dinosaur cake! ROAR!

for bear’s 6th birthday he had requested a dinosaur cake. we went on the internet and looked at ideas, but everything looked super complicated and out of our cake-making league. so, DH and i decided to make a scenery cake, instead of an actual dinosaur. we used carrot cake for the land and volcano, everything was heavily slathered with icing from a container and we added weird rock looking candies, raisins and cinnamon sticks all over for interest. for lava, we used strawberry jam and we made a dino’s nest with cadbury’s mini eggs! the dinosaurs themselves are plastic toys.

the kids were amazed and i have heard back from many parents about this awesome cake! haha!

dinosaur cake 1B

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. bake 2 cakes of your choice. any type of cake is fine, as it’ll be covered with icing anyway. our fave is carrot cake and the kids all loved it! find the recipe HERE! we baked one 9″ X 13″ for the land, and one 9″ X 9″ for the volcano.

2. cut up the smaller cake into triangular pieces and build your volcano. it doesn’t have to perfect, as it’ll be covered with icing, jam and dinosaurs!

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3. slather a thick layer of icing all over the volcano and land. i left it very imperfect, hoping it looked more realistic!

4. we added candy, raisins and cinnamon sticks for various landscape features. we also made a nest with dino eggs!

5. add the strawberry jam last. i just spooned it on top of the icing trying to make it look like spewing lava. kids thought it was pretty cool!

6. i made a simple tree out of two pipe cleaners; one green one and one brown one. i couldn’t find and plastic trees, so my pipe cleaner had to do!

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here’s the birthday boy blowing out his candles! so cute!

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check-out the adorable name tags i made for this birthday party HERE.

and, coming soon are details on the other dinosaur crafts we got to for the party!

xo, mama lola

how to make fruit sushi!

fruit sushi collage 1B

my kids LOVE sushi! their favourite is the raw salmon. but, a lot of kids don’t share their enthusiasm for this japanese cuisine, so that’s why for bear’s 6th birthday i decided to make his class at school some yummy fruit sushi! i prefer these treats to cupcakes and cookies, as there are less concerns with allergens, these sushi bites are healthier and hey, they’re totally memorable too!!!

INGREDIENTS!

sticky rice (read instructions on package as they vary depending on brand)

mango, kiwi or any desired fruit

seaweed sheets

a bowl of water

* plus you will need a rolling mat

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fruit sushi 4

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. cook sticky rice as directed on package. let it completely cool down before using. cut fruit into strips, about the same thickness as an average adult finger.

2. place your rolling mat down on a flat surface, put a seaweed sheet on top, and then place your sticky rice on. try to  ensure it is spread out fairly evenly.

3. place desired fruit onto the rice and using your mat, roll the ingredients making sure they  are held together tightly. i found i had some excess seaweed at the end, so i cut it off and “glued” the edge of the seaweed sheet to the roll, by dabbing them in some water.

4. cut the roll into bite sized pieces. if they are lose and fall a part (this happened a couple of times for me) i just used more water to re-seal the seaweed ends. and, voila!

5. i served these to the kids in bear’s class as is, and some of them devoured lots. other’s were a little apprehensive about the seaweed, but i would say majority of the adorable kindergartner’s tried at least one!

HOW YUMMY DO THESE LOOK???

fruit sushi 2

 

xo, mama lola

birthday party name tags!

name tags 3

bear has asked for a dinosaur themed birthday! for this craft i couldn’t actually find any wee dinosaurs, but i found these cute lizards for 99 cents a pack and i thought they were close enough!

here’s what i did… first, i painted the clothes pegs with acrylic paint. i had to do a couple of coats to achieve a nice, solid, bold colour.

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then with my hot glue gun i attached the lizards to the painted clothes pegs. i then cut some cute flags out of card stock, wrote each child’s name on, got a paper straw and voila… DONE! i found the straws for $3 for a pack of 18 at michael’s.

how adorable are they?

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this is one of those crafts, where the impact is huge and process is so minimal!

the kids can then take the lizard pegs home and use them to clip important pages together or whatever!

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xo, mama lola

valentine’s day treats!

valentine’s day is all about sweets and treats! to get inspired for valentine’s day i looked for fun baking and treat making ideas i could get the kids to help with. some of these goodies are more time intensive than others, and some will definitely require adult super vision. i can’t wait  to show my after school girls these delights and they too will love making these treats with us!

valentine's day, treats,

valentine’s day also happens to be my bear’s birthday, so i think i’ll make some of these for his party. i especially like the arrows! which one is making your mouth water?

valentine's day, treats, heart treats

heart shaped rice krispy treat from the magazine

valentine's day, treats, arrows, heart arrows

cupids arrows from organize your stuff now

valentine's day, treats, marshmallows, hearts

marshmallow valentine’s day treats from the sweet life

valentine's day, treats, donuts, hearts

valentine’s day donuts from love from the oven

valentine's day treats. treats,

valentine’s day cookie from haniela’s

valentine's day treats, XO's, cookies, red and white

hugs n’ kisses treats from delish.com

valentine's day, treats, wafers

chocolate dipped wafers from flour on my face

valentine's day cookies, treats, chocolate heart cookies

chocolate cake mix cookies from sally’s baking addiction

 

so, which valentine’s day yummy-goody-treat will you make for your loved ones?

or maybe you’ll make all of them! haha! either way, ENJOY!

valentine's day, treats

 

 

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?

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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

valentine’s day sewing crafts!

there are so many wonderful sewing projects out there for valentine’s day. i chose ones that i thought my kids, family or friends would enjoy. and, one’s that i thought i would and could actually sew! someone asked me which project was my favourite, but i couldn’t decide, as they are so delightful and lovely in their own way!

vday sewing collage 2B

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paper valentine candy filled hearts from in my own style

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valentine’s day love letters from beneath the rowan tree

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heart felt bracelets from holiday crafts and creations

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zippered heart pouches from purl bee

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valentine’s day reverse applique pillow from she said sew

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dip dyed mittens from an old sweater from my story: modcloth

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XOXO pillows from craftaholics anonymous

time to go see what kind of fabric i have in my stash and get the ol’ sewing machine plugged in and going!

happy sewing!

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

almond cranberry biscotti recipe.

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this is a fantastic recipe from the joy of cooking. my dear hubby is the one who bakes this holiday goodie at our house! the word biscotti is italian and means twice baked biscuits. the name perfectly describes how you ultimately bake these yummy treats, TWICE (or so)! biscotti is a wonderful holiday gift, as it is easy to make and lasts a long time. it is a bit time consuming, but well worth it in the end, in my opinion. so, let’s get to it.

INGREDIENTS:

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon anise or almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
(* although we typically bake and cook without eggs, this recipe was made with eggs. at our house biscotti is more of  an adult treat, so our egg sensitive bear will not be nibbling on these)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. combine oil, sugar, eggs, zest and extracts together. then stir in flour, baking powder and salt.

2. add chopped almonds and dried cranberries. mix well.

3. shape two loaves out of the dough on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 375F for 25 minutes.  allow loaves to cool then cut on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.  then, bake slices on sides for 10 minutes and turn over and bake for another 10 minutes.

4.cool on a rack. serve with a cuppa tea or coffee and dip biscotti in the drink.

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enjoy!

xo, mama lola

cranberry blueberry bars.

cranberry blueberry bars, fruit bars, baking

i found this delicious recipe from smitten kitchen, but tweaked it to fit the flavours i had in my cupboards.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 egg or egg substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt
orange zest
4 cups cranberries and blueberries combined
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

INSTRUCTION:

1. preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. in a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. mix in salt and orange zest using a fork to blend in the butter and egg or egg substitute. the dough will be crumbly, but that’s what we want! pat half of dough into the greased pan.

3. in another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. with a potato masher, crush the cranberries in a bowl, mix in the blueberries. then, pour the cranberry blueberry mixture evenly over the crust and spread remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. bake in oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

fruit bars, baking, treats, fruit squares

this is an easy recipe to complete. the cranberries are tart, so some may prefer more sugar in the recipe, but i decided not to add sugar. instead, i will add a scoop of ice cream or make a big mug of hot chocolate to go with my yummy bar.

enjoy!

xo, mama lola

christmas orange pomanders!

christmas pomanders are something i make every year. they are a wonderful gift for others and beautiful decorations in your own home.

they smell like christmas!

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all you need to make these are oranges (or clementines)  and cloves. i have made pomanders with different patterns; spirals or hearts, so pretty! adding a ribbon is a nice touch as well, just remember to add it first. some people suggest placing a rubber band around the orange to guide in making a straight line. just take a clove and poke it through the rind. it can get painful for your index finger after a bit, but it’ll be s worth it in the end… trust me!

i made a pomender three years ago and it tried beautifully and still smells yummy!

xo, mama lola
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