Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Silent Blog

That’s what this blog will probably be for the rest of the week. Monday and Tuesday we were visiting the Monroe Hibbards. We got home last night, and then today Doug and I started tackling this…

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Actually, when we started the tackling it didn’t look this bad. But, it’s one of those “gonna look a whole lot worse before it gets better” situations. The whole school room needed to be purged, organized, and put back together. This picture was taken two hours ago, and the main part of the room still looks about the same. But, the cubby area behind those bookshelves is organized, including finally getting the chalkboard and whiteboard mounted, sorting through and organizing all of our flashcards, and setting up the keyboard. The bookshelf that can’t be seen in this shot has been redone, and the shelf you can see in this shot is complete with the exception of the reorganization of Steven’s readers which take up about a third of one shelf. Some of the tubs in the picture are organized, labeled, and ready to put away as soon as the hall closet is cleaned out and prepared for them. All of the crates have been cleaned out, sorted, and reorganized. And, the two cabinets by the door have been cleaned out and are in the process of being restored to order.

Ahhhhh…I needed that. As I’m sitting in the middle of the chaos, it feels as if I’ve done so little because it still looks like that picture. But, I knew that listing what has been accomplished would help me refocus and get back to work.

Once all of this is done, the Christmas decorations are going to be put away and a few other “before school starts back” tasks are going to be tackled. So, if you don’t hear from me for a few more days, we’re still alive! Just restoring life to our style of normal!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Favorite Things…

Doug gave the kids a writing assignment this past week – they were to each write about their two favorite things about Christmas. Here’s what they wrote:

STEVEN: (Just FYI, he asked me for spelling helps, but Steven sat down and typed this all by himself – I just copied and pasted what he typed!)

My favorite thing about Christmas is that we get to worship God. Another thing about Christmas is that we get to open presents and that we get to sit down beside the Christmas tree. Another thing about Christmas is that I get to work on Christmas presents with mommy. Another thing about Christmas is that Christmas is good. Another thing about Christmas is that we get go to Grandma and POPPOP and Nanny and PAPAW.

ANGELA: (She hand wrote this in her own formatting style, so I’m trying to stay as true as I can to her arrangement!)

My 2 favorite things of Christmas

Love we share

  • I like the love exchanged when we exchange gifts at Christmas.
  • I like the love we share when we say, “Thank-you” with gratitude love and excitement. And best of all I like the love for each other and God.

Jesus is born

  • I like the fact that Jesus was born on Christmas Day because without His birth he could not fulfill his purpose on earth.

OLIVIA:

My first favorite thing about Christmas is giving. It gives me great joy to see faces light up when they open presents.

My second favorite thing about Christmas is making. I especially love the sound of our Bernina as I sew presents on it. I also love having the ability to add extra work to the homemade presents I make because that is my way to show love to the person I’m making it for.

 

Thank you for sharing another year with our family!

Merry Christmas from the Hibbards!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, December 21

Outside my window...gray.

I am thinking...about the day and the order in which each item on my to-do list needs to be tackled.

I am thankful for...the anniversary get-away Doug and I had Monday and Tuesday (the reason this post was delayed until today!); my parents for keeping the kids; a wonderful home to return to.

I am wearing...3/4 sleeve maroon top with a black tank; jeans; chilly bare toes

I am creating...the last of our Christmas gifts – should be totally done today! Hopefully! Soon I’ll get to share a post of everything we’ve been making.

I am remembering...the week before Christmas 13 years ago. Actually, I don’t remember anything about Monday the 21st through Wednesday the 23rd. Saturday was our wedding, we were in Little Rock through Sunday for a short honeymoon, then it was back to work Monday morning for both of us. That Saturday had been nice and warm. By Christmas Eve, though, we were in the throes of a nice Arkansas ice storm. My incredible new hubby fought the icy roads to get me to Judsonia for a couple of hours for Christmas Eve. Then he was on call (worked for a funeral home) on Christmas Day, and he was called in. Because the hearse drove much better on ice than the minivan they typically used, we both climbed into the hearse when he had to go to work. We were delighted and thankful, though, to get to spend our first Christmas together, even if it did mean me having to tag along with him as he worked!

I am reading...or supposed to be reading…Living Close to God When You’re not Good at It by Gene Edwards (review book). Hopefully I’ll get most of it read through today since it seems to be a pretty easy read.

I am hoping...for a little Christmas snow. Not a lot, but just enough to be pretty. I know. It’s not very likely. But it would be fun!

I am hearing...a very quiet house. All I had to do was send the kids to clean their rooms!

On my mind...learning to pray better for my family.

From the learning rooms...Christmas break!

Noticing that...Olivia is growing up so quickly and in so many ways!

From the kitchen...leftovers? Later this week, there will be Christmas cookies to share and finger foods for Christmas Eve and Cornish game hens for Christmas Day. But, for now, probably just leftovers.

Around the house...a little clutter that must be conquered today or tomorrow.

One of my favorite things...big hugs and morning snuggles from my big kids.

A few plans for the rest of the week...finishing our sewing, wrapping all the presents (no, we haven’t started – but it shouldn’t take too long), church tonight, Browning Christmas celebration on Friday, Christmas Eve service on Saturday, Christmas Eve & Day at home, then Hibbard Christmas celebration Monday.

A picture worth sharing...penguin carolers met me at my bedroom door the other day. I think it was Angie’s doing again.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

More Hunting!

Evidently, Doug wasn’t the only one hunting this week. Napoleon did his share as well!! He went out yesterday morning and enjoyed a successful hunt.

I missed getting a picture of him in his full orange apparel, but Doug got some pictures of him with his kill.

And what was our favorite family penguin hunting? Why, possum, of course! He managed to nab a nice, fat one!

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Later in the day, Napoleon followed Chef Bun-Bun to the kitchen to oversee the preparation of the possum delicacy of the day.

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Meanwhile, Angela was cackling through it all. Apparently she was the mastermind behind Napoleon’s hunting expedition. As Doug’s faithful kitchen assistant, Chef Bun-Bun was delighted to be a part of the whole experience!

Stuffed animals and family creativity are so much fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

He Got One!!

Every time Doug went hunting last year, the deer seemed to know it. He never saw a single one – well, unless you count seeing them on the drive home, casually strolling on someone else’s property!

Up until this week, this year has shaped up to be about the same. He’s been out a couple of times, but has never seen anything.

Until yesterday!

Yesterday afternoon he went out to our friend Gary’s farm. And the deer came to see him! He was contemplating shooting a large doe when this six-point buck came wandering up. He put one shot in the neck and it went right down.

Gary drove his truck back around to pick Doug and the deer up, and they brought it home for us to see before they headed on over to the processor. Not too shabby for a first-ever kill!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Love & Growing Up

My children are not always nice to each other. But, they really do love each other. I want to remember the little things they do to show that love to each other.

This morning was one such incident that I want to remember.

Steven was the last one out of bed, which is really rare for him. He’s usually first of the kids to awaken. But, this morning as he stumbled into the kitchen, I took one look at him and knew he wasn’t himself. I picked him up and heat radiated from his body to mine. So, while Doug finished working on breakfast for everyone, I headed to the bathroom with Steven for a temp check, the normal round of specific questions to help nail down what might be wrong with a  five-year-old, and a dose of Tylenol.

After breakfast, I walked into the kitchen to find Olivia emptying the dishwasher. Now, Olivia has her own Tuesday morning chore. She and Angie clean the bathrooms once a week. Emptying the dishwasher in the mornings is Steven’s job. But, here she was, emptying it for him in addition to her own work. Doing it without being asked and without a single complaint. I said something about it, and she responded by informing me that Steven was sick and shouldn’t have to do chores.

My children love each other AND my big girl is growing up. I love being a mommy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, December 12, 2011

Outside my window...increasing cloudiness after a bright, sunshiny morning. A very slight breeze occasionally stirs the leaves of the trees in the front yard, but mostly it is still and chilly.

I am thinking...about motives behind decisions. Praying that mine are honorable.

I am thankful for...attentive children who are learning so much by their observations of life.

I am wearing...jeans, suede shirt, warm house shoes.

I am creating...kids’ calendars, a lapdesk design for the girls to make for Steven, and ideas for making a new gown for Olivia, who is outgrowing everything!

I am remembering...that there is so much bitterness and hopelessness when a heart rejects, refuses, and lives without the presence of the one true God. My heart aches for the many who live that life.

I am going...to have to get busy if I’m to have a productive afternoon.

I am reading...just finished Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy for tomorrow’s Joy of Writing review. Compelling novel.

I am hoping...for some miracles. And smiling because I know that hope in Christ is never empty.

I am hearing...a clock ticking; Doug’s side of his phone conversation; keyboard keys tapping; the heater blowing (so thankful for a functional heater!).

On my mind...the reminder that the best thing we can ever do is pray. All else comprises lesser actions.

From the learning rooms...another light week. Finishing World War II and learning a little more about energy. Olivia’s finishing a language arts book this week.

Noticing that...God’s peace is a really strange thing and almost impossible to explain. In fact, it’s downright contradictory when you try to explain it to someone who’s never experienced it!

Pondering these words…(the inspiration for the above noticings) “Despite anxiety that robbed cravings for even one Neiman Marcus cookie, Gloria’s peace matched the idyllic Baylor setting.”  ~quote from Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy. I’ve known that anxiety that robs even my desire for my favorite comfort foods. And I’ve known the peace that can exist even in the same moment. It’s an amazing thing.

From the kitchen...leftovers for lunch. Plans this afternoon to make bread and a dessert for tonight’s Sunday school class party.

Around the house...peaceful afternoon rest time. I love this time of day! Not because it’s a “break” from children, but because I know my family has the freedom to enjoy a peaceful time of rest every day.

One of my favorite things...I guess rest time would be the appropriate answer!

A few plans for the rest of the week...party tonight, a few “extras” for the week that mainly involve Doug, and otherwise life as usual for the rest of the week. Hopefully including the completion of Christmas projects!

A picture worth sharing...how I love the way these girls love each other!100_9961

Friday, December 9, 2011

Project

We’ve talked for several years – I think since we lived in Horn Lake! – about trying to make a nativity display of some sort for our front yard. We’ve gone back and forth about how to do it, and up until this year we’ve ended up rejecting all our ideas, realizing we just didn’t have the know-how and skills required to pull them off.

But this year we had a new thought: outline the manger scene in white lights. We were just confident enough that we could pull it off that we went ahead and picked up some wafer board to work with.

Olivia got the project started off with four or five coats of primer/sealer on the wafer board, both to give it a solid white color and to hopefully give it some protection from the weather. It took several weeks, trying to find times when it wasn’t too wet or too cold to finish the job. But, last week she finally was able to get the last coat of primer on the board.

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Then it was up to Doug and me to create the design. Last Friday night, right before the last wave of rain and cold hit, we spent date night creating the manger scene out of white lights. Project3

Then came the challenge of deciding where to put it to keep it as un-flooded as possible during the deluge we were expecting over the weekend, as well as the challenge of figuring out how to create a support for the heavy wafer board. Of course, my brilliant husband mastered both with ease.

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Not having the expertise to take night photos well, this picture doesn’t really do it justice. But, we’re excited that it actually turned out! We’ve even been told that it can be seen clearly from the highway. Fun!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Beautiful Surprise

Look at the beautiful gift from God that we woke up to this morning!!

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Obviously not a big snow, although it was definitely more a layer than a dusting. Not really enough to get up under the trees, though.

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But enough to blanket the wood pile (most of the wood is up under the church van’s carport to keep it dry).

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It was a very, very wet snow, thanks to the 6 inches of rain we’ve gotten in the past week or so. So, we couldn’t get out in it at all. But, it was SOOO pretty! It’s pretty rare for us to get snow in December, so we were excited.

It was all we could do to hold off until 7:00 to get the kids up. We had a late night last night, and I wanted them to get their last few minutes of sleep. But, we finally went in to each room and opened the shades, telling the kids they really wanted to look outside. Steven just couldn’t wake up, so Doug picked him up and carried him to the window. He still had his eyes closed in Doug’s arms, so I gently encouraged him that he really wanted to open his eyes. He barely cracked them open to look, and then they flew open wide and he exclaimed, in a still sleepy but excited voice, “It snowed!!”

The sun came out mid-morning, and the snow was all gone by 11:00. But, we’re still riding on the excitement of waking up to it unexpectedly. Such a sweet blessing!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving 3

Our last Thanksgiving celebration was the Saturday after Thanksgiving with the extended Hibbards. We picked Stephannie and Morgan up on our way back from Judsonia Friday night, and had a nice, relaxing visit between then and when Doug’s parents arrived Saturday morning. Jack definitely enjoyed having another lap to claim!

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And, there’s nothing like PopPop snuggles!

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Olivia decorated a table for us. The picture doesn’t do it justice because the place settings are all glass! But, they looked very nice, and then she scattered little Thanksgiving graffiti pieces Grandma had brought all over the tables.

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Grandma & PopPop took Stephannie and Morgan home Saturday afternoon and then they came back to join us for church Sunday morning before heading back to Louisiana.

All in all, another good visit, and a great way to end Thanksgiving weekend before heading into Advent!

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, December 5, 2011

Outside my window...a new lake being continually added to. And the island that is the yard decoration we made ourselves last week – the manger scene in lights. Pretty proud of that accomplishment!

I am thinking...chocolate is essential. Sorry – that’s all I have right now.

I am thankful for...a warm, dry house.

I am wearing...jeans and a blue-green long-sleeve t-shirt (might need something a little warmer as the temperatures drop today).

I am creating...well, it’s December! This one should be pretty obvious! Smile 

I am remembering...a couple of things that should be on my to-do list but aren’t. Better go take care of that.

I am going...to enjoy being back in our routine over the next couple of weeks.

I am reading...Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy.

I am hoping...for enough of a break in the rain tomorrow morning to be able to walk with Karlyn.

I am hearing...the squeaking of my chair, the heater, silence from children – accompanied by the knowledge that this time I know it’s not a bad thing.

On my mind...honestly? Christmas crafts. Hmmm…I think I need to be focusing my mind beyond my tasks.

From the learning rooms...holiday schedule for the next two weeks: core studies and very scaled down independent work. Still in World War II, but I’m not sure what science will be this week. I think still microscopes.

Noticing that...Olivia cleans like I do. Which is an awesome thing because there are things I put on my own to-do list rather than delegating them because I know I’m weird to want them done in the first place. But, Olivia sees them, too, and sometimes does them simply because she wants them done, not because I ask her to do them. Ah, big smile.

Pondering these words...God is gracious like this: wealth is not the key to worship. Effort is. ~Doug Hibbard, from Advent Reflections 2011: The Gift Cycle

From the kitchen...quesadillas made from leftover taco meat. Mmmmm…

Around the house...less and less clutter as the house gradually gets cleaned.

One of my favorite things...rain. Yes, I know it’s flooding again, and I know it’s cold and miserable to actually have to be out in it. But, I think it would take a lot for me to not love rain.

A few plans for the rest of the week...school, deacon’s Christmas party tomorrow night, ladies’ Christmas party on Saturday.

A picture worth sharing...the kids set their stuffies up as a nativity. I really couldn’t get a picture of it all, but here’s Bunny as a wiseman, bringing his gift to Baby Jesus (the doll in blue barely seen on the right of the picture).100_9956

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving 2

Our second Thanksgiving celebration was on Friday with the Browning side of the family. I got some group pictures, but none of them really turned out. But, we had a good crowd. My grandparents, parents, aunt and uncle, and a couple that has been close to our family for as long as I can remember were there. Then there were four of the five siblings and their spouses, and we can’t forget Abigail!

A Browning Thanksgiving celebration involves lots of potluck food, Mom’s pretty tables (I only got a picture of the kids’ table – I should have gotten all of them!)…

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…at least a few games, and fun visiting, snuggling, and playing. 2TG3

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Oh, and this year involved getting to ride around – or in Livie’s case, drive – in Grandpa’s golf cart! (No, Grandpa doesn’t play golf, but this cart does help him get around all of our property a little easier.)

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For quite some time now, we have taken a picture of Olivia and Grandma side by side with each visit, marking how close Olivia was to being as tall as Grandma. This time, she’d made it! In fact, she’s about an eighth of an inch taller. That was a proud moment for Olivia. Her next target…Aunt Alli. Then me. I’m getting a bit nervous!

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Finally, the family pictures. It was a pretty enough day to get us all out on the front porch for this year’s pictures!

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TG10

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Another fun family day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving 1

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was beautifully extended! We started off with our annual church “breakfast for dinner” on Wednesday night. It was sweet fellowship time with folks from both our church and the Methodist church.

Then on Thursday, it was time to just be us. We enjoyed a calm, peaceful morning, and then started getting ready for our family dinner.

The kids set a beautiful table…

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…and Doug stocked it with a delicious dinner! Grilled shrimp and salmon, corn on the cob, tri-colored rotini in a garlic cream cheese sauce, and crescent rolls. All topped off with our favorite punch, served on fall colored plates with coordinating silly turkey napkins!

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And, of course, the kids were dressed appropriately in the precious turkey shirts that Karlyn from church made for them. They wore these almost every day the week before Thanksgiving!

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After dinner and a rest time, we gathered up all of the fall/Thanksgiving d├ęcor (except what we would need for Saturday’s Thanksgiving celebration #4) and pulled out Christmas stuff. Usually that’s a Friday after Thanksgiving thing, but we were going to be gone Friday and busy Saturday, so we decided to go for Thursday afternoon.

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Steven helped Doug get the tree ready for assembly and then we all pitched in on the branches. But, most of our lights were out, so the decorating of the tree had to wait for a few more days until we could get more lights.

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The girls enjoyed picking out a nativity set to set up in their rooms (Steven claimed the Veggie Tales snow globes!).

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Meanwhile, Steven helped me unpack the various little nativity sets from around the world.

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Oh, and the trio did get to decorate their own little tree – one that sits in their hallway and is covered with tiny penguin and bear ornaments.

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The whole day was sweet and peaceful, reminding us how thankful we are to just be a family!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sewing Upgrade

I had great intentions of getting a blog post up early today. But, something came up that kind of trumped other plans.

Do you see anything different in these two pictures? (Other than the people in the pictures, naturally!)

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Yep, the difference would be this!

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Last night I joined some of the ladies from church for a Christmas recipe swap party. The fellowship was wonderful, as always, but then they went and made me cry by presenting me with this amazing Bernina sewing machine as a Christmas gifts from all of the ladies at church! (And, for those of you who don’t sew or aren’t familiar with machine brands, Berninas are amazing machines!)

Olivia fell in love with Berninas this summer when she took her sewing class. This was her response when I brought her in (eyes covered) first thing this morning…

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(Just ignore the mess in the background please. Thank you.)

Once we got the basics of the machine – or computer, rather! – figured out, this is what we started playing with…fun stitches! Are those not pretty?

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I am so thankful to have had my mother-in-law’s Kenmore for the past ten years. But, I have to say, I can’t wait to see what the next ten years of sewing will look like!

To the ladies of FBC Almyra – I can’t say thank you enough!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, November 28, 2011

Outside my window...a few dozen leaves stubbornly clinging to the peach tree in the front yard as the wind steadily blows it. It’s a cold, gray day. There actually were very random flurries this morning, but nothing really visible. I could just tell it was snow hitting my face, not mist, as I was walking this morning.

I am thinking...that I am letting this morning get away from me. I haven’t accomplished much.

I am thankful for...cold weather, school flexibility, music, Christmas decorations.

I am wearing...black sweatpants and a denim shirt. Definitely bum around the house clothes today!

I am creating...an extra week for projects. Okay, so that’s not exactly a creation, but that’s where I am right now!

I am remembering...why my planner is so wonderfully helpful. I work so much better when I don’t have to keep all of this stuff in my head!

I am going...to try to figure out what type of holiday treat I want to make for our women’s gathering tonight.

I am reading...Reclaiming Lily and the new Advent devotional my awesome hubby wrote. If you’re looking for one and would like to check his out, here are the links for the different formats:

Word 2007

PDF

I am hoping...that much is accomplished and many projects are finished this week so as to allow the following three weeks to be that much more relaxed and enjoyable.

I am hearing...the dishwasher, Christmas music, kids playing – although I’m not sure the playing is entirely happy at the moment. Will have to keep an ear trained on that…

On my mind...people close to me in need of the closeness of our Savior, some for comfort, some for salvation, and some for a reminder of His hunger for intimacy.

From the learning rooms...the mathematical and scientific processes that contribute to the completion of a task; architecture; literary diversity. (Also known as, school is canceled again for this week and the children will be turning their patterns into finished projects, enjoying their Legos, and reading profusely.)

Noticing that...the bickering was short-lived. That makes me happy. Now they are trying to put the cats on the trail of the mouse seen in my bedroom this morning.

From the kitchen...getting all of the leftover turkey put away to be used in recipes. Monday is typically leftover day, but I’m thinking turkey rice soup sounds really, really good.

Around the house...Christmas decorations are up! I love it!

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

A few plans for the rest of the week...sewing, digitally creating, reading aloud to the kiddos, writing. Tonight there is a women’s get-together, but I don’t think we have any plans for the rest of the week.

A picture worth sharing...the girls traded pajama tops.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

We are Thankful!

For the country life we learn to love more every day.

For the wonderful church family we have in Almyra Baptist Church.

For the chance to gather with family multiple times this week.

For our wonderful home.

For a full freezer and pantry.

For friends, near and far.

For technology that keeps us close to those friends who are far.

For spiritual hunger and growth among our children.

For the blessing that homeschooling has been to our family.

For the fact that even if all of the above things and the hundreds of other things I haven’t mentioned were to all disappear, we would still have an infinite wealth of blessing to be thankful for. We have been bought by the blood of the Lamb. The incredible power of God which raised Christ from the dead dwells within us. We are His eternally, and we will dwell with Him through eternity. I cannot wrap my mind around the truth that that gift alone is beyond comprehension, yet He gives us all the rest as well!

I am thankful for a day set aside to truly focus on an attitude of thanksgiving. But, I’m also thankful that a heart of thanks can be ours year-round.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Love,

                     The Hibbards

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What’s a Desk?

It seems that every school year we start off at a table. We do have a beautiful small table that works well for groups lessons in school, but it’s a little too small for everyone to spread out for independent work. And, we don’t have a desk or table space for each child. So, as the year wears on, it seems we spread out…all over the house!

A few months ago I instituted the system that has been the most effective yet for our homeschool – crates. All of us have crates. Small ones for pencil cases, glue, scissors, crayons, etc. Medium sized ones for books. The larger ones are for storage and organization. All of the kids’ individual books are kept in their crates, so when it’s time for school they just have to grab them and go. When it’s time to clean up, they just put everything back in their crate. I have two crates. One has all the books we need for that particular day, and the other one has everything else that will be needed for the week. I just stock it up at the beginning of the week and make any necessary switches in the other crate first thing every morning. It has been awesome! And so flexible.

So flexible, in fact, that I have seen the kids working in all sorts of locations. I decided to start snapping pictures of some of the different places they work.

Olivia is pretty predictable. It’s typically either a couch or her bed.

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The variation comes when she has company. She usually works better alone, so she separates herself from the other two. But, occasionally she is in a mode where she can be with them and still focus well.

This was a cute day…they had all lined up their crates at the foot of the bed and chose to do math all at the same time. (Hmmm…I could have been a Horizons Math advertisement that day!)

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I never know where I’m going to find Steven and Angela. The one predictable thing with them is that they are typically going to be found together!

This is a pretty common sight – in the open space in Angie’s room.School1

This is what happens when they want to be in the same room but need a little separation. Here Angie is in the narrow space behind Steven’s bed on his bean bag. Steven’s on the other side of the bed on the floor (thought I had a picture, but apparently not).

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Other times, just being in the same room isn’t enough!School3

I’m sure there will be more locations and more pictures to come! My children are like their parents – they need regular change. If they can satisfactorily find it in switching up where and how they do school, that works for me!