summah-mama burn out… i got it!


at the beginning of each summer season i have big plans on how to spend our time wisely, you know, sending kids to one day camp each for a week, visiting to the cottage, going on family camping trips, spending hours with friends laughing and enjoying uninterrupted play. i have visions of us running away from mosquitoes in the woods, jumping into the lake and swimming until our lips are blue. then enjoying time together in peace, while crafting something beautiful.

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well, we’ve done that.

a lot.

it wasn’t quite so romantic though.

 

there have been bumps along the road. we’ve all struggled in our own way.

what i struggle with is, maintaining any kind of self care for myself during our summer days. meaning, going to the gym regularly, blogging (again regularly), getting housework done (yup, again regularly) and so on, and so on. now let me clarify, doing housework isn’t a part of my daily self care routine, but getting stuff done around the house does keep my mind organized and sound! plus, if i don’t know where the wet bathing suits were left, then nobody will meaning chaos with ensue the next day!

having both kids around all day is exhausting to say the least. don’t get me wrong, we’ve had moments of fun at home but, often the boys revert back into their old bickering ways, antagonizing each other in every possible way! we went camping this passed weekend and DH said he loved our mini vacay, while i reminded him that a change in geography does not necessarily make a vacation for me. i am still with the kids, mothering, reminding, yelling, at them to stop fighting.

so now i am burnt out!

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i haven’t been to the gym in weeks, which is showing on my body, but mostly i can really feel it in my mental health. all those bad feelings come creeping back in, then the bad habits start all over again, first in very subtle ways… and then i just hate myself! it is such a terrible cycle i get caught in, even though it’s also so predictable and preventable.

i know i am not alone in this…

without wishing our summer away, i am going to keep on trucking, while trying harder to ensure that my needs are met as well. i am lucky to have a hubby who supports me in my self care, although i need to be more clear with him about what that means and how he can help specifically. 

i’ve been at this mothering thing for 7 years and i still struggle with making myself a priority!


 

p.s. more pics on my INSTAGRAM! check em out!

xo, mama lola

camping killarney!


i gotta say this was one of our most successful camping trips ever. 

killarney provincial park is a stunning place in northern ontario. we camped there for 3 nights and 4 days, but we could have stayed longer!

this was the view we saw when we first arrived on our site.

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it felt as though we had found perfection. the ultimate camping spot with the kids!

 

lion received a fishing rod for his birthday, which he loves. and, bear made one of his own so the kids fished from the rock for what felt like hours! they never did catch anything, but they sure did keep at it.

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the weather was hot during the day, but the nights were cool. this meant we filled our days with hikes and swimming AND ICE CREAM!

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we hiked the granite ridge trail, which was so fun. we started low in the forest and then started to climb up the rock. the trail meandered through the woods, over rock, passed a funny old rusted car, all the way up to the summit where the views were breathtaking. we snacked on our food and nibbled on the blueberries growing in their bushes.

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we visited the old town of killarney, which has a wee population of 500. there isn’t much there, a few stores, a marina and of course… ICE CREAM! but, it was nice to visit.

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check out the new tent we bought! it’s from MEC and is the 4 person wanderer. it’s perfect for the 4 of us!

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we rented a canoe for a day. it was DH’s favourite day of the trip. we packed a lunch and headed out on george lake. we paddled so different spots, stopping to explore, picnic and rest. we must have done about 3 km’s. nothing intense, but it sure was fun and by the time we returned my arms were quite tired. we had been paddling into the wind for a lot of the day!

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i adore camping with my family. now that the kids are old enough to do more for themselves (like walk to the s*itters) and because they don’t require constant entertainment and supervision from us, we all get a chance to relax. DH and i enjoyed ourselves immensely, and we really had a great time as a family without it feeling like forced quality time.

in the evenings we all snuggled up in our own sleeping bags and listened as DH read to us from his kobo. he had downloaded some kids chapter books on to it, which were perfect for all of us to enjoy. it also made bedtime easier for us. our 7 year old bear often has a hard time falling asleep, which if DH and i were sitting outside the tent would find very frustrating, but because we were all relaxed together, tired and listening to the story, we all nodded off one by one.

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we have two more weekend camping trips to enjoy this summer!

the kids are thrilled. so am i!

xo, mama lola

summer check in.


summer seems to be flying by!

the kids have enjoyed camps this week. bear was at the nature centre’s camp learning all about bugs and animals, while lion was at an arts camp experiencing the joys of drama, visual art and dance. both boys have been wiped out afterwards, which has been good. instead of fighting as much as usual, they have been looking for a bit more solitude at home colouring or reading after dinner. although, last night after dinner we got into some family soccer action which was a lot of fun!

today is friday and it has been raining ALL DAY! i wonder how the kids are doing at their camps. hopefully they still got outside for a bit!

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isn’t this picture gorgeous? i captured it on father’s day at the botanical gardens. just perfect. i have not done any editing to it!

this week i had my annual appointment in the big city regarding my pituitary gland and the removed tumour and hormones. truth be told, i’ve had a kind of a crummy year health wise. i have been experiencing all sorts of yucky things, which after a bunch online research has made me wonder if my hormones are out of whack! on wednesday i was told by my neurosurgeon that there was no signs of a new tumour growing, which is a huge relief! those tumours suck! big time! and, as i listed my symptoms that have arisen this year to my endocrinologist, she seemed to agree that more testing was needed.

i am at a point n my life where i just want to know what’s going on with my body. i AM NOT GOING CRAZY, something is not right, something is off kilter, something to too high or too low or too far to the right… or something. i’ve joined a bunch of groups on line to get more info about hormone deficiencies and pit tumours. it is amazing to me how so many people suffer and doctors just know or don’t care enough to explore more.

 

anyhow, the weekedn is soon upon us and i am looking forward to spending it with my family!

we have a new car to break in (yes, we FINALLY are getting rid of the rusty, crappy van), a new tent to practice setting up, a birthday party to attend and friends to visit with. 

xo, mama lola

one whole hand; five years!


we celebrated a sweet birthday here. lion turned 5 years old!

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it’s hard to believe he’s already 5. that’s five summer solstices, five earth days and soon to be five whole summers and five christmasses! 

this year i wasn’t as emotional about lion’s birthday, like i was last year. because his birthday is tightly woven to the traumas of my pituitary gland tumour, i often end up re-visiting those fears and pains of five years ago. but, this year, for some reason, i didn’t go to those dark corners of my memory as deeply. maybe because it’s been enough years, i’m not really sure. 

instead, i was able to celebrate and enjoy my little guy, his friends and our family at his party. the kids all received a water shooter upon arrival and we had a few wet games planned. there was lots of laughter, screaming and water every where!

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and then it was time for cake!

homemade ice cream cake to be exact! i will share the recipe and how to later. it’s super easy and super yummy, and perfect for a birthday party. i made some silly party animals as cake toppers for lion’s cake!

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and, on his actual birthday we had a special day that started with homemade waffles made by dad, a scooter ride on his new scooter and a fun trip to the humane society where we picked up the newest member of our family… meet leo peaches!

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on lion’s birthday we went out for dinner as a family to east side mario’s. the kids love it there, because they do a big song and show for your birthday there, which of course makes them feel super awesome! look at the treats lion got, three mini ice creams and a chocolate cake!

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that picture above is of pouting parents… sad cuz the kids are growing so fats! bah!

oh my heart. it is bursting with pride and love for this little boy. his delightful personality is fun to be with, while is sensitive soul is an inspiration to us all. his empathetic heart is so big and loving. he is working so hard to catch up to his brother, while trying to find his own self in this world. i feel very fortunate to have this little guy in my life, in my family.

and, now i am going to get emotional! haha…sob, sob!

xo, mama lola

the best of summer in a watermelon salad!


today is the first monday of summer vacations at home. the boys and i have a few errands to run. we need to go to a few farm markets to buy fresh strawberries and other locally grown yummy produce. we need to buy new waterbottles (again) as lion keeps losing his! the kids both go to camp next week and they’ll need them then. i’m not sure how to get my lion to be more careful of his belongings, as his brother is so meticulous with his things. clearly it’s a personality thing and not a mothering thing!

 

anyhow, to day i want to share the best summer salad recipe out there… WITH WATERMELON!!!!

AWESOME!!!

 

summer is here and it’s the season for enjoying all kinds of fresh, juicy and yummy salads. we always have a salad of sorts with our dinners, whether it be a big green leafy salad, a warm quinoa or a filling bean mix. there is a salad for everyone’s tastes in this world!

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i’ve seen lots of pictures for watermelon salads so i decided to come up with my own recipe with what i had in my cupboards. and, holy moly was it ever good! especially since we devoured it on a hot n’ muggy summers evening! it’s quick to make and perfect as a side on a busy or super hot evening. 

 

watermelon salad with feta and fresh basil
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Ingredients
  1. 1 watermelon
  2. 1/2 container of feta
  3. lots of fresh basil leaves
  4. 2 tblsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. 1. cut up your watermelon into chunks. i tried to leave mine a bit bigger than bite sized because when mixing the finishes salad i thought the pieces would fall apart.
  2. 2. i took the feta and crumbled it with my fingers directly onto the watermelon. added fresh basil leaves, ripping them by hand a little too to release the delicious aroma.
  3. 3. add olive oil and mix gently.
bear & lion http://bearandlionmama.com/
my boys loved the salad and gobbled up lots of it! 

it really is super easy and SO, SO yummy!

xo, mama lola

birthday cake toppers!

 


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 we are hosting a birthday party for my lion on saturday. we will be making an awesome ice cream cake as the weather is going to be hot and sunny (recipe for that coming soon).

i cannot believe he is going to be 5 years old! that’s one whole hand, people! i only have two days to prepare for his party, so i thought making a FUN cake topper would be a great way to get some impact and FUN onto his yummy ice cream cake. i checked out pinterest (of course) and chose some of the cutest and simplest ideas i could find. there are lots of tutorials for cake toppers that are very complicated, but also stunning! go for it if you have time!

 

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DIY pompom cake topper from momtastic

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DIY fringe mylar cake toppers from diy studio

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DIY animal candle cake toppers from kara’s party ideas

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DIY animal cake toppers from visual heart

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playful puppet cake toppers for birthday cake and cupcakes from mer mag

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DIY cake topper from art bar blog

i love looking at what other creative people have been up to. their ideas give me great inspiration and get my own creative juices flowing. i’m not exactly sure what kind of a cake topper lion will end up for saturday, but i do love the pom poms, animals and bunting flags… hey, wait! that’s all of the ideas! hahaha! i may take a little from all of ideas above and make something of my own!

 

happy summer crafting friends!

xo, mama lola

summer, summer!

summer is officially HERE and the kids are done school on thursday … WOOHOO!

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summer holidays brings with it a new set of routines and feelings. the warm breezes inspire different play, the hot temperatures make us crave different foods and all of that tends to slow us down a bit. this summer i have not made as many plans, hoping to inspire a more relaxing, spontaneous summer for my kids. you know the kind where we hear about some fun event happening and just go, or hop on our bikes and decide to spend the day by the river catching bugs! 

we do have a family camping trip booked for killarney, which is said to be the most beautiful place in ontario. i am excited to experience it with the kids filling our days with hikes, swimming and whatever other adventures we can find. 

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as the kids get older, i think in their free time they need less scheduled structure, because they experience so much of it school. i remember my summers growing up in finland were days of play with my friends. we would get into complicated long games and spent hours outside climbing trees, biking and running. my friends and i would take our barbie’s and my little pony’s outside, creating elaborate adventures for them too. sometimes we would show up at someone’s house asking for food or a drink. i had a lot of freedom, which was really great.

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the world is different today. society is different.

but, i am keen to loosen the reigns and find ways for the boys to find independence. i want them to have fun. lots of fun this summer. and, i want to have fun too and the freedom to do some of my own things too!

HAPPY ALMOST SUMMER VACATION EVERYONE! 

xo, mama lola

cottage in may.

we were at the cottage in mid may and i am only now sharing pictures from that fun weekend.

we were there to open the cottage for another successful season of relaxation and nature.

the kids painted water colour paintings on the dock, because being in nature is a great place to get artistic. i think the calm and peace brings different inspiration than our messy art room! haha! plus, painting outside means you can get as messy as you like! 

a large tree had fallen last fall. so, DH sharpened the ol’chainsaw and started to cut it up. he was pretty happy about that job!

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the children love being at the cottage. they have lots of freedom to play and run around without parental involvement. there are rules about how close to water they can go and luckily they follow them well. we canoed around the bay, listening for birds and chipmunks. 

it was wonderful, cold, but wonderful!

do you have a cottage or camp you like to take your family to? i’d love to hear about it on the comments!

 

xo, mama lola

DIY macrame plant hangers

with the warmer weather has come the urge to plant and grow things.  we have a lovely little covered porch where i hang a big basket of petunia’s each season. there are other hooks that need plants hung from them and i’ve been trying to think of ways to HANG plants without actually spending money.

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and, that’s when it hit me… MACRAME! yes, many think it’s tacky or too old school, but i actually really love macrame hanging planters. they can be so simple, neutral, colourful, or complex. the possibilities are endless.

so, for my firts attempt at macrame i wanted to start simple, and i found this fantastic tutorial from brit & co. below is the plant holder from them… BOOM, love that pink!

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here’s the one i made from an ancient, stretched out t-shirt.

and, yes of course it’s turquoise! haha!

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i wanted to include some macrame inspiration i found.

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mini macrame hangers from free people

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5 hangers from modern macrame

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macrame plant hangers from erin made this

 

here’s another great tutorial from pigment using cotton rope and beads instead of fabric. aren’t they lovely?

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macrame plant hanger from space craft studios

 

good luck with your own macrame project.

have a lovely week friends! 

xo, mama lola

top 5 thrifting tips!


i love finding a deal. i love making a deal.

bartering in different countries or garage sales is one of my favourite things to do! there are a few tips and tricks to getting the most our of your thrifting experience. at thrift stores i don’t think they really appreciate a haggler, but most places already have such low prices that there’s no need to argue for a better price!

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the other day i went thrifting at some of the local spots, value village, goodwill, salvation army, bibles for missions…

look at the hilarious things i saw…

first let’s discuss the Kar-Kooker (did you notice the  awesome double K action?!?) there is a list on the front of the box of how this fantastic contraption can be used… baby bottles, soups, canned foods… enjoy the convenience of eating in your car, camper, boat or trailer” hahaha! love it!

and, check-out that cutie-a-too-teh on the right with her sweet blue jumper.  see where the yellow arrow is? that’s the original price stickers from simpson sears for $1.25!!! gotta love that!

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1. everything will look cute, quirky and funny at first glance. and, you may want to buy it all! but, before you get caught up in the moment decide what you like to collect, whether it be tea cups or blue glass. know what colours you prefer in your home, for example, i only purchase white, turquoise or blue items for my kitchen, and only if i think i will really use it.

2. remember there is a constant supply of knick-knacks, baskets, and blue glass at thrift stores. the shelves will always get restocked and refreshed with new items. only buy what you need or truly want. i don’t care if it’s a good deal or a great price, it ain’t worth it unless you actually use it! every dollar adds up quickly, remember that!

3.  go often! that will mean different things to all of us, but when i have 30 minutes to kill, i will quickly hit up a few thrift stores. going often doesn’t mean i spend a lot of money, it just means i can keep tabs on things. the good stuff flies out of the stores quickly, so the more frequently you visit the shops the better your chances are of scoring something lovely!

4. know your brands and prices. not everything at a secondhand store is a great deal, so do your homework. this is especially true when it comes to designer glass and clothing. i’m not really into clothes so i don’t know many fancy name brands, but i do have friends who are great at finding awesome clothing deals! i’m much better at kitchen things! also, some thrift stores are much more expensive for things, thank other’s. this is why it pays to do your homework!

5. it’s good for the environment. buying secondhand is a good thing for our planet, as new materials don’t have to be used, trees don’t have to be killed and items don’t have to shipped across oceans. it all comes down to those 3 R’s REDUCE, REUSE & RECYCLE! pinterest is full of ideas on how to reuse old sweaters into mittens, or how to fix up old dressers into vanity’s or whatever. 

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and, is that an owl made out of shells? i can’t decide if $2 is a steal or way over priced! haha!

thrifting is also about thinking outside the box and using old things for something new. i love pretty vintage sheets, but i use them as table cloths instead, or cut them into napkins. 

happy thrifting, friends!

xo, mama lola
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