St. Patrick’s Day Fun and Resources

St. Patrick’s Day takes on many different forms in different families. For some it is a celebration of the life of Saint Patrick, for some it is about everything green, leprechauns and rainbows. With a new baby in the house we are not planning on going ‘all out’ this year with any kind of St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  However, we are still going to do a few fun and simple things to remember the day. We love corn beef, so any excuse for corn beef and cabbage is welcome in our home, even if it’s nor really and “Irish’ dish. If you want to make your own from scratch, or you’re interested in some culinary history, check out the Corn the Beef Good Eats episode. It is also a simple meal to cook in my crock pot which is a big plus! The children love fun thematic snacks, so I’ll let the older children choose a snack or two from the ideas below to fix on their own. Then I can read one of our St. Patrick’s Day books while we all enjoy the snacks.

For my three year old, we have changed out his Valentine’s Day sensory bottle for a St. Patrick’s Day themed bottle. I simply took out the pink and white beads and hearts (putting them in a bag for next year) and added in some adorable Shamrock jewels. I found my Shamrock jewels at Hobby Lobby but you could also use something like this confetti that I found on Amazon Prime. The ones I found are different sizes so we can talk about smaller and larger. You could also use them for counting. Younger children will just enjoy seeing the colors and movement as they shake the bottle.

 

I also want to use the St. Patrick’s Day Bible verse resource to cover the Beatitudes. We will use them for copy work with the older children.  This is an easy way to incorporate it into our regular school day. We will watch the clip about St. Patrick from Veggie Tales: Sumo of the Opera which tells the story of how he ended up ministering to the people of Ireland. I will probably also substitute the abbreviations page for their grammar work one day because I’ve noticed recently that we could use a review of some standard abbreviations.

We will hopefully have time to enjoy a chalk art pastel lesson. They have one with a shamrock as well as a rainbow in their Spring Art Lessons that would be perfect to go along with this study. If you are going to do rainbows there is also a fun Magic School Bus episode about rainbows.

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What are your favorite ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I’d love to have you share your favorite traditions or resources in the comments and check out some of the fun resources below.

Foods:

Books, Movies, and Music:

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PI Day! Ideas and Resources

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Pi Day Snacks!

Some of you are as excited as I am about Pi day, some of you think I don’t know how to spell, and a few are wondering why we are celebrating a math concept. Pi day is a fun day that in our family also involves pie. While we didn’t celebrate when my children were really young, we have been celebrating Pi day for several years and last year started celebrating with a group of our friends.

We gather together with round snacks, anything from sweet pies, pizza pies, and even a few moon pies. Then we have lots of fun with a variety of activities. Last year we did an art activity about pi, read some of the Sir Circumference Books and enjoyed our time together with friends.

We intend to have a very similar Pi day this year though I’ve found a few new resources and come up with a couple of extra ideas to keep things interesting. One thing we are going to do this year is to have the kids work together in teams to come up with as many words that begin with the letters ‘pi’ as they can in a set amount of time. This is a great way to include a little spelling and a lot of fun.  We will still enjoy a read aloud from the Sir Circumference series though I will choose a different book this year. They are always so much fun for all ages and do a great job introducing or reinforcing the geometric concepts.

In our group each family contributes, so there will be several other activities or ideas included in our Pi Day party. I also found these simple ideas for including preschoolers in Pi Day. While our group is geared towards tweens and teens, as is the case with many home school groups there are plenty of little sibling tag alongs. They will enjoy the some of the other activities but can enjoy one of the simple crafts like cutting out circles or doing some circle painting while the older children focus on the more complex ideas.

For food you can make your own homemade pies and pizza, find other round foods (burgers, english muffins, etc) or call Papa Johns and let them take care of it. Since I will have a new baby and a busy day we plan to order pizza and let the children either bake a pie or some chocolate chip cookies. This is our favorite easy homemade pie crust and it works great with any filling we have tried. If you want to make a savory pie this recipe uses that pie crust to make a potato bacon torte that is really yummy, or if you’re feeling adventurous and historical you can try onion pie.  If we are not all tired of pie by dinner, we may have one of those for dinner.

I hope that you enjoy Pi day! Tell us your Pi day plans in the comments!

A Few Pi Day Resources:

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

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Dr. Seuss’s Birthday!

Dr. Seuss is among our favorite children’s authors. There are so many fun options to read aloud and enjoy. While I use his books with our young children as fun stories and to encourage an understanding of rhyme, even my older children will sit and listen as I read them aloud. His birthday, March 2nd, is celebrated in homes, schools and libraries across the country.  Often it is used as a day to encourage reading books by many authors.

Since reading is such an important part of our educational philosophy and the Dr. Seuss books are such favorites, we typically try to take the day off of our ‘regular’ studies and enjoy a fun day of activities and reading. This year each of the older children will pick a favorite Dr. Seuss book to read aloud to the family. I will also set aside some time for everyone in the family to read independently.  Next, we will play some rhyming games. My older children enjoy them and the 3 year old is starting to learn about rhymes so it will be a good opportunity to encourage that skill in a fun way.

One simple and fun way we encourage reading and a variety of books is to feature books for various holidays, events, or authors on “display’ in our dining room.  We set up the books we have for that theme across the top of our cabinet where they will stay out until we change themes (normally every few weeks). The children can take them down to read and just put them back up when they are finished. This helps highlight different books from our shelves and keeps them reading books on a variety of topics.

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In addition to reading, they will enjoy making ‘oobleck’ to play with and talk about the science behind it. Then we will enjoy some fun Dr. Seuss food. As you can see in the pictures above we enjoy ‘Cat in the Hat’ Pizza and our own version of green eggs and ham (simply adding spinach to the eggs). Depending on how the day is going I may allow my son to pick out an additional snack that we can make together. All of my children love helping in the kitchen.

My three year old really enjoys his dot markers, so he will probably do the Red Fish Blue Fish dot painting activity while we read aloud. I have found at that age having something quiet to work on while we read increases their attention span fr listening to the stories.

There are many other fun crafts, writing prompts, math activities and more to make this day fun and meaningful for children of all ages. I have included a list of resources below with more fun recipes, printables, and activities. I’ve also included a list of a few great Dr. Seuss books in case you do not have any in your collection. Most years we use this as an opportunity to add one more Dr. Seuss book to our growing collection. You may also check with your local library or literacy group to see if they are doing any special activities.

Food Ideas:

Lesson Resources:

Books:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day (we read this one every year before testing)

There’s a Wocket in My Pocket (great for rhyming)

The Foot Book

One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish

Green Eggs and Ham

Six by Seuss ( a collection of six books in one)

Dr. Seuss Beginner Board Book Collection (a wonderful collection of books)

Little Blue Box of Bright and Early Board Books ( a great starter collection)

Who Was Dr. Seuss? ( A chapter book about Dr. Seuss)

Green Eggs and Hamadeus (This is a CD of an opera based on the book. We had a chance to see it preformed several years ago by our North Carolina Symphony and it was wonderful. )

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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P is for President!

Do you have a child interested in the presidents? My oldest finds them fascinating. He loves to listen to audio books, read books, and find other resources about various presidents. We have even had the opportunity to take him to visit several different presidential homes and birth places. He is really looking forward to our President’s Day studies. President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington’s birthday. It is a day that many focus on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln but is also used to honor all of our nation’s presidents.

For the younger crowd it is a great time for fun stories, crafts, and great snacks. For the older children there are also great math activities, writing prompts, history lessons and lots more. This is one of the holidays that is easy to incorporate from preschool all the way to high school. The focus can be as narrow as George Washington or as broad as the Presidential History of the United States.

In our house this year, we are going to do some of the fun preschool snacks, a coloring page, and a couple of cute picture books for the youngest (though I’m sure everyone will enjoy the snacks). The parfaits will probably be our go-to snack since it is simple and nutritious. My older children love making pancakes so I may let them try their hands and the presidential pancakes. The older children will each pick a presidential biography to read for their reading assignment for the week. In addition we will use some of the grammar sheets below as a nice review of some concepts that they seem to be forgetting in their writing. We have spent a great deal of time studying Washington and Lincoln already this year as we go through Our Journey Through History. Therefore, I plan to have the focus of most of our activities be on other lesser studied presidents.

I will also probably include some time to watch the 60 second videos about different presidents. We also may spend some time focusing on the presidents from the Reconstruction and Gilded age which is the period of time we are focusing on this month in  Our Journey Through History. We have the audio version of Heros of History Theodore Roosevelt that we are listening to this month as well. Depending on how our time is going and how interested the children are we may incorporate some of the other activities into our lessons that week.

I’d love to know how you celebrate President’s Day and what resources you think your children will most enjoy. Let me know in the comments. Also, if you are looking for any other resources ask in the comments and I’ll see what I can find.

Printable and Online Resources:

Books:

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

Educents is having a big sale! It includes lots of great products like Life of Fred (at the lowest prices ever), Hooked on Phonics, Times Tales and More.

Huge Valentines Day Freebie Bundle from The Old Schoolhouse!

Winter Olympics for Kids (Free on Kindle at the time of posting)

Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics

Kindle Fire on Sale for less than $40

Last day to get the discounted price on the new All About Learning Letter Tiles App.

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How We Do Valentine’s Day

Every family has a different take on Valentine’s Day. In our house, we really enjoy the holiday but our focus is on loving others in a Godly way and less about romantic love (though I still appreciate chocolate). We have lots of fun and enjoy each other while trying to find ways to be a blessing to others.  Several years ago, things were busy and it was a difficult week but I wanted to do something fun to celebrate the day. Spur of the moment, I bundled up the children and drove to the grocery store. We bought ice cream, fruit, and all the fixins’ for ice cream sundaes. Much to the surprise and delight of the children, that was our lunch. While certainly not the nutritious meal that we strive for most days it was fun and memorable. So memorable, that as Valentine’s Day approached the next year the children began talking about our ‘tradition’ of having ice cream sundaes for lunch. So each year we have ice cream sundaes for a meal on Valentine’s Day.

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Our Ice Cream Sundaes

We try to remember those people in our lives that might find Valentine’s Day to be a sad time or be struggling and think of ways we can lift them up. We mail cards to widows that are missing their spouses, we have delivered goodies to neighbors, and made or bought little treats to give out to those we encounter that might need a smile (it is amazing the difference a small piece of candy given by a child can make in someone’s day. ) The Bible is clear that we are to love and serve others and we find this to be a good time to remember and focus on showing His love.

There are many verses in the Bible about love and we try to focus on some of those throughout the month to help us learn more about what love should look like. We place them throughout our home as reminders, read some at the table and in our devotionals, and often use coloring pages and cards with verses on them as we share that love with others.

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Last year I found a great idea of putting up a heart with a nice comment for each child each morning ( I also did this for my husband.). I started on February 1st and went through the 14th. The children were surprised at first but then started looking for them each morning.  This was a great way for me to focus on all of the things I love about my children. I found it easiest to have them all ready before February 1st so that I didn’t have to worry as much about a busy day derailing my best intentions.

Another simple idea that we often use is having a heart shaped meal that day. That might be pancakes or biscuits in the shape of hearts for breakfast or heart shaped pizza for dinner. This H is for Heart breakfast looks like it would be tasty and fun as well. These are fun for the children and great conversation starters about our hearts and how we should love God and others.

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There are also many resources available for reading, science, math and other subjects to help make school more thematic if you choose. For my older children this year we will mostly continue with our normal curriculum while adding in a few fun Valentine’s activities. We will also enjoy reading Cranberry Valentine while eating a bit of the Cranberry Upside Down Cake that is featured in the back of the book. My youngest will enjoy some of the coloring sheets and probably the playdoh idea below. In other years, we have followed the theme more comprehensively. I hope that you find the books and resources below to be useful as you plan no matter whether you plan to just add in a few activities or do a more thorough thematic approach.

 

 

Resources and Ideas:

 

Books:

Cranberry Valentine ( This one is new to us this year and the children love it, just as they do the others in the series. Even my oldest likes to hear me read aloud the Cranberry stories.)

Happy Valentines Day Mouse

My Fuzzy Valentine (Seasame Street)

Fancy Nancy: Heart to Heart

Happy Valentines Day Curious George (We don’t’ have this one yet but my 3 year old loves every Curious George book we find. )

Corduroy’s Valentine’s Day ( I read this one so many times last year I had it memorized. )

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Rose!

Valentine Hearts Holiday Poetry

 

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 Deals and Freebies:

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY FOR THE SCHOOLHOUSE TEACHERS AND WRITE SHOP SALES!

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Struggling with memorizing those multiplication tables? Educents has Times Tales almost half off right now! They also have the complete learn to read Hooked on Phonics set at over half off right now. This is a slightly newer version than what we used but Hooked on Phonics was the program that finally taught my daughter to read.

Free Daily Writing Prompts for Elementary or Teens Write Shop is offering free daily writing prompts to help make teaching writing just a little easier.

Write Shop is also having some great sales and giveaways for their 17th birthday this month! 17% off and a free gift when you use code 17years.

FREE Globalmania Geography from Knowledge Quest!

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Groundhog Day Resources

While certainly not one of the most important holidays on our calendar we do enjoy a bit of fun on this day. It is a great chance to focus on weather or other related topics, especially with young children. I think what mine enjoy most about Groundhog Day is the pancakes. We found a cute idea for making pancakes that look like ground hogs several years ago and the children really enjoy them.

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With small children you could spend the day or even the week learning about seasons or weather. Another great focus would be on ground hogs and other similar mammals. My older students will mostly continue on with their regular studies but we will be adding in a fun writing prompt about Ground Hog day. However, with my three year old we are going to spend some time talking about the weather with a few fun sensory and art projects.

We will also enjoy reading some great books and maybe sneak in a Magic School Bus episode on weather. I also found this great free groundhog art lesson.  This is one of those days that we get to enjoy a bit of fun without a lot of  added stress or expectations.

 

Books:

Cul-da-sac Kids Piggy Party (My daughter loves this series.)

Gregory’s Shadow

Groundhog Day (Sammy the Bird) (free with Kindle unlimited or only .99)

My Favorite Animal: Groundhogs (free with Kindle unlimited)

Weather for Kids (.99 on Kindle at time of posting)

A Kid’s Guide to Weather Forecasting (.99 on Kindle at time of posting)

Magic School Bus Kicks up a Storm book or Video.

Resources:

Preschool Weather Theme

Free Writing Prompts

Groundhog Number Cards

Spring Chalk Art Bundle (including a free groundhog lesson)

Spring Themed Art Lessons (including one on rain)

Shadow Drawings

Weather Graph

Groundhog Day Hundreds Board

Rhyme Time

Groundhog Day Videos

Free Printable Set K-3

Recipes and Snacks:

Groundhog No Bake Cookies

Cupcake Push Pops

Groundhog Day Pudding Cups

Groundhog Day Pancakes

Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and more! There is a great winter bucket list that would be fun for a snowy day.

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

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Three Kings Day or Twelfth Night Celebrations

Growing up in Eastern North Carolina our annual Christmas celebrations culminated on December 25th.  In our family, we typically kept our tree up until around New Years Day. Then packed everything away. However, traditionally December 25th was the start of Christmas and not the end of Christmas. When you think of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ song, December 25th was only the beginning of those twelve days.  While I was in high school and college I began to work with a missions organization and take trips down to Pedrias Negras, Mexico. During some of these trips I happened to be in Mexico for ‘El Dia De Los Reyes’ or Three Kings Day. It was such a fun celebration with yummy food. Add to that a college roommate whose family celebrated the holiday and I was officially hooked. While it does not hold the importance of December 25th in our celebrations, it is a holiday that we enjoy.

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Three Kings Day Cake baked by my daughter for our 4-H project.

Fast forward a few years and my husband and I had become involved in activities at a local historical site. They had an event called ‘Twelfth Night’ that sounded like fun so we decided to check it out. I was surprised by the similarities between ‘Three Kings Day’ and ‘Twelfth Night’.  Depending on who is celebrating and what historical information you are looking at, it appears that ‘Twelfth Night’ could have been celebrated on January 5th or the 6th.  Three Kings Day is on January 6th. Both holidays are celebrated with a special cake. ‘Three Kings Day’ cake is called ‘Rosca de Reyes’ and is a ring shaped cake with lots of dried fruit. It also contains a special baby doll representative of Baby Jesus hidden inside of the cake. The person who finds the baby was to host the next party on February 2nd.  Twelfth Night Cake is a sweeter more European style cake but also involves things hidden with-in the cake. There is a bean and a pea hidden in the ‘Twelfth Night’ cake. The man and woman who finds those become King and Queen for the night.

While we know that the wise men or kings probably did not find Jesus until several years after he was born, this is the day that many churches celebrate them finding the Baby Jesus. In honor of that, some cultures which celebrate ‘Three Kings Day’ have a tradition of having children put out shoes with hay for the camels and waking up to find treats in them.

In our family, we typically enjoy Rosca De Reyes and talk about the Wise Men that found Jesus. We use this as a time to wrap up our holiday celebrations and enjoy a bit of Mexican culture. It is a great time to do a hymn study on ‘We Three Kings‘ or a simple Bible study about what we know about the men who came to worship Christ.

I have included some resources and information below, as well as a couple of recipes to get you started. Has your family ever celebrated either one of these holidays? Do you enjoy learning more about other cultures and their special days?

 

Recipes:

Martha Washington’s Twelfth Night Cake

Rosca de Reyes

 

Resources:

Dia de Los Reyes

Three Kings Day

Twelfth Night

 

Deals and Freebies:

Apologia is having a huge store wide stock up sale! Great time to buy if you want to change curriculum for next year or if you are looking to switch things up this semester.

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Free Daily Writing Prompts for Elementary or Teens Write Shop is offering free daily writing prompts to help make teaching writing just a little easier.

Write Shop is also having some great sales and giveaways for their 17th birthday this month! 17% off and a free gift when you use code 17years.

Schoolhouse Teachers is having a huge Jan. Sale. A full annual membership for only $90 for your whole family. I have a complete review of this program coming on Monday but we are excited to be using a preschool class for Benjamin, several resources to help in our history, and possibly one of the health classes for the older children.

january schoolhouse sale

Struggling with memorizing those multiplication tables? Educents has Times Tales almost half off right now! They also have the complete learn to read Hooked on Phonics set at over half off right now. This is a slightly newer version than what we used but Hooked on Phonics was the program that finally taught my daughter to read.

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Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and more!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up
 

2018 A ‘Purposeful’ Year

January 1st is a time when many people evaluate the year behind them and make goals or resolutions for the year ahead. There are many ways of doing this but several years ago I started doing the ‘word for the year’ idea. While some years I’ve done better than others I have found it to be a really good fit for me personally. It gives me focus and guides me without making me feel like a failure if I don’t meet certain specific guidelines.

This year my word of the year is ‘Purposeful’. I spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks praying and thinking about choosing my word. I knew that I wanted to be very aware of how I was spending my time and using what was given to me in both time and resources to live well with-in the will of God.

To accompany my word I have chosen Proverbs 19:21 as my scripture for the year.   “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 NIV

I want to make sure that no matter what my plans and desires, I am focusing on the Lord’s purpose for my days. Sometime I think that for me it is easier for me to do that on a large scale than a smaller daily scale. I want to go into each day focusing on doing whatever it is that the Lord wishes of me that day. Some days that may be focusing on my home or the children’s schoolwork. Some day I may need to lay aside those carefully crafted plans to focus on other needs in our family, church, or community.

What do I think being ‘purposeful’ will look like in a practical daily sense? I intend to prioritize my prayer and quiet time as well as our family devotions. If I am ‘purposing’ to follow God’s will I have to make sure that I am spending time with him daily so that I may clearly see his will. I intend to evaluate how we are using our time to make sure that we are using it effectively. This doesn’t’ mean that every moment has to be busy and productive but that we are not wasting our time. Sitting quietly and reading a book with my children may not sound productive but it is certainly purposeful.  I intend to be purposeful about reading one book per month. I also want to be purposeful about eating well. I am not looking to diet but want to continue and increase our focus on eating well as a family.

I’ve included links to a few of the resources I intend to use to help me with being more ‘purposeful’ this year below. I would love to know if you have a ‘word’ of the year for 2018.

Resources:

Quiet Time Challenge (Not Consumed): I need to be purposeful with my time with God and I’m hoping this free challenge will help get me back on track. If you need further resources for quiet time she has some great ones in her store.

Finding Selah: This is the first of 12 books that I plan to read (1 per month) and I’m hoping to help find that intentional peace and rest.

Simple Sermon Notes Journal I am hoping this helps keep me focused on Sunday mornings (especially when I’m balancing a new born in a couple months) and helps me to be Purposeful in my walk with God.

Which Planner is the Best One?: Taking the time to plan (while be open to God’s leading) should help me be more purposeful in my use of time.

Deals and Freebies!

Free Daily Writing Prompts for Elementary or Teens Write Shop is offering free daily writing prompts to help make teaching writing just a little easier.

Write Shop is also having some great sales and giveaways for their 17th birthday this month!

Apologia is having a huge store wide stock up sale! Great time to buy if you want to change curriculum for next year or if you are looking to switch things up this semester.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is also getting ready to have a big sale! Stay Tuned for more information.

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Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and more!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

New Years Traditions and Freebies

While in many ways each day is a new start, the New Year feels like such a fresh and clean slate. I love the feeling that I have a new start and a chance to recommit and refocus on what is important. People celebrate the New Year in a myriad of ways and our celebrations have changed over the years.

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For the last several years we have found a set of traditions that works well for us during this time of having younger children. While there were years that I would stay up and ring in the New Year at midnight, now I prefer to be asleep at midnight. We have a little town not very far from us that does a ‘Chinese Dragon Run’ each year on New Year’s Eve. They do one early running at about 8 pm and then a later one. This works well for us because we can go at 8pm and be safely off the road before 9pm. The kids really enjoy the music, the noise, and of course the brightly colored dragon. Legend has it that touching the dragon brings good luck in the new year.  The kids know it is just a story but we all have fun trying to touch the dragon.  You may have noticed that food seems to be woven heavily into our traditions, there is no exception here. We enjoy a steaming cup of hot cocoa each New Year’s Eve as we wait for the dragon.

We stay close by with family that evening, typically going to bed shortly after we get home. The next day we ring in the New Year at the river enjoying the beach. While it may be chilly (I’ve seen it below freezing up to the high 60s so you never really know around here.) we enjoy the beautiful views and some time spent together as a family. Once again, food plays a key role in our celebrations. We enjoy black eyed peas, collards or some other greens, fresh yeast rolls, some kind of meat and lots of sweet tea. Traditionally, the rolls, greens, and black eyed peas were eaten for luck and wealth in the coming year. While we are clear that ‘every good gift comes from God’, it is a fun and tasty tradition.

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We take some time that day to talk as a family about how the past year went, and what we hope to accomplish in the year ahead. It is a great time of reflection and planning. We also typically have the children fill out information sheets about themselves. I keep these in a file and it is nice to be able to look back from year to year and see how things have changed. Sometimes we do these on New Years Day and sometimes I wait until we start back to school.

All in all, we have a fairly low key but fun time as a family. We have simple but delicious food and a few fun activities that tie it all together. A chance to reflect and dream about about the future. I would love to know how you celebrate New Year’s. Do you stay up to ring in the New Year? Go somewhere special or stay home? Maybe you have some favorite foods that you enjoy? I know that different parts of the United States have different traditional foods for the day.

FREE New Years Resources:

New Years Eve Reflections from Purposeful Homemaking (This one looks back on 2017 and plans for 2018 great to do with each member of the family).

New Years Pack (Preschool/early elementary)

New Years Coloring

New Years Bible Printables

New Year Interview

New Years Easy Readers

New Years Printable Party Hats

New Years Creative Writing

Time Capsule Questions

Color By Number

Family Goal Setting Worksheet

Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and more!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Apologia is having a huge store wide stock up sale! Great time to buy if you want to change curriculum for next year or if you are looking to switch things up this semester.

Apologia stock up.jpg

IEW has some great freebies each day in their 12 Days of Christmas! (no purchase necessary)

Stay tuned to our Facebook page tomorrow for deals from Amazon’s Digital Day! They are supposed to have some great deals on digital products like ebooks for those new kindles!

digital day

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

12 Days of Christmas or Relax and Enjoy!

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In some ways it is very hard to believe that Christmas is only a couple days away.  It feels like December has flown by. We have had lots of great times baking cookies, reading  Christmas books, enjoying hot cider and cocoa, and doing ‘Christmas School’.  This week we enjoyed  some beautiful Christmas lights. There is a street in our town that goes all out with Christmas balls and other decorations. Luckily for us, our friends live on that street, so we parked in their yard and took a walk to enjoy the Christmas lights.

We have also enjoyed giving back a little this year. We participated in Wreaths Across America with our AHG and Trail Life Troops, we did some fun things with Lightem’ Up, volunteered with our local historical site, the kids did the Detective Givemore Freebie and enjoyed implementing those ideas as well. We bought and wrapped Christmas gifts, we have participated in various church services (including the 3 year old singing ‘Away in a Manger’ with his class), mailed the Christmas cards, and decorated the tree. We even made a bit of Christmas art including painting poinsettas and some fun Christmas themed chalk pastels.

However, like many years before this there are other things I meant to get done. The kids really wanted to do a gingerbread house, there are some Christmas movies we have not yet watched, and a some other fun bucket list activities that we have not yet completed.  I doubt I am the only one in this situation. If you find yourself stressed because you have not checked off everything you wanted to accomplish, I want to remind you to relax and enjoy Christmas.

First, Christmas is about the birth of Christ and not all the other fun and busy stuff. This doesn’t mean those other things are bad, but if you find yourself overwhelmed let them go and focus on Jesus and family.  As a mom, it is so easy to let myself get wrapped up in the preparations and details. I forget to focus on the worship and wonder. Let go of the added expectations and the stress over what didn’t get done.  Spending time worshiping HIM this season is more important than those little details.

Secondly, we always hear the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ and we tend to think about the days before Christmas. In our culture today, Christmas is often considered ‘over’ on December 26th. However, traditionally the twelve days started on Christmas and ended with another celebration on Twelfth Night or Three Kings Day. I don’t say that to imply that you need to spend those twelve days frantically filled with Christmas activities, but if you haven’t’ done some of the things you planned to do, simply enjoy Christmas and then do some of those activities in the days after Christmas.  For our family this year, that will involve a gingerbread house, a trip to a Christmas light show (which thankfully is open until New Years) and some Christmas movies. If you had great intentions for getting that craft done, but never had time or baking those cookies use those days after Christmas to continue enjoying the season and celebration.

I pray that you have an enjoyable Christmas and that you are able to take the time to truly relax and enjoy it. I’ll be taking a few days off of the blog to focus on my family. When I return I’ll tell you more about our New Years traditions, Three Kings Day/ Twelfth Night, and our plans for the rest of the school year.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday Freebies and Deals

Educents has some great deals on digital items that you can have delivered to your inbox in time for Christmas is you got behind and don’t want to fight the crowds. Minecraft, coding and more.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op also has many digital options on sale right now. Music lessons, digital reading, and more.

My Snowman Paul  is free on Kindle (as of posting Amazon changes prices frequently so always double check before purchase).

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Need a good way to organize all of these great printables and have access to them when you need them? Try a free Dropbox Plan.

Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial. If you do not yet have Amazon Prime this is a great time to try it for free for 30 days! Get your Christmas shopping done with free shipping, enjoy Christmas music and more.

Apologia is running some great sales and specials.

The Green Ember is only $2.99 on Kindle or Free with a KindleUnlimited Trial

$10 Sign-Up Bonus for Ibotta and they are doing some major savings and rebates starting today. Great way to save money on the things you are already buying.

$40 off your first HelloFresh Box

If you are looking for some maps to help extend your geography check out these from Knowledge Quest Map Trek (including a free sampler).

Homeschool Buyers Co-Op is offering a great deal on Discovery Education Streaming right now.

Two Free Audio Books with an Audible Trial and if you aren’t sure what to start with I’d suggest checking out the Green Ember or The Penderwicks for good family choices.

Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and four Christmas freebies!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.