painting flower pots!

now that the growing season is here i want to share a favourite project that my boys love to do… paint terracotta flower pots!

painting flower pots, mother's day, gift idea, kids crafts

it’s a wonderful way to be creative, while also learning about how things grow. my kids made each of their grandmother’s a painted pot for mother’s day and planted a geranium in them. they were so proud of their




all you need are some pots, paints, brushes and we used a spray sealant to try to protect the pots from water.

i love using ice cube trays as paint trays instead, as they don’t tip over easily and the paints can be mixed well in the deep slots. my kids often paint outside as the tidying up is so much easier. plus, if they get paint all over it’s not a big deal!

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check out these lovely flower pots!

painted flower pots, kids crafts, mother's day, gift ideas, gifts for grandmothers painted flower pots, mother's day, gift idea

i love how carefree the kids are when painting. they do not get inhibited with concerns about what other’s may think of their creations. they just create completely in the moment, enjoying the paint and colours, but most importantly the process.

happy painting and planting to you!

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)!



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.


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

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

this moment!

it is the start of the summer season with our first long weekend of the season! i am wishing everyone a relaxing and fun few days! see you all on the other side of the break!!!


here is this week’s THIS MOMENT… our lion starts JK in september and this picture is from his orientation earlier this week. he did not cry or get scared, instead he sat down at a table to do puzzles joining some other little new students! i was of course bursting with pride, excitement while holding back my mama tears. more to come on that next week!


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.


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



xo, mama lola

lucky #13!

love is

source :


* luckily, 13 years ago i decided to go tree planting up in the clear cuts of northern ontario.

* luckily, i was ready to work hard, to learn new skills and live in the woods with 50 other strangers!

* luckily, i was cute and single and looking for love!

* luckily, my four person tent named hillary was a luxurious haven with lots of blankets, an air mattress and a sweet location.

* luckily, a super cute boy with twinkling blue eyes and a superb tan was there! (a tan as he had just returned from working on an organic farm in brazil).

* luckily, after a few small conversations at the breakfast buffet, our paths crossed one party night at camp and, well, the rest is history!

* and, luckily here we are today, married with kids living our lives.



it’s amazing how much has changed in the years since we met, and it’s amazing how much things have stayed the same. dear hubby and i first met in a parking lot at the shoreline hotel up in thunder bay, on mother’s day in 2001. all of us tree planters were to meet at this location on our first day so we could be told how to get to our camp out in the woods of ontario. once my tent was set up, and the first few days of planting had been survived,  i eventually chated with a sweet guy who spoke in a quiet, mumbly voice. he told me not to pack banana’s into my lunch that i would take out for the day of planting, but instead eat oranges. mosquitoes you see, love LOVE bananas!!! he gave me good planting advice too, helped me improve my speed, my daily numbers and supported me through all the aches and pains tree planting threw at me!


we have had a great time together traveling, raising kids and just being together. of course we have had our share of stress, dysfunction and turmoil, but somehow through it all we are still here together and  holding hands. that’s gotta count for something, right?


(these snails were in our front yard, so i snapped their picture with my phone.  their togetherness inspired this post and reminded me of when DH and i met. sappy? yes, but that’s me!)


love 1

happy thursday everyone!

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.



(this week i am including two photo’s instead of one. just cuz!)


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.


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

xo, mama lola

the sickest of the sick.

my littlest lion has just had a terrible run of luck with his health these passed few months. first there was the never ending cold that included fever and one of those coughs that held on and on. then just as we thought everyone was healthy and ready to celebrate easter, my lion started to throw up, got another fever, and then his back exploded in a painful rash. oh, and let’s not forget about the ear ache…

so on the saturday following good friday we visited a doctor who after completing a swab test gave us the bad news, lion had strep. my poor little lamb was put on antibiotics, which kinda knocked him down a bit. being sick and trying to get healthy is a lot of work, especially for a little body like his. anyhow, the antibiotics worked their magic clearing up the strep, and on his last day on the meds he started to complain that it hurt to pee. well, this has happened before and with boy plumbing sometimes things get “stuck” in the pipes, so after a warm bath we were hoping that would be that. it was confusing, because when he wasn’t trying to pee, he was happy and his regular smiling self and didn’t complain about any kind of pain.

but alas, the pain seemed to increase, so I took him to our family doctor. Taking your child to the doctor, be they doctor haberfield or your local GP, as soon as possible is critical. Our family doctor, after examining a urine sample determined my wee lion had a urinary tract infection (UTI). more antibiotics then… BAH! what? how could this be? how does this happen? only about 1-2% of boys even get UTI’s and I’ve never even had one. However, this is why it’s so important to make sure that you take your children to the doctors or urologist if needs be. There’s urologists at Advanced Urology who will handle a case like this with care and find the most effective treatment option. If I had done nothing, then who knows what would have happened. Doctors can do all sort of helpful things such as offering pediatric care, to helping us older folks in times of need.

it took us almost an entire day to get his prescription filled, because there is a manufacturers shortage on some liquid antibiotic… blah… blah… anyhow, long story short, after crying at the pharmacy and sobbing to the pharmacist, with two hungry little kids with me, a friend stepped in and found a pharmacy who could supply us with this antibiotic. they’d used an online one before to refill their finasteride prescription, and during the search for that had found pretty much all of the pharmacies around here which was really helpful. still, more tears. his and mine.

after a couple of days the pain didn’t seem to get better so i called our family doctor in tears. they told me to come back i. we discussed options and she suggested going to the ER, as there they could do tests quickly and get results quickly. so off we went. after a looooong wait, lots of discussions with the doctor and nurse practitioner, it sounds like maybe my lion never had a UTI, but another kind of infection in his penis, and so the hospital gave us a new prescription for another antibiotic. by now i was feeling quite pessimistic, tired and sad about the lack of options for my little guy in pain, but we had to give the meds a fair chance to work, so that’ what we have done. it is day 4 on the new meds and lion’s anxiety about using the toilet has decreased, although he still says it hurts to pee. he isn’t screaming or writhing in pain anymore, which is a huge relief.

lion by the window

if you’ve ever had a full blown UTI or other infection in your bits, you know the excruciating pain even one little drop of pee feels like when leaving the body. but, the pain i have felt these passed few days as a mama forcing my child to pee, because he needs to drink a lot to flush out his system, because the doctor needed a urine sample, because that’s how the body gets rid of waste. i have cried with my screaming child as he has sat on the toilet bravely peeing. my bear, lion’s older brother has tried to be encouraging saying beautiful, loving things to his little brother, but i know this week has been very stressful for him as well. watching and listening to other’s hurt is very upsetting, but for a six year old i think it’s even worse, because it is difficult for him to process or talk about what’s going on.

oh, my boys.

oh, what a week!

i am hoping for the sake of my family that this coming week is healthier, calmer and full of lots of laughter. we have had much support from friends, with yummy homemade dinners brought over, lots of kind, comforting words. it feels good to be part of a village!


xo, mama lola

moving forward from my birth stories.



it is the season in between the births of my winter baby and my summer baby. it is a time of newness. new grass, new leaves on trees and new attitudes for me. this spring is not any different. i’m the kinda gal that tends to dwell on things, creating holes filled with self-doubt for myself to get stuck in. i think back on passed events coming up with different scenarios of how i could have dealt with specific situations differently; what if i asked this or said that, what if i had never gone there and so on and so on. it’s a useless skill, one that i have mastered and it can actually be quite detrimental to my mental health, because sometimes, i cannot stop.


but, there is one area where it seems like i am moving on in. the births of my children. the births of my kids were vastly different, each experience holds it’s own regrets and what ifs, and traumas. but, with time it seems as though i am able to move on from them and perhaps stop blaming myself for everything that didn’t go as i had hoped. to read the birth stories of my bear and lion click here >>> my birth stories.


every action and thought has a ripple effect in this world. so much of what happens in a day is the consequence of something else, and sometimes those consequences are things you can’t change or control, but have to just accept. both of my children’s births were complicated in there own way, and so much of what was happening in those scary days and hours leading up to their arrival was out of my hands. as so many mother’s do, i felt tremendous guilt for somehow failing my boys. for ruining their entrance into this world. i felt especially heavy about my lion’s birth as there were so many serious complications and mishaps. watching your child fight to stay here, to stay alive is a terrifying ordeal, but to feel guilty for it, even though there was nothing i could have done to prevent any of the bad things from happening, what a heavy load to carry.



but, today things are different. a handful of years have passed and my heart has had time to heal. i have slowly come to terms with the past, because today i have two incredible little boys in my life. these boys keep me on my toes; everything they do is with all of their being, and with so much honesty. their child-like naivete is inspiring, their continued curiosity keeps me learning, which i am so grateful for!





time has not healed my wounds, but it has instead given me an opportunity to grow and recognize my role and responsibility on those birth days.

i have been guilty for feeling guilty.


it’s time to move on!

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.




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


xo, mama lola
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