One Amazing Girl Plus One Sweet Pup Equals Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day is a phrase some people may utter to a significant other, but for me, especially since my daughter was born, I look forward to displaying love to all of my family and friends, especially my seven year old. This is our puppy’s first Valentine’s Day, and we both were excited to share some extra love with him too. Though being surprised by Quinn with Reeses’s Cups, one of my favorite candies, made me happy, there’s nothing like getting big hug kisses from my daughter and kisses and snuggles from our puppy Zack to put a huge smile on my face. Of course, my husband is my valentine as well, but those two have a special place in my heart. I am grateful for the love I receive from the both of them.

All the best,

Tanya

Snow Day Memories with My Daughter

“A snow day! For what?! School is online!” are some of the posts I’ve seen on social media. My husband even said it when our daughter got a snow day yesterday and today. I, on the other hand, find myself empathizing more with my daughter and think most children are deserving of a snow day or two.

Many, including my seven year old, have been enduring and adapting to these ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions like champs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not under stress like some parents may be. Though I loved school at her age and beyond, I loved getting that message that school was closed and I could play in the snow all day if I wanted.

“Do you want to build a snowman?” wasn’t something Quinn asked me to do but something I asked her if she wanted to do. This Monday was actually supposed to be her first day back in person on a hybrid schedule, so I felt this was nature’s way of saying make the best of these last days of having her home full-time. I’m glad we did, and we’re both happy with our snowman, “Chilly.”

We got to have some fun with our puppy, Zack too!

All the best,

Tanya

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Quinnie’s Fun House: Watching My Daughter Blossom on YouTube

Just a little over a year ago, my daughter did her first YouTube video for her channel, Quinnie’s Fun House. I recall her being excited yet nervous. I too was excited and a little nervous too. I told her if she’s uncomfortable or wants to stop, just let me know. So far, that day has yet to come. With each video, she’s become more comfortable and has so many wonderful ideas. It’s brought us even closer together as I share my input, record and edit her footage. Sometimes, I just watch the videos as they chronicle her growth over the year.

I’m so glad this has been a good experience for her. It is truly Quinnie’s Fun House, and I am grateful to be a part of the experience!

All the best,

Tanya

Sugar Rush Family Edition: Baking Puppy Cupcakes

About a month ago, my daughter and I have a fun time having a “Sugar Rush” Zoom bake-off with my sister and niece, so since we all had off today, we decided to do it again, and it was just as much fun if not more! Our theme was animals, so of course we immediately knew what we wanted to create: cupcakes that look like our eight month old puppy, Zack!

He’s been with us since August 7th and is such a wonderful addition to our family. After looking at various ideas on Pinterest, we decided on a chocolate cupcake with a caramel center. We tinted our buttercream frosting and used star piping to mimic his coat. For his eyes, we used black sixlets. After giving some thought, we decided on halves of milk duds for the nose, which turned out better than we expected. For his cute little tongue, we used Starbursts by heating it a little to remold it, cutting it into fourths, reshaping it and using a toothpick to give the line in the tongue. For his floppy ears, we used Werther’s soft caramel creams.

Our cupcake is almost as sweet as our puppy. We can’t wait to do this again in February!

All the best,

Tanya

Partner Yoga: The Flexibility & Balance of Parenthood

“Look at us, Mommy! Daddy and I are doing partner yoga!” Quinn excitedly told me. I quickly went and got my phone to take a picture because I just couldn’t help myself. As my husband and our seven year old balanced together, it made me think about how flexible we try to be as parents. As a child, I didn’t have much say and just did as my parents told me. Though this parenting technique may work for some, I am finding that the more in tune we are with our daughter, the stronger our bond becomes.

Of course, it’s necessary to have balance, just like with partner yoga. But some of the best decisions we’ve made are from being flexible and open to listening to our daughter rather than automatically discarding her thoughts or telling her to just do what we say with no explanation. I look forward to doing partner yoga with Quinn as well and plan on being there to guide, protect her and to offer balance.

All the best,

Tanya

Breathe and Just Be: My Daughter, Barbie and Me!

“Repeat after me. I am strong!…I am loved…I am unique.” These are positive affirmations we all can benefit from, especially children. While I’d like to take credit for sharing these with my daughter, it was her new “Breathe with me Barbie” leading my seven year old in a brief meditation.

Watching Quinn close her eyes and repeat these words made me think about how powerful words can be and how important it is for us all to take a few moments to relax, relate and release any negative feelings whole letting in positive ones. Though we’ve meditated together on a number of occasions, we haven’t really included positive affirmations. I think I’ll be taking Barbie’s lead and making sure we include them in ours in the future.

All the best,

Tanya

“Exercising” and Strengthening My Mother and Daughter Bond

“Kickboxing class starts in just ten minutes, Mommy!” my daughter excitedly told me. For the past couple of weeks, my kickboxing studio has been closed due to COVID restrictions. Though I’ve missed being in the studio, I’ve enjoyed taking kickboxing Zoom classes with my seven year old.

For almost every workout during winter break, my mini me was by my side pushing me to go harder. She put in her little boxing gloves and gave it her all. This upcoming week, it’s back to school for her, and the studio will be open again, but we both agreed that we’ll miss doing the kickboxing classes together.

Thank goodness for pre-recorded Zoom videos so we can still workout together whenever we want to bond over exercise.

All the best,

Tanya

Sugar Rush: Family Edition! Baking Cotton Candy Cupcakes with My Sweet Girl

Sugar Rush: Cotton Candy Cup Cakes

“Just ten minutes bakers!” My husband yelled out and startled me as my daughter and I raced to put the finishing touches on our cotton candy cupcakes. Being cooped up in the house can be real downer at times, but it also is a wonderful opportunity for some family time. A few weeks ago, my sister came up with a terrific idea for us to have a Zoom Sugar Rush competition against her and my niece just like the Netflix show. Both Quinn and I were both on board with this idea, and once all settled on the carnival as our theme, we knew immediately that we wanted to do cotton candy cupcakes, so I ordered us matching aprons for the theme.

The only problem is that I never made them before! So I scoured Pinterest and YouTube looking for ideas and piecing together recipes we both felt comfortable using. We baked cotton candy cookies. I found this perfect and simple recipe using cotton candy sugar. I also ordered cotton candy flavoring for the buttercream frosting and simply swapped out the vanilla extract for the cotton candy flavoring. Lucky for us, we already have a cotton candy machine, so it was able to be freshly spun. The cupcake itself was a yellowcake recipe I learned from my grandmother.

Both Quinn and I agree that while it was a lot of fun, the pressure was on to put together a tasty treat, especially with my sister and niece on the Zoom call making delicious funnel cake cupcakes! It was such a fun experience that we all agreed to do it again. Our next theme is animals, so stay tuned!

All the best,

Tanya

If Only My Life Was a Game…Relearning and Reteaching Lessons with My Daughter

Within the blink of an eye, I had a pet dog, was the mother of four boys, including a set of twins, with no husband or “baby daddy” to help or build a life together. But, I did start off my adult life with 200K, only paid 100K to attend college with no outstanding debt when I graduated and managed to secure a career as a secret agent shortly thereafter making 100K a year. I even managed to build up a nest egg of nearly three million dollars towards my retirement! This isn’t my actual life, but the game of life I played with my seven year old daughter.

When I was younger, I loved playing “Life,” so I was excited to play it when Quinn received it as a gift for Christmas, but as we played, with the exception of the spinning wheel, it was not totally as I recalled it. We had fun, but the game would definitely skew a child’s views on life expectations. If only everyone had an even playing field and started off as adults with 200K. If only everyone could still earn decent salaries whether they went to college or not? If only everyone could pay for college outright with no outstanding debts? If only, if only, if only!

All the best,

Tanya