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


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 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.

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

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, 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, 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.
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!

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
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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!