Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day After Christmas Blues? Nahh....

Hello, friends!  As I have been trying to get my house back together from our beautiful Christmas, I started thinking about how when I was child I would have what I call the day after Christmas blues. You know the feeling, "Oh my goodness, I have to wait 364 days before I get to have Christmas again?" I have noticed that my attitude has changed a bit since my younger days before I knew what it was to actually spend money on all of those wonderful Christmas gifts. I would say my attitude now is, "Oh my goodness!! I get to wait a whole 364 days until I have to do this again!" :D

Now lest you think that I am a Scrooge, I would say I am far from it! I absolutely LOVE Christmas and everything about it. I love celebrating Christ and all of the blessings He has given me.  I am just excited about the fact that we will be getting back to some sort of order soon. I have found in my *older* age that I enjoy routine and predictability, at least, as much as I can control. But I remind myself that it is the unpredictable moments that we seem to find great joy.

Imagine not having those surprise visits from friends or family. Imagine a life without impromptu ice cream runs or pajama days. It is the spur of the moment hugs and kisses that make life so precious! So instead of hurrying the days along before we get back to routine, I am embracing the days of no plans and the opportunity to just BE. I refuse to think about what I want to accomplish in 2013 yet. I will be doing that soon but not yet. I am choosing to spend a few days breathing, lounging, and enjoying the rest of my 2012 days with my family. I will never get 2012 back. 2013 is a-coming and I can't wait to embrace the new challenges and look towards the future. But for now.... sigh... I am just enjoying the rest after the flurry of Christmas. I pray you are all doing the same. :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hello, friends!! I am popping in from a Christmas break to wish you all a wonderfully Merry Christmas!
I have been in my van more than in my home for the past two weeks so it has been almost impossible for me to jump on here. This Christmas season has been one of family, traditions, gifts, and treasured memories. I feel incredibly blessed and I am so looking forward to 2013.

Well, I am off to spend the rest of the day with my handsome hubby and children! Have a blessed day everyone!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Frugal Trick to Hang Stockings!

Hello, friends! It has been a great week for my family and me. We have spent so much time together and after the tragic events of yesterday, I have no regrets! What a reminder that every single day is beyond precious and worthy of treasuring. I did want to share a frugal trick with you today that could be used at home or in the classroom.

First, I wanted to share a little trick that I began using years ago in the classroom. I needed to hang stockings for my kids but I had limited bulletin board space and block walls which makes posting ANYTHING difficult. So, I came up with a cool way to hang all of the stockings from the bottom of my board using one of these:

That's right! A paper clip! Simply open the paper clip to an S to hang your stockings on the bottom tray of your board or across the top groove! The great thing is, I have been able to use this little trick for hanging my stockings at home as well. I have never had a mantle so those really pretty stocking hangings are not an option for me. Besides, they can be a bit expensive when you have to buy as many as I would. So, I decided to use my classroom trick and hang my stockings with paper clips across the top of my window. Of course, I won't put anything in them while they are up there. I will simply take them down to fill them and place them along my couches for the girls to find. :) Here is a picture of my stockings hanging across my window. (I have some garland that I plan on running across the top to dress it up a bit but this gives you an idea.)
Can you guess which stocking is mine? ;)

Also, I have had so much fun reading about everyone's Christmas traditions over at my linky party! If you haven't checked it out or linked up, just click the button below!
Learning 4 Keeps

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: SchoolhouseTeachers.com

Hello, friends! I am so excited to be offering a new review today for the Schoolhouse Review Crew! I have so enjoyed being a part of this group already and our year officially begins in January!

For the review today, I will be speaking about SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This website is created by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine which I also reviewed here. It is dedicated to offering homeschool lesson plans and resources in one easy to use interface.

Photobucket 
As I began exploring the site, I was so excited to find the broad spectrum of resources offered. This is not a website of printouts; rather, it is full of lesson plans, Youtube videos for teaching subject area, and supplemental materials. There are materials to build a full curriculum plan or to just supplement what you already have. Maybe you are like me and would like to add a few special areas on top of your curriculum. This site has resources for that as well. Here is a glimpse into the subject areas available:

  • A Study of Asia
  • Career Exploration
  • College Choice Guidance
  • Chemistry
  • Classical History
  • Economics
  • French
  • Film Making
  • Geography
  • Guitar
  • History
  • Home Economics
  • Lapbooking
  • Literature
  • Logic
  • Math
  • Media
  • Mock Trial
  • Music/Voice
  • Reading
  • Special Needs
  • World Views/ Apologetics
  • Writing
Photobucket

There are highly qualified and award winning creators creating resources for each area listed above, offered in a weekly or even daily format.

As my homeschool runs on a semester schedule, I am working to have everything ready for the Spring Semester. I am so excited to find several subjects available that were already in my plan. Here is what I plan on using for the Spring.

  • Guitar- My oldest daughter has been learning guitar for about a year. My husband is quite a musician and she has learned so much from him. She already plays many songs and has written quite a few of her own. However, I want her to be able to read written music and thus far, she has only been playing by ear. So, I am looking forward to integrating the weekly lessons available that will incorporate written music.
  • Literature- This subject area is on the menu for the Spring and I was excited to find resources that incorporated award winning children's books. Literature is meant to be discussed so there are great questions offered for the books that study the different forms of literature, information specific to that book, and overall book structure. There are also story charts available and essay assignments available. This will be great for my older daughter as well. It will encourage her to fully engage in the story and to think deeper than surface text.
  • Spanish- This special area will be for all of my children. On SchoolhouseTeachers.com, they have a teacher who offers lesson plans, videos, and activities to learn the Spanish language. This will be one of my girls' favorites, I am sure. :)
  • Every Day Work- There are so many activities and printables for everyday work like grammar, math, and handwriting. The main two I will be using is the Schoolhouse Spelling which gives weekly spelling lists as well as daily activities to practice spelling and the Everyday Explorers: USA track which explores the 50 states utilizing websites, lapbooks, and lesson plans.
  • Read and Play: PreK Activities- I am ALWAYS looking for new activities for my little one. She is 3 and loves her school. :) This area has activities and scriptures that revolve around a theme or book. The theme is currently thankfulness as we are celebrating the holiday season. There are so many wonderful memory verses offered, projects and recipes shared that would make learning a joy! This is one resource that I will begin implementing immediately.
As you can see, SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a homeschool site that offers a wide variety of resources. There is so much offered for all grades, Pre-K through 12th grade! The best part about it? It also takes into account a homeschooler's budget! Right now, they are offering the first month for $1 and after that it is only $5.95 a month. With your membership, you also get free resources like a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Monthly Bonus E-books, access to Schoolhouse Expos, and a Schoolhouse Planner! :) 

If you are like me, you are constantly looking for new, creative ways to teach your homeschoolers. I encourage you to click the link in my sidebar and just check it out! You might find it is a great fit for your home classroom. You can also see other reviews about this product by members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking the link below.
Photobucket
Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Few Giveaway Opportunities!

Hi, everyone! I have a few bloggy buddies who are celebrating big milestones on their blog, 100 followers. To celebrate they are hosting giveaways that I have donated towards. Just click the links below for your opportunity to win great resources including Christmas products!



It's A Christmas Tree Party!

Submissions are being added everyday to the "Oh, Christmas Tree" linky party! I am having such a wonderful time looking at everyone's trees and sharing in the memories!

Have you linked up your tree? Head on over to link up and explore! "It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!" Click the link below!


Learning 4 Keeps

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Happy Ewwwww Year Resource!

Hello, friends! I have been so sick for the last few days. I have been working little by little on a couple of new projects that I want to tell you about.

First, I have created a holiday Bingo game called Jingle Bell Bingo. I loved playing Bingo with my kids during the last week of school before the holidays. I would usually play with them during our Christmas party to keep everyone in their seat while snacking on party foods. :) This kept things orderly and fun!

It is a picture bingo game for the classroom or homeschool room. It includes 20 game half page game cards and 35 picture cards with a cute holiday theme! It is played like the traditional bingo game but with a twist! There is even a method for when more than one student wins at one time. 

The next pack is perfect for New Years. It is full of resources to integrate into instruction on ew, ue, or oo. 
The following is included:

  • Page 3-8 Word Posters and Blank Posters for students to create their own list
  • Page 9- “Oops!” Poem Worksheet
  • Page 10- “Ew Stew” Poem worksheet
  • Page 11- “Sticky Glue” Poem worksheet
  • Page 12-14 (3) Word Search Sheets
  • Page 15-17 (3) Alphabetical Order Sheets
  • Page 18 Graph the words worksheet
  • Page 19-21 Four Square Game
  • Page 22-31 Concentration Game
  • Page 32-35 EW Mini Book


So, while I have been trying to rest on a couch, I have at least been a bit productive. ;) Of course, don't look at the laundry mountain. It might ruin your image of me. LOL 
Happy Blogging~

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jester the Gingerbread Winner and Exciting News!

Hello, friends! I would like to announce the winner of the Jester the Gingerbread activity!! I used a random generator and got the number 2! So Cecelia, you will be receiving an email from me shortly! ;)

I am so excited about the great feedback that I am getting about Jester. You might see of more of Jester in the future.


Also, I have some exciting news to share! I have been looking to expand my blog as well as do more to continue my goal of finding great resources that increase and promote knowledge retention. You all know that I have experience in both public school and home school so I want to find resources that will help both! I love to create my own resources to share and use with my kiddos but I know that there are many wonderfully unique programs that are already available! We just have to find them. Enter Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Photobucket

While perusing through my fellow buddy blogs, I noticed an ad recruiting new Schoolhouse Review Crew members for the 2013 year. I applied and was so excited to receive an email asking for a sample review. I am happy to say that my review was accepted and I have become a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. It is a part of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine which I already loved and trusted. I wrote a review about this great resource here. So, every so often you will be seeing reviews that I will post on my site that will be of particular interest to my homeschool followers. The reviews will be my personal opinion about products I receive and use with my own girls. I am excited about the prospects and look forward to sharing what I have learned with all of you.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently!

Hello, friends! I can barely believe it is the first of another month... the last month... of the year! That means it is time for Oh Boy 4th Grade's December Currently! :) So, here we go...

Listening- it is late, I am sick... thus the silence. The End.

Loving- the twinkle lights of my Christmas tree! If you didn't already know, I puffy heart Christmas trees! In fact, I am having an Oh, Christmas Tree linky party! I hope you will click the link below and join me!

Learning 4 Keeps

Thinking- about new ideas for my next guest blog post. I am so excited to have the opportunity and really want it to be stellar! lol

Wanting- to stop coughing! I do think I have coughed up a lung tonight. ugh!

Needing- CONTACTS!! My glasses are beyond the point of no return. You know, when they sit cock-eyed on your face and slide down your nose constantly because they are so loose. *sigh* Need to make that eye appointment.

RAK (Random Act of Kindness)- I had to think about this one for a bit but I did remember that yesterday I offered to advertise for a dear friend about her home-based business. It is not on my blog yet but it is on the way! You will love it!

Now, hop on over and join the party!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree Linky Party!

Hello, friends! I don't know about you, but I love the holiday season. I am sitting here with my laptop in my lap and my Christmas tree twinkling in the corner. Ornaments from throughout the years fill each branch. Every year, my family and I buy a new ornament with the year to put on our tree. It is amazing to see how our family has grown and changed. I also have special ornaments from places we have gone like our cruise to Mexico and our family trip to Dixie Stampede. There are also some homemade ornaments with pictures that are filled with memories. These ornaments are priceless to me!
I have decorated our tree with family ornaments and with rustic decor. Wooden Christmas lights, colored wooden beads, and bells hang around our tree. I have to say that this year my tree is much more interesting since my 3 year old LOVES to organize and re-organize the ornaments on the lowest branches. :)

Would you like to share your tree??  I love looking around at how others decorate their tree and hearing the stories behind them. Maybe you don't have a tree, but celebrate the holidays in a different way. I would love to read about it! If you would like to join, just follow these steps!
  • Blog about your tree and tell us what makes it special to you!
  • Grab the button below and place it on your post to link back here. 
  • Add your link and have fun exploring!
Learning 4 Keeps
<div align="center"><a href="http://learning-4-keeps.blogspot.com/2012/12/oh-christmas-tree-linky-party.html" title="Learning 4 Keeps"><img src="http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w401/learning4keeps/christmastreebutton-1.jpg" alt="Learning 4 Keeps" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I look forward to seeing all of your beautiful trees and reading about your memories!

Gingerbread Mania Resources and FREE Holiday E-Books!

Hello, friends! I am feeling a bit better today and I am so excited to share a new activity pack with you! There is a new sensation going around that is so cute and super fun. Maybe you have heard of Elf on a Shelf? ;) Well, to be honest, we have never taught our children that there was a Santa Claus. I have nothing against those who do; we just chose to be upfront with our kids from the beginning. We joke around about Santa and say that Daddy or Papa is Santa. We will even sign the tags on the gifts FROM Santa, but our kids know better. It has just never been a big deal around our family. We have had to have conversations with them though about making sure not to spoil it for any of the other kids. :)  Also, I never did out right Santa activities in my room because I did not like to field Santa questions from the kids. You know the ones that say, "Mrs. Mathis, tell Julie that Santa is real!" It happened every year in first grade. I would always play the Mommy or Daddy card. "That is something that Julie needs to ask her Mommy!" LOL

Well, the Elf on the Shelf is adorably cute but it wouldn't really work for us. So, I thought that I would create an activity that would have this type of excitement but with a mystery, too! I started to imagine a little trickster of a gingerbread man who liked to wreak havoc in the classroom. The problem is we don't know his name! So, the students see the remains of what Jester did the night before or maybe while they were out at specials. Candy wrappers are strewn and there is a clue left in an envelope. The students must figure out the riddles and write the clues in their investigative journal. After they solve three clues, they will have figured out Jester's name! A treat and riddle will be at the end of the week to celebrate. This pack also includes ideas to make a bulletin board display to share with the rest of the school or family. They will then get the opportunity to solve the clues! Here are a few sneak peeks of the pages you will get:



I am so excited about this new activity. It is only $3 in my store and can last a week. It would really add some excitement to that final week leading up to the holiday break. Would you like the Jester the Gingerbread activity for FREE? Just comment below about how you would use the project. I will use a number generator to choose a winner! Best of luck!

Also, before I close this post, I thought I would share a couple of gingerbread freebies that I have in my store. One is a gingerbread writing activity that would be super cute to hang with the bulletin board display from above or to decorate your room. It asks students to imagine if they were a gingerbread boy or girl. You can pick it up here:
The other is a number recognition center. It would be great for Pre-K through Kindergarten and is the top download from my store!

Both of these freebies you will find on my page of the new Holiday E-book at Teachers Pay Teachers. If you have not already seen this book, RUN don't walk to download it! It is absolutely free and is chock-FULL of free holiday items, tips, and greetings from some great TPT stores. You can click the links below to head over to the PK-K edition which is where my page can be found. :) BUT, there is also a 1-2 grade version, 3-5 version and a high school version! There are free gifts for everyone and could be used for the classroom or homeschool room. Check them out!





Photobucket

Friday, November 30, 2012

Can Anybody Hear Me? Cough...

Hello, friends... just popping in here to say I am sick! :( Sinus, congestion, sneezing, coughing, and many other maladies... sigh On top of this, or should I say because of this, my asthma is CRAZY!! So, this just makes everything worse. Yesterday I sounded like a frog, today I woke up with no voice at all. I will not EVEN ask which one my hubby prefers. ;)

I have gotten a bit of my voice back this afternoon but I am still really sick. But, that doesn't slow down my mind and I am working on a cute gingerbread activity that I think you will love. It should be up soon!

Whelp, I am off to rest and maybe drink a bit more OJ. Do you have any home remedies that you use you could share with a bloggy friend?  ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Did you say SALE?!! It's Cyber Monday! Let's Go!

Hi, friends!!! I have really been looking forward to today as it is CYBER MONDAY! I have placed all of my store on sale 20% and TPT is offering an extra percentage when you use the code "cmt12" at the checkout! In all, you will receive 28% off!! I don't know about you but my wishlist has been growing and I am excited to be a part of the sale! Just click the button below to head on over! Happy shopping!


  
Special thanks for the clipart, frames, and font for the button goes to:

Clipart by mycutegraphics.com ;  FSFFriday IminLove Font by http://frompond.blogspot.com;
Frames by www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Dina-Migadaki

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Great Blessings Giveaway WINNERS!

Hello, friends! I am so excited to say that my family and I had a beautiful Thanksgiving together. Want a glimpse at our table?





On to other great news, we have winners for the Great Blessings Giveaway! Here they are!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway
You should be receiving emails from me shortly as well as those who have generously donated. Thanks for participating! I hope you enjoy all of the great resources. Also, don't forget about the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale at TPT!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Hello, friends! Today, I wanted to share with you a great resource that I was recently given. I had the pleasure to review The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  More specifically, I read The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, November 2012.

As a homeschooling mama, I was so excited to find plenty of resources that I can integrate into my homeschooling as well as insightful and encouraging articles. Some were written to provide a look into other homeschool rooms but others speak to the Mom behind the homeschool and for this, I was truly grateful.

One article that I really enjoyed was by Denise Mira entitled: Refuse to be a Victim: Avoiding the Self Pity Trap. From the title, I was a bit unsure as to what the article would be about but as I began to read the article, it really spoke to my situation. There are times that I feel confident in the fact that though we have fewer bucks to work with, staying home and teaching my kids has been one of the best decisions we have made. But, there are other times when I consider what others have to work with and how life had once been a bit less stressful financially for the Mathis household. Therein lies the trap! The article reminded me that it is not what is in my hand, it is what I do with that hand that matters!
For this season of our life, we have experienced miracles of provision and support. We have become wiser financially and more grateful for what we have. My children understand the value of money and the importance of gratitude. These are irreplaceable lessons that would be much harder to teach in other circumstances. So, for now, we appreciate what we have and are grateful for this season knowing that God is taking care of us. As Denise Mira wrote, “How you live today determines how you and your children will live tomorrow... Plant that measly little seed and watch it flourish!”  So, we refocus and reprioritize realizing that we are planting seeds for tomorrow. We embrace this season and look forward to what tomorrow brings.
The beauty of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is that no matter what style of classroom you lead, you will find wonderful resources and inspiring stories. There are articles for Charlotte Mason and Classical homeschoolers, relaxed styles and highly structured styles. There are fantastic articles for integrating the arts into your home and resources to remove some of the intimidation! There are tips for those who are homeschooling struggling learners as well as those who enjoy using unit based studies. Other great resources include how to simplify and organize your life, how to be frugal, and how to make your classroom more effective. There are wonderful product reviews from people who have used the products as well as answers to some of those tough legal questions that are so important for homeschooling families.

This magazine has quickly become a favorite read as it is written by those who have been there and who are currently enjoying all of those special homeschooling moments. J  The magazine is available in a digital file that can be easily read online and to make it even easier, just download the App at www.tosapps.com/ to access it from your Kindle, Apple or Android devices. One of the great blessings is the fact that this fantastic resource is free!

So be encouraged, inspired, and maybe even taught something new by checking out the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It might remind you that homeschooling can be done! It just might require a bit more chocolate to survive. Happy blogging!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!



 And just a reminder... you can still enter the Great Blessings giveaway with over 50 teacher's resources available to win!! Just click the link below!

From my family to yours... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
~Leah

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Giveaway, Sale, and Linky.. OH MY!


Hello friends!! This post will be loaded so hang on tight! First, let's start with the fantabulous giveaway here at Learning4Keeps that includes over 50 resources!! If you haven't already signed up, you can click the button below to enter. You will not want to miss this one!


Next, I am so excited to announce a MEGA SALE at Teachers Pay Teachers!! To take part in Cyber Monday AND Tuesday, you can get 20% off at my store plus even more by typing in the code! In total, you will receive 28% off! :) Whoop! Whoop! Who doesn't <3 a good deal? You can click on the picture to head on over to my store and take a peak. You might find a couple of things that catch your eye.

Here are just a few things you will find:

Homework Resources

 

Writing Resources


Classroom Management Resources


And more!




Michelle at the 3 AM Teacher had a fantabulous idea to link up and share some of the great resource creators that will be participating in the TPT Cyber Monday Sale! Just click on the links below to check them out!




Monday, November 19, 2012

Great Blessings Giveaway!

Hello, friends! Today is the first day to enter for your chance to win fantastic educational resources in my Great Blessings Giveaway! Be sure to hang out till the end of the post for a freebie! :)

The first Giveaway is for the following items:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Second Giveaway includes:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Third Giveaway has the following items:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Final Megapack includes:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am so excited to be sharing them with four lucky winners. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of these great TPT resource creators. Best of luck to each of you! As promised, here is the freebie that is perfect to start implementing after the Thanksgiving holiday. :) Enjoy!