Category Archives: Raves

Public School or Private School – York Region

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Hello everyone,

It has been a while since I wrote something but I thought for this purpose it would be a good idea because I have noticed that many people that I know are now looking into whether or not private school is something that they can afford or look into. Understand that I write this post based solely as my experience as an OCT qualified teacher with more than a decade of teaching experience and as a parent.

In Vaughan there are quite a few public schools and to be honest they aren’t great. They have entirely too large class sizes in my area with 20+ students to 1 teacher. They may say that there will be a teachers aid in the smaller classes but what about when there isn’t? Also why is an aide at the same level as the teacher? In addition to that in York region the sheer lack of diversity in the teaching staff is almost laughable. There is very little diversity and it certainly doesn’t match up with the student population. When I initially went into the school that my son was supposed to go to it was unbelievable the way I was dismissed, I didn’t once mention that it was my field, because I wanted to see if they treated me well or not. In fact they treated me poorly from the very first person I spoke to, to the very last. So I said forget it.

I was ready to homeschool my child, because he was 2 at the time of this, and he could already read. So I discussed this with my spouse and he flat out refused, and said I had to look for another alternative. Since marriage is about compromise I had to find a middle ground so I looked into private schools.

In Vaughan there are three private schools that are somewhat affordable; King heights, North Hill Private and Woodbridge Private School (formerly Woodbridge Montessori)

King Heights: They have an IB program, and personally I found quite a few problems with this school as a parent and an educator. ¬†Any school activity whether it is Gym or going to the library or something like that has to be done off campus at another place. So the children have to be bussed there. That means a lot of time is given to transportation and my kids would be in a bus without car seats regularly when they could be learning. I won’t even let my mother drive my kids to school, they have to have their winter clothes off when in the car, so this wouldn’t have worked one bit for me. On top of it when I asked why the school was IB in elementary since in my professional opinion it isn’t necessary at the primary level, I was given the lame excuse that all work should tie back to world and global studies. I wanted to say all GOOD curriculum already does that but I hadn’t told her that I was a teacher, so I made note of the BS answer she gave me. I personally didn’t like the vibe of this school nor the fact that I didn’t get a straight answer as to whether or not all the teachers were OCT certified.

North Hill Private School: Food is included with this program and it only goes up until a lower elementary level and I wanted to put my children in a school once and not have to change them for a while to a different school. The problem with food being included is that my children have allergies and I wouldn’t trust any other source than mine.

Woodbridge Private School: This turned out to be my winner for many reasons. First the school recently went through a complete overhaul. I am very happy with it as a parent. The religious aspect was removed from the everyday school curriculum, which was beginning to be a problem for my kids.

Secondly they have brought in a music and piano teacher to teach both of my children, on site, which is great for them to get the basics of music being taught at such a young age. They have physical education on site and extra curricular activities such as Mandarin, Italian, French, Taekwondo, and Tennis, so that we as parents don’t have to schlep our children around to this activity or that activity on the weekends.

The staff work with each individual kid and they truly make them feel safe and happy which creates a great learning environment for learning. My younger son, literally cried every day going to school for the first 3 months, and they never made him feel bad for it, nor me, they just encouraged me to continue on and that he was in good hands. I would come in some days just to check in, and there he would be happily playing and learning.

The kids are in split classes JK & SK, 1-3, 4-6 are all grouped as such to have plenty of peer learning and the ability for children to gain social skills and understanding from each other, which has been proven to be the most effective learning tool for primary aged children.

Here is the best thing they have recently implemented tutorial from 3:30-4pm so all children will have a chance to complete their homework on site at school, so that we as parents can just have a good time at home discussing their day at school instead of struggling to complete endless mind numbing tasks of trying to get a tired kid to complete a bunch of busy work homework at home when all you want to do is talk to them.

Even when you have a concern about children not getting along or every day concerns the principal is so quick to figure out a solution, and sure you can say it is because you are paying for it, but truthfully I don’t think that is the case here. I ask my kids every day and even when there have been conflicts how they feel about school and they both love it and love seeing each other in school too.

They do offer a hot lunch program too, with great food options, the school is also a nut free school. I know that because my youngest son has an egg allergy they also accommodate for that and various other allergies too based on other students needs.

As a visible minority, I find it very important to add that the school population is very diverse and much more diverse than I have seen of other schools. This is very important to me and to my children so that they aren’t constantly surrounded by one type of person, and you can truly see the diversity of Canada in the school’s population.

If you are looking for an affordable private school I highly suggest looking into Woodbridge Private. A certain percentage of tuition can also be written off as child care expenses also. For me my children are my greatest investment, of my love and work. I give them the best car seats for their safety and even though it meant I had to go back to work to pay for them to be in private school, I was more than willing to put that income entirely towards this school.

I know I had a hard time trying to find any information on this topic so if I have helped you I am very happy!

 

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Progress with going Grey

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For those of you wondering if I’m still doing it, hells ya! I’m still letting my grey come in and I’m still staining it various shades of purple, and I’m super duper lOving it! 
This is me pre-coffee still in pjs and no product in my hair, this is what happens when I go to sleep with wet hair! Since most of my hair is grey I’ve started incorporating a blonde shampoo into my shampoo rotation, I personally like Lee Stafford, it makes my hair smell nice and washes out the salt and chlorine from the pool nicely! 

Fuel Foods Meal 3

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Grilled Steak with vegetables and barley, again I started eating before I could take a picture but it was well seasoned and juicy not dry. The vegetables were crispy too and the food was delivered on Sunday so that is pretty interesting to note! Usually I hate asparagus but no complaints and I’ve come to the realization that I was eating well when cooking on my own, but damn I was eating waaaay too much before! I’ve seen a difference in the scale so I am going to keep this up for as long as I possible can!

Fuel foods meal 1

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Today I began my fuel foods Journey! I’m excited as I don’t really eat breakfast I’m always hungry around lunch time and I don’t like eating my kids’ leftovers, but such is life! So I took the plunge and ordered online, and I chose the “easy plan” I called to make sure there weren’t too many tree nuts in the foods for this week and I’m super lucky on top of there being no tree nuts there was also no pesto or cilantro (I DESPISE cilantro!)

So I will attempt to blog every meal. My first meal is the heritage greens salad and my only complaint is that it wasn’t big enough! It was perfect taste wise, like a little tiny bit sweet with the blueberries but otherwise salty and tangy (I don’t eat salt at all so to me it was seasoned perfectly) the cheese added to it was just the right amount. I had it with a giant cup of unsweetened green and peppermint tea! So far good! 


Here is the menu for the week and trust me I’m just wondering and confused as to what to eat for dinner! Not a bad problem to have considering my old problem! 

The Ultimate Guide to Travelling with Children

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So first I must thank my wonderful friend Lauren for telling me to put all my information stored in my head up on a post

First step to ease your mind about travelling with children is what form of safety and travel gear will you take? Car seats, Strollers, play pens oh My! Well if you are travelling to specific cities you may be in luck, because you can rent gear from two very reputable companies, and get this, they DELIVER the gear to your destination! Hotel, home, or airport! Whaaaat?!

This is important for people who are concerned when they rent carseats from car rental places, i mean they usually have the cheapest of the cheap, and lowest safety rated carseats. These two companies below, allow you to Choose the same britax you have at home or the city mini jogger if that is your stroller, allowing kids to feel comfortable too!

Their sites are: http://www.weetravel.ca (so reasonably priced) and http://www.coast2coastbabies.com (they only work in select US cities)

So that’s check one off of your list.

Next step is the Stroller you want to take (especially if the companies above don’t service your area). I think the city select is the best stroller of all time.It maneuvers with one hand and can go into any handicap washroom stall, folds easily and is a general lifesaver. When we had two small kids they would face each other and entertain each other. When they were tired it fully reclined, while keeping the canopies closed. It was as if they were in their own business class pods! It is a pricey stroller if you don’t have it but you can easily find them second hand online in great condition! The configurations available on this are just too good to be true. Now that my oldest is 6, he rides the boogie board on the city select and his brother is in the seat, and trust me for connecting flights it is a saviour to not have to run holding a child who cannot run as fast as you, when you can literally just push and run (i recently had to do this in the Vancouver airport at 4am, it was as if I got a bootcamp workout in!) I have no doubt I will be using this stroller for at least two more years especially for travel, which will mean that I’ve had it for 9 years!

cityselect

What to pack for the flight?

I have a simple rules for packing a carryon bag. I pack for a worst case scenario. I take a Carryon (wheelie suitcase) and my giant TokiDoki Juju Be soft bag (Starlet or Super Be which can later be used at my destination as a beach bag and a stroller bag.

starlet

starlet1SuperBe

For a baby in diapers: 3 outfit changes, 1 diaper per hours in transit, a travel pack of wipes, (not a small one but the decent size ones in case of a poop explosion) 3 snacks (milk and water if they are not eating solids) per hour of flight, and a way to wear baby and a swaddle blanket for them to cover their eyes like a sleep mask, while rocking them to sleep. My kids sleep with white noise and in the dark so if i cover their eyes on a plane its like the ideal sleep situation for them. Multiple pacifiers if they take them, and in case you lose them!!! No judgement if you don’t.

For a toddler: 3 outfit changes (i usually let them travel in pjs), 1 diaper per hours in transit, 4 snacks per hour (because chewing is good for their ears, especially if in pain). For entertainment purposes, their favourite digital movies downloaded on their ipads or portable DVD player, their headphones, and a little kid neck pillow. Also their favourite Stuffed toy. I also buy like a bunch of mess free colouring books from dollarama, and let them go to town!

For Mom: It’s probably wrong if I say little alcohol bottles, especially as my first item right? well it isn’t too bad, I have done it and will do it again, just to calm my nerves. In all seriousness; 1 change of clothes, ear buds, gum, and basically anything you need to look human and feel like a human and not just a walking Mom zombie! I take my makeup bag, and a headband and hair-tie. My favourtie thing I just found out about was wearing a giant cotton scarf (if you are still wearing baby they have nice baby wearing scarves that you can pull over yourself if you are feeling a chill.

For liquids, medicine, and easy access: I usually take two giant ziplock bags and keep one in my diaper bag. I take tylenol for the kids (who I wake up early, and let stay up late, and they almost always sleep on the flight) I give them tylenol and gravol, 20 mins apart with the last dose 20 mins before take off. I will justify this once, and only once. The tylenol is usually for the pain in their ears, I know by trail and error that this helps, because every time I’ve travelled with my children if one of them refuses the tylenol he is the child that screams their head off on the plane, because he cannot handle the pain in his ears! I also give them a dose of gravol, because they do get tummy aches, and motion sickeness in the car on a regular basis, and after one flight where both of them were screaming that they wanted to throw up every 30 mins, I will always keep liquid gravol ready to go and now it even comes in chewables so you can take chewables for the tylenol and gravol now and not have to worry about the liquid rules.

I also take extra strength tylenol, advil, and sinutab (if you get congested on a flight) for myself in my ziplock medicine bag and benedryl in case of a random allergic reaction. I also keep all the liquids and meds in that are in the ziplock in a Jujube fuel cell, along with two small spoons, forks, and medicine dispensers 2 of them in case one is sick you cant have them sharing (this has happened to me, I shit you not it almost killed me the stress)

Fuel Cell

When you have a baby or child you need to have a little wristlet like the JuJu Be Be Quick that I keep in the outside pocket of the diaper bag with the change bag. In it i have 2 diapers, baby wipes & disinfectant wipes (to wipe down all the seat handles and tray tables and anything your kids can touch because those things are nasty, and the last thing you want is to be sick from some random airplane bug at your destination) When you have the wristlet you can just grab it and the change pad and hands free go to the washroom.

BeQuick1

beQuick

Sometimes I used a second Be Quick for passports and a pen and any travel documents so that everything is in one place and I wear it until I’m on the plane, and then put it inside my diaper bag in a zipped up pocket.

One very important thing you need to pack: Confidence, that you can do it, and even if you don’t who cares, no one else on that flight paid for a private plane so they should know that babies will be babies, and if they don’t give them a death-stare! It isn’t easy travelling with small children but it is doable and can be fun, once you get the hang of it!

CHECKLIST: (you can screenshot and print this list)

  1. Call the travel rental gear places to set up the framework of your travel.
  2. Pick a stroller that will work for your family
  3. 3 outfits per child and one change of clothes for yourself.
  4. diapers per hour in transit depending on child (see above) _____________________
  5. 3 snacks per child and adult per hour
  6. quick grab wristlet (BeQuick) for diapers wipes and change pad
  7. Have a fuel cell handy with small cutlery (sporks) and medicine dispensers 1 per child, and all blister pills or bottles in a separate ziplock bag incase of a leak. You can also store baby bottles in this and it can clip around any diaper bag so that you are hands free.
  8. Be Quick (wristlet) with a pen, and passports and travel documents in it
  9. little backpack for toddler or small child with their headphones, tablet, stuffed animal and crayons and colouring in it so that they have it and they feel like a big kid. If your toddler is travelling with a paid seat they are entitled to their own carry-on take advantage of it. It will give them a feeling of independence, which you may be able to use against them, by saying; “Remember lets all be big boys and girls and use our manners and be thoughtful towards others on the plane” it’s worth a shot!
  10. Also in case of an accident you will need some good plastic bags to shove any soiled clothing into and then tie shut so the rest of your stuff doesn’t smell.
  11. for the above reason I also keep in that liquids ziplock bag in my carryon a little bottle of gain laundry detergent that i pour onto any soiled clothes
  12. One final tip, and this is for any traveller, I vacuum seal all of my carry-on suitcase items, and get a little hand vacuum pump. it saves on room, and I keep all of our clothes in them sealed when travelling to prevent ticks or bedbugs hopping a ride home with me. I know this works because they will die without the oxygen, because I’ve seen a dead tick fall out of a bag when doing laundry after vacation…because sometimes you forget to close the bag, but those suckers can survive the plane right home with after being vacuum sealed!

 

Hope this helps you. If you like it please feel free to share! Please also share any tips that you would like to share!! I’m always open for more advice in my storage of information.