wind tubes craft!

here is a fun, simple and creative craft project for kids. my 5 YO was happy to do most of the work himself, which was great!


materials:
  • tube like containers like toilet paper rolls, yoghurt containers, etc
  • various colours of tissue paper
  • duct tape & string
  • scissors, glue, markers, stickers, paper, sparkles

instructions:
  • glue toilet paper rolls together
  • decorate the outside of the tube; use your imagination and get creative!
  • cut tissue paper into strips (about 2cm’s wide)
  • cut the end off a container that has a bottom. cover sharp edge with duct tape, if necessary
  • glue tissue paper strips to one end of tubes. this will be the bottom of the wind tube
  • make three holes at the opposite end of the tissue paper and tie string through them. this is the top and tie the three string together at the ends, so that the wind tube can be hung

we hung our finished wind tubes outside on our front porch and watched the wind make them dance! the kids were super impressed and felt pretty proud. they were able to do so much of this craft on their own!

do you think this craft project is something your kids might be interested in?

xo, mama lola

bear is a bear.

we’ve been going through a super tough patch with bear, and yes again. so there’s the whole potty mouth thing that i blogged about earlier (read about it HERE), that is still happening, but now instead of everything being poo, everything is stupid. 
oh, great!

“my family is stupid, you are all stupid”

and recently bedtime has become a huge battle. 
we’ve actually relaxed this summer a bit with the hopes that that would shift his negative (stupid) attitude. but,unfortunately no go. he kicks, shifts, tosses and sometimes even shouts, which is a huge problem as the boys share a room. we’ve tried letting him read a little on his own in our room after stories, so that he doesn’t bug lion. we’ve allowed him to just lay in our room and try to fall asleep there, we’ve changed times, tones, tunes… yes, i have gone back to singing my sleepy repertoire i sang to him so many years ago: “eternal flame” bangles, “let it be” the beatles, and “hey jude, the beatles. 

i’m just not understanding where this rude, blatantly disrespectful behaviour is all coming from. yes, he’s 5 years old and pushing the boundaries, but c’mon he is ONLY 5 years old and calling his family stupid. all the time. really?

when i call him on it he giggles and laughs. which i try to ignore, but it really gets under my skin and makes my blood boil even more! ya know?! i try to keep my cool and set the example, but i feel like i am going in circles with him. i repeat myself a million times a day and hate the sound of my own voice and…. 


blargh.
during the road trip there were some very trying moments with him, but road tripping is stressful, so we tried to be forgiving.  but, now back at home, with a month until school starts i am hoping he will grow out of this rude phase and express himself more softly. he’s just so mean. i’ve told him if he doesn’t have anything nice to say, to not bother saying anything at all!

my upset is exaggerated, when i hear my three year old lion saying the same mean things, but he understands less about being mean intentionally.

here’s hoping this last stretch of summer is filled with more kindness!
fingers crossed!

xo, mama lola

10 delicious asian foods!

we enjoy asian foods at our house. the kids will devour sushi, udon soup, fried rices and various forms of cooked tofu. stir fries are so easy to throw together; vegetables, herbs and a protein and you’re good to go. some people like to add rice noodles, soba noodles (japanese buckwheat noodles), quinoa or rice as a side. 

: : SOURCES: :

1. tofu stir fry from bear & lion
2. hot n’ sweet sesame tofu from OMG! i love to cook
3. smoked stir fry from veggie wedgie
4. vegan veggie stir fry from motivated mama’s
5. vietnamese summer rolls from tartine & apron strings
6. teriyaki shrimp stir-fry from social cafe magazine
8. chinese fried rice from katherine martinelli
9. make your won sushi from bear & lion
10. udon noodle soup from cherry bomb kitchen

asian foods are often great for people with all sorts of allergies, or who are vegetarian, like us (well we do enjoy some seafood now and then!) there are so many countries to draw inspiration from and adjust flavours and spices according to your taste.

let me know which one is your fave!

xo, mama lola

make a paper mache pinata!

pinata, birthday craft, lion head

my lion turned 3 and i decided it would be fun to have a lion head pinata at his birthday party. i did some research on pinterest on how to make the perfect pinata, but decided that we would just do our own thing… i mean, how difficult could a paper mache lion head really be???

well, as with most of our projects things didn’t go as smoothly as i hoped. but, the end result was surprisingly marvellous, dontcha think?

  • i wanted it to be big, and a regular latex balloon just didn’t seem to be the right size or shape. so we used a clear garbage bag instead; filled it with air and shaped it a little by taping the corners down.
  • and off it started… lots of news paper ripped into various sized strips. dear hubby was in charge of the messy part, so he made a big ol’ bowl with flour and water mixed together (no recipe required).  just make sure you don’t make it too think and depending on the project lumps don’t really matter either. especially in a pinata as the end result is that it is damaged badly, and quickly!
the kids got in on the action too! it was soooooooooo messy, but luckily the paste is super easy to wash up!
  • where the bag was knotted became the opening and the bottom of the lion’s head. this made it easier in the end for painting as i was able to prop the head up with my easel inside it. a broom or stool leg would work just as well.
  • for the ears i took a toilet paper roll, cut it half, made a cone shape, stapled it once i had it  at the desired size. then the guys attached my paper macheing them on.
paper mache, pinata, lion head
  • before you start painting make sure your paper mache is thoroughly dried first. the paint will adhere better and it will just be much easier.
  • to paint the lion head i just mixed a few different acrylic paints together; reds, yellows, oranges. the tone was more red than i had hoped. i painted it very haphazardly, intentionally trying to create uneven textures and colours. i used straight black paint for the detailing of the facial features.
  • the lion’s mane is made of various colours of tissue paper; gold, yellow, orange, violet, burgundy and black to give it depth and vibrancy. the pieces were all randomly cut with pinking sheers to create texture. i glued them on individually, which initially felt daunting, but went much faster than i anticipated. i just used kids white glue.
paper mache, pinata, lion head, birthday activity

i will post pics later this week from the actual party and the kids hitting in, but it was a total hit!

i discovered this amazing paper mache website for tons of info on different paste recipes and more at the ultimate paper mache.
and, here’s papaD getting his lion groove on while wearing the lion head after the kids got the loot! it was totally creepy and weird seeing him dance with that head! but, i’ll save it for halloween, i think! might be fun the! haha!

this was such a fun project! good luck with yours!

xo, mama lola

the stupidfication of DAD!

just before mother’s day i wrote about the degradation of mother. now, just days before we celebrate the men who are father’s i will write about the stupidfication of dad


it is everywhere you look, our media is saturated with jokes, sketches, books, tv shows, movies, blogs, characters, art, and so and so on, about the dumb dad. the dad who doesn’t know how to change a diaper, cook a healthy meal, . all he knows how to do is drink beer and sit in his man cave, while fearing his wife will find him and make him do a chore.

this representation of DUMB DAD infuriates me. the guys i know who are dad’s today, all changed diapers, know how to dress their kids, know how to throw together a healthy school lunch or dinner, and none of the dad’s i know, are stupid. they all make an effort to be good role models for their children, teaching life lessons through activities, conversations and by example. they are respectable, intelligent, and funny men!

dad’s and men weren’t always represented as dumb or incompetent.  back in the day, they were presented at the other extreme of the scale. dad’s were highly respected, highly feared men who ruled their homes. unfortunately, that respect stemmed from fear; children and women were expected to obey the men in their lives, whether they were father’s or husband’s. and if they didn’t fulfill the expectations they would be often be severely punished. 

but, over the years the pendulum has now swung to the other extreme of completely disrespecting dad’s.

for examples on how big name brands exploit this notion of dumb dad/ man, check out the commercials posted on this blog, stupid man commercials. or just google “dumb dad” and you’ll get countless hits on the subject. 
unfortunately.

dear hubby is not a dumb dad or a stupid man. sure, he makes mistakes and he’s had his fair share of bad decisions  but, so do all of us; that’s all about being human. but, as a father he is quite capable and very hands on. i feel like my kids are very fortunate to have him as their dad.  dear hubby is a gentle, intelligent and very creative man, who is never phased by what other’s think of him!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE AWESOME DAD’S OUT THERE DOING THE BEST THEY CAN!
xo, mama lola

rewards chart, it’s our first time.

i’ve mentioned here before how we have been having a hard time with bear lately. his day to day behaviour is exhausting to live with. his negativity, his sassy mouth and the potty mouth are the top concerns we have. so after talking to another mama, i decided to make him a rewards chart. we’ve never made one for our kids, not even for potty training, so i thought it was worth a try.


one day as bear and i walked home from school just the two of us, we had a chat : mom to son. i started off by saying he and i were in a rut and that we had bad habits in place for clear, honest communication. our response to each other was always the same, we were snappy and grumpy, just cuz. i admitted to having my own bad habits and i asked bear if he was willing to work together to change things up.
he said yes.
then i told him about the chart and that if he succeeded in filling it in with stickers, then we would go to the toy store and buy a wee toy. bear helped make the chart; he numbered the days and then helped decide what the categories should be. he wanted everything to have it’s own row, but i had to contain it all. not sure i did a great job, but so far it seems to be keeping us on the right track.

i’m not super excited about admitting that i am bribing my kid to behave, but i think that incentive can work effectively when used appropriately. and really, it’s about changing behaviour and hopefully by the end of this week, we’ll have both taken a turn for the better.


it’s a huge chart with 100 squares, but on the weekend some of the categories are not applicable (hang up back up, take out lunch bag etc), and we’ve given him a few “allowed oops'”, because we all make mistakes and forget or are tired. i’m not looking for perfect behaviour, but i am hoping for an effort towards courtesy, kindness and positivity. 

i don’t have a chart for myself and alas, do not receive any stickers for my efforts. but, i do see the change in him and that’s all the reward i need. kids really do reflect back what they see and feel from us, the parents. they copy and mimic us in ways that is so surprising. i see and hear myself (and dear hubby) in the kids; sometimes i cringe in shame, other times i jump up with pride and think “wow, we are doing something right!”

this whole parenting gig is tricky and, as the kids get older it gets much more challenging intellectually and emotionally. sleep deprivation and battles with getting babes to sleep or to nurse, all seem so easy somehow in comparison. but, i suppose i now have the skills and confidence to deal with sleep issues, but i cannot say the same about dealing with a 5 year old who talks back with great sass in his tone.

at the end of the day, i am grateful for whatever battles come my way. i am proud to be my kids’ äiti (mum) and happy to take each day as they come. as long as i get to drink my coffee as well!

happy days ahead!

xo, mama lola

just call me diaper head.

i am the mother of two boys. with that comes a certain amount of daily conversation around penises, watching the kids stick their hands down their pants and let’snot forget about bum wiping! it all comes with the job and i get it!

[source]


but, now we have entered a new world of poop talk.
since starting school and more specifically since around christmas bear, my 5YO, says the word poo probably a million times a day. there are songs that he sings with only the word poo as lyrics. and, he targets his little brother with these words and rhymes and songs, in a taunting tone. i hear lion trying to stand up for himself shouting “no, me no poo, me a kid”. i cheer loudly for him in my head and think right on little lion! but, bear just keeps on going.

he repeats sentences like these every chance he gets..

you’re a diaper head.
you’re poopy baby poo.
you’re a baby diaper poo head.
poo-poo-poopy poo head.

i realize it is age appropriate, but i find this kind of talk absolutely exhausting to have to listen, because he never turns it off. bear has tried to bring the poo talk to the dinner table, but that’s where i’ve laid down the law, say the word once and it’s straight to bed. it works. but, then he starts with the name calling and poo talk as soon as he’s been excused from the table.

[source]

we’ve tried threats, ignoring it, taking away bed time stories, you name it, but it just keeps going on and on. i’ve asked around and some of his friends do it too, but not quite to the same degree.

the worst things about this poop talk is that now lion is slowly jumping onto the bandwagon! aaahhhhhh! this cannot be happening!!!!!

what have you done with your kids when they went through this phase???
HELP ME!!?!



xo, mama lola

theme thursday :: useful household tips for keeping a clean(er) home!

for today’s THEME THURSDAY i’ve pulled together some handy household resources. tips and tricks that work well for all sorts of problems that may arise in your home, from pesky stains to frustrating houseflies to ridding odours. plus, all of these easy solutions are kid and pet friendly and won’t hurt your bank account! GOTTA LOVE THAT!


i organized the list by rooms in your home. 

KITCHEN:




BATHROOM:




BEDROOM:




LAUNDRY AND STAINS:




OUTSIDE SPACES/ GARDEN/ BUGS: 




SMELLS & STINKS & SPILLS:




let me know if you have any tips or tricks i can add to this list.
i’m also working on an organizational post!


xo, mama lola

recovering my dining chairs, again!

i did this project before (check out the details HERE), and i decided that i didn’t like the yellow vinyl, so i chose a slightly more neutral colour/ pattern. this dining table set is one that we use everyday, so it gets a lot of wear and tear. the kids are messy and having cloth seat covers just doesn’t make sense as they are impossible to clean properly. 

i bought my vinyl tablecloth from the grocery store for $4!


MATERIALS:
scissors
a vinyl table cloth 
staple gun fully loaded (extra staples on hand)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. cut the tablecloth around the seat, leaving about a 2 inch margin. this measurement, really depends on how thick your seats are, mine are about an inch or so thick. you want to be able to fold the vinyl under the seat nice and tight. if you are unsure, be generous at first, as you can always trim the vinyl if necessary.

2. place your seat face down on the cut vinyl piece. fold the edge of the vinyl about an inch once and grab at the centre, stapling the material onto the chair a few times. then do the opposite side of the seat. this time you want to make sure you are tugging at the vinyl to ensure a nice tight, taught seat cover in the end.


3. you want to make sure your corners are nice and tight, so that they fit back into the chair frame with ease, but also for a neat appearance. i did my corners as though i was folding a gift. always ensure that you are pulling the vinyl tightly, to create a smooth seat cover. use as many staples as necessary, as they are not visible in the end. i used a bazillion.



4. i recovered four chairs in less than an hour. my wee lion was napping when i completed this project. 


now, our chairs are easy to clean after the kids (or adults) have made a mess!

xo, mama lola
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