Baking and Relaxing with My Daughter: What a Treat!

“You know what I love about baking cookies…mixing the ingredients and decorating them.” This isn’t what I said but what my daughter confessed to me. Since she was a toddler, my daughter has loved baking or being my little helper, so a few times a month, if not more, we do make a special treat together.

Yesterday, it was a recipe from her American Girl treats cookbook: flower cookies decorated frosting. My six year old basically did everything from start to finish, and we both were very proud of her finished product. Not only did they look tasty, but they were absolutely delicious.

I really enjoy the moments we share together, especially baking. It reminds me of when I was younger and baked with my mom. We talked, laughed, and I learned and we were rewarded with a tasty treat. I hope that as Quinn gets older she continues to look forward to the fun and relaxing time she gets from baking with me.

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Girl’s Teaching Me to Think Inside the Box!

 

What adult hasn’t heard, “Try thinking outside the box” or some variation of this phrase? Whether it’s at work or at play, I’ve observed people encouraging others, including me, to “think outside the box” in hopes of coming up with new, innovative ideas to help their organization, relationships or just themselves in life. But last week, when my five year old was playing and having such a great time inside of a box, something occurred to me.

Is it always about thinking outside the box? Perhaps we need to take notes from our children and consider what we can do with the box. “I’m going to ship myself to Disney World,” Quinn said giggling. Moments later, she said, “I can make this into something special for Luciana (her doll). Maybe a closet or extra bed for her.”

A box is more than a box. It serves so many purposes, and it all depends on who’s using the box. While her dad’s inclination was to immediately break it down for recycling, my little girl had long term plans for her box. She was ready to decorate and color it to make it all her own.

In giving it more thought, I reflected on how Quinn loves watching the unboxing of toys on You Tube. I’ve watched some with her, and they can be quite informative by letting a person know what to expect in the packaging. It then occurred to me that maybe we adults are so concerned with thinking outside the box, a process that comes so easy for most children, that we often fail to admire what’s already inside the box or what the box is capable of becoming.

When is the last time you considered what’s inside the box? I am so grateful that my creative, forward thinking girl is helping me to think inside the box.

All the best,

Tanya

 

Baking Up Memories with My Little Girl

 

“I’m so excited, Mommy! I want to do everything from start to finish!” my five year old informed me as we prepared to bake chocolate chip cookies for Thanksgiving. Though it can be time-consuming, and it’s difficult to always carve out time to do it, I love baking. I especially love baking with my daughter. Now that she’s in kindergarten, she’s starting to read, is understanding the concept of measuring more and more and really was able to do just about everything from start to finish, with the exclusion of putting and taking the cookies out of the oven.

As we stood in the kitchen together, we bonded and talked about how excited we were to share our cookies with the family for Thanksgiving. Quinn even said, “I really love baking with you mommy. We ought to do it more often!” I agreed. It is such a wonderful feeling to see her applying what I’ve taught her over the years. I did not have to remind her how to sift the ingredients. Using the Kitchen Aid mixer is a no brainer for her. Without me suggesting, she said, “I’m going to start the mixer on the lowest setting firs so that the flour doesn’t go everywhere. Then I’ll flick the switch so it can mix the cookie dough faster. She was able to use the cookie scoop with ease, and even knew the importance of not putting the cookies too close to one another of the baking sheet.

This experience made me think of an analogy with my little girl. Before she was born, she was “baking” in my stomach until it was time for her to come out. Now, I often observe her “baking up” some ideas and searching for life “ingredients.”  She’s on her way to becoming a master chef, and it comforts me to know that I’m playing a role in sharing my recipes for heartfelt moments that she will be able to use to cook up a wonderful life for herself.

All the best,

Tanya

My Birthdays Are So Special With My Little Girl!

On October 11th, I reached my own milestone and turned a year older. While the level of excitement is not the same as it once was when I was younger, my daughter’s enthusiasm and secretive planning for my big day truly made me feel special. Her planning actually started in the summer. I would overhear her whispering to my husband (her dad) about what she’d like to do and what she gift she would like to get me.

So when the day finally arrived, she could not contain herself. I have to leave early in the morning to get to work and did not see her until the afternoon, so as soon as she arrived home from school, she screamed out, “Happy birthday, Mommy!” and gave me a big, long hug. “We have special plans for you,” she informed me. My five year old selected Outback Steakhouse as the restaurant. “I know you love their salmon and baked sweet potato, Mommy,” she said. I thought to myself, wow, she knows me so well. Usually, she sits next to her dad, but she said that she wanted to sit next to me since it was my birthday.

At the restaurant, she presented her card and gift to me. The card’s wording was perfect and selected by Quinn. The gift was a beautiful key locket necklace. My husband later told me that she picked it out herself and insisted on getting me a pretty necklace since she knows I like wearing them. She even gave input on the cake and wanted blue to be used since it is my favorite color.

Knowing that my daughter is so caring and was excited to make me happy for my birthday warms my heart and is truly the best gift I could ever ask for.

All the best,

Tanya

Never Too Young for “Old School” Toys: Slinky Fun!

“Mommy, what’s this called again?” my soon to be five year old asked as she played with one of my favorite old school toys. “A slinky, I told her.” She then followed up asking, “How does it work?” I was so eager to tell her, and once I showed her once, Quinn was hooked. It wasn’t a tablet or electronic device that made a lot of sounds. It wasn’t a video game nor something that would interact with her. It was just a basic slinky, and it consumed her for at least half hour or more as she strategically held on to the slinky trying to get it in the perfect position to reach her goal: get it to “walk” down an entire flight of stairs.

When her dad arrived home from work, she couldn’t wait to show him how she mastered the slinky. I too was excited for her to show him her new skill. Oftentimes, people say that kids these days only want the latest gadget or handheld device, I say that just isn’t totally true. Sometimes an “old school” toy can keep their attention and give them fun for hours. It was a nostalgic moment for me, and it felt so good teaching my daughter how to use and have fun with a slinky.

All the best,

Tanya

 

 

Making a Wish with My Little Girl

“There’s one right there, Mommy!” my daughter excitedly told me. “Where?” I asked. “Right there!” she said as she hopped out of her wagon to pick what I’ve always called a “wishy flower” or simply a “wish.”  There’s always been something magical about that “flower” some may refer to as just a weed. I remember being filled with joy as I blew away those seed heads of the dandelion.

When I watched my daughter perform the same action, I was taken back to my childhood. I remember closing my eyes and silently making my wish right before I blew all the seeds away. Even now, when I come across one, it’s difficult to resist the temptation to pick it and make a wish. Finding hope in a weed and seeing its beauty is something not just children but adults should embrace. I wish that my daughter and all people will remain hopeful and cherish the moment of having hope just like being compelled to blow a wishy flower.

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

Abracadabra! Having Magical Autumn Fun Creating Abby Cadaby the Pumpkin!

Last year, it was Marshall from Paw Patrol, the year before it was Super Grover. This year when I asked my daughter how she wanted to decorate her pumpkin, without hesitation, she said, “Abby Cadaby!” She then excitedly went through the shopping list without taking a breath. “Mommy, we’re going to need pink paint, brushes, purple and pink yarn for her hair and google eyes just like Super Grover had when we made a pumpkin to look like him.” Just this past weekend we had such a fun time at Shadybrook Farm selecting our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, and shortly after arriving home my four year old wanted to get started right away and bringing pumpkin Abby to life.

When Quinn was two, she needed quite a bit of assistance from me to make sure the paint got on the pumpkin instead of everywhere else. Two years later, she  sat beside her nana, who was decorating her own pumpkin, held the sponge brush steadily in her little hand and barely needed my help at all. My job was mainly to adhere the eye balls and yarn hair with the hot glue gun because we established that part was a job for an adult.

Since this pumpkin is probably double the size of the Super Grover one, I’m not too sure if we’ll do a full-size Abby, but I have a feeling that Quinn will be successful in persuading me to give Abby a body, outfit and even her magic wand, especially since we won the contest at my college for our Super Grover Pumpkin.

Selecting pumpkins together is a fun autumn activity, but decorating them together is a certainly a magical experience that I will always cherish and hope that my daughter does too.

All the best,

Tanya

A Beautiful “Hairy” Situation: The Bond Between Mother & Daughter

My daughter smiled and said, “That’s the one I want, Mommy!” as we scrolled through my hairstyles for little girls board through Pinterest. It was an intricate one, somewhat new for me, but I was up for the challenge. What a difference a few years makes! I recall when Quinn would squirm and fuss about getting her hair done. There were times when we had to complete it in two, sometimes three separate segments so that we both could have a break. I even wrote a blog post when she was a little over one year’s old about our hair battles. I even did one when she was three on little girl hairstyles. Now, my four year old is far more patient, even when we may be going into the second or third hour of completing her hairstyle because she knows she’ll have a carefree hairstyle requiring little maintenance.

While it can be time-consuming at times, especially when Quinn squirms a little as I detangle or part her hair, I enjoy bonding with her. It warms my heart to see that big smile on her face as she looks in the mirror and says, “I love my new hairstyle, Mommy!” She’s then ask, “Can you take a picture so I can see how the back looks?” This most recent time she insisted, “Mommy, may I please wear a beautiful dress to match my beautiful hairstyle!” “Sure,” I told her as I smiled to myself knowing that my four year old approved of her new hairstyle courtesy of her mommy, and Pinterest too.

All the best,

Tanya

Winter Fun in the Summer at the Philadelphia Zoo

 

“Can we go down the snow slide again, Mommy?” my daughter pleaded. A couple of weeks ago, she had a playdate with her friend from school at the Philadelphia Zoo. Even though I have a membership, somehow I didn’t know about the fun interactive winter exhibit that’s absolutely perfect during these hot summer days. We actually stumbled upon it while looking for Bear Country and to see the flamingos and couldn’t resist getting a feel of the snow in the the summer.

Even though there is an additional fee on top of general admission or a membership (which Alison, the mother of Quinn’s friend kindly covered), it was well worth it. The girls had so much fun. Actually, we all did! They excitedly went up the long and steep staircase several times trying to help carry their snow tubes to slide down “the Snow Leopard Slope, a 120-foot-long, 20-foot-high, snow-covered incline.” They made little snowballs to throw at the targets, made a couple of snow castles and slid around trying to maintain their balance as they climbed the little snow mountains. It’s good that we found the winter at the zoo area after seeing most of the animals because getting the girls to leave this area was no easy feat.

If you haven’t been to the zoo in a while, just would like to go again or want to do an outdoor activity and still keep cool, take advantage of Winter at the Philadelphia Zoo. It’s. fun for both children and adults alike. I’m tempted to take Quinn back before it ends on August 20th so that I can go down the slope a few more times too.

All the best,

Tanya