Monday, December 28, 2009


"We will open the book.

Its pages are blank.

We are going to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called

Opportunity and its

first chapter is

New Year's Day."

~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Friday, December 25, 2009

Once Upon A Christmas

Once upon a Christmas, Far away in Bethlehem. Mary, being great with child, Had no place to lie down. So Joseph found a stable in which Mary had her child.

Once upon a Christmas,
was the birth of Jesus Christ. Once upon a Christmas, in a manger far away, a King was born, his palace was a manger filled with hay. His royal robes were swaddling cloths, a halo was His crown.

Once upon a Christmas,
away in Bethlehem. Once upon a Christmas, from the Far East, wise men came, with gold, and myrrh, and frankinsence, to praise the newborn King. Shepherds left their flocks and came to see and worship Him.

Once upon a Christmas,
away in Bethlehem. And all the world rejoiced because the King was born, at last. A Savior had been promised, now it had come to pass. And the joyful news that He was born spread quickly far and wide, Once upon a Christmas, was the birth of Jesus Christ.

Once Upon A Christmas by Selah

Friday, December 18, 2009

Strickland Candy House

This is our second year to put together this type of house.
Thanks to the tea
chings and wisdom from our great aunt Anne. She has been making these houses for years! I have to say, we enjoy making these so much better than the gingerbread houses.

We'd like to share with you how to make these houses.
At Halloween, start saving your candy and buying a little at a time all the way up to Christmas. Also start gathering these supplies.

Lots of card board boxes
Box cutter knife
Clear Packing Tape
Graham Crackers
Pretzel sticks
Lots of Candy
Confectioners Sugar
Meringue powder
Cream of Tarter

*Start cutting your house out. You can make all kinds of houses. This year, our daddy made a replica of THE STRICKLAND HOUSE. Take together the edges and corners for stability. When the house is taped together, tape it to a cardboard base.

Make up your icing.
2 Pounds powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons of meringue powder
1 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter
1/2 cup water
In large beater bowl, mix meringue powder with water. Beat until it peaks. Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, adding up to 1/2 cup more for desired stiffness.

*Once the house put together and on a base, start covering the house with icing, then placing graham crackers over the icing. Place the pretzel sticks in between the crackers. This gives it an overall gingerbread look. We cut the crackers in shapes to fit in corners and such.

Once you have the house covered, brainstorm how you want to decorate the house. Get all your candy out on a dish. Then start decorating away!!

We enjoy making snowmen,


windows, bushes, walkways, doors, wreaths, etc.

We also
use the last of our icing to make snow on the roof and do make any signs. This year our house says MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Its always the highlight to put a Santa and Reindeer to put on top of the roof too.

We will keep the house on display until we meet up with family. We will then start picking and eating off it. Not only fun- but delicious!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Choir Concert

The girls had their Christmas Choir concert this last week. The girls were gorgeous, and the choir was beautiful and sounded amazing!

Sidenote- the boys actually sat in the entire time, they are learning to sit still and be good boys during these sophisticated events! ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh Christmas tree....

We LOVE having our Christmas tree up this time of year!

It's not only the blinking lights and shiny-ness that enchants us, or even the yummyness of the candy canes or the delight of whats choo-chooing around it at the bottom.

What captivates us the most about our tree is the heritage an
d the symbolism that it all stands for. .

The tree is a beautiful reminder of why Jesus was born in the fisrt place- to die for you and me. (1 Peter 2:24) We can recieve the eternal life represented by the evergreen boughs of a Christmas tree.

On top of that great illustration, the tree also reveals God's GRACE
in our personal lives.

See these two precious faces in these ornaments? It's a testimony of His goodness that somehow these two were brought together.

And out of that love and commitment came more sweet faces.

These handmade ornaments refelect the ages and stages of our kiddos and our lives as a family over the years. They bring back the memories of the good seasons and the trials we shared.

As we reflect on these things, we are overwhelmed and filled with wonder. To see His hand in our lives from the very beginning. He has prospered us and given us a hope and a future.

Friday, December 4, 2009


We have had some joyous moments so far this holiday season.

We are learning about Christmas traditions around the world. We started off with Sweden. We learned alot of new things like the Swedes celebrate St. Lucias day on Dec13th. Read more about St. Lucia's Day by clicking here. We made crowns to wear around. We will move onto France next week!

Joel was blessed by a new bike for Christmas. Its a Cannondale. He is a loved man! It was an early gift of course, cause it needed to be enjoyed asap! He has already wiped out on the trails! Boys will be boys!

Also, it snowed today. A rare occurrence for sure. Long enough to get some pictures!

Here is a pic of the boys in front of the tree yesterday. They are so cute!

And its so wonderful to be under His grace!

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!

We just could not wait to decorate for Christmas this year. All we lack is the outside decorations. We are enjoying our Christmas books, nativity, clock, music, candles, movies, tree, train and so much more!! We even sent out our Christmas cards today in the mail!

Here is a pic of our tree. More holiday pics to come!

We just kicked off our CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD unit in school. Read more about that at the Strickland School site.
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
Remember- Jesus is the reason for the season.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The past couple of days, we've been thinking and talking about how blessed we are. We weren't just talking about the tangible things like our home, toys, and things...

But we were first thinking about our immediate family. We are so thankful we are the6stricklands. We cherish our friendship and marriage. And who knew we would have two daughters and two sons?! Things in our home can get crazy and messy at times- but we wouldn't give any of that up for anything else in this world.

Then onto our extended family. We have so many great people on both sides of our family. Sure, there are family issues that occur on both sides, but whats thicker than blood? I like the quote "Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family." (Anthony Brandt) So thankful thats all that matters- we started as a family.

Then we were talking about our spiritual family. (Ephesians 2:19) The people of our church- and even moreso in our lifegroup. The commitment we have to eachother and to God. The together learning and growing deeper in the Lord, the unified prayers we share, the good times and the bad times together. Life would be so lonely without these people in our lives! SO thankful for all the relationships in our church body!

Then we got to talking about our Almighty God! Its so very overwhelming to possibly think of all the things He has done for us. We are SO thankful for His undeniable GRACE that has been poured out over us. We are so undeserving.. and yet He is so willing! We are SO thankful, so so so so thankful for His guidance, His unconditional love, His faithfulness, His help and His provision over our lives.

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Oh my- oh my! It has begun!

The Strickland girls are sucked into the world of American Girl. Now, I have to say- Id much rather them be into A.G. than other options for girls this age. Its just SO EXPENSIVE!!

It first started with our trip to Williamsburg last year, and then reading about the American Girl "Felicity" who lived in those times. Then we realized there was more to A.G. when we got our first catalog!

So finally, for Christmas, we told the girls we would get them their first doll. My mom (aka NANA) and I took the girls to the American Girl store in Dallas. We have saved and saved and saved because anything "American Girl" will cost a pretty penny!

Here are a few p

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our beauties!

Two reasons here-------------->

------------>why I do what I do.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Homeschooling at the speed of life!!

The title of this post is the title of one of my favorite homeschooling books! But the title perfectly depicts our lives right now. Life, homeschooling, family is all just speeding though time! I cant believe we are in November!?

Anyway, just thought I would update the Strickland Site with some fresh new pictures! First off, it was my moms birthday. This is us posing at a park last weekend. I love and admire this woman for who she is and where she has come and where she is headed. She is way cooler than I am!

Look! Its the moon!!

Can you believe that I took this picture of the moon? Read more about our new educational tool here on our school site.

We had a special visitor over a few weeks ago. We hope he comes back! We took this picture at the Baylor parade. 2 Stricklands = 1 Braden!!

Our boys (2 and 4) consume so much of me these days.

Recently, Taylor has broken a vase, my cd player in my car, and Emily's wallet. All things precious, but we are mindful how more precious he is than our things. Because my goodness this boy is adorable and I God did that on purpose!

DJ is mister personality. He us very strong willed and has his own ideas about things. We do alot of negotiating. He really is turning into a fine young man. We are working on being truthful right now.

The girls have been absolutely amazing these days! Not only are they growing more beautiful each day- inside and out. They are such wonderful students, daughters, big sisters, ect. Homeschooling is going wonderfully. They enjoy the co-op on Fridays. They recently had their first Choir performance, it was perfect!

In art, we've been doing alot of quilling. Read more about that on our homeschool site.

Wouldnt you know our garden is still growing! Our mums are blooming so beautiful!

And our tomato plant is going at it again too! The weather has been wonderful for the plants!
Our roses have been gorgeous and they smell so good. Kayla cut some and put them in a vase on my desk and it was such a blessing to smell them!

We also have alot of basil. So I found a recipe to make some basil olive oil. Can we say - Christmas presents??

Other than these things mentioned, we've survived Halloween, pin worms, bed time battles, and the flu.

We are still in Financial Peace University and its going great! We are learning alot of tools and implementing them into our finances. I tell you, our money is behaving so much better! Hopefully one day I can blog more about it.

We also just started leading a lifegroup. We love our lifegroup people! So many personalities, so many giftings...its been a joy to be able to lead out this group of people! We will be serving in our first outreach at our churchs meal to the homeless at Thanksgiving.

So excited about the upcoming holidays! We are lovin' the colder weather too!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We have always known we are super as a family of six. Finally we were able to dress the part!

What to do with all that candy???

If you're like us, you more than likely have a ton of candy from last night. We hardly did any trick or treating and still ended up with alot of candy. Below I have adapted some ideas mixed in with our own ideas of some things you can do with all that candy!!

We usually lay it all out on the table and sort it, bag it up and farm it out. Read all the ideas below:

1. Recycle it. Practice instant recycling. Screen the candy your kids bring home. Take out any candy your children don’t like or you don’t want them to have and then send that candy back out the door with other trick-or-treaters.

2. Freeze it. Put the chocolate bars right in the freezer to save them for later. Frozen chocolate takes longer to eat, so children can’t wolf it down so quickly.

3. Bake it. You don’t have to freeze the candy to keep it fresh. Kept in an airtight container, it will last long after Halloween. Later, you can bake a make things. Click here for some yummy candy recipes. My favorites are the chocolate dipped pretzel rods.

4. Melt it. Melt chocolate for s’mores any time of year. Place a chocolate bar and a marshmallow between two graham crackers on top of a paper towel. You dont necessarily have to do this over an open fire, microwave for about 20 seconds.

5. Stuff it. Gather the leftover goodies and stuff them into a (homemade or store-bought) piñata. Crack the piñata open at Thanksgiving or wait until your child’s birthday.

6. Create it. I love making cards with candy. They are called "Candy Bar Cards" You dont have to do all the candies on one card, you can add these witty one liners with the associated candy.

You were a Life Saver this week! (Life savers)
Bar none - You're the best! (Bar None candy)
Here's a kiss and a hug for someone special! (Hershey hugs & kisses)
Thanks for adding "Joy" to a child's life! (Almond Joy)
You're a star in our galaxy! (Milky Way)
It's a real treat to work with you OR to know you! (any candy)
Thanks for your whopper ideas! (Whopper candies)
You're making a Mound of a difference! (Mounds)
You're a real slugger! Keep on batting for children! (Baby Ruth)
We're nuts about you! (anything with peanuts)

7. House it. After Halloween, kids can’t wait for Christmas. Save Halloween candy for gingerbread houses. We did this last year and was a huge hit! Dots, Gum balls, m&ms, and skittles were wonderful to have plenty of.

8. Wear it. Make a candy necklace. You’ll need an assortment of lollipops and colorful candies with twist-wrap ends to make this idea from the National Confectioners Association. Cut a 14-inch strand of thin twine or fabric ribbon. Tie one end of a wrapper of candy or lollipop stick tightly to one end of ribbon or twine (leave about two inches of ribbon free for tying at the end). Attach candy by knotting the ribbon around the wrapper ends or lollipop sticks until the necklace is complete. Leave two inches at the end. Tie the ends together and wear the latest in edible jewelry!

9. Decorate it. For fun you could create a mural out of candy. Or create Christmas ornaments from candy. To make a train, take a long pack of gum and glue on round candy for wheels, a square piece for a smokestack, and something round for the bell on top. Attach a loop of gold thread or ribbon for hanging. Look at simple geometric illustrations (such as are in coloring books) for other ideas. Coat your ornament with an acrylic sealer so it won’t deteriorate and you don’t draw bugs.

10. Share it. Take your leftover candy to the office. Or better yet, fill a coffee can with candy and bring it to your local nursing home, homeless shelter or a charity for the staff to enjoy. Add a note that says, “Thanks for all the good work you do.”

We are giving some to Joels hard working staff, and put some in a bowl in our entry way for guests to enjoy.

And of course, we are keeping our favorite candy to enjoy for ourselves.. (This is a pic I took of Taylor sneaking in the candy first thing this morning. He had eaten 5 Hershey Kisses, a couple of suckers, and a few smarties)

Thursday, October 22, 2009