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

On the Actual Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Smile Big Enough to Light a Christmas Tree

On the Actual Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Smile Big Enough to Light a Christmas Tree

A Christmas gift I absolutely loved this year and every year is seeing my daughter’s smile, hearing her squeals of delight and feeling her appreciation through a big hug and kiss. Though we didn’t spend Christmas with our extended family, Quinn made my Christmas extra merry.

All the best,

Tanya

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Target Gave to Me Pajama Fun with My Family!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Target Gave to Me Pajama Fun with My Family!

Even though my husband’s pajama size was all sold out, which he didn’t mind since he’s not into wearing funny pajamas, my daughter puppy and I absolutely love it! Well, our puppy tolerates it.

Here’s to having a fun-filled Christmas Eve, watching “A Christmas Story,” eating cookies, playing games and just getting ready and excited for Christmas Day!

All the bes,

Tanya

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Baking Yummy Cookies

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Baking Yummy Cookies!

I love baking cookies, especially with my daughter, especially around this time of the year. It strengthens our mother daughter bond and allows us to have a tasty treat to eat and share with some of our loved ones.

Every year, Quinn gets better and better at helping to bake from start to finish. She helps measure the ingredients, sift the flour, add the ingredients to the mixer, including cracking an egg all on her own this year, and getting the cookie batter on the baking sheets. She told me that she loves being my assistant, and that one day I’ll be able to be her assistant. This made me think about when I would help my mom bake as a child or even help my grandmother.

There truly is just something so special about baking and relating together. I just love this festive time!

All the best,

Tanya

On the Tenth Day of Christmas Christmas, Santa Gave to Me…A Feeling of Joy Seeing My Daughter Believe

On the Tenth Day of Christmas Christmas, Santa Gave to Me…A Feeling of Joy Seeing My Daughter Believe

“I know the world and the way we are living right now looks a little different. Don’t you worry, things are moving right along here at the North Pole. Ho ho ho!” This is how Santa started off his heartfelt letter to Quinn. She was absolutely tickled when she saw her elf on the shelf waiting patiently in the morning for Quinn to open her red box from the North Pole. I was too, especially considering that Santa informed me that it was shipped two day priority mail nearly a month ago.

“May I open it before breakfast,” my seven year old asked? “Sure,” I replied as I got my phone ready to take pictures. The joy in her voice as she read the letter from Santa put a huge smile on my face. He explained how he, Mrs. Claus and the elves are doing their part to stop the spread of Covid 19 and how they’re still happy and on schedule for Christmas. The special red box also contained a nice certificate, a letter from Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, a cookie from Mrs. Claus, hot cocoa from Santa, a snowman marshmallow, Rudolph’s special bell, reindeer food and a decal for Santa to stop by our house.

I really wish I received one of these packages from Santa when I was a kid. I’m so happy that Quinn still is in the Christmas spirit and that she was so excited to get something special from Santa before Christmas Day.

Al the best,

Tanya