Worst Case Scenario: Life Without My Family

Ever think about the worst case scenario? While we may all try to avoid it and hope it never happens, we’re all occasionally put to the test! Last week, the Franklin Institute debuted its new exhibit, “The Worst Case Scenario: Survival Experience,” and today, my daughter, sister, niece and I went and had a ball. Though it was a fun experience reading the tips and doing some of the activities, especially the rush we got from falling backwards into a pool of balls, there were some thought-provoking moments that made me think about the importance of valuing life and loved ones and not taking time or them for granted.

There was a huge blackboard where people could write down their “worst case scenario,” and without giving it much thought, the one that popped into my head was not being attacked by a swarm of killer bees nor being in the middle of an elephant stampede nor trying to escape from the ledge of a building but experiencing life without my family.

Sometimes we’re so busy with work or so self-involved that we don’t even imagine what our lives would be like if those who “matter” were no longer there or were taken away from us. I love my family, and my daughter has made such a huge impact on my life in the six years that she’s been in this earth. Of course, I don’t even want to imagine what my life would be like without her, my husband, mother, siblings and extended family. So instead, I try my best to create lasting memories with her and my family.

One of my “best case scenarios” is simply seeing smiles and feeling the love and joy of my daughter and family as we enjoy each other’s company. What’s your “best case scenario?”

All the best,

Tanya

Spending Time with My “Boos” at the Zoo!

At least five Woodys! Plenty of super heroes from Iron Man to Spider Man to Superman, the Incredibles and anyone else you can think of! Plenty of princesses, unicorns and even a family dressed as the characters from Wizard of Oz. No, this wasn’t a costume party but the absolutely fun Halloween event held annually at the Philadelphia Zoo: Boo at the Zoo!

This makes the sixth year that my daughter and I have attended and the second year that we’ve met up with our relatives for some “cousin” fun along with my mother. We arrived at 9am (The zoo opens at 9:30am but allowed members to enter as early a 8:30am), and while the day started off rather chilly, the weather was perfect as the day progressed. The sun was shining the entire time, and we were even able to unbutton our jackets as the light breeze blew. In between seeing the lions, tigers, giraffes and plenty other animals (who were all out and about today), Quinn and her cousins eagerly ran to the different stations to trick or treat for tasty sweets and did different crafts while admiring the costumes of the other children and adults in passing.

Spending time with my extended family, seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces, hearing their laughter and simply feeling their joy truly puts a smile on my face. If you’re looking for a fun and safe event for your child or children and live near Philadelphia, “Boo at the Zoo” is perfect! You get to dress up, get sweet treats, and do fun activities all while seeing animals.

All the best,

Tanya

Let the October Fun Begin: It’s Pumpkin Patch Family Time!

“I want one that’s not too small and not too big,” my six year old told me as we made our way through the admissions entrance of Shady Brook Farm. Picking the “perfect” pumpkin has become just as involved as selecting the right Christmas tree for us. It must have a long enough stem with a slight curve, have a nice round shape, be smooth with minimal to no blemishes, lumps or bumps. It all started five years ago when my husband and I brought Quinn to the pumpkin patch for a little family fun.

Now, it is a wonderful family tradition filled with fun activities, smiles and laughter. My mother has even joined us for the past four years, and we all come ready with our gardening gloves for handling the pumpkins, large bags for carrying them and keen eyes for finding the right ones for our pumpkin decorating projects.

While going to the pumpkin patch is the main purpose of our outing, we also enjoy the many activities available from the corn maize, play ground, moon bounces, entertainment and various games. Of course, we could easily get a pumpkin at the local Giant or grocery store, but I look forward to this family tradition and especially the family togetherness that comes from this day long outing at Shadybrook Farm. If you are local to the Bucks County, PA area and looking for a fall activity for your family, give it a try!

All the best,

Tanya H. Franklin

Unicorn Fun: Sleepovers Are Magical with Nana!

Imagine unicorn decorations, unicorn cookies, unicorn cereal, unicorn pudding, cake pops, cotton candy, dance parties, games, treats, you name it! No this isn’t a birthday party; it’s a magical sleepover at Nana’s! For the past few years, my mother arranges a sleepover and invites the granddaughters to spend the week with her.

While some children dread spending the week at their grandparents’ home and think it’ll be boring, my six year old always looks forward to this event where she gets to spend time with her cousins and her Nana too while having tons of fun. When my little girl came home, she was eager to tell her father and me about all of the activities she did and treats she had. She even mistakenly called me “Nana” a few times. 😂

I’m so grateful that I have a mother and Quinn has a Nana who is so generous and willing to put in so much time and energy to make sure her granddaughters feel loved and have togetherness. What a wonderful way to end the summer before starting off the new school year!

All the best,

Tanya

Play Dates: Not Just for Kids but Parents Too!

“Please, Mommy! Can you give me another clue? Who’s coming over for a visit tomorrow?” my little girl pleaded. Quinn is an only child and does well playing by herself or even playing with her dad or me, but there’s no denying that there is something special about having time to play with children around her own age. Yes, she has an opportunity to play at recess or interact during gym and music, but an actual play date involving an activity or even just going to a family member or friend’s house or having them come to our house is a wonderful experience for us both.

While some parents may dread play dates or just don’t see the significance of them, I look forward to them just as much as my five and a half year old does. For the most part, she is a cheerful, easygoing child, but the smile that comes over her face when she has a play date let’s me know that it is something she enjoys immensely. Also, it gives me an opportunity to see how she interacts with children directly. Does she share, is she kind, is she a good sport if they are playing a game?

Yesterday, when my cousin visited with her daughter, Quinn did a wonderful job sharing and cared about her cousin’s interests by taking turns while helping to bake a princess cake. She also allowed her cousin to pick out her headband color first since she was our guest as they worked on their other crafty project. I also enjoyed being able to observe them and help them go through the process of preparing and baking their cake.

Something that impressed me was how the both of them were able to go with the flow when the fondant for the cake didn’t quite turn out as they hoped. It was a teachable moment that sometimes you may follow the directions, but the results may still not turn out as you anticipated. I was able to quickly whip up a buttercream frosting and match the pink of the fondant, and the girls were eager to decorate the dress. They commented on how pretty she looked and said, “We can’t wait to eat her for dessert!” This gave me such a chuckle!

From baking to crafting to playing games and eating together, it was fun for all. I’m so grateful we have family and friends to get together with for good-old fashioned fun!

All the best,

Tanya

Mathilde the Musical: Theatre Fun with My Little Girl

“Mathilde’s parents were not very nice and were mean to her. But you’re not mean to me Mommy because you care about me and love me!” My five year old informed. Today, I took Quinn to see her second play at the Walnut Street Theatre with my sister and niece (her daughter). Last year, it was “Annie,” which was awesome, and this year it was “Mathilde,” which was just as good. Quinn was so excited to go see another play. As she looked through the playbill she even noticed a familiar face who was in last year’s production of “Annie.”

It was such a wonderful family outing, and allowed us to engage in discussion prior to the play about her expectations. Afterwards, we enjoyed talking about which scenes and characters she and my nice liked the most.  While some people may think going to the “theatre” (in my bourgeois stuffy voice) is not appropriate for children, I totally disagree, and my daughter would as well. She couldn’t wait to get home and how the playbill to her dad and tell him all about the play.

While this is only Quinn’s second year going to Walnut Street Theatre to see a play, I am looking forward to this being an ongoing tradition that we can look forward to with my sister and niece. Here’s to Walnut Street Theatre doing a superb job with the “Mathilde the Musical Production!” My little girl gives the play two thumbs up!

All the best,

Tanya

Celebrating Four Fantastic Years: Happy Birthday to My Sweet Girl!

Four: a nice and even number. There’s four seasons, four elements, and today makes four years since the birth of my sweet little girl. What a fantastic four years it’s been watching her grow and become her very own person! She loves learning, is so inquisitive and is already in tune with her emotional intelligence and is often the consoler when she sees that someone is upset.

At age one, I was in awe with her ability to walk, at age two, I was eager to listen to her talk, at age three, I enjoyed observing her continue to discover the world and further develop her cognitive skills, and now at age four I look forward to and encourage her questions and interests, even when they seem endless, because I am grateful to have her in my life and love seeing the world through her eyes.

While it may be Quinn’s “happy birthday,” it is my happy day as well. She’s added so much meaning to not just my life but my husband’s life, our extended family and friends too. I hope she grows up knowing how much of a gift she has been to us all and that she feels loved not just on her special day but everyday.

All the best,

Tanya