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

Sugar Rush: Family Edition! Baking Cotton Candy Cupcakes with My Sweet Girl

Sugar Rush: Cotton Candy Cup Cakes

“Just ten minutes bakers!” My husband yelled out and startled me as my daughter and I raced to put the finishing touches on our cotton candy cupcakes. Being cooped up in the house can be real downer at times, but it also is a wonderful opportunity for some family time. A few weeks ago, my sister came up with a terrific idea for us to have a Zoom Sugar Rush competition against her and my niece just like the Netflix show. Both Quinn and I were both on board with this idea, and once all settled on the carnival as our theme, we knew immediately that we wanted to do cotton candy cupcakes, so I ordered us matching aprons for the theme.

The only problem is that I never made them before! So I scoured Pinterest and YouTube looking for ideas and piecing together recipes we both felt comfortable using. We baked cotton candy cookies. I found this perfect and simple recipe using cotton candy sugar. I also ordered cotton candy flavoring for the buttercream frosting and simply swapped out the vanilla extract for the cotton candy flavoring. Lucky for us, we already have a cotton candy machine, so it was able to be freshly spun. The cupcake itself was a yellowcake recipe I learned from my grandmother.

Both Quinn and I agree that while it was a lot of fun, the pressure was on to put together a tasty treat, especially with my sister and niece on the Zoom call making delicious funnel cake cupcakes! It was such a fun experience that we all agreed to do it again. Our next theme is animals, so stay tuned!

All the best,

Tanya

Still Puzzling Times, But My Daughter and I Pieced It Together…For Now

500 Piece Puzzle Done!

A few weeks ago, posted about the puzzle my daughter and I started and how I found the experience to correlate with the puzzling times we’re currently experiencing. While I focused on the frame of the puzzle, my seven year old focused on sorting the matching colors, a strategy I eventually employed once the frame was complete.

Another strategy we both use was sorted the pieces into categories base on their similar shapes which actually helped when we could clearly see what type of shape belonged in what space. Though Quinn was a willing participant and helped out with the 500 piece puzzle more than I anticipated, at times, she became frustrated and a little overwhelmed as she struggled to figure out what puzzles pieces went where. That’s when I stepped in to keep progress going, which is something we all occasionally need.

Something else I realized as I stressed and drove myself nuts trying to find the last puzzle piece is that we could be overlooking most the obvious place to “literally” piece it all together. After about a half hour or searching, Quinn causally walked over and noticed that the puzzle piece made its way under the table cloth.

Within these last couple of weeks, not only did we have some mother daughter bonding time, but it was an eye-opening experience on all that can be learned from simply working on a puzzle.

All the best,

Tanya

Excitedly Celebrating My 8th Mommyversary!

0934652c-9887-4757-9eb8-cad06cad5585It’s hard to believe that eight years ago I celebrated my first Mother’s Day or as I like to call it, “My Mommyversary!” While it feels weird not keeping with tradition by taking my mom out to brunch with my daughter for Mother’s Day due to the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown, I am grateful for all that motherhood has done for me in these past eight years. It certainly isn’t an easy job, but it is more rewarding than I could have imagined.

Quinn certainly has grown so much since 2013, but I definitely have too. Who would have thought that motherhood would allow me to feel more confident, more passionate and more assertive about life than I’ve ever been! I’m so thankful to have a daughter like Quinn and look forward to the many more milestones, lessons and adventures motherhood has to offer.

Happy Mommyversary to all moms, mom-like figures, grandmas, aunties and any woman whose been a positive role model in a child’s life.

All the best,

Tanya

Coronavirus Lockdown: Mother Daughter Weekend Edition!

b965bb0b-889b-470d-a3c5-423d6f87eace“I really wish this weekend didn’t have to end,” my six year old said. I told her, “We don’t need to set aside a special day to spend time with each other and that I enjoy being with her.” Last week, Quinn asked if we could have a mother and daughter day so that we can have extra fun together, and I said, “Why not make it a weekend!?” She wrote out a list of  five activities she’d like to do and asked when our weekend would start. When I told her Friday at 3:30pm, it couldn’t come fast enough for her. She was absolutely ready for our day to commence and let me know when it was a 3:29pm.

On Friday, we used the cotton candy maker from my childhood along with the new flavor sugars I ordered. She went with cherry, and I had blue raspberry. Though I did give mine to my husband since I knew I’d be having a weekend filled with tasty treats.

Bright and early on Saturday after breakfast, I attended a dance party lead by Quinn and learned some new, cool dance moves to Kids Bop songs. My Fitbit watch even noticed how hard I was dancing because it logged me for nearly a half hour of an aerobic workout. We even drew pictures together and used the free app Happy Color to do color by numbers and made it a competition to see who could get done their picture first. We played Mario Kart Tour using the app (another free game) and even got my sister and niece to join in from their home for a virtual race. It was so much fun and brought back memories of when I was younger playing race car video games.

After having some pizza delivered from Papa Johns, I rented the new “Trolls World Tour” movie through Amazon Prime video. We were able to watch on our big screen in our basement, along with my husband, giving it that movie theater feel as a special surprise.  We made our own ice cream sundaes, had popcorn and just a really good time together. Honestly, I didn’t want the fun to end either.

Though many of us are now having even more time with our children as a result of the lockdown, how much of that is “fun” time together? Yes, these are serious times, but it felt so good to just laugh, be silly, play games and enjoy each other’s company. Quinn gave me such a big hug and kiss yesterday and told me, ” I love you so much, Mommy! I can’t wait to have a mother daughter day again!” To which I responded, “Me neither!”

Baking is Love, Especially When They’re Cookies From a Sweet Girl!

“I love baking with you, Mommy! Can we do it more often?” my six year old asked. “I don’t see why not,” I told her. I love baking, especially when I get to do it with my daughter. I get to guide her through the process. We get to talk, laugh and just be in each other’s presence. Also, I just feel the love. On Valentine’s Day, she was eager to bake cookies to give to people she loves and did it from start to finish. She even effortlessly used the cookie press after I demonstrated how to use it. I’m so grateful that displaying love is something that’s effortless for the both of us, not just on Valentine’s Day but everyday.

All the best,

Tanya

Thankful for a Kind & Loving Daughter

“I have something for you, Mommy,” my little girl told me. It wasn’t Mother’s Day, not my birthday nor Christmas. What could it be, I thought? Probably a picture she drew or a craft she made at camp. “You have something for me?” I asked. “For you and Daddy,” Quinn responded. It was a special note she wrote that said, “For Mom and Dad.” Inside, it read, “You are kind an loveing. love Quinn.” While the English professor in me was tempted  to tell her she spelled loving incorrectly, I was just so moved by the kind gesture of my six year old.

I inquired, “Did your camp counselor ask you all to write notes to your parents?” Quinn quickly said, “No! I just wanted to write you and Daddy a note to thank you for being kind and loving.” Even though we’ve both been keeping gratitude journals since the start of the year and often talk about the importance of expressing gratitude and thanking people for their generosity and kindness, I was still pleasantly surprised to get such a lovely note from Quinn. She truly is a loving and caring daughter for which I am grateful.

All the best,

Tanya

It’s My Mommyversary! Six Wonderful Years of Motherhood

In 2013, just a week after giving birth to my little girl, I celebrated being a mother for the first time. Now, six years and hundreds of blog posts later, I have many baby steps behind me yet many more to go! Being a mother is such a rewarding experience, and my daughter has played a significant role in helping me to grow not just as a mother but as a person. I truly am lucky to have my own mother available to share advice and words of wisdom and to have a thoughtful and caring daughter who both make the challenging journey of motherhood an absolute joy.

Here’s to all of the mothers everywhere! May your baby steps into motherhood turn into bountiful leaps and jumps of joy filled with wonderful memories.

All the best,

Tanya

It’s All About the Love! Memorable Moments with My Valentine, My Little Girl

“What do you like most about Valentine’s Day, Mommy?” My four and half year old asked me. “I like showing people who I care about how much I love them, especially you!” I said. My daughter then smiled at me and said without hesitation, “That’s what I like the most too! Well, I like getting candy sometimes too!” As this Valentine weekend comes to a close, I just couldn’t let it end without acknowledging how wonderful it feels to experience the love of my daughter. She’s so sweet, kind and caring. After saying good morning, she’ll often ask me how I slept. When I pick her up from preschool, she genuinely wants to know if I had a good day at work.

Even though there are times when I may be exhausted or just need a moment to relax to myself, I never tire of loving my daughter and being a recipient of the unconditional love I receive from her on a daily basis. I am grateful for the many memorable moments we’ve shared and truly do love being loved by her.

All the best,

Tanya

Unconditional Love for My Little Girl: “I’ll Be There!” (Jackson 5)

I asked, “What music would you like to listen to for breakfast, Quinn?” Without hesitation, my four year old responded, “Jackson 5, please!” Last year, during the Christmas season, my daughter became a huge fan of the Jackson 5. She loves dancing and singing along to their songs, many that were out before I was even born. She enjoys their music so much so that she was still requesting that I play the Christmas album well into the summer. So I decided to purchase a compilation of their best songs about a month ago so that I could stop randomly humming their Christmas tunes.

While she loves all of the songs, she’ll often request that I replay “ABC” or “I’ll Be There.” “Just call my name, and I’ll be there!” Quinn sings out with her arms outstretched. Though I’ve always loved this song too and heard it several times, I most recently had a different interpretation of it. Perhaps it was the innocence of Michael’s voice or the spirit of the song, but I envisioned singing this song to my daughter to display the unconditional love I have for her and continued support I will offer.

“I’ll Be There” lyrics

…I’ll reach out my hand to you

I’ll have faith in all you do

Just call my name and I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

I’ll be there to comfort you

Build my world of dreams around you

I’m so glad that I found you

I’ll be there with a love that’s strong

I’ll be your strength

I’ll keep holdin’ on (holdin’ on)

Yes I will, yes I will

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter

Togetherness, girl, is all I’m after

Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

I’ll be there to protect you (yeah baby)

With unselfish love that respects you

Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

I’ll be there to comfort you

Build my world of dreams around you

I’m so glad that I found you…

I’ve been blessed to experience love through my family, friends and husband, but the love I have for my little girl is stronger than I ever imagined it could be. As she gets older and becomes more independent, she may not need me as much, but I’ll be there. Even when she may not make the best decisions or upsets me, I’ll be there.

One of my dreams is to give my daughter a life filled with joy and laughter, to be there to protect her, and to be there to comfort her. My dream is that she knows I’ll be there whenever she needs me.

Thank you, Jackson 5 for this classic, heartfelt song that now leaves a bit emotional as I think about the bond and love I have for my daughter.

All the best,

Tanya