rock painting crafts!

rock painting, crafts, kids crafts,

i love using items from the natural world for our craft projects. it’s a wonderful opportunity to get out for a hike or explore some hidden corner in our backyard, but mostly it’s a great way to connect my boys with their outside environment.

 
i have always collected rocks and now i watch my kids stuff their pockets or buckets with all sorts of rocks! bear and i have already discussed packing a few small bottles of paint for our summer road trip so that the kids can paint during our vacation. it’ll be a great a way to calm their beans and get them focused on something for a bit.so, i of course had to scour the interweb for some inspiration…. check out these beautiful rocks! i chose examples from a variety of different skill levels, styles and sizes, because i wanted to get your and my creative juices flowing!

 
realistic animals by lin wellford

 

decorated pebbles by maria mercedes truijil at designspiration
rock painted critters by emelisa mudle of heart art
painted rocks by red bow studios
doodling on rocks by creative jewish mom
rock magnets by coastal inspired creations
colourful rocks by one perfect day blog
rock eggs by the crafty crow
animal rocks by tightwad

 

modge podge painted rocks by blooming on bainbridge

 

painted rocks by inspire bohemia
 
rock painting, hearts
heart rocks by color me katie

 

larger painted rocks by funnelcloud the blog

which one is your favourite?
do you think you’ll be painting any rocks soon?

can’t wait to share what we make on the road!

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

mini cottage vacation in june!

sometimes, a mini vacation is just what i need to re-charge my batteries, get my head in order and just relax with family. 

we went up to the cottage with our dear bubba & patty. the kids had a fantastic time playing in the water, swinging on the new tire swing, collecting sticks n’ things, making smores, sleeping in (wait, no that didn’t happen), and just having a jolly fun time!

to our dismay, the cottage (or mansion worth $3 million) next door to us was purchased by a very wealthy person, who has now built an even bigger mansion worth at least $10, 000, 000!!! it’s not so much the value of the new “cottage” that us disturbing, but it’s the destruction they are doing on the natural environment that is heartbreaking. they have cut down massive swaths of trees on theIR property, which has in turn caused terrible erosion on their hillside land. everything about this mansion is custom and extreme to the max. the windows and doors are all bigger than anything you would find at home depot! they are creating a water feature about the same size in width as the cottage itself, with a waterfall, a river and a pool. this confuses me, BECAUSE THE PROPERTY IS ON A LAKE! 


the new neighbours will not be moving in this summer, maybe not even next, as construction on such a massive scale takes years. all day, everyday the dirt road was busy with catering trucks feeding the workers, various pic-up trucks and vans driving back and forth… the dust was insane!

and then, one day we came back from town to this in front of our drive way… 


a huge digger being transferred onto a flatbed, to be taken away. yes, this was a five year old’s dream, so we stood there and watched as the worker drove the digger on there, and then chained the huge piece of equipment on. but, it wasn’t really what we had hoped as our lion was napping in the car!


but, that being said we did have a great time boozing, snoozing, playing games, canoeing and hooping! the cottage has decades and decades of family memories in it, and being up there is always so amazing!

eating outside is one of my favourite things to do at the cottage!


a dear friend and her darling daughter came for a visit, so we went out on the row boat.


the boys love the water up here.


went into rosseau. played on the bouncy castle and at the beach.


dear hubby and bubba put up a tire swing.

i got back into hooping! everyone had a turn!


us adults had many boozy nights with a lotta laughs and all sorts of shenanigans!


oh, the cottage life!


happiness!


some of the pics are taken with my phone so that’s why the quality looks different.
HAPPY HUMP DAY EVERYONE! 

xo, mama lola

the river runs through it.

our city has two rivers that run through it. every year the community gets together and cleans up the garbage left over from winter along the river beds. but, this year there were other projects as well for people to participate in. projects like building crayfish habitats, adding mulch to the previously planted trees along the riverbank, or cleaning up the garbage from the river and it’s banks. we chose to learn about how to build crayfish habitats.


some sections of the river are busy with canada geese and at this time of year their goslings are busy growing. the wee grey puff balls are so cute!

although our kids are young, we think it is so important to get them involved in our local community, to learn about our local environment and participate in its up-keep where possible. it’s one thing to just live in a place, but to be involved in a community’s health and spirit are something very different. we met some really inspiring people, full of energy and knowledge to try to change things.


you can’t tell in these pictures, but lion fell and sat in the mud. his bum was covered in this thick, sticky mud. and his shoes, the cotton runners were drenched in water and mud! at home i had to do a thorough rinse before chucking them into the washing machine!


i had packed a picnic lunch, which we gobbled up quickly. building crayfish homes was exhausting work!


xo, mama lola

connecting with nature.


it’s a cool, rainy day here and we are taking cover inside. lion is happy playing with his cars, so i am happy to sit and write.

weather doesn’t always deter us from going outside, though. i try to teach the kids that being outside regardless of the temperature or what’s falling form the sky, can be really fun! we’ve got great gear for all possible weather experiences and the kids are usually game to go outside. in fact throwing on rubber boots, rain pants and a rain coat is considered exciting!

all weather comes with it’s own pro’s and con’s. too much of anything is exhausting, unpleasant and possibly even dangerous. after our long winter (we’ve even had snow twice this may!) we are ready to strip down and frolic without all the layers of warmth!


recently we went on a great hike. i love that both kids are at an age where they will walk on their own without any carriers or equipment. we brought one small backpack with snacks and water, and a change of undies and shorts for lion. although, he is completely toilet trained, he still mastering things like peeing on a tree, which during our hike he failed miserably. 

i enjoy hiking with my kids. there are moments when we see something interesting, like strange fungi growing on trees that provides a window for a wonderful conversation about how and why the fungi is growing there. we heard frogs in the marsh, so we stood in silence listening to the noises, and our stillness then allowed us to hear a range of other sounds. 


my children, all children thrive in nature. it doesn’t have to be a lot or for long periods of time, but by providing kids opportunities to connect with nature is so vital in their development. i blogged about a book a few years ago that really made an impression on me; “last child in the woods” by richard louv. the book discusses the importance of nature in children’s lives and the growing deficit of the natural world in their daily experiences. you don’t have to go to the woods or on a long hike to witness the wonder of nature, all you need is a tree or a patch grass, and the life you can discover there is incredible. all you have to do is look, and teach children to look; to stop and to observe and use their senses to connect with the natural environment that surrounds them. 

as people we tend separate ourselves from the natural world, creating boundaries between us and other living creatures. but, we are in fact a part of the environment we live in, even though we drive cars and live in houses and eat processed foods. the growing disconnect between humans and nature is frightening to see. that’s why dear hubby and i try to connect our kids to their environment, their food, the worms in our garden and the frogs during a hike. 


being in nature is good for our physical health, our spiritual health, our emotional health and our mental health. mother nature has a way of healing and calming us down and grounding us even in the most heightened of emotion.

how do you like to connect your kids with nature?

xo, mama lola

how to build fairy houses!

fairies are wonderful, magical creatures that live in the corners of gardens, under the roots of trees and through-out the woods. they rarely come out when us humans are around, but many children have shared stories of sightings.

there is no right way to build a fairy house.it’s all about exploring the land and environment surrounding you, using interesting pieces of nature to build the fairies safe, cozy places to rest. it is vital to remember not to kill anything living when making a fairy house; so do not break branches off of living trees or tear living moss from a rock. use items that are already dead.

fairy house from make happy
fairy and gnome house by my garden diaries
home for the faeries by juise
fairy house kit from mom fluential
fairy house from make happy
miniature gardening is a real trend from mr. brown thumb 
list of things you need to build a fairy house from list plan it

which one is your favourite?
enjoy your fairy house building projects! they are a great way to connect with the natural world and children

xo, mama lola

wind catcher craft!

look at this fantastic wind catcher dear hubby received from lion for his earth day birthday back in april!

wind catcher, nature crafts

here’s how we made it!
i found the idea HERE at inspiration laboratories. first, the kids and i went on a nature hike by the river in search of natural treasure we could use on the catchers. i let lion pick and choose his own items and we gathered lots, because i figured more was funner and it gave us room to make mistakes or get even more creative!

at home we let the treasures dry out a bit before we set to work.

i tied up two sticks in the middle to make the X for hanging the other items from. lion painted his natural objects as carefully as any almost three year old would! even poppy wanted in on the painting action!

wind catcher, nature crafts, painting bark

then i tied up the painted treasures to the  X with string and voila!
dude could not have been prouder and dear hubby was quite impressed with this beautiful gift!

happy crafting and wind catching!

xo, mama lola

treeplanting, at home this time!

our backyard is great. it’s enclosed, gated and safe for the kids to run around in. there are smallish beds for me to garden in and even room for our sweet shed in one corner. but, it’s always lacked in the pretty fence department. on one side of the yard there is a simple, cheap, but pleasant to the eyes wooden fence. the other side has the shed and a neighbours garage wall, which is all fine, but it’s the back of the yard which has a rusty old horrendous thing that pains me to look at! i have been bugging dear hubby for a few years to do something about the fence or lack there of, so finally this spring we got a quote from an awesome local carpenter. unfortunately, his quote was more than this single income family could afford, so we had to come up with a plan B.

then the other day i was at the grocery store and saw hundreds of potted cedar trees and that’s when it hit me… let’s plant a cedar hedge along the back fence. 

dear hubby and the boys thought this was the greatest idea ever!

so on saturday morning dear hubby headed out first thing to buy the trees. we wanted to get a head start on the day. it was snowing that morning and there was snow on the ground, but dear hubby was excited to get planting!

here’s bear digging a hole, with dear hubby’s treeplanting shovel from back in the day. i can’t help but ooze some sappy mama pride watching my kids planting. for those who don’t know, dear hubby and i met and fell in love while working as treeplanters in northern ontario about 12 years ago!


it is a bit cliche to plant trees for earth day, but i think there’s something really important about it. the soil was freezing, the air cold but the guys got to work and planted 10 trees into the back yard. they learned some valuable lessons along the way and saved a bunch of worms, too!

in this pic you can really see the nasty chain link fence, but look how beautiful and green these cedars are! and, they were only $16 each and came with a years warranty! we may pop some trellis back behind the cedars for added privacy.


happy hump day y’all! it’s pouring rain here and i am thrilled about that, as the cedars need lots of water to get rooted properly into the soil.

xo, mama lola
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