Five Months into COVID-19 Restrictions: Amazed at What “Masks” Are Revealing with the Help of My Daughter!

Mother & Daughter Mask

This morning, it just occurred to me that we’re just about five months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and though some restrictions have been “lifted” or modified in my area to allow people to return to work, exercise and dine out, we’re still nowhere close to being back to “normal.” Even still, I’m thankful for all that’s been revealed during these trying times.

This summer is quite different than many anticipated, but whenever my daughter and I go on a walk, play at the park, or are simply out and about, a smile most certainly would be revealed underneath my mask and under hers too. While I was initially concerned about my seven year old feeling disappointed about the limitations to our outings, Quinn actually said, “I’m just glad that we get to spend time together and are healthy, Mommy!”

Several people are having so many revelations as they make sacrifices and continue to adjust to these ever-changing restrictions, and I’m no exception. But when I look at how well my daughter is handling everything, from wearing her mask to using sanitizer and being conscientious about washing her hands to just going with the flow, it makes it that much easier for me to do the same.

All the best,

Tanya

Never Tabling a Montage of Memorable Moments

I enjoy spending time and doing projects with my daughter. I especially love when those projects are meaningful and double as DIY home projects. Most recently, we worked on repurposing her old table by doing a Mod Podge of colorful pictures. We talked, laughed and reminisced as we prepped pictures, cut them, decided which ones we wanted to go where and adhered them to the table. It took a few hours, but the finished product is perfect and a constant reminder of what matters most.

Family, friends, joy, love, togetherness: a montage of memorable moments over the years will never be tabled. Thankful Quinn and I will always have our project to remind us of what’s most important.

All the best,

Tanya

Color Me Happy! This Mommy Loves Bonding with Her Daughter

When I was younger, I loved coloring. Who am I kidding…I still love coloring; it’s just a matter of making time for it! But when it comes to making time for my daughter, I know how fleeting it can be, so I’m constantly trying to find activities that will not only be fun but will bring us closer together.

A few weeks ago, my cousin recommended the Me & My Coloring Book for Mom & Daughter by Latoya Nicole. I took a look at it through Amazon.com and loved the pictures, so I purchased it the same day. When the book arrived, and Quinn looked at the cover, she was so excited for us to use the coloring book. “There’s so many cool pictures in here, Mommy!” In some of them the little girl looks like me, and you look like the mom!” She decided on a picture that was all too familiar for us, “A mother and daughter eating popcorn and watching a movie.”

We sat on our deck with music playing in the background as we colored occasionally remarking on how we liked the colors the other person was using. “Next time, you get to pick the pictures we’ll color, Mommy!” Quinn said.

My daughter adds so much color to my life, so I’m grateful that I made time for us to color together.

All the best,

Tanya

Time to Make the Donuts! Sweet Memories with My Daughter

Anyone who was around 1980s and 1990s May be familiar with catchphrase, “Time to make the donuts,” somberly uttered by “Fred the baker” in Dunkin Donuts commercials. While he didn’t necessarily sound happy to wake up at the crack of dawn, he took pride in doing his job and preparing the best donuts.Of course, Dunkin Donuts being the “best” is debatable, but I can definitely relate to the character Fred.

Though I‘m tired sometimes, I love being a mother and take pride in being there for my daughter and giving my time and hopefully plenty of wonderful moments to cherish. Last week was a scorcher, but my seven year old was looking forward to making donuts together, as was I. Instead of frying them, I located a few good recipes for baking them and allowed Quinn to pick the flavor: vanilla glaze with sprinkles.

To our surprise, they didn’t take too long to prepare. Even though they had more of a cake taste than donut taste, they turned out better than we hoped. During these times of COVID 19 restrictions, there’s so much more on our plates, especially parents. But that won’t stop me from “making the donuts” and sweet memories with my little girl.

All the best,

Tanya

Kindness “Rocks” with My Daughter

“I have some ideas of where to put mine, Mommy,” my daughter excitedly told me as she continued painting. “How about the park? Plenty of people, especially kids go to the park!” While on social media, I saw a post from my township encouraging citizens to place “kindness rocks” around town in public places for people to find, and I thought it would be a perfect activity for my daughter and me to not only bond but to spread some kindness and positivity.

To get started, we selected rocks my husband had for a landscape project and then decided on colors for our rocks. Quinn wanted pink, her favorite color, a light blue that’s like the sky because it makes her happy and a mixture of pink and blue to look like a “space” rock. I used royal blue, one of my favorite colors, green, orange and a nice bright yellow.

“I already know what I want one of my rocks to say, Mommy! Be yourself because some people are afraid to be themselves, but they should be proud of who they are!” Quinn informed me. I was very impressed by the wisdom of my seven year old because even adults (including me) sometimes struggle with simply being themselves and being happy with that. I decided on, “You are special” for one of my rocks because oftentimes we must remind ourselves that we “are” special, and it’s a message I want to make sure my daughter always remembers.

People locating our rocks around town really fills both Quinn and me with joy. We’re both hoping they attract those who’ll benefit the most from our positive notes and that they will possibly decide to create their own kindness rocks for Quinn and me to find on our daily travels!

All the best,

Tanya

It’s Just Like Riding a Bike! Treasured Memories with My Daughter

Bike Riding Memories

“This is one if the best days of my life! I’ll never forget this day,” my daughter said as she pedaled on her bike with no assistance from me. I’ll never forget this day either. The pure joy in her voice and sense of accomplishment made me feel so happy. The memories of when she first said “mama,” started crawling, took her first steps and began learning to read all came rushing back to me!

Quinn asked, “How did you know I would be able to ride my bike today?” With a smile on my face, I told her, “I could just feel it!” I recall having that same feeling when she took her first steps. Days before we headed out for my daughter to practice riding her bike, she told me that going in bike rides with me using the trailer bike made her feel more confident and that she was ready to master riding her own bike. I really think that the combination of Quinn’s confidence in herself and the confidence I had in her ability to ride her bike is what gave her that extra edge in reaching her goal.

She couldn’t wait to put together a video on her YouTube channel, Quinnie’s Fun House, helping other children or even adults with tips for beginners learning how to ride a bike. I love how she always want to help others even while she’s still learning.

With each bike ride, Quinn is getting better and better, and I’m looking forward to our rides together headed towards countless destinations and memorable moments.

All the best,

Tanya

Happy Father’s Day: Celebrating a Wonderful Daddy Who’s Helped This Mommy Take Many Baby Steps Throughout Seven Years of Motherhood

Seven Years of Fatherhood

Before my daughter took her first steps, I remember her coasting by holding onto furniture or even using my leg or her dad’s leg so she can stand up and balance. Though she’s now seven years old and can walk, skip, run and jump, she still holds onto my hand on many occasions.

While my blog may be called “Mommy’s Baby Steps,” I must give credit to my husband, Quinn’s dad. His presence on my site is rare since he’s not a very public person, but he’s been walking with me as we support each other in parenthood from day one. He’s been a wonderful father who is loving towards our daughter and builds her up with confidence.

Even though they have a special bond quite different than the one I have with Quinn, perhaps even stronger, I admire their relationship. Knowing that he’s occasionally holding my hand and giving me the balance I need allows me to feel more confident in my ability as a mother to take steps towards raising a well-rounded, caring, independent and intelligent daughter.

Sadly, on Father’s Day, some may say, “I don’t even know who my father is!” or they may have a fractured relationship with him. For me, it’s the former, and I’m at peace with that since the relationship was toxic. That’s why I’m so grateful my daughter has her father in her life showing her the steps a man should take to be there for his little girl.

Wishing him and all of the stand-up fathers, pop-pops, uncles and father-like figures a wonderful Father’s Day! I couldn’t imagine nor do I want to do this without him.

Seven Years of Fatherhood Video Montage

All the best,

Tanya

Still Puzzling Times, But My Daughter and I Pieced It Together…For Now

500 Piece Puzzle Done!

A few weeks ago, posted about the puzzle my daughter and I started and how I found the experience to correlate with the puzzling times we’re currently experiencing. While I focused on the frame of the puzzle, my seven year old focused on sorting the matching colors, a strategy I eventually employed once the frame was complete.

Another strategy we both use was sorted the pieces into categories base on their similar shapes which actually helped when we could clearly see what type of shape belonged in what space. Though Quinn was a willing participant and helped out with the 500 piece puzzle more than I anticipated, at times, she became frustrated and a little overwhelmed as she struggled to figure out what puzzles pieces went where. That’s when I stepped in to keep progress going, which is something we all occasionally need.

Something else I realized as I stressed and drove myself nuts trying to find the last puzzle piece is that we could be overlooking most the obvious place to “literally” piece it all together. After about a half hour or searching, Quinn causally walked over and noticed that the puzzle piece made its way under the table cloth.

Within these last couple of weeks, not only did we have some mother daughter bonding time, but it was an eye-opening experience on all that can be learned from simply working on a puzzle.

All the best,

Tanya

Last Day of School: Reflecting on Many Unprecedented First Grade Memories

My daughter made it to the last day of first grade, or should I say “we” made it! The first six months or so of the school year were filled with many wonderful memories from forming new friendships, becoming more independent and learning new skills. I never would have guessed that the last three months of the school year would be online learning at home with minimal interaction from her friends, only online feedback from her teacher yet way more involvement from me as a resource to ensure that she learns the materials required.

I’m grateful for Quinn’s resilience and eagerness to learn, and I’m also grateful that I had the flexibility in my schedule and opportunity to see my daughter grow, not just intellectually but socially and emotionally. While we’re not quite sure what the set-up for second grade will be with Covid-19 CDC guidelines, I am hoping that we’re able to have a wonderful, fun-filled summer break and that my seven year old’s love for learning continues for years to come.

All the best,

Tanya

An Absolute Treat: Making Ice Cream Cupcakes with My Sweet Girl

Making Ice Cream Cupcakes
Ice Cream Cupcake Results

Ever since a few weeks ago when my daughter saw an article on our Echo Show on how to make your own ice cream cake, she’s been dying for us to give it a try. It was for a strawberry crunch reminiscent of the Good Humor ice cream treats and caught my attention too considering that it’s been quite some time since I’ve had one. With her school year coming to a close and having hot and humid days all last week, I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate.

A few days ago, Quinn then saw another advertisement of a Reese’s ice cream cake and wanted to try that one too, so I figured why not do both of them on a smaller scale as cupcakes? After doing a little searching on Pinterest and checking out alternative recipes that were not too involved, I found the perfect recipes.

For the strawberry crunch recipe, we used golden Oreos, butter, vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream, cool whip and freeze dried strawberries. For the Reese’s cup treat, I just followed the strawberry shortcake recipe using Quinn’s ideas for the modifications. We used regular Oreos, butter, vanilla ice cream, Reese’s chocolate and peanut butter hard shell, chocolate ice cream, cool whip and mini Reese’s cups and pieces. Making the ice cream cup cakes was actually not as difficult as I thought it would be, but waiting overnight for them to set before getting to try them was for my seven year old.

As soon as we finished dinner yesterday, she said, “I’m so excited to try our ice cream cup cakes!” Since this was my first time trying to make them, and I modified the recipe slightly since I was doing cupcakes and not a cake, I wasn’t sure on how they would turn out. To my surprise, they were delightfully delicious! My husband and I both had the strawberry crunch ice cream cakes, and the golden Oreo and freeze dried strawberry crumble on top really did taste just like the Good Humor bar if not better! Quinn thoroughly enjoyed her Reese’s ice cream cup cake, and I’m tempted to try one for next time.

Summer isn’t officially here yet, but I’m eager to make many more treats with Quinn as these are sweet moments I will always hold dear.

All the best,

Tanya