What a Great Halloween Adventure!

Yesterday, my sister, niece, daughter and I all went to Six Flags Great Adventure for a good time. It was packed! The crowd was enormous! Even the Flash pass line had over an hour wait, but we didn’t care. We were there for some outdoor fun. Though we didn’t get on many rides due to the crazy lines, just walking around the amusement park, doing a little trick or treating in the kids’ section and enjoying the atmosphere was enough to put a smile on my daughter’s face. Sometimes, that’s all we need. 🎃😊

All the best,

Tanya

The Crew is Back for Some Boo at the Zoo Fun!

“I’m so excited! We’re all going to be back together again, Mommy!” My daughter said as we got ready this morning. When I informed Quinn that we’ve seen our cousins and her Nana (my mom), she said, yes, but this is the first time since the pandemic that we’ll be together. The last time was actually at Boo at the Zoo in 2019.

After many restrictions and adjusting to the many new norms, I felt a sense of joy knowing that we would finally be reconnecting with our usual crew too. We all came ready in our cool and creative costumes with smiles on our faces, occasionally behind our masks while in large groups, and had a great time trick or treating while strolling along and seeing the animals. There was a chance of not just rain but thunderstorms. Instead, the sun was shining, and it was unseasonably warm. We didn’t even need our sweatshirts and got ice cream to cool off.

I just love seeing Quinn with her cousins having a blast. We both missed these interactions so much and am glad we were able to have fun together this year at one of our favorite Halloween events.

All the best,

Tanya

Flying High: A Fun Birthday Experience with My Family

I had no idea what my husband and daughter had planned for my birthday, but I knew it would be fun since I’m a big kid at heart. When we arrived after a half hour drive, I was filled with excitement and nervousness as we walked into iFLY King of Prussia.

Though my husband opted out of the experience and took plenty of pictures, this would be Quinn and my first time. I’m so grateful for my family and I love having new adventures together.

The experience, no doubt, was intense but so memorable. As the instructor helped me to “fly” I thought about how my family supports and helps each other. This truly is a moment I will always cherish.

All the best,

Tanya

Back with My Pumpkin and Patching Up a Tradition

We’re officially in fall and October! It’s one of my favorite months to do activities with my family, especially my daughter. Last year, with the COVID restrictions, I broke tradition and headed to the nearest supermarket to pick out our Halloween pumpkins to decorate. Though we both were okay with this deviation from our usual monthly plans, knowing that we would be restoring our tradition and going to a pumpkin patch this year filled us with excitement. We were so happy to have my mom, Quinn’s Nana, accompany us as she’s done since Quinn was a toddler. This was just a another reminder of what we both missed last year to allow us to appreciate it even more this year.

For the past few years, we’ve gone to Shady Brook Farms and enjoyed ourselves, but we decided to try somewhere new, Kohler Farms. While they did not has as many activities, they were about a third of the cost. Also, it was still a fun experience as we enjoyed the sights on the hayride to the pumpkin patch, navigated our way through the corn maze and selected are precious pumpkins to decorate. Then with those savings, we dined at a nearby restaurant afterward and had some well-needed family togetherness.

Of course, I could’ve just stopped by a supermarket or Home Depot to pick up pumpkins again this year and maybe even had saved some money, but the family togetherness, smiles and happy moments with Quinn are totally worth it. Here’s to a great October building fun-filled memories with my family!

Best,

Tanya

An Extra Special Back to School Night!

As my husband and I entered our daughter’s third grade classroom with soft classical music playing, I was filled with joy, not only because her teacher reminds me so much of my third grade teacher but because this was the first time I was back in my daughter’s school, let alone classroom for over a year and a half!

Though Quinn did such a wonderful job adapting to virtual learning last year and never complained about not being in the classroom, when I read her “About Me” presentation that she put together for my husband and me, I came to the realization that she missed being in person more than I thought.

There’s something special about being in person. That interaction with classmates and the teacher is needed for most and allows them to thrive and socialize. Though knowing that the vaccine is not available for Quinn’s age group still makes me a bit nervous, I’m grateful that she was not robbed of another year of limited to know socialization with her classmates and teacher.

On top of that, she was selected as the student of the month for her classroom which makes me very proud. This truly is starting off to be a special “back to school” experience for my daughter and me as well.

All the best,

Tanya

Life is Like Skateboarding : A Lesson from My Daughter

As I quickly snapped a picture of my eighth year old before she started her skateboarding lesson, it occurred to me that life is a lot like skateboarding.

Some of us may be eager and even excited to embrace all that it offers, but others may be nervous about getting hurt or self conscious if they’re not as skilled to handle the skateboard as others may.

Even still, we kick and push through, learning to balance, to move faster, to take corners and hills. We learn special tricks along the way not to simply show off our skills, but to help us maneuver and get through “life.”

When I arrived a few minutes early to pick up Quinn, I observed her focusing and listening carefully to the instructor just as life often requires us to focus and learn from others. Now, if only I can get up the might to take an actual skateboarding lesson as my daughter hopes I will in the near future.

All the best,

Tanya

Family Togetherness: A Good Harvest & Great Meal

This past Wednesday, my friends invited my daughter and I to visit their community garden. This was such an exciting experience for Quinn because it was her first time at a garden growing vegetables and fruits in addition to plants and flowers. My mom had a garden when I was a little girl, and seeing Quinn happily harvest tomatoes, green peppers, egg plants and herbs as well has made me want to start a beginners garden for us to grown organic veggies and fruits together.

The fun didn’t stop there though. Quinn immediately wanted to wash the vegetables and begin looking up what we could make. Yesterday, my eight year old couldn’t wait to start cooking. She settled on eggplant parmigiana, and I decided to add a side dish with green peppers and tomatoes from the garden along cauliflower rice and broccoli topped with marinara sauce. Though she asked that I hand,ev the knife while cutting the eggplants, tomatoes and green peppers, she did an awesome job preparing the eggplants with the Italian breadcrumbs and arranging them on the baking sheet.

There’s something special about cooking together, but what’s going to make it extra special is growing and harvesting our own vegetables and fruit next year around this time then preparing a meal together with those fruits and veggies.

All the best,

Tanya

What’s “in” About Cooking Out? Family Togetherness

As the unofficial end of summer nears, we decided to have an intimate cookout with our family yesterday. Of course, spending time with family is always nice, especially with spending mor time than usual apart as a result of restrictions for over a year.

But what really made cooking out “in” this time around was the eagerness of my eight year old. Without hesitation, she went and grabbed her apron and insisted on helping prepare some of the food. She smiled at me and said, “Mommy, I love baking and cooking food with you. It’s so much fun.” Hearing her say this and want to help without me nudging her really made my day.

I snapped a few pictures of her in action, and she decided to snap a few of me as well. The icing on the cake is feeling like all hope is not lost with our future generation. While many kids of 2021 may not know how nor have interest in cooking, other than popping something in the microwave or air fryer, my Quinn will have baking and cooking skills.

All the best,

Tanya

Look Out Third Grade! Here She Comes!

“I don’t know why, but I think this is the most excited I’ve been to start school! Maybe it’s because we weren’t in person when we started school last year,” my third grader told me. A few days ago, I shared with my daughter that third grade was one of my favorite school years. I loved all that we learned and thought my teacher was the best.

Quinn told me that she has a feeling that this year is going to be great for her too. So far, her teacher sent a lovely welcome letter addressed to Quinn, called us at home to speak with my husband and me and to welcome Quinn and had a smile in her voice and eyes when we met her in person today. Though the school is set up for social distancing, I am hopeful that all will go well and that Quinn will come home with a smile on her face and eager to learn and make friends throughout the school year.

Seeing her happy face and excitement has actually helped me feel less nervous as I start my new semester teaching in person for the first time since March 2020.

Here’s to a fun, productive and wonderful school year!

All the best,

Tanya

A Few Days as an Empty Nester: Enjoying Adult Time But Missing My Little Girl

Yesterday, while walking my dog, I came across a neighbor who was walking her dog. We stopped and chatted for a bit as our dogs “chatted” too. Then she asked, “Where’s your daughter? Is it too early for her?” When I informed my neighbor that Quinn was having fun at a granddaughters’ sleepover my mom puts together every year and how excited she was to go, my neighbor smiled and said, “I’m sure you’re excited too! You get a few days to yourself!” I nodded, but I wasn’t as excited as some parents may be.

Yes, we’ve spent so much time together as a family, especially with the restrictions and home schooling of 2020 and half of 2021, and while I do enjoy having some time to myself to just relax or maybe watch shows that may not be age appropriate for my eight year old, I really do enjoy her company. Also, I don’t know how many more years I have for if and when she decides that she doesn’t want to hang out with me. Even if I’m lucky enough for that day to never come, at some point she will go to college or venture off on her own, and I won’t see her as much, so I want to take advantage of the moments we have together.

My mom has been sending me pictures for the past few days of their activities, and it’s clear that Quinn is having a wonderful time with her cousins and Nana, which I’m more excited about than me having time away from her. She’s a great kid with a bubbly personality, and I’m excited to have her home in the next few days.

All the best,

Tanya