Life Lessons: The Big Monopoly on Fun & Games

The other day, I overheard someone saying that “Monopoly” is one of the worst board games ever. I responded jokingly, “How dare you!? That’s one of my all-time favorite games!” “It’s just too long of a game,” the person replied. I said, “But that’s the whole point. It’s just like life and is all about strategizing.”I used to play Monopoly for hours with my sister and brother. Luckily, my six year old feels the same way as me and can’t get enough of Monopoly Junior. I asked her what she likes about the game, and Quinn said, “I like buying properties and collecting rent, but I have to be smart so that I don’t run out of money paying other people rent.” What great life lesson some adults are still learning!

One time when we were shopping we saw an LOL version, and she asked me how many different Monopoly games are there. After doing a quick search, I was amazed to find out that there are 1,144 different versions! There’s a Fortnite version, Stranger Things, a Pizza version, Cheaters edition, the classic version, and the list goes on and on. Who says video games and electronic devices have the monopoly on fun? Some kids do like good old fashioned board games. It’s a great way to have family time, talk, sharpen those critical thinking skills and to address the importance of not being a sore loser or an overly gloating winner for both the kids and the adults.

All the best,

Tanya

The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: Treasuring Time with My Daughter

“Mommy, I got a new book from the library. Do you think we could do the project from it?” Quinn eagerly asked. “I don’t see why not,” I responded. This special project was how to create a liquid rainbow. Luckily, we only needed to get one of the ingredients since we had all of the others. My six year old and I do activities frequently, and I especially love when she initiates them.

With each activity that we do, Quinn is becoming more and more independent. This time, she read all of the instructions, did all of the measurements and followed all of the steps as I observed as her assistant. Something that fascinated me was how she used trial and error when creating the purple syrup for the bottom layer. At first, it looked more read than purple, so she said, “How about if I add another drop of blue to see if that works?” She did it, and it worked with no problem.

I truly do treasure these moments with my daughter and am grateful to have a colorful child who enjoys learning, is a critical thinker and wants to spend time with me. If you’re looking for an activity to do with your child that’s not too time consuming yet a great learning experience, try out the liquid rainbow.

All the best,

Tanya

Practice Makes “Hairstyles”: Making Ponytails is No Easy Feat!

She took a deep breath before getting started with a look of concentration her face. Then, she made sure her hands and fingers were positioned properly. This wasn’t a piano lesson nor a valiant try at tying her shoes but another life skill that will certainly come in handy not just for herself but possibly applying it to others as well: making a ponytail.

Just about every Saturday, I restyle my six year old’s hair and then “freshen” it up throughout the course of the week. Oftentimes, I’ll allow her to pick which style she wants from my Pinterest saves. Though I’ve gotten good at recreating styles, sometimes they’re quite involved, and the process may take hours. Before long, Quinn is asking, “About how much longer do you think it’ll be, Mommy?” To which I usually respond, “Hopefully not too much longer. Remember, if you want it to look nice, I need you to be patient.”

Within the past year and a half, Quinn has taken an interest in having her dolls’ hair styled, so I find myself styling two and sometimes three heads. But lately, during her screen time, she’s been watching videos on how to style her doll’s head and tries her best  do it without asking for help. Though I’ve sat down with her before and given her some advice, today, after seeing her frustration, I did a step by step process with her. I never realized how complicated putting in a simple ponytail could get!

After about four tries, she finally got the ponytail into Luciana’s hair. I’m pretty sure braiding the hair is next, which can be tricky too, considering that I still can’t do a fishtail braid even after watching videos myself. Who knows, maybe one day Quinn will teach me  how to do that technique.

All the best,

Tanya

First Graders Unite: Quinnie V. Loves Reading Junie B. Jones!

I loved reading when I was younger. One of my favorites was the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. I related to her because she had an older sister just like me. For my daughter, it’s June B. Jones, written by Barbara Park and illustrated by Denise Brunkus, who’s all the rave in my daughter’s first grade class and now in our home too. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up reading Ramona, but Junie B. seems far more precocious than Ramona, yet she’s a witty little girl. I enjoy having Quinn read the stories to me and am impressed that she seldom needs help with a word. I also look forward to reading a chapter to her as part of her bedtime routine as it bringing me back to when I was in grade school.

When the second scholastic order form came home a few weeks ago, my daughter pleaded, “Mommy, can we please get the first set of Junie B. Jones’ books?”  We ordered ten books in September with Junie starting first grade and are still reading through the last few. Even though I initially suggested that we get through the ones she has first, Quinn convinced me to get the first series when Junie B. Jones is in kindergarten so that she can have the entire set and backstory. Plus, how could I possibly say no to purchasing books and encouraging my daughter’s love for reading.

This past Friday, the new series arrived at my six year old’s school, and she excitedly told me that her teacher said, “Wow, you have all of the Junie B. Jones books. I’m so jealous!” Book series surrounding a specific character is such a wonderful idea to engage children and even adults in reading. I too am eager to see what Junie B. Jones does in these series of stories. If you know of any other book series for young children please feel free to share.

All the best,

Tanya

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,

Tanya

 

Shake a Tail Feather: Thankful with the Thanksgiving Turkey

“When are we going to bring out the Thanksgiving turkey?” my six year old eagerly asked. I was pleasantly surprised that she recalled when I purchased it on sale after last year’s Thanksgiving. No it’s not a real turkey for eating, but it is meant to satiate one’s appetite for expressing gratitude.

The turkey comes with a book with a great story explaining why it’s important to be thankful. There’s also cardstock feathers to family members to dress it with why they are thankful.

We set this cute bird at our dinner table last week, and Quinn was so excited to write down why she’s thankful. As she placed a feather on the turkey, she said, “I wish we had tons of feathers because I can think of a hundred reasons why I’m thankful!” She then proceeded to rattle off a few. One was being able to have food to eat. Another was being able to read. This was music to my ears because sometimes we’re all guilty of taking things for granted and may not express gratitude.

I truly am thankful to have a daughter who has so much for which to be thankful.

All the best,

Tanya

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