Editor’s Pick: Rebel King Designs


         Customization.  Love it.  I like having something unique for my family or myself that makes someone say, “Hey, where did you get that?”  I’m not particularly handy so despite all the DIY sites out there, rarely do I think I can copy something and make it look like the photo.  So, I ask friends or reach out to local sources.  I feel the same way about personalization.  I love it, but you can imagine how rare it is for me to find my name on a keychain or hairbrush on the shelf.  (I admit, I still look for me when I look for my girls.)

      Lucky for me, I discovered one in my Markham area.  It’s a mom who does customized tank tops that are perfect for hot summer days and my kickboxing classes.  I need lightweight tops because I overheat easily.  No one enjoys a workout while dealing with heat rash.  She was able to take a design I found online and recreate it.  I liked it so much, I ended up making a few more.


         Rebel King Designs is a local Markham shop who corresponds quickly on Facebook.  Adryanna is fast, friendly, and getting more popular by the day.  This would be a perfect chance to explore that customizatin avenue as you may have a resolution to work out so a cool new tank would be ideal!  Contact Rebel Kings on Facebook and speak with Adryanna today.  She is really sweet and will gladly redo something if it is NOT to your satisfaction.  (My Starbucks tank top above appeared a bit yellow with the new vinyl she was using and I wasn’t too happy with it.  She redid one for me quickly.)

           She has cute designs or can copy a design if you send her a picture.  Let me know what you end up ordering something!  Tell her Hip Teacher Mama sent you.  🙂




Manners Matter


        Today a colleague came up to me and told me something that made my day.  She pulled me aside while my class was lined up waiting to go into Music class and asked, “So what do you do?  Your class is so quiet.  I saw them earlier and you were way ahead, but they were still quiet.  Now again…I asked them what you do and they said you threaten them with homework.”  I laughed and she said, “I know you don’t, so what is it?”  I replied,  “Not sure, but we talk about being respectful and mindful of other classes.  We talk about thinking about others before ourselves and that people are learning.”  She smiled and I told her feel free to share your thoughts with the students.  They need to know that their good manners are recognized and appreciated.  She did and I think they realized that their little deed makes a difference.  Hopefully, it made some of them proud.

         It got me thinking about simple manners like please and thank you.  I have a few kids in my class who are consistently good with that.  A few always greet me in the morning and make sure to say bye to me at dismissal.  I love that!  It shows a lot about what’s been taught in the home.  Parents are children’s first teachers.  I FULLY believe that.  I always tell my students that what they do at school represents their family in the real world.  I can usually tell how a family is just by how the student is.  They live what they know, right?

           Today I was waiting for a mom to pick up an item I was selling on a Facebook Mom group.  She was supposed to come yesterday between 10 and 2.   She didn’t show up and no reason given.  She said her brother was coming, but he didn’t either.  Last night, I messaged her to remind her to come as I had to reject another mom who was willing to come on Friday (but it was a fastest pick up post).  She said she would come today.  It is now dinnertime, she hasn’t come, nor has she given a text, apology, or reason.  Maybe that is just me (my husband thinks so), but he says not everyone is like me and about accountability and will text.  It seems like common courtesy.   Is that not a thing anymore?  Does the amount of stuff people have to do excuse them for not doing the courteous thing?

       What’s your take if someone RSVPs to a party and then doesn’t show up?  This happened a few weeks ago at a party we were throwing.  After a few people asked me about a guest and I was running around busy, but I eventually texted and wondered if there was an accident.  No answer for awhile so I decide to call.  This individual made a flurry of excuses and finally settled on one about an argument so not in the mood to come.  I understand that, not being in the mood to socialize at a happy event, but maybe a quick text?  I was worried.   Again, my husband doesn’t believe that everyone thinks that way (to let others know what they are up to).  I don’t know. Doesn’t seem hard, just again, common courtesy?

           What do you think?  Are our lives so busy nowadays that a simple phone call or text is too much if you are late for an event or missing one altogether?  Or is it simply the lost art of manners because we are all on electronic devices and the basic act of physical communication is gone?  I joke we don’t even need a landline anymore and only keep it for the bundle discount.  Sadly, it is true though.  I hardly use the phone for conversation anymore because texting is more convenient and fast.   I don’t think I have lost my manners though and still try to remember that I’m setting an example for my kids and students.  Thoughts?  (THANKS.) 😛
























Kid Mindset

sleep girls

     It is funny when chatting with mommy groups. You know when you are going to hit it off or not.  Your personalities will inevitably click or not based on how you parent.  When you do find a good one, the support system you find in one is amazing because you have a group of women all coming from the same place.  Their priority is their children and well, so is yours.

     Two recent instances come to mind.  One friend and I laughed about this the other day.  Someone wanted to host a party and dinner started at 6:30 p.m.   Our three year olds go to bed at 7:30 p.m. so that may not work out.  With bath and bedtime routines in place, the whole sleep event starts around 7.  My friend decided she would attend alone because realistically the meltdowns will start.  Only people with kids will truly get this.  Kid mindset.

     Another time (funny, these both involve food) was a suggestion of having Korean BBQ.  Being surrounded by plates of raw meat and a sizzling hot plate and children…it wasn’t even touching those items that worried me, it was being able to enjoy the experience.  Depending on the child’s age, long gone are the days of wine and chatting for three hours over a meal.  It is more like how fast can you eat without choking?  I try to avoid buffets and long banquets for this reason.  I know it isn’t possible especially for a three-year old.  Again, kid mindset.

     For those who want to attempt a long dinner out, may I suggest a “Fun Bag”?  My two eldest girls know how to pack their own and it’s usually filled with colouring books, word puzzles, or notebooks.  For the preschooler, I usually choose crayons, stickers, and the best gift known to parents, an iPad.  We try to do all the hands-on stuff first and then break out the big guns.  Baby C watches videos and plays games like making carnival food, learning her fruits and veggies, as well as matching shapes and putting together simple puzzles.

     Picking mommy groups and making plans works best when sleep schedules and routines are in sync.  Otherwise, there will be a family who will have parties that start at 6 p.m. and expect it to end at 10 p.m. and you are gone by 7 p.m.  Only parents with babies and toddlers probably remember that complex scheduling because as kids get older, the parents do get a bit more leeway.  We are pretty much there with our older two.  They MAY be cranky if they don’t get enough sleep, but won’t have a tantrum like the youngest.

       Have you found a clique whose routines  and mindsets work for you?  When did you know this was the right group for you?  More posts in the future about kid mindset with regards to discipline (that seems to be a hot topic among my chat groups).

Fresh Starts

Happy New Year to one and all!  2017 was a wonderful year full of new friendships and slowly getting away from toxic relationships.  As I age, I begin to realize how precious time is and my life can be better spent avoiding upset especially when it comes to personal relationships.  Even today, on the very first day of a new year, I was unable to start off the year happy.  I spent the morning after breakfast upset at something out of my control: selfish behaviour from a relative, which now because it has happened so often, I have no more patience for.  Years and numerous situations where I had to be the mature one and suck it up…well, no more.  Over it.

A wise friend said familial obligations only need to take you so far and if it is always one-sided or negative, keep that in 2017.  I agree.  Moving forward.  It already feels like a weight has been lifted.  Now I just need to be strong in my reserve.  Despite my best intentions to move forward (as I have tried before), the religious aspect of forgiveness sets in and eventually, I do.  At times, I feel I’m a big sucker and being taken advantage of.  When does one become a sucker?  However, I am done with my kids being a low priority and being disappointed time and time again. I am done being the “bigger person” all the time.  Blood does not a family make.  I know this because of my girlfriends who are just a text or phone call away. These ladies love and support me all the time and don’t expect anything back, but also know my loyalty runs deep.  A give and take relationship, how novel.

Bullet journalists often have a word for the year and I think mine is CHANGE.  As I plan my journal out and seeing all the special events coming up, I am excited to see my daughter’s basketball games and spending time with our friends.   Is anyone else starting their new year off with a new way of thinking?  Ready to do what makes YOU happy?  I am.  Fingers crossed.

Wishing you health and happiness for 2018.  Many blessings to one and all.




From the dad jokes to the physical humour to audience participation, Adam Savage and Michael Stevens had me at the get go.  On Saturday, my big girls and I attended an engaging two-hour show completely devoted to science in Toronto.  Even the screenshots before the show began with the variations of how to show “brain candy” in different languages and pictures were fascinating. The girls were hooked by “candy” in the title. Big H kept saying, ‘I’m so excited!  This is awesome.”  As always, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts had a wonderful turnout.

Big H was accurate in her excitement because the show was awesome.  Although some of the science concepts were out of their reach, they grasped the experiments readily.   We learned about “liquid water” versus water vapour and the names of numbers with many zeroes like sextillion (16 zeroes) and octovigintillion (28 zeroes).  They did several experiments to show that our theatre air is made up of many molecules and conducted experiments with speed and sound.  We learned about us weighing roughly the same as two and a half elephants in molecules.  They blew out a gigantic  air ring that was ethereal and just amazing.

Each segment was separated by their silly dance routines (I love how self-deprecating they were).  Diagrams on the back screens helped to explain some of the scientific concepts before and during the experiments.  For us visual learners that helped a great deal.  When they discussed the weather and clouds and then created a cloud in a bottle…POOF!  They had my second grader fascinated because she actually could answer some questions like evaporation and condensation.  She understood what they were trying to show and to see her little face light up because of the familiar words…that was awesome.

From the audience, they had a volunteer named little Abigail participate (waiver in hand, lol).  She helped insert plugs from hairdryers onto a larger circular platform.  After all of them were plugged in, she sat in the seat and they sent her back and forth on the stage.  They had made a hovercraft!   That was really cool only to be made funnier because on the back screen, we saw a game of Pong complete with sound effects.  They certainly knew their target audience.



After the break, they answered the audience’s tweets.  Some were personal questions such as how they met (they have the same agent, spoiler alert) and how they did in school.  Other questions were science based such as would water spin in different directions in different parts of the world (it does because it depends on the rotation and closeness to the equator).  I can’t stop thinking about their mice and cardboard story.  Oh my…

They introduced some juggling, but it wasn’t the idea of juggling that struck a chord with me.  I think it was how Adam kept saying he persevered no matter how bad he was at it.  He really wanted to do it so he kept at it.  I know my daughters sometimes give up on things that are challenging so hearing “don’t give up” from someone other than their parents must have been refreshing.  :).  Adam talked about how he made his own juggling clubs (my girls love to make things and lately, they’ve been into making slime) so they sat up a bit during this segment.  We saw a demo of his juggling skills and then a simple lesson on air and moving into the Bernoulli principle and the Coanda effect (excellent for my science program as flight is in the Grade 6 curriculum).  To end the show, they did a review with song.  It was a perfect ending to the double period of science class.


Brain Candy Live was a great show and I’d highly recommend it to adults, teens, teachers, and all fans of science!  They tested everyday items and built machines that were HUGE!  Shooting hundreds of ping pong balls out on stage (mad rush of kids down the aisle followed) to emptying a roll of toilet paper in seconds, these guys captured our attention for the full two hours.  We left a little more knowledge and full of brain candy.  Sweet.


Image result for winner

Congratulations to CP for winning the family set of four tickets to Brain Candy: Live! at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on November 25.  The tickets will be sent out today.  Thanks to everyone who PM’ed and commented to enter the contest.  Stay tuned for more upcoming giveaways.

Family Tradition: Halloween



    Did you have a great night with your little goblins?  As always, we had an early dinner and then walked around our neighbourhood for an hour.  The slight rain in the afternoon worried me a bit and I heard from a co-worker that they had hail in Stouffville, but luckily, it all cleared up by the evening.  We did our usual route (we did the same as last year) and then went home to hand out candy.  Ended the night with sorting our goodies and pumpkin perfect.  It was a slightly later bedtime for Baby C and she was a cranky pants this morning, but it happens.

     Baby C was able to walk for most of the hour (she needed to be carried for the last ten minutes which was fine) and she was so loud with her “Trick or treat!”  She was clearly excited and her enthusiastic and genuine “Thank you” brought smiles to many of those who handed out candy.  One of my favourite houses had a lady dressed in a robot costume who was in full character and asked in a monotone voice, “What do you want?”  She was an awesome machine.

   Some people went all out with their decor and it really does bring the spirit of Halloween alive.  We won’t decorate too much until we get more kids in the area.  Going to our house probably isn’t a priority as we have an open field across from us.  Maybe when Big H is tired of trick or treating, she will want to stay home and distribute.


     One thing that should be noted is that if you are not home, don’t turn on your lights.  We ended up at some of the same houses at some teenage girls and they thought the same.  It was a waste of time.  For our girls especially Baby C, some steps were just hard to get up and down.  Lights off, people skip.

      Thanks to Mother Nature, it wasn’t too cold.  We had our on Minions costumes (“Ooooh a Minion family, love it!” so we had layers on and our winter coats.  The hats were amazing because they were cute and functional (thanks, Target).  I hope you enjoyed your annual tradition too.


Saying Farewell to a Fall Tradition

     We have been going to Whittamore’s Farm yearly for fall photos since Big H was born.  We volunteered on her daycare trip to Pumpkinland in 2011.  Many of my friends go there to pick their own strawberries or for fresh produce from their market store.  This year, the farm classic on Steeles Avenue will be closing its doors to the public in November and the feeling we get when hearing that is sadness.

      The Whittamore family has owned the 330-acre farm since 1804.  They’ve been in the pick-your-own berry business since the mid-1950s.  Mike Whittamore said it was a hard decision to make, but it was time.  Working around the clock is what farming is all about so it is understandable that this hard-working family needs a break and some family time together.   Many loyal customers from Markham and other nearby communities are saddened by the news of the farm closing to the public, but they get it.  It’s been a long time.

      The family will rethink their farming in 2018 and decide which future endeavours to take.  They may not do fruits and vegetables, but they will certainly do something with the huge plot of land.  Until then, you have about a week to squeeze in photo ops with their lovely pumpkins and they kids can have one last ride on their horse swings or swoosh down their big red slide.

      Thank you, Whittamore’s for all those memories.  We will never forget you.




   Hungry for science-based action?  Want to see if those crazy curiousities can be satisfied?  Join Adam Savage and Michael Stevens for an event that will surely blow your mind!  They will tease you with epic demonstrations that integrate imagination, humour, and surprise.  This highly interactive event will zip by because as we know, time flies when you’re having FUN!  See Savage of Mythbusters fame and Stevens of Vsauce on YouTube as they explore the world of tools, toys, and demonstrations that will surely make you go, “What?!”

     Hip Teacher Mama is proud to present a ticket giveaway for this phenomenal show.  Produced by MagicSpace Entertainment and directed by Michael Weber, who has been called a “walking Swiss Army knife”, this show will be explorative and guaranteed fun.  Weber has worked with such talent as Jack Nicholson, Edward Norton, Hugh Jackson, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Wes Craven, and more!

     This is the first time two ingenious minds will meld together for one extraordinary evening and you NEED to be there!   By popular demand, more shows have been added across North America, and The Sony Centre of the Performing Arts has them!


contest chalkboard

           To enter for a set of four tickets for Saturday, November 25, 2017 for 7:30 p.m.

  1. Follow Hip Teacher Mama on Facebook, Instagram or WordPress.
  2. Like and comment on this post.  “Mythbusters or VSauce?”
  3. Tag two friends in this post.
  4.  Contest runs from Nov. 2 to 12.  Please make sure to check out the video draw on Nov 12.  Contestants please make sure I can PM you on social media.

good luck



REVIEW: Kidapalooza 2017

First time ever trying out this family-oriented festival that took place Thanksgiving weekend.   Located at the Markham Fairgrounds, they expanded their site to indoors and outdoors for their second year.

Here is what the Hip Teacher Family liked and thought could be improved.


All-inclusive tickets for games and rides  (except for the pony rides).

Many games geared towards kids including basketball and mazes.

Train ride is fun.  Two trains meant quicker lines, but we went early.

Large toddler area with decent selection of toys including grocery store, ride-on toys, blocks and balls.  Mats laid down.

Friendly volunteers from high school and older.

Lots of appealing indoor bouncy castles.

Free mini-squash for kids for souvenirs.

Cute petting farm.  Reasonable $2 for animal feed in little cups.

Fun dress-up area where kids could have some early Halloween fun.

Excellent location.  Free parking!


Plush animal ride-on vehicles not ready by 10:15 a.m.  We were told to come back in 20 minutes.  Doors opened at 10 a.m.

Plush animal ride-on times inconsistent.  A friend went on (after a LONG wait) and she said some riders got a three laps while others were on for ten-minutes (long lines throughout).

Volunteers did not know what some sponsor businesses were.  They were wearing their t-shirts though.

Bouncy castle restrictions.  My toddler wasn’t able to go through an inflatable course with her sisters and she needed guidance to get up so she couldn’t go on.  Most inflatables geared toward older kids (4 and up, imo)

Pumpkin patch was weak when we arrived.  It was scarce.  It wasn’t at the end of the day, but rather the beginning so it should’ve been much more appealing.

People in line thought they were lining up for Paw Patrol (on the promo poster), but it ended up being Peppa Pig.  We didn’t line up because we thought it was Paw Patrol (we walked by and saw Peppa, Baby C’s favourite). The lines were too long to go back and wait.


Reduce the entrance fee.  Heard several parents say that $25 per child plus $8 for parents was too much.  It shouldn’t cost more than the Markham Fair.

Continue the indoor and outdoor layout.  That was great!

Have more characters walk around the event.  Kids love to meet and greet their favourites from TV.

Did anyone check out this event?  What did you think?