there is a stirring inside of me.

this year is just flying by. it’s hard to believe it’s already mid-september! 
i started the year with lots of goals and changes in mind, and i made bunch of new years resolutions in january, but i guess i mostly forgot about them. or at least the specifics. or maybe not.

as always, it is difficult to myself a priority in the day to grind and i’m still working on those always important self care details of my life. buti am proud of myself for making larger efforts, setting clear boundaries with the kids about my availability; i am fine saying to them i can’t do that right now, you will have to wait. it is easier to set these small boundaries with them because they are older and more independent. plus, with lion in preschool a couple times a week and bear in senior kindergarten, i do have a small handful of hours in the week where i am totally alone. kid free!

during these quiet hours i can feel a stirring inside of me. it’s a feeling that i want to do something big for myself…
i started my women’s studies degree six years ago. (oh, it sounds just horrible to say that, and not be done!) then we got married and bear was born. i continued my studies when he was a wee dude and i put my studies on hold two months before lion was born. it astounds me that while i was massively pregnant, i commuted about 30 minutes each way to my classes, completed my readings, wrote exams, completed essays, all while mothering a two year old and with a tumour growing in my head! 

clearly i had to put my studies on hold when lion was a newborn and, while having to deal with my health concerns. and inevitably my education was placed way at the bottom of the priority list. this was the right thing to do at that time in my life, but now i am starting to feel a strong urge to finish what i started. 
to finish my degree.
get ‘er done!

but, the university where i began my women’s studies degree has since discontinued the program (patriarchy at it’s finest!) and figuring out my current options is tricky. it’s not like i have time to sit on the phone and call around making appointments with various universities or what-have-you. but, after some soul searching and real consideration of what i want to do, i think i am closer to a final decision. this time, i am making a decision purely based on me, my needs and my wants. it’s time for my dear hubby and the boys to make some sacrifices too, and honestly, i wouldn’t be asking much of them, or anything they wouldn’t be willing to do for me. they will all support me in their own way, i know it!

next september i will have two kids, so all of my kids in school full-time. that frees up my days and my life significantly. don’t get me wrong, i LOVE being a mama, and i love being home with my kids, but that doesn’t mean i can’t want more for myself.

sitting around thinking about life. my life.

xo, mama lola

how to prevent lice, naturally!

here are some quick tips ‘n tricks to preventing lice! september and january are the two times of year when the kids are coming back to school after being away for a while, and also the two most common times of year lice make their rounds at schools. now, that’s not to say you or your child can’t get them whenever!

here are some tips i have collected from the internet and from my friends, on how to best prevent lice. again, nothing is 100% and maintaining regular checks and routines is the best way to ensure you remain lice free.



  • lice are parasites found on human heads.
  • lice is the plural for the word louse.
  • according to some 1 in 10 kids are being treated for lice at all times. YIKES!
  • head lice do not affect pets
(from source)



  • first, you the parent have to educate yourself. know what lice look like, how they multiply and their life cycle, how they travel from one head of hair to another, how to rid them properly and know not to panic!
  • do not wash your kids hair often. their hair doesn’t even get that dirty after a day at school. but, lice prefer clean(er) hair, so the more days you let the natural greases and oils build up, the better.
  • for kids with long hair, tie it back, use kerchiefs, clips, barrettes etc.
  • get some tea tree oil and put 10 drops (or so) into your shampoo bottle. 
  • before heading out to school spritz your kids’ hair with some natural hair spray, or rub some essential oils in between your fingers and then rub your fingers through the hair.
  • remind kids NOT to share hats, combs, brushes or any other hair accessories or products with their friends. sharing all clothing should also be avoided.
  • clean and wash bedding, combs, brushes and clothes regularly. i know this is kinda obvious, but proper hygiene is so key!
  • be vigilant. check your kids (and your own) hair regularly and talk to other parents to see if anyone has heard of someone who has had lice.
  • teach others how to prevent the spread of lice and if necessary the removal of an infestation.

the bottom line here is, lice suck so let’s work together to prevent the spread of them. if you have them, TELL PEOPLE, because then the people you have been in contact with can check to see if they have them. let’s break the stigma of head lice, especially since they are not an issue that affects any particular group of people. ANYONE CAN GET THEM!

leaving you with a little lice humour…

p.s. this has been the itchiest blog post to write. i have been scratching vigorously for hours!
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. 

tuesday was…
first day of SK for bear.
first day of preschool for lion.

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

xo, mama lola

fun vegetarian lunch ideas!

i know many kids have already returned back to school. my eldest goes back next week, and to prepare i have collected some healthy, fun lunch ideas! my bear gets easily distracted from eating, so i’m hoping if i change things up a little and create little fun surprises, then maybe he’ll be more inclined to eat. we’re vegetarian and his school is a nut-free, waste-free zone, meaning there are certain foods i’m not allowed to include in his lunch and we need to use a steel lunch box to reduce product waste. i’m not bothered by this because i’m very conscious of dietary issues and always do my bit for the environment! anyway, i want to make sure he’s getting everything he needs in a day with these restrictions in place!
i guess only time will tell!

how do you get your kids to eat their school lunches?

it’s so easy to always make the same thing for lunch. i love these ideas, because it shows that if you think a little out of the box you can really get creative!

here’s what to think about:

  • presentation is key; it’s not just about fun shapes, think brisght colours too
  • hitting the oh-so important food groups
  • cutting things into smaller, bite-sized portions
  • don’t forget about drinks too
  • investing in good BPA-free containers that are easy for kids to open and close
  • don’t forget to label all the pieces of the lunch sets

sooooooooooooooo…. here we go!


make your own sushi from bear & lion

(i think the bread actually has meat inside, but you could easily substitute with hummus or cream cheese.)

healthy choices from i pack lunch

vegan club sandwich from healthy. happy. life.

roasted tomato grilled cheese from the wimpy vegetarian

falafel & tzatziki from peas and thank-you

pizza pops from bear & lion

vegan sweet potato, coconut milk and sweet chili ravioli from  reclaiming provincial

christmas cactus from organized bites

coming up soon… hot vegetarian school lunch ideas!
perfect for cool fall or chilly winter days!
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. 

we have all officially survived bear’s first year of school. 
here are a few pictures from his last day with his best bud and his awesome teacher’s! we love them all so much! 
woohoo, summer!!!

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

xo, mama lola

a preschool and ballet update!

a week ago we went to an open house held by a local soon-to-open outdoor preschool after i saw the open house feather flags waving about all over the place, i was actually quite surprised when i found out it was a preschool. i was feeling hopeful it could be a place to send lion a couple of mornings a week. i am really starting to crave some alone time, and the wee guy doesn’t really have many friends of his own.

we spent the time outside in the sunshine; the kids played, painted and ate cookies. it was all very sweet and lovely!

the space was beautiful, with a full kitchen and dining area, and a classroom with adorable different play areas. the outside area was lovely also, as the school was renting space from a church with lots of orchards and CSA farming plots and community gardens. they own lots of land, enough to keep the kids happy and busy.

but, to my dismay after chatting and listening to the staff the schools mandate isn’t to be outside all the time the way i initially understood. they are hoping to get outside and explore the large property, but they will spend large chunks of time inside as well. the school is on the outskirts of town, and only accessible by car. plus, it’s quite expensive.

so, we won’t be signing lion up to this particular preschool.
gotta keep on looking!

* * * * * * *

bear had his open house at his ballet school last week.

i went with my camera in hand and was thrilled to watch him. but, he didn’t have the same glint in his eye as he has the previous times i have watched.

i think he’s bored. plus, we’ve been dealing with the whole ballet is for girls issue. i chatted with his teacher for a little bit after the class. she had some suggestions, but for now we are leaving the whole conversation of continuing ballet. i think he needs a break from the school routine and the ballet routine, before he can actually say whether or not he wants to continue. maybe missing it will tweak his interested again. in the fall he would be in the next level up, which means he’d need ballet shoes! aahhh!!!!
i really hope he continues.

* * * * * * *

i can’t imagine what juggling both kids’ schedules when they are older will be like. trying to decide who can do what and where, how to get there, balancing costs and school and family! oh, i’m already exhausted just thinking about it!

xo, mama lola

teacher gifts!

there is just over a month of school for us, or bear specifically. i want to give something special to his teacher’s, because i really appreciate and value all of their efforts this year. bear has learned so much this past year. he is french immersion, which means he is surrounded by french all day and he is expected to speak it as well. and he does. not a lot, but enough to get by, he will ask to use the bathroom, sing songs and answer a few questions throughout the day. for this reason, i think i might look for something like these personalized bobbleheads and try to get it to resemble a french person, hopefully bear’s french teacher would appreciate the gesture!

i always enjoy talking to his teachers and getting to know them better. talking to them lets me find out so much more about them, like their teaching style and grading methods. if you want to get on the good side with your childs teacher then tell them about GradeCam, it’s a service bear’s teachers uses to help grade work, it really helps them out and the teacher would love you for introducing them to it. click here for it.

anyway, i have put together a collection of gifts that teachers may appreciate. i don’t think you have to spend a lot to show your appreciation. here are a few fun ideas to jazz up or personalize simple gift ideas. keep in mind the personality of the teacher – one with a good sense of humor may love a pair of custom face socks as a great in-joke, but one who is a bit more formal may prefer some cuff links or a tie. from what i have heard, teachers prefer to receive things that are meant for them, rather than their classroom, which makes good sense. you wouldn’t buy your mechanic a can of oil to show your gratitude, would you?

here we go!
50 cute sayings from skip to my lou
polka dot tote with cute printable from uncommon designs
personalized soap dispenser from design mom
printable, personal tags from making life whimsical
gift card and treat from hi sugarplum
succulent garden from the idea room

sometimes it’s nice to join forces with another family or two and get the teachers a “bigger” gift. like a gift card with more funds on it, or a fancier bag or whatever!

but, it is important to ensure the gift is personal and practical on some lever. crayon art of the teachers initials is not really what a teacher wants to receive… would you?

xo, mama lola

discover the fun of discovery bottles!

my bear got some homework for this past holiday season. he was to make a “discovery bottle” and then was to share his bottle with the class during their “show & share” time. it was an assignment that he completed with the help of dear hubby and lion, too. lion actually made his own little discovery bottle.

for his bottle bear included some balsam and cedar branches, shells and crab legs from the various beaches out east collected during our road trip, acorns and chestnuts from central park collected from our trip to NYC, some beads and lots of glitter for good measure. it’s a super fast and as easy or difficult project as you make it.

the boys collected a bunch of items to put inside the bottle, popped them inside, filled the bottle with water leaving a little space for air, so the bottle can flipped and the items can easily move around. finally, dear hubby hot glued the lid on ensuring no leaks or other messy disasters!

pinterest is full of various ideas for this project. you can use all sorts of ingredients n your bottle. water, beads, sand, toys, yarn, food colouring etc etc. we got the idea of using tree branched from the website “teach preschool”.

have you ever made on of these? what did you put inside?

xo, mama lola

bullying: it happened to me.

* october is national anti-bullying month. *

this is a subject that dear hubby and i visit often now that we are parents. it’s in the news these days as a young girl in BC committed suicide recently, it’s on the agenda at the parent council meeting at bear’s school and it sits in the back of my mind as memories from my youth haunting me at times.

when i was a kid, we called it teasing.
when i was growing up in finland, i was never targeted, but at the age of 11 my parents and i moved to australia. my dad was working on a big project there and so we followed him down under. i was raised in a bilingual family, my mom has always spoken finnish, my dad english. but, i didn’t really know how to read or write in english when growing up in finland, but i my verbal skills were excellent. in australia, i was in grade six and i was such an outsider and targeted pretty heavily by my peers. the kids had no clue about finland and asked if we had lived in an igloo or had a tv. i spoke with an accent, had no idea that gumboots were rubber boots and was unaware of the cool way to roll my socks. the other kids laughed and taunted me for not knowing various swear words or sexual terms. i would go home in tears and eventually told my parents who went to the school. but, nothing really helped. then, in grade seven i switched schools and made a handful of good friends and the rest of my time on australia was a positive experience.

but then, we moved again. not back to finland, but to canada. so, again due to cultural differences i was targeted and bullied. this time, the kids were meaner and more aggressive, probably because we were older. one boy would even hit me in the head, all the time saying, “hey, you wanna cuff?” this time, i didn’t tell anyone, because i was older and way more insecure about everything (weren’t we all at 12/13 years). my body was changing; i was growing at a shocking rate going from the smallest kid in class to one of the tallest girls in a matter of a year! i was teased for the shoes i wore, for not wearing a bra and then one day for wearing a bra, for calling an eraser a rubber, which in canada is a condom!

it was hard. really hard. i made some good friends, but they were targeted as well for being smart, or for wearing their hair the wrong way or whatever. my self worth and esteem were low and once i hit high-school, i was on the fast train going downhill, fast and furious! i went from cute to not-so-cute! my look and attitude changed from smiles to angst, presented through ripped jeans, loud music and frightening behaviour, which i’m not going to get into here!

i was scarred quite deeply from the years of teasing, taunting and bullying. i carry those scars today and although i like to think i have grown into a confident adult, when i hear about the kids today being bullied, my past comes rushing back to me. all the self loathing and feelings of loneliness come back to me in an instant, because my pain was very real.

dear hubby doesn’t get it as he was never teased, which i think is pure luck, because kids around him, his friends were bullied. but I knew if he ever did feel the way I felt and like the many others around him, he could easily seek help and get some guidance from sites like I think perhaps I might do the same in the future so I can better manage this feeling of pain and self-loathing that keeps cropping back up.

here’s a quick look at my awkward years. yikes!

i survived, i think, because the cyber-internet-facebook-world didn’t exist back when i was a kid, so i got a break from the attacks. i went to ballet and those friends had no idea about what was happening at school. unfortunately, it is so different for kids today as they do not have that luxury of compartmentalizing their lives as easily, if you’re not too sure about cyberbullying in today’s world, you can head on over to pages such as broadbandsearch cyber bullying offering facts and statistics on cyberbullying in 2019. thanks to the internet their worlds come colliding together, whether they want it or not and the bullying in incessant. the internet also provides the attackers with a veil of anonymity and once something is out there is cyber space, it stays there! October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It is to help raise awareness of cyber security and online attacks.

my eldest, my sweet bear has some of his own ideas about fashion as a four-and-a-half year old. he loves sparkly things and his rubber boots have pink hearts all over them. most would label his boots as being meant for girls and one day someone is going to say something cruel to him about them. his previous boots had flowers on them and some big kid at the library made a point about them. dude also has loves his red pants, his tights; he tells me his favourite colours are pink and yellow, which shouldn’t matter, but again, someone is going to tell him that boys should not like pink.

i am so scared for him. i don’t want his naivete and wonder to be shattered by some bully telling him he’s not wearing the right clothes.
oh, boy.

xo, mama lola

my sensitive dude.

sometimes i have no idea what i’m doing as a mother.

i question decisions i (we) have made about the boys, especially when i discover things aren’t exactly as i thought. on monday when i picked up bear from school his teacher told me he had cried several times through-out the day. she thought it was because, he is not in school daily and feels out of sync with the rest of the class, but my gut says that’s not it all. my gut says something happened with a classmate; an exchange that was mean or possible even just confusing to bear.

that afternoon when i tried gently to talk to bear he would turn away and shook his head in silence, meaning he didn’t want to talk about it. obviously, i can’t force him to share what happened and maybe it’ll come out some other day. but, that leaves me feeling pretty sad for my guy. 

yesterday, wasn’t any better. he had a terrible day and came home looking overwhelmed and exhausted. i let things lie, not talking about the school day until later in the evening, reminding him he needs to speak up for himself. it’s something he is not good at; he tells me he’s scared to ask for things or say things, all sorts of things. it shatters me to think of my sensitive guy, feeling alone at school. he told me he didn’t play at recess, but just stood there watching the other kids. augh. hearing him shut down at school breaks my heart and leaves me wondering how i can help him…

i think my bear is a sensitive kid, highly intuitive and in tune with his environment. after reading about it in books and articles, i think that’s what we’re dealing with, cuz it ain’t shyness, baby. here’s a great article from mothering magazine explaining what is means to be a sensitive child and what it looks like for the mother of a sensitive child.

this morning started with a constant whine of, i don’t want to go to school. i want to be at home with you.” 
what’s a mama to do?
fingers crossed this rainy october day is better for him than the beginning of the week!

xo, mama lola
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