Red Carpet Celebration: My Little Girl’s a Super Star Reader!

The luxurious Escalade SUV limo was parked. The plush, red carpet was rolled out, and the “fans” patiently awaited their arrival. One person shouted, “I think I see them!” People positioned themselves with cameras and cell phones ready to take pictures and videos. Then the door opened, and they all came parading out wearing their finest clothes and accessories.

The cheers from the crowd would make you think they were all singers being recognized at the Grammy’s or actors and actresses being recognized at the Emmy’s. But they were all being celebrated for something even more notable: kindergarten through fourth graders who read 100 or more books in a little less than three months!

My little kindergartener was among this small group of children who accomplished this wonderful goal! She read well beyond the 100 book minimum, many on her own with little assistance from me. Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Thelma the Unicorn, Princess Truly and If You Give a Mouse an iPhone were some of her favorites to read. I am so proud of my six year old’s accomplishment and happily cheered her name as she walked the red carpet with the other children and went into the limo.

Afterwards, all of the children were lead by the school librarians and paraded through the halls of the school, along with the parents, where the other children and teachers were all lined up in the hallways to give hi-fives and cheer on the kids for reading so many books. Ending in the library, they were all then celebrated with cake and sparkling apple raspberry cider. I thought it was a wonderful event and an awesome way to reward children for reading. Quinn, along with the other children, all looked and felt like superstars! She’s so excited to keep reading and can’t wait to do the challenge again when she’s in first grade.

All the best,

Tanya

So Happy It’s Not a Chore to Get My Little Girl to Do Chores!

“You know, Mommy, sorting and rolling socks together is actually kind of fun,” my newly six year old informed me yesterday as she helped with the laundry. Since my daughter was a toddler, she’s been helping around the house with basic tasks like putting away her toys, sweeping, clearing the plates from the table and even washing dishes. Most people would agree that chores can not only be a time consuming but be the tasks they dread doing the most. So it pleases me that my daughter has actually been begging for more chores to do around the house.

When she was a toddler, she’d help sort clothes by color or by item, such as tights, shirts or pants. But now she’s insisted on doing more, so she helps with folding undershirts, underwear and socks. “There’s a lot of socks here, Mommy!” Quinn started counting them and told me, “I folded together twenty-one pairs of socks, Mommy!” I love chores that stimulate critical thinking and allow my daughter to use math. Even afterwards, on her own, she decided to carry several of the socks in her shirt wrapped up at the bottom so that she could carry more at once. “Very clever technique, Quinnie!” I told her.

While I am sure there will come a time when Quinn may dread doing a certain chore, for now, I am grateful that she has fun doing them and understands the importance of contributing towards our household.

All the best,

Tanya

American Girls on the Move and All Dolled Up!

 

Unable to contain herself, she repeatedly said, “I’m sooo excited! I”m just soo excited!” For my daughter’s sixth birthday, we drove a little over three hours on Friday night to Vienna, Virginia, right outside of Tysons Corner, so that we could get a bright an early start going to the one and only…”American Girl” store! Though the store opened at 10am and our salon appointment wasn’t until 10:15am, Quinn begged if we could just go to the mall and walk around until the store opened.

Would you believe that we spend nearly three hours in the store and bistro?! Would you believe me if I told you I could have spent all day in the store even if my daughter wasn’t with me? There was so much to see and explore. It was like going to an interactive doll museum. With this in mind, over the next week, I plan to do separate posts about our experience as “American Girls” on the move. If you’re a doll lover, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Until then, check out this video preview.

All the best,

Tanya

What’s the Word of the Day? Learning with My Little Girl

“So Mommy, what was your students’ word of the day?” my little girl inquired. “Today’s word was languish,” I told her. She perked up and asked what it meant. After telling her, she then longingly said, ” I wish I could learn a word a day.” I then recalled seeing an advertisement for a book that gives children a word a day with pictures, definitions along with other features and thought it would be perfect! I showed the web site for Mrs. Wordsmith and samples to my soon to be six year old and asked her if she would like me to order it for her to which she eagerly replied, “Yes, please!”

I decided to order the word a day along with the story dictionary for children ages 6 – 12. (There’s one for 3 – 6 year olds too). Quinn checked the mailbox after school everyday. Finally, after almost two weeks, the materials had arrived! I was just as eager as my daughter was to tear open the package.

She asked, “Mommy, can we keep my word a day at the dining room table so that I can read the word and definition when I’m eating my breakfast and then practice again for lunch or dinner?” With a smile on my face, I nodded, “Of course!” “Since she’s in kindergarten and not quite six yet, I wasn’t sure if the materials would be too advanced since it is up to age 13, so I thought the dining room table would be the perfect location so that she may get assistance from her father or me with the words.

Thus far, I’m very impressed with how well Quinn is doing with sounding out and reading not just the words but the definitions and explanations too. The pictures are so colorful and nicely detailed to help not just children but adults who might not know some of the words. Something else that I love is that she is making an effort to create sentences using the words or making associations with the words.

There was, however, one word Quinn associated with me that caught me off guard. When I came home from work after not seeing Quinn in the morning during breakfast and asked her about the word of the day, she said, “Today’s word is describing you, Mommy. It’s conceited!” I tried to convince her that I wasn’t conceited, but then she showed me the illustration. “See, conceited is someone who likes to take a lot of selfies, just like you!” (Interestingly, when I was younger and even in early adulthood, I was always shy and self conscious about taking pictures.) I blushed and thought to myself, I guess I better cut back on all of the picture taking some.

If you are looking to help your child not only enhance his or her vocabulary but possibly yours as well, I strongly suggest purchasing the Storyteller’s Word a Day and Illustrated Dictionary. Quinn’s only been using it for a little over a week and loves getting her word a day!

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 Importance of Kids Helping Kids: My Little Girl Reading and Raising Money for the Ronald McDonald House

A little over a month ago, I posted about my little girl reading for a good cause: raising money for sick children at the Ronald McDonald House. A few weeks after that post, we were notified that she was one of the top fundraisers at her school and would be recognized at a special event sponsored by the Philadelphia Eagles. She also received a congratulatory packet with a certificate, shirt, stuffed animal and a free happy meal. This was such a proud moment for us both.

At the event, we got to interact with people from multiple schools, run around on the football field, take pictures with Swoop, the Eagles mascot, and hear wonderful stories about how the funds raised will help children in need. The children were also rewarded with books to keep readers, which I thought was awesome.

“I can’t wait to raise even more money next time. I think it’s great that I’m a kid helping kids,” Quinn told me. It makes me feel so good that my soon to be six year old, only in kindergarten, is so thoughtful and cares about others.

All the best,

Tanya

Hopping Along to Wonderland: Part of the Journey of Motherhood is the Fun Along the Way

For the past four years, my daughter and I’ve been attending the “Mad Hatter” event where a section of our local mall is transformed into Alice’s Wonderland. It’s a hopping good time with Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and the Easter Bunny along with many interactive activities and treats for children. As we waited in line, I looked down and thought it was so cool that my five year old and I were wearing identical sneakers. Of course, mine were much larger, but they were still the same.

Then, I noticed the bunny footprints leading to the event. They made me think about how we both are on journeys: Quinn as a child having experiences for the first time and simply enjoying life and having fun with a few lessons along the way, and me not only having Quinn follow my lead and in my footsteps but me sometimes figuratively putting myself into her shoes and reliving my youth through her experiences. My sweet girl helps me to not take life too seriously and to just enjoy the face paint, chatting with characters, crafting and taking pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbit hole of motherhood. I may be a bit nervous at times and struggle to find my way on occasion, but when I think about the wonderful journey I’m having with my little girl, it’s not so scary, and I look forward to the many adventures to come.

All the best,

Tanya