So what keeps me busy when I'm not checking the on-line world every twelve minutes?  

Life. It's been delicious.

Let's start with time with my kids. Quality time. Uninterrupted, un-distracted time. Yeah, that.

That computer. It was/is a bugger for me. While my friends and my mom will attest to the fact that I rarely – if ever – answer my phone, I was always making a to-do list in my head of work I could attend to at any moment, if I could just "hop on the computer for a quick second." And when I sat down at my desk there were other distractions popping up and hooking me in. I'm not doing that now. At least I'm trying not to.

And so time with my kids is different than before.

I'm not feeling bored when we play together. Really, not at all. (This is new.) Also both children are more engaged in the work that we're doing together (like cooking, cleaning, or other chores). It's almost as though I'm more present with what they want from me, so they are more present with what I want from them.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but that's how it feels anyway. And they are more mellow now when I move away from the togetherness for a break. As in: I can sit down and drink a cup of tea without someone climbing on me.

Coincidences? I doubt it.





As always, we were busy in the kitchen today. But instead of researching ten crazy new recipes and making one, we're just making stuff. Constantly. And I get around to the cleaning-up part faster than I did before, with nowhere to wander off to for distraction.

Today's experiments included homemade cheese (this recipe), and a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants lemon mead (in the crock above). In the jar is another shooting-from-the-hip (rhubarb) mead, now in its second fermentation. (Both were inspired by fruit t'je from Wild Fermentation.) Lupine also talked me into making our grain-free flat bread so that we could have sandwiches for lunch.

We ate lunch outside and stayed out until dinner time.





The afternoon had us drifting between biking, painting, gardening, fence building, fire-making, and laying in the grass (depending on who you were watching). Aaaaah. So good. Thank you, May, for finally bringing some late spring weather and wonder our way.

And yes, Lupine is lighting matches. (You might recall she's also been cutting with a sharp knife since age two.) She burned her way through most of the box of matches today – one by one – before we went in for the night.

Why let a five-year old light matches? Because she's learning. About the elements. About friction. About safety. About what will – and what will not – burn. To allow her to trust herself. And show her that I trust her too. To empower. I could go on and on.

I'm also not the "Be careful!" sort of parent. Getting hurt is often an important lesson too. No, that doesn't mean I'll let my child play in traffic. But a small risk like her playing with fire while I work nearby is in line with how we live and learn.

At one point I actually heard myself say to her, "I know you want to climb on the roof with Sagie. Why don't you keep playing with matches until he comes down?" Yup. That's how we roll over here. (For the record, it was the playhouse roof he was climbing. Because he can only climb on the house roof with a grown-up. Ahem.)

But I digress.


I also finally planted my garden today. Tomatoes, beans, kohlrabi, broccoli, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, and zucchini. For the first time in my life the task was bitter sweet. You see, I didn't think I'd garden here this year. Because we were moving. Remember?

It felt good just the same to get my hands in the earth and set out a few rows of veggies. I suspect I'll still be here to harvest them come August, but then again, you never know. Maybe I'll leave this place with beans on the vine. I'd be okay with that.


All-in-all, logging off has been good for us. So good.

That being said, one bit of balance I'm striving for is allowing myself some time on-line. Guilt-free. Because I don't think it's wrong or evil or somehow bad to veg out now and then. Really. I get it.

But as you may have noticed, I tend to be an all-or-nothing girl. I do it or I don't. But I'm slowly learning moderation. A little internet is fine for me. As long as I indulge mindfully. As long as I am awake to the trade-offs. 

So that's where I'm at. 15 minutes on Pinterest, fine. 15 minutes, five times a day, not fine. Moderation. Perspective. Priorities.

Because real-life is still far more delicious than on-line. No matter how seductive that screen may be.

I'm seeing that clearly now.

How's it working for you? Are you feeling more conscious about your screen time, or more connected during your days? Tell me what you know.



21 thoughts on “Life.

  1. lise says:

    That line about playing with matches ’til he comes down from the roof had me laughing out loud. I love it. I’m that kind of mom, too. 🙂

  2. lina says:

    Rachel seriously I would love to have a cup of coffe with you! So yor post came after I read amazing waldorf article about being present, like not chating too long with other parents at pick up or being on the cell phone when they come from class, I found it on Pinterest ;o) so tomorrow I will try to find it and I will send it to you. So after that I read your post when my husband and my girl where happyily playing and jumping and laughing and I was on the internet and my husband came and close my computer on my face… I totally deserved it and I tought that I was missing on my own family specially my kid for looking at others peoples perfect lives, for bookmarking all the crafts that I never get around to do or food that I wont cook, so I did it, I unplugged. !5 min in the morning for work closed my computer played with my daughter, read books, went to the doctor and made lots of eye contact I was with her no just in the same room, it felt amazing! I’m totally sticking with this, she is asleep and my husband is watching soccer so it’s me time with the computer so it’s ok I doesn’t fell like robing my family time nor engagement… so please again keep writing and challenging I really love it!

  3. Sandy says:

    Oh, me too! My PC is central in my house and so easy to get too. Then I started noticing what a rut my household had become. I blamed “them” in my mind. Then (painfully) I started to unplug a little. Wow!, in two days, everything is wonderful. I did sneak, while no one was around, to see if you were going to share today, but no one was around. Love, love, your uplifting blog. :), Sandy

  4. Susie says:

    Oh Rachel – I am so glad that you said that you were bored (sometimes) playing with your children. It’s one of my biggest sources of guilt – I just find playing fire engines, or pirate ships or dragons etc. quite tedious. I do it, but I don’t enjoy it. I love playing outside, building things, making things, looking at things (you get the jist) but make-believe, not so much. Perhaps I can let that go a bit. And I am incredibly jealous of all your outside-ness. May, here, so far has meant rain and wind. It’s 8C today- chilly, wet. Enjoy your sunshine. And as always, thanks.

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    Yes. It is boring. Often. But not so much anymore. I think because I’m present here and now, rather than wondering what I could do over there…. But I’m finding my mindfulness more every day. Hope you can too!

  6. Robyn says:

    I’ve noticed the phenomenon of my kid happily letting me have more time alone when i’m more engaged too. Definitely not a coincidence.

    as a side note, what do you guys do about sunscreen?

  7. Sheila says:

    Oh this is so lovely and timely for me. I am in the exact same place with this computer. I am wondering, how are you structuring (or thinking of) your online time? I am having a hard time right now finding the time. But my children are younger so maybe that’s part of it. I so want to get back to where you are….not bored, present, aware. I can do this…..

  8. Rachel Wolf says:

    There are two major changes that are helping. 1) Im getting up early; and 2) Im going to bed early. By getting up early I have time before little feet hit the floor to take care of work. Email, business, etc. Then in the evening after kids go to bed I give myself time for playing online – just a bit. I check Facebook, Pinterest, knitting pattern searching, etc. 1/2 hour or 1 hour is plenty and Im ready to log off, knit a few rows, and tuck in early. Its been great. Last night Pete logged off too and read me a story while I knitted a few rows. How great is that? 🙂

  9. Sheila says:

    Oh my goodness, sounds perfect. LOVE when my husband reads to me! Ideas forming…..

    I feel like my bratty teenage self — “FINE! I’ll go to bed early already!” Because the universe has already sent me clear messages to the point. I have also had the same “play time” idea for night time. I need to talk to the partner in crime and work it out, but I will listen to my own wisdom and follow your success.

    Step 1: Go to bed early. Every day.
    Then I can add in waking early, then play time. Then figure out the muddle in the middle.

    So continuing to love your blog. Glad you are continuing to blog. Let me take this moment to say again that I know now some of your sacrifice. I appreciate the time you are taking from your family to be a light for the journey. I can speak only for myself, but it is a valuable and powerful sacrifice. Thank you.


  10. Beth says:


    Just to add a bit about playing when we’re not fully interested. I really like what Naomi Aldort says about reasons why parents should NOT play. I’m not sure which CD I was listening to (I still haven’t finished her book, but thanks for the reminder to read it a few weeks back). Here’s a link to a short article. She might come off as a little cold/distant here, but I think she is right that it isn’t our job to be a playmate. It can be confusing to the child. Even when we’re feeling super loving and caught up in general! 🙂
    To see another side of Naomi, I think this post shows how loving she is:
    Naomi’s website has a long list of short articles

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Rachel, every word in this post speaks to right where I am at this moment. It is always a balancing act and I am a all or nothing girl so balance is not a strong suit of mine.

    Take care.

  12. mamaUK says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I love this post.

    I hate how the internet can suck me in, writing my blog, facebook, pinterest, reading other blogs. In January I bought an iPod touch because I thought it would be useful to have access to the internet for blogging purposes (answering comments etc) without getting my laptop out. This was a big mistake for me. I’m actually seriously thinking of getting rid of the iPod touch as I find it too much of a distraction from ‘real day to day life.’ I hate the temptation, the ease of being able to be distracted from what’s going on around me, a quick 5 minutes here turns into 15 minutes there of not being present. My children are screen free 99% of the week and have been for over four years now. I should be ‘off’ the screen too. I should not let the internet get in between me and my children, they are my ‘real’ life, , my here and now. Even when they are sleeping I find the on-line pull quite stong. In theory, it should be my guilt free time but I find it sucks time, in a negative way, time that could be well spent doing something else. I would like to give myself 30 minutes – 1 hour after their bedtime to give myself time to answer comments, read other blogs and then SWITCH MY LAPTOP OFF! Then I can actually relax properly, unwind and talk to my husband, rather than wondering what’s going on in what seems like an alternate universe. I actually fantasise about stamping on my iPod. No joke. By making me ‘more connected’ it has done me no favours. Now I need to create a more space between real life and what’s happening on-line.
    I cringe when I think of what this generation of smart phones, iPods etc are doing to modern family life, the lure of on-line life through social networking sites etc. They are essentially pulling parents away from their children and creating many missed opportunites for connection whether that be eye contact, loving touch, talking or something as simple as really listening to what is being said to you by your child.

  13. dannielle says:

    So funny that I read this article. I did the same thing you did. Had an awakening to the time spent on the computer and not with my real life family. In fact today is the first time I’ve read a blog in almost 6 months. a few minutes a day and then it gets turned off. Loving that I’m not the only one feeling the need to be more together and involved with my family.

    As Always, a pleasure reading from you,

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