theme thursday: roadtrip tips [part 1]


PART 1 : ROAD TRIP SERIES!

as with any adventure, i walked away from our summer road trip last year with twenty/twenty hindsight. (read here, PART 1, PART 2) we camped and motelled our way from southern ontario to the eastern coast of canada. there we drove through quebec, new brunswick, prince edward island and nova scotia! from that big trip i learned what we should have packed, what we needed and i thought i would share my insights now that road trip season is almost here!


  • depending on your departure time, pre-packing your car as much as possible the night before is always a good thing, such a HUGE time saver, plus so much easier without the kids hanging around “helping”. 
  • clean your house before leaving. that includes cleaning out your fridge and changing the sheets on your bed. when we came home exhausted from our trips i was quite pleased with myself for cleaning the day of our departure. 
  • clean your car too. yes it gets super yucky on a big trip, but there’s something nice about starting out clean, inside and out. 
  • don’t forget to write down your odometer pre/ post trip so you can see how many kilometres you actually clocked!
  • don’t forget to really psyche yourself up for being flexible and bring some extra patience too!




    • when travelling with kids always have food accessible, and not just crackers and chips, but also fruits. i had little tupperware containers for the kids that i would make snacks for them in and then pass them back. it prevented some messes, but unfortunately not all!
    • keep wipes, hand cleaner, toilet paper or paper towels handy too! spills happen, as do boogers, pee accidents or puke!
    • always have toys, activity books, markers, and books available and accessible for the kids. i had a bin of books in between the two boys (propped on top of sleeping bags) and then each boy had their own basket of cars or animals or whatever. 
    • have a flashlight accessible up front in the car.
    • have a fully stocked first aid kit. make sure nothing is expired!
    • jars for collecting treasures is helpful. this tip was given by another mama, and boy am i glad i listened. for all the crab legs and stones and cones we collected the jars ensured safe travels for the treasures!
    • a toy/ treat stash that you can pull new books or activities from, to help keep the kids happy during the long drives.
    • laundry soap. on nice mornings, i always washed a few pieces of clothing and hung them to dry on our camp site for the day. 
    • access to a variety of music to fit all kinds of moods and times of day. books on CD are fun too!



    • pack clothes by person and by need. i had the kids clothes in one bag, but each kid had a  side, so when i needed a clean t-shirt for lion, i knew exactly where to look.
    • do not over pack clothes. remember, it is easy to wash items by hand, and on a summer road trip kids end up spending a lot of time in their bathing suits!
    • for things like rain gear, coats, sneakers and clothes that were not as needed, we kept in a bin with other items that we only needed so often. having things in bins makes it easy to see what’s inside and also easier to pack, at least in a minivan.
    • i had a “kitchen” box with all of our plates, cutlery, cups, cooking pans, mini cutting board, matches, olive oil, dish soap (i brought some from home and just put it in a jar) in it. so when it was time to prepare a meal, i just pulled the kitchen box out and set to work. 
    • we had another big rubbermaid bin with all the camping stuff; tent, air matters & pump, rope, and tarps. this way when it was time to set up camp everything was together, or when it was time to take camp down, the kids were able to help by putting everything in the right bin.
    • go easy on towels. you don’t actually need one for everyone. they are big, take up an enormous amount of space in the bag and take forever to dry! sarongs work great and the kids love ’em! they dry quickly, are tiny when folded up and can used for a variety of reasons, as towels, blankets, scarves, skirts, toga’s, sunshade… you get the idea.
    • i had an administrative basket that sat in between the front seats, which contained important items like phone and camera chargers, pens, paper, adult pain killers, extra change, vitamins, extra hair ties, and other important odds and ends.


    so….
    what did i miss?
    what are some of your road trip tips or tricks?
    where are you heading to this summer?


    this summer is in fact our third major road trip. we will be driving north to thunder bay, the city where dear hubby and i fell in love! we also drove to NYC with the boys that fateful halloween weekend when the nor-easter landed full steam in 2011! you can read about that trip here PART 1, PART 2, PART 3.

    UPCOMING:
    – games and activities for while driving, camping and at the beach
    – quick, easy and fun snacks and foods to make while on the road and camping
    – tips for camping with kids  
    – what to stock in your first aid kit


      xo, mama lola

      theme thursday :: more fabulous etsy finds for kids!

      i love looking for handmade items on etsy. i love supporting local, independent crafters, artisans and creative folk! for THEME THURSDAY this week i have a small selection (i’ve been distracted by my back pain) of items that caught my eye or have brought my family lots of pleasure and joy.

      so, let’s get started.
      these adorable hats may seem out of season to some, but here in canada as i type we are having an ice storm and the long range forecast still has snowflakes in it! yikes! don’t pack away those warm cozies yet!


      the boys were gifted these awesome wooden coins made by tonja and alison of branch of may. they are the mama’s who also made the boys’ super awesome gnome hats (see my dudes above wearing them).

      then i found these…
      sew eco has lots of super cute re-usable household items from various kitchen cloths, to lunch bags, sandwich bags and cute lunch money bags. all perfect for school lunches, as so many schools at least here in canada garbage free, meaning any waste your lunch creates is taken home and disposed of there.


      this is an adorable wee change wallet for kids. has a ring so you can attach it to anything, like your belt loop, a key chain, zipper, whatever. great for use at school if a special treat is for sale!


      look at this adorable reusable food bag. i love the adorable fabric so much!


      my kids love to help out in the kitchen all the time! check out these fabulous, wipe clean, waterproof aprons for kids from bibbity bob. they also have aprons for adults, and bibs for adults or wee ones! there is a fantastic fabric selection and the prices are super reasonable!

      i bet my bear would love this bear apron!


      happy thursday to you all!
      we are staying dry and warm inside today, working on various art projects, puzzles and lego sets!

      xo, mama lola

      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

      themed thursday :: brain tumours.



      well, it’s that time of year again, when i am looking for donations for the brain tumour foundation of canada. 

      here is a picture of me and my survivors rose.


      as you may know, i survived a non-malignant macro-adenoma on my pituitary gland.  in most cases such a tumour is quickly removed if it is growing, as it may cause blindness if the tumour presses on the optic nerves. of course there are other complications, but these kinds of tumours are generally not cancerous.

      what made my situation complicated, was the fact that a few weeks before my tumour was diagnosed, i found out i was pregnant for the second time. it was an unplanned, surpise, but we were thrilled regardless. but, once the tumour was found i had to throw away my dreams of a home birth, as i was labelled high risk. so, my care was transferred from my midwives to an obstetrician at a fancy hospital about an hours away from our hometown. as my pregnancy progressed, it was determined that the tumour was growing (through regular MRI’s) and that i couldn’t even have a vaginal birth. i was told i had to have a c-section, but to make things worse, i had to be put under general anaesthesia, because the epidural could have ruptured my tumour and killed me instantly. man, hearing that really shook the earth under me.

      the time leading to lion’s birth was all very upsetting, scary and stressful. i tried to mother bear, but i suffered from debilitating migraines daily and was taking very strong pills for pain management, which came with their own side effects. i was always exhausted, always in pain and always on edge. plus, i was forced to face my mortality at a very young age, which was difficult for everyone.

      then july 8th rolled around, and it was lion’s birth day. his birth was awful, and you can read more about that HERE. there were mistakes made that almost killed him and brought even more heartache and worry into our lives. then, four months after he was born, i had my tumour removed. it was actually the day before my mum’s birthday. they went up my nose and sucked it out, kind of. it was very painful after the surgery, but i was not given much recovery time as dear hubby had to work and i had to mother a baby and a toddler. i was desperately trying to hold it all together, by ignoring the stress that was my life. i carried on breastfeeding, cloth diapering, shuffling bear to play dates and preschool, while still getting regular check ups with various doctors.


      but, even though life threw all of this stress at us, we survived. i survived.
      i received wonderful care from my neurologist and her team, my family doctor has been a wonderful support and, my family and friends have been there threw all of it. 

      a year ago, three days before the event, i found out about the spring sprint, an annual fundraising event hosted by the brain tumour foundation of canada. they have walks/ runs through-out canada in the spring, in an effort to raise money and awareness for brain tumours. 

      brain tumours do not discriminate. they affect people of all ages, all sexes, all races, all classes, all walks of life. you may have heard that valerie harper recently announced that she has an incurable brain tumour. mark ruffalo, another hollywood star shares about his survival of a brain tumour here.

      so, here it comes, please, please, please hear my plea and donate to this amazing foundation, to help support people dealing with these hidden beasts,  these terrifying things called a brain tumours. 

      i am on a team this year, we are called MAMAS AGAINST TUMOURS! please follow this link and donate to our team.

      here is a handful of brain tumour survivors in my small town from last years event. some still have tumours growing in their heads, others don’t. but, we are all together supporting one and other. 

      here’s a blurb and pics from last years event.

      also, i will be sharing stories of other people who are or have been affected by brain tumours, in the next few weeks.

      xo, mama lola

      themed thursday :: robots are cool!

      i’m going to be starting something new here and it’s called THEMED THURSDAY. each thursday i will post an entry around a theme, like teddy bears, monster trucks or pink flowers! haha! you get the idea. it’ll be a way for me to share ideas, recipes, or other cool, random things i find while surfing the internet!

      * * * * * * *
      today’s theme is…

      here’s STYX with mr. roboto to put yo in a robot-y kinda mood.

      look at these adorable robot cookies from munchkin munchies! 
      they kinda look too cute to eat, don-cha think?

      and, how about this sweet unisex robot t-shirt from stitch & spoke
      it’s perfect for any robot lovin’ kid!

      check out these little cuties, these super cute robots are eco-friendly little plushies from needlings
      love the little starry glint detailing in the eyes!

      i love these leather bibs from mally. we had one and it lasted forever! 
      it was one of the best gifts we ever received for the kids when they were babes. 
      the clasp is magnetic, so we just hung the bib on our fridge when not in use.

      and, robot themed items are not just for kids…

      what about these super hilarious cuff links from rapscallion!


      and, finally a blogger who likes the whole robot theme…


      the robot mommy. she blogs about homeschooling, her caffeine addiction and other fun things. check her out, she’s hilarious!

      [ this is from the robot mommy’s facebook page. ]

      hope you guys enjoyed the robot collection! if you have any theme ideas, let me know, and i’ll see what i can do… not making any promises tho! 

      * * * * * * * 


      xo, mama lola
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