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

earth day craft round-up!


 

earth day is coming up…. april 22 to be exact. easy to remember, because at our house that also happens to be DH’s birthday!

i gathered some fun, creative, inspiring and beautiful crafts to help everyone get in the spirit of earth day. i think these crafts are a great way to talk to kids about nature, the environment and the cycle of life. getting crafty is also a great way to connect to the natural world around us, the one we so often take for granted, especially in this age of screens!  

earth day crafts, eco crafts

 

i don’t think there are any gender restrictions or age limits with these crafts. let your kids experience the process of creating as much as the outcome. as parents and caregivers i think we often forget how much fun just sitting and making something is!

ok, in no particular order, here we go!

stamping with food, kids crafts, nature crafts, earth day crafts

stamping with natural treasures from bear & lion

earth day crafts, natural crafts, floral crafts

scented nature sculpture from sunhats & wellie boots

earth day crafts for kids, floral crown, nature crafts, eco crafts

nature crowns and cuffs from maya made

earth day crafts, leaf bugs, nature crafts, eco crafts

nature bugs from modern parents messy kids

earth day crafts, eco crafts, recycled material crafts

eco-friendly beads from planet forward

earth day crafts, shell mobile, kids eco crafts

how to make a shell mobile from nurture store

treasures 2

 wind catcher from bear & lion

earth day crafts, painted sticks, eco crafts for kids

painted sticks from little wonders’ days

weaving with flowers, nature crafts, earth day crafts

nature weaving from craftiments

 

i love the weaving idea, and may make something with that inspiration in mind. not many flowers will be blooming in late april here in southern, ontario, but i will try to think outside the box a little.

mobiles are great too. hanging stuff is great for front porches or back decks, or by a big sunny window!

enjoy earth day! and remember, earth day is not just one day of the year, it should be every day! 

xo, mama lola

kids felt christmas tree crafts!


 

the other day i pulled out my colourful felt scraps to get crafty on a snowy afternoon. my wee lion was sick from school so it was the perfect time to get creative!

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i cut out some very asymmetrical christmas trees, which my lion then decorated. he cut out various shapes from the felt and delightfully glued them to the felt trees. he was so happy  and pleased with the outcome… as was i!

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christmas tree felt crafts

(i cut out the starts for him.)

then i found scrap burlap in the depths of my fabric collection, and he made a beautiful nature scene with rocks and a bright blue sky (how finnish of him!) all on his own. bear came home from school and started to make a christmas scene of his own!  i did quickly zip around the edges of the burlap squares with my sewing machine to help prevent fraying.

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aren’t they so fantastic? not sure we will use them as wee holiday table cloths or hang them up as decoration on a wall.

i LOVE, LOVE setting out various crafty supplies and watching the creativity flow out of my boys. what their imaginations produce is sometimes so different from what i would have thought of. kids really are cool (when they are not whining or fighting about what’s for dinner!)

xo, mama lola

ottawa, our last summer hurrah!

the last week of august is always a bit of a weird week, summer is coming to a  fast end and the anticipation for school to start is thick in the air. to fill our summer to the max, we decided to drive to ottawa for one last summer hurrah!

 

we drove passed toronto and stopped in on some family for lunch and a swim. then we continued until kingston to visit more family. we stayed the night with my sister-in-law, her mister and my sweet wee niece. they have three chickens in their backyard who our boys were quite taken with. oh, lily, robin and blackie, such a lovely feathered trio!

backyard chickens backyard chickens

there was a super awesome splash pad in kingston!

splash pad

splash pad

from kingston we drove to the sandbanks for one last night of summer camping! along the way the kids both fell asleep in the car, and they both slept through a ferry ride! we drove through the picturesque town of picton en route to the sandpbanks provincial park.

us.

ferry to picton

the day had been hot, so our plan was to find our campsite, get changed into our bathing suits and go hang-out at the beach! but, things didn’t quite go as expected… when we arrived at the beach there were these huge, dark storm clouds sitting in the distance. the wind was picking up, but we all braved the weather and went for a swim anyway. it felt like we were swimming in the ocean! the waves were big and stormy as we bounced in them, and then they would continue on crashing onto the shore. we did get cold quickly so we headed back to camp!

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camp cooking

the next day, we tried the beach again. we packed up our campsite, put on our swimming gear, the sun was bright, but again, as soon as we arrived things took a turn. the wind picked up and the warm sun got hidden behind big cloud masses.

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the kids refused to go swimming, instead they opted to bury dear hubby in the sand, but first giving him a nice set of breasts!

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playing in the sand

so, we decided to leave the sandbanks and just drive to ottawa.

 

in ottawa we stayed at the beautiful delta. we looked pretty rough around the edges as we arrived via the underground parking into the sparkly and clean hotel lobby.

delta ottawa

we washed off the sandbanks camping grub and slept well in our comfy beds! the next day we were off to the canadian museum of history, where we explored the children’s museum with great enthusiasm. the kids were given adorable passports, which enabled us to travel from country to country experiencing all sorts of cultural activities!

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canadian museum of history
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canadian museum of history

canadian museum of history

we lunched at the byward market, strolled passed the parliament buildings, the boys got their hair cut at a fancy downtown barber, and we enjoyed our days to the max. but, even though it was all lovely we decided cut our mini-road trip short, as we were feeling pretty burnt out. our summer had been  busy and fun, but we all needed some extra time at home before kicking off another school year!

byward market ottawa

we really love ottawa. it’s a great place to visit with kids, with a dynamic downtown that is walkable even for littler feet. there are lots of yummy restaurants and the byward market is so great at meal times! in the above picture we all had something different to eat from all sorts of worldly places!

 

but, we were so glad to get home!

i got all of laundry done, groceries for the following week and a few good sleeps before having to set the alarm for our early school day mornings! bah!

 

i have a back-to-school-starting-school post in the pipeline! this new life of two kids in school has been a big transition in our family, and somehow i have less time to blog…

 

xo, mama lola

painting flower pots!

now that the growing season is here i want to share a favourite project that my boys love to do… paint terracotta flower pots!

painting flower pots, mother's day, gift idea, kids crafts

it’s a wonderful way to be creative, while also learning about how things grow. my kids made each of their grandmother’s a painted pot for mother’s day and planted a geranium in them. they were so proud of their

 

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all you need are some pots, paints, brushes and we used a spray sealant to try to protect the pots from water.

i love using ice cube trays as paint trays instead, as they don’t tip over easily and the paints can be mixed well in the deep slots. my kids often paint outside as the tidying up is so much easier. plus, if they get paint all over it’s not a big deal!

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TA-DAA!

check out these lovely flower pots!

painted flower pots, kids crafts, mother's day, gift ideas, gifts for grandmothers painted flower pots, mother's day, gift idea

i love how carefree the kids are when painting. they do not get inhibited with concerns about what other’s may think of their creations. they just create completely in the moment, enjoying the paint and colours, but most importantly the process.

happy painting and planting to you!

xo, mama lola

make your own backyard teepee!

 

we have been spending an enormous amount of time outside. the weather is warm and inviting, so we’ve tried to take advantage of the summer weather! i’ve wanted to build a teepee for the kids in the backyard for a while, but just never got around to it, but when a friend of mine made one for her boys, i was inspired!

DIY teepee, backyard teepee,

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i found an old white sheet in the basement, which i decided would be perfect if painted. then, i dug around for fabric paint, which i couldn’t find so i made do with tempera paint. the paint bottle said it would stain if not treated, so i hoped it would work! although, i don’t really care what happens to the teepee fabric. if after a big rain storm the paint bleeds, i’m ok with that.

garden teepee, painting fabric

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. depending on the size of the teepee you want you will need 3-6 sticks for the frame. we just used branches we found in our backyard. we pushed the branches into the ground a little bit for extra support. we used nylon rope to tie the branches at the top.

2. choose a fabric that will be big enough to nicely wrap around the frame/ branches. make sure you leave  an opening! start stapling the fabric to one of the branches at the doorway and work your way around. i had to fold extra fabric tucking it under and stapling it well. i wasn’t too concerned about the precision of the stapling, because i knew it didn’t matter with the integrity of the teepee.

3. enjoy!

garden teepee for kids, make your own teepee

our teepee provides great shade. i chose it’s location in our yard carefully, angling the doorway away from the table area and patio, tucking it away in a more quiet area. i’m hoping the teepee will be a part of games of the imagination, but also a place to tuck away with a book on a hot day, a place lie back and listen to the birds chirping away, and just a place to be.

DIY garden teepee,

the kids love it.

i love it!

it has worked out so well!

xo, mama lola

stamping with food & natural treasures!


stamping with food, stamps, nature crafts

my kids love to paint and be creative. so, when we headed up to the cottage for the may long weekend i decided to plan a fun activity for the boys to try out. there are so many posts and pins about painting and stamping with food. i was a little weary at first, as the thought of wasting perfectly good food for crafts seemed so arrogant, but i found ways of negotiating around. for example, only painting with the tops of peppers and bottom of the celery stem. we also gathered some lovely natural items we found on the forest floor, like a bird’s feather, cedar branches and various leaves.

 

stamping with food, natural stamps, kids crafts

to get started i had all of our supplies ready and waiting for the kids.  i cut the food items, placed a few colours of paint on some tupperware container lids, got our paintbrushes out,  set out a container of water for rinsing the paintbrushes, placed paper under rocks so they wouldn’t fly away and made sure my camera battery was charged! haha!

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stamping with food, art outside, kids crafts,

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stamping with food 3

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stamping with food, kids crafts, art outside, nature crafts

painting, like eating, is so much better outside. the mess is easier to deal with and there’s something wonderful about listening to the birds sing while being creative. we also lucked out with a sunny day with only a light breeze. there is so much inspiration in the nature that surrounds us.

 

i hope you get a chance to do this craft with your kids!

xo, mama lola

painting easter eggs!

 

my mum is an artist. she is the most creative person i know. everything she touches turns into art; paintings, cards, pottery, even the meals she prepares has some artistic flare in it. so amazing!

she has a stunning collection of hundreds of easter eggs she has decorated over the years. my kids know their mummo has special talents and love getting artsy with her. during easter we invite good friends over to my parents house and my mum lets the kids (all 5 of them) use her various art supplies. she patiently guides the budding artsists on how to get the paint to stay on brushes, how to colour blown eggs with markers or pencils. it’s amazing seeing them in action.

 

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here are some of the beautiful eggs the kids created for easter. so lovely! my mum attaches the beads and ribbon, so the egss can be hung for decorations.

 

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here are the kids with their art teacher. look at all of those adorable smiling faces!  i feel like bursting when i look at this photo!

 

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we are of to celebrate easter with family today. it’s a beautiful day outside, the kids have made their cards and dear hubby is doing some yummy easter baking! he’s trying out a finnish recipe, which is tricky as some of the ingredients are hard to find. anyhow, more to come on that later!

 

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

 

xo, mama lola

a weekend getaway… without the kids!

HELLO OTTAWA!

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we were invited to a family wedding in our nations capital. after lots of humming and hawing, and figuring out how to do it all without the kids in tow, we came up with a rather exciting plan! the wedding also nicely landed a week after our 7th anniversary, so it was a great excuse to celebrate US! dear hubby and i decided to fly to ottawa on porter airlines, stay in a lovely hotel in the center of the city, celebrate the beginnings of a beautiful marriage, take in a few sights, and then hop on a train to come home. it was a great trip filled with delicious foods, lots of walking and a calm that is hard to find when the kids are around.

we climbed onto our wee plane at 9:30am in toronto and landed in ottawa at 10:15am! AMAZING! i barely had time to read my book!

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we arrived at our hotel early, but luckily we were able to check in early. lucky, because the finnish men’s hockey team was stomping all over the american team and ultimately won 5-0!!!! it meant bronze for my finn’s! then we had to rush to eat, as we had a wedding to get to!

and, this was our lunch. we found this awesome deli where the “bread” part was made of scones. i had this yummy salmon scone sandwich with a salad.

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unfortunately i have no pictures of dear hubby and i looking dapper at this wedding. but, boy did we look great! dear hubby wore his gorgeous black velvet blazer, which was perfect for this winter wedding setting! i wore a sparkly grey dress, but i was warm enough because, i wore the wrap my mum made me for our winter wedding on 2007. one side of it is a beautiful green/ purple silky material, but the other is a natural white wool where my mum embroidered the leaves all sorts of trees. it is unbelievably beautiful, and i was so happy to be able to use it again!

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it was a splendid wedding! lots of laughter, great stories and piles of love! congrats sarah & mike! xo

mello’s diner was an awesome breakfast spot for the morning after from the wedding! yummy food with fast and courteous service!

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once our bellies were full we started walking through ottawa. we soaked in the sun and enjoyed the seasonally warm temperatures. we walked from ottawa, ontario to the hull area of gatineau, quebec. look at that glorious sun!

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after walking we arrived at the canadian history museaum also known as the canadian museum of civilization. i have to admit this is one of the best museums i have ever experienced. everything about it was fantastic! please, go check it out if you can!

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this is the grand hall. and, WOW is it ever grand! it is a hall will enormous totem poles that were carved by strong, creative hands. the totem poles  stand proud holding onto the stories their makers wanted to share. they are breathtaking.

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at the far end of the grand hall has a set of curvy stairs. above the stairs high on the ceiling is a stunning mural “morning star” by alex janvier. the colours, the energy and the rhythm was exhilarating. it was impossible to get a good picture of it, but trsut me when i say, it was stunning!

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canada hall is one of the permanent exhibits at the museum. it is this fabulous meandering walk through the thousands of years of history our land holds. the layout is unbelievable, as you walk from one century to another, it feels as though you are outside walking along the streets of a prairie town during the 1900’s or strolling through a 60’s airport waiting lounge littered with ashtrays and funny payphones! it is great for people of all ages and i look forward to the day i can take my boys there!

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ottawa is a wonderful city. not too big, busy or overwhelming the way many big cities are. so much history, beautiful architecture and plenty to see.

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this is our parliament building. it’s where the big wigs make, um…. mostly terrible decisions on our behalf. haha! but, it is a beautiful building with lots of history.

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and, rideau canal.

daytime.

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nighttime.

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this was the hotel we stayed in. the lord elgin. it is in the center of town walking distance to the byward market, parliament hill, rideau canal and so much more! it was built during the war in 1941 and there are so many wonderful details left from that time period.

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on the morning of our departure, we went to the byward market to load up on delicious goodies like montreal style bagels, bearvertails, coffee, and lunch for our train ride back to toronto.

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this was our lunch on the train. a couple of different deli salads and some yummy grilled veggies with rice ‘n beans.

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on the train i was feeling super anxious about seeing the kids. i have never been away from them for so long and i was missing them deeply. this three day, two night separation felt like an eternity, but i know it was something we all needed. the kids had a wonderful time with my folks, which i knew they would!

here we are arriving at union station in toronto.

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on this mini-getaway we traveled by car, ferry, plane, city bus, taxi, train and subway! oh, and let’s not forget by foot as well! with our trusted pack from our worldly adventures from way before the kids were ever even thought of, we did what we do so well together. we traveled. it may not have been to another country, another continent, or anything super adventurous, but it was a trip where we arrived at our destination hand-in-hand with big smiles on our faces eager to explore. there were no strict schedules or time constraints, no kids begging for attention or melting down from low blood sugar. although, dear hubby was hit with a cold, we still had a great time just the two of us.

HAPPY 7th ANNIVERSARY to US!

xo, mama lola

thanksgiving & fall crafts!

i thought i would put together another thanksgiving/ fall craft round-up.
thanksgiving is coming up, the colours are changing in the trees, so clearly fall has arrived!

 

check out these great projects!
 
recycled paper acorn banner from crafting a green world
 
 
 
 
 
leaf jar candle holder from kidz world
 
 
hanging leaf garland from full circle
 
 
woven placemats from mind bites
 
leaf masks from 5 orange potatoes

 

i really like the leaf garland and think we might make one, before we get overwhelmed with christmas crafts.  

i will try to squeeze out a few more fall crafts while i can!

xo, mama lola
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