Monday, November 16, 2015

The Ontario College of Teachers & You!

When I graduated from Teacher’s College, I was ecstatic. I had finally finished my extended education and I was ready to begin my teaching career. However, before I was able to apply for a job, I needed to apply to the Ontario College of Teachers to obtain my license to teach. 

The Ontario College of Teachers is responsible for overseeing several key areas of the public education system in Ontario. This includes the licensing of qualified educators, providing accreditation for teacher education programs, and investigating complaints about its members. 

You may notice the OCT designation beside an educator’s name. It stands for Ontario Certified Teacher. This designation means that the educator has been licensed to teach in Ontario and is a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Teachers. Now, as a Vice Principal, I proudly sign OCT beside my signature. 

During my time at Teacher’s College, I was taught by highly skilled educators with curriculum that was approved by the Ontario College of Teachers. As a lifelong learner, I continue to take Additional Qualifications to hone my educational skills. These AQ’s are also approved by the College, meaning that I am learning relevant information that will have a positive impact on student achievement. 

The College also takes on the role of investigating complaints made by employers (e.g. school boards), and sometimes members of the public, ensuring that those children's classrooms are safe. These include investigations into allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence. The College’s disciplinary hearings are open to the public, and decisions from these hearings are posted to the College’s website on the public register

One of the best features of the College’s website is the “Find a Teacher” tool. Each year when I find out who my children’s new teachers are, I use the “Find a Teacher” tool to see where they attended Teacher’s College, what Additional Qualifications they have taken and if they are in good standing. By using this tool, I am able to have an inside view of the educational history of my children’s educators. 

If you are interested in keeping up with educational trends, innovations and research, the Ontario College of Teachers publishes a newsletter to help parents and guardians stay informed. I have found the articles to be informative as both a parent and an educator. You can subscribe to the newsletter here

As a professional, the Ontario College of Teachers gives me the opportunity to continue to hone my craft as an educator and a leader. As a parent, the College instills a sense of confidence and trust in our publicly funded education system. I am confident in the College’s ability to investigate and resolve any conflicts or concerns I may have. Most of all, I know that the College maintains high standards of practice and professionalism. Ultimately, it’s these standards that help my students and my children to learn, grow and have the confidence to achieve their dreams. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Does it really matter whom/who the Brand was?

Eye rollers....exit stage left please. 

This is not a thinly veiled attempt to get you to buy, trade, sell, or attend a new trendy location. No, this is a reflection of an event that made me pause and be thankful for occasions where I am able to be myself and feel accepted in a cohort of peers outside my family or educational realms. 

The room was filled to the brim with Ottawa bloggers, social media folks, conference organizers’ children, chefs, event planners and even siblings. However, the atmosphere of the venue made it feel more like a family supper or Christmas dinner. Complete with ketchup stains on the placemat and melted marshmallow in my hair. 

I laughed a lot, and where there was a level of familiarity hugged a few people. The uniqueness of this event was coupled with the fact that our children were in attendance. Doubling the fear factor of my children acting out was the copious and seemingly unlimited amount of colourful sugar available. Witnessing how others parent their children on a sugar high gives a glimpse into what goes on beyond what they share on social media. 

Chatting about each other’s, accomplishments, aspirations, and "what's up next" in a non-stressful setting without a product placement in each conversation was refreshing to say the least. The lines of brand & blogger were blurred as we broke bread together and spoke about the upcoming Christmas holidays. 

I felt no competition with these bloggers, if anything I felt like we should do this more often with more Ottawa social media friends. This time of year I am especially cognisant of the little time we actually have to spend with those who fit into a segmented, yet important part of my life. 

To the brand, venue, and attendees, it was lovely to spend the morning with you. My children and I happily chatted as we made our way to the next event on the docket. AndiePandie asked, "So Mommy, are those people your friends because you looked happy. You didn't even have the fake smile on either".

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Spreading Good Karma with Subway's #SaveLunchBreak

I have had my fair share of lunch bag let downs. From finding moldy bread on my egg salad sandwich to surviving a yogurt explosion of epic proportions, creating lunches I look forward to has been a challenge. Coupled with the fact that there is little time for actually sitting down to eat. I am usually eating as I am solving issues with students, writing reports or in between returning parent phone calls. It makes for a quick and sometime messy nutrition break. 

Subway Canada is looking to change how we eat lunch. On Tuesday November 3rd (which is National Sandwich Day) by encouraging customers to #SaveLunchBreak by taking a dedicated break away from work. 

"To sweeten the incentive to take a break, SUBWAY® is offering a ‘Buy One; Share One’ meal deal ALL DAY on National Sandwich Day (November 3rd). Customers who purchase any SUBWAY® sandwich and any drink will receive a second sandwich of equal or lesser value to give to a person of their choice.

The #SaveLunchBreak movement stemmed from a recent survey* that SUBWAY® commissioned to uncover the current lunch habits of working professionals which suggests that people are experiencing ‘recess withdrawal’ and rarely take lunch."

According to the survey: 

  • 70 per cent of workers take a lunch break that is 30 minutes or less
  • 20 per cent of millennials take fewer than 15 minutes for lunch, as compared to 11 % of GenX
  • More than half of all workers wish they could take a nap during lunch, with millennials leading the way over Gen Xers (57 per cent vs. 46 per cent)
  • 49 per cent feel they would snack less and make better meal choices if they took a lunch break

The survey also found most workers report they would prefer to reach for a sandwich piled high with meat and veggies (27 per cent) before a greasy burger with a side of fries (21 per cent), last night’s leftovers (21 per cent), a salad with mixed greens (16 per cent) or snacks from the vending machine (3 per cent).

I plan on sending in OA's off for lunch together. This is something they rarely to never get to do. Truthfully, they are an indispensable part of our school team and they deserve a real lunch break. 

Wanted: The Best Music Class in Canada!

When I entered Grade 7, I had to chose an instrument to play for music class. I had no idea, none, zilch, nada. The closest I had ever come to being musical was singing in the show. Mrs. Weber had very high expectations but made learning how to read music and play an instrument a pleasant experience. Having been in a classroom for the last 18 years, I now know the important part that music plays in a child's life. 

Together with the CBC, Music Counts is looks for Canada's best music class: 

This fall, and MusiCounts, Canada’s leading music education charity associated with CARAS and The JUNO Awards, are on the hunt for Canada’s Greatest Music Class. The competition, which kicks off for one month on Monday, October 26 and runs through until Monday, November 30, will seek out students aged 13 – 17 in traditional music classes, music clubs and after-school programs across the country. The victor of Canada’s Greatest Music Class will receive an assembly concert performance by a yet-to-be-announced top tier Canadian music artist for the entire student body. To enter, applicants must submit a video of their class performing their version of an approved song as outlined in the guidelines available at

At this time, the following eight songs can be submitted for consideration. Additional song options will be announced soon at
• “Leve Les Voiles” by Coeur de Pirate
• “Qui Sait” by Daniel Lavoie
• “Stompa” by Serena Ryder
• “Beautiful” by Carly Rae Jepsen feat. Justin Bieber
• “Crabbuckit” by k-os
• “Bow and Arrow” by Reuben and The Dark
• “Sonny’s Dream” by Ron Hynes
• “If I had $1,000,000” by Barenaked Ladies
A panel of musicians and journalists will evaluate applications and the winning class will be announced on Radio 2 Morning with Tom Power on December 4. For more information on Canada’s Greatest Music Class, please
Important Dates for Canada’s Greatest Music Class
Registration period: Beginning Thursday, October 1, 2015
Submission period: Beginning Monday, October 26 through to Monday, November 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM
Judging period: Beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Winner announcement: Friday, December 4, 2015 on Radio 2 Morning with Tom Power

You can check out for more information. Good luck to all the budding musicians. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This is NOT the Blissdom Post You Expected

Dear White Sweater Man, 

When you danced on stage by yourself, shaking your money maker in your faded acid wash jeans and red underwear showing it was as if you were the showboating hockey player that skates by the opposition's bench, shooting your stick in the air after a goal. You needed to be put on your assets and I sincerely wanted to do this. 

You buzzed around the room, touching members of my cohort, attempting to engage them in conversation. You were the hockey player that swats & blocks the goalie during and after the face off in the defensive zone.  I wanted to sweater you, several times. It was only my sense of decorum and decency that stopped me. 

Walking past me, I caught your eye. It was then that I saw you as the washed up hockey player attempting to grasp onto the fleeting final minutes of the final game of your career. You scanned the room as you ordered another drink, looking for something. I spoke to the bartender and asked about you. You are a regular, you often drink alone and you are a “friendly drunk”. As a former bartender & bouncer, I wanted to help you leave the bar with your dignity rather than have you escorted out by a 40 something woman. 

Asking “when does he normally leave”, the bartender answered with “whenever you want him gone” and suddenly he was gone. Like a referee ejecting a player from after a fight or match penalty, the issue was now resolved. 

I have reflected on this situation several times over the past week. His hands touching my fellow attendee’s shoulder, him leaning in too close for comfort to chat to my friends, and the various fake yet polite smiles on the party-goers faces as they waited for him to leave them alone.

I should not have been passive, I should have acted sooner. I should have chatted and asked him if he needed a ride home instead of letting him drive or walk home in the snow. I should have insisted that the bartender cut him off but I didn’t. It sounds so Canadian, by I am now sorry for my reaction, I know am a better person than this. I needed to be the person to help, not spew hatred or exhibit anger. 

White Sweater Man, I hope you get the help you need. You obviously are searching for something that is missing in your life. Next time, I will not hesitate. Next time, I will be the person my parents raised in the right way and offer my help whether you want it or not. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fabulous Fall Fare

This fall, I have partnered with President’s Choice to showcase some delicious and nutritious recipes that Canadian parents can cook in the time they actually have. This is the first of three posts that I am collaborating on with President’s Choice. Each post will focus on a specific meal  - one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will give you some ideas on how President’s Choice can fit into your family’s mealtime routine.

Getting back into our routine after our nomadic summer was a struggle. Our biggest challenge has been ensuring that everyone has a healthy and delicious breakfast, to give them the fuel they need for the day ahead. Our biggest breakfast issue is that mornings are our crunch time - there is little  room for error (or meal prep) in the morning. Therefore I plan, prep, and prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner either the evening before or on the weekends. 

This was our first time using  President’s Choice products as the primary ingredients in our healthy breakfast selections. While in the grocery store the kids and I were shocked at the variety of organic products available and how wholesome the President’s Choice selections were overall.

Our first creation was a joint effort by Beckett & Andie. They decided to make muffins to eat on their walk to  school in the morning. Their thinking was that if they ate breakfast on the way to school instead of at home, they would have more time to play outside before they had to head to school. The recipe was simple to follow for my 6 & 10 year old children. I appreciated the fact that this President’s Choice recipe used a limited amount refined sugars. 

Apple Spice Muffins

Serves: 12 Large or 24 Mini Muffins 
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Stand time: 5 minutes
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Per serving: 270 calories, fat 10 g, sodium 230 mg, carbohydrate 38 g, fibre 2 g, protein 7 g


1 ½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (175 mL) PC® Organics™ Quick Oats 
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) ground allspice
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (250 mL) PC® Organics™ Sweetened Applesauce
¾ cups (175 mL) packed brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk
¼ cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
½ cup (125 mL) raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp (25 mL) PC® Organics™ Whole Flaxseed


1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Spray 12-cup muffin pan or 24 mini muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners. 
2. Whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice and salt in a bowl. 3. Whisk together egg, applesauce, sugar, buttermilk, oil and vanilla in another large bowl; add to oat mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in pumpkin seeds and flaxseed. Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups.
4. Bake in centre of oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and cake tested inserted in centre comes out clean.
5. Cool pan on rack for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and cool completely.

We ended up eating 6 of the warm Apple Spice muffins fresh from the oven. The remaining 18 were put in reusable containers for a grab and go option on the way to school. I took several muffins to the Blissdom Canada conference as a healthy breakfast option that gave me energy and also saved me money. 

Our second selection was chosen by my 12 year old daughter. On Friday mornings KT trains with her swim team from 6:00 am - 8:00 am. We often buy or grab a snack on the way home from her training session in lieu of a proper breakfast. KT decided that she wanted us to have a healthy, quick, yet elegant breakfast together. She prepared these very pretty breakfasts for us as a treat, this is absolutely not the norm in our home. It was a lovely way to spend a fall morning together. 

It took KT 5 minutes to prepare both of our fluted breakfasts, most of the time was spent making sure everything looked pretty! 

Applesauce Greek Yogurt Parfait

Serves: 1 person
Prep time: 2 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy

Per serving: 220 calories, fat 3 g (of which 1 g is saturated), sodium 60 mg, carbohydrate 37 g, fibre 2 g, protein 11 g


3 tbsp PC® Organics™ Honey Almond Granola Cereal
6 blueberries
PC® Organics™ 0% M.F. Honey Stirred Greek Yogurt
¼ cup PC® Organics™ Sweetened Applesauce


Layer 2 tbsp (25 mL) granola, 3 blueberries, yogurt, and applesauce in a parfait glass,top with remaining 1 tbsp (15mL) granola and 3 blueberries. Enjoy.

The children and I have enjoyed our first adventure with President’s Choice products. We have now moved on to lunches and dinners. I cannot wait to share our “aha” moments and tasty recipes with all of my readers. 

At the end of the third post, our dinner post, I will be giving away a $50.00 President’s Choice gift card to help you recreate some of our  recipes or for you to use to create your own. 

What is your go to quick, easy, and healthy breakfast option for your busy family? 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Family Movie Night

There is small but important window of time each week that my family and I enjoy. During this time we do not have to attend a practice, game, scheduled event or meeting, the homework has been completed and the furriest family members have been walked. This is our down time, our snuggle up on the couch, munch on popcorn and watch some uninterrupted family friendly Netflix time. 

Years before I discovered Netflix, I had almost completely written off television. We, as a family, had no time to watch TV shows and renting movies was a multi step ordeal that usually ended with late fees being paid. Netflix changed that experience for us, it has made the small amount of time we actually spend watching TV stress less and flexible.  Once a week or once every two weeks we plan a family movie night. 

Last week, Netflix sent me something my children had never seen in our home before. We are now the proud owners of a hot air popcorn maker. It was hilarious to watch my kids faces as the kernels jumped and bounced around the small heated compartment as we made popcorn for our first family movie night of September. 

Andie was in charge of the actually popping of the popcorn, Beckett had the flavour shakers and Katie picked out the movie. This week we watched Freaky Friday with Jamie Lee Curtis. We all laughed at the movie and enjoyed our time together.

Next week, Andie would like to watch Lilo & Stitch because Beckett reminders her so much of Stitch. Following that movie night,  Beckett would like to watch the Night at the Museum because Andie reminds him so much of the annoying monkey. (yes there is a pattern emerging) 

Netflix has some very interesting info graphics about some of my very favorite shows. I cannot watch them regularly however I have managed to fit an episode or two into my workout as I run on the treadmill. You can see some interesting stats on when Canadians were 'hooked' on to a specific show compared to the rest of the world. 

I was hooked on Kimmy Schmidt after the first episode, hands down my favourite laugh out loud comedy.  It took me several episodes to love House of Cards but in the end, Kevin Spacy made me a huge fan of the show. I would be very interested to know what show or episode 'hooked' you? 

I am entering my second year as a #StreamTeam member for @Netflix_CA and have been given the opportunity to view screeners, as well as being sent amazing monthly packages that keep my kids and I 'in the know' about special events & upcoming releases.