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

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

donut round up!


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i feel it is my responsibility to add this warning above. you may want to get a cloth or tissue for wiping the drool off of your chin.

just sayin”!

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donut are making a kind of come back. they can be as easy or as complicated to make as you wish; there are countless recipes out there for them! i have included recipes that make my mouth water!

donuts are a treat and certainly not anything we eat regularly at our house. but, as a treat they are fun to make, kids love ’em and you can get creative with them! a friend of mine made a birthday donut cake by building a pyramid of donuts and topping it off with candles! it was awesome and easy, and you bethca her son LOVED it!

 

so let’s let the donut fun begin!

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baked chocolate hazelnut crunch donuts by the little epicurean

 

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quick and easy baked came mix mini donuts from it’s always autumn

 

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gluten free pumpkin spiced donuts from flippin’ delicious

 

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oreo over load donuts from the first year

 

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baked funfetti donuts from sally’s baking addiction

how about something just as yummy, but perhaps a little healthier? here’s one of our fave recipes, my boys love these blueberry oatmeal muffin donuts. perfect for school lunches, after school, whatevs!

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blueberry oatmeal muffin donuts by bear & lion

 

how are you holding up?

craving some round, delectable treats yet! haha! 

happy monday peeps! 

xo, mama lola

fancy birthday popcorn!

we celebrated a 7th birthday here on february 14th. yes, our sweet bear is getting bigger by the day!

he wanted to take something yummy to school to share with his classmates and i am not a huge fan of sending cupcakes; they are sweet and junky and full allergens, so not all kids can necessarily have some. last year i made these awesome fruit sushi’s, which were an even bigger hit than i ever could have imagined!

 

this year i kept things super simple and made some super fancy birthday pop corn!
birthday popcorn, birthday loot bags, treatsi popped a couple of bags of popcorn, let it cool, then added some star & snowflake sprinkles, silver balls and traditional colourful  sprinkles.

that was it.

done.

dropped it off at school for the classes valentine’s day party where the kids started off the festivities with a heartfelt bonne fête for my bear! i left the bowl and afterwards heard from the kids that they LOVED the super fancy birthday popcorn!

easy. fast. but, AWESOME!

xo, mama lola

ripley’s aquarium visit in toronto


brrr…. it is -24c this morning here in southern ontario. perfect day to sit back and work on my blog with my warm coffee by my side.

a couple of weeks ago my dad turned 75! we had a great family dinner with delicious food my mum made, gifts and little wine to celebrate.  we also visited the aquarium in the big city.

the kids love to help others with their candle blowing, gift opening and cake eating!

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the ripley’s aquarium opened over a year ago and we have been meaning to go, but just haven’t found a good time. so on this our inaugural visit, we arrived just as they opened with our pre-ordered and pre-paid tickets in hand. seriously, if you can go online the night before and do this, do it! saved us time and hassle once we arrived. there were no crowds, so we were able to enjoy the fish, sharks and jellies without any hassle.

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when we were leaving around noon the line-ups were staggering for tickets and coat check… this is why you get all that done the night before online… way less hassle!

also, there is a weird cafe/ play area in the middle of your aquarium tour. there is nothing at the end, except the gift shop, but they don’t sell any drinks or snacks.

we all loved the aquarium and would love to go back one day!!!

xo, mama lola

my emotional MRI and more.

 

on friday i had an MRI done. it’s an annual one that gets done to see whether or not the pituitary gland tumour that was removed almost four years ago has returned. pituitary gland tumours are typically cancer free, as was mine, and usually quite simple to remove. my situation had a catch though, as i was pregnant with lion when my tumour was diagnosed, so i was treated at a special hospital with fancy specialists and had a nightmare c-section. all because of this dang tumour.

in the brain tumour community cancer free tumours are not described as benign. all brain tumours reek havoc on the lives of people living with them and their families.

 

my annual check-ups for my tumour always fall right around lion’s birthday, which makes this time of year especially emotional for me. this year i was trying to push away all of the scary memories and focus on all of the good that we are surrounded with. but, then on friday as my MRI time got closer, my anxiety started to increase, my throat got tight, and i felt completely alone in my memories and fears.  DH hadn’t acknowledged anything before heading to work that morning, so 45 minutes prior to my appointment i texted him an angry message “today is not a normal day for me“. and, maybe he was taking cues from me to be chill about the day,but regardless, i was hurt.

 

so, i arrived at the hospital, nervous as heck only to see DH sitting there in the waiting room. he squeezed me tightly, kissed my forehead and whispered sweet words into my ear . he left the hospital once i was checked-in as the kids were with various friends, so someone had to be available as our phones didn’t work inside the hospital.

 

i sat in a horrible vinyl chair listening to a conversation between old  friends who had randomly crossed paths there at the MRI waiting room.  they shared stories of the heartbreaking medical ailments that had brought them there. as i sat there my throat was still tight and i was fiercely fighting back tears. i was remembering my family’s own heartbreak on lion’s birth day; a day when he entered this world in terrible stress to strangers taking him and whisking him away to the NICU. i was under a general anaesthetic for his birth, because there were concerns about my tumour literally exploding and killing me if i pushed him out during a vaginal birth, or if i had an epidural for a c-section like most women.  so i was out cold. because of this DH had to wait outside the operating room for the birth, so that meant our wee baby was born alone. lion had complications and was kept in the hospital for a week. all because of that dang tumour.

 

four years ago when we got home, i had a baby, toddler and a tumour to deal with. i have never wanted others to think i was looking for pity or attention; so instead of sharing my situation and asking for support i have been very internal about most of it. after my surgery in november 2010 to remove the tumour i was back home mothering within days without the necessary recovery times. i never asked anyone for help, because i didn’t want to be seen as weak.  i was so tired, in terrible pain and overwhelmed, but i tried my best to hide all of that and just kept on trucking. part of it was  i also felt like a fraud; like our experience with my tumour wasn’t bad enough to warrant attention or support.

 

so, back to friday when all of these memories brought with them deep waves of emotions that came rushing through me as they prepped me for the MRI. my IV was placed, painfully, my contrast liquid tubes set, the mask to trap my head during the MRI was locked into place and then with a push of a button they put me into this dark terrifying tube. if you’ve never had a MRI here’s a link to what it sounds like… CLICK HERE.  i don’t suggest listening to the whole thing, but i do recommend turning up your volume and jumping ahead every so often to see the range of horrible sounds and noises that machine makes! my MRI’s last about 30 minutes. during those long  minutes in the machine on friday i cried. tears were gently streaming into my ears. i thought of my lovely boy; he exudes love and shine. he giggles easily and cares deeply for others. i thought about him when he was first born, how fragile he looked all wrapped in tubes that were attached to various beeping machines. i also thought of my bear, who in those early days of lion’s life was shuffled around from one house to another, to the hospital all in a blur of confusion and fear. he was only two-and-a–half. and, i was also thinking of my sweet DH who in those months and days was trying so desperately to hold it all together. he never showed his fear to me, always trying to put on a brave face even if i did see right through it. he had been standing outside the room where his son almost died watching the red lights flash in the hallway, listening to the alarms and then seeing the staff intubate him and rush him away. how completely terrifying. luckily today lion is healthy,vivacious and read to roll!

 

after i was done on friday, i got changed and walked to my car. drove home and didn’t want to see anyone. i sat on my couch and cried. i sobbed. my body shook as huge tears rolled down my face. i had to let it all out before the kids came home with DH. when they walked in the door they held a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me.

 

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sharing my story here is a form of therapy for me. i think of my blog as a journal where i record our favourite recipes, craft projects, summer camping trips and also some of the not-so-fun or glamorous health experiences. i hope that talking openly about my dang tumour will open the doors for other’s to share their struggles, even if they are not medical.

 

fingers crossed for wednesday! that is when i head into the big city to see my neurologist and endocrinologist toreceive the results of this emotional MRI and blood work done a few weeks ago.

 

xo, mama lola

DIY birthday applique shirt!

 

my bear turned 6 in february, so i made him this fun applique shirt.

i bought a plain t-shirt for $5, found some fabric i thought he would like and then the night before his birthdy quickly sewed up the shirt.

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MATERIALS:

plain t-shirt

fun fabric for your number

hem fuser

thread

scissors

iron

sewing machine

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. iron the t-shirt and the fabric you will be working with. it is easier to work with flat fabric, plus your finished product will look that much better! leave your iron on, as you will need it later in the third step.

 

2. draw the number on your fun fabric lightly with a pencil, then cut it out. pin it on to your shirt.

 

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3. make sure your iron is still hot. before using the hem fuser, read the insructions on the package. cut the hem fuser into strips and carefully place them around the edge of your number. because, a 6 has so many curves i had to cut lots of small pieces to get around around the bends.  i did leave some spaces between the strips to allow for flexibility.

 

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4. once the number is fused to the t-shirt, with your sewing machine sew around the edges of the number. i sewed around three ties. it doesn’t mater what stitch you use. i didn’t care about sewing it perfectly, opting more for a rougher look, which i think is perfect for this 6 year old’s bug applique birthday shirt!

 

and, he LOVED it! bear has received lots of compliments on this personalized shirt!

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happy sewing!

xo, mama lola

dinosaur cake! ROAR!

for bear’s 6th birthday he had requested a dinosaur cake. we went on the internet and looked at ideas, but everything looked super complicated and out of our cake-making league. so, DH and i decided to make a scenery cake, instead of an actual dinosaur. we used carrot cake for the land and volcano, everything was heavily slathered with icing from a container and we added weird rock looking candies, raisins and cinnamon sticks all over for interest. for lava, we used strawberry jam and we made a dino’s nest with cadbury’s mini eggs! the dinosaurs themselves are plastic toys.

the kids were amazed and i have heard back from many parents about this awesome cake! haha!

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. bake 2 cakes of your choice. any type of cake is fine, as it’ll be covered with icing anyway. our fave is carrot cake and the kids all loved it! find the recipe HERE! we baked one 9″ X 13″ for the land, and one 9″ X 9″ for the volcano.

2. cut up the smaller cake into triangular pieces and build your volcano. it doesn’t have to perfect, as it’ll be covered with icing, jam and dinosaurs!

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3. slather a thick layer of icing all over the volcano and land. i left it very imperfect, hoping it looked more realistic!

4. we added candy, raisins and cinnamon sticks for various landscape features. we also made a nest with dino eggs!

5. add the strawberry jam last. i just spooned it on top of the icing trying to make it look like spewing lava. kids thought it was pretty cool!

6. i made a simple tree out of two pipe cleaners; one green one and one brown one. i couldn’t find and plastic trees, so my pipe cleaner had to do!

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here’s the birthday boy blowing out his candles! so cute!

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check-out the adorable name tags i made for this birthday party HERE.

and, coming soon are details on the other dinosaur crafts we got to for the party!

xo, mama lola

how to make fruit sushi!

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my kids LOVE sushi! their favourite is the raw salmon. but, a lot of kids don’t share their enthusiasm for this japanese cuisine, so that’s why for bear’s 6th birthday i decided to make his class at school some yummy fruit sushi! i prefer these treats to cupcakes and cookies, as there are less concerns with allergens, these sushi bites are healthier and hey, they’re totally memorable too!!!

INGREDIENTS!

sticky rice (read instructions on package as they vary depending on brand)

mango, kiwi or any desired fruit

seaweed sheets

a bowl of water

* plus you will need a rolling mat

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. cook sticky rice as directed on package. let it completely cool down before using. cut fruit into strips, about the same thickness as an average adult finger.

2. place your rolling mat down on a flat surface, put a seaweed sheet on top, and then place your sticky rice on. try to  ensure it is spread out fairly evenly.

3. place desired fruit onto the rice and using your mat, roll the ingredients making sure they  are held together tightly. i found i had some excess seaweed at the end, so i cut it off and “glued” the edge of the seaweed sheet to the roll, by dabbing them in some water.

4. cut the roll into bite sized pieces. if they are lose and fall a part (this happened a couple of times for me) i just used more water to re-seal the seaweed ends. and, voila!

5. i served these to the kids in bear’s class as is, and some of them devoured lots. other’s were a little apprehensive about the seaweed, but i would say majority of the adorable kindergartner’s tried at least one!

HOW YUMMY DO THESE LOOK???

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xo, mama lola

birthday party name tags!

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bear has asked for a dinosaur themed birthday! for this craft i couldn’t actually find any wee dinosaurs, but i found these cute lizards for 99 cents a pack and i thought they were close enough!

here’s what i did… first, i painted the clothes pegs with acrylic paint. i had to do a couple of coats to achieve a nice, solid, bold colour.

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then with my hot glue gun i attached the lizards to the painted clothes pegs. i then cut some cute flags out of card stock, wrote each child’s name on, got a paper straw and voila… DONE! i found the straws for $3 for a pack of 18 at michael’s.

how adorable are they?

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this is one of those crafts, where the impact is huge and process is so minimal!

the kids can then take the lizard pegs home and use them to clip important pages together or whatever!

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xo, mama lola
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