Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Reflections

Looking back on the months gone by,
As a new year starts and an old one ends,
We contemplate what brought us joy,
And we think of our loved ones and our friends.

Recalling all the happy times,
Remembering how they enriched our lives
We reflect upon who really counts,
As the fresh and bright new year arrives.

And when we ponder those who do,
we immediately think of you.

Thanks for being one of the reasons
We'll have a Happy New Year!

By Joanna Fuchs

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Love- The6Stricklands

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A funny that'll last a lifetime.....

Dylan has a personality of his own. He has his own ideas and he does just what he wants to do. He doesn't conform much to what other people are doing or want to do. (Hopefully that'll last through his teenage years right?)

Well in preschool this Christmas, his teacher thought it would be adorable to make an angel ornament with a picture of the kiddos dressed up as angels with wings and wearing a Christmas tree headband instead of an halo.

Dylan was NOT up to that at all, and it took her sometime to finally talk him into taking a photo. She told me how proud she was that he gave in and "participated".

On the last day of preschool, Dylan had a bag full of goodies, crafts and ornaments (including the angel ornament).
At home we went through the items together and I "ooohed" and "aaaahhhed" over all the stuff. I finally got to the angel ornament and (knowing how he reluctantly participated) was about to cheerfully aknowledge the special ornament when he grabbed the ornament from my hand and said in a very deep tone with a frown on his face "Mommy, Dylan didn't want that" and pointed to himself all dressed up.

It was such a funny moment- but felt I needed to keep to his tone and validate his feelings. I did share with him how happy I was he took the picture anyway, we put it on our tree for everyone to see- for many many many years.

Here is the ornament hanging on our tree. (Click on the image to see his facial expression- he's just not good at hiding his feelings is he?)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Reason why I love this time of year...

....all the Christmas cards!
If you don't
see your
Christmas card
here- it's either
somewhere in the
back or you
haven't sent it!

We will be sending our last installment of cards in the mail on Monday. If you haven't gotten our card and would like one, let me know and I will send it via email!

Dylan and his Daisy Dog

I found this picture today and thought Id post it on our site. Big D loves his doggy Daisy! He is in charge of taking care of her- only because he insists on doing it. He feeds her, plays with her, gives her water- his favorite thing is to take her on walks.
He's actually pretty good at taking care of her too! He does much better at lovin' and carin' for her than we all do!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

~ANG-ELF~ and a BIG announcement!!

Our sweet Emily was in a Christmas Musical at her school. They presented the play at the High School Auditorium.

She played two parts in the musical and was proud of and took seriously each role. She proudly called herself an "ANG-ELF" for an Angel and an Elf.

She was an elf and had a speaking part at the beginning.

And then she was an angel and had a singing part.

We were so proud of her! Afterwards she was awarded with lots of love and flowers from her fans(family).

~The BIG announcement~

Emily got glasses! We got a letter from the school nurse explaining during her routine eye exam she couldnt see some letters and advised us to go see an eye doctor. We finally got in last week and today her new glasses came in! She is so proud and already talking about how she can see things better. She even said at dinner "Oh, I forgot I was wearing glasses!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas: Part 2

Traditions are so much apart of our Christmas season. From baking, to giving, to decorating. We LOVE to celebrate this time of year.

Here are a few more pictures of our Christmas.

I love to bake + our kids love to bake= lots of baking!!
Here is our annual gingerbread house. This year Big D was able to participate, I think he ate more candy than he put on the house!

Plus we like to bake and give it away. We have a family friend who is hosting her family for Christmas, dont you know that could get pricey! SO, we made a few jars of goodies. (These are Clean- old pickle, applesauce, hotsauce jars) We made a pancake mix, an oatmeal raisin cookie mix, and a hot chocolate mix.

Its so much fum to see the girls wanting to decorate the house, seriously, they are so festive and crafty. I think they get that from their daddy. ;)

This the second year to wrap our door. Kayla did a majority of this wrapping! Isnt it beautiful, I might not take it down after Christmas!

A sweet older woman named Alice made my mom a stuffed Santa. If you pushed his nose- it would sing "Jingle Bells". Its about 20 years old, and my mom passed it off to me. This is such a precious Santa and we have no idea what to do with him around Christmas.

WELL this year- the girls had a clever idea about putting him up in the window in our stairwell. We never use that window, and its so high up and everyone can see it from the window. We have gotten so many comments on him this year!

Every year I enjoy putting out our Nativity sets, although NOBODY plays with mommas set, which is displayed nicely on the piano. We have a fun plastic set for the kiddos to enjoy. You will notice that baby Jesus is MIA, we find pieces of Nativity all over the house!!

We didn't put our stocking on our fireplace this year because we are using it so much for heat- so we decided to hang the stockings off of a shelf. Kayla and I decorated these stockings when she learned about St. Nicolas and the legend of him throwing coins down the chimney into the stockings.

Notice the snowmen on the shelf. I made the one on the far right our first year married..I also made the fat one in the middle. My mom made the small one to the left, and the small one to the right reminds me so much of my tator tot- round belly- red cheeks and a sweet smile! The globe is a family favorite. It winds up and plays music. It has four snowmen in each globe- representing each kiddo! I had to put it high this year- I caught Dylan with it several times trying to "make it music".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008 Strickland Christmas Card

Again this year we went to and logged into their photo services. We were able to make this card online by uploading the photos from our computer. Then we sent the card to our local HEB for printing. An hour later I got a confirmation email that they were ready for pick up. I picked them up and payed for them with a few extra groceries. TREMENDOUS! The envalopes came with them and the cards were inexpensive too! I LOVE a good find!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Colorful Characteristics

Recently, our Tator Tot has expressed his marvelous artistic abilities.

This picture was taken after he had some fun with the markers. He is learning that we only color on P.A.P.E.R.

He is turning into quite a colorful character!!

A happy homeschooling momma

NOTE: This post is geared more towards homeschooling- not all might be interested in such a post.

I have been given lots of great resources by fellow homeschooling moms. Below are a few of my recent favorites.

School Express (click on it to check it out) I like all the FREE fun worksheets and printables that I can use to supplement in with our work. Especially the FUN writing ideas. The site also has plenty of Thematic Units and Activity Fun eWorkbooks, as well as supplemental eWorkbooks for each subject.

(cute name-click to check it out) This is a big networking site that not only has great educational resources, it also has support groups, classifieds, chat rooms, and oh my goodness so much more! I like how its a constant updated site, right now Christmas resources are up, and they also have a free planner organizer for the new year to use.

The Home School Mom
(click to check it out) Their site offers a monthly newsletter that gives out fun resources, they also have support groups, spanish lessons, homeschooling planners, lesson plans, articles and lots more.

There is a WEALTH of homeschooling resources online! You just have to know where to find them. I have been so happy to find and use all of these great websites with our schooling!!

Any homeschooling moms know of any other great sites?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas on 5th Street

Last night I took Emmy out on a date to BU for their annual Christmas festivities. We had SO much fun!

We saw a live Nativity Scene, complete with camels and donkeys. We enjoyed the petting zoo full of sheep.

We watched a portion of the Selah Christmas Tour. This band has such talent and beautiful music.

We also stood in line for an hour to ride a horse and buggy. It was what Emily wanted to do- so we did it. (This is us on the carriage ride

We did lots of other things like enjoy Hot Chocolate and cookies, see Santa (even though Emily knew he wasn't real) and watched some Steven Curtis Chapman LIVE. Later I asked Em what her favorite part of the night was- she replied "Spending time with my mommy". She is such a JEWEL!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

PART 1: Christmas

Its beginning to look alot like Christmas at our house. We started putting everything out the day after Thanksgiving- we just couldn't wait!

We had our annual "F
amily On The Roof" moment. Interesting enough- the boys were NOT excited about being on the roof. We had the girls on the roof at this age- and they were just as estatic as they are today to be up. And finally this year- momma went up too for a minute- dont care to share the pics though!

We put up our tree. Nice thing- I hardly had to do a thing, the girls did a major part of getting the tree up and decorated. Even the boys helped put up the ornaments. All those pretty shiny balls are PLASTIC! A neccessitity- especialy when I catch Taylor throwing the on the tile to see them bounce!! We have our train track up under the tree- but with two young boys, we cant keep it out on display, we get it out on occasion for fun. It was passed down to us from Joel's grandfather- we need to keep it in good condition!

One new thing we have this year is a Christmas clock. This was given to us by a very dear person. On the hour- the clock will play a Christmas song. Its been such a sweet sound to have in our house.

Kayla made her very own Advent Calendar. This calendar corresponds with her school curriculum. Five days of the week- we are to open a number, and review that Christmas symbol. So far we have learned about the Advent Wreath, the Christmas Tree and ornaments, and today we are discussing Christmas baking. This has been really exciting to be able to work around this unit.

I have a few more festive things and pics to post about- but very little time, will share more soon!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The ADVENTure of Christmas

I highly recommend this book "The ADVENTure of Christmas" by Lisa Whelchel to all you moms out there!

This book was given to me last year by a dear friend (((hugs-Steph))) and I cannot even begin to express the depth this book can take you and your kiddos through the Christmas holiday (hence the name of the title). Great stories, questions to ponder, activity ideas, and illustrations.

Basically this book is a guide for moms who want to keep their children from losing sight of Jesus in the midst of the distractions the holiday season brings. Its a great way to find Jesus in our holiday traditions. The author writes "..celebrating Christmas is not far from the heart of God", and she basically heard God tell her tha we can look in the middle of all the "celebration" and we can find Him. SO TRUE!

Look through the pages of the book by clicking here.

During the month of December in homeschooling, we will be going through a Christmas Symbols Unit along with this book. Each day we will have a symbol (or two) to learn about in all forms (reading, writing, math, history, science, music, art) We made an Advent Calendar to follow with this unit.

SO MUCH FUN, and I am so excited to pull the whole family in and really find God in this great holiday celebration and traditions!

Friday, November 28, 2008

In honor of Black Friday....

...I want to present you with a little movie. Please take a moment to watch.

Now that you've seen the movie, let me take a moment to share a few things. First off, I LOVE this video, and the heart behind its message. The movie was made by a group called Advent Conspiracy. You can read more about them at

They want people to rethink Christmas. Because after all, Christmas isnt about all the shopping and presents. They advocate giving Presence instead this Christmas. The concept behind AC is "Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All". Read more about that here.

There is also a site they created called Rethinking Christmas. Its a community site for people to share their stories, ideas, and wisdom. They also have a great AC Gift Guide full of gift ideas and suggestions.

I decided to share all of this info because I believe Christmas is so much more than what our culture tell us it is. Sure, we even decorate our house, and put up our tree, and even give out presents to those we love. But none of this is done excessively. We are a family who has chosen to live simply all year long.

One of our favorite qoutes is LIVE SIMPLY SO OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE. Its important that we "SIMPLIFY" by choosing our lifestyles carefully, we are in effect helping many other people around the world who have it a lot less fortunate than we do.

I encourage everyone to check out more about Advent Conspiracy and make this Christmas more meaningful this year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Our favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Check out this website:

This site takes you through a step by step process in making a super fabulous pecan pie! I have made my pecan pie from this recipe for years!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


In the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday, we wanted to post why we are thankful.

Joel is thankful for his beautiful wife, healthy children, and any opportunity to cycle.

Tressa is thankful for a gracious God, family, friends, job, good health, a beautiful home, nice minivan, and her new hair color.

Kayla is thankful for Jesus, family, friends, piano and homeschool.

Emily is thankful for God, her family, friends, and her Littliest Pet Shop collection.

Dylan is thankful for daddy, mommy, sisters, Taylor, school, any type of vehicle, and Daisy (our dog).

Taylor is thankful for good food, family, and for his big brother and big sisters.

Please take a moment and think of the things your thankful for this holiday and count your blessings!
Also, read a post about having a thankful heart written by our momma, by clicking here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A special visitor!

We had a great visit with our Uncle Matt over the weekend. Uncle Matt is Joel's brother, he is in town from California.

He is a celebrity in our house, our children love him dearly and so do Joel and I. (We named our Matthew Taylor after Matt) We treasure any second we can see him. We had to bribe him over with some good food and a chance to have the bragging rights of winning a game of monopoly.

Well, again this year- Matt won monopoly, mind you this is "Littliest Pet Shop" Monopoly and the girls had already dropped out. The two brothers-both stubborn as can be fought it out to the end, and Joel had to pay up. Poor Joel.

We also enjoyed a cool bike ride, some hot chocolate and some Wii playing! We love you Uncle Matt!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

FUN Thanksgiving Websites

Here are some links to Thanksgiving online interactive fun!

Here you can dress up a Turkey- over and over and over!

Here you can get venture just like the pilgrims did on their voyage in the Mayflower. You can tour the boat, or see how the Pilgrims lived, and see what the first Thanksgiving might have looked like.

Here are our favorite ecards website. The ecards are clean, cute, and are free!

Here are some Thanksgiving games, puzzles, and printables.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I must confess, many years ago, I had judgmental thoughts about homeschooling, due to some misconceptions about what homeschooling was really about. And now -here we are..homeschooling our daughter!! You know the saying "what goes around come around!"

To be honest- we are really enjoying our time with Kayla at home..spending some one on one time with her...investing in her future. Home schooling isn't an inadequate way to educate a child like I had always labelled it to be. It actually can be a very sufficient and competent way to teach a child.

GRANTED there is lots of preparation that goes into homeschooling a child. Knowing your childs needs, selecting curriculum, implementing a scheduled school system that works for everyone, connecting with other homeschoolers....and so on and so forth!

So here we are- WEEK 2 of homeschooling and it hasn't been too bad. We have lots of resources and tools to work with, newly reorganized schedules which have made educating our child at home a reality, a school system that really works, met up with several homeschool girls and joined the local homeschool association.

Let me show you all a glimpse of what this looks like at the Strickland home.

Here is her desk... this actually was Joel's desk when he was a little boy..we repainted it purple..the top still needs to be replaced- but it works for now. (The gum ball machine is her reward system. Every subject she completes cheerfully and completely she is awarded a gum ball. When a certain amount of gum balls have been awarded- she gets to go on a fun outing of her choosing.

Here is Kayla's math teacher! haha, seriously though, Joel teaches Kayla all her math. They have alot of fun together learning and exercising their math skills!

Here is her daily planner. The public school provided and uses these with the 3rd graders and we decided to keep using it at home. Its been a great resource. I just write out in each subject what her work is, and we check it off as its completed throughout the day.

SUBJECTS we are covering:

MATH: We are focusing alot on math right now. We have a great "HOOKED ON MATH" (by the makers of Hooked On Phonics) program we are using. It has games, songs, flashcards, dry erase sheets, posters, and lots more to work with. There are four levels to this curriculum, and we are on level one. It says level four is a fourth grade level.

This is Kayla going to bed with her tape player, she is wanting to fall asleep to her math songs. She is truly enjoying math these days!

Other subjects we are covering weekly are COMPOSITION & GRAMMAR, SPELLING & VOCABULARY, HANDWRITING, READING, some HISTORY & SCIENCE, and MUSIC & PIANO W/ Ms. Sara.

I love writing lesson plans, and have done so for many years in many different teaching fields. So its been fun to pull together custom-tailored work for Kayla to strengthen her during her time at home.

We also did a fun science project on Monday where we asked the question "How does Popcorn POP?" Kayla wrote out her hypothesis and her procedures. We popped the corn in a frying pan and made some observations. She wrote out her conclusion that popcorn has moisture within, when heated up, it explodes- basically turning the popcorn inside out!
It was lots of fun..and very delicious.

If you asked Kayla what she misses the most about school- she'd tell you that she misses the PEOPLE. She is truly a people person. We are doing things daily that involve interaction with people. (piano w/ Ms. Sara, Kids Kingdom, other homeschooling girls, lifegroup, church, outreaches, and starting in January-she will be enrolling into some co-op classes and/or playing some sports-possibly gymnastics.)

NEEDLESS TO SAY....we are excited about this rich time with Kayla. Not only is it helping her...she is helping me with the boys during the day. Having all Kayla's work done by the afternoon allows us to focus more on Emily when she gets home from school. This decision to homeschool Kayla has benefited everyone..but maybe not the laundry!

Friday, November 14, 2008

WE'RE BACK!! (well kinda)

How is everyone enjoying the Fall? We are loving the cooler weather! Although we don't like it when it gets too cold or too hot- our heating and air system died. (We now know what we will be spending our income tax on in the spring!)

We're back online- it was nice to take a complete break, although it was not entirely optional to go offline- we had to choose to buy groceries or pay our phone/internet bill. We chose groceries and roughed it for 11 days with no phone or internet. ;) It turned out to be a great break and there were many accomplishments at home.

I know I promised you all pictures, but I have so little time to upload-edit any plus my picture taking is slacking! SO instead- since we have been out a bit, I came up with a fun top ten list of happenings. Read on!


We had fun last weekend at Joel's cousins wedding, the wedded couple's first dance was the TANGO! One of our most fav. weddings attended thus far!

Thanksgiving preparations are underway, we are making the desserts for the Bounds side of the family. The girls will get to make their first pies this year!


At Halloween, the kids were Queen Esther (Kayla), a Leopard (Emily), a Train (Dylan), and a Train Conductor (Taylor) I dressed up too as a conductor in some overalls- I felt like a goof all night long!

We voted. And we are not necessarily happy with the results, but trusting in God who is a God of all nations-we can trust Him with everything that happens in our life, in our city, in our state, and in our country.

We're getting our family photos taken soon! (once mommy's monthly blemishes are gone!) Will post the results when they are in!

Our Nana celebrated her 50th birthday, we had a lovely party for her in Mansfield. Interesting facts- 50 years ago- gas was 30 cents a gallon, postage stamp were 4 cents, minimum wage was $1/hour, and houses were generally sold around $18,000!

Our Dylan-ator is just that. He is enjoying preschool, playing with friends, doing "school" at home too, reading new books (well-looking at the pictures) and we're proud to say he can count to 15 on his own! He loves his "tickles" which are his zip up footy pajamas.

Taylor is enjoying the game of "PEEKABOO" and plays it very well! Poor guy- we took him to the doctor today- a double ear infection. Please pray for health!

We pulled Kayla out of public school and is now being home schooled. She really needed that one on one. All of us are loving every bit of it!

Emily has gotten impatient with her daddy- who hasn't been reading the Chronicles Of Narnia often to the girls like he has been- SO- she decided to start reading it herself! Her nose is always in a book!

Sorry, had one more thing to mention- we watched an INCREDIBLE movie called END OF THE SPEAR, if you haven't seen it- you really should! A great movie based on a true story.

We will be posting some fun Thanksgiving links and things, so come back again soon!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Dear family and friends.
The Stricklands will be offline for a couple of weeks for so many reasons! Come back in a few weeks and we will have a family update with lots of pictures!!
We love you all and have a great few weeks!
Love- The 6 Stricklands

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We have hit the ground running since we arrive home from Washington a few weeks ago.

Not that life isn't already crazy just by having four kids, but we have been busy doing so much lately: planning for our Nana's 50th Birthday party, helped(mostly Joel) with and attended the annual Womens Conference, lots of Fall school projects(picture to come) and of course planning, looking, and getting together Halloween costumes, birthday parties, lifegroup, etc....

We will be posting pictures soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

LAST of the DC Pictures: Colonial Williamsburg

((This is DC Pic Post #4. Read more here about what in the world that means.))

This is the last- but most certainly not the
least post of our DC Adventure. After my moms prompting, we took a day trip down to Virginia to visit a place called Colonial Williamsburg. She had been there twice with my dad and loved it. We are SO glad we went!

The motto of Colonia
l Williamsburg is "that the future may learn from the past." and they mean it! (This is a picture of some of the bricks you walk over on a bridge to the 301 acre historic distric of the city of Williamsburg Virginia.

What is Colonial Williamsburg?
Colonial Williamsburg consists of many of the buildings that, from 1699 to 1780, formed colonial Virginia's capital. For most of the 18th century, Williamsburg was the center of government, education and culture. It was here that Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, James Monroe, James Madison, George Wythe, Peyton Randolph and dozens more helped mold democracy in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States. Early in the 20th century, the restoration and recreation of Colonial Williamsburg, one of the largest historic restorations ever undertaken, was championed by the Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin and the patriarch of the Rockefeller family, John D/ Rockefeller, Jr., along with the active participation of his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, who wanted to celebrate the patriots and the early history of the United States.

Many of the missing Colonial structures were reconstructed on their original sites during the 1930s. Other structures were restored to the best estimates of how they would have looked during the eighteenth century, with all traces of later buildings and improvements removed. Dependency structures and animals help complete the ambiance. Most buildings are open for tourists to look through, with the exception of several buildings that serve as residences for Colonial Williamsburg employees.

The Mission of Colonial Williamsburg
The major goal of the Restoration was not to merely preserve or recreate the physical environment of the colonial period, but to facilitate education about the origins of the idea of America, which was conceived during many decades before the American Revolution.
In this environment, Colonial Williamsburg strives to tell the story of how diverse peoples, having different and sometimes conflicting ambitions, evolved into a society that valued liberty and equality.
If you want to learn more, visit Colonial Williamsburg's website.

We were able to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch our nations history. An experience I hope our children never forget!

Here are a few pictures of the local colonial people (and us).

You could interact, intermingle, converse and play in on the life of Williamsburg. It was so hands on which is our family's love language!

Places we visited in Colonial Williamsburg:

The Govenors Palace (a place where Thomas Jefferson once lived) One picture is a real smoke house- only the rich could have that much meat! And one picture is of all the armory in the entry way of the home- just to show off, and the other pic is of a bed in one of the rooms.

The Courthouse(where Benjamin Waller read the Declaration of Independence from the steps), this is the girls getting their punishment!

Great Hopes Plantation,

Joel carrying water like it was done!

The other pics are of some construction being done like it would have in the day,

and of a typical kitchen! Im sure it got hot in there!

We stopped at a working bakery(and enjoyed the treats too!)

We vistied a gunsmiths, and a Printing & Binding Shop

Then looked through the historic, beautiful Bruton Parish Church, (which had lots of graves dated back to the 1700-1800's.)

We also passed through the Millinery shop(clothing), a trades shop(where we bought a few trinkets to bring home), and lots of nurseries and gardens.

Throughout the day performances and skits take place. Some would be political, and some would be cultural. It was great to hear and see the people of the old day.

Heres a video of a traditional dance that went on.