Shopkins Live Winners: Tonight at 8PM!

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   Stay tuned at 8:00 p.m. where we will be announcing our winner for the 4 family passes for Shopkins Live!  Good luck to all those who entered!

 

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CONTEST: Shopkins Live!

      Shopkins Live! is finally here! The #1 kids toy in North America is live and on stage in Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!  Your beloved Shoppies make their theatrical debut in an original new live show featuring musical performances by Jessicake, Bubbleisha, PeppaMint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, Polli Polish and more! The fun and fashionista Shoppies are joined by the Shopkins the grocery store, themed mini collectible toys Apple Blossom, Strawberry Kiss, Lippy Lips, Kooky Cookie, Poppy Corn, Slick Breadstick and Shady Diva. An ensemble cast of multi-talented performers brings the show to life on stage through song and dance.

     All of Shopville is in a tizz as preparations get underway for the annual “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair”. Shady Diva showcases her latest fashion designs; Lippy Lips gives colorful advice at the nail salon; Kooky Cookie tries to get in a beauty nap! But wait — no event is complete without a few hiccups! Who has high-jinxed the fashion pageant? Where is the super-secret celebrity guest? Will Slick Breadstick ever find a dance partner? The Shopkins and Shoppies need your help for the show must go on!

     Shopkins Live!  immerses audiences in the world of Shopville using custom-designed theatrical costumes, creative onstage characters, state of the art video and set design, and original pop songs and music! Grab your besties and check out Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!

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      To win a set of 4 family tickets for the Saturday, April 28 show at 1:00pm from Hip Teacher Mama, please enter the contest April 13-21 on WordPress, Facebook, or Instagram.  Simply tell us:

  1. the name of your favourite Shopkin
  2. tag two friends

      Please make sure that you can be contacted by direct message for notification or check the site on April 22 for the video of the draw!

       For more tickets, please visit: Shopkins Live!  Shows are on April 25 and April 28, 2018.

Bur Oak Closet

       Came across a post on a local Facebook site and thought it was a worthwhile venture to write about and promote.  The Bur Oak Closet is an event targeted at female students in Grades 8 to 12.  It is in its third year and the main goal is to help students find dresses for special events such as graduation and prom.
           Laura Dodham, Head of Guidance at Bur Oak Secondary School and Vice-Principal, Kathy McAlpine started Bur Oak Closet after being inspired by Maple High School.  MHS had been running Diva Ball for over ten years, but the distance was too great for those in the eastern part of York Region.  MHS started BOSS off with some dresses and the event was highly promoted and many donations came in from the Markham community.
           This comes from the coordinators themselves:
         “Thus far, we have been able to give 31 girls a dress which she could wear to a fancy event like a wedding, party, graduation or prom.  In Markham and the surrounding areas, we know that many families are doing their best to provide for their children.  However, some students may not have the chance to go to one of these events without significant sacrifice.  Bur Oak Closets gives the girls an opportunity to enjoy these fancy events with a new dress or to experience the fun of going shopping with girlfriends.  If we know that there is a male student in need, we work directly with him to get him an outfit.
        Most of the students who visit The Bur Oak Closet are Grade 8 students who have been invited by their teachers for a variety of reasons.  The high school students have come from a number of schools in the area, including our BOSS where they do private showings for the girls.  We try to make their visit a “shopping” trip where they can try on some clothes (some look like princesses), laugh with their friends, have some refreshments and leave with a dress (if possible) and a gift. Our goal is to have an enjoyable time, feel welcome in our school, meet some older girls and feel special at their event. 
         We send out invitations to all of the local elementary and secondary schools in York Region including Milliken, Markham, Unionville, Stouffville, Middlefield, and Markville areas.  Staff members sign up for an appointment time for their students so that it can be a pleasant and personalized experience.
          The community is a big part of the event. Sarah Hosaki has been a tremendous help in providing a way for the community to drop off dresses for us.   We are grateful for the fashion sense and generosity of many of our community members. They have donated dresses, scarves, jewellery, shoes, and unused make up.
          We have had a generous sponsor who has provided curling irons, hair dryers etc for each girl to take away.  In addition, we have been provided with party loot bags with sample products by Turning Hedz last year and a raffle prize for another year.  Shoppers Drug Mart also donated some nail polish and lip gloss to add to the bags.  Tip Top Tailors provided a full suit a year ago to one of our male students.  A local dry cleaner altered two dresses at a reduced cost to ensure that the girls looked stunning in a dress made to size.
           Many of the students who are looking for dresses are Grade 8s and we are always are looking for smaller sizes which are age appropriate.  On the other end of the spectrum, we have difficulty providing more full bodied girls with fashionable garments for teens.  
            We do this to build self esteem, sisterhood and a practical solution to a challenge that exists. It is also to build community.   I gather a group of Bur Oak students who carefully cull the dresses, catalogue, organize into sizes, act as dressers and floor assistants, set up and serve refreshments.  These students are impacted in a very positive way as well…they have thanked us for the opportunity to reach out to other students.”
          This event is ending April and the facilators would be grateful for more donations.  If you can donate something before Sunday, April 8, the dresses would be available for the clients for this year’s special events.  After that, they will be saved for next year’s events so your generous donation will never go to waste.   Donations can be dropped off at Bur Oak Secondary School in the guidance office located at 933 Bur Oak Avenue during school hours.  Turning Hedz Creations at 2925 Bur Oak Avenue will accept donations anytime as they have an enclosed porch for drop-offs.
          Please LIKE and SHARE to spread the word.  You can make a difference!

Everything in its Place

stapler     Stapler. Tape. Hairbrush. I reach for it and it isn’t there. Work or home, that drives me nuts. Does this ever happen to you?

   At school, I have an area at the corner of the room labelled “Student Tools.” It is equipped with a stapler, rulers, hope puncher, markers, and all the essentials needed for a stationary hub. Inevitably, students will come to my desk and ask for MY stapler, MY tape, or MY highlighters. Um why?  If I say yes, they sometimes wander off with it and when I need it, I don’t have it. I get the whole “sharing is caring” thing because I’m always saying that to my own kids, but I’ve already “pre-shared” by making the special area. Just leave my stuff alone, please and thank you. 😁  Your centre is just on the other side of the room.

      Then at home, it is the same thing. Last week, it was scissors I keep in the washroom drawer to cut off tags off new clothes. Reached for it and it was gone. My eldest had taken it for whatever reason. The other night it was the corner cutter for making a student’s birthday card. This time it was Hip Teacher Dada who took it to put corners on photos for work. I don’t mind the sharing, but it is the not having things back in its spot when I need it that irks me. Time is of the essence and I hate wasting time looking for things. I called upstairs for it (my craft centre is in the basement) and sure enough, someone had it elsewhere. 🤔 Meanwhile, just waiting…

       The most irritating is when I’m in a rush and I cannot find what I need. Two items come to mind and it is my baby’s hairbrush and my phone. The first one is usually is when someone moves Baby C’s brush from bathroom to bedroom. Not sure why her hair is being brushed in the bedroom to begin with.  My phone is well, MY fault. I’m always walking around and sometimes I misplace it. I put it down to put away some clothes or put it somewhere on the counter when I’m cooking and then move on to something else. My kids are now used to this and the game is who can track down where Mommy has been and find the phone first. 😁

         How about you? Is “everything in its place” a rule in your home?

Sweeping Out the Old

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     One of the best Chinese New Year traditions is to sweep out the old. I don’t literally sweep (vacuum and mop), but the whole idea of cleaning out junk is a great big release. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been cleaning up and clearing OUT. It has been a whirlwind of dumping things and donating clothes, toys, and anything extra we haven’t used in a while in our home.  Someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure, they say.  I’ve also been using the Buy and Sell Facebook sites like mad and it feels good to get rid of things just sitting there. We also have been welcoming in new furniture (bedroom makeovers are fun) and decor. It’s nice to have a fresh start once in a while and I love having a comfy home.

     In the Chinese culture, it is best to sweep before the new year which falls on February 16 this year. If you sweep on New Year’s Day, it is like sweeping away wealth. Other traditions we believe in and TRY to follow include cutting hair before the new year (so we don’t cut away wealth again…girls got it done) and wearing new clothes on the first day of the new year. It is also bad luck to wear black or white. We should always give “lai see” or lucky money in even amounts to our kids. Good foods to eat include noodles, dumplings, fish, and tangerines which represent long life, prosperity, and good health. Although we don’t know everything about our culture, we are learning and find it important to pass on these traditions to our girls.

     Baby C hdownloadas taken to a book I borrowed from my school library from one of my favourite children’s book authors, Karen Katz. It has reached the point where she has memorized most of it and “reads” with such joy and enthusiasm, it’s hard not to smile when she does it. Will have to post that video soon!  We hope she can see a parade this weekend and experience that dragon in real life. Meanwhile, it is our last day to clean up and clear out!

 

How are you doing with your Chinese New Year preparations?

GIVEAWAY: KIDAPALOOZA

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      Who’s ready for a winter getaway?  I don’t know about you, but the cold temperatures are getting to me and I can’t wait to just relax with my family on the upcoming long weekend.

        Looking for something fun to do?   Check out the Kidapalooza Family Festival at the Markham Fairgrounds from February 17th to the 19th.  With indoor and outdoor events, you will have more chances to use the inflatables, enjoy the play stations, and see the stage performances.  There is also a petting zoo, skateboarding lessons, and many vendors.  FREE coffee and hot chocolate will be available sponsored by Tim Horton’s.

       I have a Family Fun Pass to give away which includes 2 adults tickets and 2 child tickets for the upcoming Markham festival.  The winner will be announced on February 12th!  To enter, simply share this post with two friends by tagging them in the comments.  Contest runs from Feb. 8th to 11th.

          I have also a blog exclusive promo code: FAMFUN for 30% off tickets at www.kidapalooza.ca    Check out their site for more details.  Good luck!

EDITOR’S PICK: BRAIN CANDY LIVE!

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Family Tradition: Halloween

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    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.

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     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.

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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.

 

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.

THUMBS-UP

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!

THUMBS-DOWN

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.

SUGGESTIONS

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?