Sugar Rush Family Edition: Baking Flower Cupcakes

Sugar Rush Zoom Family Edition

Yesterday was our third a “Sugar Rush” Zoom bake-off with my sister and niece, and my seven year old and I are having a blast while honing our baking skills. She actually picked the theme of spring since it’s just a couple of weeks away, and after giving it some thought, we settled on flowers because they’re not only beautiful and fragrant, but they truly are a sign that spring has spring or is on its way.

This time around, we used a yellow cake recipe courtesy of my grandmother who shared it with me years prior to her passing away. This made them extra special. We just had to cut the recipe in half because was meant for a three layer cake. Our frosting was a simple vanilla buttercream, but for the first time, I ordered and used Russian piping tips to make our cupcakes look like beautiful flowers and the Wilton leaf tip to enhance it.

Though I can use a bit more practice with the new piping tips and am eager to see how creative we can get, our cupcakes were a delight to make, and they made us smile as we look forward to seeing blossoming flowers and the hope and new life that spring brings. We can’t wait to do this again in April!

All the best,

Tanya

Sugar Rush Family Edition: Beach Theme Cupcakes

The beautiful, warm, sunny beach with the sand between our toes and the ocean beckoning us to come in to cool off is exactly where we’d love to be. But since that’s not an option right now, a “Sugar Rush Beach Theme” Zoom bake-off with my sister and niece is a place my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed. This actually makes our third bake-off. The first was a carnival theme. We made cotton candy cupcakes. The second was an animal theme. We made cupcakes in the likeness of our adorable puppy Zack. With our beach theme, the inspiration was my wedding in the Dominican Republic and the picnic reception, which were nearly ten years ago. Though Quinn was just a twinkle in our eyes then, we hope to take her there one day. Also, the cupcake is a reminder of the wonderful time my sister and I had on that beautiful day at the beach.

Our cupcake is almost as refreshing as that magical day with a simplistic, moist vanilla cupcake, a frosting containing lemon zest tinted aqua to represent the ocean and topped with an edible sugar seashell displaying its beauty.

All the best,

Tanya

Ready for the New “Old” School: Transitioning to Hybrid Learning

First Day of In-Person School

The big day went from Monday to Thursday due to snow, and I was just as nervous and excited as I was when my daughter started kindergarten. Three months as a first grader and her entire experience as a second grader have been all virtual, and she would be returning to school in-person after learning virtually since March 2020.

Though her school was thorough in providing virtual information sessions, materials and videos regarding the procedures, I didn’t know how many children opted to remain virtual and how many would be in person. I feared Quinn being all alone I. Her classroom with just the teacher. As tempted as I was to email her teacher midway through the first day, I held back, and her teacher kindly sent an email with a few pictures of the children in the classroom.

It’s a small group, just four girls, and one of them was in my daughter’s kindergarten and first grade classroom. This put my mind at ease some. When Quinn walked through the door from school, our puppy was so happy to see her, as was I, especially hearing the smile in her voice.

“I had an amazing day, Mommy!” Quinn told me. I listened intently as she told me all about her day and how everything was set up. Though we have a long road ahead of us with the Covid-19 restrictions and vaccination process, I’m so happy that Quinn is getting more socialization with children her own age.

All the best,

Tanya

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Snow Day Memories with My Daughter

“A snow day! For what?! School is online!” are some of the posts I’ve seen on social media. My husband even said it when our daughter got a snow day yesterday and today. I, on the other hand, find myself empathizing more with my daughter and think most children are deserving of a snow day or two.

Many, including my seven year old, have been enduring and adapting to these ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions like champs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not under stress like some parents may be. Though I loved school at her age and beyond, I loved getting that message that school was closed and I could play in the snow all day if I wanted.

“Do you want to build a snowman?” wasn’t something Quinn asked me to do but something I asked her if she wanted to do. This Monday was actually supposed to be her first day back in person on a hybrid schedule, so I felt this was nature’s way of saying make the best of these last days of having her home full-time. I’m glad we did, and we’re both happy with our snowman, “Chilly.”

We got to have some fun with our puppy, Zack too!

All the best,

Tanya

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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

“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

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Decorating Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies That Are Yummy

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Decorating Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies That Are Yummy

Making Ugly Christmas Cookies

My daughter loves making treats, especially cookies, so I thought why not decorate some ugly Christmas sweater cookies for the holidays. She asked me to be her special guest in her YouTube video, we got to bond, and our cookies turned out great and pretty yummy too! I just love this time of the year!

All the best,

Tanya

On the Sixth Day of Christmas Jib Jab gave to me…A Fun Video with My Daughter and Our Puppy

Christmas in Hollis!

On the Sixth Day of Christmas Jib Jab gave to me…A Fun Video with My Daughter and Our Puppy!

I’ll never forget the excitement I had when I saw Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” music video. My siblings and I would rap and dance along, and my mom, who’s never been a huge fan of rap, even enjoyed the song too. So when my sister texted me a link to a Jib Jab video she created with her, my nephew and niece, I couldn’t resist creating one with my daughter and “puppy son” too.

Though I’ve played the song around Christmas time, Quinn didn’t really know the words, especially considering that it debuted when I was just ten years old, three years older than she is now. But as result of creating our video, she just loves the song and wanted to create more Jib Jab videos including the entire family. I do too!

All the best,

Tanya

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me, Some Snowy Fun with Our Puppy!

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me, Some Snowy Fun with Our Puppy! There’s something magical about experiencing snow for the first time. Actually, there’s something magical about witnessing a kid or a cute puppy experience snow for the first time. Though it’s not quite winter, my family and I absolutely love the snow. So this is a wonderful early Christmas gift. Though there isn’t enough to build a snowman quite yet, my seven year old is ready, and I am too!

We’re expecting anywhere from six to ten inches through early tomorrow, which is perfect for sledding, some snow ball fight fun and building a snowman. While there’s so much doom and gloom with Covid restrictions, one of the benefits is that we don’t have anywhere to go except to go out and play in the snow! As the snow covered his little hat, he just looked around and took it the beautiful sight of the falling snow. We’re not quite sure how our six month old toy poodle will do with a lot of snow, but he seems to just be curious right now. We can’t wait to have some fun and see his adorable little paw prints in the snow.

All the best,

Tanya