Early Childhood Homeschooling Made Easy

Taking teaching and your child's future into your own hands.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these cookies back in August and we loved them.  I am planning to make them either tonight or tomorrow morning to get us in the mood for Halloween.  Just the smell of them makes you think of Fall.  🙂


Check out the link below to my other blog to get the recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

via Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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More Fall and Halloween Activities

Here are some more pictures of various activities we’ve been doing over the past few weeks.  I’ve kept the kids busy with do a dot art, lacing projects, and coloring.  They have been really good sports about not going down to the basement to be in our “classroom.”  I really need to get them back down to our space again, but right now it’s been easier to give them projects to do in the living room so I am close to the kitchen while I’m cooking.

Do a dot art projects. Kayla is doing great with these, but she loses interest fast. I make sure to have a few pictures for them to do at a time.

Alex does a wonderful job with these, but sometimes he decides to just start decorating the pages however he wants. As long as he also does the dots, I really don’t care if he wants to add additional dots.

Do a dot art projects.


Alex working on his pumpkin.


Showing off his pumpkin. Great job!


Kayla working on her pumpkin.


More do a dot art work.


Lacing form squares.


Alex wasn’t sure he wanted to do this at first, but then he started to get into it.


The kids wearing their lacing project as necklaces.


Lacing animals.


This lacing set is a Melissa and Doug set. Kayla and my nephew seem to like it. Kayla likes to do the dog and the horse ones most of the time.


Kayla working on a coloring page.


Alex doing some coloring.


I think I’m going to have the kids do one or two more Halloween activities/projects tomorrow, and possibly our Halloween matching game.  After that, we’ll be moving onto our Thanksgiving and Christmas projects.  I like Halloween just fine, but I am excited to move onto Christmas projects soon.  What are some of your favorite holidays oriented activities/projects that you like to do with your kids?  I would love to get some new ideas.












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Fall and Halloween Activities

The last few weeks have been pretty busy for us.  So busy that I haven’t had much time to keep up with my blog, or to keep up with other blogs.  I am very behind with everything right now.  Kayla’s 2nd birthday is right around the corner, so I’ve been trying to make sure that everything is in order for her party and for her actual birthday.  And now that Fall is here, it seems like the holidays are coming up fast.  I’ve been keeping my daughter and nephew entertained with many projects.  They get excited everytime they see me come out with one of our craft totes or baskets.  I wish I had time to post details about everything we’ve been up to lately, but since I’m short on time, I’ll have to let the pictures tell the story for me.

Using do a dot markers on ghost cutouts.

Alex was very happy with his creation.

Ghost puppets. We used them to sing a few Halloween songs.

The ones on the left were done by Kayla, the ones on the right were done by my nephew Alex. They were both very proud of their work.

Playing at the table with their ghost puppets.

Coloring masks. I helped Kayla a little with hers, but she really wanted to do it herself.

Alex posing for the camera with his cat mask.

The spider and pumpkin on the left are Kayla’s, and the ones on the right are Alex’s. I think they came out pretty well. Kayla insisted on having two different colored eyes on her spider.

I made Halloween brownie cupcakes for the kids. They got a real kick out of it.

Halloween brownie cupcakes

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Back to toddler school

We had a bit of an unscheduled break last week.  Kayla got really sick, then I caught what she had, and it has taken us a week or so to recover fully.  I’m happy to report that today was my nephew’s first day back over and we had a rather productive day.

The kids did do-a-dot pages for the first time with the actual do-a-dot markers.  My nephew caught on pretty quick.  He liked filling in the dots, but also enjoyed decorating his entire page in dots.  At first, he was having problems making the dots dark enough.  They would come out really light.  After awhile, he figured it out on his own.  I was really proud of the second page my nephew did.  He filled in each spot and the picture looked great.  I wasn’t sure how Kayla was going to do with this since she’s not even 2 years old yet, but to my delight, it only took a few tries before she started putting the dots in the appropriate spots.  She was a little off at times, but very close…and other times she got the dots right where they were supposed to go.  I was very proud of her.  They did three different pages.  The last page wasn’t actually a do-a-dot page, it was a tracing page.  I told them to use their dot markers to follow the lines.  Kayla looked at me like she wasn’t sure what I was talking about, but my nephew kind of understood.

Our letter this week is P.  I got the do-a-dot pages from the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog.  There is a lot of great material on that site.  The kids loved the P is for Puppy theme today.  It probably has something to do with the fact that we have three dogs in our household.  I talked with the kids about the letter P and had them make the P-sound with me.

Next up, I got out Kayla’s wooden blocks with the alphabet and numbers on them.  I spelled out each kid’s name in blocks and had them repeat the letters of their names with me.  We built towers together with the blocks, and then I let them have some time to play on their own.  Alex decided to line up the blocks across the table and told me he was making a big gate.  Kayla wanted to steal all the blocks at first, but then she just sat and watched Alex create his gate.  They also played with stackadoos (bristle blocks) for a bit before and after lunch.  I got Kayla those while she was sick, and it’s one of her new favorite toys.

My sister bought the kids little Disney Halloween coloring books with stickers, so this afternoon I sat them down to color.  Alex used up all of his stickers right away and put them all on the same page in his coloring book.  Kayla was the opposite.  She only used three stickers and was more interested in coloring than the stickers.  I think she was getting frustrated because the stickers would stick to her fingers and she had a hard time working with them.  She loves stickers, but she’s still getting the hang of them.

I love to sing songs with the kids, so we did that twice today.  We almost always do songs that include some type of movements with our hands, arms, body, etc.  They love doing finger plays.  The second time we sang songs today, I put on some music afterwards so we could get up and dance around.  This helps them work the wiggles out and burn some energy.  They dance however they want, or they can try to mimic me.  It’s up to them.  The idea is to just have fun.

All in all, I thought it was a great first day back to toddler school.  🙂

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The rough days – Motherhood isn’t easy

The last few days have been rough.  Kayla got sick on Saturday.  It came on fast.  She started out acting a little dazed and sluggish.  When she woke up from her nap, she was burning up.  She had a slight temperature, so I gave her some infant Advil and a lukewarm bath.  Her temperature went back down into the normal range for her age group.  The only thing she ate all day was dinner, and she wasn’t drinking as much as she usually does.  She kept holding her mouth when she would eat or drink something, and saying “ouch” like her throat was hurting her.  She went to bed early and got a little bit of sleep before I woke her up to take some meds.  Her skin felt like it was on fire, and she started projectile vomiting all over.  After getting her cleaned up and in a fresh pair of pajamas, and quickly wiping myself off and putting on fresh pajamas, I took her temperature.  It had shot up to 104.3.  It felt like the world stopped for a second when I saw those numbers.  I told my husband her temperature, and his response was, “that’s not good, right?…that’s really high…like dangerous high, right?”  I told my husband that we will probably need to take her to the ER or to Urgent Care.  My mom was off for the night (she lives with us and works nights), so I immediately went to tell her Kayla’s temperature.  She confirmed that we needed to take her to the ER.  I told my husband, grabbed a few things, and waited for him to go get dressed fast.

We went to the nearest ER and luckily were waited on pretty quickly.  The first nurse we saw made us think that maybe this ER visit wasn’t going to be so bad.  She weighed Kayla, took her temp, and blood pressure.  She asked us a ton of questions, then gave Kayla some meds.  She advised that Kayla would need to see the doctor, but that he would probably just recommend that we alternate Children’s Motrin and Children’s Tylenol until the fever breaks.  The nurse did warn us about the possibility of seizures if Kayla’s temp remained high or got any higher.  It was scary to hear, but good to know.  The nurse seemed to think Kayla just caught a virus, no big deal.  We were sent to the waiting room until a room was ready.  It only took about 15 minutes or so before we got called back.  At this point, we were pretty upbeat.  Worried, yes, but less freaked out.

Once we were taken to the room, two other nurses talked to our original nurse and looked over the chart.  That’s when things went downhill.  One of the other nurses started freaking out that Kayla’s temp was so high and that it came out of nowhere.  She started insisting that due to the high temperature, this was an immediate call for a work-up.  She insisted that the doctors would agree.  The other new nurse agreed.  Our original nurse tried to argue that they should at least wait to see if the medicine helps bring the fever down before jumping to conclusions and making a baby go through unnecessary testing.  She didn’t win.  Dread started to set in for my husband and I.  We knew now that we would not only be there for awhile, but that our daughter was going to be put through a lot of stuff that would make her more uncomfortable, and possibly hurt.  Kayla looked tired and upset already.  She looked like a shadow of my normally happy little girl.

The other nurses informed us that they would need to take some samples and cultures, and go from there.  They put the heartrate monitor on one of Kayla’s toes, and made us change her into a gown.  Then they started taking all the samples and cultures.  We answered tons of questions.  We comforted Kayla the best we could, and tried to convince her to sleep inbetween stuff, but she couldn’t seem to relax and rest.  It broke my heart everytime I had to watch them do something else to her, and she would cry out to us.  We would hold her while they did whatever they needed to do, or at least hold her hands.  We tried to reassure her that everything would be okay, even though we weren’t sure ourselves.

All the tests kept coming back negative, which would just cause them to do more tests.  I wanted to scream at them to stop putting my baby through all of this when she probably just caught a simple virus and needs some medicine.  All of the poking and prodding seemed senseless to me, but I also know that it’s better to be safe than sorry.  She’s never been this sick before.

There was some doctor, not the main doctor, who came in a few times.  She didn’t seem to do much, and didn’t seem to have many of her own opinions.  She just went along with whatever the nurses said.

We eventually got Kayla to take a short nap.  Of course, that’s when the nurses told us that they needed to use a catheter to get a urine sample.  This was the worst part to me.  I had the urge to tackle them and scream at them that they were not going to touch my baby.  I’ve had a catheter before, and I know it’s unpleasant.  I’ve known many people who have had them and have said it hurts or is extremely uncomfortable.  The more tense you are, the more you fight it, the more it will hurt.  How do you explained that to a child who is only 22 months old?  You can’t.  She couldn’t understand that.  My husband knows little about catheters, so even though he was freaked out, he didn’t fully understand what she was about about to endure.  I couldn’t help wishing that she could suddenly be completely potty trained in an instant so that she could pee in a cup like the rest of the world.  It’s not her fault she’s just a toddler.  The nurses asked us if we needed to leave the room since some parents aren’t able to watch their kids go through this.  There was no way I would leave my baby to go through that alone.  What type of parents WOULD leave their child to go through that alone???  They wouldn’t have been able to drag me away from her side.  While they did it, I held her left hand and put my face down by her face to whisper to her and try to calm her as much as I could.  My husband held her right hand and held her right leg for the nurses.  One nurse held her left leg, while the other nurse inserted the catheter.  This was a long process because Kayla was fighting back as hard as she could.  She is really strong, and they were having a hard time keeping her still.  She was super tense and pushing down so that the catheter would not go in correctly.  It was one of the worst experiences of my life, having to hear my little girl yelling, “stop…no…ouch ouch ouch…stop!” at the top of her lungs.  She was crying with big tears rolling down her face.  I felt helpless and like an awful mother for letting them do that to her.

We try to do what is best for our kids.  We try to keep them safe and healthy.  And when they are sick, we try to do everything we can to help them get better, and to find out why they are sick.  But it’s hard when in order to try to find out what’s wrong, we hurt them.  She was traumatized afterwards.  It made me sick to my stomach seeing the sadness in her eyes.  Sadness I have never seen in her eyes before.  And for the first time, I saw a lack of trust.  Like her safety net was pulled out from under her…the safety net that used to be me.  I held her, let her cry on my shoulder, and told her that it was over.  I would not allow them to do it again.  It was over.

At this point, I was ready to start asking more questions and denying further testing.  I was getting very upset and angry.  My husband asked the nurses what the next steps would be if the urine test came back negative.  They informed us that they would probably do bloodwork, and if the bloodwork came back negative, they might want to admit her for 24 hours.  The color drained from my husband’s face.  I felt a burning rage inside of me, and an intense feeling of terror.  I did not want Kayla to have to go through bloodwork, and I definitely did not want her to have to be admited to the hospital for 24 hour surveillance.  I could only imagine what types of tests they’d want to run on her then.  She already felt awful and it seemed like the longer we were there, the worst they were making her feel.  She kept telling us she wanted to go “bye bye,” and we kept having to tell her we couldn’t.  When the nurses saw how very unhappy we were about the idea of further testing and Kayla possibly being admitted, they told us that they were only speculating what the next steps would be.  It would all be decided by the doctor.

We waited some more.  One of the nurses came to tell us that the urine test came back negative, but did not give us any more information.  At last, the head doctor came in to see Kayla and to talk to us.  He listened to Kayla’s heart and did a few other things, then he informed us that he did not see a need for further testing.  He said he reviewed all the tests and reports.  His diagnosis was an upper respiratory infection.  He said that her throat was red and she sounded congested.  His guess was fluid was dripping down her throat, which was causing her throat to get irritated.  He said his kids were at home sick too, and he wouldn’t want to subject them to unnecessary testing.  He thought doing bloodwork would only further tramatize Kayla, and would not show them much of anything.  And he did not see any reason to keep her at the hospital.  His advice was to take her home, alternate giving her Motrin and Tylenol, watch her temperature closely, and follow up with her regular doctor on Monday.  Wow…that was pretty much what our original nurse said.  It made me mad thinking my daughter went through all of that, only for the doctor to say the same stuff the original nurse said.  (Deep breath.)  He told us that our main focus will be making sure she rests and keeping her hydrated.  He said she probably won’t eat much for a few days, and that’s ok.  She just needs to keep drinking.  Within 20 minutes or so, Kayla was discharged.  Thank God!

We took her home.  My mom had washed her favorite monkey stuffed animals and the bedding.  We got the bed made and let her watch Care Bears on the couch for a bit.  She was super happy to be home.  She was talking to grandma and our three dogs, but she wasn’t herself.  She was tired, and looked like she went to hell and back.    My husband went to sleep for the night.  His eyes were bloodshot and he looked awful.  I can only imagine what I looked like.  I took care of her all night.  Her temperature kept spiking.  The hospital did not give us the Motrin or Tylenol, so I gave her some of the infant Advil I bought.  (My husband picked up the other meds in the morning.)  That seemed to help keep her temperature under control, along with the cold/cool compresses and cool gel pads.  I was up all night putting wet wash cloths on her and checking her temp.  It was hard to see those high temps showing up time and time again.  When I finally got her to go to sleep, I allowed myself to cry.  It was such a hard night, first being at the hospital and then trying to keep her temperature under control.  I only got about an hour and a half of sleep that night.  By morning, her temp went down a little bit.

Sunday was a difficult day, and Sunday night wasn’t any better.  I think I managed about three and a half hours of sleep the next night.  Her temp still kept rising all night.  I was exhausted.  She didn’t sleep well because her throat was hurting her and she was uncomfortable.  It was a very restless night.  On Monday, she went to see her regular doctor.  She immediately started freaking out when she saw the nurse, and got worse when the doctor came in.  He said, after what she went through at the hospital, it will take some time for her to not be afraid of doctors.  Her regular doctor said she has white spots on the back of her throat and the roof of her mouth.  He said it’s a virus that is going around right now.  He wasn’t concerned.  He said it would take another 2-3 days for her fever to break, and 3-5 days for her to get better.  He advised to watch her temp, keep giving her the Motrin and Tylenol, make sure she drinks, and don’t try to force her to eat.  He told me to prepare myself for another rough night or two.  He advised that I should watch her hands and feet for spots, and that I should call the office if her fever doesn’t go away by Wednesday.  I left there feeling a little better, but upset that Kayla wasn’t given antibiotics for her sore throat.  She was having such a hard time drinking or eating anything because she kept saying her throat hurts.

Kayla sitting on my bed stringing her farm animals.

Little by little, she has been improving.  She got a cold sore on her upper lip, but there are still no spots on her hands or feet.  Monday night was much better.  Her temperature didn’t get as high and it was easier to control.  I even got 5 hours of sleep, most of which was after 5:00 in the morning, but I’m not complaining.  She had a nice, deep sleep.  I allowed her to sleep in late.  I figured she needed all the sleep she could get.  She slept a lot on Tuesday, but she also started to seem more like herself.  She was laughing more, singing, dancing, and playing with her toys.  It was such a relief to see my little girl acting like herself again.  She would tire easily, but that’s to be expected.  She still isn’t eating much, but she will drink strawberry milk.  That’s something.  She continues to let us know her throat hurts.  It appears that her fever has officially broke.  Her fever has been within normal range for almost 24 hours now (from this very moment that I am typing this).  I am very hopeful that this means she is on the road to recovery now.  Maybe by the weekend, she will be all better.  I can only hope.

It’s not easy being a parent, and it’s definitely not easy being a mom.  We will move heaven and earth to keep our kids safe and healthy, and to provide for them.  It is an awful feeling when you are powerless to help them feel better.  All you can do is be there for them, and provide them with what they need to get better.  They have to work through the virus on their own.  I’ve been lucky that she hasn’t been sick much since she was born.  Since she is at home instead of daycare, I am able to keep her away from a lot of germs, but there is no way to completely shelter our children.  It is good for her to get out and socialize, but with that, there comes a price.  Germs.  She will get through this, I know she will, but it’s been a hard road.  I will be a happy mommy again, when I have a healthy toddler again.  I have the utmost respect for all mothers who have been through this before me.  And I am thankful to my mom for being a good example to me when I was growing up of how a mom should handle situations like these.  Motherhood isn’t easy.

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