- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Roost Books (Aug. 9 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590307771
- ISBN-13: 978-1590307779
- Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 567 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons Paperback – Aug 9 2011
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“This book will fill you with yearning to connect further with nature, yourself, your family, and creativity. It inspires and uplifts with magnificent, evocative photography. Knitting and sewing projects, herbal health care, recipes, seed sprouting. A book of delight for the whole family.”—Juno Magazine (UK)
About the Author
Amanda Blake Soule is the creator of the popular blog www.SouleMama.com. Amanda spends her days with her four young children—making things, thrifting, exploring and being inspired by their coastal Maine surroundings. Learn more about her and find her blog at www.amandasoule.com.
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Top customer reviews
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I must say, it's a lovely book.
This time Amanda and her husband 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 decent 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--but I intend to soon. 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.
I gave the book 4 instead of 5 stars because I would have liked to see more a few more projects and recipes. A large part of the book is the essays, and although they're nice they aren't the reason I would buy this book.
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, this would be a nice one to pick up. I personally would like to have it in my permanent library, but as our budget is tight, I decided to just photocopy the projects I wanted from my library copy. If the book contained a few more projects and a few less essays, I probably would buy it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The essays were like diary entries -- things about their family and experiences. There's some value to this I guess, but I thought the book would be about rhythm in family in general -- not just this particular family's journal of their private adventures. The book should have been called "The Rhythm of Our Family" or something like that.
Each month offers some crafting or cooking idea, but that doesn't add up to much. Far better books exist on crafting with family through the year, connecting with family outdoors, and cooking. For crafts I like "Crafts Through the Year" by Thomas Berger. For outdoor exploration I love "Nature's Playground" - it's packed full of ideas for exploring nature in every season with children.
I want to address the person who was offended by Amanda's chapter on meditation. I am a Christian and Amanda, I believe, is a buddhist. As a Christian, I teach my children to pray and to meditate on the Word of God. Her chapter on meditation, and other statements by Amanda or Steve that clash with my Christian worldview are NOT, for me, grounds for dismissing her book. There are authors who have a worldview agenda when they write a book, and you can usually pick up on it early on. Amanda's books (and blog) do not fall into that category. Her message is clear in all that she does: love of motherhood, love of home, love of children, love of (and respect for) husband, love of creativity, and love of nature. She is a buddhist (I believe) and I am a Christian, yet we are both women who share these loves. I can learn from her without fearing she'll influence my Christian walk, and I can love.
The recipes are great, so far I've tried the muffin recipe and the bread recipe, both were very good. I also made the homemade lotion, and I absolutely love it. I was really surprised by that, because I've made a few homemade body products that didn't really work very well, but this lotion was perfect for me. It was easy and fun, my husband and I completed a large batch in 2 hours from start to finish. He's even going to make the picnic roll for our Memorial Day picnic, which I'm thrilled about.
Both authors write with feeling and depth, capturing the precious moments of their lives along with the journey they make as parents. I don't feel that they try to push any of their beliefs on anyone; they are simply sharing the way they live and how much they enjoy it. Personally, I can't help but want to be like them in so many ways. She had a quote in the book that was something like: When I'm faced with decisions each day, I ask myself if doing/not doing something is going to get me closer to the goal of how I want to live my life. Her words motivate me to make a loaf of bread and put off a trip to the store for another day, or to engage my child even when I'm exhausted or don't feel well (pregnancy doesn't help with that). Every time I choose to move toward my goals, most of which happen to be similar to the author's lifestyle, I feel better no matter how difficult my day has been. This book was very uplifting to me, and it's beautifully written.
The activities are fun and as the month changes I usually check out what sort of ideas Amanda has for the month.
I recommend this book (and her other two books as well!)