Friday, July 31, 2009


Chantal Kreviazuk's version of the classic Leaving on a Jet Plane is in honour of Hannah having her first plane ride this week. I wasn't looking forward to the air pressure, all the luggage, and how she would handle her trip. So how did it go? Stay tuned to find out...

Thursday, July 30, 2009


You may wish to introduce cucumbers when your baby is 8-10 months old. Great as a summer snack, it should not be a main part of your baby's diet as it has a high water content and few nutrients. However, it does contain vitamins A and C as well as calcium and potassium. Be sure to watch if your baby gets fussy after consuming cucumber as it may cause babies to be gassy.


1) Wash and peel cucumber. Remove seeds. Dice.
2) Wash and peel squash. Cut into small cubes.
3) Boil both for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
4) Mash together until you get a strained consistency.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My husband and I love going out to eat and having a baby hasn't stopped us. It was, however, much easier when Hannah was younger and slept a lot more. She would come to the restaurant a little drowsy, I would feed her, and then she'd go back to sleep or at least be content with being held. Now, she's more fussy and wants to practice standing or rolling around. At a restaurant, that's simply not feasible. Here are a few suggestions to keep your baby happy at the table while learning at the same time.

1) Books - Cloth books are especially great because you can wash them if food gets on them. They provide a good chewing stimulus if the little one is teething.

2) Rings - Long rings can hook around a booster seat or a table leg and provides hours (okay minutes) of enjoyment. You can teach colours, shapes, patterns, and numbers using this simple toy.

3) Squeaky Toys - If you can stand the quacks and moos for half an hour, then any stuffed toy that makes a noise is perfect for your little one. It distracts, entertains, and teaches your baby that animals have dinner conversation too.

DINING TIP: Time it so that you can feed your baby while your meal is being prepared. Once your baby has finished his or her meal, your meal should be ready. Your satisfied baby can now (hopefully) spend thirty to forty minutes entertained by the above toys. If not, order something you don't need to cut with a knife and be prepared to hold onto your little one. Happy Dining!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Hannah's always had a full head of hair, but the main problem was finding the best clips that could adorn her head and STAY there. From dollar stores to accessory stores, I've tried many. Finally I managed to find a local producer of hair clips which are cute and affordable.

Betty's Hair Clips are made of 3/4" alligator clips lined with colourful ribbons and a non-slip grip. The clips stayed in Hannah's hair until recently when she's discovered her hair and started to pull at it. Barring her wandering hands, the clips were excellent and could go in before we went out and last the duration of an outing. They didn't slip off when we pulled a hoodie over her nor when we got her in and out of the carseat. We also received many compliments on the clips' colours and designs.

Betty's clips are fashionable and as we found out, functional and practical. They work on thicker hair like Hannah's, but the non-slip grip made it work for thinner hair as well. Since they are not snap-on clips, they don't damage the hair shaft and are quite gentle. They certainly kept the hair out of Hannah's eyes so we could see more of her adorable face. There are numerous patterns to choose from including dots, stripes, flowers, and even seasonal ones that are perfect for Halloween or Christmas! Prices are quite reasonable starting at $1.75 each. With every 10 purchased, you can get 1 free. Check out Betty's clips and when you order, be sure to let her know that Hip Teacher Mama sent you.

Monday, July 27, 2009


In between unpacking (from staying downtown) and packing (for a trip to NY), I had time this weekend to fill in my Hannah Calendar. I didn't realize just how many significant firsts she's had in her young life already. Time certainly has flown by. Those tough months in the beginning with a couple of hours of sleep a night is so different now. She'll sleep at least nine hours straight and I'm so grateful. Her bedtime routine is set and despite the summer nights and unpredictable outings, we try our best to stick with our "bottle, book, and bed" routine.

Hannah is eight and a half months old now. She already has three teeth, holds her own bottle (when she refused bottles before), rolls around from belly to back and back to belly, and is now starting to crawl. Currently she drags herself forward commando style, but in those rare moments, she'll rock forward and back and move ahead. Just over the weekend, I saw her go from her belly to a full sitting position. She's beginning to pull herself up using the side of the couch which means we had to lower her mattress in her crib. My in-laws warned me that soon she'll stand and get out. My husband and I can't believe that our little girl is growing up quickly. We sometimes swaddle her in a blanket and say, "Oh, our baby! She's just one day old." Then we laugh and realize just how the days have gone by too quickly.

The most exciting milestone for me happened many times on Saturday. She's done it before, but not throughout the day. She finally said, "Mama." Although not always in context (she said it while sucking her toes and also playing with my purse), it's the word that matters. It's her first word, loud and clear, and she likes to repeat it often. I can't wait until she says it and understands the meaning behind it. Just hearing it though makes me smile and it couldn't sound sweeter. I know that in less than two months, I'll be going back to work and I'll likely miss more of her firsts. For now, I'll treasure the days I have left with her and keep recording these special moments.

Friday, July 24, 2009


From the 1978 Grease, you can't hear this on the radio and pretend you don't know the words. You also can't stop laughing at the hair and mocking the clothes, but it's also a classic and one that you must share with your kids when they hit their teens.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I love using yogurt for my baby for many reasons. Not only does it have a natural sweetness, it also provides calcium for building strong bones and teeth. It also provides protein, B6, B12, and riboflavin. You can start your baby on yogurt before the one year mark because unlike cow's milk, the fermentation process makes it easier to digest. For those with milk allergies, there is also soy yogurt.

Here are some ways to add yogurt to your baby's diet:
  • Mix yogurt with baby cereal to give it a smoother texture and extra flavour.
  • Combine yogurt, fresh fruit, and ice for a refreshing smoothie.
  • Mix yogurt, green onion, and sea salt for a veggie dip.
  • Add yogurt to a pancake or waffle recipe for a thicker, creamier taste.
  • Use yogurt with granola and dried fruit for a healthy snack.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Karen Katz has always been at the top of my list of favourite children's authors. Not only are her books simple to read, but lift-the-flap books are especially fun. Her cute drawings and positive messages are excellent for very young babies and brings a smile to Hannah's face whenever we grab a board book and settle down for a good story. I love books that are humourous yet teach a lesson. Hence, kids learn without even realizing it.

Here are some recommended ones that many babies seem to enjoy.

Little Dos and Don'ts Gift Box Set includes I Can Share, No Hitting!
and Excuse Me!
This set is a great way for little ones to learn what to do and what's faux pas in the world of social interaction. Bright illustrations demonstrate perfectly what we want kids to learn.

No Biting!
Along the lines of No Hitting! this book tells us ways to redirect a child he or she acts out inappropriately. Unfortunately, when they're young and can't speak yet, their teeth become their main (dangerous and sharp) tool of communication. This is a funny book that illustrates alternatives to biting, hitting, spitting, and kicking.

Karen Katz books are available on-line and at most bookstores including Chapters, Indigo, and Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


If you want Hannah to sit happily in your lap, wear a necklace and you're set! The problem is that after a few minutes of fondling the chain in her wee hands, the charm goes in her mouth. Not sure of the metal content in my necklaces, but I'm sure it's not how Hannah's supposed to get her iron.

Then came Dr. Bloom's Chewable Jewelery, where it's all BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free. Created by a dentist, these pieces are dishwasher safe, waterproof, and most importantly, HIP! This line includes necklaces, bracelets, keychains, and necklace+bracelet sets. Very chic, affordable (less than $20), and great to dress up jeans or after maternity leave, matches your suits perfectly.

Monday, July 20, 2009


On Sunday after mass, we decided to invite my mom and in-laws over for dinner. We spent the afternoon cleaning and prepping as Hannah's clothes needed to be folded, toys were scattered about, and of course, we had to prep for dinner. With a child, spontaneous dinner parties are actually quite involved.

Everyone arrived around five in the afternoon. Cooking dinner is easier when there are three other adults around to watch Hannah. She's learning to crawl and getting quicker by the day. Right now, she's dragging herself along the ground commando-style, but it's surprising how strong her little arms are. It takes her less than a minute to cross the family room.

My husband and I danced around each other in the kitchen, grabbing this and moving that. We washed, chopped, juiced, and grilled. He was the lead cook and I was happy being his sous chef.

Dinner was served an hour later and we were proud to serve up a cream of mushroom soup with grated carrot and minced ginger, baked garlic salmon, roasted chicken breast, and sides of broccoli, corn, and green peas.

After the delicious meal, we decided to take a walk. We headed to the closest park so they could see Hannah's reaction to the swings. They oohed and aahed (much like we did the first time) at her delight when she swung back and forth. The weather was perfect and even though the sun had started to set, the temperature was perfect. We walked further around the neighbourhood, passing by some soccer fields, a few more playgrounds, and finally back to our home.

Our evening wouldn't be complete without coffee and dessert so we served up some mixed berry pie and rich hot chocolate and coffee. Some of us watched tv and others surfed the net. Mostly though, we waited patiently for Yeh Yeh ("grandpa" in Chinese) to set up some of Hannah's toys we had accumulated by hadn't had a chance to assemble. By the end of the night, she had a new walker to play with, a rocking horse, and a car.

We had a fun night and soon my mom and in-laws decided to go home so we could try and keep Hannah's bedtime routine the same. It was a good evening and we hope to do it again another time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Summer programs have started and it's great to get out there and meet new people. Moms meet other moms and babies meet other babies. Out of these short meetings may develop a beautiful friendship. Get out there and chat it up!


Making congee is a simple way to get all the nutritious ingredients into dinner without too much fuss. Congee is a rice porridge popular in Asian countries. It can be made in a pot or a rice cooker.

Simple Chicken and Vegetable Congee Recipe
1) Wash 1 cup of rice very well.
2) Cook with 8-10 cups of water depending on how you like your congee. The more water you use the less thick the congee will be.
3) Cook chicken in some chicken stock for some flavour. Do the same with vegetables such as carrots, peas, and squash.
4) After the rice is half-cooked, add the other cooked ingredients. Mash up them up first.
5) Let simmer for about another half hour.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Hannah and I attended an eight-week Mother Goose Program created by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in Ontario. We were at the Pathways Markham Main Street site and I met a lot of new moms with similar interests and experiences. Hannah made some new friends and it was great to see other babies grow up before my eyes. Before each session, we shared something new or interesting about the babies, and it was funny how often another mom's story would hit home. It was great to share experiences with each other and a little empathy. We also learned fun songs, finger rhymes, and lullabies that I still use today. In between entertaining our children, the mommies were treated to healthy snacks and refreshments every Wednesday by the two instructors. The afternoon sessions flew by and some of us still keep in touch on a regular basis.

This initiative provides an outlet for moms who really do need to get out of the house. By speaking with professionals and getting important information about taking care of yourselves and your baby, you are providing a better environment for your whole family. The program is catered for babies 0-12 months and at the end of the session, each family is provided with a booklet of the songs and rhymes. Daily interaction with your baby is highly encouraged and music is a wonderful stimulant for the brain and physical development. Each class lasted approximately two hours and participants are free to nurse or walk around with your baby as necessary. For further details, please visit the provincial website.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


This is my second installment of my cloth diaper adventure. After trying the All-in-One I decided to explore the world of pocket diapers. My two favourites are FuzziBunz and AppleCheeks simply because they are functional and adorable! They are quite similar so it was hard to just pick one ultimate pocket diaper. Both are attractive, affordable, and did I mention, how pretty they are? I must've exclaimed over thirty times in a month just how much I love how their look!

I first tried on the FuzziBunz and found that the pocket-diaper was easy to use and a breeze to clean. The numerous snaps made it adjustable and Hannah's legs fit well (snug, but not too tight) with the closest setting. The material was soft and did not irritate. Unlike the All-In-One diaper I tried a couple of weeks ago, this material lay flat against her body so she didn't look as bulky underneath her shorts and jeans. FuzziBunz come in 8 attractive colours. The insert was a success and absorbant. I was very happy not to have to deal with any leaks.

AppleCheeks is Canadian made and also come in a variety of beautiful colours. With a micro-fleece lining and two rows of snaps, this envelope-cover style provides a breathable, comfortable diaper for your little one. You can buy inserts with a variety of layers depending on the needs of your baby. Boosters may be used if your baby is a heavy-wetter. For those new to the cloth diapering market, you can purchase a starter kit which provides you with everything you need including envelope covers (diapers), inserts, storage sac, bamboo terry wipes, hemp booster, instructions, tutorial DVD, and reusable box. Hannah's bottom stayed dry with the hemp insert and she received many compliments on her cover.


For a short time only, I am giving away an AppleCheeks Gift Pack including one cover, one hemp insert, one bamboo insert, and one hemp booster.

To enter, simply send me an email at: with the following info:

1. Your Full Name
2. Mailing Address
3. Age and Gender of Baby
4. Your Follower Name
You must be a FOLLOWER to be eligible so sign up now! It's EASY (simply hit the JOIN THIS SITE button on the right and fill in the short form)!

I will do a random draw on July 31, 2009. Good luck!

Monday, July 13, 2009


We enjoyed the perfect summer event on Sunday afternoon. Celebrating the arts and weather, we were part of thousands at the Beats, Breaks & Culture festival at Harbourfront. We were mainly there for the Breakdancing Finals, but had a chance to explore the artisans whose booths are there throughout the summer. There were also many international foods to try out (of course, I had my churros) and artwork on display.

We arrived around 1pm and walked around Queens Quay for a bit before deciding on some subs for lunch. We found seating on the lawn and watched some kids dance as the DJ spun some old-school beats. I had no idea that ten-year olds could dance like that! I swear I thought they were going to break something, but I guess being that young everything still bends and popping here and there is just fun not risky.

Soon we were joined by Hannah's god-parents and their son and daughter. Aly is going to be one in a few days and the perfect companion for Hannah. As usual, they stared at each other with familiarity and fascination.

We sat around for a while wondering when the competition would begin when Hannah's god-father came swiftly back from his walk to tell us that we missed the big stage. We packed up in one minute flat and high-tailed it to the action.

There, we were delighted by the young people's athleticism as well as creativity. They did knee drops, corkscrews, scissors, freezes, and just about everything that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Even Hannah didn't seem to mind the loud music and watched the audience around her. The dancers' floorwork was incredible. I was quite impressed especially by the females as it's usually a male-dominated art. Midway there was a Michael Jackson tribute and people got up out of their seats and danced. That was a great moment.

Hannah was quite sleepy so she soon fell asleep. We didn't stay for the final result because it seemed like the competition could go on for another hour or more and there is only so long that babies can stand the heat and the noise. It was almost time for dinner too so we parted ways. I think we'll make it an annual event and see if Hannah will pay attention to the dancers next year instead of people standing around us. It was a great event and family friendly.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Hip Teacher Mamas, you've earned the right to sit back and relax, so have you? Put on some summer tunes, sit out on the patio, and chat with your colleagues about anything - as long as it's NOT work-related. One of my personal faves is by LFO:

Thursday, July 9, 2009


It's the annual Summerlicious in Toronto, so why not give your baby a taste of the fancy life too? Combine the following ingredients for a refreshing lunch and a great balance of protein, vitamins, and calcium.

Pork with Apple Puree

1) Trim the pork tenderloin of fat. Fry in a pan for about 6 minutes. Dice into pieces that your baby can eat.
2) Puree cooked apples.
3) Shave some mozzarella.
4) Serve pork with warm apple puree on top. Add some mozzarella to taste.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The title is true. I'm an eager beaver, always have been, and always will be. Today we went from library to library in search of Grade 1 resources and no luck. So my husband and I took a break and a stroll around Hillcrest Mall. There, we stumbled upon the greatest set of resources and collection of toys, games, and posters that I have ever seen in the past couple of years. My Gifted Child has a huge section of textbooks, blackline masters, and storybooks catering from pre-school to high school. Reasonably priced, I found a lot of items that were about 10-30% cheaper than other major retailers. When you're starting a new grade and need a whole bunch of EVERYTHING, it adds up! The manager was also wonderful and I will definitely make my way back in a couple of weeks.

Hillcrest Mall is located at 9350 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, CANADA. 905.508.4540

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


As a teacher, I know how important it is that children are recognized by their names. We teach that names are about identity and having your identity established at a young age is important. Hence at school, it's usually "Billy" and "Jennifer" not "Sweetie" or "Dear".

At home, this also is true. That's why I thought it would be cool to have Hannah's name on her pacifier. No mix-ups at playgroups, no confusion during parties, and it's a great way for Hannah to see her name on something that she carries around with her. Personalized pacifiers are a wonderful product and besides making one for your little sweetheart, creating a unique one for your friends' kids would make a cool birthday gift as well.

Check out Made in Denmark, these pacifiers come in a variety of styles and come in many colours. They are reasonably priced at about 3 for $19.95 (the more you order, the more discounted they are). They meet safety standards and will take approximately three weeks to be delivered to Canada.

Monday, July 6, 2009


On Saturday afternoon, our family of three went for a stroll at Markville Shopping Centre. It wouldn't be a typical walk if we didn't visit our favourite Toys R Us to see what was available for Hannah. Nothing along the lines of electronic toys or stuffed animals caught our fancy (plus, our house is running out of room), but as we were heading out, we found it! The perfect toy to welcome the beginning of the summer vacation season...a swimming pool!

Mind you, this was not a giant swimming pool (much like the one we went to on Wednesday at my aunt's house), but a regular perfect-for-the-backyard-and-little-babies one. It cost only $12 and was lightweight and easy to carry. As I stood in line to purchase it, I began to imagine how it would be... babies in the water with their mamas by their side chit-chatting away. The only thing I had to be sure of was the assembly. Toys look fun, but the stress of putting them together can sometimes drive you crazy!

Luckily for me, it is simple enough. Simply unfold the pool and fill it with water. As you hold out the edges, the water pushes against the sides, thereby keeping the pool open and flat. I can't wait to try it out first before inviting Hannah's little playmates over for a quick swim. Although clearly they won't drown, it's still important to remind myself of water safety and young kids (much like in the tub). Never leave the baby's side, a ringing phone can wait, and test the temperature with my elbow.

Hopefully the temperatures will be on the rise soon. My friends, have your bathing suits on hand because the next email could be a pool party!


Friday, July 3, 2009


Other than history teachers, very few of us are educated on how Canada came to be. Since the summer is just starting, it may be the perfect time to grab a history book and learn a little bit about this great country of ours. We're lucky to have a great education system and health care. We feel safe in our neighbourhoods and always have clean air and water. Not many around the world can say the same. However, if you're more into sleeping in till 1pm and thinking about which patio to visit tonight instead of heading to the library, then check out Rick Green's amusing version animated by Bryce Hallett and Frog Feet Productions.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Instead of meat, you may choose to try tofu as a protein substitute. Tofu is a soy product so take note when giving it to your baby with possible soy allergies. You can use the various types of tofu (firm, soft, and silken) to create delicious dishes for your baby. Packed with iron, protein, and calcium, tofu should be introduced around 8-10 months of age.

Here is a nutritious and simple recipe for babies over 10 months from Sunrise Soy:

Scrambled Tofu with Mushroom and Green Pepper

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) chopped sweet green pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small red onion diced
1 package (175 g) Pete's Tofu ToGo Thai Tango (use plain tofu for babies)
2 tbsp (25 mL) soy sauce (use plain water for babies)
1 small tomato diced

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and sautee onion for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add green pepper and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more. Squeeze sauce (or ginger water for babies) over tofu into bowl. Mash it with a fork or crumble with your fingers. Add to skillet with sauce/ginger water. Add soy sauce if making for adults. Cover over medium heat, stirring often until tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes. Add tomato. Cook for 1 more minute. Serve warm.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Happy Canada Day! It's our terrific country's 142nd birthday and she doesn't look a day over one hundred!

Over the years, Canadians have invented some spectacular things. Check out the list of cool inventions that are totally hip, fully functional, and Hip Teacher Mama-appreciated.

apple pie
basketball - 1892
computerized Braille
ear piercer
five-pin bowling - 1909
goalie mask - 1959
IMAX - 1968
Jolly Jumper - 1910
microscope -1927
nursing pads - 1986
pablum - 1930s
portable high chair
Puzz 3D
Trivial Pursuit - 1982
washing machine

In honour of time passing by so quickly (summer will fly by), Hip Teacher Mama is giving away 3 large refrigerator magnets. To enter this giveaway, simply find three friends to sign up as followers and then send an email to: and let HTM know who they are (follower usernames). Be sure to include your name and full mailing address.

Three current followers will receive the colourful 2010 calendar magnets. Convenient and hip, this magnet is an essential for any mama who's booking playdates, planning vacations, or counting down the days until the weekend.

This giveaway will end on July 17, 2009. Winners will be notified by email.