My Pumpkin is a Beautiful Unicorn!

Taking a family trip to Shady Brook Farm’s pumpkin patch is one of our favorite activities this time the year. Another one of the activities we thoroughly enjoy is deciding on how we will decorate our pumpkins and then sitting down and doing them as a family. Though it can get messy with paint, we love taking the trip to Michael’s to get all of our supplies and then helping each other out as we go through the process of giving our pumpkins character.

This year, my six year old was inspired by my unicorn I created last year and decided to do her own. She painted white all by herself. I helped her a little with cutting the felt pieces and using the hot glue gun to adhere them to her pumpkin. She then drew on the eyes after consulting a few pictures we found on the internet. My pumpkin was inspired by Aladdin, specifically Princess Jasmine. So after painting it a turquoise and fuchsia she wears in the movie, I blinged it out with pearl and gold trimming. My mother even got into the act with her pumpkin and made a cat using felt for the ears and painting on the face.

Now, our pumpkins sit on display on the buffet in our dining room for all visitors to see and admire. My admiration comes not just from the pumpkins but the memorable moments I share with my own mother and my daughter, who will always be my sweet little pumpkin.

All the best,

Tanya

Let the October Fun Begin: It’s Pumpkin Patch Family Time!

“I want one that’s not too small and not too big,” my six year old told me as we made our way through the admissions entrance of Shady Brook Farm. Picking the “perfect” pumpkin has become just as involved as selecting the right Christmas tree for us. It must have a long enough stem with a slight curve, have a nice round shape, be smooth with minimal to no blemishes, lumps or bumps. It all started five years ago when my husband and I brought Quinn to the pumpkin patch for a little family fun.

Now, it is a wonderful family tradition filled with fun activities, smiles and laughter. My mother has even joined us for the past four years, and we all come ready with our gardening gloves for handling the pumpkins, large bags for carrying them and keen eyes for finding the right ones for our pumpkin decorating projects.

While going to the pumpkin patch is the main purpose of our outing, we also enjoy the many activities available from the corn maize, play ground, moon bounces, entertainment and various games. Of course, we could easily get a pumpkin at the local Giant or grocery store, but I look forward to this family tradition and especially the family togetherness that comes from this day long outing at Shadybrook Farm. If you are local to the Bucks County, PA area and looking for a fall activity for your family, give it a try!

All the best,

Tanya H. Franklin

Mother & Daughter Bond: Observing the Beautiful Relationship of Celestial Bodies

 

“You two look super cute!” a little girl said. “Oh my God! I just love it!” a woman exclaimed.” Another lady with her sons remarked, “I just love your matching celestial dresses! I wish I had a little girl so that we could dress alike too!” Yesterday, my six year old and I went to Sesame Place for the Count’s Halloween Spooktacular with my sister-in-law and nieces. Since my daughter and I both love dressing up for Halloween, we didn’t pass up the opportunity to wear something special for the occasion. We saw a few super heroes, princesses and even PJ Masks characters, but no one was wearing our “special” costumes, which we decided on months ago.

Last year, for Christmas, Quinn got her first American Girl doll, Luciana, who was the girl of the year for 2018 and aspires to be an astronaut. So when I asked her what she wanted to wear, she thought it would be cool if we both dressed up like Luciana and wore celestial dresses and red waist bags.

First, I visited the American Girl website to price the dress and then headed to Amazon where I found a dress for Quinn and me with the combined prices cheaper than the price for one child-sized dress. I even found the red waist bags through Amazon too! We received so many compliments on our matching outfits as Quinn proudly held Luciana in her arms for a few pictures.

The smiles and kind words from strangers made me think of Quinn and me as celestial bodies that people observe in awe and intrigued by our mother/daughter bond. While many more milestones and memorable moments may be light-years away, I am grateful in knowing that the stars aligned for Quinn to be my daughter causing a feeling of hope and happiness that’s totally out of this world!

All the best,

Tanya

Baking and Relaxing with My Daughter: What a Treat!

“You know what I love about baking cookies…mixing the ingredients and decorating them.” This isn’t what I said but what my daughter confessed to me. Since she was a toddler, my daughter has loved baking or being my little helper, so a few times a month, if not more, we do make a special treat together.

Yesterday, it was a recipe from her American Girl treats cookbook: flower cookies decorated frosting. My six year old basically did everything from start to finish, and we both were very proud of her finished product. Not only did they look tasty, but they were absolutely delicious.

I really enjoy the moments we share together, especially baking. It reminds me of when I was younger and baked with my mom. We talked, laughed, and I learned and we were rewarded with a tasty treat. I hope that as Quinn gets older she continues to look forward to the fun and relaxing time she gets from baking with me.

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s VIP Starting of the School Year on a High Note!

“Guess what, mommy! Mrs. Moore picked me as one of the student VIP’s,” my first grader excitedly told me. To which I responded, “That’s great, honey! Tell me what being VIP means.”  “I get VIP all-access to the special scented markers and other things. I get to sit at a special desk closer to the teacher, and get to have a special lunch where I eat with the teacher and other VIP students!”

We’re just three weeks into the semester, and it makes me so proud to know that my six year old is putting forth her best effort in class and has already been recognized by the teacher.

Last Wednesday was the back to school night, and the teacher’s exact words when I asked about how Quinn was doing was, “I just love Quinn! She’s so pleasant and such a hard worker. She always raises her hand. I’m so happy to have her in class.” While taking a tour of her classroom, I was able to take a few pictures: one of Quinn’s locker and her VIP all-access achievement.

I know she still has many more weeks to go, but I am confident that she will have a wonderful school year and continue to exceed my expectations not only with her love of learning but the respect and pleasant demeanor she consistently displays towards her teacher and classmates. I truly and grateful to have a daughter like her. She’s always been one of my VIP’s, and it is such a rewarding feeling knowing that her teacher feels the same way.

All the best,

Tanya

Hip to the Hop and You Don’t Stop: Dancing into a New Season with my Daughter

2c0bbea1-1927-4613-82df-7ebdfb711c16There’s something wonderful, perhaps even magical, about dance. It can put a smile on one’s face and even provide exercise. I even located a “Ted Talk”on why dance is just as important as math, science and language and may even help raise test scores. Last year, my daughter was eager to take jazz and tap. This year, after observing her big cousin and developing her own personal interests, she asked, “Mommy, can I take a hip hop dance class next time?” “Of course, I said,” but I had to find another dance school who offered hip hop classes for six year olds.

After doing some researching, I located a nearby dance school, Zero Gravity Dance Company, who offers a variety of classes, including beginner hip hop for children as young as five. Quinn was very excited as was I. Though I didn’t need to purchase any special “dance” shoes, she helped me shop for different dance class outfits along with “cool” sneakers to wear for hip hop class.

This past Tuesday, Quinn had her first class, which lasted an hour. Her teacher, Miss Dez, was not only personable but offered good instructions for children Quinn’s age to follow. My six year old followed along confidently and immediately told me after class that she can’t wait until the next one.

While Quinn has many more classes to go with the season ending in the late spring, I’m eager to see her growth as a dancer. I’m sure she’ll be able to teach me some moves. Actually, there’s an adult class offered, and I’m considering taking hip hop dance classes too. Maybe we can just have a fun time exercising and practicing together.

All the best,

Tanya

An App with Class: Excited About My First Grader’s Journey

A dōjō (道場): a hall or space for immersive learning. When you think about it, most classrooms can be called dojo’s. Last week, when I received an invitation from my daughter’s first grade teacher to sign up for the Class Dojo app, I was intrigued. As Quinn reaches another milestone and I experience the inner conflict of losing my “baby” girl yet being proud that she’s becoming more and more independent, her teacher has actually given me some solace.

This app allows parents to not only receive updates about their children’s progress but also provides a glimpse into the first grade classroom. It’s so comforting knowing how the classroom is set up and seeing posts of my little girl and the other children enjoying activities in the classroom and actively learning.

Though the semester is just getting started, I love the idea of not having to wait until a teacher conference to discuss Quinn’s progress and to receive regular updates the the Class Dojo App. I”m so impressed by the app that I even signed up for Class Dojo Beyond to upgrade the star rewards chart I’ve been using with Quinn since she was a toddler. I allowed her to design her own avatar, and we discussed how she can earn points and rewards. It’s going to be an exciting year!

All the best,

Tanya