My Wish Has Been Granted! Another Year of Halloween Costume Fun with My Daughter: Aladdin Style!

 

For the past five years, my daughter and I’ve been dressing up for Halloween in “matching” costumes. When Quinn was two, she was Doc McStuffins, and I was Lambie. At three, she was an astronaut, and I was her rocket. At four, she was Snow White, and I was the Evil Queen. Just last year, she was a magical fairy princess, and I was a magical princess mermaid.

This year, we decided on two costumes. The first one, that we wore at Sesame Place and Boot at the Zoo, was dressing up like her American Girl doll, Luciana, which was a lot of fun. Our second set of costumes were inspired by the Aladdin movie. Quinn dressed as Princess Jasmine donning a beautiful fuchsia outfit we purchased at Target in the kids clothing section back in May, not the Halloween costume section, along with a long flowing ponytail with gold clips that we got from Amazon for $19.99. For her footwear, she already had a pair of gold sneakers for comfort.

At first I was going to be Princess Jasmine’s mother, but then Quinn suggested that I dress up as the genie, which I thought was a fantastic idea. Though it was tricky finding the costume, since the genie is a male character, I was able to locate one from Amazon that I really liked. It looked good on me, but was very thin.

So I decided to use my creativity and piece together my own costume. I ordered royal blue harem pants from Amazon for $15.99. They are actually good quality and have a comfortable fit. The light blue wrap shirt also came from Amazon for $15.99 as well, and it is nice enough to wear regular, not just for a costume. Since it is a little thin for this time of the year, I paired it with a royal blue tank top I already had to wear underneath. For the gold wrist cuffs and red satin sash, I actually purchase fabric from Joanne Fabrics and got to work using my sewing machine. Believe or not, it took my less than a half hour to do both. Then, I topped it off with a dark blue ponytail wig I also purchased from Amazon for $22.99 since I figured it would be a bit too much to paint my face and body blue. I actually like the way it looks and find it to be good quality and not like the wigs one might find at a local Halloween or party shop. I can see myself using it for other events in the future.

Having “matching” costumes with my daughter is something we both look forward to and makes one of my wishes come true. It strengthens our mother/daughter bond and puts smiles on both of our faces as we have a great time together. Though Halloween won’t be here for a few days, we’re already looking forward to what we’ll be for next year.

All the best,

Tanya

 

My Pumpkin is a Beautiful Unicorn!

Taking a family trip to Shady Brook Farm’s pumpkin patch is one of our favorite activities this time the year. Another one of the activities we thoroughly enjoy is deciding on how we will decorate our pumpkins and then sitting down and doing them as a family. Though it can get messy with paint, we love taking the trip to Michael’s to get all of our supplies and then helping each other out as we go through the process of giving our pumpkins character.

This year, my six year old was inspired by my unicorn I created last year and decided to do her own. She painted white all by herself. I helped her a little with cutting the felt pieces and using the hot glue gun to adhere them to her pumpkin. She then drew on the eyes after consulting a few pictures we found on the internet. My pumpkin was inspired by Aladdin, specifically Princess Jasmine. So after painting it a turquoise and fuchsia she wears in the movie, I blinged it out with pearl and gold trimming. My mother even got into the act with her pumpkin and made a cat using felt for the ears and painting on the face.

Now, our pumpkins sit on display on the buffet in our dining room for all visitors to see and admire. My admiration comes not just from the pumpkins but the memorable moments I share with my own mother and my daughter, who will always be my sweet little pumpkin.

All the best,

Tanya

Life: Fun, Messy, and Good Like an Ice Cream Sandwich. Just Ask My Little Girl!

“Hurry, Quinnie! You need to move quickly,” I warned my daughter as the vanilla ice cream turned started dripping everywhere. A few months ago, I gave my six year old an American Girl cookbook full of tasty desserts. Yesterday, she picked a cool, refreshing treat which we both thought would be perfect to make with the series of hot days we’ve been having with temperatures above 90 degrees: ice cream sandwiches!

Before getting started, we made sure we had all of the ingredients and purchased some extra sprinkles, mini chocolate morsels and mini M & M’s to decorate our frozen treats. This recipe actually called for creating our own soft chocolate cookies for the ice cream sandwiches: a first time for me. So I told my daughter ahead of time that it’s okay if they aren’t perfect because we’re learning together. Preparing the cookies went rather smoothly, and she practically did everything from start to finish with the exception of operating the oven.

It wasn’t until we started making the ice cream sandwiches that it became tricky or should I say messy. I absentmindedly followed the directions of the recipe and let the ice cream sit out for ten to fifteen minutes to soften it up not taking into account how hot it’s been, especially in the kitchen. Needless to say, the ice cream turned to mush in a matter of minutes. We were both racing the clock to apply the ice cream nice and neat between the cookies, decorate them with sprinkles, mini morsels or M & M’s and get the wrapped up in press and seal to be left in the freezer for at least two hours. Though they didn’t quite turn out like the picture in the book, in the words of Quinn, “It wasn’t an epic fail because they still tasted good!”

Baking cookies and making ice cream sandwiches with my little girl on a hot summer day made me think about life. Sometimes you have all of the ingredients you need, along with a few extras, follow the instructions, and it might not turn out as you had hoped. It might actually get quite messy! But that shouldn’t take away from the fun memories created while you were collecting the ingredients and following the instructions. Even as an adult, I’m still constantly being reminded that sometimes I need to modify the ingredients or instructions based on the circumstances. Also, it’s necessary to get past the messiness to simply enjoy that mushy yet tasty ice cream sandwich, especially in the summer heat.

All the best,

Tanya

STEM Fun: Dyeing Easter Eggs with My Little Girl!

Two years ago, I did a blog entry about how much fun it was to dye Easter Eggs with my little girl. Now that she’s almost six, the activity is not only fun but an absolute learning experience involving STEM, or shall I say STEAM. Quinn was eager to do just about everything from start to finish. She organized everything on the counter and even suggested that we organize the cups in the order of the rainbow colors.

When it was time to add the tablets, she recalled from last year that her fingers should be dry so that none of the dye gets on them. Without me informing her, she remembered that the vinegar would go to the first measurement line, and the water would go to the second line.  “Alexa, set a timer for one minute,” she said after the eggs were in the cups.  We took a look, and she said let’s leave them in a little longer so that the color will get darker.

Since we had one egg that cracked as it boiled, we decided to experiment with it. “How about we dip it in blue first and then dip it in red so that we can get a purple eggs?” she suggested. I love how she’s always thinking and experimenting. Then came the artistic component. She designed each colorful egg and made them look so cute, almost too cute for me to eat! I felt like the one I had was begging me not to eat her with those big jiggly eyes.

Even if you don’t celebrate Easter, doing this activity is a great way to teach children colors, how to do measurements,  how to have patience, trial and error and how to get creative. Another bonus is that it’s a wonderful bonding experience that results with a treat to eat.

All the best,

Tanya

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