summer bucket list!

i know, i know summer doesn’t officially start until the 21sth, but the lush grass and green trees, blooming flowers and warmer temperatures have me yearning  for summer.

 

i booked the kids into their one camp months ago, our family camping trips have been planned and we have so many fun carefree days ahead, i just can’t wait to start filling them with all kinds of adventures.

 

here’s my bucket list for the summer; i couldn’t fit everything we will hopefully do, but it’s definitely a great starting point!

 

summer bucketlist

 

what do you have planned with your family?

 

what are your summer traditions?

xo, mama lola

change is good.

 

a song to start this blog post. love tracy chapman… click in the link below to listen as you read.

> > > new beginning : tracy chapman

 

kids room

 

we have been dealing with some behavioural issues with our 6 year old bear recently. he has been deliberately mean to his brother in a way that seems so cold and calculated. one night bear was having a hard time falling asleep; not sure if it’s the longer days, or maybe he’s just not quite ready to fall asleep at 7:30pm. anyhow, suddenly at 9pm, just as dear hubby and i were settling in to watch “downton abbey” we heard crying coming from our room where lion had fallen asleep. DH ran upstairs and there was bear antagonizing his sleeping brother and waking him! i couldn’t believe it!!!

so, then the gears in my mama brain started to turn, trying to figure out how to not let something like this happen again.  then an idea popped into my head, what if i re-arrange the furniture in the kids room, maybe that would inspire change in behaviour. the boys sleep in bunk beds and bear has always been in the top bunk, but i then i thought if i switch them, it would allow bear on the bottom bunk easier access to books, that he could read on his own for 15 minutes or so after lion falls asleep.

i was quite nervous about the new arrangement in their room, worried one would love it and the other would hate it. lion saw the switch up before we headed for school pick-up and he said “wow! this is amazing! how did you do it?” couldn’t help but smile at such an honest reaction. once we got home from school bear ran upstairs, as he knew there was a surprise waiting for him! he too seemed amazed that i could have moved the furniture myself (do i really come across as weak?!?!). he was especially thrilled with the idea of staying up a little later than his brother and reading on his own.

 

kids room

kids room

well, it’s been a few days now in the new arrangement has been a total success! the boys love their new sleeping spots and bedtime shenanigans have decreased! yahooooo! it’s amazing how something so simple and easy can really make a big difference in the kids lives. i didn’t spend any money, all i did was shuffle some of the furniture around, which was tricky as the room is quite small. clearly the energy in the room has changed for the better (knock on wood).

what kinds of changes have you made in your parenting that has had a big effect in your kids’ behaviour?

what i need to remember is that sometimes implementing small changes can have big results. it’s not always about behaviour charts, counting to 3, or empty threats.

 

lesson learned!

xo, mama lola

this moment.

as inspired by souleMama; one photo from our week, no words, only an image to sum up our time as a family. one that captures a moment in time and is a visual reminder of where we were at this time in our lives.

this moment

please feel free to leave a link to your this moment from this past week in the comments.

xo, mama lola

10 fun kids birthday ideas!

bdayfun collage 3

we are in full birthday fever over here! my bear is turning the BIG 6 and i am in full b-day crafts mode! i am up to my eyeballs in glue, green paint, dinosaur stickers and scraps of paper! haha! we like to make a lot of our own decorations, cakes, treats and invitations, but it is time consuming! whoa! details of bear’s party prep coming soon… but, today i am sharing some wonderful ideas i found while looking for inspirations online.

BIRTHDAY INVITATIONS

DIY happy face birthday invitation from bear & lion

bdayfun1

sprinkled mini birthday hats from jacks & kate

bdayfun2

oreo pops from makoodle

bdayfun3

DIY no sew birthday banner from small for big

bdayfun5

happy birthday balloon card from the thrifty ginger

bdayfun6

felt crowns from kojo-designs

bdayfun8

ice cream cake from one charming party

bdayfun9

balloon wreath from fast daze

bdayfun10

M&M pretzel peanut butter banana’s from the sweet spot blog

bdayfun11

DIY pixie/ candy stick from kara’s party idea’s

although we like t get crafty, we do like to keep things on the simpler side of things, that’s why these ideas included here i love! those banana pops are a perfect party munchy, and you could use other nut butters, or nutella if you had guest with a nut allergy. and those crowns, LOVE the bold colours!  

xo, mama lola

my kids are so different.

i am coming to some big realizations about who my kids are and how i parent them.

my oldest, bear, is an anxious kid. he has struggled with his anxiety for as long as i can remember. because, he is my first borne, i didn’t realize that what he was presenting was in fact anxiety, i just thought all kids had epic meltdowns around new things. my heart aches for him, for me; i wish i had known then what i know now. things could have been so much easier and less stressful for all of us. when bear was 3.5 years i sent him to  morning gymnastics camp with a friend from preschool. he screamed and cried and was a mess at drop-off, while his friend was eager to join the fun and learn some tricks. at another camp that same summer, his screaming was even louder and his grasp around my leg was even stronger, but still i just left him. everyone around me told me it was just separation anxiety and that it was normal. even though nobody else’s kid was having the same severe reaction to being dropped off. (and to clarify, i don’t blame anyone for saying this, it just was what everyone thought at the time : 20/20 hindsight is so clear.)

since that summer, i have stopped pushing him, and only sign him up for things that he specifically asks for.

we have tried slowly transitioning him into things, but that doesn’t always help either. or, not that it doesn’t help, but it often backfires eventually. it’s really hard to mother a child with anxiety, because i know people judge and blame me; especially since i am a bit of a worrier myself. i am the easy scapegoat, as all mother’s (and parents) are.

but, here’s the thing, my second borne, lion now 3.5 yrs has no sign of anxiety. he is definitely sensitive  child, but when he gets nervous in new situations his behaviour is never as extreme as his brother’s. but, he is not anxious. on his first day of preschool he skipped away into his classroom with a huge smile n his face. he just started swimming lessons and happily went into the pool alone with his instructor, put his face in the water and blew bubbles. there were NO tears, no thigh clinging and no verbalization that he was scared. as i watched him this passed monday in the pool, i was overcome with relief and ridiculous amounts of pride. relief, because he was calm and willing to try something new, even though he was a bit unsure. within minutes of his lesson he was fearless, listening to instructions and clearly feeling pretty proud of himself. as he should.

i should add, that bear started swimming lessons the following day, and he too was brave and didn’t cry at all. but, leading up to the lessons my stomach was in knots on fear of his transitin into this new extracurricular activity.

all of this to say that as a mum to two very different kids, i have to remind myself that they will probably always respond quite differently to new things in life. they will transition into hobbies, school grades, summer camps and whatever else in their own individual ways. they will both need my love and nurturing, but clearly even at this young age they are expressing their needs differently. i must become more cognisant of their differences in our daily lives; pushing lion more and pushing bear less.

DSC_0293b

i am still learning on how to become a good mum. i am work in progress.

what are some of your challenges in mothering/ parenting? share in the comments.

 

xo, mama lola

nobody listens to me.

i am experiencing some mama-rage and need to vent…

so, i think my family is somehow confused, because when i speak, instead of pausing whatever it is they are doing, they walk away, talk over me, start another conversation with another member of our family, start singing, fall asleep, or just blatantly ignore me. the continued lack of listening is starting to really wear me down. i mean sure, not everything i say is interesting or funny, but maybe if i wasn’t always repeating myself a hundred million times a day, then i’d have time and the brain capacity to be hilarious, ya know? every day my kids and i go through the same motions when getting ready for school. every day the volume increases at the same points and every morning i list off the things they have to get done; brush teeth, get your boots on, get your backpack, stop fighting with you brother…

this astounds me, i mean c’mon, how is this my life?

quote36

i am not quite the mother i always dreamed i would be. but, in my own defense, my kids aren’t quite the way i had fantasized either. in all honesty, in my pre-mothering days, i thought my kids would be better at listening to me, but to my utter dismay, i am a mama who has to raise her voice in order to see results happen around this house. and let me clarify, it’s not as though i raise my voice and say “get your outside stuff on” and then the kids do it. no, no, i have to crank the volume of my voice and hit repeat; i say the same $hit to them over and over again, until i feel like i am going to explode. it seems to only be getting wore with age… gah!!!

and, my sweet DH? well, some days he’s not any better…

please, PUH-lease tell me i am not alone in this…

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.

birdfeeder6

simple orange bird feeder from confessions of an overworked mom

DIY, bird feeder, heart

heart shaped bird feeder from alpha mom

birdfeeder1

classic cheerio feeder from hands on as we grow

birdfeeder3

milk carton feeder from chic steals

birdfeeder2

toilet paper roll feeder from a thrifty mom

diy, bird feeder, toiletpaper roll craft

toilet paper roll feeder with sticks from play from scratch

birdfeeder5

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

christmas is all about love and family.

i realize this is a little late, but we’ve been on the go this past week with birthday celebrations and an adventure up north at the cottage for new years! we had a wonderful christmas. there were some unexpected twists and turns, forcing us to be flexible, testing our patience, but after all was said and done, it was  a wonderful christmas in the end. it was one that reminded all of us of what really matter in life, and how fortunate we all really are just because we live in canada. the 24th of december is traditionally when finnish families celebrate christmas. so, typically the boys, dear hubby and i head to my parent’s house for a beautiful christmas meal and evening. my mum decorates the house so nicely and she works hard to prepare traditional finnish foods for us to enjoy. it is very special. but, this year toronto and much of southern ontario was hit by a terrible ice storm. lots of people were without power for many days, my folks included. so, on christmas eve my parents drove about an hour to join us at out house. but, i didn’t have time to prepare much, because honestly we were all expecting the power to be restored more quickly than it was. this is where that flexibility and patience came into play; dear hubby baked some yummy treats and i made some quick appetizers with smoked salmon, baked a yummy gnocchi (recipe coming soon here) and we bought several delicious cheese; it wasn’t the kind of christmas meal my mum would make.

DSC_0222b DSC_0226b we started the evening with a glöggi toast cheering our family and health. we ate, while my parents shared stories of christmases from their childhood, which the kids were fascinated by. then, it was time to open gifts. oh, the kids had fun, fun, FUN! at the end of our evening it was clear that christmas is really all about love, family and being together.  even though our plans were quite different, unexpected and even stressful leading up to christmas eve, we all still had lots to be thankful for. we had each other, we were safe, we had resources to get food, to drive and shelter (even if it was cold for some). eventually my parents layered up and headed back to their freezing house, deciding not to stay with us, as they had stayed with friends the night previous. they were worried about the house as a city owned tree was dropping branches right on their property. but, even though christmas wasn’t what we had wanted or planned, we were all grateful to be together and share in a warm, loving evening together.

DSC_0234b the 25th we spent together as a family of four. we went tobogganing with neighbourhood friends to test out the fancy snow runner the kids received from joulupukki (santa claus). it was a quiet day of fun, games and love. again, reminding me of the meaning of chistmas for our family. spending time together as foursome, without any distractions or obligations, was truly special. then, on the evening of the 25th my mum phoned to say their power had been restored and we all hooted and cheered! it was a small, belated, christmas miracle!

on the 26th we headed to see dear hubby’s family. first we had a small tea party with his folks. we used dear hubby’s grandmother’s fancy tea cups, which was fun and special. we opened gifts and had a chance to play before heading to visit with extended family.

DSC_0285b i’m not sure why, but i didn’t really take many pictures this christmas. i was more focused on being involved in all the special moments, i suppose. sometimes i feel like an outsider when i end up taking pictures from the periphery.

i hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family, celebrating whatever traditions matter to you.

i will share some wonderful pictures from our time up north soon!

xo, mama lola

winter branches.


i know many of you might be slightly crafted out from all of the holiday projects, but this is a super easy craft with big effect. my mum taught me how to make these gorgeous winter branches.

snowy branches, winter branches, christmas craft

MATERIALS:

tissue paper

scissors

green branches (pine, balsam, spruce, cedar…)

white glue

glitter

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. cut the tissue paper into tiny pieces. keep in a container.

2. place branches in chosen vase or basket.

3. add glue generously to branches and needles, sprinkle cut tissue paper onto wet glue. add glitter as desired to wet glue. ensure the tissue paper is evenly spread amongst your branches creating a realistic snowy effect. that’s it.

winter crafts

winter branches, ice, pine branches, christmas decor christmas, x-mas decor, winter branches aalto vase, christmas branches,

now that christmas is all packed up, these winter branches are a wonderful decorative touch for the first months of the year. i have received so many compliments on my branches!

xo, mama lola
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