On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Family Fun Time on a Christmas Train Ride

On the third day of Christmas, my daughter gave to me…family fun time on a Christmas train ride. Last year, my daughter, husband, mother and I had such a fun time on the train ride with Santa at Strasburg Railroad, so it was on the top of our list for fun activities this year. On December 1st, we traveled to Ronks, PA, a little over an hour commute from our home, to board Santa’s Paradise Express to Paradise, PA and back. There was a bit of a chill in the air, so we were bundled up and ready to enjoy ourselves.

Before boarding the train, we were able to have a tasty lunch at the restaurant located at the station. Then we headed down to the boarding platform. “Here it comes, Mommy!” My five year old shouted as the train came down the track for us to board. I quickly snapped a picture of my family, and we eagerly hopped aboard and claimed our plush seats. The ride is 45 minutes, and within that time we met Santa, who gave Quinn a special wooden Strasburg Railroad ornament for our tree, enjoyed people caroling and playing instruments and just taking in the sights along the way.

The fun didn’t stop after our train ride. We were able to do some of the fun activities, such as meeting Mrs. Claus, writing a letter to Santa, and doing some of the riding activities. Luckily, we were able to squeeze in everything because it started to rain in the later part of the afternoon.

“I can’t wait to go on the train ride with Santa again next year,” Quinn told me. Actually, I can’t wait either!

All the best,

Tanya

On the First Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Picking Out Our Christmas Tree

On the first Day of Christmas, my daughter gave to me…fun picking out our Christmas tree. On Black Friday, when some were out searching for deals, my family was keeping with tradition searching for the perfect Christmas tree. It was more colder than 2017, 2016, 2015 and even 2014 when we wore light jackets or even jean jackets, but that didn’t stop us from seeking out a tall, wide, fluffy tree who would become a part of our family for the next month and a half or so.

Actually, we spotted “Gerald” shortly after arrived at the tree shop and knew he was the one, but we still milled around for another ten to fifteen minutes just in case there was a better one hiding amongst the others. Then, in the distance, we saw a family looking at “our” tree, so Quinn shouted, “Hurry! They’re going to get our tree!” We hustled back over to claim him, and both Quinn and I smiled knowing that the tree would be ours.

One of our traditions is to name our tree as a part of our family. We’ve had BG, short for Big Green, BGJ, short for Big Green junior and BG3, short for Big Green the third. Last year, Quinn picked a very interesting name: Heavenly Brownie! This year, she picked Gerald. When I asked her what made her choose that name, she said, “I just like it!” Who knows what we’ll call our tree next year, but I’m definitely looking forward to the experience.

Here’s to fond memories with our 2018 Christmas tree: Gerald!

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Girl’s Cashing in on Learning Math!

“Look at this! They have really good deals at Burger King! You can get a whole meal for just $3,” my five year old informed her daddy. Since Quinn was very young, we started teaching her the importance and value of money. She has her own piggy bank as well as an actual bank account and is aware of the importance of saving. While her kindergarten class will not be going over coins, dollars and their values, at the beginning of 2018, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to not only introduce her to this concept but to reinforce what she learns with activities related to math.

One of the activities is what we call “Mommy’s Coin Counting Store.” I purchased little price labels at the Dollar Tree and even had Quinn be a part of how much she thinks different items might cost. I was quite impressed with how accurate she was with many of the items. Then, we used the Learning Resources cash register I purchased her a few years ago to set up the shop. Initially, I was the shopkeeper, so I gave her a little wallet along with pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, one dollar bills, five dollar bills, ten dollar bills and twenty dollar bills. It was tricky for her to count out the coins when the amount was not exact, but after a few times and having her just focus on specific coins instead of everything in her wallet, she did surprisingly well.

Whenever we go to the store and I’m paying cash for an item for her, I will have her pay and walk her through how much the item cost so that she can figure out how much to pay and how much she will get back in return. Just yesterday, she wanted to play with the cash register and count out bills herself. She even asked, “Mommy, are there $100 dollar bills?” When I replied yes, “She said, I wish I had one because I could trade in five twenty dollar bills for one 100 dollar bill.

There are so many adults who struggle with finances or even with counting money. I’m glad Quinn has a head start and hope this is setting the foundation for her managing her money properly, not letting anyone cheat her out of her money and understanding the importance of saving.

All the best,

Tanya

What Do You Call a Fairy & and Mermaid? Mommy and Daughter Halloween Fun!

Halloween is such a fun time of year not just for my daughter but for me too. What makes it extra fun is the strengthening of our mommy/daughter bond. Since she was two, she began picking out a costume not just for herself but for me too. She’s been Doc McStuffins, and I’ve been Lambie. When she was three, she was an astronaut, and I was her rocket. Last year, she was Snow White, and I was the Evil Queen. This year, she decided to be a fairy and asked me to be a mermaid with a similar color scheme: purple as her favorite color and blue as my favorite color. I thought to myself, what a great idea! She’s already thinking about next year wanting to be a princess so that I can be her unicorn, and I love it!

I feel like dressing up together, going to parties, special events and trick or treating brings out the best in us both and brings us closer together. Sometimes, life just gets so hectic, and work even gets stressful, so I thank my daughter for allowing me to just have fun and enjoy life as different characters. Here’s to a happy fun-filled Halloween. Time with my daughter is the ultimate treat!

My Birthdays Are So Special With My Little Girl!

On October 11th, I reached my own milestone and turned a year older. While the level of excitement is not the same as it once was when I was younger, my daughter’s enthusiasm and secretive planning for my big day truly made me feel special. Her planning actually started in the summer. I would overhear her whispering to my husband (her dad) about what she’d like to do and what she gift she would like to get me.

So when the day finally arrived, she could not contain herself. I have to leave early in the morning to get to work and did not see her until the afternoon, so as soon as she arrived home from school, she screamed out, “Happy birthday, Mommy!” and gave me a big, long hug. “We have special plans for you,” she informed me. My five year old selected Outback Steakhouse as the restaurant. “I know you love their salmon and baked sweet potato, Mommy,” she said. I thought to myself, wow, she knows me so well. Usually, she sits next to her dad, but she said that she wanted to sit next to me since it was my birthday.

At the restaurant, she presented her card and gift to me. The card’s wording was perfect and selected by Quinn. The gift was a beautiful key locket necklace. My husband later told me that she picked it out herself and insisted on getting me a pretty necklace since she knows I like wearing them. She even gave input on the cake and wanted blue to be used since it is my favorite color.

Knowing that my daughter is so caring and was excited to make me happy for my birthday warms my heart and is truly the best gift I could ever ask for.

All the best,

Tanya

Losing Teeth Bites! More Milestones of My Little Girl

It all started last year in December 2017. One was a little wiggly and came out. Within a few weeks on Christmas day, the other one followed. Now, nine months later, four came out within five days: two on the same day last week! In my photo memory feed, a picture came up from 2013. My four month old daughter was smiling happily and toothless. I chuckled to myself because now in 2018, my five year old is basically toothless with no front teeth again.

I remember being so excited when her first two baby teeth started showing through her little gums. Why am I not as excited about her losing those same baby teeth for the adult ones to come in?  She’s excited and loves looking at her “new” gummy smile. She couldn’t wait to “show and tell” her teacher and classmates all about her missing teeth.

Me, on the other hand, I couldn’t help but think about my little girl growing up so fast and wishing she’d slow down just a little bit. While time and milestones coming so quickly bites at times, I am definitely grateful for my daughter and being able to witness her many milestones and to see her grow into a healthy, smart little girl.

All the best,

Tanya

Teaching My Daughter the Ropes to Jumping

“I did it! I did it,” my five year old screamed out with a big smile on her face.  Last week, we started working on her learning to jump rope. The first few times she pouted as her legs got caught up in the rope or the rope caught on to her ponytails as she whipped it around her head, but with a little encouragement, she kept on trying.

As I watched her continue to try, I was taken back to years ago when I first learned how to jump rope and remembered that a big part of it was developing a rhythm and being prepared to jump a second or two right before the rope got to my feet. I showed Quinn the technique I used; she watched intently and got it! While she’s not quite jumping rope like a pro, she’s so excited to jump over the rope two or three times in a row.

With her rope in her hand, she smiled and said, “Mommy, if I keep practicing, I’ll get better and better. I’ll be jumping rope like you before I know it!” Showing my little girl how to jump rope makes me think about teaching her the “ropes of life.” Sometimes it’s difficult, and the sting of the rope might hurt her legs, or her legs might get caught up in the rope causing her to trip and fall. Other times, she might have a good rhythm going, and be able to jump or skip rope like a master. Either way, I’ll be right there with my rope in hand ready to model how to jump and will show her that sometimes the rope gets tangled up on my legs too, but I can always start over again and keep jumping.

All the best,

Tanya