my homework.

guys! i’ve gone back to school! 

it’s pretty scary, intimidating and did i mention scary???

years and years ago i started my women’s studies degree at the the local university here in town. i loved the program. then i became pregnant with bear and took some time off, returning part-time when bear was about 18 months old. i completed almost half of my degree when the university stupidly discontinued the entire program. it was devastating for me as a woman, as a mama and as a student. when i was pregnant with lion i took my last course at the uni towards my degree.

i always knew i would return to my studies when i was ready. it took me a while to find the courage to head back. the thought of sitting in a lecture hall with 21 year old’s really intimidated me. plus, i wanted to get my health back in order after dealing with my pituitary tumour for a few years. now that the boys are both in school full time i have decided to gently enter the world of academia myself. i was accepted at athabasca university where i will be completing my women and gender studies degree online. to easy my way in i am only taking one class; an english composition course. it’s mandatory for me to complete in order to graduate.

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for fun, i thought i would share my first piece of homework. lotds of people are curious about my back-to-school life! i had to read about paragraphs and write my own introductory one to share with my prof. 

 

Paragraph 1

It is a miserable November Friday here in south western Ontario. The furnace is pumping away trying to warm up the house my coffee is brewing in the kitchen all the while our two cats, Leo and Poppy, have found cozy, warm spots to curl up for their usual morning naps. My kids are at school hopefully enjoying whatever fun kindergarten and grade 2 have to offer. My husband is off in the big city today enduring work meetings, while I putter around our home completing homework assignments and various household tasks. Our life looks and sounds like the lives of so many other families, but it is unique, because it is ours. The routines we struggle through, the adventures we enjoy all make our little family unit special. We have survived another week of morning wake-ups and nightly bedtime shenanigans, of meetings with teachers and anxiety inducing specialist appointments. Now, the weekend is rolling in with the cold rain, blowing the fallen leaves around like empty thoughts. We are all ready for a few days without routine, without alarm clocks and the warmth our family and home create.

it’s not going to get graded, it’s for an assessment to see that i capable to complete this course.

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source

 

this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

and, we had our first real snow fall!!!! WOOHOOO!!!!

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first snow, bear and lion blog

this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

 

xo, mama lola

back-to-school : sew your own pencil roll-up case!


school for my boys starts tomorrow!!!

it’s hard to believe summer is over, even though at times i was feeling quite burnt out and tired. my boys are ready to go back to school, see their friends and meet their teachers. i am ready for them to return, as well.

i don’t really do much in preparation for back-to-school. i am always looking for deals on things and will stock up on sale things. but, this year bear had a request…

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my bear told me he needed a pencil case as he enters grade 2. i thought that sounded quite reasonable, so i decided to sew up something fun for him, instead of buying one. and, of course i had to search for some design and sewing ideas!!!

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here are some roll up pencil cases i used as inspiration for my own design. these bloggers have shared fantastic pictures and tutorials for this sewing project so i will spare you my horrid instructions.

i will say this that to sew up bear’s pencil case took about 90 minutes from start to finish. that includes finding fabric in my basement, ironing, filling my bobbins and fixing some mistakes. all-in-all it’s not a very difficult project!

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10 minute pencil roll from my poppet makes

 

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no sew coloured pencil roll from small + friendly

 

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make a colourful roll-up pencil case from guide central

 

bear’s pencil roll-up case was  a surprise and he was thrilled with it when i showed it to him. he immediately went to the art room and chose which supplies he needed. it was pretty sweet watching him kiss it! haha!

HAPPY BACK-TO-SCHOOL!

xo, mama lola

wish me luck: it’s also back-to-school for me, eeeeek!!


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as summer starts to wind down, i tend to get a little introspective about my life. it’s probably the smell of change in the air; the new routines, different clothes,  the stewy recipes i so adore! transitions can be tricky, but this year i think for us, for me, it’ll be one of the simplest falls yet. kids are both eager to go back to school, to see their friends and dive into that familiar life.

this will be my second year alone at home, but this year things will be different for me. i have applied to go back to school and finish my women’s studies degree via distance education. it’s a huge leap for me having been out of school for a few years. i finished my second year of uni, while bear was 2 years old, lion was still in my belly and i had a terrible tumour growing in my head! in hindsight i am amazed that i was able to do all of that!

now, i will have two kids at school, better health and peace at home to do homework and complete whatever academic demands are thrust upon me.

i am feeling very inadequate however. my mommy brain has left me terrified about writing essays, studying for exams and generally participating in the world of academia. my insecurities seem to have all risen to the surface in the last few weeks. some may tell me “oh, that’s silly. you’re gonna do great”. sure, i guess, but that doesn’t make me feel more confident, that can only come from within me and with time. 

now i wait. i am waiting to see which credits are transferable from me previous college and university experiences. i completed an honours diploma in addiction and mental health counselling many moons ago. i loved that course working hard to achieve that honours standing. i have about a half of a women’s studies degree, but the higher ups at the university i was attending decided to cancel the program. it was a very upsetting, ironic and stupid! 

anyhow, now i have found this university that specifically caters to online learning, which is perfect for me and my big ol’ bag of insecurities. it will be easier for me complete the work without also having to attend lectures. i am trying to do what’s best for me, while also fulfilling a promise i made to myself I WOULD FINISH WHAT I STARTED!

so… here we go! i have to print these positive affirmations and post them around my house! haha!

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wish me luck friends!

my kids and DH are all very excited and supportive of me!

i will keep you posted!

xo, mama lola

back-to-school with brother label maker!


i keep saying in my blog and to my friends that i don’t want to wish my summer away. and, i don’t. but, let’s be real here, school starts in a matter of weeks and it’s time to start planning. i don’t actually need to do too much shopping this year, but i do have to re-do a bunch of labels. thanks to brother it’s going to be super easy and fast and FUN!

and, let me be clear here. this brother p-touch PT-D600 labeller is not your traditional label maker. this beauty can make custom labels in 6 different widths, has an awesome colour display, has lotsa funky fonts, can be connected to your computer, makes fabric iron on labels, comes with cute symbols & pictures! such fun!

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i’m no techno whiz, but i found this machine easy to use, and FUN! the boys love that they can easily ask for a label for a school item… voila, lunch box labelled… pencil box done! well, you get the idea! haha!

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i want to label everything in my house now!

 

*this post is sponsored by brother brand, but the images and opinions expressed are my own.

xo, mama lola

forest school fun!


 

i often feel like the public school system here in ontario lacks a natural component to it’s curriculum. yes, they talk about the environment and spend time outside even on some pretty cold days, but i wish there was more time spent in nature, exploring the natural world around them. so when i found out a high school friend of mine, brandy, was starting a forest school i jumped at the opportunity to sign my lion up! because it’s in another city he only goes for one afternoon a week (instead of the two afternoon’s currently offered).

this smiling beauty below is brandy.

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the kids are all between the ages of 3 and 5. the group meets and then walks along some lovely trails to their designated site. the trail is shared with dog walkers and cross country skiers.

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below is a picture of a quick stop for a story during our walk. here brandy introduced that days theme to the kids, as they all sat on a fallen tree and listened. none of the kids complained about stopping, about being cold, or about carrying their own backpacks. AMAZING!

forest school fun

the “classroom” site is amazing! there are several teepee/ wigwam style forts that were already built in the forest. there are beautiful tall trees as far as the eye can see. the kids are allowed to climb the forts and explore the nearby area. the kids enjoyed snack, had another story and discussed various elements of that days theme.

i love watching the kids enjoying the natural world. they were so involved in it without any effort or encouragement from adults. they recognized things differently from us grown-ups creating interesting discussions about why things are the way they are.

kids are so open and free.

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on the day i was volunteering we focused on our senses;  we listened for birds, tasted snow, touched sticks and looked for interesting things in our environment. brandy encourages the kids to explore, question and get right into things. she follows the kids’ lead on things making the learning about them and not about what she assumes they might be interested in. so awesome!

the peace and calm of the forest school is what i really noticed. classrooms in buildings are full of posters, art, colours, shapes… there are almost no blank walls, everything is covered with some kind of stimulus. here in the woods the stimulus is not garish in colour or forced down the children’s throats. the natural world invites them in, gently stimulating their senses and enticing them for deeper learning. even though the kids explore the same forts, the subtle changes that occur over time is what makes outdoor learning so amazing.

below are pictures of the ice experiments the kids had created the previous thursday. they poured water in containers with some acorns and leaves to see what would happen. we hung them in the trees so the sun could catch them. so lovely!

forest school fun, winter expriment forest school fun

if you’re curious and interested in brandy’s beautiful school, wildflowers forest school, check out her facebook page HERE. there are lots more pictures and tales of the adventures they get into! currently, there is no website, but it’s in the works!

xo, mama lola

lion started kindergarten.


oh my, what a huge milestone we have reached as a family, but really it’s one our littlest has achieved with such confidence and joy. yes, as a family we got to this goal, but really it’s our lion who has started school with serious zest! i’m so proud of him, i could burst! as a teeny baby, as soon as lion became aware of his big brother he has been working hard to catch up to bear. he has always wanted to do and be just like bear, in that adorable little brother way, which as his mum is heartbreakingly cute to see.

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now, that he gets to go to the same school as his big brother… HUGE! from the get-go lion has been brave and eager to go, marching confidently into the kindergarten classroom forgetting to even say bye to us, his bleary eyed parents! here in ontario kindergarten is all day, every day and to acclimatize the newest students they start off with only two hours of school on day and then they get a day or two off, go for a full day, more days off and then they go full steam. it’s called staggered entry and for younger siblings it can be confusing and difficult, because their older sibs are still going to school, going through those routines and so lion’s start to school was kinda long.

 

and, my lion still naps… yes, still at 4 years of age! so, i only send him 3 days a week. i did the same with bear as well, as i think all day, every day school for such little people is too much to handle. on the days lion does not go to school he plays in the morning or goes to swimming lessons and then crashes for 2-3 hours.

 

first day of school

his teachers have shared no concerns and say he is a pleasure in the classroom. one of the teachers was bears teacher for two years and she remarked that it is incredible how different my two boys are! and, it’s true. bear struggled greatly with transitioning into school and i think he was quite jealous that his brother was allowed to stay home with mum, while got shipped away to some scary new place. (read more about bears first days of school HERE) lion now has a huge advantage being the little brother, as he is already very familiar with the school routine. he knows what drop-offs in the morning and pick-ups in the afternoon look like, he recognizes some of the teachers, he has been inside the school a million times over the years and he has his big brother at school down the hall. these are all huge advantages that bear never felt, making him anxious and scared at school often.

 

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i am so proud and excited for my kids this year. they are happy,  they are growing up and experiencing new adventures together, which is what i always wanted for my kids!

 

xo, mama lola

end of school year.

i realize this is kinda late, as school ended a few weeks ago now, but here i go anyways…

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my oldest, bear is now 6.5 years old and he just finished senior kindergarten. it’s off to grade 1 in the fall! it’s not a huge accomplishment or anything, but things will be shifting for him as he leaves the kindy yard and switches over to the “big kids” side, as the faces and friends in his class will change. leaving kindergarten also means less play, more structured learning and new teachers. all of this new stuff will for sure trigger his anxiety as he learns to navigate through all of it. actually, i think he’s already anxious about the transitions that are upcoming. transitions, big and small are a struggle for him and the looming changes in september are no different. i have planned a pretty relaxed summer with lots of free time to play alone or with friends. he’s going to one camp this summer for 5 days where he’ll be learning about all kinds of nature things! i’m hoping he can chill te next few months before we step back in to the school routine.

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my youngest, lion is now 4 years old and he is entering school system officially in september. he finished a year of pre-school, which was all montesorri based play-learning so going to junior kindergarten will be a shock to him; at school all day, having to toilet alone, learning to eat lunch with his peers and just navigate the day-to-day routines of the school day will be quite stressful. although he doesn’t struggle with anxiety like his brother, entering school will be a hurdle that will exhaust him deeply. the kid still naps about three days a week!!! that’s why i’ve decided to only send him part-time to school. it’s what i did with bear when he was starting school and it worked out really well.

 

i’m hoping that my assumption that i know my kids best, and know their needs best is true. especially when it comes to their education and experiences at school!

 

but, here’s to a great summer! i am so proud of my guys forall they have accomplished in their learning this passed year!

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.

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

 

HAPPY LONG WEEKEND!!!!!!!

xo, mama lola

how to make fruit sushi!

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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???

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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. 

(these terrible pictures were taken with my phone. the terry fox run happened at our school and i had to share these stickers on the kids backs. the students decided what they wanted written on their sticker. breaks my heart; but so proud of all of the kids for taking part.)

i would love it if you left a link to your { this moment }. 

xo, mama lola
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