snowflake window garland.


snowflake-garland

last week was super warm here in SW ontario. it was even, what some might call HOT, on some days reaching +20c!!!

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on the weekend the boys and i decided to help mother nature along by enticing her with our very own snowflakes! we folded our square papers, and cut, cut, cut. we made different sizes and oohed n’ aahed over the different patterns we were each creating. 

we pressed the snowflakes in a heavy book overnight, then i carefully taped them onto white sewing thread. i tied the end of the thread to a pretty weathered branch i found in our shed. (i collect all sorts of natural treasures like sticks, rocks, acorns, leaves, feathers… ) and, voila… a snowflake garland is made. DH wired the branch from an existing curtain rod. 

the project itself is very easy, but the impact it has is striking, lovely and to our pleasure inspired mother nature to throw some snow our way and drop the temperatures A LOT! it sure does feel like winter now!

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xo, mama lola

giving thanks.


thanksgiving is this coming weekend here in canada-land. 

fall has arrived with it’s cool temperatures, soggy days and falling leaves. i love fall. well, i actually appreciate all the seasons, but i love the change in the seasons most. yes, the transitions are hard with kids; do you wear rubber boots or sneakers… BAH! 

but, on a personal level in the fall i love how slowly things quieten down. birds disappear to warmer climates down south, while squirrels scurry around madly hiding acorns in random holes in the ground. the nights become darker sooner and morning arrives later. and, the colours… mother nature really knows her stuff when it comes to transitioning from the hot to cold! already many maple trees in our neighbourhood are on fire with their vibrant red, oranges and yellows. every season i am amazed!

we have experienced a tough september and beginning to october, and instead of dwelling on the negatives i have decided to make a list of the things i am grateful for instead. yes, it’s a bit cheesy and cliche, but i believe that focusing on the positive does help with ones mental health in the long run.

 

so, here we go.

1. great FREE healthcare : we have had a lot of sickness in our family. pneumonia, kidney infections, strep throat, fevers and so on and so on. i am so grateful for having a family doctor who is available and free for us to visit when we need to.

2. our home : we had someone break into our house and steal my phone at the beginning of september. that kinda threw us for a loop; having us question our safety, our children’s safety, as we felt violated and vulnerable. since then we have had some smaller incidents at the house, which raised the hairs on our arms. at the end of the day i have come to understand that i cannot control what other’s do to me, to my home, to my things. but, as a mama it is my responsibility to continue teaching my kids those important lessons in life about what’s right and wrong and how to stay safe. i am grateful for our home, where we can have these conversations, the place that keeps us warm and dry.

3. my family : yes, they drive me batty, push my buttons, talk back to me, ignore me, yell at me, get sassy on me, upset me,  …but more importantly they kiss me, hug me, make me laugh, snuggle me, smile when they see me, create art for me, bake me my favourite treats, and they really, REALLY do love me!

 

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happy thanksgiving everyone!

xo, mama lola

parenting slump: help me!


oh world, i need some mama help!

since the boys went back to school, chaos has taken over our house. there is an unreasonable amount of whining, crying, fighting, shouting, hitting, throwing, and it’s not just coming form the kids. i feel like i am at my wits end!

i know transitions are hard. 

i get it, i really do.

but, this transition of going back to school has been so terrible and i’m not sure how to make it better. bear is on an epic roll attacking his little brother with his fists, feet and words. he’s always going on about punching his brother and then he’ll actually do it! or, he’ll start doing this hair-raising cackle, laughing at everything that lion does, which doesn’t sound so bad, but we all know that the reaction the 5 year old gives is what makes this scene unbearable. i could go on with examples of the tense fighting at our house, but it think you get the idea.

lion on the other hand does not really pick on his brother, but takes bear’s example and has stopped listening. lion now talks back in his wee sassy voice and giggles uncontrollably when he knows he’s not listening. and, as the younger brother his reactions to his brother’s attacks are loud, huge and attention seeking. exhausting.

when we’re in our moments of chaos, i try not to show preference between the boys; usually they are both responsible for some aspect of the situation. i try to touch, hug my kids, because i think that’s often what they really need from adults. especially now that they are gone at school all day! obviously if someone has hit or done some creative name calling, i will enforce a consequence. but, as attachment parents i try to still remain attached to my kids, because they don’t know how to ask for that.

anyhow…

as i write this i can recognize that my kids need more structure, more defined expectations and clearer consequences, as they seem to be flailing through this major change from summer to school.

i guess i am struggling with how to incorporate those into our new routine. i want to get away from the counting to 3 thing; it feels young for my 7 year old. i want to say something once or twice and have the kids do it (for the most part). i realize they are children and will be slow, or will have to include a song or dance with the completion of some mundane task, it’s the repetition that drives me banana’s! i feel deeply disrespected, hurt and exhausted when all of this is happening. i have tried to sit down with the kids to talk to them about all of this, but all they do is laugh, interrupt me and then things escalate and, well things end poorly.

 

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if you have any parenting advice you want to enlighten me with, please do so! maybe you have read some great reads about this very topic (she says as she peeks at her own bookshelf to see if her barbara coloroso book is there! it is!)

 

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source

i know this will pass, but living in this chaos is stressful for all of us.

i want to change the present.

xo, mama lola

the robbery


we’ve had a tough week transitioning back to the school routine. there have been chaotic mornings, injured kids and awkward dinners prepped by yours truly.

but, to make our week even more stressful we had a theft in our home. 

on saturday evening lion, now 5 years, touched the stove while DH was cooking dinner. poor kid burnt the tip of his finger, which meant there were lots of tears for a lot of hours that evening. we all know that even the smallest burn can really hurt for a long time! so, at bedtime lion fell asleep with his finger in a bowl of ice water as DH was reading harry potter to the boys. but, then he woke up when his finger moved or something causing the pain to kick in all over again, meaning the tears started all over again as well.

i was on the couch watching tv and playing scrabble on my phone when i heard the crying start. i put my phone on our dining table on my way upstairs. it was about 9pm when DH headed out to get more ice. he came back after about 10 minutes, but i sent him back out to see if the pharmacy had any lotion or potion to help with the burn site. as i sat with my wee guy trying to help him through the pain he kept repeating “i shouldn’t have done that”. augh, my heart! we talked about learning from our mistakes and trying not to feel badly about our choices. DH finally came home and we got the boys settled.

when we returned downstairs to watch a movie i was scanning the rooms for my phone. as a creature of habit i was confused why i couldn’t find it, but DH suggested we just wait until the morning when there is day light to do a proper search. so in the morning before even having breakfast we searched, high n’ low moving furniture, crawling on our hands and knees, calling it, texting it… then i got this weird, sinking feeling… what if someone had stolen it? DH thought i was being dramatic, but when hour 3 of our search still turned up nothing he too was becoming suspicious. he called the phone company and had service to my phone cut off. then we got a text from our service provider saying we had used up 75% of our data for the month.

BOOM! confirmation. right there. stolen phone.

DH called the police.

a police officer arrived, took our statements and told us it sounded like a crime of opportunity to him. the thief had seen DH pull out of the driveway in our car and thought hey now’s a good time. when the thief walked in they would have heard my lion screaming upstairs from his burn injury! that’s the part that angers me most; we were in our own family crisis when this random person did this horrible, selfish thing to us. sure our front door was unlocked, but we were home! i had just been on the couch a few minutes earlier!

in the past couple of days i have shared this experience with others, and to my shagrim i have heard similar tales of theft. we live in a city of about 100, 000 people, and we had assumed that moving from a city of millions to something smaller would make life safer. i guess not!

lessons learned:

  • keep your doors locked, even when home, ALWAYS!
  • always turn porch light on at night
  • keep valuables, like electronics hidden from windows
  • everyone is a target. doesn’t seem to matter what neighbourhood, street or city you live in. (see next point)
  • some people just suck!

i don’t think i’ll ever see that phone again.

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i am sad that i have lost so many fun pictures and videos from our summer adventures (oh, another lesson learned… back up phone stuff!) i’m irritated that my home has this peculiar feeling of violation still floating in the air. i am confused as to whether or not i can open the windows on the main floor; should i lock them when i head to the grocery store? i am pissed that there are people in this world who don’t care about what’s right and wrong, about common decency and who only care about their own selves. i will ride this wave and let go of these feelings moving onto the next chapter of our life. i will not let this person squirm into my mind or mess with my psyche. things will be fine.

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source

 

stay safe friends.

xo, mama lola

top 5 thrifting tips!


i love finding a deal. i love making a deal.

bartering in different countries or garage sales is one of my favourite things to do! there are a few tips and tricks to getting the most our of your thrifting experience. at thrift stores i don’t think they really appreciate a haggler, but most places already have such low prices that there’s no need to argue for a better price!

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the other day i went thrifting at some of the local spots, value village, goodwill, salvation army, bibles for missions…

look at the hilarious things i saw…

first let’s discuss the Kar-Kooker (did you notice the  awesome double K action?!?) there is a list on the front of the box of how this fantastic contraption can be used… baby bottles, soups, canned foods… enjoy the convenience of eating in your car, camper, boat or trailer” hahaha! love it!

and, check-out that cutie-a-too-teh on the right with her sweet blue jumper.  see where the yellow arrow is? that’s the original price stickers from simpson sears for $1.25!!! gotta love that!

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1. everything will look cute, quirky and funny at first glance. and, you may want to buy it all! but, before you get caught up in the moment decide what you like to collect, whether it be tea cups or blue glass. know what colours you prefer in your home, for example, i only purchase white, turquoise or blue items for my kitchen, and only if i think i will really use it.

2. remember there is a constant supply of knick-knacks, baskets, and blue glass at thrift stores. the shelves will always get restocked and refreshed with new items. only buy what you need or truly want. i don’t care if it’s a good deal or a great price, it ain’t worth it unless you actually use it! every dollar adds up quickly, remember that!

3.  go often! that will mean different things to all of us, but when i have 30 minutes to kill, i will quickly hit up a few thrift stores. going often doesn’t mean i spend a lot of money, it just means i can keep tabs on things. the good stuff flies out of the stores quickly, so the more frequently you visit the shops the better your chances are of scoring something lovely!

4. know your brands and prices. not everything at a secondhand store is a great deal, so do your homework. this is especially true when it comes to designer glass and clothing. i’m not really into clothes so i don’t know many fancy name brands, but i do have friends who are great at finding awesome clothing deals! i’m much better at kitchen things! also, some thrift stores are much more expensive for things, thank other’s. this is why it pays to do your homework!

5. it’s good for the environment. buying secondhand is a good thing for our planet, as new materials don’t have to be used, trees don’t have to be killed and items don’t have to shipped across oceans. it all comes down to those 3 R’s REDUCE, REUSE & RECYCLE! pinterest is full of ideas on how to reuse old sweaters into mittens, or how to fix up old dressers into vanity’s or whatever. 

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and, is that an owl made out of shells? i can’t decide if $2 is a steal or way over priced! haha!

thrifting is also about thinking outside the box and using old things for something new. i love pretty vintage sheets, but i use them as table cloths instead, or cut them into napkins. 

happy thrifting, friends!

xo, mama lola

corner gallery wall: inspirations


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it’s time for colour, fun and CrEAtiVitY!

our living room currently has white, plain walls.

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we are just finishing our kitchen/ living room reno (and i promise to share photo’s of that soon) and now we’re getting into the fun part… DECORATING! i’m trying to find enough pieces to make an eye catching gallery wall in the corner. i’m hoping to create height and interest in this stark space.

 

i love the look and feel of gallery walls with lots of different sized items with colour and lots of neutrals.

like this…

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new studio from oh joy

 

but, i think for our space, because it is small(ish) i want to do something a bit more edgy and creative like this… unfortunately our ceilings aren’t as high, but i’m hoping to create height with my gallery!

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corner gallery wall from a beautiful mess

here are some other gallery walls i adore.

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how to style a corner wall from kristina j

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quincy’s room from honestly wtf

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postcard wall from ideas to steal

i love how caitlin has created a gallery wall behind her tv, so it no longer sits as a focal point in a room she’s also chose some fantastic pieces!

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living room gallery wall from desert domicile

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a peek inside tara leydon’s stunning boho glam home from firtzroy

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art wall re-do from leig blog

have you ever created a gallery wall?

do you have any tips or tricks for me?

thanks for stopping by! come and check me out on PINTEREST, i am always pinning, pinning and pinning more of my favourite things!

xo, mama lola

wednesday, wednesday to do list!

well, it’s wednesday and i’m sipping a lovely flavoured coffee i treated myself to yesterday. it’s hard to feel motivated when all i want to do is curl back into bed. so, to try and get the ball rolling i made a to do list.

i like lists. they help me. keep me organized. motivated. on track.

usually!

 

today’s to do list:

1. hit the gym

2. shower 

3. tidy kids room

4. tidy the office

5. vacuum main floor

6. book hair appointment

7. put away laundry (it’s all folded and has been sitting in the basement for days!)

8. sew, sew, sew!

 

i think that’s all i can realistically fit in for today. i’ve already actually done two things from my list: i hit the gym and have showered! i included them to make myself look and feel better… lame, i know! hahaha!

DH finished putting in the kitchen floor last night so i gotta get things tidied and vacuumed before all the kids come home from school. i look after some kids after school a few days here n’there and i like to tidy before they come, and clean once they have left! haha! our reno is now in the fun stages of pretty things being built and stuck to place. all the dirty work like plumbing and ripping out drywall is a distant memory at this point! i will share pictures of the reno soon…. promise! things are really looking and feeling different at our house!

 

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we even got our living/ dining rooms in order for x-mas. our tree is up and decorated. there are some other festive things out on display, although our IKEA kitchen is stacked in the dining room corner… but that’s all temporary!

time to get to work!

HAPPY WEDNESDAY PEEPS!

xo, mama lola

x-mas countdown!


 

this morning i was out and about when i overheard someone say “NOVEMBER 25th” and my heart almost stopped. gasp!

is it really ONLY

a month until christmas?!?!?!?!

i don’t feel as panicked about the holidays this year, but truth be told i think i’m in denial. we are still doing renovations in the kitchen (c’mon IKEA deliver our cabinets already!), which has really thrown me off my game. my days are filled with pockets of time where i paint ceilings, or folds laundry, or clean away the drywall dust that is snowing at my house! i am not quite ready in my mind, and i’d love to pull out some decorations to get us in the mood, but with all the drywall dust that is snowing at my house it’s just not realistic… YET!

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source: painted pattern

as always, i have lots of ideas of what i’d like to paint, felt, sew or craft for gifts; i have projects i’d like to create with the boys, but there really aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in a week! bah!

that being said, i am cutting myself some slack this year.

and, i’m not just saying that. i really am.

no, honestly!

i get caught up in the to do list forgetting to enjoy things more. this year i really want to enjoy things… who cares if we end up buying x-mas cards instead of making them? does that make me bad mum? i don’t think so. i am the only one who sets these impossibly high standards for myself and sometimes it’s ok to do things differently!

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get this free printable from upcycled treasures!

so, bring it on, the countdown on… here’s what my to do list looks like this week. hoping to paint tonight, tomorrow after lion’s school trip to the grocery store i will check my gift drawer for advent calender items for the kids.

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i will leave you with this silly…

 

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print by: stacy rajab

 

hope you are feeling on the ball this season! feel free to share your tip and tricks for staying organized!

happy counting down, friends!

xo, mama lola

end of school year.

i realize this is kinda late, as school ended a few weeks ago now, but here i go anyways…

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my oldest, bear is now 6.5 years old and he just finished senior kindergarten. it’s off to grade 1 in the fall! it’s not a huge accomplishment or anything, but things will be shifting for him as he leaves the kindy yard and switches over to the “big kids” side, as the faces and friends in his class will change. leaving kindergarten also means less play, more structured learning and new teachers. all of this new stuff will for sure trigger his anxiety as he learns to navigate through all of it. actually, i think he’s already anxious about the transitions that are upcoming. transitions, big and small are a struggle for him and the looming changes in september are no different. i have planned a pretty relaxed summer with lots of free time to play alone or with friends. he’s going to one camp this summer for 5 days where he’ll be learning about all kinds of nature things! i’m hoping he can chill te next few months before we step back in to the school routine.

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my youngest, lion is now 4 years old and he is entering school system officially in september. he finished a year of pre-school, which was all montesorri based play-learning so going to junior kindergarten will be a shock to him; at school all day, having to toilet alone, learning to eat lunch with his peers and just navigate the day-to-day routines of the school day will be quite stressful. although he doesn’t struggle with anxiety like his brother, entering school will be a hurdle that will exhaust him deeply. the kid still naps about three days a week!!! that’s why i’ve decided to only send him part-time to school. it’s what i did with bear when he was starting school and it worked out really well.

 

i’m hoping that my assumption that i know my kids best, and know their needs best is true. especially when it comes to their education and experiences at school!

 

but, here’s to a great summer! i am so proud of my guys forall they have accomplished in their learning this passed year!

xo, mama lola

mothering. harder than it looks.

we’ve been experiencing some tricky parenting times. there has been so much going on in our lives recently, and those busy times have taken a toll on our family dynamics. honestly, things have turned to$hit!

 

bear has been a lot to handle. his behaviour has been out of this world difficult. our mornings and evenings have book ended our days with all sorts power struggles masked under screaming and shouting and lotsa tears (and not just his)!

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when i am tired, i can lose my temper quickly, reacting poorly to the situation at hand. heading into this busy week i made a conscious decision to stay cool, offering instead extra love in hugs and kisses and other positive reinforcements. i have focussed on the beautiful, funny, intelligent and creative choices my kids have made, instead of attacking the ugly, messy and unsafe decisions. somehow doing that is harder for me, especially when we are all tired and feeling maxed out. i realize now that sometimes it’s as though i’m waiting for my kids to screw up, instead of expecting sweet success from them. i know that is a horrible thing to admit, but i think it comes from my own habit of yimmering on about stuff that doesn’t deserve my constant attention, rather than focussing on things that do.

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so, once i incorporated extra hair tussles, tickle times and just gentle loving touches into our day, we all seem to have cooled our jets and changed our attitudes. there has been an obvious decrease in the general volume at our house, which in turn has decreased tensions and tears. dear hubby suspected a while that a lot of bear’s “acting out” comes from good ol’ fashioned sibling jealousy and i think he is right. sibling rivalry is a powerful force, often appearing at the least obvious of times.

 

i wish, as a mama to these amazing boys, that i would just always remember to give more during the most trying of times instead of pulling away. when my kids are being jerks all day every day, that is when i must shower them with kisses and pull out some great thing did in between all the jerkyness, and focus on the good.  i know to some this may seem so obvious, and as i sit here and type this, it does seem so freaking obvious, but in those dark days of chronic power struggles it is impossible to see, never mind put into action.

 

i am only human and i too make mistakes when it comes to mothering stuff. i am constantly learning and trying to remember to be stronger and turn the volume down and to just SHUT UP sometimes.

 

this is so much harder than i ever could have imagined.

 

 

xo, mama lola
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