On Christmas Day, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Mesmerizing Smile and Eyes that lit up the room like a Christmas Tree!

On Christmas Day, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Mesmerizing Smile and Eyes that lit up the room like a Christmas Tree!

My six year old is her mother’s daughter. By 4am she was up, ready and excited to come downstairs to see what she got for Christmas from Santa, her dad and me. She opened the gifts and excitedly said thanked us. Though she repeatedly said, “I’m so happy,” she didn’t have to say a word because the big smile on her face and the way her eyes lit up said it all. Though I’m on just about four hours sleep and a bit tired, her excitement will carry me throughout the rest of the day.

Merry Christmas To You and Your Family!

All the best,

Tanya

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun & Creativity with Elf on the Shelf

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun & Creativity with Elf on the Shelf.

“I didn’t see her anywhere!” my six year old said. “You Don’t,” I inquired from the kitchen as Quinn sat at the dining room table eating her breakfast. Each day, our elf friend from the North Pole checks in only daughter and even leaves occasional messages leading up to Christmas Day. This time, she wanted to dress up as Santa, so she hopped in his jacket hanging on the clothesline garland. With a little coaching, my daughter eventually found her.

For the past few years, she’s just been in different places throughout the house, but this year, with the help of Target, she has a few outfits, a chair, suction boots, a candy cane hook and red and white string for dangling from special locations. These accessories have really helped me to have more fun and to get even more creative. There’s signs to use for counting down the days to Christmas, one for a scavenger hunt and one encouraging Quinn to perform good deeds, which she was eager to do at school.

I wish I had an elf to visit me when I was younger. Quinn has already told me that she’ll miss seeing her elf when it’s time for her to go back to the North Pole. I’ll miss her too. But until that day comes, I’m having a lot of fun with her…and Quinn too 😉

All the best,

Tanya

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Feeling of Gratitude for Having a Healthy, Happy Family!

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…A Feeling of Gratitude for Having a Healthy, Happy Family!

Last year on this exact date, my little girl was very ill, so ill that she was hospitalized through Christmas Eve. It’s an experience I never want to endure again, so when she said, “I hope I don’t get sick like last year,” it made me think about how grateful I am for family and friends.

This year, over thirty close family members and friends came together for our annual holiday party, and we all had such a wonderful time playing games, eating food and tasty treats and simply enjoying each other’s company. My six year old had a blast as she navigated the room giggling and having big fun with her cousins.

Yes, it’s nice to get and give gifts, but the gift of health and happiness of me and my family and friends far surpasses anything I could ever receive. I truly am grateful that my daughter is well this year. Sometimes, we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, so I’m so glad my family and friends all took time to celebrate the holidays with us.

All the best,

Tanya

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me… A Nostalgic Moment Meeting Santa Claus

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me… A Nostalgic Moment Meeting Santa Claus.

“Look, Mommy! There’s no line. We picked the perfect time to come!” my daughter exclaimed. The lines, oftentimes are wrapped around the corner, so Willow Grove Mall, where we’ve been going since Quinn was a baby, even offers an RSVP fast past feature. To bypass the hectic crowds and the fee for the fast pass, I decided that we’d go when Quinn had off during parent teach conferences. It wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet, but we were both excited to see the one and only: Santa Claus!

First, we took a picture on the sled with a beautiful background, and before seeing Santa, we talked about the importance of not just saying what she wants but actually asking Santa how he’s doing and making small talk if there’s time. After we took our picture and Santa was ready to greet her, she turned to me, “Come on! Aren’t you coming too, Mommy!?” If only she knew how much my heart truly smiled as I happily plopped down next to Santa with her ready to take a picture. I was taken back to when I was a little girl experiencing the magical moments of Christmas.

Since there wasn’t a line, Quinn was able to chat with hi for a bit before we headed on our way. I was impressed with how articulate she was because at her age I would have been absolutely starstruck and might have fumbled for the right words, or like Ralph from “The Christmas Story,” I would have blanked out on what I wanted for Christmas.

Today, I don’t have a big list, but something that’s been on my list since my daughter was born is to see the joy on her face that comes around during this time of the year. When we saw Santa, I got a glimpse of it, and it made my day.

All the best,

Tanya

On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Times with Santa on the Christmas Train

On the Third Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…Fun Times with Santa on the Christmas Train!

If you live near Ronks, PA or are willing to drive, Strasburg Railroad is a must-do attraction for the family. For the past few years, my family has made the hour and a half trek for some memorable holiday moments. Though it it’s a totally different experience than my six year old had riding the regional rail train into the city for the first time last week, it’s definitely something we all look forward to, and this year was no different.

They have train rides with Santa, train rides to select your own Christmas tree and train rides for “The Night Before Christmas” where children are even encouraged to wear their pajamas. We always opt for the train ride where we get greeted Santa as we check out the local sites on the steam locomotive. This year, the weather was perfect: not to warm and not too cold. We were able to dine at then railroad restaurant, went to the shops and did some of the activities before our train departed.

Quinn loves getting a seat next to the window to take in the sites during our 45 minute train ride, but all eyes were on Santa as he made his way up the aisle stopping for pictures and giving each child a Strasburg Railroad ornament gift. I too was eager to take our annual train ride photo with Santa. There’s just something so magical about that train ride. I truly do love this tine of year as we enjoy each other’s company.

All the best,

Tanya

Life Lessons: The Big Monopoly on Fun & Games

The other day, I overheard someone saying that “Monopoly” is one of the worst board games ever. I responded jokingly, “How dare you!? That’s one of my all-time favorite games!” “It’s just too long of a game,” the person replied. I said, “But that’s the whole point. It’s just like life and is all about strategizing.”I used to play Monopoly for hours with my sister and brother. Luckily, my six year old feels the same way as me and can’t get enough of Monopoly Junior. I asked her what she likes about the game, and Quinn said, “I like buying properties and collecting rent, but I have to be smart so that I don’t run out of money paying other people rent.” What great life lesson some adults are still learning!

One time when we were shopping we saw an LOL version, and she asked me how many different Monopoly games are there. After doing a quick search, I was amazed to find out that there are 1,144 different versions! There’s a Fortnite version, Stranger Things, a Pizza version, Cheaters edition, the classic version, and the list goes on and on. Who says video games and electronic devices have the monopoly on fun? Some kids do like good old fashioned board games. It’s a great way to have family time, talk, sharpen those critical thinking skills and to address the importance of not being a sore loser or an overly gloating winner for both the kids and the adults.

All the best,

Tanya

First Graders Unite: Quinnie V. Loves Reading Junie B. Jones!

I loved reading when I was younger. One of my favorites was the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. I related to her because she had an older sister just like me. For my daughter, it’s June B. Jones, written by Barbara Park and illustrated by Denise Brunkus, who’s all the rave in my daughter’s first grade class and now in our home too. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up reading Ramona, but Junie B. seems far more precocious than Ramona, yet she’s a witty little girl. I enjoy having Quinn read the stories to me and am impressed that she seldom needs help with a word. I also look forward to reading a chapter to her as part of her bedtime routine as it bringing me back to when I was in grade school.

When the second scholastic order form came home a few weeks ago, my daughter pleaded, “Mommy, can we please get the first set of Junie B. Jones’ books?”  We ordered ten books in September with Junie starting first grade and are still reading through the last few. Even though I initially suggested that we get through the ones she has first, Quinn convinced me to get the first series when Junie B. Jones is in kindergarten so that she can have the entire set and backstory. Plus, how could I possibly say no to purchasing books and encouraging my daughter’s love for reading.

This past Friday, the new series arrived at my six year old’s school, and she excitedly told me that her teacher said, “Wow, you have all of the Junie B. Jones books. I’m so jealous!” Book series surrounding a specific character is such a wonderful idea to engage children and even adults in reading. I too am eager to see what Junie B. Jones does in these series of stories. If you know of any other book series for young children please feel free to share.

All the best,

Tanya