The Little Things Are Sweet Treats: Notes to My Little Girl

Who hasn’t heard the phrase, “It’s the little things that count?!” When it comes to children, some parents, including me, might extend these grand, pricey gestures to our children when in actuality many small gestures to demonstrate love often add up to huge  hugs and love from my little girl. Though I do make an effort to be present for my little girl, sometimes, life just gets so busy that I might fail to let her know how much she means to me. So when she returned to school in the new year, I decided to surprise her with a little something special in her lunch back, not extra cookies or juice instead of milk but a little note to show my love. While I could have just wrote notes on post-it cards, I decided to order cute motivational cards from Amazon.com. It came in a pack of 60 for a little over $10.

After my little kindergartner saw the first note, she was so excited when I picked her up from school, “Mommy, I saw the note from you, and I was able to read it all by myself!” Quinn even wrote down that she was grateful for the note she received in her gratitude journal later that day. I even got my husband on board to write her little notes too as it not only shows her love but helps promote reading.

This past Friday, I immediately realized how my little notes were already leaving a positive impact on my daughter. I had to rush out with limited time in the morning for faculty in-service and mistakenly left the note for her on the table instead of insider of her lunch bag. When I picked her up from school, she immediately informed me, “Mommy, your special note for me wasn’t in my lunch bag!” I felt so bad and made sure to show it to her as soon as we got home.

I truly believe that positive notes cannot only remind us that we are loved but lift our spirits. They even lift my spirits as I write them knowing that they will put a smile on my daughter’s face and result in a huge hug when I pick her up as she tells me what the note said.

All the best,

Tanya

 

On the Second Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Her Inspired Theme for Our Christmas Tree

On the second day of Christmas, my daughter gave to me…her inspired theme for our Christmas tree. A major part of getting a Christmas tree is decorating it. It’s an opportunity to express creativity, to create a theme and to simply display your favorite colors or items. For the past three years, we’ve had a rainbow theme tree, but this year my five year old wanted to do something different.

Back in October, she said, “Mommy, how about a tree with our favorite colors? Pink and purple for me and blue for you?” I loved this idea but knew it was going to require us to go shopping for some new ornaments to really make our tree theme perfect. This was just fine with me because shopping for ornaments together is all a part of the fun process.

We started our search at Michaels in early November checking out their beautiful ornaments at 50 percent off, of course. Quinn then said, “How about a treat tree theme with different candies and cupcakes?” While I loved that idea too, I knew it would not only require a more in-depth search but more money too. So we put our heads together and came up with a theme: a pink, purple and turquoise tree with a few treats here and there to make our tree extra sweet.

Decorating our tree was a real treat! We had our Jackson Five Christmas music playing to set the mood, a step stool so that Quinn could easily reach some of the higher branches, and a strategy to make sure it was a nice balance or pink, purple and turquoise ornaments. I then made sure Quinn was still okay with naming our tree Gerald since it would be pink, purple and turquoise. She then reassured me that boys can wear pink and purple if they want and that it’s not just for girls. My response was, “No problem!”

The decorating process took a few hours. There’s beautiful ballerinas in turquoise and purple, a pink flamingo, pink elephants, a purple hot air balloon, purple, pink and turquoise birds and butterflies, a purple poodle, pink frosted donuts, pink and purple popsicles, cupcakes a roller skate, a unicorn, of course, and even Ralphie from the Christmas Story in his pink bunny suit.

We finished off our tree, Gerald, with purple, pink and turquoise tulle is wrapped around it from top to bottom with GlowBalls beautiful lights set in pastel hues to cascade off of the ornaments. I’m so happy Quinn asked about doing a new theme this year and am happy with the finished product.

Not only is the tree beautiful, but the experience of decorating it with my little girl is too.

All the best,

Tanya

Baking Up Memories with My Little Girl

 

“I’m so excited, Mommy! I want to do everything from start to finish!” my five year old informed me as we prepared to bake chocolate chip cookies for Thanksgiving. Though it can be time-consuming, and it’s difficult to always carve out time to do it, I love baking. I especially love baking with my daughter. Now that she’s in kindergarten, she’s starting to read, is understanding the concept of measuring more and more and really was able to do just about everything from start to finish, with the exclusion of putting and taking the cookies out of the oven.

As we stood in the kitchen together, we bonded and talked about how excited we were to share our cookies with the family for Thanksgiving. Quinn even said, “I really love baking with you mommy. We ought to do it more often!” I agreed. It is such a wonderful feeling to see her applying what I’ve taught her over the years. I did not have to remind her how to sift the ingredients. Using the Kitchen Aid mixer is a no brainer for her. Without me suggesting, she said, “I’m going to start the mixer on the lowest setting firs so that the flour doesn’t go everywhere. Then I’ll flick the switch so it can mix the cookie dough faster. She was able to use the cookie scoop with ease, and even knew the importance of not putting the cookies too close to one another of the baking sheet.

This experience made me think of an analogy with my little girl. Before she was born, she was “baking” in my stomach until it was time for her to come out. Now, I often observe her “baking up” some ideas and searching for life “ingredients.”  She’s on her way to becoming a master chef, and it comforts me to know that I’m playing a role in sharing my recipes for heartfelt moments that she will be able to use to cook up a wonderful life for herself.

All the best,

Tanya

Preparing Patriotic Punch: A Knock-out with My Little Girl

“This is actually tasty,” my five year old exclaimed as she twiddled her straw slurping up some more of the beverage she helped to make.  With July 4th comes barbecues, spending time with family and friends, parades, fireworks, you name it! So I thought a fun project while celebrating America’s independence would be to prepare a patriotic drink (non-alcoholic of course) with my little girl.

After heading to my favorite go-to app, Pinterest, I came across several samples and decided to go with the drink containing, red punch, sprite, and a blue gatorade. Come to find out, it was actually like a science project because after filling the glass with ice, the different color beverages were able to sit on top of each other without blending because of the grams of sugar. Indeed, we would not regularly have a drink with that much sugar, but it was a nice treat and a great way to not only spend time with my daughter but to have her think critically questioning why the colors did not merge.

If you haven’t done anything like this, give it a try with your child(red). It’ll be a big hit, I’m sure!

All the best,

Tanya

Color Me Celery! Preschool Science Fun

“What’s your prediction? What do you think is going to happen?” I asked my five year old as she added the last piece of celery to the colored water. “Well,” she paused,”I think the celery might turn the same color as the water, but I’m not too sure about the yellow water though,” she informed me. About a year ago, I purchases a lab kit for my daughter, “Primary Science by Learning Resources. The first experiment we did was the volcano explosion. After that, she was hooked.

While she and I both love doing experiments and activities together, I wasn’t too sure about the celery one because it requires more patience in allowing the colored water to do its thing. To my surprise, Quinn was very patient. After leaving and returning to our project within a half hour, she even suggested to give it a day to see if the leaves change colors even more. Even though there were crumpled and a bit dried out on day two, my daughter was excited to find out that her prediction was correct, including the celery in the yellow water not having a noticeable change.

It was a great learning experience, and I love these projects because it requires her to follow instructions, sometimes count and use critical thinking, and I get to see the wheels turning as she takes the lead. However, celery has quite a distinct smell, and Quinn agreed that maybe next time we’ll use white flowers. Here’s to some summer time science fun!

All the best,

Tanya

The Most Colorful…Happiest…Kid-Friendly Bedroom Ever! Troll Style!!!

“You’re the best Mommy ever! My new bedroom is troll everything!” My daughter shrieked as she wrapped her arms around me with joy. Just a little over a month ago, Quinn turned five years old, and one of her wishes was for a big girl room. She bounced around some ideas for a while but eventually decided on a Trolls as her theme. When I asked her why to make sure it was what she really wanted, her response was that she loves the movie “Trolls” and wants a happy, colorful and fun space just like they have. I thought that was an awesome reason, and was eager to get to work.

We established the wall colors and accent items using Poppy as our inspiration: pink, aqua and sea green. After searching for the perfect twin bed to replace Quinn’s toddler bed, I found the perfect one fit for a princess at Target and was able to order the comforter and sheets through Target as well as a Bed Bath and Beyond. We were able to bring some of Quinn’s Troll toys into her bedroom to display, and I purchased a few more as a special surprise. While at Walmart, I stumbled upon a sea green bean bag that matches perfectly with her room and took the time to paint a night stand that was originally white to match the decor of her room.

To promote reading, I got some Trolls books that my daughter loves reading as part of her bedtime story or when she’s simply relaxing in her bed waiting for the day to start. Target, my main go-to store, had a lamp that doubles as a night light that Quinn uses every night and day as she reads at night.

I wanted some wall art with Troll characters, but couldn’t find what I was looking for, so with my graphic design background, I designed and had canvases printed up with the different characters.

When Quinn or anyone who has come to visit comes into her bedroom, they can’t help but feel happy because it’s such a colorful and inviting place. This truly was a fun project for me, and seeing how happy and appreciative Quinn was when her room was unveiled filled me with so much joy.

All the best,

Tanya

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me, A Great Time Making Snowmen with Her Class

On the tenth day of Christmas, my daughter gave to me, a great time making snowmen with her class. One of the benefits to teaching on the college level is having a winter break. An advantage to having a winter break is having the time to visit my daughter’s school.  I love crafting, so when I came across this cute sock snowman on Pinterest and saw that I already had most of the supplies, I know it was the perfect project for Quinn and her friends.

To streamline the process, I made sure to already have the snowmen (or snow women) ready for the children by purchasing white socks from the dollar tree and using Quinn’s clean socks that were way to small for her now. I filled the socks with rice down the bottom, tied them off with a rubber band and filled to stop with cotton stuffing. Then, I used sticker dots for the eyes and mouth and pom pom balls for the nose and little hat ball.

It was a quick yet fun project that all of the children enjoyed, as did I. Quinn and I even made some snowmen envelopes for their Christmas cards with snowmen stickers. I quickly printed out the pictures of  the class holding up their finished snow people, and enclosed them in the cards as well. We put them in a snowman bag containing holiday lollipops as a special treat for their hard work. I gave my daughter a bag with the same contents inside too. She and many of her friends were happily surprised thanked me for coming in to make snowmen with them.

Something I love about this time of the year is sharing joy and happiness with others. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children in Quinn’s class and knowing that being there really made my daughter’s day is such an amazing feeling. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

All the best,

Tanya