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