this moment :: niagara falls for a birthday was a blast!

as inspired by souleMama; one photo from our week, no words, only an image to sum up our time as a family. one that captures a moment in time and is a visual reminder of where we were at this time in our lives. 

i am flexing the rules this week, as it was dear hubby’s birthday on monday. i want to share some pictures from the great day we had in niagara falls, just the four of us. we ate a picnic lunch, gobbled up ice creams, watched the falls in awe and enjoyed the glorious sunshine all day long! 

i would love it if you left a link to your { this moment }. 

xo, mama lola

happy birthday, dear hubby!

all of these pictures are pre-2007. we look like babies in so many of the pics!  
happy 37th birthday to my sweet, loving, adorable husband! 

today, the four of us are heading to niagara falls for a day of fun! we will check out the falls, play some arcade games, eat massive ice creams and hopefully ride the ferris wheel! 

xo, mama lola

bear’s 5th birthday :: the chirp cake

my son is very particular about his birthday cakes. he chooses and plans what he wants and then DH and i are in charge of making these wishes come into fruition. luckily for us, bear’s wishes are not outrageous or complicated. in fact, they’re adorably simple. for his third birthday he wanted a car cake. for his fourth birthday, he wanted a triangle cake.

and, this year for his 5th birthday he wanted a chirp cake, as in chirp the wee yellow bird from chirp magazine.

this recipe is directly from the joy of cooking. any modifications we made are marked with an asterisk.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt

2/3 vegetable oil
3 large eggs *we used boxed egg substitute
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts *DH has a srious walnut allergy, so we use sunflower seeds instead
1 cup golden raisins
(1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple)this is optional and we never include the pineapple


1. preheat oven to 350F, grease and flour you pan.
2. whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. whisk together the wet ingredients in a bowl, then with a rubber spatula, stir into the flour mixture until just combined.
4. stir in the rest of the ingredients.
5. scrape batter into your pan, ensuring it has spread evenly. 
6. baking time depends on your pan size/ dimensions. we used a 9 inch round cake pan and the cake baked for about 35 minutes.
7. let cool before applying icing, if so desired.

each month the magazine is complied together with a theme. one month it was BIRTHDAYS and there was a recipe for a chirp cake. bear saw it and immediately came running to me excitedly saying that that was the cake he wanted. we tweaked it a little; instead of donuts for eyes we used a puddle of icing and plopped blueberries for the pupils. we used dried pear slices for the beak. and the inside was yummy, egg free carrot cake. delish!!!

the kid was so happy, delighted and proud. he and lion actually worked hard with dear hubby with the mixing of all of those ingredients. i love that the kids are so eager to be involved!

xo, mama lola

to my bear :: happy 5th birthday

*  *   *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

dear bear,

happy birthday, my sweet boy. 

today you turn five years old. that’s one whole handful of fingers!

what a wonderful year this is going to be for you.
you will become a stronger swimmer and turn into a fish at the cottage this summer. you will become a better bike rider. you will finish your first year of school. and, school has proven itself to be a wonderful place for you. there,  you have lots good friends 
your independence has soared and i am sure it will reach even mightier heights, now that you are 5.

i remember the day you were born very well. it was a day full of anticipation, excitement and love. your daddy and i had been waiting for you for a long time.

i remember being in the hospital and riding through the contractions. feeling the waves come over me, helping me push you into this world. finally, my midwife told me to reach down and i felt you there and i pulled you out of me and into my arms. 
there you were. our beautiful bear. daddy had the biggest and silliest smile on his face; you could see the pride he felt for his little family shining from his heart. i was so overcome and overwhelmed with your arrival, that i just stared at you.
i did this a lot.

i am still often overwhelmed by you.

your kindness and gentle demeanour towards other people warms me.
your curiosity of the world in which we live, is awe-inspiring and surprising to me.
your ability to move your body with such strength and limberness, is always mind blowing to me. i love to watch you climb things, as i stand back and admire your courage and trust in your body.

i am proud to be your mama.

i am excited to see where this new year will take you, what you will learn and what will be a struggle. but, i am most excited to be by your side as we meet new adventures as a family and explore new horizons together.

i will always be here to hold your hand in moments of apprehension, to catch you in times of weakness and i will always help you back to health. i will care and love you, because that comes so easily to me. 

happy birthday my love. paljon onnea rakkain.

this year is going to full of magic!

love, äiti

xo, mama lola

bear’s 5th birthday :: the loot bags.


truth be told, i kinda loath the whole loot bag idea, but it is what it is and i have to work with the system. in years passed, we have made some kind of non-edible gift for our friends to take home. we’ve sent our friends and family home with magnets, bow ties, pinwheels and one year the kids just got a balloon!

this year, since bear is in school and the kids have learned to expect a certain amount of candy and junk, i just caved and gave them what they wanted. i got each kid a helium balloon, a few dollar store items like foam animal masks and funny monkey buttons and glow sticks. 
then we made a yummy sweet n’ salty treat bag for the kids to take home. 

the treat bags included :
pop corn
unsalted pretzels 
valentine’s M&M’s 
other various heart shaped candies

we took normal lunch paper bags and bear decorated one bag per guest. he worked so hard writing everyone’s names on them and decorating them with party themed drawings. i attached the paper treat bags to the plastic loot bags and the kids were thrilled! unfortunately i didn’t get a pictures of all the final bags, but you get the idea. so simple, quick and easy, and a fantastic way to get the kids involved!

what do you about loot bags? do you nix them or hand them out?
tomorrow i will post about bear’s fantastic cake!

xo, mama lola

bear’s birthday party!


on sunday, my bear had a birthday party for his 5th birthday. he insisted that no adults were allowed except for dear hubby and myself, and all four grandparents. so that’s what we did, a drop off party. i was a little nervous and skeptical that it would work, but another mum had recommended it and since bear really wanted to do it, i figured why not.

the party was short, two hours. the plan was to let the guests trickle in, but they all arrived promptly at 11am! that meant party time! the kids played, while i made some fruit kabobs and cream cheese wraps. then dear hubby had them play a few rounds of pin the tail on the donkey, then it was lunch time, and then cake time!

after devouring the carrot cake the kids played again for a bit, and then it was present time! and then, again the parents arrived promptly and the party was over! for any parent considering hosting a drop off party… DO IT! for us as hosts, it was easier as we didn’t have to feed as many people, and i wasn’t trying to catch up with a friend while trying to organize the kids as well. i actually had several opportunities to sit and chat with my folks, drink coffee and just watch as the kids played. We did look into bouncy castle hire with the intention of having some inflatables as we knew the kids would love this, but we decided that it wouldn’t be safe having one at a drop off party. It would be too much pressure for me and the hubby to make sure all the kids were safe on the inflatables and still manage everthing else we had to do for the party.
the kids themselves were so well behaved. there was no fighting, no shenanigans of any kind; they followed directions, ate nicely, chatted amongst themselves and were super adorable, quite frankly!

we made an amazing cake that i will post about in another entry. and, i will share what we did for loot bags this year in another post.

bear is turning five on valentine’s day and i’m building up to my letter that i wrote to him for this special occasion.

xo, mama lola

birthday invitations :: a DIY craft


bear is turning the big five-o-roonie in a few weeks!!!
valentine’s day to be exact.

and what almost-five-year-old doesn’t want to have a birthday party with their friends?! of course i went on pinterest looking for birthday invitation ideas, but nothing sprang out at me. so, bear and i designed our own little invitations. so cute, perfect project for him to help with and easy enough for that it didn’t turn into some all consuming time sucker! 

here’s how we made ’em!


colourful paper or card stock
markers, sparkle pens, whatever really.


1. choose a picture of the birthday prince or princess. get copies made.
2. decide on the colour, size and shape of party hats. once i made one that was the right size, i traced it and cut out the rest of the party hats from the card stock.
3. decorate party hats. bear did the decorating and he loved it. we kept it simple, but you could add pompoms or glitter or whatever, really!
4. glue the decorated party hats on to the heads. let dry.
5. then i loosely traced the backs of the photo heads, cut the traced heads out of card stock and glued them on to the backs of the photo’s. this way we could write on regular paper, than the slippery photo paper.

have fun making your own invitations!

still can’t believe he’s going to be 5!!!!
i’ll be writing my sappy post about being this guys mama closer to the big day.

xo, mama lola

night out! freedom!

as a part of my resolutions for this year, a big one is to start taking care of ME. my goal is to try and make myself whole again, by doing things that i like; spending time with people i love, taking time away from the kids and the household, letting myself have a good time and enjoy life and not feel guilty about it.

so, this past weekend dear hubby and i shipped the kids to their grandparents house for one night. we actually had almost 24 hours of kid free, adult time! it was incredible! we went dancing with friends on saturday night and boy-o-boy did we busta move! dear hubby’s shirt was soaked in sweat by the end of the night! gross i know, but great evidence of a good time!

we drank lotsa fancy drinks, danced for hours and then eventually dear hubby and i dragged our butts home, walking as we couldn’t find a cab! ha! we totally felt like 20-somethings!

i felt such incredible freedom. a feeling i don’t think i’ve felt since becoming a mother almost five years ago. knowing the kids were in good hands with my in-laws, knowing there were no restrictions to our time out or the potential for fun, made it so much easier to go out and have have an awesome time with me peeps! it’s kind of unbelievable we’ve waited so long to send the kids away for a night, but it has always felt like a bad time for a variety of reasons like my health, financial obligations and just the notion of asking a favour of people to hang with the kids, is tough. i realize it sounds silly and what have you, but we have now learned. a new era has opened itself up and dear hubby and i intend to take full advantage of all the people we have around us who want to spend time with the kids! 

on sunday morning, dear hubby and i stumbled out of bed at 10am (yup, we totally slept in), headed out for breakfast and then came home and parked ourselves on the couch for some movie time/ nap time. we weren’t really hung over, just stiff and tired from the intense dancing and the super late night! the kids came home a little before dinner, happy and healthy, and ready to play. i love my kids, but they clearly need a break from me and dear hubby, as much we need a break from them.

can’t wait for our next dance night!
perhaps an 80’s & 90’s theme night? 

xo, mama lola

my birthday.

tomorrow is my birthday.
i’ll be 34 years old
i love my birthday and this year i’m noticeably unconcerned about my new, slightly older age. being in my thirties has always kinda freaked me out a bit, and as i have crept towards the middle of this third decade of life, i have become more scared. scared of what, you may wonder, and i’m not sure exactly. probably just of getting older and old, and the changes that that evolution brings with it.

this year, after my fall from hell, turning a year older seems easy. there’s no stress or worry about my new age, as the experiences of the previous weeks really brought me some much needed perspective. now it’s clear to me what matters, what doesn’t. who matters, who doesn’t. and where i fit into all of that. i have greater understanding about my needs; what i need from myself and others, and i am slowly learning how to have those needs met. i assumed that after my tumour shit and lion’s birth, i somehow was staring a new chapter, because that’s what i wanted and kept telling everyone. but, i was missing a huge piece of that… i wasn’t actually doing anything to facilitate change. well, now the ball of change is in motion and although the momentum is slow, i do feel it’s strength.
it’s gonna be a BIG year of change.

i hope that this new year of mine is mine
i need to learn to say no, to not care about what others say or think of me and i need to set some strong boundaries around me. not walls, because i want to be involved with people, but i need to learn not to take on everyone else’s problems as a way of ignoring my own. i need to learn to value myself, my skills and who i am. i deserve time, space and love, just like everyone else. this is going to be tough, but it’s time to do this. 
my time.

happy birthday to me and to all the other capricorns out there born on the 28th! 
(denzel washington being one of them!)

xo, mama lola

xo, mama lola
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