Thursday, December 30, 2010

God Gave Us So Much by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave Us So MuchAbout this time last year, my family was first introduced to Lisa Tawn Bergren when we received and reviewed God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Christmas. I was more than delighted when a limited-edition three-book treasury in the “God Gave Us” series came available for review. God Gave Us So Much combines two previously released titles (God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Heaven) with the newest title in the series entitled God Gave Us the World.

In God Gave Us the World, Little Cub discovers that the world is much bigger than she ever imagined and that not all bears are polar bears like her. To her it seems rather odd that God would make different bears who live very differently from her. But, as her mother explains, God showed great wisdom in His creativity when He created a world full of different creatures with different lives. Mama teaches Little Cub that the more we learn about and care for this amazing world God created, the more we learn to worship and serve Him in it.

In God Gave Us Love, Grampa and Little Cub are fishing together when their fishing is interrupted by playful otters who scare the fish away. Grampa uses the example of the pesky otters to begin to teach Little Cub about true love – the love of God that is to dwell in us both toward those who are easy to love and those who are hard.

In God Gave Us Heaven, Little Cub asks Papa what heaven is. As they venture out on a fishing trip, Papa uses everyday life to explain how much greater our eternal home will be. But, the most beautiful portion of the story comes when Little Cub asks how we get to heaven. Papa explains that because God wanted us to be able to be in heaven with Him, He sent His Son Jesus to be our bridge.

As sweet as Bergren's stories are, they are incomplete without the precious illustrations by Laura J. Bryant. Bryant's art flows with and enhances each story, even frequently adding an extra dimension to the narrative. Together, Bergren and Bryant's work can be used as a fun tool for teaching young children basic truths about God and foundational concepts of the Christian faith.

I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Outside my window...a rainy day.  Somewhat gloomy, but I’m thankful for the rain.

I am thinking...about how nice a nap would be.  Deep thoughts, I know.

I am thankful for...the generosity of God’s people, and the way God uses that generosity to provide for needs before we even know they’re coming.

I am wearing...jeans, an olive green knit top, house shoes, hair in a clip.

I am creating...order from the chaos of this house & plans for my upcoming Etsy venture.

I am going...to get back to regular blogging very, very soon.  So excited!

I am reading...A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity by William Wilberforce, trying to follow my wonderful hubby’s suggestion to read the work of an author alongside reading his biography.  And, yes, that is the real title.  I also need to start a new book review book this week.

I am hoping...Angie continues to have no pain from her unexpected dental work.  She came in Sunday night to tell me that it felt like she had a hole in her tooth.  Sure enough, she lost a portion of a filling and cracked the tooth in the process.  She now has a nice, shiny cap on the tooth.  Fortunately, it’s a baby molar, so it will all come out in a few years!

I am hearing...children playing happily and peacefully in the next room.

On my mind...friends in need of prayer for various reasons.

From the learning rooms...planning to be prepared for school to resume next week.

Noticing that...vacuuming a floor makes such a big difference.

Pondering these words... “From the Christian point of view there is no special problem about Christmas in a prison cell.  For many people in this building it will probably be a more sincere and genuine occasion than in places where nothing but the name is kept.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a letter to his parents from Tegel prison, Dec 17, 1943

From the kitchen...meal organization.  So ready to get back to “real” eating!

Around the house...steady progress from chaos to orderliness.  Christmas stuff is still up, but it should be down by the end of the week.

One of my favorite things...children playing happily together.

A few plans for the rest of the week...mainly getting things back to our normal abnormalcy. A sewing lesson for Olivia (one of her Christmas gifts).  Oh, and a trip to the library.

A picture worth sharing...Alli & the kids ready for fondue after church on Christmas Eve.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Our Christmas Card

We have never been good at getting those Christmas cards out to our friends, family, and loved ones.  But, we still want to wish all of you the most wonderful Christmas.  So, as you celebrate this year, please know that you are special to us.  We are blessed to know you, whether we’ve had the privilege of knowing you in person or have simply reaped the benefits of technology that have allowed us to “know” people we’ve never met face to face.  As you celebrate with those you love, whether with one or many, may God’s presence be extravagantly lavished upon you in unexpected and beautiful ways.  May the reality of what we are celebrating – Immanuel, God with us! – wash over you as never before. 

Merry Christmas

from the

Hibbard Family!

 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Outside my window...the kids enjoying the last of a very warm day (it’s been in the 70’s).

I am thinking...about what needs to be done between now and Christmas.

I am thankful for...so much…friends and chances to spend time with them, a healthy household, and so much provision that we are overwhelmed.

I am wearing…a goofy Christmas t-shirt, jeans, bare feet, hair down.

I am creating...the last of the Christmas surprises and a plan for opening an Etsy shop.

I am remembering...our first Christmas.  Our wedding day was very warm like today.  By Christmas Eve (5 days later) we were in the middle of a full-fledged ice storm.  Ah, Arkansas weather.

I am going...to enjoy getting back to blogging once we get back to our normal schedule.

I am reading...something on my Kindle.  Every time I pick it up, I read something different.  I need to be a little more consistent, I guess!

I am hoping...to get to start on my MA next fall.  I had hoped to start in January, but now I’m kind of glad it’s going to be postponed a little while longer.

I am hearing...kids playing outside, great quiet inside.

On my mind...a dear friend who lost her sister today.

From the learning rooms...Christmas break!  Lots of reading.

Noticing that...despite all of the sewing and crafting that has needed to be done, this has been a pretty relaxing month.  I like that.

From the kitchen...lots of Christmas goodies that I didn’t have to make!  That’s fun!  Still to come: some pumpkin bread, a froggy cake (late birthday cake for my “baby” sister), and who knows what else!

Around the house...less chaos than we had this morning.  That makes me smile.

One of my favorite things...visits from friends.  A college student friend of ours came Sunday night and spent most of Monday with us.  We had so much fun with her!

A few plans for the rest of the week...finishing up Christmas gifts, regular church service on Wed, candlelight Christmas Eve service on Friday, my sister Alli visiting Friday through Monday morning (and there are rumors of a visit from one of my brothers!), sharing Christmas dinner with some friends, church on Sunday, and to Monroe for a quick visit with Doug’s parents Monday and Tuesday.

A picture worth sharing...okay, so hunting season is pretty much over – at least when it comes to Doug’s ability to participate.  But, I just realized I’d never shared this picture…

Simple Woman

Monday, December 13, 2010

Absolutely Perfect Provision

Just for the record, God’s provision is always just too cool.  Why I forget that He’ll do it perfectly, I don’t know.  It’s amazing how He uses even little things to remind me, though.

Tonight I was beginning to get nervous that I wasn’t going to have enough photo paper to finish my calendar printing.  Sure enough, I counted the remaining pieces of paper in the box and came up six short.  I stopped and prayed for wisdom.  The first thought to come to me was to go check in the paper sorter.  I opened a box that had photo paper in it, but it wasn’t paper that I could do calendars with.  I thought to make sure that it really was full of only that other kind of paper.  Most of the way through it was.  But, I made sure I went all the way to the bottom of the box.  And, you can probably guess what I found there on the very bottom!  Yep, six – not five, not seven – sheets of the photo paper I needed! 

God is good, and His provision is perfect.  I must remember!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ducks!

I love being a child of God.  Just love it!  There have been times when we have sweated it out, waiting for provision.  But, in all honesty, we’ve never done without.  We might have been tight.  We might have not had quite the full extent of supply that we wanted or were accustomed to, but we’ve always been taken care of.

Meat supply has been one of those provisions lately.  God has supplied in abundance through the generosity of our friends and neighbors this hunting season.  But, yesterday’s provision was, to say the least, a new experience for us.

We got a phone call a little after 8:00 yesterday morning from a church member asking if we wanted some ducks.  Not duck meat.  Ducks.  Duck 4

One thing about moving into a “culture” we’ve never really been exposed to is that the learning curve is very high.  We love to learn.  I will confess that it’s been a long time since we’ve felt quite this ignorant and uneducated, but it will take us a long, long, long time to exhaust our learning potential here!  So, we’re diving in. 

Back to the ducks, we didn’t have a clue what to do with these.  So, Doug placed a phone call to our friend Jonathan asking if he could walk him through what he needed to do with the ducks.  Being the exceedingly helpful man that he is, Jonathan instead came right over, showed Doug how to breast-out the ducks, and offered the tailgate of his truck for the job.  Duck 2

The kids liked the feet!

Duck 1Duck 3

Since it was date night, we put a couple of the breasts in the fridge for our date night dinner.  Doug wrapped them in bacon and pan-fried them.  Can I just say YUM!  When combined with an episode of the A-Team and a close game of Scrabble, it made for quite the fun date night. 

I must say, I’m not only exceedingly thankful for the way God is putting meat on our table right now, I am also thoroughly enjoying the taste of it!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Necktie Pattern

As I said on Tuesday, I am one of those crazy, cruel mothers who likes to see her little boy in ties for church. Not every week, but for special occasions and some days just because. The problem is, Steven is outgrowing his clip ties and ties are just too expensive to buy, especially for little boys!

So, I did what I typically do when I either can’t find or afford something – I try to figure out how to make it. I found something online to give me a general idea and then I created my own pattern. Since I know there’s at least one other cruel mother like me out there, I thought I’d share the pattern!

Keep in mind, this pattern probably seems long and complicated because I believe in giving as many details as possible in my instructions. But, it's really an extremely quick and easy project!

Materials:
light or medium weight fabric
matching thread
fusible interfacing
iron
scissors
sewing needle
sewing machine (optional)

Measuring:
There are two options when it comes to measurements. Either way, my recommendation is to take butcher paper or newsprint and make a pattern once you get your first tie completely cut out. If the size isn't just right the first time, you can always make a new pattern.
  • If you have a tie of the right size, measure it's length from point to point and add 3 inches. Measure it's width at the widest point, double that measurement, and add ½ inch.
  • To start from scratch on measurements, use these general guidelines:
    • For youth and adult ties, start with an 8-inch width. For children (starting with preschool age), start with a 5 ½ – 6 inch width.
    • Length:
      • Measure around the neck with a button-down shirt on.
      • Measure tie length from neck to belt buckle.
      • Determine desired length of “tail” (a longer tail allows for grow room for a child)
      • Add these three measurements together and add 13 inches to the total.
  • Once you have these width and length measurements, cut a rectangle of this length and width. Tie4
Sewing Instructions:
  1. Fold the rectangle in half, right sides together. Starting 3” from each end on the unfolded edge, cut at an angle down toward the fold, ending in a point at the fold. Tie10
  2. Beginning at the outside corner of one end of the rectangle, begin cutting inward at a very gradual angle to form the wide end of the tie. The angled portion of the tie needs to be the neck-to-waist length plus about 2 ½ – 3 inches (for example, if your neck-to-waist length is 12 ½ inches, you want your angle to run around 15 inches). For a child's tie, you want the narrow end to be of the folded material to be 1 – 1 ½ inches wide (2-3 inches unfolded). For an adult tie, keep it closer to 2 inches. Tie9
  3. Once the tie is cut, use it as a pattern to cut the interfacing.
    OR for a lighter, more flexible tie, see alternative notes under step # 7, option 2**
  4. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the material according to manufacturer's directions
  5. Press one side of the wide angle upward in a ½ inch seam. Tie8
  6. Repeat with other side. Stitch the seam, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Repeat with the narrow end.  Tie7
  7. Repeat step five on each end of the tie, but this time do not stitch.
  8. At this point you have two options if you fused the interfacing to the entire tie. If you want the more lightweight tie, you must follow the second set of directions unless you already have a narrow interfacing pattern created.
    1. Option 1:
      1. Fold the tie in half, right sides together.
      2. Stitch down the entire length of the tie, using a ¼ inch seam and leaving ends open.
      3. Turn tie right side out and press flat, with the seam centered in the back of the tie.
      4. Hand stitch to secure the corners on each end if desired. (Sorry, no pictures of this option because I prefer option #2.)
    2. Option 2:
      1. Press down a ¼ inch hem along the full length of both sides of the tie. Tie6
      2. Fold each side in to the center and press. Tie3 Tie2
      3. **For the lightweight interfacing option, take the tie at this point and use it as a pattern to cut out the interfacing. Unfold the tie all the way. Place the interfacing against the stitched hems on each end of the tie, allowing the length to run down the center of the tie. Tie1  Fuse according to the manufacturer's directions and then refold the tie (you'll probably need to repeat the pressing). I made a butcher-paper pattern for the interfacing at this point so I wouldn't have to double-fold and double-press the tie.
      4. Hand stitch the two edges of the folds together down the length of the tie to secure it. If desired, hand stitch the corners on each end as well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Outside my window...early morning light revealing a clear sky – can’t see the sunrise from any of our house windows, but we can see the blue overhead mixed with the pink to the west where the sun is still freshly brightening the land.

I am thinking...about the day and what needs to be done.

I am thankful for...a God who is patient with me and a husband who sticks with me even when I am not easy to deal with.

I am wearing...my pj’s! I am actually getting to this early in the day (although it probably won’t get posted until later because I have to find the picture I want to post).

I am creating...more Christmas surprises.  Making steady progress!

I am going...to have a productive day.  I am hopeful!

I am hoping...our MS house will sell soon.  I know, I sound like a broken record…

I am hearing...the fire crackling, the children chattering over breakfast, and the cat asking to go outside.

On my mind...what I read this morning and just how it applies personally.

From the learning rooms...a light week – memorizing part of the Christmas story; reading stories behind Christmas hymns, Angela beginning multiplication; Olivia increasing her understanding of place value; Steven beginning to learn how letters go together to make blends and sounds; continuing with William Wilberforce; getting to skip science & spelling because we’re ahead.

Noticing that...I have no context with which to even begin to fathom what people went through at Pearl Harbor.

Pondering these words... O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Ps 90:14

From the kitchen...the amazing blessing of a full freezer and pantry; simple desserts and finger foods for tonight’s party.  Tried these for the first time, altering the recipe just a touch (graham cracker crumbs inside instead of vanilla wafer crumbs; rolled some in the rest of the crumbs and some in cinnamon and sugar).  Dangerously easy considering how incredibly good they are!

Around the house...tidying up in preparation for tonight’s party. Laundry needing to be taken care of.  Christmas gifts waiting to be finished.

One of my favorite things...the flexibility of homeschooling.

A few plans for the rest of the week...tonight’s deacons & families Christmas party at our house, school and gift making, a Sunday school Christmas party on Saturday.

A picture worth sharing...Steven’s version of snow skis – side pieces from a puppet show stage and two parasols. Frightening.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving, Takes 2 & 3

Thursday was just our immediate family celebrating Thanksgiving together.  We seriously considered taking up a couple of different families on their offer to come out and join them for Thanksgiving dinner.  But, since we were going to have our big gathering on Saturday, we decided to be just us Thanksgiving Day. 

And it was nice. 

Everyone pitched in on dinner.  Doug was the master chef of our Cornish game hens, wild rice, and vegetable medley. 

TG2

I put the kids to work on crushing graham crackers for a crust…

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…while I mixed up a cheese cake. 

TG1 

It was a precious day of being together, sharing with one another, and discussing thankfulness. 

Then on Saturday, the clan arrived!  Doug’s parents, his sister Stephannie, and her daughter Morgan showed up around noon to join in celebrating. 

We even had the infamous kids table – something we normally don’t have for Thanksgiving dinner because Doug’s parents have a table big enough for all of us.  Both having all of us together and having the kids table are fun in their own ways.  The kids definitely enjoyed themselves!

TG10   

We worked off our big dinner with a little stroll through town, the girls each carrying their parasols.  Silly gals!  (And I somehow managed to miss Stephannie in every single picture! I will take note for next time!  Heehee!)

TG8 TG6

Steph and Morgan headed on home while the rest of us crashed with books or in front of the traditional Thanksgiving Battle of the Boot between Arkansas and Louisiana.  May I just take a brief moment to celebrate once again with a small WOO PIG SOUIEE!  Thank you for indulging me. 

TG5 Lots to be thankful for, without a doubt, topped off with a fun weekend for all.   

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pumpkin!

I had every intention of posting several blog posts last week, but I decided instead to just enjoy my family.  It was worth it!  So, now I’m playing catch-up.  I’ll start with our pumpkin harvesting. 

Just out of curiosity, do people not make anything out of fresh pumpkin after Halloween?  We didn’t get one before Halloween because we don’t usually carve pumpkins.  And, our schedule was going to be pretty hectic in the days surrounding the end of October/beginning of November.  So we waited.  Then we almost were out of luck!  Fortunately, Doug found some when he had to go to Little Rock for a Hebrew test.  He bought four perfect little pie pumpkins and we dug into them the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin 2pumpkin 3

We pulled out the seeds, cleaned out the pulp, put the pumpkin in pans of water, and baked it all until the peel separated easily from the fruit.  Angie decided to get a picture of the bountiful harvest!  We got six cans worth of fruit and a bag of seeds from those four 99 cent pumpkins.  I think it was worth the effort! Pumpkin 4

Meanwhile, the kids were ready for their favorite fall treat – pumpkin bread.  But, we had some ripe bananas that really needed to be used up, and the whole process of harvesting the pumpkin was just going to take a while.  So, we decided to go with banana bread instead!   pumpkin 5I’m sure a loaf of pumpkin bread is in our near future (although trying the pumpkin cheesecake brownie recipe I found a few weeks ago just might end up taking precedence!).