bear’s blood.

on friday morning, my mr. 4 year old bear had a vial of blood taken from his left arm. he sat on my lap, while one nurse held his arm down and the other gently jabbed a needle with a tube into his arm, that then attached to the vial. he was getting blood work done to find out what is causing his eczema.


little man didn’t even blink. he stared closely to what they were doing; didn’t say a word, didn’t cry or whine; sat still, while i tried not to explode with pride. 


once the blood was taken and a bandage put on, he whimpered a bit as we walked back to the car. because bear was so well behaved, we headed to the massive toy store across the road and took our time looking for the perfect “treat”. he decided on some fancy play-doh equipment. the $20 was totally worth it.

[ “this is the one i want daddy!” ]

we also explored the lego section closely, but only admiring the boxes with pictures of shuttles, houses and helicopters. when we said it was time to go, bear excitedly gave the cashier his fancy playdoh box and off we headed to lunch. 

it was so pleasant and fun, and his behaviour reminded me that he really is a quiet, calm kid. it is very unusual for him to meltdown in public, to scream and fuss and carry on. it is the shyness in him that keeps him still during blood work.

[ does this look like a face of someone who just had blood taken? ]

lion, our sweet little man should also get some recognition. although, during the blood work he only watched from the safety of his dad’s arms, he too was a delight to be with. at the toy store he chatted from the cart, pointing to various colourful toys and laughing with unbridled joy.

my boys have again, reminded me that they know how to behave in various situations.  bear sets a wonderful example for his little brother, and lion follows closely.  i feel so proud of my children and who they have become, and who they are growing to be. dear hubby says the kids are who they are because i am home with the all day every day, always teaching and guiding. it’s nice to hear his support, but who really knows why we are the way we are!

the boys played with the play-doh for about an hour before getting tired. then they played with it when the baby-sitter came! 


happy saturday everyone! 
see ya tomorrow!



xo, mama lola

2012.

WELCOME 2012, NICE TO MEET CHA!
it’s time to start new and fresh, it is a new year after all. 2012 arrived in full glory with snow and rain and storms, but here we are safe and sound at home coming down from the holiday high.

we spent a glorious new year’s extra-long weekend with our dear friends at the cottage getting into all sorts of shanighans! kids of all sizes and generations had fun tobogganing, building forts and lumilyhty’s; we sat by the fire sipping various drinks and cocktails and munching on a lovely variety of festive treats; the conversations flowed easily, opinions were debated and ideas developed. it was fantastic!

there was a spectacular fireworks presentation thanks to papaD. unfortunately, bear was growly and little ozFire (almost 2yrs) was terrified and cried the entire time. there were also some fancy extra long sparklers for the big kids and they were such fun, even for the grumpy bear!
the big kids were really in their element enjoying all that mother nature had to offer. no matter what kind of precipitation was falling from the sky, the kids were out in full force. we did have to call them in to dry off and eat every few hours. check out the fancy snow fort below!



here’s a quick slide show of our winter fun!



our drive home took an unusual 7 hours due to some weather related difficulties. first we got stuck for an hour on the cottage driveway, which was incredibly frustrating. it had all iced and since we were the last car to leave we had to back up over tons of ice. finally after trying branches, wood blocks, salt, the ashes worked and got us on the road. 
then after driving for about 2 hours we hit a major snow storm and had to drive at 30-40km/ph. slow going, but safe i suppose. eventually we got home and quickly went to bed.


looking forward to all sorts of adventures that 2012 has to offer! 
my motto or mantra for this year is (stolen from friday night lights):
 “clear eyes, strong hearts, can’t lose.

xo, mama lola

aaah, it’s done.

christmas is officially done for another year. whew! we are all tired and burnt out from the holiday marathon of excitement, but now we need to get recharged for two days of birthday celebrations. first mine (28th) and then my MIL’s (29th). i’ve always loved having my birthday in between x-mas and new years, but since moving from the big city and having kids it’s complicated things. 

last x-mas dinner. (please excuse the weirdness with the frame, cannot be fixed).

tomorrow we are heading to the art gallery in the big city to see this with my parents. i am excited to see some beautiful art with my kids and explore the paintings through their eyes. chagall’s paintings are so whimsical and full of magic; he’s one of my favourites. but, there’s a winter storm coming so we’ll have to eyeball the weather and see if it’s reasonable driving weather. 


right now at 13:39 it is snowing heavily outside, with big flakes accumulating, but the temperature is supposed to drop down to -18c tonight, which means any water will freeze and the roads might be a mess tomorrow.
fingers crossed…


on the 30th we are heading up north to the cottage with our usual new year’s posse of partiers! so, counting down the days to that!

xo, mama lola

joulu!

wishing everyone a happy holidays!
we are in the midst of our christmas celebrations. last night with my folks, tonight at home, tomorrow with dear hubby’s family. so far santa has been very impressed with the kids and they have received lots of wonderful new toys and books and things!

here are a few pictures from our jouluaatto with my parents. it is tradition in finland to celebrate x-mas on the 24th, so we always enjoy a beautiful meal prepared by my mom. after dinner santa comes and while i was growing up he actually came into our living room and i would sing or dance for him. he then passed out our gifts. for our boys, we always seem to just miss joulupukki, he knocks on the door or window, but by the time we get there he’s gone. luckily however, he has left gifts under the tree for us!

tonight we are all heading to bed early, so that we can celebrate lots tomorrow!
g’night!

xo, mama lola

joulu!

wishing everyone a happy holidays!
we are in the midst of our christmas celebrations. last night with my folks, tonight at home, tomorrow with dear hubby’s family. so far santa has been very impressed with the kids and they have received lots of wonderful new toys and books and things!

here are a few pictures from our jouluaatto with my parents. it is tradition in finland to celebrate x-mas on the 24th, so we always enjoy a beautiful meal prepared by my mom. after dinner santa comes and while i was growing up he actually came into our living room and i would sing or dance for him. he then passed out our gifts. for our boys, we always seem to just miss joulupukki, he knocks on the door or window, but by the time we get there he’s gone. luckily however, he has left gifts under the tree for us!



tonight we are all heading to bed early, so that we can celebrate lots tomorrow!
g’night!

xo, mama lola

ho! ho! holiday traditions!

i am desperately trying to incorporate finnish christmas traditions into our canadian holiday season. i find food is an easy and fun way to do that..

on the weekend i made some joulupuuro, translated as christmas porridge, which i think is basically rice pudding for all you english speakers. i also made some kiisseli to go with it. it’s like a thick fruit soup and you can use any ol’ fruit (fresh or dried), but for this time of year i use dried plums, apples, apricots and raisins. (in the warmer months i sometimes make rhubarb soup and my mom makes a wicked blueberry soup.)

for iltapala (bedtime snack) we each enjoyed a bowl of warm joulupuuro with a big heaping of kiisseli on top. the cinnamon smells wafted through the house adding to the holiday magic at our house.

the instructions are in metric as that’s what the finns use. easy enough to convert if you need to thanks to google!


this is where i got the recipe and directions from.

kiisseli.


200 g dried plums
1 l water
3/4 dl sugar

place plums (and other fruit), water and sugar into a large pot. let it simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes* or until fruit is soft. add water if needed.


1/2 dl water
21/2 tblsp potato flour/ potato starch
mix water and potatoflour/ potato starch in a bowl. add slowly to pot with steaming fruits and let it simmer for a few minutes.


the amounts are a starting point i find. i didn’t measure my dried fruits, but just grabbed a handful of each and threw them in. i also increased my water and potato flour amounts slightly. the potatoflour is a thickening agent, if you want the soup to be thicker add more potato flour. i also threw in a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

* this time may vary depending on how hard your fruit is.

also, we made some more reindeer cookies using chocolate chip ready-made cookie dough. they tasted delish and looked adorable!

time to go and wrap gifts. we haven’t done any yet! yikes!
also, just wanted to mention that i am loving the sirius radio and the all day x-mas music we get to listen to! fun! fun! fun!

xo, mama lola

the exquisite house of ginger.

dear hubby may not be a carpenter who can build me my dream home, but he sure is smart in the kitchen with his gingerbread house building skills. he’s a master of the gingerbread house, like no one else i know. each year he closely follows the recipe from the joy of cooking and voila, a house forms from the mess of ingredients. real holiday magic!

this year he had two lovely helpers. yesterday they got the dough done. today they measured and cut the structure, baked ’em, put them together and then i get to join in the best part, the decorating! bear has been waiting for a long, long time for this day. check out helper fraulein.
*****
GINGERBREAD HOUSE OR COOKIE   (from the joy of cooking p. 781)
recipe and instructions:


in a medium (2 quart) saucepan, melt
1 cup or two sticks of butter
add and strir over low heatuntil sugar is disolved and the mixture no longer feels gritty: 
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsulphurred molasses
remove from the heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm. in a large bowl, whisk together:
41/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tblsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the lukewarm butter mixture, and beat to blend everything together. work in
1/2 cup all purpose flour
beating until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl:
remove the dough from the bowl and knead 3-4 times on the counter, until smooth and pliable. wrap well and refrigerate until the dough is thoroughly cook. (the dough can be prepared several days in advance.) 
after refrigerating, if the dough feels too soft to roll out, work in a tiny bit of flour.
*****

to create her own holiday magic, mother nature let it snow those big ol’ fluffy flakes all morning. while lion snored away dear hubby and bear headed to the park to romp around for a bit. dear hubby also got our sirius radio set up so we’ve got a new variety of holiday music to dance and sing too! woot-woo!

after the sun had set and our sushi dinner devoured, we headed to a local park to see a colourful display of holiday lights. with cookies in hand, dressed in our holiday jammies we drove through the park ohh:ing and aah:ing at the fabulous light show. bear was in awe. 


ho! ho! ho! holiday magic!



xo, mama lola

woolly woolens time with apples on the side, please.

NYC FAMILY ROAD TRIP t-minus 8 days and counting…
just checked the weather network for temperatures in new york for our halloween weekend and i almost barfed. there was a picture of a snowflake next some rain drops for saturday the 29th; are you KIDDING ME? the weather experts are calling for a high of +9c for our saturday adventures in the big apple, augh just our luck. how on earth am i going to dress the kids? must pull out my mom’s knitted woolly mitts and socks for the boys, i suppose.
*******
check out this adorable knitted toque lion is wearing. bear received it as a gift from his great-aunt who bought it in newfoundland. now it’s lil’bro’s turn to wear it!

i love my marimekko raincoat.

we went apple picking today. it was a typical fall day for us; cloudy with chill dampness in the air, but no rain. 

we checked out a new place south of us, but it wasn’t that great. instead of a tractor ride to the orchard you drove around yourself, which, yes was convenient, but kind of weird. the kids had a fun time, although bear expressed genuine fear of the fallen apples on the ground. i know, strange, eh? he would cling to me or dear hubby and whimper. finally, after the northern spy section at mutsu he got over it found a picking groove.

gnarly courtland apple trees looking tortured.

we also chose some pumpkins for the front porch. since we’ll be away for actual halloween, i think instead of carving the pumpkins we’ll paint them instead. this weekend is calling for sun and it’ll be a perfect outside art project.



happy autumn!



xo, mama lola

when it rains, it pours, even on the sunniest of days.



this week we existed.
it all started on sunday night when dear hubby uttered the words “we’re launching at work this week…” and anyone who is a computer programmer’s partner knows that this means too much work and not enough hours in the day and deadlines that come and go and then come around again. for dear hubby it was made worse as he had to commute to the city four times this week, instead of the usual two times and clock longer hours at the office each day. 


on monday night we had the baby-sitter come, which is a bit unusual, but a friend was performing and we wanted to check it out. dear hubby was arriving at the bus depot at 7pm (and would not see the kids at all that day) and i was supposed to meet him there. i did met him there, but my heart was full of sadness and doubt as both kids had been a mess upon my departure. lion screamed and screamed, while his big brother clung to my left leg begging me to stay through sobs and tears. augh. i peeled his arms off of me, quickly kissed the boys and ran out the door. i was also almost in tears when i climbed into the car. getting a baby-sitter wasn’t supposed to be this hard and make everyone feel so heavy hearted. i was ready to go back home, but we texted the sitter and she told us everyone had calmed down and was ready for sleep. what a relief. dear hubby and i had a wonderful evening listening to great music and chatting with friends.


for the kids the stress of dear hubby’s absence was felt immediately. so, on tuesday we decided to spend a night in the big city with my folks so that the kids could at least see their dad at dinner time and bedtime. but, like any mama knows, when spending a night in a different setting, even if it is the grandparents’ cozy home, things are just that much harder. bedtime got pushed back, diaper rashes flared up and everyone was missing our regular routine.

on our way home, of course bear decided he had to poop just as we got on the highway.

bear has had an especially rough week. he’s been very attached to his daddy since birth and when dad isn’t around enough he takes it to heart. bear’s behaviour becomes more aggressive and hard to be around. he doesn’t seem to sleep as well, which makes for a growly three year old bear. and to top things off his glasses spontaneously snapped and broke, which means because it’s a long weekend he won’t get a new pair until next week. sigh.


lion doesn’t seem to realize his daddy is gone, but when he does see him again his excitement is heartbreaking to watch. he laughs and points with pure joy at his dad. but, he too has felt the stress of this unusual week.


for me, the days have been longer and more draining. it’s exhausting to be the only one doing everything and not really getting a proper break. but, the hardest part about flying solo is the loneliness of missing one’s partner. 


and it’s going to be demanding for a couple of more days. tomorrow the kids and i are off to the cottage with patty. unfortunately dear hubby and his folks will be heading east a few hours to a cousin’s wedding on saturday. that means, dear hubby is renting a car and then after the reception will be booting it to the cottage. sounds absurd, i know, but the cottage is at its best at thanksgiving and lion has never even experienced it yet, so we are determined to maintain these important family traditions.


i am eagerly awaiting to curl up with some good reads in front of the cottage fire with all of my guys. i am looking forward to exploring the forests and enjoying the warmth of thanksgiving with family. i am yearning to experience the wonder that is the cottage rather than exist in my routine at home.


but…



still, i am thankful.


happy thanksgiving!





xo, mama lola

money wow$.

image found here at a new blog that i like. it’s got coupons and savings codes for all sorts of consumer goods and i love to save a buck if i can. 


while driving the other day i was listening to the CBC and to this show (i was especially interested in the last two segments focussed on group buying and coupon hacking). we have signed up for a few deals on wagjag (group buying) and it’s been surprisingly easy and efficient. in the spring we purchased a trucks worth of top soil for $40 and recently we got a martini and dinner for two deal at a fabulous local restaurant.

i am all about finding a deal and hate to pay full price for things, especially for items i know will go on sale. things like diapers, pasta, ice cream, cleaning supplies, and even clothes. i am that mom who stocks up her shopping cart when chickpeas go on sale and buys winter clothes at deep discounts in the spring time. according to one expert on the radio show mentioned above, people like me, who refuse to pay full price, are bad for the economy. but, in my defence, we are a single income family with four people to feed, clothe and house, so i have to pinch my pennies when i can, right?


that being said, we had a unintentional frugal weekend thanks to my dad. we went to the glorious niagara falls and he paid for our lunch and the ridiculously confusing ice-cream that cost $27 for 3 cones and a cup. confusing for me, as i had no idea how to order and kept messing things up. i still have no idea how i got it all so wrong, but i did.
sigh.




xo, mama lola
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