Summer 2020 was very different for my daughter and me: no amusements parks, trip to the beach only once and limited outings to the park. So today was extra special when we, along my sister and niece, went to Six Flags Great Adventure. It was such a lovely day with a cool breeze and the sun shining.
We got on some rides, had yummy funnel cake, had some Halloween fun with a mirror maze, corn maze and trick or treating and enjoyed each other’s company. Though the experience was different with Covid restrictions, we had a a “great adventure!”
Since my daughter was a toddler, we’ve been decorating pumpkins together as one of our Halloween activities. I can admit that I may love this tradition the same or even more than she does. This year was a tad different with a COVID 19 restrictions. Though the usual pumpkin patch we visit to select those “perfect” pumpkins was open, we opted to get them from a local store this year.
For the past few years, my mom (her Nana) joined us, and this year my niece (her cousin) joined in on the fun too. Quinn even decided to feature it as her YouTube video post this week and on her blog page, Quinnie’s Fun House.
There’s something soothing yet fun about decorating pumpkins, especially with my family. I’m hoping next year we will return to the pumpkin place, but in the meantime, we have our wonderfully decorated pumpkins to remind us of the fun times associated with Halloween and family togetherness.
I love exercising. It’s my way of not only staying fit but relieving stress and turning off the negatives of the world for just an hour or two. On occasion, my seven year joins me. Little did I know how closely she’s been watching me and how much of an impact my exercising has made on her.
Quinn loves doing Youtube videos and decided to do an exercise video for her latest post. She came up with all of the exercises she wanted to include on her own, and I was pleasantly surprised when she said, “Mommy, I want to include boxing as one of my exercises just like you!” As she recorded her video, she said that I was her inspiration.
As I watched her hit the bag and do her other exercises, I thought to myself, “Wow, Quinn is my mini me when it comes to exercise!” She actually inspires me to keep going in knowing that I am her inspiration.
Who knows, maybe we will do a mother and daughter exercise video one day and inspire other mothers and daughters.
Tomorrow is the first day of school for my daughter as a virtual learner and me as a virtual professor. The excitement and anxiety are definitely there: more on the excitement side for my daughter and anxious side for me.
Yesterday, she had an idea for her YouTube channel to post tips for virtual learning and came up with them all on her own. As I recorded her, edited and watched the video, seeing her confidence and positive outlook actually eased some of my anxiety as our new reality starts tomorrow.
For anyone else who’s nervous or anxious as a parent or caregiver, sometimes we can simply observe the calm demeanor and logical reasoning of our children. While the virtual learning situation may not be ideal for some, it definitely gives us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and overcome obstacles while strengthening our bonds with our children.
I enjoy spending time and doing projects with my daughter. I especially love when those projects are meaningful and double as DIY home projects. Most recently, we worked on repurposing her old table by doing a Mod Podge of colorful pictures. We talked, laughed and reminisced as we prepped pictures, cut them, decided which ones we wanted to go where and adhered them to the table. It took a few hours, but the finished product is perfect and a constant reminder of what matters most.
Family, friends, joy, love, togetherness: a montage of memorable moments over the years will never be tabled. Thankful Quinn and I will always have our project to remind us of what’s most important.
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.
“I have some ideas of where to put mine, Mommy,” my daughter excitedly told me as she continued painting. “How about the park? Plenty of people, especially kids go to the park!” While on social media, I saw a post from my township encouraging citizens to place “kindness rocks” around town in public places for people to find, and I thought it would be a perfect activity for my daughter and me to not only bond but to spread some kindness and positivity.
To get started, we selected rocks my husband had for a landscape project and then decided on colors for our rocks. Quinn wanted pink, her favorite color, a light blue that’s like the sky because it makes her happy and a mixture of pink and blue to look like a “space” rock. I used royal blue, one of my favorite colors, green, orange and a nice bright yellow.
“I already know what I want one of my rocks to say, Mommy! Be yourself because some people are afraid to be themselves, but they should be proud of who they are!” Quinn informed me. I was very impressed by the wisdom of my seven year old because even adults (including me) sometimes struggle with simply being themselves and being happy with that. I decided on, “You are special” for one of my rocks because oftentimes we must remind ourselves that we “are” special, and it’s a message I want to make sure my daughter always remembers.
People locating our rocks around town really fills both Quinn and me with joy. We’re both hoping they attract those who’ll benefit the most from our positive notes and that they will possibly decide to create their own kindness rocks for Quinn and me to find on our daily travels!
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.
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.
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.