Friday, May 29, 2009
Check your local Treehouse and Nickelodeon channels for showtimes.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Each session runs for thirty-minutes from start to finish. It's just enough to get in some singing, rhymes, and stories, but not too long as to have the whole audience crying and fussing about. Megan, their children's librarian, was running this program for the first time in 2009 and she does an excellent job. Always enthusiastic and patient, Megan follows a routine so that the kids (and new moms) know what to expect and what to sing. Along with familiar tunes such as "If You're Happy and You Know It", she introduces some new tunes every so often as well as songs that require movement and hand gestures.
Each week there is a theme and the stories relate to it. Megan introduces her audience to authors suited for the younger set and these books are readily availible for home use. Stories that feature rhyme and repetition seem to be the most popular. Not surprising since babies like sounds that are familiar and sing-songy. At the end of each season's session, there is an evaluation that welcomes parents' comments and suggestions. I've attended twice a week since the end of January and it's the most entertaining and educational program I've been to since Hannah was born. The parents there are quite friendly and I find myself staying at least thirty minutes after each class to chat with whoever stays as well. Not only do we talk about the session that day, but also about each child's development. Baby Goose Time not only provides entertainment for the little ones, but the parents also get a chance to learn from each other.
There is a break between sessions so check the Markham Public Library website for class days and times. There are Baby Goose Time classes at the Markham Village Branch, Milliken Mills Branch, Unionville Branch, and Thornhill Community Centre Branch as well. The next session is for Summer 2009. If you can attend, be sure to let Megan know what a great job she's doing. Tell her that Hip Teacher Mama said so.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
We're sure that the two girls will grow up together and hope our daughter will appreciate having Aly around. From Game Nights to barbecues to more beach outings, they'll go through life together. Being an only child, having a sister is something I wish I had. It's a best friend, a supporter, and a confidante all rolled into one. Sisterhood is not about blood, but about something much deeper. It's a bond that begins with common interests and affection, but develops with time. While in the tent, one song in particular made the babies smile: "The more we get together, together, together, the more we get together, the happier we'll be." And certainly from this weekend's adventures, they seem happy to share in this friendship together and it's just the beginning.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Mamas, before sharing with your babies, be aware that the goofy hunter (brief glimpse of a gun) is the one doing the singing.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Follow these instructions from wholesomebabyfood.com on how to bake or roast squash. The most popular variety for babies is butternut squash.
1) With a sharp kitchen knife, cut the squash in half (lengthwise).
2) Scoop out the seeds from the round end of the cut squash.
3) Lay squash "face" or meat-side down in a baking dish with about 1-2 inches of water.
4) Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes or until shell/skin looks puckery and turns a darker tan.
5) Afterwards, scoop out the squash and then puree the "meat". Add water as necessary.
If baking or roasting takes too long, you can also cut up the pieces and boiled them until tender. Puree.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Several years ago, I ran an academic summer camp. In the mornings, I taught math. I remember having two girls in that class who were friends and classmates at a local Montessori school. One was quite mature, self-motivated, and could add and subtract in the blink of an eye. She was clearly thriving from her self-led environment. Her friend, however, was a different story. She struggled with the work, lacked social skills, and had difficulty asking for help. Was this because the Montessori method doesn't believe in lectures, but more in discovery? Maybe the lack of pressure from any tests and working at her own pace failed her? Perhaps even the mixed age groups in a class setting worked against her?
She wasn't my only experience with the Montessori method, but she was the one that stuck in my mind the most. Why? I could see her potential and how a little structure could've done wonders for her. I thought about math strategies and games that she would've liked. I remember talking to her parents about their choice for Montessori and they said because they paid a lot of money, they assumed it was good for their daughter.
For all parents out there still in education limbo, please remember your child's personality and understand that high monetary value doesn't equal a good education. Kids who are independent, self-motivated, and consciencious may find success at a Montessori school, but should be prepared when they find themselves in the real world where standardized testing and pressure to meet deadlines exist on a daily basis. For parents who are not familiar with a regular school system, the use of manipulatives, visual aids, and critical learning are all integral parts of the teaching method. Some parents think that this exists only in a Montessori world and that's simply not true.
That being said, every child is different. You know your child best. Take the time, do your research, and visit the schools. Whatever choice you make, I'm sure it will be the right one for your family.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
There are two modes of play featuring five lively songs. After a few days, you'll know all the words! However, it comes with a set of song lyrics should you still have trouble with the catchy tunes. Babies can also create their own songs using the drum, xylophone, trombone or guitar keys. Baby voices and words of encouragement are bonuses to this small sit-down toy. I especially like the vibrant colours and the rattle microphone also keeps my baby busy.
3 AA batteries are included. Recommended age is 6-12 months old.
Available at Target (U.S.) and Toys R Us (Canada) for $49.99.
Monday, May 18, 2009
When I was pregnant, this was the hour I looked forward to the most each week. Why? Carrying an extra forty plus pounds gave me backaches. I had puffy feet from water retention and headaches from thinking about labour pains. Who wouldn't look forward to this ritual? Dim lights, soft music and someone to take the soreness away from your aching joints. Pushing away pain you almost didn't know you had. It was heaven!
Now that I'm a mama and not just expecting, this happy hour is far and few between. However, when I do manage to go, it is the hour I really treasure. I still have backaches and headaches, but thank goodness, the puffy feet are gone! The backaches are from carrying my ever-growing child and the headaches are from worrying about her next milestone. My massage therapist is awesome and asks what I'd like done each visit. On top of her physical work, she is also good to talk to. She's reminded me to do stretches and tells me which part of my back I've been putting too much stress on. It's good to know a professional is watching out for me even when I sometimes forget to take care of myself.
All Hip Mamas, take this advice: "Take an hour wherever you can get it and get a professional massage. You'll feel relaxed, pampered, and ready to take on the world...or at least another sleepless night!"
Friday, May 15, 2009
For a good time and a safe night, follow these City of Toronto guidelines at: http://www.toronto.ca/fire/prevention/fireworks_safety.htm
Watch this short safety video for further tips on how to handle fireworks the proper way. Happy Victoria Day!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Broccoli is in season now and provides vitamins A, C, and K as well as fibre to keep everything running smoothly. Peas provide vitamin C, fibre, and iron. As they are not readily available fresh in the summer, frozen peas are just as good for this recipe. Remember that skins may be difficult for a baby to swallow so be sure to remove them before serving or only if your baby has some chewing ability.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Roger Priddy has numerous books in this collection such as Colours, Shapes, Numbers, and Words. These books are excellent in developing babies' first language skills as well as visually connecting concepts to words. The photographs are big and brightly coloured and the words are simple and common to everyday use. The tactile element is provided in each book, where the reader must feel around to find the patch of material embedded on the pages (not every page has a patch). When discovered, readers are delighted as to the realism of the patch. I know I was. My favourite patches are the wooden puzzle pieces and teddy bear's nose while my daughter loved petting the dog and running her finger over the truck's front grill.
Available at Chapters and Indigo as well as online at Amazon for $4.95.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
I dedicate Boyz II Men's "A Song for Mama" to all moms out there: soccer moms, stay-at-home moms, working moms, single moms, step-moms, foster moms, but especially to first-time mommies like me! Whether you're going on five-hour-a-day sleeps, having feeding issues, or feeling like you can't change another diaper, you know you'd never change this experience for anything. Happy Mother's Day!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
1) Boil or simmer the chicken until cooked.
2) Boil the peas.
3) Using a food processor and adding a bit of
cooking liquid, pulse. Do so until it is mostly smooth.
4) Let it cool and serve.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
12) They were too close to the door to close it.
13) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
14) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
15) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
I had just rounded the corner to head home when a larger-than-life black Pit Bull lunged at me, growling loudly and drooling. I jumped, cursed, and gripped the stroller tightly. Thank goodness for the six-foot metal fence between us, otherwise, my baby and I would have been fresh tartare. My heart was going into overdrive and a split second later, his partner-in-crime ran towards us, snarling and barking even louder than he was. They took turns running and pounding against the fence obviously protecting their territory.
My first reaction was to veer as far away from the fence as possible, but on a sidewalk, space was limited. I picked up my pace, but kept turning back to make sure they WERE NOT somehow going to get through the fence. What didn't make sense to me was their owner in the yard, standing at the barbecue who made NO attempt to do anything. She just stared at me, dumbfounded, as if it was normal and okay, for anyone walking by to have some sort of heart failure. She continued to flip her burgers (no, I'm not kidding) and no apologies for her barking beasts scaring the number two out of me.
There was NO calming of the dogs down. No calling them back, coaxing them into the home, throwing a ball to distract them. Even after I was a block away, I could still hear those beasts yowling. I kept thinking what could I have done if they escaped from the sidegate? I felt so helpless. How could I have protected my child? I called my husband on my cell just to tell him what had happened. I hadn't felt that shaken in a long while. The good news was that out of the two of us, I was the only one who felt any terror in this situation. My baby girl was calm, didn't cry, and dozing off.
Now my following appeal is not for all dog owners. (I used to have a Shih-Tzu, who would rather lick strangers than attack them, and only barked a couple of times in his life. He was clearly not meant as a guard dog.) If you have an aggressive or extremely hyper dog, please take a moment to think about people who will pass by. Yes, your dog needs fresh air and exercise. Let your dog roam around in your yard as you wish, but out of human decency and common courtesy, don't just stand there while your dog pounds against the fence threatening your neighbours as they walk by. Put down your barbecue tongs and do something. Walks are supposed to prevent heart attacks not induce them.