe In>

<Breathe Out>

Take a moment to watch the clouds roll by . . .

and connect to the calm and beauty of nature that is always there for you.

Wishing you much peace & prosperity throughout your P.L.A.Y. days.

❤ ❤ ❤

peace: inner calm

prosperity: good fortune & well-being

Skyscape Simplicity #4: A Meditative Moment

❤ ❤ ❤

Look skyward

<Breathe In>

<Breathe Out>

Take a moment to watch the clouds roll by . . .

and connect to the calm and beauty of nature that is always there for you.

Wishing you much peace & prosperity throughout your P.L.A.Y. days.

❤ ❤ ❤

peace: inner calm

prosperity: good fortune & well-being