theme thursday : things around my house.

life has been busy and i didn’t really get the time to prepare a well thought out themed thursday. so, instead i am sharing pictures from my home of items that mean something to us.

when my mummo (grandmother) passed away a few years ago my mum gave me this cup and saucer set. sometimes, i like to drink my afternoon coffee from it and remember her.
we once found a dead grasshopper in our backyard. 

our kids eat their snacks from old wooden salad bowls.

these are birthday bunting flags from lion’s second birthday party.

some greenery.

thanks for stopping by!
happy thursday everyone!

xo, mama lola

easter garland.

well, easter is around the corner, so it’s time to get some pastel decorations going!

my kids had a small window of time in the day, so i pulled out some card stock, some cookie cutters, scissors, markers and some string and we got to work on our easter garland. this is so easy and simple, and a perfect craft for those small moments when the kids need a structured activity.

i traced the cookie cutters, cut out the easter themed shapes, then the kids decorated and coloured them and then i quickly sewed some thread through. we hung up our garland in front of a mirror, as the kids decorated both sides.

whatcha think?
pretty cute, eh?

xo, mama lola

nemo, the big winter storm.

well, nemo turned out to the the worst storm our area, southern ontario, has seen in five years. it was an intense 24 hours, with incredible snow fall dumping about 30 centimetres of the white stuff. the kids and i went outside in the morning to play and shovel, and you can see from the picture below that a lot of snow sure did fall! bear had a snowday from school, which is not so common around here.

lucky for us, we love snow!

in the afternoon i headed downtown to get my hair done. i desperately needed the alone time, since i hadn’t really left the house in a couple of days, because of all the sickies at our house. i gave myself plenty of time, because i was unsure of what to expect in terms of driving and parking conditions. it was a slow drive, about 30 kmph, but i made it with time to spare so i got a coffee and headed to the local bookshop to peruse.

the pictures below i took with my phone after my appointment. lotsa snow still coming down, terrible visibility, but the quiet the snow brings was so amazing. we never lost power or felt any stress from the storm, which i am grateful for. we shovelled a lot, discussed the weather all day, watched some snowploughs do their thing and basically stayed warm and cozy.

today, we woke up to bright white snow and gorgeous blue skies! so for those of you being blasted today, hang in there and stay safe!

it’s a perfect day to prepare for bear’s birthday party tomorrow! it’s going to be a super fun weekend for us!
what do you have planned?

xo, mama lola

television: we all love to hate it!

whether or not to let the kids watch tv, that was one of the questions we tackled when our first wee one was our only wee-wee one. we haven’t had cable in many, many years and when bear was a baby we had a tiny tv, which was perfect for all those friends reruns we could watch thanks to our powerful rabbit ears! we never let bear watch tv or encouraged it, for that matter.

[ we had just moved into our house, everything was still chaotic. ]
[ i used to plonk lion with bear to watch tv, so i could vacuum a room quickly.
not that i condone babies watching tv.]

it wasn’t until i was looking and feeling like a beached whale during my pregnancy with lion, that i really started to let 2.5 year old bear watch stuff. i needed the break, he had given up napping and so i would put on treehouse on my laptop, so that i could sit and nod off for a few z’s. he loved “toopy & binoo” and would eventually fall asleep watching those guys. we then go into the habit of getting DVD’s from the library, which introduced us to a whole new world of shows and characters. it worked well for us. as parents we held on tight to the control of what and when and how much he would watch.

that was the summer bear became obsessed with “bob the builder”. i actually think it’s one of the better kids shows. our kids are not allowed to watch a few of the popular shows, like “caillou”. he’s a brat and rude to his mother, no thanks! and “max and ruby” where the boy always comes in and saves the day and rescues the girl. no thanks! and, don’t get me going on dora, who yells so much or thomas who uses language that I don’t believe is acceptable for wee ears. then there are the shows that my kids just wont watch, because they are still too scary!

[ bear asleep in front of the laptop, as usual, watching something. ]

I am fully aware of how much screen time bear and lion take in. some weeks they watch a handful of hours, other weeks way too much. but, I have to let it go and not feel too guilty, because on those weeks that i let them watch more, I am probably sick and looking for an easy break!

For us, the biggest concerns surrounding television watching has been the advertising. There is so much advertising directed at kids out there, that by removing commercial television from our home, we felt we were protecting our kids and ourselves. Of course, there’s much less chance of advertisements online with streaming services in canada, which is why they’re sometimes better than cable televison. Not only are they cheaper, there is also much more selection, especially for kids. Due to our decision to avoid cable television, our kids have never asked for a toy, because they were never enticed by the visions of colourful commercials. they have never asked to go to certain fastfood restaurants, like mc donalds, who are some of the biggest offenders of directing advertising at kids! (in fact, our kids have no idea mc donald’s even exists, they’ve never been there!)

[ there’s lion with his buddy watching television. this kid NEVER falls asleep watching a show! ]

last fall, we purchased a big ol’ shiny flat screen that hangs on the wall and the kids watch netflix on it. i felt like i had given into mainstream pressures of keeping up with the jones’ and initially felt quite uncomfortable with the huge screen in our living room. but, i got over it! i brought perspective into my life again, reminding myself that the kids are watching commercial free shows, and we as the parents, control what they watch and when. the kids are only allowed to watch tv in the afternoons, after nap or after school depending on the day. sometimes on the weekends we will have a family movie night and watch a movie after dinner. the kids are not permitted to watch anything in the mornings, especially before school or before bed. it just works for us to keep things consistent and regimented. plus, the more time the kids spend in front of the tv, the less time they are interacting with each other or with us. and that human interaction really is so important for kids.

but, as technology changes, so do our rules around screen time. i am curious what other parents do, especially now that kids have their own computers, have access to ipads or other tablets, play games on their parents smart phones or just want to sit back and watch a show on tv. what are your limits in your home?

happy tv watching!

xo, mama lola

my room. my quiet.

i had to set up some strict rules for this weekend. as you may know, i was super sick last week and eventually on thursday i went to my doctor who confirmed my fears, yes it’s a sinus infection. we were supposed to see my folks this weekend, but my mom told me i had to stay home, in bed and rest. i laughed and told her my family wasn’t going to let me sleep and rest, even though that’s what i needed. she told to be firm and just do it. so i tried it.

saturday morning i slept in until about 9am. slowly made my way downstairs, had a coffee, took my killer antibiotic, watched as the guys got dressed and left the house with the promise of not returning until lunch. so, i had a hot shower and then crawled back into my bed with a book. 

i read my book. the house was quiet. the house was still. 
i soaked it all in feeling content. and proud.
proud that i had stood up for myself.

asking for time for myself is hard. even when i am sick. i remember when i was recovering from my tumour surgery, how guilty i felt for asking for help, for wanting to sleep, for feeling unwell and so i never spoke up for myself the way i should have. now, with hindsight in my pocket i feel embarrassed for not meeting my own needs and trying to minimize the hugeness of the surgery. but, that’s what i do. i never give importance, or time or value to things related to my life. i brush things away easily, so as not to worry other people out or hurt their feelings. 

but, i am changing all of that now. i deserve to be taken care of as well, just like my dear hubby and the kids do when they are feeling sick. i deserve to sleep, to not have to make every single meal, to have some peace and quiet. i have to realize that my family is not the type who just recognizes my needs; i have to explicitly ask for what i need, in a very demanding kind of way. and, that’s ok. and, maybe if i do it enough one day the guys will recognize that i need some recovery time and will provide that for me, without me having to ask. 
or not.

hope you were able to find peace in your weekend.

xo, mama lola

to healthier times!

* let me make it clear, i am not a trained health care provider or healer of any kind. i am a mama with a few suggestions that may help others with their sick families. please consult your health care provider. *

whatever sickness came a’knocking at our door last friday, sure has over stayed it’s welcome! 

it hit our littlest lion fast and furiously! he was lethargic, developed a high fever, stopped eating and started puking. all weekend, dear hubby and i took turns holding the poor kid, as he was so clingy. 
then on monday evening, it was bear’s turn. he had the usual super drippy eyes, fever, but luckily no puking! and then, it was dear hubby who was knocked down. it’s kind of unbelievable how all four of us have been kicked on to our butts, but the real shocker is that dear hubby has been kicked the worst. this is a guy who never gets sick, ever. he suffers terribly in the spring with seasonal allergies, but it is very unlike him to get sick. and then to kick things into more unusual territories, i am the one who has been barely affected. sure, i had a little fever in the night, and i’ve been sniffly and achy, but i have not looked like the living dead, like my dear hubby. he’s been sleeping a lot. he’s even missed a couple of days of work, which he does like, never!

there are a few tricks that i have compiled that help us get through these snotty times. sure, there are more, but the ones listed below are my top six. they are all kid and pet friendly and easy on the bank account! some of our tried and tested more natural remedies to fight sickness at our house include:

don’t forget the top three obvious ones:
1. keep washing AND moisturizing your hands.
2. change your tooth brush once you start to feel better.
3. do not share drinks, cutlery, toothbrushes or sloppy wet kisses with those who are sick.

i am so ready for good health to come knocking on our door tomorrow. i am so ready to hear the laughter and fighting of my boys, instead of the zombied silence of a fever coma and the constant dull whining. i want my children to look and feel energized and to enjoy their days, instead of wasting away watching mindless television. i want their eyes to sparkle, instead being glazed with sickness.

i want the energy in the house to change, from lethargy to one of positive spirits. i know this all sounds a bit cheese and cliche, but a week of this is kinda ridiculous! we haven’t even really had the opportunity to enjoy our new beautiful hardwood floors or paint the walls, as planned this week. everything it seems has been put on hold. 

so, let me hear three cheers to good health! 
hip-hip- hooray!
hip-hip- hooray!
hip-hip- hooray!

xo, mama lola

we’re a bunch of sicklings!

i am in trapped on our couch under two sick kids and a sicko dear hubby. everyone is dripping snot, struggling with fevers and drifting in and out of sleep. 

lion was super-duper sick this past weekend, while the rest of us were fine. then yesterday afternoon, after a long day of being out of the house, as we were getting our new floors put in, bear’s health crash landed into a heap of tears and exhaustion. both of the kids chose to go dinner free and were fast asleep by 6:20pm! bear slept in my bed, and dear hubby snuggled in with lion. i feel better co-sleeping with the sick kids, then we, the adults have a better sense of what’s going on with them in the night. bear woke up a few times to have a drink of water, but basically slept straight through until 9am!

the first sign of sickness with bear are his drippy eyes. it looks like he’s crying, as they drip so much. poor little guy gets so frustrated and there isn’t much we can do about it. he’s had this issue for years and the doctor says it’s totally normal.

lion has been clinging on to us for days now. his fever is gone, but he looks tired and still is kinda lethargic. nobody really has an appetite, so today when i braved the cold temperatures to hit the grocery store, i stocked up on all sorts of smoothies, soups and berries and things. nobody is going to be cooking anything in these here parts for a while. i’m not a super fan of pre-made foods, but it’s a matter of survival, at this point.

hope you and your family are fairing better than us.
time to cozy in with the guys and watch a little tv.

xo, mama lola

oven roasted brussel sprouts & new potatoes!

i love oven roasted veggies for dinner. especially during the winter months, when eating lots of earthy foods feels so right. i also love cranking up the oven, as it warms the house a bit more too!

i often make veggies in the oven for my family, the boys love ’em!


brussel sprouts

1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup

*it really depends on how many veggies you use for the oil/syrup ratio.


1. chop vegetables to desired size.
2. add olive oil, vegetables, salt and maple syrup to oven safe dish. mix ingredients well and bake in preheated oven of 425F for approximately 30-45 minutes. it depends on your oven for the temperature and time. 
3. mix the veggies thoroughly about half way through cooking.

this bowl of veggies was devoured with some baked salmon and a green salad.

here’s what a dinner table may look like at our house. i love to use table cloths, especially in the winter months. on this particular evening the kids set the table using their plastic playdo mats as placemats, so it goes!

what does dinner look like at your house?

xo, mama lola

lion talked in his sleep and what he said made me cry!

oh, my lion roars a loud roar when he wants to show off, but sometimes i forget that he really is so sensitive inside.

today, on the rainiest and greyest day of the season, i decided spontaneously to get random workout gear on, throw a few diapers and a banana in a backpack, and head to the Y. i’ve been slacking, BIG TIME, but with bear is school, my days are longer and by the time evening rolls around i’m ready to hit the couch for some tv time! i used to always hit the Y in the evenings for some zumba, kickboxing, pilates or yoga, but since september i just haven’t been able to find the motivation. i have spewed every excuse out there, which is totally embarrassing and wasted my dear hubby’s hard earned cash, while at it! terrible!

so now, there’s a new plan. i will work out while bear is in school and i can leave lion in the child minding at the gym. tuesday, yesterday was our first day of the new plan. i was feeling good about going, and was so proud of my guy as we sat at the front desk of the Y signing him up for his very own membership. he needs a membership so be in the childcare. when we walked into the play room, lion was fine. in fact, he was thrilled to see so many new and fabulous toys! he checked things out a little, while i chatted with the staff. then it was time to say good bye.

oh, his little face looked so sad when i kissed him. big tears rolled down his cheeks, but i just kept walking. i blew lots of smiles and kisses to him from the door, which is what we do in our family, and off i went. my heart was aching, as i knew my little guy was in the room crying, but i felt optimistic that he would calm down, so i headed for the elliptical machine. i stayed there doing my thing for 30 minutes, constantly looking over at the doors thinking i saw the staff coming to get me. but, lion didn’t have an epic scream fest that needed me immediately, instead he did cry a little off and on according to the staff. 
we both survived, right?

at home, we snuggled on the couch, ate some lunch and watched elmo dance on tv. then it was nap time. lion fell asleep quickly and like clock work, woke up at the end of his first sleep cycle. he was crying, so i ran to him and lay down next to him as he fell back asleep. just as he was drifting his little hand came up, waved gently and he said “no, äiti, don’t go”. i kid you not. that’s when i started crying as i watched my sweet little boy sleep. how could i traumatize him so deeply, by leaving for only 30 minutes; all sorts of irrational thoughts filled my mind!

i had initially felt so good about his 30 minutes in the childminding, a little cocky in fact! yes, he cried, but it wasn’t dramatic and my kids are criers when we separate. but, now i see that this will be harder than i first thought. sigh. wish me luck on thursday as i will be hopefully leaving lion in the childcare room as i go and watch bear do his swim lesson in the pool!
oh, boy!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

i will sign off today with a birthday wish to the loveliest 7 year old gal i know! i remember the day this wee lady was born so well, dear hubby and i paced the floor of the waiting room in the hospital as we anxiously waited for news.

lots and lots of LOVE and HUGS!

happy wednesday to you all!
what are you up to today?

xo, mama lola
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