Friday, October 28, 2011


I looked out the window one beautiful afternoon to find my children, rakes in hand, forming a huge pile of leaves. Now, before you make any comments about my wonderful children, keep this one thing in mind: They had no idea they were actually being helpful. They had slightly different goals in mind…



Tossing leaves and burying themselves!


And posing for Mommy – oh wait, that was not really their idea. It was mine. But, they gladly cooperated!


Fall is so much fun!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, October 24

Outside my window...moisture glistening on the grass, almost looking like frost. The fog just recently lifted, but the clouds still persist.

I am thinking...about how hard it is to see our children’s hurt when they are disciplined, but how necessary that discipline is. I can only imagine how we hurt God’s heart.

I am thankful for...the chance to be a reviewer, our church family, the cool weather, yesterday’s rain, God’s provision for the farmers even when the rain comes in an untimely fashion.

I am knit pants, 3/4 sleeve pink and white flowered top.

I am creating...a few more Christmas gift ideas; finishing up one batch of calendars this week; need to start helping the kids create for one another.

I am remembering...something I was supposed to do two weeks ago…

I am take care of that today or tomorrow.

I am reading...The Baker’s Wife by Erin Healy. Need to also read The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund this week. (Again, if you’re ever curious about the books I mention, go to every Tuesday for reviews. This week there will be an additional review on Friday to cover The Baker’s Wife.)

I am hoping...that school prep this afternoon progresses in a more timely fashion than my morning activities have.

I am hearing...nothing but the whirring of my computer and the ticking of a clock. Not sure that’s a good thing right now – what are my kids doing?

On my mind...unfortunately, my to-do list because I haven’t been diligent to write it down. I need to write it out so that I can focus on more worthy things.

From the learning rooms...the start of World War II, microscopes and magnetism.

Noticing that...I now hear the children chattering. All’s well.

Pondering these words... Some people think that you either have courage or you don’t. But that’s not true. Courage is an emotional muscle. You build your courage “muscle” a lot like you build any muscle. You use it and exercise it. A little at first, then try a little more, and repeat. ~ Doug Kelsey

From the kitchen...spaghetti bake

Around the house...lots and lots and lots of laundry needing to be folded. We are so blessed to have that many clothes.

One of my favorite books – I received two new review books in the mail today. So exciting!

A few plans for the rest of the, prep for next week’s Arkansas Baptist State Convention, writing, sewing, creating, and so on and so forth.

A picture worth sharing...what fashion sense! (For the record, the shirt under the leotard has a pink camo heart on it, and there is a Hello Kitty bow on the headband. The blue toe socks have purple frogs on them.)


Friday, October 21, 2011

Adventures at Home

Okay, so maybe this week wasn’t quite so adventuresome, but I enjoyed writing last week’s post. So, here we go again! 

  • We’ve all been a little under the weather this week. Not feeling poorly enough to call ourselves sick, but definitely lacking our normal sense of good health. But early in the week, the weather turned, and it became perfect “snuggle in front of the fireplace” weather! Oh, and we got rain!!! A whole day of it! It was absolutely wonderful! We lit our first fire in the fireplace, and the kids pulled out the warm blankets. It wasn’t really that frigid, but we just had to take advantage of the cool down. Here they are under a blanket watching their science Discover & Do episode for the week. Adv2 Every morning this week, they’ve each chosen a spot on the couch or in the recliner with their big, comfy blankets. It’s about to get warm again, but we sure have enjoyed this week!
  • This one’s actually from last week – but it didn’t happen until Saturday night, so it didn’t get included in last week’s post! Doug and I spent date night experimenting with meat balls. Or, rather, Doug experimented, and I recorded the process/recipes and “judged” his experimentations. After six different attempts, we decided that number three was the best – a delicious blend of flavors that started with sweetness, but then progressed into pure heat. I’mAdv1 not one who likes spicy heat that takes away all sense of taste. I like heat that allows you to still taste flavors. That’s what these were. YUM!  I’ll let Doug decide whether or not he’s going to share his secret recipe! Smile
  • And then there’s another cat story. I think these cats are going to drive me insane!! We noticed Saturday afternoon that we hadn’t seen Smokey since early in our garage workday. But, she sometimes disappears for a day or two and then shows back up when she’s hungry, so we didn’t worry too much about it. When she wasn’t back on Monday, I began to have this nagging thought that we’d trapped her somewhere. I double-checked our van and car, listened in the attic, checked closets, etc., but I didn’t find her. Out of ideas, I just figured we had to wait. By Wednesday I was pretty sure we’d lost her for good this time. We wouldn’t mind having fewer cats, but she’s not the one we’d have given up first. She’s the easiest, lowest maintenance cat we have! Well, Thursday evening, the end of day six, I had my Pampered Chef party. When Doug got home from work he didn’t want to block anyone in, so he pulled the van into the yard and parked behind the carport for the church van. As the headlights illuminated the back of the church van, he noticed the silhouette of a cat through the back windows! Sure enough, there was Smokey, locked in the church van! Doug had opened the van for just a few minutes on Saturday to take care of something. Apparently in those few minutes, Smokey climbed right in and made herself at home. Unfortunately, that meant she had to be “at home” for six days and five nights!! Fortunately, the “low maintenance” part of her that makes her such an easy cat helped in this situation, too. There wasn’t a scratch on any seats or anywhere else in the van, and she didn’t even really make much of a mess either. Needless to say, she’s glad to be home!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

OBU Homecoming

I don’t think I have all of the pictures from Homecoming on the computer. Yes, even after a week and a half! But, here are a few…

We started up on the main campus Saturday morning, millingHC3 around the crowd, looking for friends. We saw some faculty and we saw Ryan and Karlyn Hillman! I joked with someone later about how funny it was that they were the one family we ran into as we were milling around, considering we live three blocks from them! But, the kids enjoyed wandering around, and of course had a great time on the huge inflatable slide set up in the middle of everything! Because, of course, that’s what it’s all about! HC4We snapped a few pictures, ate lunch, met a couple from Alabama whose son was an OBU student. It’s fun how it all feels like one big family just because of the Ouachita ties.

After lunch, we made our way down to the football field to go see part of the game. It was a pretty warm day, so we were all ready to sit in the shade for a little while! We were glad then and there that we only planned to watch part of the game!

Okay, so the game didn’t go so well for OBU, but as we were headed in, a friend from the Baptist state convention offices commented about the difference between a game at Ouachita and, say, a Razorback game. At Ouachita, it’s a family reunion with a game going on in the background. Other places it’s all about the football. We cheer on the OBU Tigers nearly every week and it would have been nice to be there for a winning game. But, just being there was fun! And, I did see a couple of old friends for the first time since graduation! It was so awesome to sit and chat with them in person (as opposed to the Facebook chats we’re used to) for a few minutes!

Of course, our favorite part of the afternoon was the band. We love the band!


After the band’s halftime show, we headed out, but not before stopping to pose with the mascot as the band was returning to their seats.


Despite the heat, it was a fun day!

Oh – and we saw the best OBU shirt ever while we were at the game. It had “Ouachita” written at the top, and under it was written something to the effect of: “That’s pronounced Wa-shi-taw!” Yep, that’s us!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, October 17, 2011

Outside my window...streaks of morning sunlight shining through the trees and across the mostly shaded yard. I love morning and evening light! There’s also a haze, though – the sky is brown, not blue, thanks to the lack of rain and the dust stirred up on the dirt roads and during the harvest. We’re praying for rain.

I am thinking...about how much fun it’s going to be to see the Choates when they return for furlough next summer. Hard to believe it’s been 3 1/2 years since we saw them last, but so thankful for the technology to have kept in touch through those years!

I am thankful for...the love of our church family. They shower us with love and blessings week in and week out all year long, but this entire month they’ve gone over the top to make sure we feel loved and appreciated (October is Pastor Appreciation Month). There will never be a way to truly show them how much we appreciate them!

I am workout clothes. Haven’t gotten to the shower yet.

I am creating...a plan for creating Christmas gifts with the kids. I love that shopping for gifts and supplies and making those gifts is all part of teaching my children! I love that learning doesn’t end when the school books are closed, but continues through every aspect of learning to truly live, give, and serve one another.

I am remembering...cold mornings in front of a warm fire place. We should have one of those this week! Starting tomorrow, the temps that have been in the upper 80’s and lower 90’s should be dropping to the 60’s! The lows are supposed to get into the 30’s! I’m giddy with excitement!

I am get back to menu planning. Life works so much better when I do.

I am reading...Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson. Captivating! I’ll also be reading The Baker’s Wife by Erin Healy this week. I love it when I have a fiction stretch in my review schedule. Non-fiction is awesome, but fiction is my haven!

I am hoping...that we have seen our last stretch of heat for the season.

I am hearing...the clanking of dishes as Steven unloads the dishwasher, the cuckoo clock sounding off the hour, cars on the highway, the whir of the fan, water from Doug’s shower.

On my mind...the hunger to respond to God’s prayer nudgings well. So often I don’t really pay attention, and I end up fighting anxiety in those times. When I do pay attention, the peace is awesome. You’d think I’d learn.

From the learning rooms...The Great Depression; microscopes; ordinal numbers and days of the week (Steven), fractions (Angela), lowest common denominator and reducing fractions (Olivia).

Noticing kids are big. I love them at these ages! We’re having so much fun. But, I will admit that there are times when I look around at the little kids at church and miss having little ones.

Pondering these words... “But, I’m not saved.” A statement from Steven while listening in on our morning Bible discussion one day last week. The signs of spiritual awakening in my children is a precious, precious thing to me.

From the kitchen...leftovers for lunch; the need to finish up the pumpkin task.

Around the house...fall decorations are out! The kids took down the eagles and Arthur Court pieces on Saturday and decorated the mantle, kitchen shelf, and piano with fall décor. They did a wonderful job!

One of my favorite things...the laughter of my children.

A few plans for the rest of the; definite progress on Christmas gifts; a Pampered Chef party; and a homeschool party on Friday – we’re finally getting connected with the local homeschool community. Yeah, it’s only been a year. We work so quickly, don’t we?!  Oh, and if I didn’t get an invitation to you for the Pampered Chef party but you want to come, it’s at 6:00 on Thursday night at my house. We’d love to have you! (Let me know if you’re planning to come so we can know our head count.) If you can’t come but want to place an order, let me know.

A picture worth sharing...I can’t imagine what this child would do if she couldn’t wear dress-up clothes to school.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Adventures at Home

Life is fun around the Hibbard household. Here are a few moments from this week:

  • Angela had another loose tooth – somewhere between her sixth and eighth. I’ve lost count. (Poor middle child.) I offered to pull it for her, but she told me she didn’t think it was ready. Less than thirty minutes later, she walks into the living room, tooth in hand! She was so proud to have pulled her own tooth!
  • Fast-forward a couple of days. Olivia walked in and said, “Mommy, I think I have a loose molar!” Olivia has never grown or lost teeth in their proper order or at the appropriate time, and this molar is no exception. I wiggled it and found that she was right - her one-year molar was getting ready to come out. I just didn’t realize how ready! A couple of hours later, she walks in with her tooth in hand, too, excited to get to really study a molar up close!
  • But, her adventure didn’t end there. She took it to the bathroom to clean the blood off before putting it in the tooth fairy pillow, but she accidentally dropped the tiny tooth down the drain! I assured her that the tooth fairy (if appropriately reminded – she is fully cognizant of just who needed to be reminded) would still come, but she was sad to have lost the tooth. Sure enough, her hero came to the rescue! The tooth had not yet descended into the bowels of the sewer system, so her beloved daddy “rescued” the tooth from the drain.
  • One of Steven’s read-alouds for this week was a cute book entitled Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox! When Steven read the title, he and the girls all three looked at each other and just cracked up laughing. They thought chicken pox sounded like the funniest thing in the world! It was then that I realized something – my three sweeties have absolutely no idea what the chicken pox are! That was bizarre to me. Olivia was in one of the earliest waves of “general public” children to be vaccinated. In fact, I remember wondering if I should even bother. I mean, isn’t a bout of chicken pox just part of childhood? Not anymore! Apparently it’s not even in their vocabulary!
  • And finally, there’s a cat story. Sometimes we leave the van windows open. Almost every time we do so, at least one cat becomes convinced that the van is the place to be.  The windows don’t even have to be rolled all the way down. Just five or six inches is enough. Well, earlier today as we were tidying the garage, the van was in the driveway, the windows were down, and both Jack and Mina had been inside. But, Doug had taken the borrowed tractor back out to the Hillman farm, and we needed to go pick him up. So, we chased out all of the cats and climbed in the van. We rolled up the windows simply because we were headed down a gravel road and didn’t want to suffocate from the dust. A little while later after we were back home, Doug and the kids were out in the garden and I was alone in the garage sweeping when I heard a noise by the van. I looked up to discover that Jack had jumped up on the van expecting an open window. Instead, he got up on the side mirror and had nowhere to go! Starting to slide, he grabbed hold of the mirror with both paws and ended up hanging by his paws from the mirror before he finally let loose and fell (unharmed – just startled) back to the ground! I so wish I’d been able to get a picture, but it all happened too quickly. Besides, I was too busy laughing at him! It was like a scene from a cartoon!

And that, my friends, is a sample of this week’s adventures. Tune in again next week – I’m sure there will be more humor to share!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!!

Two weeks ago Doug and I headed to Arkadelphia for conferences and left the kids with Alicia Jo. When we returned to pick them up, we found three bags full of these tiny pumpkins stacked among their things! Lots of pumpkins is an understatement!


Olivia has a few of them in her room as fall decorations. The girls have set a few more aside to make candle holders with their Sunday school teacher. (I’m really curious to see them! That’s a new idea for this craft-challenged mom!)

But the rest? Well, I have no clue what variety these are, but I have heard that the smaller the pumpkin, the sweeter the fruit. And these are definitely small! So, I figure it won’t hurt to try to cook them down to store for pumpkin bread. The smallest is about the size of a large orange, and the biggest – of which there are only a few – are probably no more than three times that size. None of them is as big as the pie pumpkins Wal-Mart is selling right now. But, so far I’ve cut up and cooked three of them. The rind was so thin that there was a lot more good fruit in them than I expected! And, it was nice and smooth – no real stringiness to speak of. I’m no pumpkin connoisseur, but I figure it’s worth testing on a batch or two of pumpkin bread. If our resident pumpkin bread fanatic (aka Steven) says it’s good, then who am I to argue? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Farm Safety Day

Every year fifth graders throughout the county head over to the county fairgrounds for Farm Safety Day. Last Wednesday was that day. What a blessing to have one of the coordinators in our church! Not only did she let us know about it and help us get signed up for it, but she also made sure we were in her group that day. And what a fun day it was!


There are several small private schools in the county, and Olivia, being the only homeschooler in attendance, was put in their group. We could not have asked for a better group to join! Those girls immediately welcomed Olivia in, and she bounced to and fro between the various school groups. Another friend from church is the fifth and sixth grade teacher for one of those private schools, so she adopted Olivia into her class for the day. Two of her students were familiar to Olivia – one was a girl she met in her sewing class this past summer, and the other is the step-granddaughter of a couple from church.


Meanwhile, some girls from one of the other schools thought Olivia was just too cute and wanted to get to know her! So, they all enjoyed lunch together.


Farm Safety Day was just as it sounds…a day to learn how to be safe on a farm. I have to admit that things were mentioned that I never would have even thought about!

We started with the fire house, learning safe ways to get out of a burning home. Then we moved on to tractor/mower safety. Once the reps from John Deere finished their presentation, all the kids got to climb on the tractor and lawn mower.


From there, we moved on to presentations covering ATV safety, 911 information, One Call (811 – call before you dig!), and cleanliness practices. After lunch, we learned about hearing protection and safety, and then moved on to learning about the importance of being careful around grain and in grain bins. They used small samples of grain to show how easy it is to get sucked into a grain bin and how tightly stuck you can get once you’re in there!


Next, two EMT’s showed some of their equipment and discussed their rescue techniques, and then we moved on to learn about fire safety.


The final stop was learning about being aware of dangerous animals, especially reptiles like snakes and alligators such as this little guy – much smaller than the largest gator found in Arkansas, measuring in at 17 1/2 feet!


And then there was the unexpected find of the day. Olivia, ever the explorer, had to look over her surroundings. She looked up high enough to be the one person to see this…


Farm Safety Day was definitely a fun day – Angela’s already looking forward to her turn in two years!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, October 10, 2011

Outside my window...scattered clouds and a light breeze; a peach tree that seems to have some dying leaves. I’m hoping that is just because it got a little more water-deprived than it liked rather than being because it’s dying.

I am thinking...about Christmas. I know it’s only October, but I LOVE Christmas!

I am thankful for...provision.

I am wearing...denim capris & a red University of Nebraska t-shirt

I am creating...a new routine that will hopefully reduce the waste of my afternoon time.

I am remembering...well, I’m trying to remember what picture I really wanted to post today. I don’t think it was one I’d taken yet, but one I was going to take before I sat down to write this post.

I am celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving by listening to Christmas music, because we all know that you can’t listen to Christmas music until Thanksgiving, right?! But I’m only listening to Christmas music recorded by Canadians. Specifically Downhere. Of course, that doesn’t count the Christmas music I’m practicing for church or the ones I’m trying to learn on the piano. Have I mentioned I love Christmas?

I am reading...Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer. Finally! YAY! And, yes, it was worth the wait.

I am hoping...the new schedule works.

I am hearing...the aforementioned Christmas music. The rocker beside me creaking as Olivia rocks while doing school work. Olivia talking her math out (she works better that way – another learning style related advantage of homeschool!).

On my mind...people. So many prayer needs.

From the learning rooms...I’m not sure yet. I’ll be doing the week’s prep this afternoon.

From the kitchen...leftovers today. Some pumpkin thawing for pumpkin bread, and I think I’ll make some baked oatmeal to have ready for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Around the house...the need for fall décor. Hmmm…seems like I mentioned that last week.

One of my favorite things...something I mentioned on Facebook yesterday, so this won’t be new to some of you. But, yesterday Steven was showing some of his sweet, gentlemanly manners, and I saw so much of Doug in him. I love that! It’s more than genetics – it’s a father raising his son well. In this instance, it was evidence of how Doug has taught Steven to treat his mommy. One day that will have an amazing impact on how he treats the precious young woman who will become his wife. It’s a precious thought.

A few plans for the rest of the week...mostly a normal week, except for a ministry lunch meeting on Friday. I’m excited about the “normal” part.

A picture worth sharing...Angie at a wedding shower yesterday. (And no, that wasn’t the picture I was going to take – I still can’t remember what that was!)


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Woo Pig Souieeeeee!

In case you hadn’t noticed from prior blog posts, our family does enjoy college football. We try to keep it from being too huge of a deal, but we have fun being fans.

Several of our friends are Auburn fans, and in the past year or so Steven has decided that he, too, is an Auburn fan. So, most weeks he wants updates on both the Razorbacks and the Auburn Tigers. But, there is one week every year when he has to pick…and tomorrow is that day. The Tigers head up to Fayetteville to play the Razorbacks tomorrow evening.

So, as we’re heading home from OBU Homecoming, we’ll probably be catching the start of the AR-Auburn game on the radio. Just in case there is any doubt who Steven will be rooting for…

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Rest of Our Saturday

The parade didn’t consume all of our visit time last Saturday. We got to do a lot of fun visiting, too. The cousins had a great time together. My kids just adore Abigail, and she seems to enjoy them, too!


Before lunch, the kids raced around the loop of Mom and Dad’s big house, chasing each other. But, between lunch and parade time, it was fun in the yard. Somehow the kids got it into their heads that they were going to create a garden right between my parents’ and grandparents’ houses.

Angie worked on raking leaves out of the way.


Steven decided he needed to dig holes.


And Olivia discovered what it was like to plow without a tractor – or even a horse or mule!


Abigail just dig right in with her hands (the dirt at the parade was just a continuation of what she’d been doing at the house!).


Oh, and then she decided to do headstands!


After the parade, we enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous afternoon weather with some visit time on Grandma and Grandpa’s driveway. Grandpa showed Steven the ropes of his “hover-round” (the mower blade doesn’t work, apparently, so Grandpa just drives it around the yard!).


My three hoodlums…


But, one of the cutest moments occurred when Steven and Abigail climbed up in the swing together. They were having a precious little chat.


Then Steven started pushing the swing hard, sending Abigail into cackling fits. Here’s some video…

Steven & Abigail Swinging

I realized after I got home that I didn’t get any pictures of the adults visiting! Oh well – just shows that we were enjoying ourselves in the visit too much too pull out the cameras!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prospect Bluff Day Parade

Last Saturday could not have been more perfect. The weather was beautiful, the skies were clear…and the convertible was red! My grandmother’s favorite color is red. So, what could be more fitting than for her and Grandpa to ride through town in the back seat of a bright red convertible!


We all stationed ourselves at the tail end of the parade route. We found a place that was completely uncrowded where we knew Grandma and Grandpa could see us. “We” included Mom and Dad, Ben, Ashley, Abigail, Alli, and my family. My sister-in-law DeAnn drifted off somewhere else with her parents (Tim had to work, but came later for his share of family time!).


Sure enough, I loved the proud look on Grandpa’s face when he realized he was passing his family. His eyesight grows steadily weaker, but I could tell he knew it was us.


The parade was relatively short – a couple of small bands, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Fire trucks and various other vehicles, including some nice-looking older models and a horse-drawn cart.


And, of course, lots and lots of candy thrown into the streets for the kids to gather!

Thanks, Judsonia, for honoring my grandparents!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, October 3, 2011

Outside my window...hay being baled across the street. I’ve never seen it done before – always been curious. I love getting to see things I’ve always been curious about!

I am thinking...about how to balance maintaining daily tasks while working in all of the projects I want to do, both the immediate Christmas projects and the long-term year-round projects on my list.

I am thankful windows, cold mornings, an amazing husband, three fantastic children, country life, a wonderful church family, encouraging friends, and a never-ending list of things that ensure I’m never bored! 

I am wearing...fall clothes! Black knit pants – and not those light-weight things I’ve been wearing all summer, either – and my coach’s shirt from when I coached Upward basketball in Monticello.

I am’s a secret – Christmas, you know! Oh, and calendars.

I am remembering...the first year I made calendars – Christmas 2001. I’ve learned a little bit over the years.

I am run a couple of errands as soon as Olivia is done with schoolwork. 

I am reading...I am about to get to start Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer! Finally! I also need to read my next review book – A River to Cross by Yvonne Harris – before next week. 

I am hoping...for a productive week.

I am hearing...the sounds of Angela attempting to do cartwheels in the next room. Someone practicing piano. The ticking clock next to me.

On my mind...organizing projects.

From the learning rooms...the Great Depression; more magnetism experiments; fractions.

Noticing that...when all of the students of Hibbard Elementary are capable readers, the dynamics of teaching change dramatically. New challenges, to be sure, but I definitely like these new dynamics! 

From the, spaghetti. Probably peachy chicken tomorrow (and all the children in the house greatly rejoice!). Beyond that, I have no idea, although we are going to be doing something with that squirrel this week!

Around the house...the need for fall decorations. I don’t know if it will get done this week or next, but it’s time! I’m ready!

One of my favorite things...a smooth and productive afternoon. So far, so good.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Olivia and I are going to Farm Safety Day, an activity day for the county’s fifth graders. She was so incredibly excited to be invited! Then on Saturday we get to go to OBU Homecoming! Woo-hoo! We also get to go to the homecoming game for the first time – Steven is so excited about the game, he can hardly wait! He informed me weeks ago that he would be wearing the OBU football jersey we got him a couple of years ago (with lots of grow room!).

A picture worth the parade on Saturday, my niece Abigail was having the time of her life in the dirt. Here she is gathering dirt from the roadside to dump on her head. My brother was trying to stop it, but he was only succeeding in brushing it away as she dumped! (Notice Steven in the second picture reaching for his own handful of dirt!)