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

the winteriest winter ever.

this post may seem a little ironic coming from me; a gal who was born and raised in finland, and who has lived in canada for 20+ years… but, holy macaroni this winter has been BRUTAL!!! we have had a terrifying ice storm with severe consequences, several wicked snow storms, wind chill warnings weeks on end and some new icy visitor, the polar vortex! the kids’ schools have been closed for snow days, and for days when it’s just been too cold to go outside. there has been so much snow that we don’t much space to shovel it all anymore.

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the toughest part is the kids. even though we are a winter loving family; my kids typically enjoy playing in the snow, are great at dressing for the weather and look forward to winter in the fall, they are now officially fed up. that means there are tears and constant complaints as we are getting ready to head out the door. it’s too cold to play outside most days, as it has been windy. yesterday the wind was extremely bitter and cold, blowing snow wickedly about… i thought our faces were going to freeze off… THAT’S HOW COLD IT IS!!! and, keeping kids inside all day at school (because they have indoor recess instead of burning beans outside), keeping them indoors at home and always driving to and from school makes for very grumpy people!!! everyone is antsy for warmer temperatures and when i say warmer, i mean like -10c! that would feel quite balmy compared to the -20c that feels like -30c.

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for our city this week. these temps are actually warmer than last weeks.

and, hey… i know people tough it out in way colder temperatures for longer periods of time, but i live in south/west ontario where winters are not supposed to be quite so extreme. although, two years ago we had no snow as it was too warm all season long, so this is better.

 

here are some phone pics from this winter…

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stay safe & warm everyone!

p.s. check out my instagram for lots more snowy photo’s! click HERE.

xo, mama lola

DIY bird feeder round-up!

we here in SW ontario have been having some wild, winter weather. to help out the birds, we have put out all sorts of yummy things for the birds to eat. i know some people are against bird seed and bird feeders, but i think they are wonderful. our whole family enjoys watching the variety of feathered friends that come to visit!

bird feeders, diy, kids crafts

this round-up includes bird feeders that kids can help make. these kinds of projects are a great way to teach children about the natural world. i value my kids’ connection to their surrounding environment greatly and am always looking for ways to help initiate more curiosities with it.

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simple orange bird feeder from confessions of an overworked mom

DIY, bird feeder, heart

heart shaped bird feeder from alpha mom

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classic cheerio feeder from hands on as we grow

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milk carton feeder from chic steals

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toilet paper roll feeder from a thrifty mom

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toilet paper roll feeder with sticks from play from scratch

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DIY grapevine suet feeder from the garden roof coop

i have made some of these kinds of feeders before. one christmas i made little bird seed feeders with various holiday cookie cutters, like the heart shaped ones. not sure how practical they are, but lion and i had fun making them and people were delighted to receive them as gifts.

have fun making your own feeder. tweet, tweet!

xo, mama lola

it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas!

counting down to christmas.. three weeks to go! woohoo!!

we’ve already crossed several items off of our x-mas bucket list. see the list HERE.

last weekend, my lion and i were still sick, coughing and basically feeling sorry for ourselves. blargh. so, to change the vibe and energy at our house we decided to get our christmas tree.  we went to a local tree farm, found the most delightful tree and chopped down our own piece of christmas heaven! although the weather was freezing, drizzly and raw, the kids had fun! at home, we turned on some festive tunes and started to unpack the decorations.

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now that, i think, we have taken a turn with our health, i am hoping to get back to my holiday crafts and projects!

is your tree up?

are you ready for the holidays?

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

heading further north: from pancake bay to wawa and beyond!

our road trip continued up along the trans-canada heading north from pancake bay to wawa and then to marathon. 



in wawa we stopped at the famous young’s general store and saw henrietta the moose. we had a photo opp with the big goose as well!


in white river we bought the worst veggie burgers ever from A&W for dinner, although their sweet potato fries were delicious! we stopped at the iconic winnie the pooh statue. the black bear that winne the pooh is based on is oroginally from the forests of white river, onatrio. learn more HERE.  


then we kept driving. we had hoped to camp close to marathon, but then we saw a real black bear on the side of the road sniffing some garbage and i lost my nerve. but, finding a motel in marathon proved to be surprisingly difficult; we declined a smoking room in town and opted for a non-smoking room, but it was at a motel next to the highway. so it goes, you win some, you lose some!

breakfast at the motel.


the next day it was a rainy drive, with essential stops at timmie’s for my double-double coffee’s and pee breaks. the kids were tired and eager to get to the much talked about city of thunder bay! i don’t like driving long stretches in the rain, because it’s not as easy to stop quickly to check out a water fall, or some tiny musuem, or have a quick picnic. you’re stuck in the car or inside restaurants. booo!


just outside of thunder bay we stopped at the terry fox memorial statue. before we arrived dear hubby was explaining to bear why terry fox is an important part of our recent history. explaining cancer, amputation and death to a five year old is tricky stuff, especially when you’re talking about a young man. i was unable to participate in the conversation, as i was quietly crying thinking about terry’s amazing marathon of hope, but mostly i was crying because i was thinking of terry’s courageous mama and the unimaginable pain and pride she must have felt. 

thank you terry.


thunder bay is not a beautiful city. it has a roughness and sullen feel about it’s. the grey, rainy days probably exaggerated these qualities but, my heart has a fondness for good ol’ t-bay. it’s where i met my lovely husband and the city has lots of finnish culture there! as soon as we drove into town our first stop was a restaurant known fondly as the scan. it’s the scandinavian home and they make awesome finnish food there. we had finnish pancakes/ crepes called lettut with finnish style strawberry sauce and whipped cream. it was divine!


the sleeping giant. 


we visited fort william, in the rain. the kids loved it and the rain mostly held off. although it was cool, as you can tell by the toques, jackets, fleeces and turtlenecks we’re all wearing! it was shockingly cold up in t-bay!


these are handmade birch bark canoes!
the tools below were used for tooth extractions. yikes!


while in thunder bay we rented a student townhouse at the local university, instead of staying at a hotel. we had our own four bedroom house, with a living room, kitchen and an outdoor space for two nights. it was perfect for our rainy t-bay visit!


the kids some flowers to press.


we had deer come and visit us. i took this photo through a window.


kakabeka water falls just outside thunder bay.


more pictures to come!
there are more pictures from thunder bay and then manitoulin island!
like i said there are a gazillion of them!

to read about the first leg of our trip go HERE.

xo, mama lola

pressing flowers with kids.

pressing flowers, summer crafts

i remember as a little girl collecting all sorts of flowers and leaves and stuffing our old school, massive phone books with them. those old phone books were ideal for pressing flowers, as you could fill them with quite a collection and the paper was perfect. plus, at our house anyway we had a huge stack of yellow pages and white pages.

redtedart has a great tutorial on how to press flowers. it’s really not hard and you don’t need any special equipment, except maybe some patience as the flowers take a few weeks to press and dry properly. 

when travelling, i have picked a flower and placed them into the book i have with me. sometimes i have forgotten about them and rediscovered them a while later. what a lovely way to reminisce about an exciting adventure! 

the dainty squid pressed other wonderful natural finds, like mushrooms! 
go check out more of her beautiful pictures HERE!

this summer i will get the kids to collect and press a few leaves or flowers from our road trip. once we get back home, we can make something out of them!
 
xo, mama lola

our road trip bucket list!

we made a list of all the things we hope to see and do during this year’s summer road trip! our plan is to head north and stop where it’s practical or necessary!

  • see the big canada goose at the general store in wawa
  • visit the terry fox memorial in thunder bay
  • eat lots of smores
  • watch the sunset over lake superior
  • visit science north in sudbury
  • go canoeing
  • collect rocks
  • have sauna in thunder bay at kanga’s
  • dance at the pow wow on manitoulin island
  • collect feathers
  • swim like fishes
  • send post cards
  • go on many hikes
  • climb a tree
  • go to beaches
  • read books
  • visit the bushplane museum
  • eat viili at hoito
let’s hope we get to cross off most of what’son here!!!
xo, mama lola
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