family camp nee kau nis.

 

family camp, it is something that almost everyone with kids seems to participate in somewhere, sometimes during the summer months. and, this year we joined the masses deciding to join friends at the family camp they have been attending for years. camp nee kau nis is a quaker based camp, but you don’t have to be quaker to attend camp, but you do have to know the right people! (wink)

 

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we arrived to a peaceful, beautiful place nestled in the trees overlooking a lake. most people had arrived the previous day and were settling into the routine. we arrived after lunch and were greeted by my dear blogging friend dilovely who tried on a new hat this year as co-director of family camp (which she wore stunningly, by the way). and, with wide open arms was my dearest, darling friend for a million years. it felt good to arrive.

 

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this cabin below, zavitz, was our home. it was clearly a space that had hosted many visitors in it’s day. i could just imagine young campers giggling away whispering in the dark with their flashlights about the silly antics they had gotten into earlier that day, who had a crush on whom and what swimming trick they had mastered!  the cabin was huge, with four beds (two sets of bunk beds) and a double bed perfect for this mama to stretch out it!

 

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our home away from home was a sweet space with lots of room for us to spread out. it had electricity, which was handy and a tiny corner sink behind the door.

 

once we had arrived, unpacked the van some people headed down to the beach. lion was excited and eagerly changed into his bathing suit, while my bear became overwhelmed by his anxiety. new places, new people, new routines, new expectations are all so difficult for him.

 

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all of our days started with the loud banging of a GONG! yup, the kitchen staff went around to each cabin and hit a horrible gong to make sure everyone was up n’ at ’em! all of the meals were communal events held in nelson hall. as you walk into this big room you could feel the history and friendship pulsing in it, there were posters and pieces of art lining the walls, a bookshelf tucked away on a corner with all sorts of books and lotsa tables with benches.

 

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in the mornings after breakfast was meeting for worship (read more HERE). that’s when we all came together as a community of friends and were together in silence. sometimes someone would share a thought or a feeling they were experiencing, but it was time of quiet, peaceful contemplation. usually it was done outside the meeting house under big shady trees, where we could listen and watch the splendour of the natural world surrounding us. sometimes if it was rainy or cold so we gathered inside the meeting house. i loved these times of quiet with so many people. people from all over canada and even europe; people of all kinds of backgrounds, ages, interests, passions and families. sometimes the most powerful communications with ourselves or others can happen in and through silence.

 

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well, meeting for worship was about an hour, but there was no way all of the kids could sit still and quietly for that long, so the hope was to share meeting with them for 15 minutes and then they could take off to the playground and participate in the children’s programming.

 

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the volunteers who ran the kids programming were AMAZING! the crafts were super fun for all of the kids there and they ranged from wee tots to tweens! there were toys and activities for the kids to busy themselves and a very friendly vibe. even i got my craft on!

 

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bunting collage

programming included story time and yummy snacks as well.

 

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tether ball… as an adult this was terrifying to watch as the near misses were astonishing! there were also lots of bang-on hits to the head, back, legs and kids crashing into each other. but the comrodery and team work this game brought out in the kids was really fun to see. initially not everyone knew how to play, so the kids taught each other the rules and would help out the newer players. sometimes there were big size differences between teams (that’s what happens when 6 year olds play with 10 year olds!) so the kids figured out ways to make things more fair and equitable… all without any adult intervention! oh, it was fantastic!

 

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tether ball always had a captive audience.

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every afternoon there was swimming down by the beach. oh, it was wonderful! i don’t really have any pictures from there, because i was having too much fun playing with all of the kids! the  beach was small, but the water was warm and shallow enough for kids of all swimming abilities to feel comfortable, play and swim. it was awesome! my bear and lion were super confident in the water, which is such a relief.

 

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this wee miss loved the beach!

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dancer mum’s rehearsing for talent night!

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all campers are expected to help out at camp, so we’re divided into teams that rotate through several chores. here some lovelies are washing the dinner dishes and below the kids from our team were helping out with the drying. chores are a way to contribute to the community living. nobody minded doing chores… well, except my bear. he sure did complain and put up a fuss, but when it time to work he was ready!

 

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we had a cook-out one evening, where everyone ate outside and then we roasted marshmallows! it was so fun (and buggy), and someone even brought out their guitar for a sing-a-long. who doesn’t love some yellow submarine and wheels on the bus with the mallows! then the skies started to darken and word got around that a big storm was heading our way, so we ended the night early and headed back to our cabins.

 

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we had some anxious times, some homesick moments, but they were perfectly rounded-out with the new friendships and the connections we re-established with friends. we laughed and cried, we ate yummy food until our bellies were jolly thanks to the amazing kitchen staff, learned bits and pieces about about the passive traditions and beliefs the quakers hold.

 

thank you so much having us camp nee kau nis.

xo, mama lola

spring traditions : the sugar bush!

one thing we really love to do in the spring time is visit the sugar bush. what’s the sugar bush you ask, well, it’s a wooded place with lots of sugar maples that get tapped in order to collect sap to make maple syrup. we visit a sugar bush at a local conservation area, which is called maple towne. i didn’t take a lot of pictures, because i was too busy chatting. but, there are more pics HERE from when we visited in 2012, look how little the boys look! ohMY!

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the kids and i were at the end of a week of terrible sickness. i will spare you the gory details, and just say we had all been feverish, coughing and very tired for days and days, so it felt really good to get out of the house, stretch our legs and get some warm spring air into our lungs. we went with friends, which was the best medicine of all!

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we walked, talked and soaked up a lot of the lovely sunshine. then we hopped on one of these fun horse drawn wagons for a ride through the sugar bush. the kids all loved it!

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the kids both fell asleep on the drive home; we all actually felt totally exhausted.

do you visit the sugar bush?

where is it?

xo, mama lola

state & main with the guelph blog brunch ladies.

 

once a month my blogger friends and i enjoy brunch together. we always meet at a different restaurant and this time it was suggested we taste test  state & main, a newcomer in our city.

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sunday brunch is one of my favoutite meals. and, i always look forward to hanging with my guelph blog brunch, group. we have great conversations, lotsa laughs and i love having friends to chat blogging with!

as with any meal, we all started with drinks. check-out this MASSIVE glass of fun di ordered!

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then it was time order food. after some deciding i opted for a the breakfast burrito. being vegetarian it was easy enough to exclude the bacon from the wrap. check-out all the homefries on the side, so yummy and one of the best things about brunch!

*notice how the prices are marked? clever!

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thanks for the yummy brunch, state & main! the service was wonderful, staff was so friendly and accommodating (even taking the above group shot of us)! i’m sure i’ll be back, possibly for a date night!

guelph blog brunch

starting here at the bottom left and going around the table let me me introduce: emily @ eighty ink, carlie @ friends in my closet, me, di @ dilovely, heat @ heather in heels, ardis @ rustic retrievals & heather @ heart, heather.

 

as we were saying our farewells in the parking lot, i quickly asked everyone to join me in a ellen degeneres inspired group selfie! i must say we all look pretty darn great!

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xo, mama lola

a winter hike to kick off march break!

it’s march break here in canada! a week off from school, which actually makes my life a titch busier, but i am glad to have a break from the confines of school and the rigid structure it brings with it.

to really kick-off this break, the kids and i went for a hike in beautiful weather with friends. it was the most perfect day; the sun shone, the temperatures felt practically balmy and there was no wind. kinda perfect in every way!

we went to a local conservation area and explored this old mill. kids loved it. then we kept trekking along, enjoying the sights until we reached our destination…

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this awesome CAVE!

the kids all explored the various crevices, holes and rocks. every few seconds someone would exclaim “oh wow, look at this”! i just love to hear kids excited about things in nature and their environment. and, as the kids get older they really do know so much more about the world, than i give credit for.

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all explorers need to refuel after extensive research, so we had a cave picnic before heading home!

we nibbled on cheese n’ avocado wraps, apple slices, raisins, nuts, cheese and juice! yum! i find packing snacks is crucial to surviving any kind of outdoor experience with the kids. they’re blood sugar crashes so quickly!

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we were all exhausted after our exciting hike! but, it was that good kind of exhaustion, you know, when you feel inspired, energized and calm. this winter i have found my mental health teetering on the edge some days, but when i get outside and fill my lungs with fresh air, and especially get to soak up some priceless vitamin D from the glorious sun, it really helps soothe my mind.

what are you up to this march break?

xo, mama lola

vegetable bok choy soup!

i started a neighbourhood soup exchange with some friends back in the fall. it started because i find wednesday’s to be the hardest day of the week, and then to plan a dinner just makes it that much more torturous! so, every wednesday at after-school pick-up, there we are, the soup club mama’s with our large mason jars exchanging yummy soups. we’re the only vegetarian family and we rotate who exchanges with who, and it all works out so well! this veggie bok choy recipe has become a fave!

bok choy soup, vegetarian soup, soup recipe

this is a soup that has received lots of compliments and recipe requests:

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion

2 medium carrots

4-5  parsnips

4-6 heads of baby bok choy

1-2 cups green lentils

1/2 package of rooster brand longkou vermicelli noodles

8 cups water

3 tbls safflower oil

2-3 cloves garlic

2 tsp fresh ginger

1 tsp tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

fresh parsley

sea salt to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. heat oil in your soup pot. add onions, sautee until lightly browned, then add carrots, parsnips, finely chopped garlic and finely chopped ginger. sprinkle lightly with sea salt. stir regularly to avoid burning. once the carrots and parsnips are bright in colour add the water.

2. add lentils, bouillon cubes, cinnamon, cumin and let the soup simmer at a low heat.

3. add noodles and bok choy once carrots and parsnips are soft. once they are cooked, which only takes a few minutes, add fresh parsley and serve.

* i find many soup recipes allow for some flexibility in the recipe, depending on what ingredients you have in your fridge or what your family’s tastes are. this particular recipe can easily be customized and changed to fit your personal tastes.

 

bok choy soup, recipe, vegetarian soup, healthy dinner

my kids love this soup, although the bok choy can be tricky for them to navigate. i love the cinnamon in it, especially in the winter, as it adds a warmth to the flavour which is lovely.

let me know what you think!

xo, mama lola

this moment.

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.

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please feel free to leave a link to your this moment from this past week in the comments.

xo, mama lola

halloween fun!

we had a fantastic halloween this year! the kids were so psyched and everything seemed to fall into place perfectly!

lion decided he wanted to be a robot. so, he and i made him a simple costume out of a some vent-tube stuff from home depot, a cardboard box, a cereal box, spray paint, and various odds n’ ends we found at home. he loved his costume and i was so pleased with the way it turned out. 

bear wanted to be an astronaut. i had seen on pinterest several posts about how to make the jet pack out of empty pop bottles, but i wasn’t really sure how the rest of his costume was going to look like. but, thanks to a quick trip to the local thrift shop at the end of a dae night,  it too came together swimmingly! we found a super shiny vest and short set, which were perfect!



the boys had their own halloween parties at their school’s. that meant i had to do some creative back-n-forth driving to participate in both, but it all worked out, and i was so happy to join the fun!

after dinner it was time for the main event to get started : TRICK OR TREATING! with their boots on and their thrift store pum’kin buckets in hand, we headed on out. 

it was a dark and stormy night… no, for real. the downpour was ghastly, but making it worse was the incredible winds! i was holding onto the brolly with all my might and still it tried to fli inside out on me! but, the kids didn’t even notice that they were getting soggy!

once back home in our warm home, we all quickly changed into our pajama’s, made some tea and then checked out the mountain of candy. the kids received an enormous amount! maybe people were extra generous due to the weather, or maybe t’s cu they were just so darn cute, but whatever the reason the boys were delighted!

 


how was your halloween?

xo, mama lola

nature hikes and romps!

this passed friday bear didn’t have school so we joined a group of friends and headed for the hills. for a hike, that is. we packed a massive bag of sunflower seeds to feed to the birds, and snacks to share for the people. 


the kids had such fun. they discovered all sorts of interesting natural phenomena like fungi of various sizes and colours, different kinds of lady bugs, all sorts of pine cones, spruce cones, leaves all sizes and shades of red.

all of the kids mostly ran for the two hour hike, although they did pause to enjoy the sounds of frogs and other natural elements occasionally. us mums, chatted, held the assortment of walking sticks, rocks and other teasures picked up along the way, and enjoyed the freedom the forest allows you to feel.

although, after the hike we were all tired, there was something wonderfully rejuvenating about the woods. the peace, the calm, are both so soothing to the mind. the kids went wild, but in the vast space among the trees, their loudness is drowned out, allowing the bird songs to be heard through the trees.
lovely.


this weekend was thanksgiving here in canada. we headed to the cottage with a few family members to close things up; bring in the docks, rake some of the various paths, chop wood and stock the logs for our visits this winter. the boys soaked up the fresh muskoka air, enjoying the company of their grandparents and auntR. 

i love watching my kids outside. their senses kick into high gear as they frolic between the trees. they are filled with such curiosity and wonder, which is incredibly contagious, especially when in the natural world.

there is a marshy area a short walk from the cottage. the kids’ grandma found cranberries growing there and that is what lion is inspecting in the moss!


the sun was high and warm, hot even. we got all of the work done and ended another season at the family cottage. it is such a wonderful place.

(i was there too!)


i didn’t take any other pictures this year,which is quite unusual. 
i was partly busy and distracted, but also completely exhausted and distracted.

have you spent some fun times in the woods lately?


xo, mama lola

apple picking is wholesome fall fun!

the weather this fall has been perfect. every day has been about +20c with sunny with bright days and stunning blue skies. we have played outside an enormous amount, trying to soak up as much vitamin D and warmth before the cold, dark winter blankets over us. and, that my friends will happen soon!


we went apple picking as a way to enjoy the sun. we had an awesome morning picking apples from the orchard, then going on a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch and choosing various gourds to represent each of us!



there’s nothing like biting into a fresh, crisp apple that is just ready for picking!
YUM!




now that we have a glorious variety of apples, it is time to try out some of the yummy apple recipes i included in my round-up a few weeks ago!

and, i will leave you with this picture of a tiny lady bug. there are gazillions of different kinds of lady bugs flying around right now, not sure why, but it kinda fun!


how is fall treating you this year?
have you been apple picking this season?

xo, mama lola

this moment.

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. 

(these terrible pictures were taken with my phone. the terry fox run happened at our school and i had to share these stickers on the kids backs. the students decided what they wanted written on their sticker. breaks my heart; but so proud of all of the kids for taking part.)

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

xo, mama lola
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