Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In the great outdoors...very chilly for the first week of May. We were supposed to get up to 74° today. I don’t think we made it out of the 60s.

Within our four walls...fresh air clearing out the stale – even if that does mean needing to pull a sweatshirt out as the sun goes down! I love this long spring.

A heart of thanksgiving...for Choffy. Yep, I’m simple-minded at the moment.

Okay, so it goes a little deeper than that. I’m thankful for easy access to the Word of God. SUCH easy access. I take it for granted so often. But, the truth is that I can’t imagine not having it at my fingertips. Someday I might not – I want to get it into my heart and head now, before that day comes.

A heart of prayer...lots of people traveling in the coming weeks; and lots of people hurting.

Thoughts from the kitchen...another new recipe today – fajita southwest dinner. Essentially, a bean and rice crockpot dish. Once again, we added meat. But, it was another winner! Amazing what slightly different flavors can do to a menu plan. We only got four or five new “winner” recipes from last month’s plan, but one was an oriental dish. That’s worth its weight in gold at our house! Then, of course, there was the hot and sour broth that we can no longer buy. We’ll see what we get this month.

On my bookshelf...a review book I didn’t recall requesting, but it looks intriguing. The End of Law by Therese Down – a WWII novel. I’m about to go grab a blanket and curl up in the bean bag to get it started.

Projects...I finally thought of something to sew for the kids, so I’m going to try to get that done in the next couple of weeks. But, since the kids might see this post, I can’t say what it is yet.

Sounds of the moment...crickets and sirens. There are SO many sirens here!

From Hibbard Academy...Steven and I just finished reading All Sail Set together. The girls and I didn’t even finish it when they went through this core. Too much sailor jargon. Steven, on the other hand, ate it up!!! Right up his alley. He’s been reading Hornblower books lately, as we can get them from the library. Those are now on his list of books he wants to own.

Other than that, Steven and I are learning about birds in science, while Angie’s exploring basic anatomy. Olivia is continuing to push her way through physical science, and is currently finishing up a unit on sound waves.

In history Steven is learning about the pre-Civil War tensions, Angela is in ancient Greece, and Olivia’s finishing up World War II. Once upon a time, I kept them all pretty much together. But, they have such varied approaches to learning that it’s actually easier right now to let them go their own directions. When we first divided the three kiddos up into different cores, I wasn’t sure how well it would work. But, it’s been relatively easy and has proven to be a good choice.

What’s most exciting, though, is that we have an end in sight! I’d originally hoped to be done by the end of next week, but that’s not going to happen. We’ll have about a week and a half of no school between the 16th and the end of the month, then we’ll be pretty much done by June 2. Olivia will still have some science and math to finish, but that’s about it. Yay!

A favorite thing from last week...a Saturday at home. We had plans, but bad weather changed those plans. Even though everything had cleared up by Saturday, the high water left behind changed things up.

The planner...a normal week, for the most part, except for a Saturday field trip.

Because visuals are fun...birds are apparently fond of our porches. The girls found this nest with three or four little eggs in mid-April, then noticed about two weeks ago that the eggs had hatched. 2016-04-21 17.04.47

The nest is located just above the light on our front porch. So, we have a TON of bird droppings all over the front entryway.

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But, the baby birdies have grown a lot in the last two weeks, and I expect they will outgrow the next very, very soon. We still can’t tell if there are only three or if there’s a fourth in the back.

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Meanwhile, there’s another nest on our back porch – right in the middle of all of our cans of insect spray and WD-40, of all places!

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None of us have seen the birds yet, but Steven has heard them almost daily.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 11, 2016

In the great outdoors...a stormy Monday after a week of glorious weather. The forecasted temperatures are still very mild for the foreseeable future. YAY! But, this is the South. Spring means severe weather. Fortunately, this bout is “just” severe t-storms with hail and high wind. Tornadic threat is low. Just praying that that the hail stays away from those baby crops in east Arkansas.

Within our four walls...a little sluggish after a week of later-that-usual nights. But, still processing through the morning well.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the connection that comes through prayer, no matter how many miles separate friends.

A heart of prayer...for a church family facing very tough health decisions, for other friends also dealing with health frustrations, for several precious souls in need of salvation, for friends far and near, for no hail on the farmers, and for the Choates as they settle back into the village after a long absence – and that their antiquated UUPlus (e-mail via radio) system will function!

Random observations...I started this post last week. And kept trying to get it ready to publish. Obviously, it never happened.

Thoughts from the kitchen...We found a new menu plan site with some new-to-us recipes. It’s a subscription based program, so we debated getting into it. But, we went ahead and paid for the subscription for a few months just to try to shake up our cooking doldrums a bit.

So far, we’ve noticed that the menu plan uses FAR less meat/protein than we’re used to. Veggie meals (with almost no protein) or broth soups with very little substance beyond the broth (mushrooms & bamboo shoots, for instance) are common.

Even so, it has been helpful so far. We have already discovered a few new recipes, including a hot and sour broth recipe to replace the Swanson hot and sour broth that we LOVED but can no longer buy locally. Yay for homemade!

In other news, my oven doesn’t like to bake bread. It’s so hard to get it done on the inside! We’re hoping to find that sweet temp spot to actually get it done without burning it. Meanwhile, we’ll be sticking a thermometer in it to make sure its done before turning the oven off, no matter what the clock or crust says.

On my bookshelf...more delayed reading. Another week or two, and I’ll be back to it.

Projects...finishing up the writing project; organization for my work space; brainstorming sunroom rearrangement. It’s another room still stuck in the “get moved in” state of being. It’s a cluttered mess, and I’m so ready for it to be more functional as an office for all of us! 

Sounds of the moment...thunder rumbling and rain pounding. A thunderstorm can be rather loud out here in the sunroom. But, it’s not too bad right now because the wind is pretty calm.

And now it’s getting louder…and louder. Wow! Time to unplug the laptop to avoid electrocution.

From Hibbard Academy...six more weeks. Yes, we’ve figured it up, and we have six more weeks of work. There will be some time off to stretch that to more like eight calendar weeks, but the breaks will help. Yay!

A favorite thing from last week...our Saturday on Petit Jean. Doug had a cooking class (Christmas gift) at the location where we typically go for Table for Two, so the kids and I rode up with him and roamed the state park. Yes, it meant writing did not get done. Or school prep. Or house cleaning. Or clean-up in the sunroom. But sometimes other things are needed more. And that was SO needed. It was a glorious day for all five of us, even if we were separated for a portion of it.

The planner...Doug has a couple of evening meetings this week, but otherwise the week is mostly at-home. Which means focus on school, work, and writing.

Because visuals are fun...what happens when the girls receive a new issue of Dear Magazine.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1

From Angela:

Hey, it's April Fool's Day!

I guess that means it's time for the 12 page history report on how it got started.

Homeschooling is awesome.