Hip Hop to You Don’t Stop! Looks Like I’m an Official Dance Mom!

Most of 2020 into 2021 has been an interesting year, especially for children who are used to going to school in person and participating in extra curricular activities. One of those activities for my daughter is dance; it’s been a part of her life since she was a toddler. She was so excited to take a Hip Hop petite class two years ago when she was six, but with the initial closures and then restrictions, last year there was no recital, and this year, it was moved outdoors for safety reasons.

Today was the special day, and seeing all of the children from toddler age to teens ready to go off to college eager to dance for their family and friends was a lovely sight. What made even more lovely was seeing how confident and ready Quinn was to take center stage for her hip hop number with her dance class. Of course, most parents are proud of their children and will cheer them on, but as I saw Quinn on the stage, it confirmed that she has something special, not just the gift of dance and movement, but the ability to command the stage even at a a young age.

Next year, she will be joining the hip hop competition team, and though I admittedly am not looking forward to the time commitment and traveling that comes along with being a “dance mom,” I am willing to do what it takes to support my daughter and look forward to Quinn continuing to hone her skills as a dancer and to become even more confident not just on the stage but in all aspects of her life.

All the best,

Tanya

The Perfect Image: Twinning and Loving My Mini Me

After spending about four hours doing knotless braids on my hair for the first time, my daughter smiled and said, “Your hair looks amazing! Can you put my hair in braids just like yours please?” Now that Quinn is officially eight years old, I wasn’t sure if she would still like to “twin” with me, but after I did her hair, she requested that I put it in a bun so that we could look like twins.

It makes me feel good to know that she still looks up to me, and when given the choice, she wants to be seen in my image. This also reminds me that I must be mindful and try my best to put forth a positive image for her to want to model. I love my mini me so much and will always cherish these bonding experiences that bring us closer together.

All the best,

Tanya

A Little Styling Goes a Long Way: Hair Salon Fun With My Daughter

Photo Credit: Muse Hair Studio (Tracie Stroman)

“I love it! I absolutely love it!” My soon-to-be eight year old exclaimed as she looked at herself swaying her head from side to side. This truly made my day! For the past couple of years, Quinn has been dying to wear her hair straight, so I thought what better way to kick off her birthday by taking her to a hair salon to have it professionally styled. Then I thought, why stop there? Why don’t I treat myself too since it’s been years since I’ve been to a salon or even worn my hair straight. Plus, this was a wonderful opportunity for us to bond together.

As we pulled up to Muse Hair Studio and I revealed the surprise to Quinn, she could barely contain herself. She was excited to go through the entire process. She sat in the booster added to the salon chair like a pro, and I couldn’t be prouder as I looked at her and snapped a few pictures sitting in the adjacent salon chair. The stylist, Tracie, and her assistant were, in Quinn’s words, “Amazing!” They treated Quinn like a little lady and even made her feel special by taking before and after pictures. (I felt extra special too!)

I asked her what she liked about the experience, and she said, “Everything!” Getting her hair washed with a massage, sitting under the dryer with the deep conditioner, getting her hair blow dried, flat ironed and styled were all of her favorites. I enjoyed this experience so much and even observed a couple other pairs of mothers and daughters, older than Quinn, getting their hair done or making appointments to get their hair done too.

I didn’t realize how much I missed having my hair done professionally until yesterday. It reminded me that self-care and just relaxing and having someone take care of me is needed, and I want Quinn to feel special and to embrace feeling good and taking care of herself as well as she gets older.

Photo Credit: Muse Hair Studio (Tracie Stroman)

All the best,

Tanya

Sugar Rush Family Edition: 80s Theme PAC-Man Edition

Yesterday was our fourth “Sugar Rush” Zoom bake-off with my sister and niece. Our theme was 80s, and upon my sister seeing our matching t-shirts, she knew that for the first time we both had the same idea: Pac-Man! Quinn initially picked Pac-Man because she’s familiar with the game and enjoys playing it even though it was out way before she was born. We went through a few different ideas, like a boom box radio, roller skates, Adidas and a cassette tape, but Pac-Man was our final decision.

This was a tricky one because we incorporated fondant, and this was our very first time using it. After watching plenty of Sugar Rush episodes, I decided that we could give it a try. Since fondant is an acquired taste, we made the ghost out of it and made the star of the cupcake, Pac-Man, out of lemon buttercream frosting. To make his both stand out, we thought about black frosting, but in knowing that it’s not our favorite, we got creative and used crushed Oreos to cover part of the lemon cupcake. We also had plenty of leftover black Sixlets from when we made puppy cupcakes, so we were able to use them for the eyes.

Though I can use a bit more practice with fondant, we both agreed that the cupcakes turned out better than we expected. Though my sister won’t be able to join us for a few months, we definitely look forward to continuing this fun activity in the future!

All the best,

Tanya

Easter Fun with My Daughter: Dyeing Eggs, Easter Baskets and Family Togetherness

I love dyeing eggs with my daughter. It’s a fun activity and a great way to involve science. Yesterday, Quinn decided that she wanted to dye eggs for her Youtube video, and I was all for it! For some reason, these activities bring us closer together, and I get an opportunity to see what she knows and is capable of doing without my assistance. When I think about the first time we dyed eggs and how far she’s come with barely needing my help, there’s no doubt that my little chickadee is growing up.

It also was great to see her eyes light up as she eagerly looked through her Easter basket and gave our puppy, Zack, his Easter toy.

Happy Easter, and all the best,

Tanya

Sugar Rush Family Edition: Baking Flower Cupcakes

Sugar Rush Zoom Family Edition

Yesterday was our third a “Sugar Rush” Zoom bake-off with my sister and niece, and my seven year old and I are having a blast while honing our baking skills. She actually picked the theme of spring since it’s just a couple of weeks away, and after giving it some thought, we settled on flowers because they’re not only beautiful and fragrant, but they truly are a sign that spring has spring or is on its way.

This time around, we used a yellow cake recipe courtesy of my grandmother who shared it with me years prior to her passing away. This made them extra special. We just had to cut the recipe in half because was meant for a three layer cake. Our frosting was a simple vanilla buttercream, but for the first time, I ordered and used Russian piping tips to make our cupcakes look like beautiful flowers and the Wilton leaf tip to enhance it.

Though I can use a bit more practice with the new piping tips and am eager to see how creative we can get, our cupcakes were a delight to make, and they made us smile as we look forward to seeing blossoming flowers and the hope and new life that spring brings. We can’t wait to do this again in April!

All the best,

Tanya

Sugar Rush Family Edition: Beach Theme Cupcakes

The beautiful, warm, sunny beach with the sand between our toes and the ocean beckoning us to come in to cool off is exactly where we’d love to be. But since that’s not an option right now, a “Sugar Rush Beach Theme” Zoom bake-off with my sister and niece is a place my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed. This actually makes our third bake-off. The first was a carnival theme. We made cotton candy cupcakes. The second was an animal theme. We made cupcakes in the likeness of our adorable puppy Zack. With our beach theme, the inspiration was my wedding in the Dominican Republic and the picnic reception, which were nearly ten years ago. Though Quinn was just a twinkle in our eyes then, we hope to take her there one day. Also, the cupcake is a reminder of the wonderful time my sister and I had on that beautiful day at the beach.

Our cupcake is almost as refreshing as that magical day with a simplistic, moist vanilla cupcake, a frosting containing lemon zest tinted aqua to represent the ocean and topped with an edible sugar seashell displaying its beauty.

All the best,

Tanya

Snow Day Memories with My Daughter

“A snow day! For what?! School is online!” are some of the posts I’ve seen on social media. My husband even said it when our daughter got a snow day yesterday and today. I, on the other hand, find myself empathizing more with my daughter and think most children are deserving of a snow day or two.

Many, including my seven year old, have been enduring and adapting to these ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions like champs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not under stress like some parents may be. Though I loved school at her age and beyond, I loved getting that message that school was closed and I could play in the snow all day if I wanted.

“Do you want to build a snowman?” wasn’t something Quinn asked me to do but something I asked her if she wanted to do. This Monday was actually supposed to be her first day back in person on a hybrid schedule, so I felt this was nature’s way of saying make the best of these last days of having her home full-time. I’m glad we did, and we’re both happy with our snowman, “Chilly.”

We got to have some fun with our puppy, Zack too!

All the best,

Tanya

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Sugar Rush Family Edition: Baking Puppy Cupcakes

About a month ago, my daughter and I have a fun time having a “Sugar Rush” Zoom bake-off with my sister and niece, so since we all had off today, we decided to do it again, and it was just as much fun if not more! Our theme was animals, so of course we immediately knew what we wanted to create: cupcakes that look like our eight month old puppy, Zack!

He’s been with us since August 7th and is such a wonderful addition to our family. After looking at various ideas on Pinterest, we decided on a chocolate cupcake with a caramel center. We tinted our buttercream frosting and used star piping to mimic his coat. For his eyes, we used black sixlets. After giving some thought, we decided on halves of milk duds for the nose, which turned out better than we expected. For his cute little tongue, we used Starbursts by heating it a little to remold it, cutting it into fourths, reshaping it and using a toothpick to give the line in the tongue. For his floppy ears, we used Werther’s soft caramel creams.

Our cupcake is almost as sweet as our puppy. We can’t wait to do this again in February!

All the best,

Tanya

Breathe and Just Be: My Daughter, Barbie and Me!

“Repeat after me. I am strong!…I am loved…I am unique.” These are positive affirmations we all can benefit from, especially children. While I’d like to take credit for sharing these with my daughter, it was her new “Breathe with me Barbie” leading my seven year old in a brief meditation.

Watching Quinn close her eyes and repeat these words made me think about how powerful words can be and how important it is for us all to take a few moments to relax, relate and release any negative feelings whole letting in positive ones. Though we’ve meditated together on a number of occasions, we haven’t really included positive affirmations. I think I’ll be taking Barbie’s lead and making sure we include them in ours in the future.

All the best,

Tanya