hi there. again. i think.

i have a had a really tough year.

well, 2 years actually. tough in a way that has made it hard to come to my blog and share. tough to get creative. tough all around.

i’m not quite ready to get into the details of the rough days in this super public place, even though this is my place to share anything. for now, i am choosing privacy for the time being on the me side of things, but am hoping to increase posts with the family side of things. cuz life has been BUSY!!! and when i say busy, i mean BUSY!


i don’t even know where to begin!

i’ll start here… my last post from march was about the volunteer work i was doing with the refugees fleeing war torn syria. sadly, my volunteering ended with the syrian newcomers project quite abruptly at the beginning of spring. the wheels of bureaucracy had a very specific direction they wanted to turn, which meant the clothing warehouse had to closed. all of us volunteers were caught off guard by the news, but so it goes, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. i am proud of the work i did, of the men and women i worked with to sort mountains of clothing and household items donated by the wonderful people of our city.


and then there’s the big, fun news…

we sold our beloved peppermint patty in the spring and bought a new house closer to the kids school, on a quieter street. it was quite a stressful move, moving ourselves and the kids. we had to use a no credit check apartment rental for a few months as our house sold much quicker than we had anticipated and our new home wasn’t quite ready. it wasn’t for long but it just prolonged the whole moving process. we were sad to leave our first wee house, but are thrilled with the new name-yet-to-be-decided house that sits in a better location, providing more space and the thing that the kids love the most is that they each get their own room! Finding a new house and actually moving is so exciting and if you’re thinking about moving, learn more about homes for sale columbia il here!


we moved to the new place in july and enjoyed our summer getting to know the house. the process of moving was quite stressful, as there was so much to do. but if it wasn’t for a friend of ours recommending we use the services of moving companies Roanoke (if you live in this area of Virginia), then we feel like this would have taken way longer than it needed to. if you’re in the position of moving house soon, it would be in your best interest to at least get some assistance, to make this a lot less stressful. anyway, it came with a super awesome hot tub, which we have put to good use a lot since moving in. we haven’t made any cosmetic changes yet, opting to live here first to figure out what exactly what we need vs. ant to do. our walls are currently all various shades of brown (poo brown) so we will slowly start by changing those. and when i say we, i mean me. hahaha!

more details of the new house to come for sure.

a few days after moving went on a fantastic canoe camping trip to killarney provincial park.


it was such a great trip. yes, there were tears, but there were mostly smiles and jokes and fun times. camping like this is an enormous amount of work for all, but we came together as a family and conquered the bugs, showing them we could have a blast no matter how much they bit us! we’re already making plans for another canoe camping trip for next summer.

school started in september for the boys. they are thrilled with their classes, enjoying school and their buddies so much these days. it really is such a satisfying sensation to watch your kids gain all sorts of new skills, absorbing knowledge and creating strong bonds with their peers.


next up, coming soon…

pictures from out AMAZING family vacation to costa rica. we just got back late monday night and i am super pleased with the pictures i got. costa rica is such a beautiful country, rich with nature and the people there are super lovely. we stayed at an all-inclusive for the first time EVER, which felt like paradise. there was no meal planning to worry about only delicious restaurants to visit and taste test. we enjoyed beautiful fresh fruit and fresh baked sea food right from the sea! the service was incredible with staff always meeting our needs with a smile.


costa rica is such a beautiful country, rich with nature and the people there are super lovely. we stayed at an all-inclusive for the first time EVER, which felt like paradise. there was no meal planning to worry about only delicious restaurants to visit and taste test. we enjoyed beautiful fresh fruit and fresh baked sea food right from the sea! the service was incredible with staff always meeting our needs with a smile.

here i am with my glorious sea salt parched hair, smudged mascara sucking back my super delish strawberry daiquiri! YUM!


anyhow, i am hoping to get back to the swing of things here.

i know i have said that before, but maybe this time it will be my time for an actual comeback!!!

xo, mama lola

syrian refugee project; why i’ve been MIA

i have been MIA from this space for a long time! it’s not something i am going to get into here, right now, because i have something pretty great to share with you instead!

something that i am totally & completely proud of!

one main reason i have been distracted from my blog is i have been volunteering for the syrian refugees arriving in our community soon. a local business man, jim estill, has sponsored 50 families! yes, that’s right 50 families, not 50 persons, 50 families! we don’t even know how many people are in each family, how old these people are or any of the details. we were told that the average size of a family is 7 members. this project is estimated to cost $1.5 million!

this what the warehouse looked like before the avalanche of donations arrived.

syrian refugee project, guelph

thank goodness this cardboard was laid down on the floor; my knees and feet will be forever grateful considering some days i have clocked almost 10, 000 steps before noon. i know this thanks to my fitbit!



all of the furniture has been removed from our warehouse and transferred to another location providing much more space for the clothing we are sorting.

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i started volunteering in the new year. it was quite overwhelming when i first arrived, with enormous piles of clothing, stacks of bowls and plates and furniture. many volunteers at our location created kitchen starter packs which include plates, bowls, cutlery, cooking utensils. really just to get everyone started with the bare minimum of kitchen supplies. some people went out and generously purchased brand new cutlery! it is such a great feeling to see we also initially were sorting bedding, linens, towels and toys. these items have also been moved to different location, because really THERE IS SO MUCH STUFF! which is good, because it is hard to understand how much stuff people will actually need to start their lives all over again in canada.

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our location has now formally become the clothing distribution centre, which means the syrian newcomers will book appointments in order to come and choose clothing for themselves. we have clothing from size newborn to XXXL, in all shapes, colours, styles, textiles, patterns, textures and for every season. i have sorted through clothing looking for tears, holes, staining, ensuring the zippers and buttons work, that pockets are empty, hoods are attached and that the items are in general good condition. if things don’t look good enough for myself or my family, we chuck them. we bag the unwanted clothes and send it off to a company that resorts it, and eventually recycles the clothes. 

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all clothing is sorted into kids, men’s and women’s. the kids clothes are sorted further into boys and girls, and then into ages. dresses, skirts, blazers, suites and winter coats are all hung on rolly racks, while sweaters, blouses, t-shirts, pants, shorts, sleepware, scareves, gloves, mitts and hats are all packed into boxes.

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the above personal items have all been meticulously inspected for expiration dates, new packaging and all small electrical appliances and things have all been tested.

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i work with the loveliest of people from all walks of life, from all over the world. there are the regulars who come every day of which some work all day from 9am to 4:30pm. then there are people like me who come often, but only work one shift either from 9am to 12:30pm or 12:30pm to 4:30pm. then there are other’s who come when they can, which may not be often, but their help is necessary and needed. the work we do is not glamorous, in fact some days are mind numbingly dull, if weren’t for the other people there! we all suffer from various aches and pains at the end of our shifts, but we all still seem to come back!

i feel proud of my community for coming together and helping the refugees who so desperately deserve it. we live in such excess, which has really been shoved in my face during my time volunteering.  


i am dorking it out with the mayor centre, and some of our lovely volunteers.


>>> some of the photo’s in this post were taken by another faithful volunteer, pete. not sure how much of his identity i should reveal!

more photo’s and volunteer tales to come, i promise!


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!


10 minute pencil roll from my poppet makes


pencil roll 2

no sew coloured pencil roll from small + friendly


pencil roll 3

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!


xo, mama lola

camp fire nachos!

who doesn’t love nachos???

what about nachos cooked on a camp fire??? YES, PLEASE!

camp fire nachos

during one of our camping trips this summer i decided to try making nachos on the fire. i would totally recommend it, as it’s fun and delicious.

i used my iron skillet for cooking the nachos in, as it’s a perfect for over the fire. i layered chips, cheese and chopped veggies for ultimate goodness. we also enjoyed some fresh, local corn which we also cooked on the fire. first we soaked the corn in water for an hour or so and then placed them on the grill. we kept rotating them to ensure the cooked evenly. worked so well! corn was amazing with sea salt and butter!

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camp fire nachos
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  1. 1-2 cups cheese grated or cut int small pieces
  2. 1/2 red pepper cut
  3. 1/2 orange pepper cut
  4. cherry tomatoes diced
  5. green onions cut finely
  6. 1-2 tblsp olive oil
  7. corn chips
  1. 1. make sure your fire is burning well in the fire pit.
  2. 2. add olive oil to pan.
  3. 3. layer chips, cheese, veggies to the top of skillet.
  4. 4. place skillet on grill on fire pit and let cook until cheese has melted. be careful, as the skillet heats up and stays hot.
  5. 5. sprinkle green onion on top and serve out of skillet with guacamole, sour cream and salsa!
bear & lion http://bearandlionmama.com/
 cooking times will really vary. the wood we purchased was really wet, so it took a while for the logs to catch and burn well. it was super frustrating! we had to keep blowing in the fire to keep things going.




kids devoured the nachos!

easy camping meal! yum!

xo, mama lola

it’s a new year! i’m a year older, and possibly wiser!

three cheers are in order for all! surviving the holidays can be tricky!

i know we end up doing a lot of driving, which does take a toll , but it’s worth it as we love to spend time with our families. after christmas we then have two birthdays to celebrate; mine on the 28th and my mother-in-laws on the 29th. it makes the season that much more hectic with visits and excitement.


now that january has rolled in with it’s wintry temperatures we are all slowing down and needing more quiet. the kids are somewhat happy to be back at school, but i think they miss the flexibility of the mornings without time restrictions and me screeching at them to get a move on! i am enjoying getting back into a routine. once the kids are in school i hit the gym, get the house organized, prep meals, run errands and spend time crafting or doing something creative. i need time alone, in quiet as a way to recharge and organize my thoughts.

i am looking forward to a new year, of the blank slate it brings along with it. it’s nice to feel like anything is possible! 2014 and the years leading up to it were a time for big changes with the kids hitting milestones and starting school. now, i feel like finally DH and i have time and energy to focus on our own lives. perhaps be a little selfish of our own needs, in turn increasing our expectations of the kids to step it up a little at home. ya know, really get them into a routine of completing daily chores, including them as participating members of this household. i’m tired of them expecting so much of us. it’s time for them to make breakfast, make beds, get lunch bags into the kitchen after school, set the dinner table, put dirty clothes in the hamper (and not in a ball all inside out!), tidy each night before bedtime stories… well, you get the idea!

i am in need of change. of inspiration. of creativity. of peace. kinda feels like not much has changed since last year… click HERE to see where i was a year ago!

this school year i will continue to send lion only part-time, but starting next week we are sending him to a forest school one afternoon a week. i am super excited about it! the kids in the group will spend the afternoon outside regardless of the weather exploring the forest with their facilitator who happens to be a friend of mine. i think my wee lion needs some creative time with peers that isn’t all about sitting on a carpet, listening to instructions. bear is still in grade 1 and will go daily as before.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! i have a million photo’s to edit, but i will share them… eventually!!!

xo, mama lola

merry christmas! hyvää joulua!


thank you for reading and supporting this wee blog!

i will be taking a break from bear & lion until january 6th, 2015. i need a break from this space to spend time with my family and not worry about blogging.

december 24th is a very special day for my family and i. it’s when we sit down as a family, enjoy my mum’s amazing christmas dinner, open presents and spend a beautiful evening together. this year will be especially special as last year  the horrific ice storm struck and my parents were without power for days and days.

on the 26th we will spend the day with DH’s family, again eating delicious food, opening gifts and spending time with family. then we will enjoy a few days of birthday celebrations, mine on the 28th and my MIL’s on the 29th. after that we will head north to the cottage for some new year’s celebrations with friends!

have a safe and lovely holiday with your family and friends!

see you in 2015!

happy holidays



xo, mama lola

a mental health day: looking for inspiration.


yesterday it rained.

today there is a light dusting of snow falling.

it has been dark outside. grey and dismal.


i need some inspiration in my life, so i am sharing beautiful pictures and beautiful words today.


from: shayla lilian

from: design love fest

from: earmark social good 



from: oh happy day

i would love to be sitting in the above chair, and nibbling on the delightful treat pictures below… sigh.


from: epicurean mom

here’s hoping the sun will come out soon and bring some colour into these gloomy days.

xo, mama lola

missing in action!

hi everyone!

we have had a very busy february! full of birthday’s, anniversaries, holidays and more! and, let’s not forget about the olympics, which i have been watching quite seriously now! that means, i have had to take a short break from this space, to keep up with everything else.

but, coming up this week: picture and details from bear’s dinosaur themed 6th birthday party! includes, a quick sewing applique shirt and the awesome cake we made! check-out insragram for more pics. also coming soon, pictures and tales from beautiful winter hikes and recipes for yummy veggie meals and treats we’ve been trying out!

stay tuned!


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 add a link your moment from this week.

xo, mama lola
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