Monday, December 21, 2009

BREAKING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Hip Teacher Mama's personal reflections, product reviews, educational insights, recipes, and videos will return on January 4, 2010. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

HEALING HANNAH

4 Markham-Stouffville Hospital ER visits, 1 Children's After-Hours Clinic Exam, and finally 5 days at Sick Kids in Toronto...Hannah is finally home! I, however, am still dealing with my bronchitis (not surprising) so this week will be the early start to our Christmas blogcation. We shall return in 2010, happy and healthy, with more personal experiences (none this scary), great product reviews, easy recipes, and educational inside tips.

Wishing all the Hip Teacher Mamas and their babies out there a very warm and safe holiday. Sadly, we are cancelling our cruise vacation to keep Hannah close to home and immediate medical care should the need arise. We'll just have to make the most of this winter staycation. Let me know how you plan to spend the rest of 2009.

Monday, November 30, 2009

BAD WEEKEND

Two visits to the ER for Hannah and a major cold and eye infection for me. Not a great weekend. Hip Teacher Mama shall return next week...keeping fingers crossed and building my immune system back!

Friday, November 27, 2009

WINTER WONDERLAND

Jessica Simpson and Ozzy Osbourne's version of the song always heard at malls during this shopping season. Have you made your wish list yet?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

VEGGIES IN A PAN

Here's my husband's recipe for a quick veggie fix. This is what we've done for the past two weeks to help us get our vitamins, but not have to worry about all the work that goes into it each day after work.
1) Wash and slice one eggplant, two large zucchinis, two red peppers, two green peppers, four onions, and two sweet potatoes.
2) Drizzle some olive oil on the veggies. Mix and put into a deep baking dish.
3) Bake at 400C for 45 minutes. Mix the veggies and baked for another 45 minutes.
4) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CHRISTMAS CONCERT SEASON

It's one month until Christmas and teachers everywhere are preparing their students for the annual Christmas concert. As much as I know parents love these shows, the practice time it requires makes teaching time suffer. Really how can I find enough time to organize twenty grade students for a show while teaching curriculum?

It's beyond tough and that's why I believe the concerts should be optional. I know that I would love to see Hannah perform when she's of school-age, but in the long run, I would also rather her dedicate time to science experiments or work on her language. Although it's really just a few weeks of class time, the amount of stuff the kids are expected to learn (and us poor educators trying to teach) really does require every minute to be spent on that.

Though Christmas concerts are fine and dandy and make lasting memories, it's sad that teaching time has to suffer.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HATS OFF TO YOU!

Hannah hates wearing hats, but for some reason, any winter hat with ear flaps, she doesn't mind. I recommend the ones from JOE FRESH found at Loblaws. Lined with fleece and super soft, the hats come in a range of hip colours and designs. Ranging from $6-$10, they are colourful, hand-knit, and warm. We found a white one with brown and gray, a perfect accessory for her winter gear.

Monday, November 23, 2009

SHOPPING!

To celebrate the end of report cards (writing them, not distributing), my husband suggested a weekend away to shop! Who am I to argue? Away we went right after work on Friday and it took a little over two hours to get there. Traffic was crazy, but NOT even close to what we endured on the way home.

Anyway we checked into the hotel around 7pm, visited the nearby Fallsview Casino Resort, and grabbed some pizaa for dinner. Chilled in the hotel room while my husband finished his report cards via the free wireless internet. Technology's great! :P

The next morning we got some Starbuck's and Timmy's and headed over the border. Did some major damage at the outlets and had time to swing by Boulevard Mall. LOVED LOVED LOVED the Gymboree Outlet as well as Esprit. Unfortunately we got stuck on the border along with the other deal seekers and got home about four hours later. We also got taxed (this has never happened to me in about ten years of Buffalo shopping), but still the deals were awesome! Can't wait to go back again...perhaps to celebrate Term 2 reports? Ha ha...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CHICKEN LASAGNA

Decided to substitute creamy mushroom soup for a regular tomato sauce and what a hit! Less sour for Hannah and more healthy with an added dose of milk. Instead of using extra lean ground beef, I also decided to use chicken. Added an ample amount of carrots, peas, onions, and green peppers, the recipe was full of vitamins! Try it yourself and see how your little one likes it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

REPORT CARD FRUSTRATIONS

Raise your hand, teachers, if you've experienced this. You hit a key and wipe out your previous comments created during the past ten minutes. You don't have enough days in the week and you give a unit test two days before report cards are to be finished. Your school board is doing reporting on-line and the site crashes. As you choose from the comment bank, you realize that they are so wordy, NO parent can fully comprehend what these comments mean. Sound familiar?


I know it's mere exhaustion and frustration this time of year, but it is report card season and all my teacher friends know what I'm talking about. Colleagues who are usually out the door by 3:31 p.m. are in their classrooms in front of the computer. People who go out on weekends to go lounging are at home marking final exams with their laptops. Bedtime is no longer 10 p.m. but midnight, and you grab a rare coffee (don't normally choose caffeine) on the way to work. Ahh, the season of class averages and next steps.


As much as I don't mind writing reports (I type fast so it really isn't too bad, just harder with a baby nowadays because I can't get to work until after 9 p.m.), I enjoy interviews more. It's the time of year I get to talk to the parents and I mean really talk. I get to explain my expectations of them NOT just the students. Sometimes notes and ten-minute phone calls don't do justice to what I need to say. I also love for them to see exemplars of Level 4 work and then show them their child's work in comparison to it.

I remember one year when a parent asked why their child received a C in Writing and I was happy to explain. "Your child doesn't start her sentences with a capital letter, she doesn't end them with any punctuation, and she doesn't print her letters correctly or neatly on the line. It's been three months of school." The parent seemed surprised, but much less taken aback when she saw her child's work presented in front of her. Personally, I think a C was generous and only given because this student tried to print familiar words and sounded out her words phonetically with some success. Despite some poor spelling attempts, her sentences more or less made sense.



Reports are due next Monday. I think my own personal deadline is tomorrow. Just want to get them done. Out of my hands, out of my mind, and of course, I need to get out and celebrate on the weekend...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FISHER-PRICE SONG AND STORY LEARNING CHAIR

Sit down. Stand up. Sit down. Sunday mass? No, it's the Fisher Price Song and Story Learning Chair that teaches colours, shapes, and reads a story to your child when you don't have time too. Suited for 12-36 months, this chair engages your child in learning while promoting physical activity.

Hannah loves to flip the book back and forth to listen to the story. She doesn't necessarily wait for each page to be read before doing so either and thus far, the chair hasn't been frazzled enough to glitch. It's made of colourful, sturdy plastic, tough enough to withstand any infant's abuse. The singing crayons teach colours and provide catchy tunes that will stick in your head.
It's about $100 on Amazon, but can often go on sale at Toys R Us or Walmart for much less. If you can wait for a sale, it's a good long-term investment and many of Hannah's friends love to play with it when they come over.

Monday, November 16, 2009

HANNAH'S BIRTHDAY PARTY

Balloons? Check. Juice? Check. Lootbags? Check. GIANT birthday cake in the shape of a cupcake? Check.

All these items and more went to the success of Hannah's first birthday party on Saturday. Thanks to family and friends who came out, near and far (thanks Banks), so early on a Saturday morning to celebrate my baby's special occasion. Normally, I'm not one to make such a big deal about a birthday, but I guess it's different when it's your own child and the first anniversary of her birth. There were high school friends, co-workers, and mommies I met at Baby Goose. It was an amazing celebration and everything went off without a hitch.

I was exhausted from the running around though. There wasn't too much time to set up at Lil Explorers, but Listra was amazing and she made me feel better by being super calm and efficient. We quickly set up the tables in 10 minutes and she had decorated for me that morning. Golden Griddle arrived on time and brought the yummy breakfast we requested - pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs. We added some danishes, turnovers, muffins, and fruit to the mix.

Guests began to file in shortly after ten and by eleven, all the guests were accounted for and the party was in full swing. The kids had a great time: climbing and playing in the houses, imagining with puppets, swinging in the huge tree fort, and riding around in the cars. Babies climbed over and around each other and probably more than a few accidents occurred - none too serious! Adults mingled and I tried to chat with everyone there at least for a minute before I had to rush off to do something else.

We ended the event with a slideshow (I almost cried twice) and the cutting of the giant cupcake. Thanks to Nancy's Sweets for such a delicious centrepiece. I was asked by at least eight guests where it came from (clearly, I'm NOT that talented). One friend texted me to say she had already placed an order for her son's first birthday next week and she hadn't even seen my cake yet!

We finished up and packed two cars full of leftover food (thanks friends who took some home, you helped my waistline more than you know) and presents. Off we went to the mall for some relaxing family time and to buy some new clothes for Hannah - after all, she's one now. She'll need a new wardrobe. :) (Ha ha, my close friends know this is sarcastic - Hannah has a wardrobe ready should she have a 10 inch growth spurt!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY!

Hannah turns one today. It's been a year of laughs and awesome memories. From one of my favourite childhood shows, here's Ernie and his silly ways. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl! I love you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

WAR CAKE

In keeping with the Remembrance Day theme, here is a recipe that was made years ago during war times when eggs, butter, and other "luxuries" were scarce. This heavy dark cake is a reminder of all the good things we have today and for that, we should be grateful. However, seeing as how this recipe has no eggs or milk, it could suit some babies' palates perfectly.

War Cake

Combine and boil for 5 minutes only:
1 lb (about 2 cups) raisin
1 cup water
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup lard
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Let cool to lukewarm, then sift together and add:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
Flavour with vanilla.

Pour into a well-greased pan, about 8″ square.
Bake at 325°F for about one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake doesn’t come out sticky.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

REMEMBERING


Easily the most famous war poem in history, John McCrae, a Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel, wrote it after seeing his best friend lose his life during World War I. The poppy grew in abundance in Flanders where many soldiers were buried. It's a symbol of Remembrance Day and important we take a moment to thank and mourn those who lost their lives in battle.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BEBE AU LAIT REVERSIBLE DOUBLE BIB

Function or style? How about both? When it comes to bibs, parents know that it is a must-have especially if you've spent lots of money on those too-cute-to-be true outfits. Bebe au Lait has the amazing Reversible Double Bib that satisfies this hip mama's need for fashion and practicality. One side has a cute design for the mini-fashionista while the other is a white terry cloth that just screams, "Wear me! I'm soft." The magnetic closure makes it easy to put on and off and the size of it is awesome. It overlaps to cover Hannah's entire upper body so any strays dribbles or accidents don't concern me much. This bib is $16, but really it's two bibs in one and the styles are awesome. My personal favourites are the YOKO, SEVILLA, and SOFT SPOT styles.
Check out Bebe au Lait's site to find your favourite design or drop by a local store for more of this company's innovative products: Babyland (Vaughan), Baby on the Hip (Toronto), Dearborn Baby (Thornhill), and more. Check out their site for more locations in Ontario. They ship internationally!

Monday, November 9, 2009

"MASS"IVE SUCCESS

On Sunday we went to the early mass at 8:45 a.m. and the auditorium (known as the "Baby Room") wasn't open or set up so we had to go into the main section of the church. It's official, Hannah is all grown up and sat through one mass without being (too) fussy. My husband had to take her out once, but only as a precautionary measure. We're not quite sure if she was just in a good mood or we had the nap timed just right, but Hannah was successful...perhaps it's because she's almost one?

We had the usual books and toys to distract her, but for the most part, even without props she was excellent. Sure at times, she dove into me when Daddy held her, wagged her tongue at the lady behind us, and tried to grab the shoulder of the person next to me, but other than those little things, she was an angel. While other babies whined and wailed, Hannah's sounds only amounted to "ahh" and "Mama". She was extremely attentive when the music played and the constant standing up and sitting down helped. She also liked the buttons on my new vest. She discovered velcro on one of her old toys and played with her new hair clip. Anything to keep her occupied was good for us.

I have to admit the slightly shorter service helped. We were out of the parking lot by 9:45 a.m. and headed to run our weekend errands. Happy to report that our little girl is growing up and her church behaviour was certainly worth some praise.

Friday, November 6, 2009

PEACE

Remembrance Day is on November 11. Take the time to think about those we've lost to war and the honour they brought to their country. We're grateful for their sacrifices so that our country is safe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

BABY BIRTHDAY CAKES

If you are planning to make your baby's first birthday cake, remember to keep in mind that babies and sugar still shouldn't mix.

Try substituting regular frosting with cream cheese frosting or applesauce. Instead of chocolate or vanilla flavours, you can always do a carrot cake. Add fruit instead of sugar for sweetness. If it's a cold cake you're leaning towards, why not do an ice-cream or a sorbet cake? Even better, for smaller babies, try a cute little cupcake.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

HAVE A BALL!

New parents will be interested in the site created by Ontario's Child Development Resource Centre called "Have a Ball". This site provides resources for new parents and activities for 2-5 year olds. It has nutrition information and suggestions for a healthy lifestyle. As childhood obesity is an on-going problem, it's best to start your youngster with a healthy regimen of good foods and physical activity as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

BLUE CELERY

Continuing my journey through the world of baby-wearing, I've discovered a cool product by Blue Celery. It's unique design consists of two pull-on pouches and for heavier babies, you can add a waist band for extra support. The design can be used to wear your baby in several different ways because the weight is evenly distributed over the upper body.

Blue Celery Baby Slings come in three neutral colours so it goes with any outfit. Without any rings or bands, it is user-friendly and gender neutral. It's machine-washable and the stretchy soft fabric fits comfortably over your shoulders.

Hannah loves to be held close and has grown more attached to me since I've started baby-wearing. In fact, despite a new stroller, she still prefers to walk with me while we shop rather than sit down. She falls asleep with her head on my shoulder and I assume likes to listen to my heart beat. It makes me smile to think that's the exact sound she heard while in the womb.

Monday, November 2, 2009

HANNAH'S HALLOWEEN

After weeks of begging, I finally gave into my students' wishes and Hannah came to visit. It was a surprise and my kids were so excited and happy to see her. She came on Friday afternoon just in time to see my kids at their most hyper. She was dressed up as a lion and charmed them with her smile. The girls were more interested than the boys who would rather stay in character as Transformers than ooh and aah over a little baby. It was hard to get the kids to maintain personal space especially when Hannah began to touch them on the heads. I can see babysitting in their near future. They were so attached to her!

On Saturday we had to meet my in-laws for lunch so we decided to hang out at the mall while we waited. They decided to come meet us there and they I got a call from my God-daughter's mommy. Would we want to trick or treat in the mall? Sure, why not? Unfortunately, this year the shops decided not to hand out candy so after an hour of walking around we went to run some errands. My husband got a special treat, an afternoon of napping, while Hannah and I played downstairs.

After dinner, we visited our neighbours for some candy. We said some hellos, got some treats, and of course, took a dozen pictures. I was so amazed at the weather. I remember the past few years were wet and dreary. I think Hannah's first Halloween was a great success. How was your Halloween?

Friday, October 30, 2009

MONSTER MASH

Halloween just isn't Halloween without this classic! Hope it doesn't rain and stays relatively warm. Can't wait to see how Hannah likes trick or treating. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

HALLOWEEN SWEETS

Who says your baby can’t have sweets for Halloween? You won’t serve them the regular chocolate bars and lollipops, but your sweetie can have something special for the day.

Idea #1: Scoop out an orange and carve a mini-pumpkin for your baby. Fill it with some fruit and you’ll have a Halloween Fruit Bowl.
Idea #2: Make some orange Jell-O and mix in bits of peach. Drizzle with milk just before serving.
Idea #3: Using an English muffin as a base, spread with tomato sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. Add bits of cooked shredded chicken and mushrooms while making a jack-o-lantern face. Bake in a toaster oven at 350F for ten minutes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES

From math sheets to crossword puzzles, this week is all about Halloween. Check out these links for activities, games, and lesson plans for your lil' goblins.

http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Halloween/

http://www.theteacherscorner.net/seasonal/halloween/

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/Halloween.htm

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BEST BOOTS FOR BABY

After several tries, my husband has given up on Hannah's winter fashion sense. He doesn't think boots are for babies, but I'd like to give my opinion. They can work if they have the following features:
1) laces that can tighten and not just for style
2) velcro up the entire ankle and foot
3) deep treads and not soft soles

After trying boots from Baby Gap, Joe Fresh, Babies R Us, and H&M, the winner is ... H&M! Hot pink and with velcro from top to bottom of the boot, Hannah's foot slides in easily, but does not slide out easily. They are warm, but not hot. The treads are great for indoor use and provides a non-slip surface for beginning walkers. Boots for babies range from $10-$30.

Monday, October 26, 2009

CHRISTMAS BEFORE HALLOWEEN



It’s fall and a fact of life that kids get sick. Mix in daycare and parents who are teachers, and stuffy noses and sore throats are inevitable. Hannah has had a little cold for the past week or so, but nothing too serious. She’s still active and playing and only cranky because she’s teething. Luckily her appetite hasn’t dwindled and that’s keeping up her energy. I,however, can barely keep up with her.

This weekend we hung out at a couple of malls scoping out the situation for the holiday season. It’s amazing, but two months before Christmas and people were already working on their Christmas lists. I thought we were good just to go and get inspired, but people were way ahead of us. There were so many so many new stores and new products! New boot styles, cool electronic toys, warm citrusy smells for the home, check check check! I made my own list as we walked.

On Saturday night, we wanted to get into the Halloween spirit (how much can one really think about Christmas before the trick or treaters come around) so after Hannah went to bed, we settled in to watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Just as gruesome and disturbing as the previous movies in that series. I’m surprised I didn’t get nightmares.

Hope you had a great weekend too. Did you buy your candy yet? Is your house all decorated? Have a great week and Happy Halloween!




Friday, October 23, 2009

THRILLER - LEGO STYLE

Who isn't familiar with the thirteen minute video by Michael Jackson? Check out this version of Thriller made with Lego pieces.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ODE TO ORANGE FOODS

We've done carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. They are orange-coloured vegetables that provide plenty of betacarotene, antioxidants and Vitamin C. Do you have an easy-to-make recipe you'd like to share?

Here's a quick idea involving another wonderful orange food: cantaloupe. It can be cut into tiny pieces as part of a fruit salad for a baby or shredded and mixed with its juice and diluted with water for a toddler fruit punch. Don't add extra sugar. When it's ripe, it's sweet, just like your baby!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TRIBES

After three long Saturdays spent in a freezing elementary school library, I've decided that Tribes Learning Communities have been taking place in my classroom long before I took the course. Now I have a certificate to prove it, but it's reassuring to know that I've been doing things right for a while. Even after eight years of teaching, it's good to know I'm on track. However, why the need to have teachers trained if they already do what Tribes suggest? Don't you teach to a variety of needs? Don't all teachers encourage inclusion and positive language in the class and school? Am I wrong to assume yes?

Tribes is a process that encourages collaborative learning and was established back in the 1970s. Recently, this movement seemed to gain more followers and supporters and has spread like wildfire in Canada. It's composed of four main tenets: mutual respect, attentive listening, appreciation/no put downs, and the right to pass. By having a Tribes classroom, its creator Jeanne Gibbs believes that more work can be done and the teacher spends less time on discipline. Students work together in tribes helping each other succeed thereby eliminating the need of a "teacher-centred" attitude.

Although the Tribes process is ideal, a lot of my colleagues at the course discussed the reality of our classrooms. In a class of twenty students, you'll have a quarter who are English as a Second Language learners. Another two to three will have a learning challenge while another two or so have behavioural issues. Working in groups and assigning roles such as a "Recorder", "Task Master", "Editor", etc. will work only if the kids aren't bound by some of these restrictions. Can you imagine a Grade One class doing this on their own? Not too likely...at least not in the first five months of the year. What about maturity level? Does Gibbs realize most teenage students don't act the way they do in a Tribes video?

Although I love the idea of Tribes, I think it can only work in an ideal world. Unfortunately, many of us don't teach in an ideal classroom. So like with each day, you do your best and hope some of it gets through to your students.

I'd love to hear if you use TRIBES in your classroom and how has it worked so far. Please drop me a line at hipteachermama@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PRODUCT RECALL INFORMATION

It's been several months since Tuesdays has been my days to review products, but this week, I'm going to let you know where to look for product recall lists and information. You may wish to buy the newest carseat or the most expensive toy, but it's also important to know its history, consumer reviews, and professional testers' opinions.

For Canada, visit Health Canada's site at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/child-enfant/index-eng.php and look under Consumer Product Recalls on the right-hand side for an up-to-date list. You may also wish to report a product on this site too.

For the U.S.. please visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission's site at http://www.cpsc.gov/.

Monday, October 19, 2009

PUMPKINHEADS

Our weekend wasn't too eventful. We spent Friday evening at Vaughan Mills where we shopped till we dropped. Technically it was until the doors locked up, but it felt like we were going to drop. Darn you, mid-autumn sales!

On Saturday, I was taking a TRIBES course so my husband spent the day with Hannah at Markville Mall. At night, we went to my mom's for dinner and watched bits of The Sound of Music. Hannah apparently loves those songs (thanks to my mom's exposure to it) and began to sway from side to side when she was singing, "Doe a deer a female deer..." Hilarious!

On Sunday, we ended up at Scarborough Town Centre (again, darn you, discounts) and then to Whittamore's Farm. We met up with Hannah's god-parents and spent about an hour taking pictures and posing the little girls for their model shoot. We had planned for them to wear their striped sweaters and cutest little moccasins. The girls didn't seem to know what was going on except for a lot of large round orange things surrounding them. Both girls also have colds so we couldn't get too many smiles out of them. What do you think?

Friday, October 16, 2009

AUTUMN

Frosty mornings, damp air, and leaves all over the driveway. We are truly in the midst of autumn. Enjoy some Vivaldi as you get ready for your day. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

THANKS FOR THE LEFTOVERS



Lots of leftover turkey and don’t know what to do with it? Make a variety of meals for your baby and toddler including: turkey congee, turkey stew, turkey subs, turkey rolls, and turkey soup.

Turkey bones provide a good foundation for soup because they’ll have a naturally delicious flavour. Strip off the meat and chop finely to make sandwiches or subs. Peel the turkey and add crunchy celery or cucumber for fresh turkey rolls with pita. Asian families may enjoy the warmth of turkey congee as those nights are getting colder. Enjoy the leftovers!

For more ideas, please visit all.recipes.com.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ASSESSMENTS IN ONTARIO CLASSROOMS

It’s just been over one month of school and the “A” word has been discussed many a time in the staffroom. Yes, the dreaded “assessments” and reporting on the first term report card. In another month or so, all the assignments, tests, and in-class participation marks will be averaged out to create the marks for the Ontario report cards. This is when parents receive concrete information about their child’s performance and see if they meet, exceed, or fall below the provincial expectations. Along the way, there have been phone calls or notes home, but this is the first legal document that will be retained in the child’s school portfolio, the OSR (Ontario Student Record).

Parents can check out curriculum at www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum. Levels 1 to 4 are assigned based on the child’s performance. For detailed understanding of the grades and comments, please check out Ontario's website on education.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

IN THE POCKET BABY

My fondness for baby-wearing continues with the best padded sling I've used to date! In black and stylish, In the Pocket Baby's sling is compact and practical.

This sling is extremely easy to slip on and off and the best features are two-fold. First, you can tighten the front and back by simply pulling the straps without any assistance from anyone. Reaching behind you and pulling down, the pouch tightens and pulls your baby in closer to you. Tightening the front is the same way: one quick pull and it's done. To release, just loosen the other way. Buckles help secure your tiny bundle of joy even further.

The second best feature is the padded sling on the shoulder so that you can wear your baby for longer. Created by Swedish designers, this sling is good for babies from birth to 20kg. You can place your baby right in the pocket or after about ten months, wear your child on your hip or back. Personally I love Hannah on the hip so I have one arm around her while I type, shop, or hold a phone with the other hand. Check out their website for more hip products.

Monday, October 12, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope all you Hip Teacher Mamas out there are enjoying your well-deserved day off!

Hannah’s first Thanksgiving and it wasn’t a traditional one by any means. My mom’s side didn’t want to celebrate and when they finally decided to do something, our family had already made plans. Our Thanksgiving dinner took place on Sunday evening at my brother-in-law’s new condo in downtown Toronto and it wasn’t turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes on the menu. Instead, we ordered Japanese because he had just moved into the new place with my sister-in-law on Friday. How awesome were the miso soup, seaweed salad, agetofu, and maki rolls? Amazing!

With a few boxes among us and furniture laying around, we celebrated by talking about their move, how Hannah was doing at daycare, and watching Raptors TV. Their new place has an awesome view of the Air Canada Centre and the waterfront. We had time to look at their wedding photos and by seven o'clock, Hannah had passed out in the spare room for she missed her afternoon nap. Family and food was what her first Thanksgiving was all about.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I WILL SURVIVE

I LOVE this video! Happy Thanksgiving, Hip Teacher Mamas!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

THANKSGIVING FOR BABY

Our baby will be 11 months old when Thanksgiving rolls around and I'm wondering if it's safe to give her what we'll be eating. As we've had turkey, potatoes, and carrots before, I know those will be alright. What about cranberries?

Cranberries can be introduced between 8 and 10 months of age. They are quite acidic so they aren't a good starter food, however, they do not trigger true berry allergies like strawberries may. Think of cranberries like blueberries, which are often safe. They are a great source of Vitamin A and calcium. Try them mixed with applesauce or served with pork or chicken. Start your baby with a cranberry puree and move onto strained cranberries.


Cranberry Puree
1) Boil water and add one cup of cranberries (fresh or frozen).
2) Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
3) Blend with a food processor.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NO NUTS, NO SHELLFISH, NO EGGS! NO FUN?

Parents seem to be surprised when they see the "NO NUT" signs at school. I'm not sure why. Over the years, the prevalence of food allergies has grown and innundated the press or so I thought. While I continue to justify why this is the rule in most (if not all) schools, here is a heads-up for new parents.

Students can have severe allergies to nuts and other foods. While most have reactions only when consuming these food products, some have such severe reactions just by touching or smelling the food. If they are anaphylatic, their body systems can shut down and result in a rapid heartbeat, shock, hives, and even difficulty breathing. Unfortunately sometimes we don't know about these reactions until it happens. Hence it is safer to avoid the issue by preventing certain foods from entering the school grounds.

School staff even suggest we remove our Hot Lunch programs just in case restaurants cook with peanut oil or the like. However, what makes the rule a challenge is that parents are still buying lunches for their kids and dropping them off at the lunch table. For example, how are we to know what each fast-food restaurant cooks with? Do we know? For that matter, how do we guarantee that ALL parents are conscientious about what foods they pack in their child's lunch? Unfortunately, we can't guarantee anything and just hope that parents educate themselves and be responsible for their child and others.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

EASY DAYSIES MAGNETS

I've always used a daily schedule in my room to keep myself organized and to alleviate students' anxieties. Students love to see what's coming up and what they've just done. I've always used a pocket chart system until this year when I moved into a new classroom with minimum wall space and not enough room on the chalkboard. What to do?

That's when I discovered the awesome power of Easy Daysies. These teacher-created magnetic schedule pieces gave me the chance to list our Grade One activities on the board without taking up precious blackboard space. Teachers, you know how important that is!

Easy Daysies provides important subjects such as math, science, art, and gym in the Classroom Kit while also leaving some blank ones for you to fill in your own subjects. Colourful and simple, the font is easy to read for all ages. Matched with a descriptive drawing, these must-have organizing tools are good throughout the elementary school years.

The same company also provides magnets such as Chores & Rewards, Family Activities, and Potty/Washroom Routine. Check out their site for descriptions and prices.

Monday, October 5, 2009

THOSE DAYCARE DAYS

It's official. Hannah is a daycare baby. We were lucky to get in since we were on a waiting list for such a long time. She did three days of orientation last week and then started full-time on Thursday. The daycare seems to take good notes and record the times she eats, what she eats, her diaper changes, and her naptimes. She has her own private corner crib in the darkened nursery and every weekend, we take her blankets and stuffed animals home to wash. They rotate the food menu on a weekly basis and each day the food is different. They provide a variety of foods incorporating all the food groups. Should we have a problem, we can substitute our own food or an infant item. Having daycare take care of her breakfast, lunch, and snack certainly helps me out. I don't miss cooking fresh veggies or popping frozen pureed cubes!

We're waiting to see if the daycare has a significant impact on Hannah's social skills. She sometimes plays by herself and sometimes interacts with other babies by touching their heads. The only good thing so far is that she hasn't hurt anyone nor has she been too upset when being dropped off. When she's picked up, she's really happy and excited to see us.

The daycare instructors seem caring and willing to answer questions and exchange notes when necessary. I hope to meet the other parents soon and attend some daycare events. It's crazy to think that just a couple of months ago, Hannah was just learning to sit on her own and starting to crawl. Now she's cruising and making new friends, hopefully learning through play and going for morning strolls with nine other babies her age. It's certainly another meaningful milestone.
This daycare takes daily pictures and creates a scrapbook page so that parents can see what went on during the day (much like what I do for my students except I do it in DVD format). It's great because even though I'm not with Hannah, I want to read about it and experience it as if I was there. It's comforting to know that if she's not in my capable hands, she is in someone else's.

Friday, October 2, 2009

TURKEY IN THE STRAW

Turkey time is approaching soon...you know it just by looking through your weekly flyers and walking down the grocery aisle. Teach your little one this popular song performed here by The Wiggles.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CHEESY SQUASH

Time to have more orange-coloured foods in your baby's diet! Squash provides essential amounts of fibre and Vitamin C while cheese is a great dairy choice with ample calcium to build up your baby's bones and teeth.

Butternut Squash with Cheese
1) Cut the butternut squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.
2) Bake at 350F for about an hour (depending on the size) with about an inch of water at the bottom of the pan.
3) Wait for the flesh to cool a bit before scooping out the flesh.
4) Grate some mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle on top and the residue heat will continue to melt the cheese.
5) Serve.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PICTURE DAY

It's coming around the corner at every school or perhaps your school already had it. The big Picture Day! Be sure to send your child to school with a hairbrush because alfalfa sprouts and bad combovers last forever. Wear bright colours, but not too bright. If you're short and end up in the front row, it's good to know you're wearing matching socks.
Teachers, bring your best smile. Know that you are now a part of some child's memories forever. And for that silly staff photo, the sillier the better!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ORGANIZING BEAST

I love to organize. I absolutely LOVE it. It can be my drawers, closet, desk, or shelves, whatever it is, I like having things grouped, separated, and stored. Hence, finding binders, racks, and all those storage solutions is a thrill and challenge. Before school began, I wanted to revamp my whole classroom system so of course, I headed to Staples. Although they had what I needed, it was also at a ridiculous price (for which I would never get reimbursed). I decided to check out the Pickering Markets (formerly known as the Pickering Flea Markets).

There I was able to get large blue and black 2" binders at a deal. I negotiated from $3 each (at Staples they were about $12-$16 each) to less than $2 each. Some vendors had plastic sheets to store your blackline masters, plastic crates that would be perfect for the puppet centre, and Tupperware ideal for manipulatives.

So before heading to the regular teacher stores, try your local markets. It may take longer to find the items you need, but you will save a lot of money and we know how much we spend in the classroom already.

Monday, September 28, 2009

KIDS EAT FREE IN SEPTEMBER

After a long day at a TRIBES course, I didn't feel like cooking and my husband wanted to go out. Already stuffy and tired from a cold, I couldn't fight the temptation. We went to one of our faves because of its proximity to our home and endless salads and delicious bread, Eastside Mario's.

Near the end of the meal (which Hannah slept through, yay), the waitress offered us the Kids' Menu so we could get something for the baby. I explained that we brought our own food for her as she was only ten months old. I began to feed her from the Thermos, but gave her bits of bread. The waitress came back again to ask if we wanted the kid's item to go. I was confused, but clued in later...kids eat free in September so she wanted us to take advantage.

I'm all about the freebies (and surprised I didn't know about this one) so we got some chicken strips and grilled veggies for later (my husband wanted fries, but I went with the healthier choice). Great promotion especially in the month of September when school has just begun and who couldn't use a special treat? Each item off the kids' menu comes with ice cream! Hip Teacher Mamas, bring you and your family out for a delicious dinner. You still have a few days left of September to enjoy it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

WHIP IT

Didn't manage to score TIFF tickets to Drew Barrymore's Whip It, but can't wait to see it when it comes out in regular theatres. We did manage to see Jennifer's Body, The Road, and Bad Lieutenant, two of which are chosen for Telluride's Film Festival in the fall. Seems like we made great picks as they are very selective about their films. Yay to another successful year of movie premieres and star gazing! What a great way to ring in the new school year!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BABY FOODIE

Inspired by this weekend's visit to a trendy Toronto restaurant, here is an idea for a fancy meal for your baby. Foodies will be familiar with the use of purees and small dollops of food here and there, but the portion is actually perfect for your tiny tot and not just aesthetically pleasing to Mom and Dad.

Don't forget that mango is one of those foods that trigger allergies so be extremely careful. Wash the skin thoroughly or use a separate knife to remove the meat after peeling. Mangoes are high in fibre and vitamins A and C while salmon is great for calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential for brain development. Sweet potatoes are great for energy, beta-carotene, and vitamin B6. This B vitamin is necessary for fighting infections and maintaining a healthy sugar level in your body.




Mango Glazed Salmon with Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1) Peel a ripe mango, simmer, and puree.
2) Spread half the pureed mango on the salmon. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish at 450C.
3) Spread the rest on the salmon about halfway through its cooking time.
4) Peel and boil the sweet potatoes. Mash.
5) Serve.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CLASSROOM CODES

Code red! Code black! Severe weather! Back in the day, I don't remember having to practice these alerts, knowing to stay away from windows, or to curl up like a ball in the hallway. It was just how to line up and exit safely in case of a fire. Wow, how times have changed . . .

Teachers, as it is the third week of school, your principals are gearing up to test you on your knowledge of emergency procedures. Brush up and get a new safety card for the room. Practice often and drill it into your students. Do it in the morning, after lunch, and before you leave. After a few days, they will be experts. There may be a time this year where you'll have to put those skills to the test and there isn't time to say, "Okay, Johnny, you actually go here right after Lisa...and sit like this boys and girls...no like this, like this...good, right, okay."

Two years ago we had a Code Red at our school. There was a robbery in the neighbourhood so our school was shut down. Since it wasn't a drill, I must admit I felt some panic. However, knowing that I had to be brave and model proper behaviour, I calmly shut the door, turned off the lights, and sat on the carpet. Minutes felt like hours. I can't remember how long we sat there, but I remember wondering what could be happening outside. So many possibilities went through my head and having a great imagination does not help. When it was all over and I found out that there was a police chase and the suspects were teens, I felt relieved. Still it could have been something more serious. However, I thought we were well prepared and I was so proud of my Grade 2's for sitting so quietly for so long.

I hope you never have to experience a "real code", but if you do, stay calm and do as you've always done. Be a great leader, keep calm, and smile. The kids feel better when you smile.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BRUIN STACKING CUPS

Simple concepts develop simple ideas, but lifelong learning. That’s how I feel about the Bruin Stacking Cups. Made in a variety of sizes and colours with imprints on the bottom of animals, it’s a great set to teach your child the basics. Right now, Hannah is picking them up and hitting them together, but I know soon she’ll be able to put the cups into each other according to size.

These cups help develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The bottom of the cups have different cut-out shapes too so they can be used in the tub or pool for water play.

Recommended for 9 months and above, this nesting set can be found at Toys R Us and many other toy stores for about $10.

Monday, September 21, 2009

HANNAH AND HER ANIMAL FRIENDS

As mentioned on Friday's post, we were going to spend the day at the Toronto Zoo on Sunday. My husband changed his mind on Saturday night (the four-hour tasting menu at Colborne Lane drained us much to the delight of our palates), but then gave in to the temptation of the gorgeous sunshine on Sunday morning. We did the zoo in record time because we both had a lot of errands to run and things to do at home. It was Hannah's first trip to the zoo so of course we each had our cameras ready.

We arrived about 20 minutes after it opened and spent only a few minutes in line. Throughout the day I received calls from friends saying how long the lines were. I figured we had beat the "sleeping in crowd" and would be leaving as people were entering. We discovered later that we were right...thank goodness!

As my husband hadn't been to the zoo since his own second-grade trip, I took the opportunity to show off my knowledge of the lay of the land. Threw in a few facts here and there and I'm sure it was like having a zoo guide right there. Having taught Grade Two for many years, I know the zoo like the back of my hand. Surprisingly the renovations and me missing last year's class excursion (I was on maternity leave) didn't throw me off track.

We took my usual Round the World tour. Some of the animals we saw included the polar bears, tigers, camels, alligators, stick insects, zebras, jellyfish, giraffes, elephants, flamingos, lions, and numerous species of monkeys. Surprisingly 90% of the animals were awake! That almost NEVER happens. We skipped the Canadiana part as we weren't really in the mood to go up and down that large hill just to see a raccoon, bison, and the grizzly bear. I think five out of six years that bear was always asleep anyway.

Hannah watched in fascination as animals fifty times her size chewed their food or slowly walked across the field. She never seemed to be afraid even though we were right next to a huge emu or in front of an alligator. Babies have no fear. So great. We tried to tell the peacock how beautiful it was so that it would spread its wings...no luck!


It was around 1:00 p.m. when we left. We'll probably be back the next time there is a Teacher's Day. Thanks to the zoo for recognizing that teachers need a break (albeit educational) too!

Friday, September 18, 2009

WILD FOR THE TORONTO ZOO

It's that time of year again in Toronto! Free day for teachers at the Metro Toronto Zoo on Sunday, September 20. All you need is your OCT i.d. and you can check out the wildlife along with ONE guest. See you there!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

STRAWBERRIES ARE IN SEASON

Before those sweet red berries disappear for the winter, get your little one some strawberries as a savoury snack. Packed with Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, they are the simplest way to get some sweetness into your diet. Alone or sprinkled on top of plain yogurt, it's one of my favourites! Since they are a potential high allergen food, doctors recommend waiting until around 12 months of age.

Strawberry Puree
1. Wash 1 cup of strawberries and remove leaves and stems
2. Slice strawberries in half.
3. Mash or puree as needed for your baby.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ONE WEEK DOWN...SO MANY MORE TO GO!

It's been one full week of school so how are you holding up? Has caffeine been your best friend? Getting used to the same questions again and again?

Thought I'd share a couple of tips for keeping the room organized and yourself sane.

Number your children instead of memorizing their last names in alphabetical order. That way, you can quick put work in order or have helpers find out which kids didn't submit their assignments. It's easier to teach numerical order than alphabetical to your young student helpers.

Practice for a fire drill or code red alert. There's bound to be something in the first couple of weeks of school. Remember to assign someone to close the classroom door and prepare the kids in case they are not with the class when a fire drill happens.

Take the time to label everything in the class. Although it may be time consuming, it will save you the trouble of pointing out where the scissors, glue sticks, and recycling twenty times throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BABY LEGS

Hannah has spent lots of time crawling on our floor mats and the hardwood. Ten months old and ready to explore the world! Knowing how hard the floor must be, we slapped some cute Baby Legs on her and vroom, vroom, vroom! Off she went! Great at protecting her knees and shins, Hannah liked having her mobility without any ounce of pain. We loved having the choice of putting them on when she was just wearing a onesie or making her fashion forward when wearing a denim skirt! Excellent for those warm end of summer days, but cool nights.

Baby Legs are adorable leg warmers that are the perfect size for the littlest legs. They are great for using around the house when your little one is only in a diaper, but you'd like to keep the legs warm. They are stylish when worn with skirts or can be used to cover up legs under the hot sun. Some even choose to use them on their arms! Whatever you choose, you're surely going to receive compliments on the design. They have dots, stripes, animal prints, plaids, hearts, and even organic. You name it, they've got it.

Hannah tried on some stylish Baby Legs and we both loved it. Cute, easy to put on, and most importantly, functional (protective), we can't get enough. The plain colours are easy to match with outfits while special ones like an Easter pattern puts anyone in a festive mood. Baby Legs work just as well for the boys especially the ones who are eager to explore the world around them. They also work well on carpet to save you and your little guy the heartache of rug burn!


Check out their website for colour selection. You'll be hooked! Get those little legs into a pair today!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

IT'S TIFF TIME AGAIN!

Sorry to my friends and readers who have asked why this post is sooooo late! I promise that this won't happen again...well, maybe...but only in September of each year. It's TIFF and I'm star-gazing, star-chasing, and just plain star-obsessed. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a picture and autograph hound and will line up for hours to get a good picture or signature. I'm proud to say that my goals were achieved this weekend.

Saw the second showing of Jennifer's Body and managed to get the director's autograph. Long story short...her name is Karyn Kusama. She signed one auto and was about to leave, but I called out, "Karyn! Karyn! (pronounced Car-in)" so she turned around, gave me an auto, and a smile before leaving. Yes, I felt special! (See the importance of names? Just like I teach the kids.)

That same day I waited three hours just to get autographs outside the theatre for Up in the Air. Managed to get George Clooney, Jason Bateman, Jason Reitman, Norman Jewison, and several other B-listers...yes, George is just as hot in person as he is on camera. I forgot to give him my friend's number...sorry E.

On Sunday, we went early for The Road, much hyped about flick chosen as one of Telluride Film Festival's selected few. We got Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee's autographs who play The Man and the Boy in this post-apocalyptic tale of survival. Robert Duvall came to the show, but left before the Q&A. Unfortunately, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce didn't come at all. I got a seat in front of Viggo's three reserved ones, but he shifted down a few seats. None the less, he was still behind me.

One more film to go and I hope to report some good success. Hopefully we can instill the love of film in Hannah. Otherwise, we'll have to take her to a 4 Square show somewhere.

Friday, September 11, 2009

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN

Ah, TGIF...and I REALLY mean that! Never have I been so exhausted after a week of work. For seven years, I've taught the 2nd and 3rd graders so this week of teaching Grade One has been quite the experience. The marking has taken less time, but the prep and daily activities are draining. Hopefully the parents will also help out at home reminding and reinforcing skills learned at home.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

OMELETTE

To avoid allergies, try not to give your baby any egg white before one year of age. Although the allergenicity of eggs is reduced by cooking, some babies have severe reactions. Symptoms that mean your baby is allergic to egg white protein include: hives, flushing, itching/rash around mouth (sometimes spreading to the rest of the body), facial swelling, ummy pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomitting, runny nose, wheezing, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, and low blood pressure.

Eggs are excellent sources of protein. The egg yolk has vitamins A, D, and E and has about 60 calories.

Omelette Recipe

1) Separate egg white and egg yolk.
2) Add 2 teaspoons of water to the egg yolk. Whisk.
3) Cook diced green pepper, mushroom, and tomato.
4) Add the egg yolk to the hot pan.
5) Sprinkle some cheddar cheese and let it melt.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

FIRST DAY

So how was your child's first day at school? Jitters? Excitement? Fear? Yeah, I had those feelings too.

Teachers: There is one month until Thanksgiving weekend. The first month will fly by as you get to know the twenty to thirty personalities in the class. Take the time to chat with them. Do interest inventories and keep them on file. It's a great ice-breaker especially for those shy ones who need a little push to come out of their shell.

Students: I know school may not be #1 on your Fun List, but give it a chance. Starting a new grade means new challenges, meeting new friends and catching up with old ones. This may be the year you'll try out for the basketball team and make it! You'll discover new strengths and work on any weaknesses. The year will be what you make it! Good luck and have fun.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

HUG YOUR MONKEY TODAY!!!

Babywearing has been practiced for decades. It's wearing or carrying your baby or child in a sling, carrier, or pouch. It helps the baby and mother bond quicker. The baby becomes more independent as well as calmer because the mother's scent, heartbeat, and movements are so close to the baby, reassuring the young child that Mom is always accessible. Wearing a baby also gives the mother her hands back which allows her to do simple tasks like carrying bags, washing dishes, or folding laundry.

I love love love my hugamonkey sling. It's easy, light, and washable. The colours are neutral so it makes it easy for mommies to hug their monkeys, but daddies are welcome to hug too! I love holding Hannah close and she clearly prefers being held rather than sitting in her stroller. She loves falling asleep in my arms while we're shopping and having the freedom to walk around with my baby and sorting through the sale racks is a dream come true!

Easy to use and starting at $24.99, the hugamonkey is a convenient and hip way to carry around your little one. I've received lots of envious looks when I'm hands-free while others are struggling with a little one and trying to answer a cell phone and steer a stroller. Get chic and buy your own baby sling today! I promise that it is the MUST HAVE for any mom who loves to cuddle with her little monkey while getting things done.

Monday, September 7, 2009

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES ME . . . A TEACHER

It's the last weekend before school starts and although I wanted to spend the last weekend doing nothing, it ended up being a weekend jam-packed with everything. On Friday, I spent eight hours in my classroom doing my final preparations for Tuesday. I put up my bulletin board displays, labelled books, and laminated more posters. At night, my husband, Hannah, and I went to Promenade Mall to relax. Contemplated some winter coats for those cold yard duties in the near future...TNA or Community? Opinions, please.

On Saturday, we beat the weekend rush to get groceries. Time to think of healthy lunches to pack. Gone are the days of dining out and mall-walking during lunch hours. Yes, summer is over. I spent the rest of the day doing my day plans and finishing my printing books. Now I know why Grade 1's require much more preparation than Grade 2's...just laying out the letters to trace is enough to drive anyone nuts....or to push them to teach high school!

On Sunday, we went to mass and received an intention from our priest. It was a short but poignant moment as we looked around, knowing some of those faces looking back at us would be our students or parents of students. We spent the evening with family who were visiting from the States. We celebrated my youngest aunt's 50th birthday. Everyone commented on how much Hannah had grown since they last saw her in July and it's true. Since then, she has learned a couple more words and can now stand up with minimal assistance. They think she'll walk by Christmas. Time will tell.


It hit me hard on Sunday evening that I won't be with Hannah 24-7. In the past few months, all of my friends' babies have experienced some sort of separation anxiety. I waited anxiously for Hannah's nervousness, crabbiness, or fussiness to hit. It hadn't. However, during the past few days, Hannah has become extremely clingy and searched for me often. She now grabs onto me hard and wants to be held a lot...even Dada won't do. Perhaps this is her anxiety or sixth sense in knowing that Mama is going back to work. I hope to do most of my work at school so home time is QUALITY time. I am excited about returning to work after my year long hiatus, but I also know how much I'll miss witnessing every moment of Hannah's life.

Friday, September 4, 2009

MAKE IT A GOOOOOOOD FRIDAY!

It's the last Friday before school starts so make the most of it. See your family, chill with friends, enjoy the outdoors, and pray for sunny days! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

GRILLED FOR THE GIRL

Hannah looked curious when I was having lunch the other day so I decided to make her a version of what I was having. High in fibre and calcium, this was one recipe she thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. Check out how we hit all four food groups!

Open Face Grilled Cheese Sandwich
1) Toast 1 slice of whole wheat bread.
2) Place thin slices of cheddar cheese on the toast.
3) Microwave for 10 seconds or until the cheese melts (not so grilled, but same idea).
4) On top, sprinkle some shredded broiled chicken and cooked green peppers.

You can easily substitute cheddar for mozzarella or marble cheese. Your baby may also enjoy mushrooms, tomatoes, or cucumber on the sandwich. Protein alternates include turkey, ham, salmon, or ground beef.

VOILA! You've got all four food groups in a quick and fun meal. I like to cut it into very tiny pieces so that Hannah can practice picking them up herself.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WORK STARTED WEEKS AGO

I get really annoyed when people make comments like, "Teachers have the cushiest job in the world. You just babysit all day." "It's the best job because you have two months off." My favourite is, "I want to be a teacher. It's easy, right?" I guess it can be "easy", but some of us don't just sit at home all summer and rest. Some of us plan and prep during July and August. I know some of my friends are just as hardcore as I am so they've been their rooms cleaning up, organizing, and yikes, the scariest thing of all, throwing things out! (It's true, teachers are pack rats).

Here are some things that I came across while in my new classroom and wanted to remind all teachers out there to do the same:

1) Label the books. Each student needs to take ownership in this year's learning materials.
2) Provide games and activities for indoor recess. The local dollar store has chess, checkers, snakes and ladders, and dominoes for just a buck.
3) Keep hand sanitizer nearby. Self-explanatory.
4) Post a class list by the door. Students always seem to get lost on the first day.
5) Label the hooks. The last thing you need is someone fighting for the "best hook".
6) Wear a lanyard. You'll never lock yourself out of the classroom.
7) Provide extra pencils, crayons, scissors, rulers, and glue. Your students will thank you.
8) Assign chores within the classroom. Students love to help and develops responsibility.
9) Word Walls and Personal Dictionaries are great for their self-confidence. They don't need the teacher as much.
10) Label as much as you can in the room. Students learn while saving you time in the long run.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SANDY'S DIAPERS

Among my circle of friends, I'm known for having a knack for finding the best baby items in terms of quality and value so the Mother-Ease diapers and covers are no different. Since 1991, Mother-Ease has been creating cloth diapering systems in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada with for their loyal followers. Their strong belief in protecting the environment has lead them to use 100% green power since 2007. Cheers to a leak-free diapering system and a passion for taking care of our world!

This company was generous enough to allow for a testing of their Sandy's Cloth Diapers as well as the Air Flow Covers. The cotton and bamboo diapers were both very soft, comfortable, and form-fitting. No chaffing at all! The covers were very light (extremely important during these hot summer months) with a variety of buttons to adjust for size and had adorable patterns on them. Hannah loved the animal theme the best!

The diapers have an excellent absorption factor and can hold about 15 oz of liquid. As with all cloth diapers, their job is to draw moisture away from the skin. Cloth diapers tend not to absorb as much liquid as disposables so frequent changing is necessary. However, as your baby grows up, diaper changes become less frequent.

Check out the Mother-Ease site and their large range of cloth diapers. Be kind to your environment and your baby. Consider cloth diapering!