Monday, November 30, 2009


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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?