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

holiday update: better late than never, right?!

christmas feels like it was a million years ago, but i want to share a few pictures with you anyway.

we had such a wonderful time. it was busy, but fun!

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below is a picture of the beautiful piparkakkutalo or gingerbread house my mum made. there is a little tea light in the front that’s the skating rink, plus there’s a ladder on the side there! love it! my mum is so creative!

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the kids got twister from DH’s sister and her mister. of course we had to crack it open immediately and give it a go!

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for new years, we hit the cottage up in muskoka! there was no snow upon arrival, but withiun 12 hours heaps and heaps had fallen, and just kept coming! the forest around the cottage turned into a magical winter wonderland. this year the temperatures weren’t that cold even, so hitting the outhouse wasn’t that bad! haha!

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as soon as we arrive it’s important to get the cottage warm. so we get the fire roaring and slowly start to unpeel all of the layers we have on. our friends brought some yummy lasagna’s for dinner. aren’t the beautiful?!

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on the 31st we walked down to the lake and watched as papaD put on an amazing firework display. we all sat in the snow oohing and aahing at the gorgeous colours flashing in the sky! the it was time for sparklers up at the cottage!

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after fireworks we enjoyed some glöggi while DH read stories to all the kids. the cottage becomes a cozy nest for all of us. the christmas lights we bring up for extra fun. we re-arrange the furniture to better suit the large number of people that are there. it’s nice to have the couch in front of the fire.

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once the kids were tucked into their beds, us adults played some fun games of our own and enjoyed a few drinks!

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the following morning it was time for more tobogganing!

what a great way to start 2015!!!

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happy day to you and yours!

next week i’ll be sharing pictures from lion’s forest school, check back!

don’t forget to come and like bear & lion on facebook!

 

xo, mama lola

cottage thanksgiving.

cottage

we enjoyed a beautiful weekend at the cottage for thanksgiving.  it’s taken me a while to organize pictures and edit them, as our reno at the house has forced me to stay away from our home all day for a few days! bah! but, better late than never right?!

 

the weather was awesome! sunny, with a few misty moments and crisp fresh air. the leaves were a beautiful array of bright colours.  we got a lot of work done, including rearranging the wood shed, piling wood from wettest to driest. it’s very physical job, but there was 4 adults doing it,so it went well. the chipmunks were just as busy as us, running around with their wee cheeks full of grub to last them through the winter.

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with two vegans, four vegetarians and three carnivores our dinner was super delicious! we had all kinds of yummy, healthy foods that we were all so very grateful for, including tofu and bok choy sauteed in pineapple sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing (veg and not), baked squash, roasted chicken and shrimp n’ scallops sauteed in lime juice and cilantro. our bellies were too satisfied, hahaha!

 

thanksgiving table

 

my MIL found an old SUPER COOL hockey table under one of the beds. it’s wooden and dear hubby used to play against his grandfather back during his childhood. the kids loved playing this for hours and hours, so much so in fact that bear started a family tournament. he made a list with everyone’s names and then various family members played against each other. it was a lot of fun!

 

cottage hockey tournament

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there was a huge rain storm a few weeks back that washed out a lot of roads in and around the cottage. the top of the cottage driveway happens to to be located at the bottom of two hills, and there was a lot of damage. there have been issues for years and the county is always promising to fix the problems. so when we arrived on friday afternoon we found these huge boulders at the entrance of the driveway, massive diggers sitting on rocks and culverts dug out again. quite shocking and depressing, because these huge gouges are very damaging to the wildlife in the area.

 

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the portage down to the lake that runs from the road next to the cottage property line, was seriously damaged during the rain storm as well. this was a big concern to me, purely for selfish reasons as that’s where we do best tobogganing in the winter! we’ll have to wait and see what the construction ends up looking like.

 

hope you had a lovely weekend with whatever fun you got into on the long weekend!

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, 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

good-bye 2013, hello 2014.

i realize my pictures late, but i wanted to share them anyway! we had a glorious new year’s up at the cottage with friends.

here is a montage of the fun…

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new years collage

we had so much fun with are amazing friends, tobogganing, playing in the snow, playing games, dancing, singing, and hanging out by the fire. it was very, very cold (-20c) which made trips to the outhouse exhilarating! haha!

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

the first leg of our epic summer road trip!

and so our second annual family summer road trip started with a weekend at the cottage with dear friends. we left home on a stormy friday afternoon and arrived at the cozy cottage where the weather was calm and beautiful. so, we decided to get our bathing suits on and jump in the lake! it was a great way to start the weekend!
our weekend was fun in the sun; we swam, chatted about everything under the sun, sat by the fire, roasted marshmallows, drank various drinks, the kids played and played… it was glorious!


we left the cottage on a hot sunday afternoon and headed north on highway 400. our first stop was french river. it is a beautiful spot, perfect for a picnic and stretching your legs. we did both!

our first night of camping was fine. dear hubby and i were a bit out of sync, but seeing as it was our first night on the road, we allowed ourselves the learning opportunity to figure it all out. it took a lot re-organizing to get things into good order. for example, packing up my camping kitchen, i just tossed things into my bin at home, but here at camp i organized it as now i knew what i needed first when starting a meal. 

we bought the kids their own camping chairs and surprised them at our first campfire. they seriously believed us when we told them the forest fairies brought them! it was so sweet!


our first morning at fairbank provincial park and this is what the crater created lake looked like. kinda unbelievable!


then we hit science north in sudbury! (a shout out to all the sudbury peeps, YO!) man, it was fun, awesome and did i mention fun? if you’re even by the big nickel, hanging out on the rock go check this place out!

this big guy here, was the tallest man alive once-upon-a-time. he too had some issues with his pituitary gland, different from mine, but i felt a bond with this freakish moving robot man!


then it was time to hit the road. the kids were quiet and sleepy after such a busy morning, which made for easy driving. we did get stuck behind the road painting truck, which was super frustrating and hilarious at the same time!


and then we saw this sign (see below photograph). we passed the english version before i could snap a photo, but here is the french version (canada is billingual).  the sign reads “please do not feed the bears”. then on the brown part “bears are dangerous”. um yeah they are! they have massive claws and teeth, which are not there just for looks! and, here i thought there is no way in hell anyone in their right mind would want to get near an actual bear, never mind feed it. clearly i am naive!


we drove to sault saint marie, arrived after dinner time so the kids were grumpy and had a hard time finding a good place to eat. eventually, we decided to get a room at the motel 8 and get some grocery store sushi, cheeses, baguette and fruit. kids loved it, i loved it, and dear hubby loved. it was easy and delicious!

the next morning we piled into the car and headed for the famous canal locks. we arrived just in time to see an american tourist boat experience the strange wonder of the locks. the boat started out at one water level and then slowly was lowered to another water level. it’s actually super cool, but also scary!


we visited the bush plane museum in the soo. it was very well organized, and even though it’s a small museum, there is a lot to see and do. the boys of course loved it!


after the soo, we headed along the trans-canada highway north to camp at a provincial park.

that was when we discovered the wonder that is pancake bay.


as we set up camp we could hear a deep rhythmic pounding in the distance. so, we walked over the soft, sandy dunes and saw this.
a breathtaking view of sand and water and sky and forest.

dear hubby and i sat and watched as the kids played in the water, becoming more and more soaked as the waves kept crashing into the shore, and as the kids kept running into them. the boys were not bothered at all by the frigid temperatures of lake superior, or the cool wind that was blowing over the lake; they laughed while running and playing! it was perfect.


then, evening came. dear hubby put the kids to bed, i hooped…


and then this happened. wow.


more pictures and tales to come later from our epic road trip!

xo, mama lola

learning to be bear wise.

i am scared of bears.

i live in a country and a province that has bear. black bears, to be specific.
we’ve been at the cottage and i have seen several on the property on a couple of different occasions in the last 5 years. once, when bear was about 9 months old, he and i were playing in front of the cottage when i felt like someone was staring at us, and bam, when i turned around i made eye contact with a black bear up a hill, in and among the forest about 50 metres away!

this is my sweet little guy moments before i saw the bear.


immediately i grabbed my wee baby, ran inside, ran to the window and saw the bear sniffing the ground we had just been standing on. with my adrenalin kicking i tried to find my camera to get a picture, but my hands were shaking so much and my heart was pounding in my chest… it was hard and scary…

this was the picture i got of the bear making it’s way up the driveway. my dad gave a s#it for even trying to get a photo of a bear. you see, i stepped out of the cottage, just a little to snap this photo.


i have always been slightly nervous about bears.
at treeplanting we had bears visit our camp all the time. some people even had their tents ripped open by bears, but luckily this happened when they themselves were out in the clearcut working! ha! at treeplanting there are lots of rules about how and where to keep your items with scent, because shampoo’s and even a tiny lip balm container can attract bears. their noses are so incredibly efficient and curious!

a black bear.

 [ source : government of yukon pages ]


this summer the boys, dear hubby and i are driving north in ontario for our summer road trip. we are heading up to thunder bay to where dear hubby and i met and fell in love! we plan on camping a bit, and i can honestly say that i am already a little worried. so, i did a little bit of research on google about bears.
i found this map.

source ]

it’s pretty good i think, doesn’t really make me feel better, but at least it’s a clear visual of what i should expect. and, i should expect bears.
sigh.

dear hubby bought be a book “bear attacks; their causes and avoidance” after one of my bear sightings at the cottage. i read the book cover to cover, and really came to the conclusion that there isn’t much you can do to avoid a bear, or a black bear specifically. if they are hungry, or feel threatened they may attack. bears do not typically eat people, but again, if they are hungry enough they sure will. what really worries me is the realization that it is difficult to get away from a bear, especially when with kids; bears are fast runners and excellent climbers. where do we go to get away?

plus that whole making noise to deter bears, well, it doesn’t necessarily work either. it can make the bears curious and draw them TO YOU, instead of scaring them and deterring them AWAY FROM YOU. that day at the cottage when bear was a babe and we saw the bear, i was actually singing super loudly and clapping in the hopes of scaring the furry beasts, as a few months earlier i had seen another bear sniffing the baby stroller we left outside!

clearly i have not shared my concerns with the kids. they know there are bears in the woods, because it comes up in conversation, the way the habitats of all sorts of animals do. but, i will not share my fears with them either, especially since my 5YO bear, is quite anxious at times already. hopefully we will not see any bears or evidence of them, but that being said… any night we sleep in a tent i will be laying there eyes wide open listening closely to each creak and tweet in the forest. 

wish me luck!!!

xo, mama lola
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