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

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

Spinning My Wheels for the Past Three Months: Mirroring Hope, Persistence and Gratitude through My Daughter

As we biked down the road, Quinn said, “It’s so nice today. I love doing outdoor activities with you, Mommy!” It’s been nearly three months since the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our way of life, and even though the transition to online learning for her and finding different ways to have fun while practicing social distancing has been going smoothly, hearing the happiness in her voice and giggle as we sped down the hill let me know how much she misses regular outdoor activities and outings.

Though it was hot yesterday, neither one of us cared because we were both just happy to be outside doing something more than a walk around the neighborhood. The light breeze, the beads of sweat forming as we pedaled in over time to get up those hills with the trailer bike, and whizzing down a hill or two were all greatly appreciated and sought after.

When we got home, Quinn eagerly asked if we can go for a bike ride again tomorrow and then said, “Even if we can’t do a lot of outdoor activities like last year, we can still have a fun summer.” This statement made me think about how resilient my seven year old has been throughout this entire ordeal. She’s went with the flow, is full of energy, which helps to keep me going when I’m feeling depleted, and she demonstrates hope for when “things get back to normal,” as she often says.

We all may find ourselves “spinning our wheels” longing for normalcy, but for now, I’m trying my best to mirror the hope, persistence and gratitude my daughter often displays.

All the best,

Tanya

When Getting “Schooled” Really Hits Home: Coronavirus Lockdown Two Months and Counting…

A few days ago, we received a notice from my daughter’s school district informing us of the potential plans for the next school semester in accordance with the CDC guidelines. As I read the possible scenarios of continuing online learning, rotating in a biweekly schedule or a hybrid situation with online and in class time, it quickly became apparent that my hope for a “normal” second grade experience will not be a reality and will instead be replaced with more uncertainty.

While I’m grateful that these last two months of my first grader learning from home has been an overall good experience with her being eager to learn and do special projects, I know she misses her friends, teachers and simply being in the school atmosphere.

There’s just a few weeks left for this school year, so instead of growing concerned about how everything will play out come September, I’m trying to focus on right now and how we can still have a fun and memorable summer together.

Here’s to all parents and guardians trying to keep their children and themselves motivated while making it through these last few weeks of the school year!

All the best,

Tanya

I’m Game for Building Connections With My Daughter!

Fun with Checkers and Connect Four

Yesterday, my daughter and I played a few rounds of checkers and connect four. Both games were my favorite to play when I was younger. I’d always excitedly say, “Smoke before fire!” There was something about going first that made me feel like I had an extra edge to win the game.

“You didn’t see that jump?” I asked my seven year old as we played checkers. “Aww man, I see it now,” she said as I jumped over her piece and removed it from the board. From that point on, Quinn put on her game face and was ready!

As we continued to play both checkers and connect four, I saw how serious Quinn became. Her lips curled slightly, and she squinted a little as she looked at the board determining her next move. She reminded me of myself.

In thinking about the concept and strategies of both games, a big part of them is keen observation. This made me think about life and how “it” will happen whether we’re paying attention or not. Overlooking one move or piece on the board can cause the entire game change course.

As the Coronavirus lockdown continues, I’m trying my best to be observant and focus on the positive side of life. I must be mindful of my moves not just for me but my daughter too.

All the best,

Tanya

Excitedly Celebrating My 8th Mommyversary!

0934652c-9887-4757-9eb8-cad06cad5585It’s hard to believe that eight years ago I celebrated my first Mother’s Day or as I like to call it, “My Mommyversary!” While it feels weird not keeping with tradition by taking my mom out to brunch with my daughter for Mother’s Day due to the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown, I am grateful for all that motherhood has done for me in these past eight years. It certainly isn’t an easy job, but it is more rewarding than I could have imagined.

Quinn certainly has grown so much since 2013, but I definitely have too. Who would have thought that motherhood would allow me to feel more confident, more passionate and more assertive about life than I’ve ever been! I’m so thankful to have a daughter like Quinn and look forward to the many more milestones, lessons and adventures motherhood has to offer.

Happy Mommyversary to all moms, mom-like figures, grandmas, aunties and any woman whose been a positive role model in a child’s life.

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Girl is Flying High! Story Time at Quinnie’s Fun House!

Story Time at Quinnie’s Fun House

A few days ago, my daughter had an awesome idea for her 25th YouTube post: story time reading one of her favorite books. I thought this was a wonderful way for my first grader to practice her reading skills. While I am not necessarily fond of flies, the way she read “Fly High, Fly Guy!” By Tedd Arnold had me entranced and eager to hear the story. I was very impressed with her inflection and hope she will want to read a story more often on her channel. If you or children you know are fans of Fly Guy or just story time, please check out my soon to be six year old.

All the best,

Tanya