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.

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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?

Markham Fair 2017 Review

     Did you get out to the Markham Fair this year?  One year made a HUGE difference in what Baby C got out of the experience.  We went on Saturday morning and Mother Nature did her part by keeping the temperatures relatively warm for end of September.  We hit up the fair in our usual way, the front buildings first and then through all the way to the end and loop to the rides (we don’t go on them, but we like to look).

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    Baby C loved the animals so much we had to see them again at the end.  We saw the poultry first.  Wow, those hairstyles!  Baby C got so close to them, I thought they would peck out her eyes.  We moved onto the next building to see the chickens and goats.  We loved the big barn the best especially because Mommy Pig was super active as her piglets ran in circles all over the place.  In all these years we’ve been going, I’ve never seen her do anything other than sleep.  She looked like an annoyed mom and at one point, she flung one piglet into the side of the trough! Two of the piglets were playing tag so a lot of bumping and grunting occurred and a crowd had gathered.  The horses stuck their heads out for a petting, goats were curious about all the people walking by, and the sheep looked ready for a rest.  The fluffy chicks were warm in their incubators and the cow stayed still for most the time we were there.  Old Macdonald’s Barn is always a blast.

 

   We did a bit of shopping after the animals.  I got a sweeper and it has to be my favourite purchase ever at the fair.  I ran into a girlfriend and she got one too so we took advantage of the deal (one for $25 and two for $20).  Thanks, girl!  😛  I hope you guys use it as much as I do.  The great thing about the sweeper is that it really does get the corners and is light and easy to maneuver.  The girls even enjoy it.  (Anything to get them cleaning is fine with me.)

    Next we walked through to the arts and crafts tents.  We saw the artwork and I even recognized some past students’ work!  Great work, guys!  We ended up at the antique book where we played a guessing game. We had to match the antique with its purpose and we got 14/14.  How excited were we?  This was like a real life episode of Antique Road Show (which HTD enjoys).  We ended up chatting with the lady running the booth and she commented on how good the girls were.  🙂  She was a former kindergarten teacher herself and probably happy we spent so much time figuring things out.  Educational, but fun.  We love stuff like that.

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    Moving on after that building was the food competition building.  Hip Teacher Dada and I always joke that we should submit a store-bought pie and see what happens.  Do the people bake in the presence of judges?  Who are the judges?  How do we become judges (that’s our stomachs talking)?  Always after that building, we have odd cravings for tarts.  😛   It still makes me laugh how huge people can grow their veggies.  Seriously, how does one even grow zucchini thicker than my thigh?

    Heading outside we decided to grab a snack.  We bypassed the blooming onion (first time we skipped it, so sad) and headed straight for the corndogs and poutine.  WARNING!  Do not go to the poutine booth that is on the corner.  We did NOT get true poutine with the curds.  I was so disappointed that it was just shredded cheese.  HTD said it was false advertising and I agree.  You cannot claim you sell poutine when it clearly isn’t.  That was a bit annoying, but we didn’t let that ruin our day!  🙂  (The girls just wanted fries so whatever form they could get it in didn’t matter.)  However, it makes me feel like I have to ask, “Curds in your poutine?”  Would that be insulting?

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     After our snack, we decided to walk around.  We headed for the rides, but because of our nervousness in their set-up, we don’t do them.  We get Canada’s Wonderland passes anyway and we feel much safer about going on rides that are permanent.  (Does anyone else feel this way?)  There were no particular prizes we wanted to win so we didn’t play any games this year.  It really was a quick trek around the midway.  We popped in for more cool animal sightings and a goat competition.  Baby C was fascinated with the large machinery on our way out.  Perhaps she will be a farmer one day?    We love our annual tradition and this was no different.

      Did you visit the 2017 fair?  What did you like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY: KIDAPALOOZA 2017

flyerupdated     The Markham Fairgrounds have all things happening in fall it seems!  First, the upcoming fair and now, a more recent tradition called Kidapalooza brought to you by Ell Events Inc.  This is a great opportunity for you to celebrate family as it takes place over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  I will post a full review once I visit the event myself, but I am definitely looking forward to it.  Kid-centric and with an expansion to the outdoors, I can’t wait to see all that Kidapalooza has to offer.

     Hip Teacher Mama is happy to present a Family Pack Giveaway (2 adults and 2 kids age 23 months and up).  Kids under 23 months are FREE.  To enter, simply do the following:

  1.  Like this post.  Tag friends for extra entries (1 friend = 1 entry).
  2.  Follow Hip Teacher Mama on Facebook or Instagram.
  3. Comment on “What do your kids prefer: inflatables or petting zoo?”
  4. Contests runs from September 28 to October 4, 2017.  Winner will be contacted by PM (please make sure you can get PMs on FB or IG) on October 5.

    You can also get a 25% discount with the promo code FALLFUN at www.kidapalooza.ca for a limited time.

Editor’s Pick: Halls Kids Vitamin C Pops and Cough and Sore Throat Pops

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    It’s that time of year!  Back to school and germs are running rampant!  I take note of every cough or sneeze in the classroom only because it reminds me to chew on some Vitamin C’s during the day that are sitting on my desk. However, at school, my girls don’t have access to it other than during snack time in the form of a clementine.  Hence, they get a treat after school and build up their immune at the same time with the new Halls Vitamin C Pops.

     I’m not a big candy person and the girls are limited to their sweet treats so when I said they could have a lollipop out of the blue, they were ecstatic!  When they tried these, they couldn’t believe how great they looked AND tasted.  Scientists say that it is too late to pop Vitamin C when you are ALREADY sick so the best thing to do is to have a good immune system to begin with.  Can I convince the girls to suck on a lollipop a few times a week?  I’m pretty sure I can.  🙂  Now the only worry is that they’ll be all too happy to get sick because they know I have the Cough and Sore Throat Pops in the cupboard.

      Wishing everyone a happy first week back.  Stay healthy!

Get Ready to Wiggle!

CANADA!

If you didn’t get a chance to catch The Wiggles last October in Toronto, here is your opportunity now!  The Wiggles are back from a 332 show tour in 2016 with more energy and laughter than ever before!  They are here to celebrate Canada’s 150th with a bang and bringing their talent and love to you in amazing cities all over our awesome country including Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Saskatoon, and Vancouver.  Check out their site to see all the dates and locations.  Tickets are on sale now so don’t wait.

Along with our favourite colourful Wiggles, Anthony, Simon, Lachy, and Emma, their special friends will be joining them.  Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, and Henry the Octopus are ready to high-five and dance with you so be part of the action.  A great thing about The Wiggles’ shows is just how interactive they are so get your signs ready.  They will see them and sometimes even incorporate them into the show.

This year, they have added a full band and an array of dancers that will keep you out of your seat.  Come join in the wiggly fun and get your tickets now.

The Wiggles are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.  Join in the conversation using the hashtag #wigglescanadabigshow

G'Day Canada!

 

Backpack Program: Time to Give Back(pack)

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The Backpack Program at our church is a great way for us to wrap up the end of the summer and get ready for school.  This year, I discovered that my friend participates in the program because it reminds her of a niece she lost a few years ago.  In honour of her niece, she donates a backpack for a child that would’ve been in the same grade.  We usually did the grades that Big H and Middle A were in, but this year, we followed our friend.  It seemed a bit more meaningful as we went to select all the items needed for the backpack and the backpack itself.  I had a face in mind.  There was a special little girl out there that we were doing this for.

This program ties in really well to the girls’ newest assignment, a gratitude journal.  They both wanted a BUJO (see my Bullet Journal post in the spring), but other than a Doodle Challenge and a couple of lists, they didn’t have much in it.  I thought the summer was a great time for them to reflect on their day (it is much longer now as bedtimes have pretty much gone out the door) and to think about how lucky they are.  The assignment was simple.  Think about one to two things they are grateful for without it being the generic “I am thankful for food because not everyone in the world has food.”  I wanted them to give a reason they are grateful.  Explanations are everything.

They have had a few entries and so far so good.  They are thankful for friendships because they can talk to their buddies and run around together.  They recognize the value in their godparents and godbrothers.  Today they were thankful for basketball and having parents coach them.  I hope they keep this up when school starts.  I think it’s important for kids to have an “attitude of gratitude” especially mine.  Although they don’t go home with something most times they go to the mall (I know some parents who promise their kids a treat each time), they do receive generous birthday and Christmas presents and have my in-laws who are very generous grandparents (despite many reminders to wait for special occasions).  Teaching  them to give back starts at a young age so it may be something you’d like to start with your child.

If you are interested in involving your children in the St. Patrick’s Backpack Program in Markham or perhaps a similar program in your community, now is the time.  If you are on Facebook, please contact me and I will gladly forward you some information. Backpacks are due soon so if you are interested, please contact me by Thursday, August 18.