Friday, February 27, 2009

How Great Thou ART!

The girls completed a three day seminar called "How Great Thou ART" by renowned artist Barry Stebbing earlier this week.

It was such a wonderful experience for the girls and for ME! I sat in on the last class and was so inspired to teach my children the joy of art.

We learned about drawing, painting, colors, and learned more about GOD! God was so creative- He created the blue skies, the green mountains, the colorful fish of the sea and of course beautiful people. He made us in His own image- therefore- we have the great ability to create as well!

One day, Barry let the girls bring home one of his man
y journals he had on display. These journals are full of his drawings and reflections- breathtaking! We were at awe at this mans work and his heart!

I bought some curriculum to be able to continue teaching at home about art. I also bought me a blank journal like the one Barry uses to start journaling again. I posted one of my entires on The Grouchy Ladybug.

We will share more of our art accomplishments
with all of you out there as we accomplish them. To see more of Barry Stebbings work and products, click on his website link.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I must admit, I had some preconceived notions about homeschooling and what it was all about. Ive had to repent for my judgmental attitude because homeschooling is not at all what I thought it was all about. I will say, homeschooling isn't for everyone-and thats okay...but right now- in this season- its for our family and continually I am bring blown away by all the possibilities.

We're continuing to advance with the girls in Math. I had no clue we could accomplish such out-of-the box math techniques. Mental calculation has been the most intriguing thing for me and the girls. Joel will be teaching Measurements soon with both girls for a few weeks- lots of fun- and I get a break!

Recently, there was a SCIENCE FAIR under the GWCHE organization. The girls worked together on a project called "All About Seeds" which was basically a recap from our last chapter in our Science book- Botany. It was so much fun to put together all the knowledge the had just acquired into a display. Science is by far one of our favorite subjects. Dr. Doug Matthews, Baylor Associate Professor of Neuroscience, and a homeschooling dad did an amazing presentation at the fair- he brought some brains for us to all explore. What was the most compelling- and why I love this homeschooling opportunity- is at the end of his presentation, he mentioned that exploring science is merely another way to explore more about our Creator. SO TRUE! I love that in science- we have been learning so much about God's design in plants- which resembles alot of the human creation.

For our reading, the girls have been reading a
Value Tale book each week. After reading, they write about the value mentioned in the book. So we have been talking alot about values and building character lately. So sweet. We've also been able to log those Value Tale reading times and got all our minutes to get a free Six Flag ticket for the summer. (Just like last summer-didnt realize we could still have this opportunity outside of public school) And actually- the teacher gets a free ticket too- YAY- Im now a teacher- and get my own free pass.

This week in art, the girls will take a 3 day seminar by Barry Stebbing of "How Great Thou Art". This man and his work is amazing. Kayla and Emily love art, so this will be so much fun. We think we may go with some of his curriculum. I really admire his philosophy on art.

How in the world do we homeschool?! (I cant even count how many times I've been asked this question.)
Its been hard, and has taken a while to figure out how to make homeschooling work. We had to get organized and come up wit
h a system that works for our family. Here are some of the things we have done to make it all happen!

This first too
l is a MUST for all homeschooling moms-- JESUS!! I cannot accomplish school without the Lord leading my day and filling me with the Fruit of the Spirit. I pray and ask for favor, grace, and direction. If I dont, someone just might get hurt.

The YUCKY jar... We have a jar we have been using for quite some time. It gets opened alot during summer and school breaks. Well now that the girls are home full time, the jar gets frequented all year long. This "Yucky" jar is filled with little pieces of paper that have "yucky" chores on them. Chores like- wipe down the fridge, clean baseboards, clean the washing machine and dryer. These type chores require a washrag and bucket of soapy water. Whenever there is a "Yucky" attitude or response, they get to pick out of the jar. Its a great non-emotional way to deal with "yucky" behaviors.

REWARDS...these girls (and everyone else on this planet) thrive off of rewards. I keep a chart thats colorful-and theme changing above their desks. Each time they complete their work cheerfully, quickly, and completely- they are awarded a tag for the chart. The tags change with the theme too. Last month it was gumballs on a gumball machine, this month its all hearts. Once they acquire a certain amount of tags on their chart- Joel will take them to the UNDERGROUND. Which is one of their favorite places to go. Its the Youth Center at our church full of pool tables, and games like Super Mario.

I had to stock up on office supplies, which was oh so much fun. We now have all these things labeled "
Strickland School". We even have multi-colored paper clips!

Entertaining the boys is vital. Every morning, before we start school, I fill the boys "love tank". Giving them lots of love, affection, and attention. Once they are filled- they tend to want to go play on their own and need less of me. I have some fun items on hand to keep these boys busy.

I have a plastic pool that I add things for the boys to play with..paper and scissors to cut and tear, hidden pennies in playdoh blocks, etc. I also have two tubs full of toys they are not allowed to play with unless its school time. This is also a huge hit.

A sweet somebody ;) brought by this stamp set as a gift when I first started school. It has been amazing. I stamp completed work, I stamp hands, and stamp their planner when a subject is completed. I frequently change out the stamp pad and the kids are always intrigued by what will be the stamp of the day- so motivational!

An EZ grader. There are somethings I like to grade. At this point, Im not really sure how much I should be taking grades, anyone know? But when I do grade- I use this handy tool. I set the tptal number of problems at the arrow, then read grade at number of problems wrong. PRETTY COOL! I feel at times that Im just "playing school"

Dry erase/ chalk board and planners. I got thisdry erase board dirt cheap because it was broken, but I love it just the way it is. Daily, I write out the work to be completed. The girls get their planner ou
t and write out their daily tasks. When each thing is accomplished, I stamp it off. I use the dry erase board for illustrations, and lessons, for writing, and practicing.

We just couldn't have school without these tools, and theres more to share, but maybe some other time!

BLESSINGS to you all out there!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A magnificent post....

I feel so accomplished knowing this post is finally completed! I have been working on it for weeks now! I just haven't known where to start and its taken forever to finish! Click on all the pics to enlarge.

Lots going on in the Strickland home. We have been buzzing around like busy bees here.

First off, we refinished a bathroom, put new flooring in our living room, and installed a garden.

The kiddos bathroom is now waterproof and needed to be with four kiddos splashin' around! Our amazing dad did all the tile work! Someone graciously donated all the tile- we are so thankful to have a good looking bathroom now!

The same person gave us some extra wood flooring. (PTL!) And we were able to replace the abused carpet in the living room. Once again, Joel installed all of it, with of course my emotional support. Isnt his work wonderful?

The last big addition to our home was a garden. We have been studying creation through Botany. We have been learning alot of seeds, flowers, and all kinds of plants. All of our learning is hands on. We have dissected flowers, started light huts for plants, we now have lots of Herbs like lavender, thyme, rosemary, mint, basil, and parsley growing.

Right now our garden has roses, tulips, daffodils, lantana, the herbs, strawberries and onions in it. We plan to grow more flowers in the butterfly garden, and more veggies like carrots and corn. So exciting!

Everyone has worked in the garden. Our dad built the fence and helped with the tilling. I headed up the mural with lots of helpers, and we all enjoy digging and planting in the garden.

Here are some pics of the mural on the fence.

Also, Kayla turned 10! For her bday we all gave her ten items each. She got ten roses from her dad, ten undies from her momma, ten quarters from her sister, ten pencils and ten chocolate hearts from her brothers. She also had a Garden party to celebrate her 10th. We made a delicious dirt cake, ate veggies and fruit, and everyone got to make a plant. It was fun! She got lots of great things for the garden. We cannot believe how much our Kayla has "grown".

Since Kayla's now 10, she was able to go learn to Scuba dive! She attended a class for a week and last weekend went to Aquarena Springs to dive. She loved it! And was so good at it, however, she refused to complete an important task- flooding her mask. Thats when you go under water, take off your mask, then put it back on, and blow out all the water with your nostrils. This is something she will have to work on. We dont really have that many good pictures of Kayla scuba diving, but heres one that will do just fine.

Homeschooling is going really-really well. We are in a place where we all take joy in school at home. The girls are learning so much and everyone is enjoying eachother. I think we have figured out a system that works for everyone. I will share more of that in another post, but this is the boys staying busy while we do homeschool.

Kayla and Emily enjoy taking piano. I noticed they have started to make their own piano music. This is the song "Flowers Grow All Day Long", another favorite song is "Chocolate Chips Are Yummy" Such talent!

The girls are both preparing for their first Science Fair project coming up. Im proud of all their hard work. The name of their project is "All About Seeds". I will post pics later!

Valentines came and went pretty quickly! We were able to celebrate momentarily between sickness and scuba. Here are a few of our favorite Valentines. I actually had a dear friend bring me a Valentine over- its the Winnie the Pooh in the back. :)

These boys are constantly on the GO! They sure do keep things lively around here though.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Goin' On A Bear Hunt

This is one of our latest most favoritest things to do. Going on a Bear Hunt! Try it out! Its FUN!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Our precious Kayla turned ten today on February 5th. My goodness, how she has grown! Joel and I stand in shock that ten years have gone by since this girl was born!!

This picture was her first ever taken! She was born at 28 1/2 weeks weighing only 2lbs 12 oz. She is truly a miracle baby! I remember after recovering, and the NICU staff in awe at how well she was doing! To this day- she still has that strong will about herself! (Notice, she has Joel's wedding ring in her right hand, just to gain perspective how big she really was.)

Joel and I eventually had our first family photo taken with Kayla on Feb. 17th, she weighed 2lbs 9oz. in this photo. She came home a month or so later at 4lbs 1 oz--monitor free and cordless!

Here we are now, ten years later.

We are so proud and blessed to have Kayla in our family for too many reasons to mention. In celebration of 10 years, we thought we would list out TEN of our favorite things about Kayla, no
t in any particular order.

1. She is a prayer warrior! She loves God, and is so full of faith!
2. She has a heart of gold. Always willing to help, or give to others in need.

3. She is gorgeous! Always has been so beautiful!

4. She is a family girl- family is a priority to her. God knew we needed her as the big sister in this family!

5. She is ver
y creative!! Such a great story writer and art illustrator.
6. She balances being girly and being a tomboy well! Loves to look pretty but
not afraid to get dirty!
7. She is a leader. God willing- she will use those talents to lead others.

8. She has a tune to music. Not only a beautiful voice- but a talent with the piano. We love her new song she made up. She sings and plays on the piano "Chocolate Chips, Are Very Yummy."
9. She is very athletic and adventurous. She loves swimming, snorkeling, cycling, hiking, camping, and traveling.
10. She is one with nature. She likes to replant trees, take care of her flowers, and loves to
nurture plants.

We look forward to many many many more years celebrating this girl!!


Monday, February 2, 2009

A bloggable mention

Did you notice the new blog header?

A year or so ago, Emily made a Strickland family out of LEGO's. I was so impressed I took a few pictures. Recently, I've been wanting a new blog header, and didn't really have any recent pics so I decided to take this picture out and see what we could do with it.

A gal pal, and a Supermom blogger named Angela has started a new business called Creative Blank. She will create. You fill in the blank what she creates. You name it; she creates it.

So, I sent her this picture, and explained what I wanted, what colors and preferences that I desired. She was able to come up with such a creative header- I had her change nothing! This lady is amazing! And her prices to put together the headers and other products like invitations and birth announcements are BETTER than reasonable.

Check out Creative Blank's website to see all of her crafty creations. You know, I consider myself a crafty person, but not on her level!!

Thank you to Angela for the cutest blog top!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A new fresh place!

We're sad we had to move blog sites, but it appeared our old blog had some bugs that just couldn't get worked out.

So...WELCOME TO OUR NEW SITE! Its so nice a fresh! You can just smell the newness can't you? Blogger is so cool- you can import and old blog into a new one, I get confused which is the old, and which is new!

Now don't forget to change your bookmarks and such so you all can keep in touch with the Stricklands! Ive been taking lots of pictures of our garden and herb hut! Stay tuned for some new pics!