My Wish Has Been Granted! Another Year of Halloween Costume Fun with My Daughter: Aladdin Style!


For the past five years, my daughter and I’ve been dressing up for Halloween in “matching” costumes. When Quinn was two, she was Doc McStuffins, and I was Lambie. At three, she was an astronaut, and I was her rocket. At four, she was Snow White, and I was the Evil Queen. Just last year, she was a magical fairy princess, and I was a magical princess mermaid.

This year, we decided on two costumes. The first one, that we wore at Sesame Place and Boot at the Zoo, was dressing up like her American Girl doll, Luciana, which was a lot of fun. Our second set of costumes were inspired by the Aladdin movie. Quinn dressed as Princess Jasmine donning a beautiful fuchsia outfit we purchased at Target in the kids clothing section back in May, not the Halloween costume section, along with a long flowing ponytail with gold clips that we got from Amazon for $19.99. For her footwear, she already had a pair of gold sneakers for comfort.

At first I was going to be Princess Jasmine’s mother, but then Quinn suggested that I dress up as the genie, which I thought was a fantastic idea. Though it was tricky finding the costume, since the genie is a male character, I was able to locate one from Amazon that I really liked. It looked good on me, but was very thin.

So I decided to use my creativity and piece together my own costume. I ordered royal blue harem pants from Amazon for $15.99. They are actually good quality and have a comfortable fit. The light blue wrap shirt also came from Amazon for $15.99 as well, and it is nice enough to wear regular, not just for a costume. Since it is a little thin for this time of the year, I paired it with a royal blue tank top I already had to wear underneath. For the gold wrist cuffs and red satin sash, I actually purchase fabric from Joanne Fabrics and got to work using my sewing machine. Believe or not, it took my less than a half hour to do both. Then, I topped it off with a dark blue ponytail wig I also purchased from Amazon for $22.99 since I figured it would be a bit too much to paint my face and body blue. I actually like the way it looks and find it to be good quality and not like the wigs one might find at a local Halloween or party shop. I can see myself using it for other events in the future.

Having “matching” costumes with my daughter is something we both look forward to and makes one of my wishes come true. It strengthens our mother/daughter bond and puts smiles on both of our faces as we have a great time together. Though Halloween won’t be here for a few days, we’re already looking forward to what we’ll be for next year.

All the best,



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,


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,


A Happy Father’s Day: Grateful I Picked a Loving Dad for My Daughter


Ever heard the phrase, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family?” If you think about it, this is only partially true. While I didn’t get to pick my own parents, I did get to pick who I would start a family with. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best relationship with my father and was often emotionally and verbally abused by him (when my mother was not present) as a child causing me to lack self-esteem and often feel depressed. I was elated when my parents divorced because I was no longer subjected to my father’s ill treatment and vowed that I would try my best to protect my future child from suffering the same fate at the hands of her own father.

Gratefully, I was lucky enough to find a dear friend and significant other of nearly twenty years, and we’ve been married going on eight years. Sometimes, we fall in love with people but don’t take the time to envision how they will be as parents or they unpleasantly surprise us once we’re married revealing a person we didn’t realize was there. With this in mind, I feel so blessed that how I envisioned my husband as a parent based on his beliefs and values actually surpassed that for which I was hoping. It has allowed me to love him even more over the years.

From day one in the hospital after I gave birth, he was there, instantaneously in love with his daughter. He’s so caring and in tune with her needs. He offers her praise and positive reinforcement, and she just can’t get enough of him. Though my daughter and I have a great relationship and bond, If I’m honest, at times, I long for the special closeness they have. Quinn is not just a daddy’s girl, but my husband is definitely a daddy wrapped around his little girl’s finger.

For Father’s Day, he just wanted nothing more than to stay at home spending time with our little six year old, and she just wanted the same. On this day and every day, I am grateful not just for a caring husband but for a loving father who’s showing his little girl her true worth and how she deserves to be treated not just through his words but his actions too.

Here’s to all of the strong fathers and father figures, who offer physical, mental and emotional support and love, not just to their children but the mothers of their children too! May it be returned back to you ten fold. 

All the best,


Grateful to See the New Year of 2019 with My Little Girl

The last few weeks of 2018 were a roller coaster ride for my family as we dealt with my daughter being ill and hospitalized and then rejoiced in her being home for Christmas and having a great recovery. Even though gratitude is something that I try to practice and teach my daughter regularly, I decided in 2019 I would make a more conscious effort. I also made a resolution to be even more present with my family.

Both my daughter and I received gratitude journals as Christmas gifts, so I thought it would be awesome for us to talk and write together about that for which we are grateful. It’s also a perfect way to promote writing with my little kindergartener. We started our journals on January 1st and actually were grateful for the same thing: a visit from my mom (her nana) and my aunt (her great aunt).

It pleases me that my daughter is grateful for her family because I certainly am grateful for her. I’m looking forward to bonding and sharing wonderful moments together with my five year old as we write about that for which we are grateful throughout 2019.

All the best,


On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My Daughter Gave to Me…The Importance of Spending Time With Family

On the fifth day of Christmas, my daughter gave to me…the importance of spending time with family. For the past few days, my five year old hasn’t been feeling well. Her cough and runny nose has been accompanied by a fever. It all started on last Thursday when she was sent home from school due to a fever and becoming ill during lunch. On Saturday, she had no fever and was starting to feel better, so we kept with our scheduled plan and had a blast at Sesame Place. Unfortunately, late on Sunday, her fever came back with a punch, and over night it spiked to 104.2, so my husband and I decided to take her to the emergency room. (Where we are right now)

While this is an unsettling experience for us all, and it is upsetting to see my little girl so listless and ill, she still constantly reminds me of the importance of family togetherness, especially during this time of the year. For almost ten years, I’ve thrown a Christmas party and invited my extended family and some of my dear friends.

Since Quinn was born, it’s become even more special. She’s always excited to spend time with family and will ask me who’s coming to the party. In life, it seems like everybody is so busy. There seems to be a limited amount of time to simply enjoy life. I am grateful to have a daughter like Quinn. She helps me to not get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and to just appreciate my family. I truly am grateful for the experiences I have with them and love them all dearly.

All the best,