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?


Can I Coach?

          For the second time in the past six months, I have been asked to be a coach. A few months ago, I was asked to be a Beachbody Coach. A new friend on Facebook (a friend of a friend) said that with my lifestyle, I seemed like a good fit. I already post on social media, I like helping others, and I work out regularly. However, after giving it some thought, I didn’t think it would be fair because I wouldn’t be posting daily. I didn’t feel that would be fair to the women I would have in my group. The coach who asked me posts daily and early in the mornings.  I’m barely getting my act together with three kids and my own morning regimen.

        I would want to be there 100% which right now is already hard on some days especially with the weird winter we have been having. Between work and home and finding a few moments of “me” time, I don’t see how I could be worthy of having an accountability group. The thought of twenty women relying on me for workout inspiration or meal plans is overwhelming. Right now, I’m happy posting my food pix randomly on IG or writing about our daily adventures and challenges. The mom of three who asked me is awesome and she actually works out daily like at 5am. Ha! I hit the treadmill a few times a week to catch up on shows!   I kickbox a couple times a week. Even the videos for Beachbody are ready to go on my phone, but unfortunately on some days, I’m not. LOL.  They are amazing for when I’m cruising though and no access to Wifi (I’m NOT paying an arm and a leg for that) and the videos are already downloaded.  I know some Beachbody Coaches are in it for the Shakeology discount only, but for me, if I were to do this, I would do it for the whole culture of it all and not just for the shake discount.

           I was happy to be asked for Beachbody, but then last week, I was asked to be a kickboxing coach. WHOA! That was very unexpected, but totally flattering! What can I say? I LOVE my fitness kickboxing classes. The staff is great and the atmosphere is comfortable. My favourite coach is a real sweetheart, but all the coaches are friendly and are great at their jobs.  The all-female environment makes it a nice sanctuary and I’ve heard quite a few clients claim that they are happy they don’t have to worry about how they look or what they wear. I’ve made some new friends there as well as brought some old friends in. It is a comfy environment among peers. Just 20 women or so pounding away, dripping for 45 minutes, and then the sweet bonus of a cool towel at the end of it all. I only go twice a week (our schedule is hectic), but the endorphins seem to last forever. I wish I had more time in my schedule to coach though because I would be leading by example. Again, due to work, Big H’s basketball schedule and my husband’s time to play ball, I wouldn’t be able to set aside a weekly time to coach. I’m one of those “give it 100%” types so if I cannot coach on a regular basis, I think it is more fair not to do it. Who knows though for the future?  Definitely keeping my options open.

          For now, I’m enjoying my workouts after work, morning tv treadmill runs, and popping in a video when I have the time.  Since starting the kickboxing thing almost a year ago, I have found an improvement in strength, muscularity, and balance.  I am more conscious of my water intake and have changed fat to muscle.  I get to eat more and feel less guilty about overindulging on junk.  If you know me, that’s already a bonus!  🙂

Sweeping Out the Old


     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?



      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!

Trying Something New

Since turning 40, something in me has changed.  I’m more willing to try new things and see what’s out there.  Friends laugh about me being in my local bubble and I’m still like that, but new experiences bring about new memories so why not?

Despite a scraped left elbow and hyper-extended right one, we had ax throwing on the schedule for Friday night.  We had this Parents Night Out scheduled a few months ago so I was looking forward to it.  Injured or not, I was going to toss an ax.

Located in the middle of nowhere (just kidding, it was Pickering among warehouses), we found ourselves at BATL.  Started by a guy right in his own backyard, we quickly made friends with our instructor, Lyndon, who clearly followed a script with some sarcasm thrown in to make the little spiel his own.

We started off with drinks before learning to how place our hands and feet in proper position.  We were given the basic rules of tossing and retrieving (i.e. don’t retrieve while partner tosses) and also no butt taps with the ax.  Common sense, but BATL starts off their nights with drink orders so better safe than stupid.

We had some practice throws and then did a round robin tournament.  Hip Teacher Dada is pretty competitive though he likes to say that I’m the one who always wants to win.  I knew I would have no chance for this game as most times I tossed, my right elbow pulled at me angrily saying, “Why are you torturing me?”  I tried my best though!

After the two hours of tossing and laughing, I placed fourth while HTD was crown the king of ax throwing.  He seriously came back because our first throws landed on the ground and not in the board.  HTD picks up a skill rather  quickly which is pretty cool (a bit annoying too).   Much props to our friend, Peter, who looked like a natural right away.  I’m convinced he was in their weekly ax throwing league and just didn’t tell his wife.

King of Ax Tossing

Anyway the experience was definitely fun and about $45 per person.  We didn’t wear our plaid shirts which would’ve made our photos even more ultimate.   Anyone think it may be the sport for them?

Check it out at BATL.

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.

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.


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?