Heal and Connect with Cheryl Jazzar

Who are you? Tell me a bit about yourself.

“I am a mom to four amazing young people, ages 16-26. My husband and I blended our families over 20 years ago and have lived in Norman ever since, with a brief stay in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m the luckiest Mom around because of the nuclear and extended family I have. Together we own La Baguette restaurants and wholesale bakery, WellPostpartum Consulting, The Loop, Scissortail Travel Stops, Jazztech Consulting, and a vital Young Living Organization called Oil Royalty.

My husband’s passion is photography. His work can be seen here.”

Why did you open The Loop?  

“When we were in Atlanta there were great homeschooling communities and cooperatives everywhere we went.  We saw all kinds of successful groups and really admired the creative sparks that many of them seemed to generate.

After we moved back to Oklahoma my health started to suffer. Four years ago I was paralyzed with Lyme disease. But I was fully healed in a seemingly-miraculous way with cutting edge, quantum physics-based techniques. In only two weeks I wanted to sing, dance and do art, but I didn’t know how to do any of those things, so I visited a place I knew had dance classes. When I got there they had closed! But the sign in the window inspired me to open the space for all kinds of creativity and The Loop was born. Within only two weeks we were up and running with people in classes! Now I do know how to do all those things thanks to the wonderful people who offer classes there. I’ve found a huge love for all kinds of percussion and adore drumming!”

What classes do you teach at The Loop?  

“My passion is helping people experience radical shifts in their health without the use of medications. My two youngest kids have never used an antibiotic and I’ve found that there are many empowered ways to address issues at home.

Among my favorite classes to teach are anointing classes using Young Living Essential Oils. I teach people how to release negative emotions with oils, introductory oils classes, Raindrop and Vitaflex Technique, Ancient Holy Oils, and a variety of other specialized topics both online and in-person around the country.”


When did you find your passion for helping the homeschool community?  

“I’ve always known that homeschooling mommas are the sharpest people around when it comes to natural health. After decades of being in that arena I thought I knew a lot!  What I learned was that I was missing important foundations of healing because I didn’t know the power of plant oils and anointing. After learning the importance of approaching healing from a physical/emotional/spiritual perspective I was on a mission to share these rare gems of knowledge widely!  When we are calm and healthy everything in the home functions more smoothly.  Providing simple tools to Moms brings me joy! I understand the many challenges people are facing from anxiety to autism to allergies. Helping people find effective and inexpensive ways to support the body through these challenges is my superpower. Everyone deserves to thrive and live a happy and peaceful life.”

What was it that triggered that passion?  

“When we first opened a sweet Momma approached me and shyly said, ‘I guess you could tell I have social anxiety.’ I was stunned because I sure didn’t see that! Within a few minutes she changed into the kind of friend that grabs you by the hand and paints the town red with two coats! None of our friends really believe how badly she struggled before but she continues to tell the story of how she became almost famous for canceling activities with other families due to stress. When I realized kids could come in for great classes and Moms (and Dads and Grandmas) could support one another I knew we were on to something special.”

When and how did you first discover your love for essential oils?  

“After moving back from Atlanta the very first thing I did was attend a Postpartum Support International event. I was a volunteer and Oklahoma State Coordinator for them for over 12 years and was very committed to helping women find non-pharmacological options.  An old friend, Dr. Catherine Rott was at that event and she came into my life with a tremendous amount of knowledge, care and love; pouring out her wisdom to me in ways that made a deep impact. I could never repay the countless hours she spent training me and providing for me physically, emotionally and even financially, but I do my best to model her approach to others so they have everything they need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps.

Her impact has turned a rather miserable, ill-effective and sickly woman into something completely different. My life now has greater impact than I could have ever imagined.”

What is your favorite thing about running The Loop?  

“Honestly, I love that it runs itself. It’s a special thrill to me that I can go off for weeks and teach classes in different states, vacation with my husband, or go work with refugees in Lebanon and come back to the beautiful atmosphere in The Loop. When I see the faces of the people there expressing themselves through art, or play, or more seriously life-changing classes it just warms my heart!

There is something intangible about the space- it’s a sense of security, a place to belong (no matter your what your views are), and a place to really be yourself. The acceptance and love that flows from the people that grace our doors is like nothing else.  It’s very rare and I think we all come to realize how good we have it there.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching classes about oils?  

“When I see a large family facing an emergency room visit with no health insurance begin to understand how to take spiritual authority over their issues and learn to turn things around for themselves I’m just over the moon!

My favorite thing is to lay hands on people and do bodywork, but my organization is large now so I have to focus on teaching large groups for the most part.

It’s an immense honor to witness someone in need being vulnerable enough to come into a space and pour out their heart. When people are unburdened, THAT’S when healing happens automatically! The body is so very beautiful in that way. Teaching people to work with nature’s design is pretty humbling because the results can be so drastic.”

What do you hope the community gains from The Loop?  

“Acceptance. There is so much guilt that comes with being a mother and I’ve learned to reject it outright. There is simply no place for that kind of bondage in a home.

I like to think The Loop is the kind of place where we all accept and love each other. We can be free to let our kids be kids- to spill stuff and break stuff (it happens) and NOT STRESS over it! When we accept ourselves and our families as human beings we begin to relax into who we were created to be.

It’s cool because I find that if someone uptight comes in, they either usually edit themselves out of The Loop because they don’t vibe with it; or they change for the better.  THAT is the secret sauce to what this community has created for itself!   Openness, kindness and everyone doing their thing together!”


What would you tell someone who was considering joining a class at The Loop?  

“Oh my gosh, fence-sitting hurts!  Just go for it. You’ll thank yourself later. The people who have been attracted into this space are nothing short of Works of a Really Good God!  Now I have to stop or I’ll cry. Seriously, I love the people there!”

What would you tell someone considering using essential oils?  

“Same!  We in Young Living have a saying, ‘If you haven’t tried Young Living, you haven’t tried everything.’ But, be sure the oils you are trying are from Young Living.  There is no other brand available in the U.S. that follows our purity standards.  Join a class and begin discovering the difference. There are many heart-forward oilers in The Loop.  Become friends with them and join their team!  Come to the classes and see what happens. Then you’ll know.”

To learn more about The Loop, have a look around here or visit our Facebook page.

To learn more about Oil Royalty, click here.


Express and Communicate with Cielja Kieft

1. 3-11-2018 007Who are you? Tell me a bit about yourself.

“Hi, I am Cielja Kieft, and originally from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I am wife to metaphysical teacher Emahmn, mother to two wonderful adult sons and their wives, and grandmother of three young grandchildren who I adore. In fact, they are the reason my husband and I moved to Norman from Las Vegas, but not before spending almost 2 years hanging out and teaching on the dreamy Caribbean beaches of Mexico.

In Amsterdam I was a Theatre Director, Voice Coach, Drama Teacher and Parent and Teacher Trainer. I have incorporated all I taught before, and more, under the Empathic Communication Academy that I started here in Norman. I am also the founder of the group Norman Alternative.”

What is your affinity with the homeschooling community?

“When my youngest son opposed the regular school system strongly, we became part of developing alternative education in The Netherlands. Homeschooling was at that time not allowed.

It was such a relief for my son that we could start unschooling when we came to the USA and we were part of a great homeschooling resource center, where I was teaching. I quickly found The Loop when we arrived in Norman. I continued supporting alternative education families and further developing my passion for communication in understanding what we want to express.

I am now representative for Alternative Education Revolution (Resource) Organization (AERO).”

IMG_1877 (1)cropWhat classes do you teach at The Loop?

“I offer Pretend Drama for children 5-8yo, Teens and Hats for preteens and teens, and Empathic Communication for adults. I also offer private voice lessons.”

When did you find your passion for helping children express themselves?

“Ever since I had my own children I have been active in schools to give children a say in their education. By listening to them and teaching Parents and Teachers peaceful resolution skills I was more and more convinced how crucial it is for children to express themselves.

As I do promote to walk the talk, I wanted to show parents and teachers how a different communication could help the child taking charge of their own learning and happiness. That we need to use their innate communication blueprint and learning capacity, which is play.”

9-23-2015 072What was it that triggered that passion?

“Well, this was one of those moments: ‘Here I am, sitting in the classroom of my pre-schooler as a parent-aid for the morning. I feel bored and bullied. I see kids wiggle and being reprimanded for not sitting still. If I already feel this un-easy, what must all these children feel? And I am only a few hours here. I can leave when I want, and this is even the class with one of the nicest teachers…’

That was the start of me pushing for parent and teacher education. At the same time I realized that, as a drama-teacher, I had developed a way of communicating that honored the child’s being. People know that children need to play, but nobody seemed to see what I saw: Children have an innate way of learning the world they live in, and acquire the skills necessary to survive and evolve from an innate need. This they show and develop through play.”

When did you first discover that you loved sharing parenting and communication techniques with others?

“After an upset with my 2 year old, I read Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr. Thomas Gordon. I wondered why every parent didn’t know these things! I was eager to get certified and started teaching the skills to parents, teachers and leaders.

When people tell me already after the first few sessions, sometimes in tears, about amazing breakthroughs they had that week with their child, with their spouse, student or employee, I get goose bumps of joy and relief. I still do, after 27 years of teaching communication skills!”

refresher PET July 2013

What do you love most about working with adults?

“Helping them through their pain of not connecting with their child, spouse, family, co-workers and most of all helping them (re)-connect with themselves!

It is really one on one time, even in a group of 12. They can totally be themselves, finally talking about heartfelt things, role-playing, knowing they will get concrete tools to apply straight away when they go back home after class.

I love teaching in groups, as we recognize a lot with each other. In a group it helps to get also on the ‘goofy’ side, to lift up heavy situations. But I work one on one with a person too. Online and off.

4-22-2013 018 cropWhat is your favorite thing about teaching your children’s classes?

“Hearing in the closing circle from them how they liked the play, whether they got to do what they wanted, and how they feel at this moment. When they can hardly contain themselves and jump up with ‘super the super’ or something like that. That is my most rewarding moment.”

What do you hope adult students gain from your classes?

“Understanding of themselves on emotional, mental, physical and spiritual level. How they can take responsibility for their own happiness and well-being with actual using empathic communication skills. Understanding of others and that someone else is not against them, but for themselves.”

What about the children?

“Being honored in being themselves, being child. Being seen and heard while their creative mind is working full 100%. An understanding that we can go through a conflict in a way that all have an equal say. As well as the fact that a teacher or adult does not need to be the boss over you, nor over how things are supposed to go, or how you should behave. I hope the children come to understand that teachers can be enthusiastic about the things they want to show and teach, but their best role is being a facilitator in helping students learn what they want to do/know/experience next.”

Your adult class is called Empathic Communication. Are you still teaching parenting classes?

“I merged the parenting class with the Empathic Communication class. It seems to be hard these days for parents to commit to 10 or 12 weeks. So I created 4 Modules that can be purchased and committed to separately:

  • The Basics
  • Comprehensive
  • Advanced
  • Practice

After each module we can see if there are evolving subgroups, that can then go more specific their route, whether this is parenting, teaching, leadership, health-support, students, network-marketing. This has to do with the objectives of the participants.”

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What would you tell someone who was considering joining your Empathic Communication class?

“If you sigh, feel awkward, feel upset or hurt when you think about one of your relationships —whether this is with your child(ren), your spouse, family, neighbor, friend, or work-relations— come to class. You will gain tools and learn what to do. You do not need to stay in the mindset of ‘That’s how it is’.

If you feel all is going fine in your relationships, but also feel things may evolve and get more difficult in the future, come to class. You can think of the teen-years, changing jobs, moving, divorce, etc. Being proactive is the best. Let me know if you are not sure.

If you want to know more about how we communicate on a spiritual level. If you are interested in seeing ‘The bigger picture’ of how we operate as human beings together, come to class!”

What is specific about the class?

“As role-play is involved and the use of the energies of the emotions, the participants get a chance to test out knowledge and insights in how it actually feels and can be done. This way it is not only cognitive learning, but the learning will be on the cellular level as well. They will be able to make lasting changes.”

What about someone who was thinking about your Pretend Drama or Teens & Hats class?10-3-2012 007

“If your young child is dressing up and full of stories at home, they will love Pretend Drama. But also if you feel your child is somewhat shy, or on the contrary, more ‘bossy’, they will benefit so much from the class, as it is all up to them. They will choose to express themselves and cooperate to make it work.

Regarding the Teens & Hats: If your teen likes drama and improvisation, they will love this class that gives them the chance to give their ideas and opinions from a character they choose according with a hat they have on. As with the Pretend Drama class, the teens will get the benefit of masterminding, creating together, getting conflict resolution skills, besides expressing themselves.”

Want to learn more about Cielja’s classes? Contact her today!

March into Spring: Making the Most of Outdoor Play

March is here, and that means spring is well on its way. This is wonderful news, because it makes outside time much more feasible, something parents everywhere appreciate. After all, we all know that time spent in nature is crucial to a child’s development, and warm weather opens up a number of options for productive outdoor play.

Of course, the very best kind of play is unstructured and unregimented. Therefore, while there is something to be said for occasional structured activities such as sports, we highly recommend ensuring your kids get plenty of fresh air and sunshine without any specific instructions. These times are when you’re most likely to see their creativity blossom and grow.

That said, there are things you can do to encourage highly creative, skill building, outdoor play without imposing too many rules and creating a super structured environment. Here are our top 4 tips for doing this.

Invite Other Children

Some of the very best pretend play happens in groups. Sibling groups are great for this, but children without siblings who are close in age may need a bit of help gathering a group. Keep an eye out for neighbor kids who might want to come play regularly, head to a park where other children are gathered, or join a homeschool group (like The Loop) to make new friends and give your child an opportunity to play outdoors with others.

While the children are playing, do your best to allow them to work out their own problems, offering to help only if someone might be hurt. Giving the kids space will allow them to play freely and develop teamwork, problem solving, and creativity skills.

Choose Clothing Wisely

Kids who feel restricted by their clothing will probably not get as much out of their play time. After all, how can a young person properly create mud pies when they’ve been instructed to remain clean? Likewise, how is it possible to climb a tree in tight fitting pants that don’t allow freedom of movement.

Think about these things when dressing your children for play. Have designated play clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, dress your kids in these and then try to relax and let go. A bit of mud or sand and a bunch of leaves never hurt anyone, but they can certainly help a child develop properly.

Lean Toward “Yes”

If you’re like the majority of parents out there, your default answer is likely set to “no”. The problem with this is that there is not always a truly good reason to say “no”. After all, what’s a skinned knee or a ripped dress when compared to the amazing life lessons your children will be learning?

Instead of offering only negative responses to your child’s requests and ideas, make an effort to start saying “yes”. This will empower your child and give them a chance to explore their talents, interests, and limits.

Read, Discuss, and Experience

Our final tip is perhaps the most important of all: Read, discuss, and experience with your kids. You see, children often use free play time to act out and sort through new ideas and concepts. Therefore, by making a point of exploring and experiencing new things with your kids, you are offering them new material to try to understand during their unstructured playtime.

Finding new, fresh topics and ideas to share with your little ones doesn’t just give them new game ideas for playtime however. It also teaches them how to find information for themselves and encourages them to continue exploring their world into adulthood. Clearly, these are some of the best lessons you could possibly instill in a child.

These are our tips for preparing your kids for hours upon hours of free, unstructured outdoor playtime this spring and summer. Have something to add? Let us know about it on our Facebook page!

Create Word Magic with Alanna Ireland

FullSizeRenderWho are you? Tell me a bit about yourself.

“My name is Alanna Ireland and I live in Norman with my family.  My husband, Bo, is a United Methodist minister and we have 3 children.  My oldest son, Tarron, is 21 and lives in Norman as well.  My daughter, Magnolia, is a homeschooled senior and my youngest son, Ezra, is a homeschooled freshman.  I studied Early Childhood Education at OU and later studied the WestEd approach to education, which involves creating family-style educational environments rather than basing them on an industrial model.”

IMG_3821What classes do you teach at The Loop?

“I teach Ancient History Writing and Medieval History Writing.  I also teach US History Writing for another coop, but I’m hoping to move all my classes to the Loop this fall.  I also am cooking up some really creative and fun short-term writing classes for the summer.”

When did you find your passion for writing?

“Writing was something I always enjoyed growing up.  I would get excited when I got to do a writing assignment at school and I spent a lot of my free time writing and illustrating poems and stories.  In college, I discovered that academic writing came naturally to me and I would often help my classmates organize their ideas so that they could convey their insights on the subjects that they were passionate about.”

IMG_4594What was it that triggered that passion?

“I do think that my passion and abilities for writing were God-given, but I have also been inspired by the writing of others.  I have a natural love for the written word and for stories in general.  I was a voracious reader growing up and I still read both fiction and nonfiction every day.  I love how people can use writing as a vehicle for expressing new ideas and conveying information about our fascinating and beautiful world.  I also love how we can experience and create new worlds, people, and creatures through the written word.”

What do you love most about writing?

“Stories can move us to tears, teach us important lessons, change our minds about things we were formerly so sure of, give us empathy for others, and so much more.  The written word truly is a form of magic.”

IMG_3817What is your favorite thing about teaching your classes?

“I love seeing my students get really excited about something they’ve written to the point they can’t wait to share it with the class, especially those students who started the class thinking that they didn’t like to write.”

What do you hope students gain from your classes?

“Overall, I hope they can also fall in love with the written word and see how powerful words and stories can be.  For reluctant writers, I hope they gain techniques they can use to get their ideas down on paper and into the world.  For more prolific writers, I hope they learn to organize their thoughts to better convey their ideas to their readers.”

IMG_4573What would you tell someone who was considering joining your class?

“This class is a great way to explore both academic and creative writing and is for both reluctant and prolific young writers!

Students learn how to outline and plan before they start writing.  This helps students who may have a hard time getting thoughts from their brains all the way down their arms and on the paper.  Sometimes that short distance can feel like a thousand miles!  We also explore many ways to generate ideas such as using pictures and other stories for inspiration.

For more prolific writers, it can help them to be more concise and organized with the millions of ideas that tend to come rolling onto the page all at once.

Most of all, this class is FUN! Not only do I have fun in every single class thanks to the many fabulous students that always seem to make their way into my classes, but most of my students tell me that they have fun as well.  I incorporate a lot of games and creative activities into class times to keep things active and keep students engaged.

I wouldn’t tell any of my young writers this, but I might tell their parents that we also sneak in some grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.”

Would you like your kids to join Alanna’s awesome writing classes or any of the other classes at The Loop? Check out our schedule and class info on our calendar.

Learn more about Alanna and her awesome classes here

Eat Well with Whitney Womack

Who are you? Tell me a bit about yourself.

“My name is Whitney Womack. I’m a mother, wife, writer, chef, and Herban Homesteader living in Norman. I am passionate about garden-to-table philosophies, including sustainable practices in the garden and reducing our footprint in the kitchen while creating a dynamic intersection through modern culture.”

What classes do you teach at The Loop?

“Currently, I’m teaching a six-part Living Foods Series, which will cover a variety of topics surrounding whole foods and sustainable practices in the kitchen and the urban landscape. We will cover vegan + vegetarian lifestyles, gluten-free cooking + baking, home fermentation, sprouted foods, eating for your blood type, and balancing our dosha with seasonal + ayurvedic principles. There will also be an informative workshop on home orchid growing as well!”


When did you find your passion for healthy and living foods?

“When I was 15 and experimented with becoming a vegetarian, in contrast with all that I was being exposed to in high school and deepening my knowledge about my body. I continued that journey for the next 8 years until I started to expand my interest outside of a rigid comfort zone and began my first job as a chef at UCO in Edmond.

After the birth of my second child, I decided not to go back to the workforce I had been in, but instead chose to start my own business. I started writing a food blog and writing for Edible magazine on the side, tailoring the work and services I wanted to offer to families and communities.”


What was it that triggered that passion?

“I did not start this journey due to medical issues or health problems, but really just my thirsty knowledge for a more refined set of tools in order to keep my body and my family healthy on whole foods and natural supplements and remedies.”

What do you love most about healthy and living foods?

“I love feeling armed and equipped with nature’s most powerful medicines, available directly from my home garden that I have grown and nurtured for the last 10 years, which is 75% edible medicinals including food and herbs.”


What is your favorite thing about teaching your classes?

“The community and sharing of experiences truly enriches every aspect of creating + attending workshops. I am constantly learning about other people’s stories on the way to good health and that is worth so much.”

What do you hope students gain from your classes?

“My hope is that they come away with an increased level of knowledge and inspiration to experiment with different foods, to explore the landscape of their palette, and to take risks with food, not be afraid to fail on their way to success.”

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What would you tell someone who was considering joining your class?

“Join our classes with an open mind and curiosity. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to taste everything. Take notes and bring a friend!”

Want to join Whitney’s class or any of the other great classes at The Loop? Be sure to check our calendar for details.

More info on Whitney’s upcoming class can be found here.

To read more about Whitney, visit her blog.

Helping Children Develop Team Work Skills

Teamwork skills are an incredibly valuable thing to possess. They allow us to collaborate with others and accomplish great things. The make a person more employable, but are also one of the many necessary tools for starting and maintaining a well-run business.

In short, teamwork skills are one of the many skill sets you’ll want to make sure you instill in your children before they become adults.

Fortunately, it generally isn’t too hard to do this. After all, kids naturally gravitate toward one another, and with playtime comes both group effort and life lessons on the importance of working together.

Still, it’s nice to know you’re doing everything you can to facilitate these experiences. If you feel your children need help in this area, this is what we suggest you do.

Value Communication

Communication is a key component in working as a team. Therefore, it’s highly important that you teach your kids to voice their thoughts, but also listen to the ideas and opinions of others. With everyone’s ideas out in the open, a group of people can begin to establish a solution or plan that meets the needs of everyone, even if some compromises must be made.

Encourage Empathy

Of course, if you expect a child to make compromises with others, he or she will need to feel empathy for others. For the most part, humans are empathetic creatures. However, it never hurts to encourage empathy by actively displaying your empathy for others and by discussing the feelings of others in various situations.

By helping your child fine-tune their sense of empathy, you are giving them the tools they need to put themselves in another person’s shoes. This comes in handy when the child is expected to give up part of what they want for the benefit of the group.

Allow Time for Group Free-Play

Organized activities are great on occasion, but kids should be allowed plenty of time to play freely and without parent referees. This works especially well when children of various ages are allowed to play together, but any group of children will likely engage in a group game or project, working out kinks and compromising as needed if given enough time and freedom.

Present a Project

If a particular group of kids doesn’t seem to be clicking well together, you might consider presenting them with a project idea and allowing them to take it from there. For instance, pulling out a puzzle and letting the kids piece it together as a team is a great activity that encourages good teamwork skills.

LEGO is another awesome tool for encouraging children to work together to make something of their own, and board games that require the players to split into teams can be a good option for older kids.

Join a Team

As mentioned before, free-play is one of the most effective ways to encourage teamwork in children. That said, there is something to be said for organized teamwork as well. For this type of experience you might consider signing your child up for a sports team, band, choir, dance team, or theater group. Any of these will give your child a unique teamwork experience that will help them grow as team members and improve upon this particular skill set.

Looking for a team for your child to join, or a group of kids for them to engage in free-play with? We have both things right here at The Loop. Our Pretend Drama Club is perfect for young children who’d like to work in a group, and group guitar lessons are ideal for older children who are interested in exploring music with a group. Of course, The Loop is also happy to host casual get-togethers, meaning our location might just be the perfect place for your next free-play session.

For more information on all of our offerings, please feel free to contact us today!

3 Quick and Easy DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and that means it’s time to start rounding up Valentine’s cards for those you love. Of course, you could just run to the store and buy some premade cards and call it good. However, homeschooling parents who have the time should really consider crafting up some DIY cards.

Not only will making Valentines give you and your kiddos some good quality time together, this activity also gives young students a chance to practice handwriting, spelling, and fine motor skills.

Wondering what kinds of cards you might be able to create with minimal effort and frustration? Try these simple yet adorable options.

Lollipop Superheroes

These super cute superheroes are a hit with people of all ages. They are easy to make, sweet to eat, and the perfect gift for the heroes in your life.

Start with a Tootsie Pop or Blow-Pop. Glue a paper “mask” to the wrapper of the sucker “head”. Using a second piece of construction paper, cut out a small rounded triangle shape for the “cape” and add a short message to it. Finally, poke the lollipop stick through the top of the cape and deliver to all your family and friends.

Homemade Heart Crayons

Everyone loves to color! Feed their passion with these super cool crayons. Not only are they cute, they’re inexpensive to make.

Begin by finding all of the old broken crayons in your house. Make sure all crayons are wraperless and broken into small pieces not more than half and inch long. Add an assortment of crayons to each section of a heart-shaped silicone candy mold. Bake the crayons for 15–20 minutes at 250°F.

After removing the crayons from the oven—but before they are allowed to cool—add one drop of lemon oil to each heart. Allow the crayons to cool, then remove from the mold. Add each crayon to a special note before handing out to those you love.

Paint Sample Bookmarks

These bookmarks are an incredibly cute way to use paint sample cards you are no longer using. This craft is an especially good idea for those who work in a hardware store and see old samples thrown away regularly.

Gather several multi-color paint sample cards in reds and pinks. Use a heart-shaped hole punch to put some decorative holes in the cards. Punch one circle hole in the center of the top of each cards and tie a red, pink, or white ribbon through the hole. Finish by tucking the bookmark into a cute card or even slipping it into a favorite book to gift to a friend.

Of course, these aren’t the only great DIY Valentine’s card ideas out there. Why not think outside the box and come up with few ideas of your own to add to your arsenal?

Are you finding yourself in a creative rut? Not to worry! We have tons of amazing creative classes here at The Loop, and we’d love to have you and your students join us. Check out our calendar for more information of our offerings.

Finding Your Post-Holiday Groove

With the holidays over, it’s time to get things in order and find your post-holiday groove. Unfortunately for many homeschooling families, this can be pretty tough. Worn-out parents and kids who are still wound up from the season don’t generally get back into the swing of things together very easily, and with no set schedule to answer to, this is made even more difficult.

So how does a homeschooling parent help their family find a routine and jump back into normal life? Try these tips and tricks.

Get Up and Ready

One of the best parts about being a homeschool family is the ability to stay in your PJs all day. However, it is a practice that can quickly become a habit. This is especially true in the winter when the weather leaves you wanting to do nothing except snuggle all day.

Now, we don’t have anything against snuggling. In fact, we wrote an entire post on the subject, but we do know that too much PJ time can quickly lead to a lack of productivity. Therefore, slipping into some clean clothes and brushing your hair and teeth will likely work wonders for getting back into the swing of things.

Create a Schedule

Sometimes, when the world doesn’t provide you with a set schedule, it’s best to create one of your own. This doesn’t have to mean living by a rigid, military-style daily schedule, but a loose idea of how your day will go can be helpful when you’re trying to find your groove after several weeks of pure craziness.

Go ahead and give it a try. You might like the results, and you’ve got nothing to lose in the process.

Get Moving

If your family has trouble getting themselves off the couch on the chilliest winter mornings, try putting on some music and having a dance party. If dancing isn’t your thing, consider a quick stroll around the block (after bundling up, of course).

A bit of exercise to get your heart pumping is sure to bring up the energy of the household, making the place a productive learning zone once again.

Try Stimulating Scents

Another trick to try on those days when nobody wants to get up and around is diffusing some oils. Peppermint and lemon are both excellent choices for waking up your brain and getting it ready to work.

Get Out of the House

After several weeks of winter weather, cabin fever is likely to set in. This makes it incredibly difficult to focus and either leaves kids feeling lethargic or overly energetic. Try combating this issue by getting out of the house when nobody seems to be able to focus. Head to the library to get some stuff done (and bring home some cool books while you’re at it), or try doing schoolwork at a local coffee shop.

Join Group Activities

A great way to combine a few of these tricks is to join a group activity or two. This gets you out of the house, helps you build a schedule, and can even get you moving.

Looking for some great group activities to join? Check out the class schedule here at The Loop! We have tons of amazing classes to choose from, and each and every one is sure to help pull you out of your post-holiday funk and get you back into the groove of everyday living.

Learning Through Christmas and the New Year

Most anyone who celebrates Christmas is going to be pretty busy this week. Parties, family gatherings, and other events are sure to keep you and your kiddos running from place to place all week long. Switching your attention to these things means you will almost certainly be skimping on the formal schoolwork.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure education continues to occur throughout this busy time. In fact, you might be surprised to find that your kids can learn just as much from your day-to-day experiences during the winter holidays as they do with their noses buried in textbooks.

Wondering how you can incorporate learning into your hectic holiday schedule? Try the methods below.

Read Together

There are literally hundreds of amazing holiday-themed books out there. Pick one or two to read with the kids before the holidays have ended. This is a great way to teach appreciation of literature and will get little ones excited about reading. If you have older children who can already read fluently, try having them read aloud. Discuss the story as a family and point out lessons you think are worth noting.

By doing this, you will be creating wonderful memories, getting into the holiday spirit, learning valuable life lessons, and sneaking in some “schooling” while you’re at it.

Bake Cookies

Math skills are essential in our everyday lives. For instance, we use mathematics every single time we follow a recipe. You can use this to your advantage by baking holiday cookies with the kids and incorporating fun lessons on fractions for older kids, and addition and subtraction for young children.

If you’re feeling really bold, why not make it a science experiment as well by switching the ingredients slightly to see what the results are?

Listen Up

If your family is constantly on the run or doing any traveling during or after the holiday week, stock up on good podcasts to listen to during long car rides and/or flights. There are tons of amazing options for kids, and many of them are highly educational. Some of our favorites include Brains On!, Tumble, and The Past and Curious.

Hand Out Cards

Giving out cards is a wonderful holiday tradition that family and friends are sure to appreciate. Sure, it may be too late to send cards in the mail, but taking a few to hand out at family gatherings can be just as fun. Best of all, writing cards is an amazing way to get your kids to practice their writing skills.

Whether you’re working on handwriting, spelling, or grammar, writing short notes to loved ones inside of cards will help you squeeze in some practice while also spreading some holiday joy.

Go Shopping

It’s likely that older kiddos will end up with some sort of gift card or cash by the time all the gift-giving is over. Take them shopping! By allowing them to handle the cash, you can give them to opportunity to work on their money management skills and get a solid understanding of coin and bill values, as well as percentages.

These are just a few of the many ways you can squeeze some education into your holiday fun. Looking for more fun and educational things to do this season? Check out our calendar for upcoming events here at The Loop!

Keeping the Kids Active Through the Winter

Winter has settled in for a long stay and it’s likely your kids are getting restless. While snuggling on the couch is fun for a few days, after a week or so of being stuck indoors, kids need to run and jump. Unfortunately, doing this inside the house is not always an option, and sending the kids outside may not be either.

If you find yourself stuck in the house and slowly drifting into a funk this winter season, it might be time to find some ways to get out and let the kids run around. Need some suggestions on how to go about this? Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Find an Indoor Playground — The first and most obvious option is to find an indoor playground. Not sure where one can be found? Check out Chick-Fil-A or McDonald’s. If fast food isn’t your thing, you might prefer Dynamo Gym in northwest Oklahoma City, where you can pay $5 to play on a gigantic play structure. For those with young kids, the small play area at Quail Springs Mall is great, and Unpluggits in Edmond is an amazing place to both play and do some crafts.

Invest in a Membership — A membership at the Oklahoma Science Museum is a wonderful investment. Add on the Oklahoma Museum Network option and gain access to a variety of area museums—some with playgrounds—where your kids can run, jump, and learn.

Head to the Gym — No, we don’t mean you need to take your kids to the nearest Gold’s Gym. However, finding a local church or school that is willing to open their gymnasium to visitors could be an option. Call around and see if you can find a place where the kids can let loose and run off their energy. If you do find a place, you might even help some other parents out by setting up a homeschool meetup.

Sign Up For a Class — There are tons of choices when it comes to classes that help kids expend some of their pent-up energy. Gymnastics and dance lessons are easy to find, as are sports teams. We even have the option of yoga with Emily right here at The Loop, and boy is it a great option!

We hope these tips help keep your kids active and happy, and also help save your sanity this cold season. After all, homeschooling is no fun at all if everyone is crabby. So what are you waiting for? Get out and start moving!