Early Childhood Homeschooling Made Easy

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

Kayla turned 2! – How did two years go by already?

Kayla with her birthday crown on.

Kayla turned two last week, and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my baby is now a 2-year-old.  It feels like she was just born.  When I was younger, I never understood when people would say that time goes by faster the older you get, and time flies by once you have kids.  It seemed so silly to me.  Why would time suddenly start going by faster?  Time seemed to move so slow when I was little.  But now I finally understand.  The last two years have gone by so fast it feels like I just blinked my eyes and they are gone.  I am so glad I am someone who takes a lot of pictures and tries to remember to take videos, because those things are so precious to me now.  I love looking at all of Kayla’s pictures, and seeing how she has changed.  It’s amazing.

I wanted to do a simple party for Kayla’s birthday, with just family and friends who have young kids.  That didn’t happen.  Nothing is simple with my husband’s family.  He is one of 7 kids, and there are 12 grandkids…with another one on the way soon….so there will be 13 grandkids.  When his parents, siblings, grandkids, and significant others all get together, there are over 30 people.  And that’s not including any aunts and uncles, or family friends.  It’s a little crazy and overwhelming.  My family is much smaller, but once you add in my family and any of our friends, we can have over 50 people for a gathering.  To me, that is just too much.  It feels more like a circus than a party.

Kayla ended up having a party at Chuck E Cheese’s.  Luckily, not everyone attended due to other obligations, and we opted not to invite most of our friends.  So total, we had about 32 people.  This party set us back $300, and that isn’t including her gifts.  (I must fight harder next year to do something even smaller.)  And this was actually a little cheaper than her 1st birthday party.  My goal is to keep saving more money on her parties each year until I view it as a reasonable expense.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe birthdays are important and should be celebrated, but I think the party itself should cost under $200.  Maybe I am being unrealistic with the amount of people, but I also would love to cut down on the size of the party.  My husband keeps informing me that this is impossible without hurting people’s feelings.  We shall see…

Anyway, Kayla had an awesome time at her party, and she enjoyed her actual birthday.  Her actual birthday is extra special because she was born on my older nephew’s birthday, November 15th.  He turned 18 this year.  He likes to talk about how for his 16th birthday I gave him a baby cousin.  🙂

Happy 2nd Birthday to my little Love Bug!!!

Kayla hugging Chuck E Cheese on one of the little rides.

Playing games together.

Hanging out with Chuck E Cheese.

So many presents…

Celebrating her actual birthday at home.

Mmmm…cake

Her new tent…which is much bigger than her old tent.

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Gobble Gobble – Making Turkey Crafts

Yesterday, Kayla and Alex made foam turkeys.  I bought one of those pre-cut packages from Michael’s to keep things simple.  It’s nice because it comes with everything you need, and all the little pieces are basically stickers that they just attach to the turkey.  I thought both kids did really well with putting the stickers in the general area of where they should go.  The project was cute and they were very proud of their creations.  Once they were done, I punched a hole in the top of their turkey and attached a pipe-cleaner so they could hang up their art work.  Kayla’s is hanging in our kitchen from one of our cabinet doors.  Alex took his home to show his mom (my sister).  I’m sure they hung it up in their living room somewhere.

*Note:  Yes, there is a Christmas tree in the background of the pictures.  Please accept it (get over it), and move on.  Thanks!

Alex working on his turkey.

Working on their turkeys.

Alex showing me his cool turkey.

Kayla holding animal crackers in her hands while she decides whether she’s done working on her turkey. She needed a snack before she could finish.

Kayla’s finished turkey hanging up in our kitchen.

This is such a cute craft project for young kids, and it’s a decoration we can keep for years to come.  I like to write their name and date it was done on the back so they will always know when they made these projects.  With less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, I’m not sure how many projects we will be able to fit in, but I am hoping to make a “giving thanks” turkey next week with Kayla.  Each feather on the turkey says something you are thankful for this year.  I think it will be a wonderful way to start teaching Kayla what Thanksgiving is all about.  What types of projects do you do with your kids for Thanksgiving?

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Halloween was fun, but now I’m ready for other holidays

Kayla had a great Halloween.  This was her first year going trick or treating.  The weekend before Halloween, we took her to Trunk or Treat at my sister’s church.  She got the hang of it right away.  She was so excited, she could barely wait to go trick or treating for real on Halloween.  This was her first year going door to door trick or treating.  I was so proud of my determined little princess.  She refused to let us help her.  She didn’t want to be carried and didn’t want anyone touching her bucket.  She walked the whole way all by herself…which was a lot of walking for a kid that isn’t quite two yet…and she carried her own Halloween bucket the whole time, even with it full of candy.  She was a trooper.  Once she was done, she let us know.  She plopped down on the sidewalk and announced, “Done!”  Then since she refused to allow us to help her, she got up to walk back to my sister’s house to eat dinner.

We went trick or treating with my sister and her family.  We ate dinner with them before heading over to my husband’s parent’s house.  My husband likes his parents to be able to see Kayla all dressed up in her costume.  All in all, it was a good night.

Trunk or Treat at St. Paul’s Church

My nephew, Alex, and Kayla at Trunk or Treat.

Halloween at my sister’s house. Kayla was Snow White, and I was the Evil Queen.

Walking from house to house on Halloween.

Kayla was pretty good about holding my hand while we walked around.

My little trooper who would not accept help from mommy or daddy. She wanted to walk by herself and carry her own bucket of candy.

My nephews passing out candy to the trick or treaters.

Halloween was fun, but I’m ready for other holidays now.  In our house, once Halloween is over, it is officially the holiday season.  I am not one of those people who likes to keep all my holidays separate.  Our Thanksgiving decorations tend to be up with our Halloween decorations.  By the time November hits, we start taking down most of the Thanksgiving decorations with the Halloween decorations.  And yes, we start putting up our Christmas decorations.  Sorry if you don’t approve, but it’s what we do.  I absolutely LOVE Christmas, so I like to have my decorations up for at least a month and a half to two months.  The longer the better, to me.

People tend to take it the wrong way and think we don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving, or that we don’t understand the meaning of Thanksgiving.  No, we celebrate it.  I am thankful for many things.  I do Thanksgiving crafts with the kids.  I read Thanksgiving books to Kayla, and we watch Thanksgiving cartoons.  We watch the big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and I wake up early to cook the big Thanksgiving Day meal to celebrate with my family.  My grandmother died from cancer when I was little on Thanksgiving Day, so believe me, we know how important it is to be thankful for our family and friends.  I am thankful every single day.

I am not ignoring the Thankgiving holiday by putting up my Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.  I just choose to celebrate it my own way.  I enjoy having the Christmas tree lit up as I prepare my Thanksgiving Day meal.  I like listening to Christmas music while I cook.  It’s soothing and makes me happy.  I enjoy eating our Thanksgiving Day meal with the Christmas lights all around.  I love seeing Santa Claus at the end of the various Thanksgiving Day parades.  And on Thanksgiving night, I sometimes enjoy snuggling on the couch with loved ones while drinking hot chocolate and watching a holiday movie.  That is my choice.  I am not forcing anyone else to come to my home and take part in any of this with me, but it’s what makes me happy.  To me, the holiday season is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  We should be able to celebrate decorate the way we wish.  And it shouldn’t matter if in your household you celebrate Hanukkah or Kawanzaa instead.  We celebrate the way we want in our own homes and with our own families.  Who cares what everyone else thinks.  If you want to put up tons of Thanksgiving decorations, then do it.  If you love Christmas like me, then put up all the Christmas decorations you want and enjoy them.  Don’t let everyone else dictate to you how you should celebrate your holidays.

Personally, I like putting up my decorations early, getting most of my shopping down before December, and trying to get as much wrapped as I can early.  While everyone else is all stressed out and complaining how much they hate the holidays season, and that there is too much to do…I am enjoying the holidays.  I get to relax and do all the little things I want to do with my family.  I actually get to enjoy spending qaulity time with my family, and creating traditions.  Sure, I may still have moments of stress here and there as I try to fit everything in, but nothing like what I see other people put themselves through each year.  While other people are stressed about getting their shopping done and staying up late wrapping presents.  I am having relaxing evenings watching Christmas movies with my family, and listening to Christmas music while I do craft projects with the kids.  I go shopping in December because I want to go out shopping, not because I have to be out shopping at the crowded mall for all the gifts I put off getting.  And while everyone else is complaining that they have no time to put up all their decorations, pick out their live Christmas tree, and make other preparations, etc… I’ve already been enjoying my decorations for weeks.  It’s nice to have a stress free holiday season.  Everyone else should try it sometime.  🙂

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