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  • A little bit of hard.


    My husband got the clothes line up in the backyard this summer while we were away. We moved our washer and dryer outside last spring; an opportunity to create more space in our small home and also because, in southern California, the impulse to live inside/outside is strong.  At our home in Inglewood, doing laundry is simple, 100 or so feet from the house there’s a washer and dryer and right next to it the clothesline. As I was hanging my sheets on the line today, I got to thinking about how, living with our two girls at the cabin all summer in the woods of Wisconsin, doing laundry had a very different feel. 

     When we all ran out of shorts or underwear I’d grab the red flyer wagon from the shed next to the cabin. I’d usually have to clean out blankets or other kid items before tucking in the overflowing basket. I’d just get the handle in my hand when the door from the cabin would fly open and the new puppy, Harold, would come darting out and run straight for the wagon, jumping up to grab a pair of someone’s undies that were hanging off the side. Right behind Harold would be my six year old daughter who is at a point in her life where she needs to be right next to me most of the time.  “Mom, wait, I’m coming too.” “Mei Mei” I’d say, “I am not going to be able to take you in the wagon.” “I know but what about Harold, can I put Harold in?” She’d scoop him up and toss him into the wagon wherein he’d immediately grab the undies I’d just unhooked from his sharp little teeth. “Nope,” I say, taking him out, “Harold needs to run.” “Fine” she shouts, clearly irritated. I brace myself internally for an explosion. This could easily turn into a major battle of patience while she processes that she cannot do what she wants. This time it passes and we are on our way. Mei Mei runs along behind picking up any pieces of clothing that fall into the driveway as we bump along, climbing the hill. Past the sugar shack where my parents make maple syrup in the spring and past the piles of composting hay that’s used to fertilize the large vegetable and flower garden.  This time of year the bee balm is showing off its perfect violet/purple flowers and I stop with Mei Mei, “Do you hear the buzzing?” It sounds like an electric amp that’s letting off feedback. The smell is intoxicating mixed with the lilies and roses that grow along the garden fence. Mei Mei darts after Harold off the driveway and onto the walk path. The walk path leads from the driveway up to mom and dad’s house. A few large tree roots threaten to upend the wagon but I level out just in time. And by the time I get to the swing that hangs from two giant Maples in front of my mom’s house, Mei Mei has decided it’s a good idea to give Harold a turn on the swing and he needs rescuing. 


    “I’ll wait here mom” she says, jumping into the sandbox with Harold to dig holes and make sand pies.



    I offload the basket of laundry and lug it up the stairs through the screened porch where I tiptoe past my dad, passed out on the couch with hands folded on his chest, taking a break from building his new garage. Laundry loaded, I say a silent prayer that my parents finally invested in a modern washer that I can turn on and walk away from. I look at the blinking number, 45 mins til I have to come back, load it into the basket again and walk through the woods to the fruit orchard where the clothesline is. Sometimes just getting to the washing machine is enough and if I’m lucky my mom will hang it for me. Then I just hope it stays sunny so I can get it off the line and folded before the dew comes creeping in at dusk. 

    This whole experience, hard as it is sometimes, makes me realize how laundry becomes a mindless task with little to no thought when our laundry machines live conveniently near or in our homes. Back in Inglewood as I load the wet clothes into the dryer and pull out select pieces for the line I think, perhaps, my husband putting up the clothesline has given me a little of the “hard” back to keep me present in this experience of doing laundry.


    **Emily Hart Roth is a storyteller, photographer and on the path to becoming a Forest Therapy guide.  Growing up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, she now splits her time between Los Angeles and the shores of Lake Superior.  As a photographer, Emily’s clients include non-profits, food/restaurant and fashion stories.  She self-published a book titled Art; a lifestyle.

    Emily shares her passion for nature medicine with her community, husband, two daughters, and Harold the dog.

    You can follow Emily @emilyhartroth  and view some of her work at

  • We've been featured on Red Trycicle Blog!

    ''...Lil Bellies, an online shop created by an adventurous LA mom, is the perfect stop to outfit your adventures with explorers’ gear made for kids. Scroll down for our favorite all natural tips, treks and tools from this inspirational family.

    The Backstory
    Claudia Didomenico is an LA mom of three, but she grew up on a small farm in Brazil riding horses bareback and going on adventures in neighboring fields. Those memories are some of her most precious treasures, so naturally she wanted a similar experience for her own kids. Living in a big urban city, like LA, the biggest hurdle Claudia noticed was the lack of freedom. “These days, even living in the suburbs, children can’t run free, explore or climb the few trees on the streets unsupervised. So I took it upon myself to take them to places where precious memories could be built and where they could grow up with the freedom to explore, create, discover and connect with the natural world surrounding them,” Claudia explains. “Nature settings are the best playground for children of all ages and one with endless possibilities of amazement and growth.”

    Read Full Article here !


    Join Us at the Shop Up at the Springs in Downtown LA.
    Sunday 23rd and Saturday 24th -10 am to 6 pm
  • Birds Nest Activity

    Birds are beautiful creatures that are often all around us and rarely do we actually stop  to notice them. Their unique colors and shapes, songs and habits are impressive.
    One cool yet sunny afternoon, the kids and I were sitting on the porch when we noticed the beautiful song coming from one of the trees surrounding our house. The song was coming from a small brown bird that seemed to actually be talking to us.
    Immediately the kids ran inside to get their Bird caller.As if in unison bird caller and now birds began responding to each other forming a captivating song unlike any I have ever heard.
    Then and there a seed of interest on Birds was planted inside each of my children’s minds.
    Following the long conversation with the surrounding birds we decided to discover the names of our visitors with our Peterson First Guides to Birds of North America.

    Blue Jay was one of them and a favorite among the children due to its beautiful royal blue color.

    As we flipped through books about birds and their nests, the kids decided they wanted to try to build a birds nest of their own. As we are a media free home and rely mainly on books for research, we had to be a bit creative with what was available to us at that moment.

    So here is what we came up with !

    Birds Nest Activity

    What you’ll need:

    -From the Garden: Hay, dry grass, bendable sticks, moss, fallen leaves

    -Tin foil

    -2 Small bowls to shape the nest . (1 bigger than the other)

    -3 sticks of bees wax to be melted

    - enamel mug or pot to melt the wax

    The kids scavenged the backyard for fallen leaves, hay , grass, moss and anything that could be used as building materials for our nest.

    We used Alaia’s wooden kitchen metal bowl (the larger one) for shaping the nest and covered it with tin foil.

    Once the larger bowl is fully covered we placed our building material inside the bowl and arranged it as to make it look like a real bird’s nest. Note we used a bigger dry leaf in the bottom, than the hay  and other things on top.

    In the meantime place the bee’s wax inside the enamel mug or pot over the stove on low heat until it is completely melted. We had our Mug on top of the griddle as to melt slowly.

    Pour the melted Bee’s wax over your covered bowl and than using your hands and the smaller bowl apply pressure down into the bowl and straws then hold. As the wax dries the nest begins to harden and maintain its shape. You can place the bowl in the fridge to help cooling the wax faster if you want. We had to do that because the kids were too anxious to see the result.

    Once the wax is cooled you can peel the tin foil away and your nest will be ready!





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