Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Love Letter

My friend, Lori, posted some great ideas for family devotion time during this amazing week known as Holy Week or Passion week.  You can visit her blog here to read all of her ideas.  We have really enjoyed taking a break from our normal Bible curriculum and focusing on the incredible events of this week. 

Today, we read Mark 14: 3-9. This woman gave Jesus a gift that was very precious to show her love for Him.  After we read these verses we talked about things that we can do to honor Jesus and show Him how much we love Him.  To wrap things up, we cut out hearts (with little and much assistance) and wrote a love letter to Jesus.  Since I have boys (and fairly young ones at that) they mainly wrote about why they love Jesus.  I thought it was perfect. 

I also thought it was perfect that God had given us an absolutely glorious day.  We were able to sit outside among His beautiful creation and tell Him all (well not all, but alot of) the reasons we love Him.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not Me Monday


Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

First off, I most certainly did not have a fantastic time with the women from my church at a pajama party on Friday night.  I mean seriously, grown women do not stay up until 1:00 in the morning talking, eating, playing games, laughing, etc.  And they most certainly do not sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag like they are 10 years old again.  Really, who does that?

I guess it is a good thing that I most certainly did did not have a pajama party to fellowship with other believers this week because I did NOT skip church on Wednesday to do this.  What kind of good christian woman does that?

Also, since I know the importance of being consistent in my discipline and routines, I absolutely did not let my kids get away with not making their beds three days last week.  What kind of mother would I be if I let the kids bend the rules not once, not twice, but THREE times in one week?  Geez, seriously?! Who does that?

Finally, the last (and possibly most embarassing) thing that I did not do was eat an extra Weight Watchers fudge pop and then try to stuff the paper way down in the garbage can so that dear husband wouldn't think badly of me for eating two fudge pops in one night.  I mean that would be down right weird and quite possibly borderline crazy.  (But come on - they are only 1 point!)

What did you not do this week?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up

We have had such a great week this week!  We did all of our school that I had planned (sometimes you gotta celebrate the small things - especially if you are a box checker like I am!)!!!!!!!  Anyway, here are the kids doing their morning work.  By the way, the big boys finished their Explode the Code book and will be starting their new one next week.
The weather was great a few days this week and so we did as much school as possible outside!  Here we are getting ready for History, Bible, Geography, and whatever else I throw in there.  As you can see, Hayden loves to wear the national school uniform of homeschoolers a.k.a. pajamas.  Not the older boys, they are up and dressed every morning.
We did reading outside. . .
And the boys got some hands on practice in um . . . woodworking.  They are loving helping their dad build a new fence. 
Of course, we did have a rainy day this week.  Ugh!  I seriously can not remember the last time we went an entire week without rain!  I suppose that the Lord knows what His earth needs more than I do, but man on man!  Anyway, I digress. . .   Hayden enjoyed working with his math manipulatives and the always popular writing on windows with dry erase markers.  Whatever works - right?!

Don't forget to head over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what everybody else has been up to this week!

Some Family Time

It just seems like we have been so busy.  Does anybody else feel this way?  I mean, I get that we homeschool so we are "together" all day.  But sometimes it feels like we aren't really.  Probably doesn't really make any sense although, I hope it does.  I just really had this feeling lately that our family needed some family time.  Some just hanging out, enjoying each other time.   Unfortunately, the only day we could do this was on Wednesday.  I hate skipping church.  I hate not getting recharged.  I hate not getting to see my friends and discuss the Bible study for that week.  But, I also hate feeling like I haven't spent any real quality time with my family.  So we did it - skipped church.  There I said it.  Judge me if you must.  This is what we did instead . . .  

We went hiking!  It was so much fun.  Hiking is one of the few things that every single member of our family enjoys doing.  It was an absolutely glorious day.  We drove out to Lake Harris and hiked for about 2 hours.  When we got finished we grabbed some 15th Street Diner and had a picnic.  Everyone got a long.  Everyone had fun.  And I finally got the family time that I had so desperately needed.  I hope God understands my skipping church.  I'm pretty sure He's okay with it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Whole Bunch of Nothingness

I can't believe that spring break is over!  What did I do?  I surely didn't do any blogging (obviously).  I really didn't do much cleaning.  I mean, where did the time go?  You all will be happy to know that I only had the boys do one math lesson over the break.  I didn't turn nice or anything, it just so happened that they were out of town Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I couldn't convince them to do a math lesson on Friday because we never do a math lesson on Fridays.  Anyway, the kids had a great time on their mini vacation to my mom's river house.  They loved walking through the woods with their Papa Spot, riding bikes, and just hanging out.  However, the highlight had to be the catfish that they caught.  Hayden talks a big talk, but he wouldn't even touch the thing.  I can't really talk about him because I wasn't about to get close to it, much less touch it!

The first thing that I did when the kids went out of town was head over to the library.  I love that place.  It is quiet and everybody minds his/her own business.  When I got home, I felt the need to go through all of the kids' books.  I used to be a teacher so I have been collecting children's books FOREVER.  Our books were spread all over the house.  Some were in bedrooms, some were in the playroom, and some were in random closets.  I didn't even get into all of my chapter books that are currently being stored in the attic.  Anyway, all the picture books are now located on one bookshelf in the playroom.  I really wanted to post a picture of my project, but I could not get the picture to rotate and who wants to crane their neck sideways just to see a picture of a very organized bookshelf full of books?!

We had some absolutely beautiful weather on Friday!  The whole family was outside ALL DAY!  It was fantastic.  I even got a little sun on this very pale skin of mine.

The trees alongside our driveway are in bloom and look just beautiful so I had to share a picture:

Unfortunately, the weather turned rainy and cold today.  This is what our day looked like today:

While the kids laid around and enjoyed the last day of spring break, I got busy planning for our upcoming school week.  I write everything out for the week in a teacher plan book.  After the item is completed, I highlight the assignment.  This helps me to easily see what did and did not get done during the week.  The plans in my plan book are not detailed, just "Lesson 130," etc.  I don't take the time to write down everything that we are going to do for that lesson.  Who has the time or the space for that?  I am sure some super organized mom out there, but um, not me! 

Here is what the lesson plan book looks like at the end of the week:

One of the sections in the plan book says clip board work.  This is the work that the boys do independently, well pretty much independently.  It usually involves phonics (ETC), DOL, math patterns, a journal entry, and handwriting.  This week has some practice test stuff (for the upcoming standardized test).  I think in this picture it is practicing synonyms. 

That pretty much sums up our spring break.  That and baseball!  The jamboree was on Saturday.  Hayden did great, but his team lost.  (In our defense, the other team got 3 at bats and we only got 2 - I'm just saying.)  His game was at 1:00.  Had to be at the ballpark at 12:00 and left around 2:30.  D & D had a double header at 7:00 and 8:00.  We had to be at the park at 6:00.  Of course, the games were running late and we didn't leave until 10:15.  Drew and Dalton did great.  Their team won the first game, but lost the second.  I think they were simply worn out!  I mean that is late for a bunch of 2nd graders!
Anyway, I hope I will be able to do a little more blogging this week.  However, I have to make time to read my book for book club.  It meets on Thursday and I am on like page 40.  Um, not good.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not me Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Since everyone knows that I am absolutely the most perfect and wonderful wife and mother in the world (please hear intended sarcasm), I thought I would list some things that I absolutely did not do lately.

First off, I did not sleep until 8:45 this morning.  I did not kinda wake up and hear every single member of my family awake and then proceed to drift back to sleep.  I would never do something like that - NOT ME!

I did not stay up way late last night (probably why I did not sleep so late this morning) watching reality t.v. shows - Toddlers & Tiaras, Celebrity Apprentice, and 19 Kids and Counting.  I definitely would not stay up and watch these t.v. shows instead of read my book for book club or work on my current Bible study.  I would never.  Not me!

Also, I did not let my kids get away without doing handwriting this week just because they didn't want to do it and I didn't feel like fighting over it.  What kind of mother lets their kids skip out on handwriting for such a lousy reason?  Definitely not me!

Finally, I did not eat at least 1 bowl of ice cream every single night this week.  Sometimes more.  Definitely not me!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Our Weekend

We had such a fun weekend!  We had co-op Friday morning and then came home to play outisde!

When we got home from church today, I got started with some spring cleaning inside (going through clothes, listing some on e-bay, cleaning out closets, etc.).  Jason took the boys outside to help with some yard work!  My husband is a pretty good handy man and I hope that my boys acquire some of that useful knowledge!  Their future wives will probably appreciate it too!
And this is how Hayden was working!
Actually, Jason said that he did help a good bit before he took a fishing break. :-)

Finally, we ended our weekend with  a fire, roasting marshmellows, and making smores.  It was not nearly cold enough for a fire, but the kids wanted to roast marshmellows!

It was fun!  I hope you all had a great weekend like we did!

P.S.  I notice that my kids seem to always have on the same shirt in pictures.  I swear they have more (way more) than one shirt.  I guess I need to put the clean laundry at the bottom of the pile in the drawers!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Random Thoughts

It seems like it has been forever since I have been able to post anything to my blog! The icky rain has just had me feeling LAZY, but the sunshine was great today and the kids were excited to get outside! We have had a full week of school -(Friday's we go to co-op!) and it feels good to be so productive.

We had picture day (for our yearbook) at our co-op last week and it was just like every other picture day that I have been apart of. Public school, private school, homeschool co-op - it doesn't matter. The photographer will be behind schedule and you will get just about nothing done that you had planned on doing. Oh well, that's life.

I am going to be administering a standardized test to the bigger boys in a few weeks (the ITBS)and I am trying my best to keep myself in check. The cover school that I use doesn't require standardized tests until 3rd grade, but I didn't want the first test they took to be the one that counts. You know what I mean? I guess I am hoping that this will let them see and experience what taking a standardized test is like. I know that I have to stay really calm about this or else my Drew just might freak out on me. He is a perfectionist. He wants everything to be just right. I wish I could be like my friend, Tracy, who just doesn't even care about standardized test. She gives them because they are required. Maybe I will adopt an attitude like that - eventually. What is your take on standardized testing?

On a lighter note, I have already started looking at curriculum for next year. So fun! Sometimes the looking through and picking out curriculum is more fun than actual teaching of the curriculum. :-) My friend, April, already got her stuff in - I am jealous. Box day is so much fun!

Our spring break is next week. I would like for the kids to still get some math lessons done (um, it has nothing to do with trying to fit as much in as possible before those standardized tests - if that was what you were thinking. Okay, maybe it does.) Anyway, we will see exactly how much gets accomplished.

I guess that is enough random thoughts for one post. I will leave you with a quote from my sweet and oh so wild, Hayden. D & D were working on a lesson about estimating length. We were estimating the length of a pencil. Hayden looks up from his work and says, "Do you want me to go get you an incher?" It took me a minute to even realize what in the world he was talking about. I guess he is just about due for a lesson on using a RULER (or an incher - I mean that does make more sense than ruler.)

Don't forget to leave me any thoughts and/or advice about standardized testing! Even though I am totally not stressing out! :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring is in the Air

It seems like it has been cold and rainy FOREVER here in Alabama. So, when the weather was truly spring like this weekend, boy did we take advantage! We spent the entire day outside yesterday! It was fun while it lasted, but last night everybody had a runny nose and a few of us had a horrible cough. Oh well - It was fun while it lasted!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Compassion Bloggers

On March 4, 2010 a group of Compassion bloggers began an adventure in Kenya. I have just finished reading so many of their blog updates about the amazing difference a sponsorship through Compassion can make in the lives of these wonderful people. But, more than that, I sit here at my computer feeling sick to my stomach by how incredibly spoiled, selfish, ungrateful, and just plain out ridiculous I am. My life is. I moan and groan about vacuuming, mopping, loading the dishwasher, doing laundry (with my fancy washer and dryer, I might add). I complain about everyday life things instead of just realizing how truly blessed I am. My excess makes me sick. My desires to want more of it makes me even more sick. I'm just being honest here. I have often seen these videos or pictures, and turned away because like MckMama said, "I let myself turn away from the truth of a hurting globe, lying to myself about how I need to be helping the people in my own backyard before worrying about those around the globe, when I wasn't even helping those in my backyard anyway." Well isn't that just a realization that will slap you in the face. For me, it isn't just about the people in Kenya or India or wherever. It's about the people. All the people. All the people that I have been ignoring because I am so wrapped up in me . . . my life . . . my family . . . my needs . . . my . . . my . . . my. I hurt. I am broken. Now what am I gonna do about it? Please click here to read the blogs from the Compassion bloggers. Hopefully, it will change you just like it has changed me!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It's that time of year, again! It's here! What you might ask?! Why BASEBALL season , of course.

We are having about 3 practices a week (two different teams - so 5 or 6 practices a week total) and games start 2 weeks from Saturday - can't believe it and can't wait actually.

Anyway, I am not writing this post to tell you about our crazy busy schedule. I'm gonna make a big fat confession here - judge me if you want! So here goes -

The baseball league that we play with is a serious baseball league. Well, not everybody, but there are "those" coaches and parents. You know the ones I am talking about! I just sit with my little friends and say things like, "Seriously, it is just 5 (or 8) year old baseball. It's not about winning. The whole purpose to have fun, learn a few skills, and enjoy America's past time. Man, 'those' people are just way to in to this. Why can't they just chill out and let the kids enjoy the game."

And then it happens. I find myself watching my kids and thinking "You've got to catch those. Can't let that kind of ball get passed you. Dalton, Drew, Hayden (whomever it may be) PAY ATTENTION!" Next thing I know, I am talking with them about these things after practices or games. By the end of the season, I am yelling these things at my kids from the bleachers. And (gasp) I might even be thinking that the little superstar player on the other team probably lied about his age. (Once again, feel free to judge me because I know no one else out there says and/or thinks these things - right?).

And then I hear some mom from the other team's bleachers yell at her kid, "So and so, PAY ATTENTION. You can not let those kind of balls get past you." And what do I do? Why I, of course, look over at my friends and say, "She must be one of 'those' parents. Geez, just relax and let these kids enjoy the game."

Am I alone in this? Surely, not.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Not again . . .

Everybody woke up this morning ready to go. No more sickness in the Strickland household! WooHoo! The kids all wanted something different for breakfast. Normally, this would be a no go in my house. You eat whatever I cook. Period. However, the request were cereal and oatmeal. I figured I could do both of those. After breakfast, teeth brushing, and bed making, it was time to start school. We start (usually) around 9:00 with Bible and History (which usually entails some geography). After we finish these, we move to the school room (i.e. dining room) where the bigger kids do their phonics (we use Explode the Code), D.O.L. (Daily Oral Language), math patterns, and journal. While they are doing this, I work with Hayden on his math and Explode the Code. Our day was going really well. We worked hard this morning, took a nice long lunch break, and got started on our afternoon work. Here are some pictures of our day!

This is Hayden doing his Explode the Code workbook. He loves it and can do most of it by himself!

Dalton is doing his Explode the Code. I mark with the blue post it where to start and the yellow one tells them where to stop. This (in theory) lets me work with Hayden with the least amount of interruption as possible!

Hayden loves to play with the geoboards and it keeps him busy while I work with Drew and Dalton!

Drew is using the Uno cards to find the two addends that equal whatever number I specify. Today we were reviewing our 10 facts. I call the addends partners, so Drew was finding all the partners that equal 10. When we first started learning our facts, we would use regular playing cards so that the kids could count the spades, hearts, etc. to make sure that they had the correct partners. At this point, I expect D & D to be pretty quick with their facts, so we just use Uno cards. The kids really enjoy this game and it helps them to visually see the number partners. I wish I could take credit for this fun game, but I got it off the internet. . . somewhere.

Dalton and his geoboard. Shortly after this, he shot his brother with a rubber band. I have three sons . . . just a typical moment in my house!

Drew with his clipboard and D.O.L. work. Smiling and happy - for now. Later in the afternoon, while I was working with D & D on grammar, I noticed that Drew's hands were ice cold and he looked kinda funny. Sure enough, this is what he looked like by the end of the day . . .

Bless him! So now I have another sick one. This week has seriously not been our week. It could be worse so I will be grateful for the little things like . . . 1) Dalton is not sick anymore 2) Hayden hasn't gotten this bug 3) Drew has not thrown up. He is just having a fever and a headache. 4) We did get to do at least one day of school this week. 5) Jason is back home.
There are a lot more things to be grateful for and that is what I will do my best to focus on!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sick Days

Dalton is feeling better today, but not 100%. Sooooooo, we didn't do school AGAIN today. Well, we did Bible, History, and Reading, but I am not going to count today as one of our "school" days. We've already got 130 something days (we have to do 170) so I am not stressing about it, but it does get me off of my planned schedule and that bugs the mess out of me. We could make it up during the planned spring break, but we probably won't. Anyway, here are some pictures of the kids not doing school.
Hayden is such a monkey. Jason put this bar in the door frame of their playroom bathroom. Hayden swings on it constantly. He also likes to climb up door frames and just be wild in general. Gotta love him!
Drew is just excited because he didn't have to do creative writing today. He hates it. He is such a perfectionist that he worries that it won't be "right." Like I said, Dalton feels better, but still kinda tired and puny. However he has enjoyed getting to lounge around and have me cater to him.

Here is wild man again. He got the sleeping bags out to "camp" in the playroom.

Dalton hates to smile for pictures - sick or not. He usually ends up making some funny face. Like this:

It is also hard to get a good picture of Drew. He likes to look off at the last second or do something goofy. And look at that hair! Could it be time for a haircut?!


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