Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Outside my window...clouds covering what we thought was going to be a clear blue sky for the day; a dozen or so mosquitoes hovering around and bumping against the window.

I am thinking...about a discussion Doug and I had yesterday. It is one thing to be saved from bad actions, learning that certain behaviors are destructive to us and that salvation through the blood of Jesus can save us from those things. But, that’s not the end. There is also being saved to a growing relationship with Christ. Both are essential, but so many Christians stop after the first part and never pursue the second. Oh how I hunger to see that change!

I am thankful for...a very relaxing weekend in the midst of several busy ones; friends who come to visit (a friend from Memphis came and spent the weekend with us); flexible days, and spontaneous fun (we decided on the spur of the moment to head to the Memphis Zoo yesterday); life in a small town.

I am wearing...green long sleeve top that might get too warm today; black leggings

I am creating...not really anything. Hopefully soon my creative juices will start flowing again.

I am remembering...living in the Memphis area. Other than very dear friends and the zoo, nothing remains that attaches us to Memphis. That is a very freeing thought. I didn’t like living there, and although yesterday’s trip was a good one, I am so thankful to not live there anymore. So thankful.

I am going...to get a lot of writing done this morning. I hope.

I am reading...Then Sings My Soul, Book 3 by Robert Morgan. Definitely a book worth having, even if you already have the first and/or second book(s). I think this last one in the series is by far the best of them all! Review coming Thursday on annhibbard.com.

I am hoping...still…for a cold snap to help reduce this mosquito and buffalo gnat population.

I am hearing...the whir of the computer, the scratch of Olivia’s pencil on her paper as she works on language arts, Steven whispering in the book corner as he reads to himself, the tap of my keyboard.

On my mind...prayer needs.

From the learning rooms...not entirely sure for this week. I didn’t have my “preview day” yesterday, so I’ll be working on that this afternoon. I know there will be more astronomy, and rural Arkansas is such an awesome place to take the book learning and then apply it to study of the sky. So few lights, such flat land, and so much visible in the night sky! It’s breath-taking! A telescope is definitely on our list…

Noticing that...I have gotten to see a lot of the pains of teaching and training pay off lately. Steven is showing signs of becoming such a gentleman, Olivia is taking initiative and doing things that she would have left undone before, and Angela is conquering many of the things we’ve repeatedly battled over the years. The fruit is worth the fight, my friends. Without a doubt!

Pondering these words... “I’m not like other people! I don’t like pain! It hurts me!” ~ spoken by both Daffy Duck and Frank Burns. (Just in case you needed proof of how light and fluffy my ponderings can be sometimes!)

From the kitchen...leftovers. Exciting, I know.

Around the house...a few projects that need to be finished. We moved the computer last weekend, but haven’t quite finished moving the “extras” that had piled up on the desk.

One of my favorite things...spontaneity and flexibility.

A few plans for the rest of the week...typical week, then birthday celebrations on Saturday.

A picture worth sharing...PopPop gave Steven this patch from his own flight jacket. Steven is wearing PopPop’s name proudly!


Thursday, January 26, 2012


We’ve been hearing a lot of that over the past few days.

Typically when we least expect it.

It’s coming from our little Steven cub. He has adopted the habit of hiding around a corner when he knows someone is coming. Then, he jumps out and roars.

Yesterday he got Olivia. It was hilarious! I had given her the book she was supposed to be reading to Steven. We thought he’d gone on to his room and was waiting for her. But no, he wasn’t in his room. Their hall makes a 90 degree turn right before his room, and he was waiting right past the turn. She had no idea. He jumped out and roared at her at the most opportune moment. She screamed and claims she jumped nine feet. Angela and I heard the roar and the scream from the school room and just about died laughing!

He got her again today. One of these days, she’ll learn.

But, she’s not the only one who needs to learn. He got ME today, too!

Our dining room and school room make a U shape, with the foyer at the base of the U. It was time for me to go over Steven’s school work with him, so I was headed to the school room. I was coming from my bedroom, through the kitchen and dining room, and I called his name as I was walking through the dining room. No answer. Complete silence. I should’ve known then. Yep, he was waiting in the foyer and jumped out at me as soon as I rounded the corner…

It’s really quite funny…especially when it happens to Olivia!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Having Fun Anyway

It’s funny how you can be sad about a change of plans, but still see it as a blessing at the same time. Yesterday I was supposed to head to Little Rock with Doug to go to a conference. The kids were ecstatic to get to stay with one of their favorite people. But, as we were making our way to the door to load up and leave, we got a phone call that changed all of our plans. The kids and I ended up staying home, and Doug headed to the conference a little later than planned …alone.

I had already planned our school week for three days, so we decided to stick with that. Yesterday I got a couple of little things done, but mostly I just hung out with the kids. We watched lots and lots of Bugs Bunny, played some games, and enjoyed each other’s company.

And this morning? I was going to let the kids sleep in, but Angie and Steven were before 7:00, and even Olivia didn’t sleep past 7:30. Steven was even dressed before he came in to snuggle! They all did their chores in record time and then disappeared to the back of the house. It’s after 11:00 now, and I’ve hardly  heard a peep out of them except when they have emerged to show me a Lego creation.

There is one thing that is about to drive me nuts, but I’m glad I’m allowing it all at the same time. Four out of the five of us like to be dressed. Sometimes Steven and Angie will ask to eat breakfast in their pajamas, but typically they are like Doug and me – they don’t feel like their day has really started until they are dressed. Olivia, on the other hand, could live in pj’s! She rarely gets to stay in them very long because she just doesn’t get with the day very quickly and smoothly if she’s still in pj lounge mode. Today, though, I have let her stay in her pajamas. She’s absolutely delighted! The only requirement I’ve given her is that I need her pajamas before I wash the last load of “darks” today because that set needs to be washed. Yep, she’s a pretty happy camper today!

So, here I am, sitting in the living room in front of a fire that I don’t really need (it’s not that cold out!) but sure am enjoying,  getting some writing and computer work done. Laundry is going, and it will be time to figure out lunch in a little while. But, for the moment I sit here peacefully. I hear laughter, quacking, and mooing from the back, but I’m not worried about them. I’d be lying if I said that I still wouldn’t have rather been with Doug. After all, the Skit Guys were at the conference, and I haven’t seen them in person in about ten years! Even so, I’m enjoying the day.

Oh! I have to share my interaction with Steven last night. I went to tuck him into bed and started playfully snuggling with his stuffed puppy. He laughingly pulled the puppy away, so I asked him what I was supposed to snuggle with.

“You’re supposed to snuggle with…” he began enthusiastically. But, then he stopped and a look of awareness set in. “….oh, wait,” he finished. (He usually tells me I’m supposed to snuggle with Daddy.) He then informed me that I could snuggle with him. In fact, he said he and his sisters could all three snuggle with me so I wouldn’t be alone.  He’s so sweet to his mommy – as long as I don’t try to take his Harvey Puppy! (And no, I didn’t take him up on his offer. I kind of preferred to actually try to get sleep last night, something I knew I wouldn’t do with a child in my bed!)

Yep, it’s been a good couple of days.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, January 23, 2012

Outside my window...crisp, cool air, bright sunshine, clear blue sky, and a stout wind. Such a contrast from yesterday’s heavy fog and oppressive feel.

I am thinking...about those I still might need to check on after last night’s storm.

I am thankful that…we haven’t had any reports of friends having injuries or home damage last night. We know of one farm with some damage, and one older couple from our church has a tree down – but, it came down on a fence instead of their house!

I am wearing...black pants, green 3/4 sleeve top.

I am creating...nothing this week, I don’t think. Although I now have the rest of what I need for Angie’s skirt, so I guess I need to get that done!

I am remembering...the calm after the tornado we had when I was in college. It’s amazing how brightly the sun shines when the storm passes.

I am going...to make some adjustments to my week as our plans changed at the last minute.

I am reading...hmm…this is becoming a pattern. I think I need to get back to regular reading!

I am hoping...for an idea of something fun to do for the kids today or tomorrow.

I am hearing...a lot of quiet.

On my mind...a dear friend who just lost her aunt. They were very close.

From the learning rooms...five more weeks. Five more weeks. Then we take a five-week (as long as we can maintain routine and stay sane!) break. Most of our breaks over the past year (or more) have been due to specific plans and obligations. This time it’s just a break. We need that!

In the meantime, we do have some new things we get to check out and review for www.homeschoolconvention.com/reviews. That’ll be fun!

Noticing that...it is starting to cloud up again. I need the sunshine today.

Pondering these words...
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated. ~D.A. Carson

From the kitchen...I don’t know, to be honest. We were expecting to be gone today and tomorrow, and now only Doug will be gone. Guess I need to make some menu adjustments!

Around the house...much laundry needing to be done. Might be a good thing

One of my favorite things...winter. Have I said that before? We’re not getting one this year, but it’s still one of my favorite things. Smile

A few plans for the rest of the week...mostly normal week.

A picture worth sharing...Doug’s birthday dessert. Graham crackers, bananas, chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip. That was a delicious combination!101_0216

Friday, January 20, 2012

My One Little Craft

I didn’t do much in the way of sewing this year since I was helping the kids with their projects. Much earlier in the year, Doug started finding Lego kits on sale and began stockpiling them for future gift-giving occasions. That meant that for the first time in a while, their major gifts from us would not be homemade! Olivia was delighted with her earrings, Angela got a new bigger girl Bible to replace the one that was literally falling apart in her hands each day, and Steven got his first watch (a Lego Star Wars watch, no less!). And then they got Legos. Very exciting!

But, there was one project I was determined to tackle this Christmas – hair bows. I wanted to make some for my niece Abigail, but I’m just not great with ribbon bows. I was going to do my best…until I found an easier way.

I went to the Christmas party at The French Seam, our local Bernina retailer, and I saw these demonstrated. (If you click on the picture it will take you to the Amazon link – no I don’t get a kickback if you decide to order it. There are also different styles of petals.)


I couldn’t help but think that would make bow-making so much easier. I was right! I ended up making a whole pile of bows for Christmas! Each bow took me about 20 minutes from start to finish, and I could make them with scraps of fabric. Once the bows were finished, I hot glued small alligator clips to the back of each one.

Here are Abigail’s:


I made these two to go in Angela’s stocking:


Olivia got the most, though. She was lacking in the area of stocking stuffers, so I made her a bunch of bows. CC6_thumb

She thought she was outgrowing them until she saw me making these! Then she decided she would love to have them to pin to her hat. So, my first thought was to turn them all into pins. But, then she started wearing hairbows again. So, I thought having the option would be handy. I glued magnets to the back of each of her bows, then glued magnets to the alligator clips and pins.


It was a good idea in theory, but in implementation, the magnets weren’t strong enough. I want to find stronger magnets and stick with this plan, but until I do, she’s designating some to be either pins or hairbows, and there are a couple that I’m making extras of.

So, that was my “big” project for the season. Now back to the everyday stuff. Some time next week I’ll post a picture of the “accident” skirt I made for Olivia last weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Girls’ Last Craft

I just realized I never did post what the girls worked together to make for Steven for Christmas!

A couple of months before Christmas as Steven was consistently borrowing their lap desks, the girls decided that’s what they wanted to get him. Then we got this wild idea to try to make one for him. And, I must say that of all of the projects we tackled this Christmas, this one was by far my favorite. It worked exactly as we planned, first try! I was amazed!

First, we made and stuffed the cushion. On top of the cushion we stuck two long strips of Velcro.


Doug found two hard, solid dry-erase boards. On one side each had lines for writing, and the other side was blank. So, we stuck corresponding strips of Velcro on each of the boards, one set on the lined side and one on the blank side. That way Steven would have interchangeable surfaces.


Finally, the girls decorated the surface of the dry-erase boards with stickers.


Angela decorated the blank one with fire trucks, and Olivia used sports stickers on the lined one. Both of them used letter stickers to put his name at the top of the boards. Oh, and each board has a little strap at the top to hold a dry-erase marker.


We were all proud of that project!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Outside my window...a clear blue sky after our morning storms, and a brisk wind blowing in the cold front. The windows are open now to let in the spring-like air, but we’ve been told to expect a 40-degree temperature drop tonight. Ah, Arkansas weather.

I am thinking...about the snow my northwestern friends are experiencing right now. As beautiful as today’s weather is, I can’t help but want the snow! It’s January, after all!

I am thankful for...a husband who parents so naturally. He is not at all uncomfortable or uncertain when I go do things and leave the kids with him. I love watching him in his daddy role!

I am wearing...jeans, lightweight 3/4 sleeve maroon top, black ankle boots.

I am creating...a black skirt for Angela. I finished Olivia’s on Saturday.

I am remembering...how much I loved open windows growing up. I don’t mind closing them in the winter, but I miss the fresh air in the summer. (Although I don’t miss enduring the August/September heat waves without air conditioning!)

I am going...nowhere until church tomorrow night. I went out to lunch with the Gleaners Sunday school class today, and now I’m home and done with my running around for the day.

I am reading...um…well…

I am hoping...writing flows very well this afternoon.

I am hearing...the wind, birds, a ticking clock. Otherwise, quiet. (Yes, the kids are fine.)

On my mind...nothing other than what I’m doing right now. I’ve grown lax in the area of mental discipline, letting my mind wander into a myriad of directions. I’m trying to retrain it to focus on one thing at a time.

From the learning rooms...Rosa Parks, astronomy, nouns, periods, and phonics blends, graphs, the metric system, place value.

Noticing that...I’m in the middle of a rather extraordinarily peaceful moment.

From the kitchen...nothing right now. Doug treated the kids to lunch out while I was out with the ladies. I probably do need to get some bread made, though, since we’re out.

Around the house...open windows. In January. Winter? We don’t know what that is this year.

One of my favorite things...winter.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Doug has a meeting tonight, then it’s church tomorrow night, book study Thursday night, and a baby shower Saturday morning followed by a wedding Saturday afternoon. Then Monday and Tuesday Doug and I are off to an evangelism conference.

A picture worth sharing...Lego men galore…I think Steven said they were watching some kind of show. I am thankful for my children’s imagination, but I don’t even pretend to try to understand it!

Lego Men

Friday, January 13, 2012

Olivia’s Creations

And now for Olivia’s project. Like her gift from Angie, Olivia’s gift to her sister was also inspired by Angela’s birthday. Olivia made Angela a sock doll for her birthday, but we only made one dress for the doll. Olivia decided shortly after Angie’s birthday that Ella needed more clothes! So, that’s what she decided to make.

We talked about the designs she wanted to make, and then I made her a pattern that would work for all of them. I handed her the patterns and her chosen material, gave her some instructions, and sent her off to complete step one.

I did help her with some of the more contrary seams, since some doll clothes seams are just so tiny and can be hard to work with. But, she did most of the work herself! That was so nice! I could sit at the computer and write while she sewed, stopped to give her instructions along the way or help her as she needed it.


Her first finished piece was the Hello Kitty gown.


Then she moved on to the remaining two. She wanted one dress to have sleeves, and I resisted so strongly. I hate making normal sized sleeves, but doll sleeves are just awful! But, God uses little things like this to teach me, and this was no exception. That story can be found by clicking here to go to my other blog!


Here’s her finished project! Three new outfits for Ella! Angela loved them! And, those Razorback pj’s that Olivia was wearing a couple of pictures up? She outgrew them, so now Angela has them. So, she and Ella can wear matches pj’s. Awwww!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Angela’s Creations

If you recall, Angela got a new dress-up dress for her birthday. Well, Olivia fell in love with the dress, too, so Angela decided she wanted to make her one for Christmas. The dress takes a TON of material (five plus yards), so I wasn’t sure if Angela would be able to afford to make it. But, we “just so happened” to run across a 5-yard bolt of pretty purple material (Olivia’s favorite color) for $5 one day (thank You, Lord!). It was pretty thin material, but I already had some lining that would go with it perfectly, and we had just enough white left from Angie’s dress to make the bodice inset. So, off we went!

Angela has not done much sewing at all before this, so she learned a lot. She learned how to read a pattern, use the iron, use a press cloth with sensitive material…CC1

…and pull up gathering to fit. That was her favorite part.


She still needed help on the machine because straight stitches will take a bit more practice. But, she did a pretty good job. The new machine was an extra special blessing with her project because the old machine didn’t do very well with lightweight material any more. We had to redo quite a few seams before the Bernina. After we switched to the new machine, operator error (primarily Mommy’s!) was our only cause for redoing anything.


And here’s the finished project!


Olivia LOVED it and wore nothing else for the first several days after our Christmas traveling was done!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This might not be the most excited series of posts for you as the readers, but it’s one I want to remember. This Christmas the kids all undertook some pretty hefty projects for each other’s Christmas gifts. Most years I have encouraged them to make small and then buy something else if they want, simply because I would have to do most of the making work. But, this year they were able to do much more of it. So, the next few posts will chronicle their projects.

We’ll start with Steven. His gift idea started as Bible covers. But, their Bibles have their names on the front and pretty covers, and we really didn’t want to cover that all up. So, we decided to go for more of a bag. I was making it up as we were going along, so they aren’t exactly what I envisioned, but they work.

Naturally, I had to help Steven the most. He got tired pretty easily, but I think he had fun! I got everything cut out for him, and then he sat down at the machine with me. He would sit in my lap, lower the needle, operate the reverse button, and help guide the material.


He would also help cut the loose threads, and pull pins out as needed.


But his favorite part came when we got the new machine. Somehow I never got a picture of him on the Bernina, but you can imagine the fun he had! It makes all sorts of fancy stitches, so he picked different stitches for each of the girls, and we stitched them on the green trim around each bag. Olivia got flowers and Angela’s are bows.

Here he is proudly showing off his finished project!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Outside my window...the rain we’ve been expecting all day. It just hit all of the sudden and is coming down pretty hard. (It didn’t last long – 20 minutes later it has already stopped.)

I am thinking...that some days I have more patience than others. Today’s not a day of total impatience, but it’s not my best day either.

I am thankful for...the below freezing nights that are in the forecast. Hoping they will help reduce the ranks of bugs that are thriving thanks to the mild winter we’re having.

I am wearing...long green top and black leggings.

I am creating...a skirt for Olivia, a Mary Kay order, and a list of things that need to go on our spring school order.

I am remembering...last January’s cold. I  miss it!

I am going…to find time to read for fun soon. Very soon.

I am reading...nothing right now, although I need to read the Sierra Jensen collection that I’m supposed to review next week. Maybe I should just let Olivia read and review it for me since I agreed to the review specifically so I could add a few more books to her Kindle library!

I am hoping...the week continues in the calm, quiet fashion in which it has started – maybe increasing the productivity just a bit so as to be able to really enjoy this weekend.

I am hearing...the hum of the computer, the squeaking of my chair, and the rain hitting the roof.

On my mind...the to-do list. Hmmmm…that seems to be front and center a lot lately. I don’t like that. Things need to get done, but there’s more to life than that. Looks like a refocus just might be necessary!

From the learning rooms...Communism, Martin Luther King, Jr., finishing our microscope book, starting a unit on astronomy and space.

Noticing that...January is moving a lot slower than October through December did. I like that.

From the kitchen...leftovers; although they seemed to make a nice, fresh meal. I like it when leftovers do that.

Around the house...books. Lots of books. I think it’s time to sort through them again, especially Steven’s. Now that he can really read, he’s outgrown a good number of his preschool books. Sniff, sniff.

One of my favorite things...expanding minds and a love of learning.

A few plans for the rest of the week...routine: school, church, Bible study, etc. And we get to finish it off by celebrating my wonderful hubby’s birthday this weekend.

A picture worth sharing...I was taking Christmas pictures of my girls after church one Sunday morning, and Jada, one of our preschoolers, wanted to get in the shot. It was a quick snap because it wasn’t really the focus of my attention at the time, but it turned out so cute!!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas in Monroe

The day after Christmas, we got up bright and early and headed to Monroe for a visit with the extended Hibbards. We found out after we got there that Stephannie and Morgan wouldn’t be able to join us, but we were still able to have an enjoyable visit. I realized after we got home that I didn’t take many pictures, but here are a few!

It was nice to just relax through Monday afternoon. The girls pulled out some sewing – cross-stitch and plastic canvas kits. 


Steven had fun playing the peg game, putting mind bender puzzles together, and creating wacky animals.


And what day of relaxation would be complete without Angela finding some way to dress up?


Grandma had found some extra large pipe cleaners on sale one day, and the kids were delighted! They made all sorts of things, including a hippo for Grandma and an alligator for PopPop. But, their favorite creations were their goggles. They fashioned goggles of all colors and sizes, making sure there were plenty for the stuffies as well! Then they are all ready to go swimming. I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next time they play with those!


Tuesday morning we had a relaxed time getting up and around, and then we went to take care of a little shopping while we were local to stores other than Wal-Mart. We met PopPop for lunch, and then headed on home to tackle all the tasks necessary to get back to our normal routine.

Another good visit, and an altogether lovely Christmas celebration!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Cookies!

One thing we have enjoyed off and on over the past few years has been to make Christmas cookies and deliver them to various locations – especially the people who have to work the ER and man the fire stations on Christmas Eve. We didn’t get it done last year, but this year we wanted to try again.

I gave the kids the option of sugar cookies or a variety of other cookies. They chose the variety.

So, Saturday morning we got up and headed to the kitchen to make a bunch of cookies. Eleven dozen is what I believe we ended up with – chocolate chip/M&M, oatmeal raisin, and snickerdoodles. Everyone donned aprons and pitched in.

Angela measured out dry ingredients.


Steven mixed them up.


Olivia and I handled wet ingredients, and she manned the mixer to get them all blended.


Of course, all three of them had to help roll the snickerdoodles in the cinnamon sugar mixture!


Doug manned the ovens and moved the cookies to the cooling rack so we could keep rolling on each consecutive batch of cookies.


When they were done, we headed out and delivered them to various people. We came home, opened some gifts, and then relaxed before heading back out to our Christmas Eve candlelight service.

What I’ve found most precious this year is the fact that whenever we teased the kids about not getting to open Christmas presents this year, their first argument always was, “But then ____________ won’t get the gift I made/bought for them!” The kids couldn’t wait to give their gifts! It was so much fun to see them get excited about giving, starting with the cookies Christmas Eve morning.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas in Jud

So, let’s see…what have we missed?

We’ll start with all of our Christmas celebrations, and then I’ll come back to all of our Christmas creating. It might take a few posts to get it all in!

On Friday, we headed to Judsonia for the Browning Christmas Jud2celebration. We had a delightful day of visiting, opening gifts, mansaf (and soup for those who don’t like the mansaf), and, more visiting. Meanwhile, Grandma isn’t up to decorating for Christmas anymore and really doesn’t miss it. But, Grandpa does miss it. He especially misses getting a live tree. So, Mom and Dad got him a live tree, and each of us contributed ornaments to it. I think he liked it!


Oh, and of course, there was the obligatory picking on Aunt Alli. Uncle Tim gladly helped. It’s tough being the baby of the family!


I had more pictures, but they don’t seem to have all uploaded from the camera. So, we’ll just stick with these! Another good Browning visit and sweet Christmas celebration!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Giveaways and New Releases!

Yes, two posts for today!!

I have mentioned that I’m involved in some of the new things Home Educating Family is launching. Well, today is a pretty big day for us, and you can benefit!

Not a homeschool family? I would encourage you to check all of this out anyway. While homeschoolers are the primary targeted audience for the magazine, Facebook page, and homeschoolconvention.com site, there is so much to encourage, benefit, and challenge any family devoted to raising their children and grandchildren in a godly manner, regardless of their schooling choice. I love reading the articles, posts, and reviews not because I need, agree with, or stand behind every single thing I read, but because I am challenged to think outside of the little box “my” world often gets squeezed into.

So, what’s up today? Three major things:

1) 6,000 follower giveaway. In celebration of reaching 6,000 Facebook fans, five winners will receive a subscription to the newly expanded Home Educating Family Magazine, and five other winners will receive various planners.

Enter the Facebook Giveaway here!

2) The official release of the review site! Homeschoolconvention.com/reviews has been in beta testing for a couple of months now. But, today marks the official, full-scale launch, including giveaways! Each week new reviews are posted, and giveaways and/or discounts will accompany many of the reviews when they are introduced.

See my review of the game Albert’s Insomnia and enter the giveaway here!

3) And last, but not least, a brand new portion of homeschoolconvention.com has been launched today – the blog site! The blog will feature a wide variety of authors and topics, including “Audience Soapbox” where your responses become the column! I have been reading through many of these blog posts over the past week or so, and I can again say that many of them go far beyond homeschooling.

Check out the new blog here.

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, January 2, 2012

Outside my window...um…I just realized I’ve not yet opened the shades. Ah, there’s the sunshine! It’s a crisp, chilly morning with a rather biting wind.

I am thinking...about some upcoming projects and just how I want to approach them.

I am thankful for...a voice. Mine was fading fast first thing yesterday morning. I made it through teaching preschool Sunday school – barely – but it disappeared completely after that. It finally started coming back about bed time last night. My throat is still sore today, but I have a voice! YAY!

I am wearing...black sweatpants and a gray top. Definitely stay-at-home attire.

I am creating...an environment suitable for a return to non-Christmas creating. My sewing area is still pure chaos! AUGH!

I am remembering...things that need to go on my to-do list.

I am going...to enjoy getting back into routine.

I am reading...nothing beyond school books. How sad. Hoping to get to one of my new Tricia Goyer novels some time this week, just for a little fun, relaxing reading.

I am hoping...our return to a full school schedule runs smoothly.

I am hearing...kids playing calmly in the living room. Legos, I’m sure. They got new sets for Christmas. Big hit!

On my mind...my “baby” brother who turns 27 and starts a new job today.

From the learning rooms...I have no idea. After two weeks off, I’m not sure where we are, other than that we did finish World War II. Preparing for this week is on this afternoon’s agenda.

Noticing that...I like routine. My family thrives on routine. Certain aspects of the discipline of routine aren’t always fun to get back to, but the results are always worth the effort!

Pondering these words...

Only those who place tomorrow in God’s hands and receive what they need to live today are truly secure. Receiving daily liberates us from tomorrow. Thought for tomorrow delivers us up to endless worry. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer – a quote Doug shared on Twitter this morning.

From the kitchen...parmesan chicken cordon blue, one of our family’s favorites. Oh, and fitting more deer into the freezer! Doug killed two more last week. Some of it is being shared, but it looks like we’ll have plenty of deer for the coming year!

Around the house...a return to normal. As much as I love Christmas decorations, the wide open space is nice, too.

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

A few plans for the rest of the week...back to school, starting a new book study with the ladies at church, starting to tackle a new set of tasks on the “big list” now that Christmas creating is over. (Hmmmm…maybe I could start Christmas creating for next year much earlier?!?!?)

A picture worth sharing...out for our anniversary two weeks ago.