Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 30, 2012

Outside my window...two fully bushed out peach trees with a few small peaches on them! We don’t know if the fruit will grow to maturity since we just planted the trees last year, but it’s fun to see the peaches anyway! We probably have close to a dozen between the two trees.

I am thinking...about how to best adjust my mornings for greatest productivity.

I am thankful for...a weekend with my husband and a church that is willing to let us miss a Sunday now and then.

I am wearing...denim capris and a Razorback t-shirt. (The Hogs beat a top-five team in baseball last night. Woo Pig Souiee!)

I am remembering...our first-ever marriage retreat. We’d been married two months. It was a bit strange and funny for us. I think it took ten years to make it to another one!

I am going...to be home all…week…long! YAY!

I am reading...Beyond Molasses Creek and Discover Your Child’s Learning Style.

I am hoping...for a productive day.

I am hearing...Steven singing and just generally making noise while he does school work.

From the learning rooms...I’ll be doing the week’s preview and prep this afternoon. I’ll know then!

Noticing that...this morning’s smoothie is staving off hunger a lot better than I expected. I was so very hungry this morning, and I kind of expected it to not quite do the trick.

Pondering these words... “Parents are destined for disappointment when they admire fruit in others and seek to emulate merely that expression of fruit in their own children. Fruit is born from the inside -- not applied to the outside.” - Rob Bradley (from an article in the Virginia Home Educator Magazine)  My added thought – I think this applies to our own hearts as well.

From the kitchen...the beginning of efforts to try to cook as coolly as possible as the temperatures outside rise. The crock pot, induction burner, and roaster should all help!

Around the house...storm windows closed tight to preserve the indoor temperatures; remnants of things that still need to be put away after the weekend; some “behind on housework” clutter.

A favorite thing from last week...knowing that the kids didn’t want Doug and me to leave them any sooner than necessary, but were also perfectly comfortable saying goodbye. What an assurance of their love for us and proof of their security in our love for them!

A few plans for the rest of the week...a week that should actually follow the schedule! Unless, of course, we take advantage of the warmer temperatures and make our first trip to the pool this week. Even so, it should be a pretty “normal” week, whatever that means!

A picture worth sharing...

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gears & Levers

I love that my kids love to build. Typically it’s Legos, but recently they pulled out their Engino kits for some variety. Here’s what they have made so far…

A balance scale.

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A hand drill.

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And here’s Olivia demonstrating the mixer!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Louisiana Purchase State Park

What’s a trip without at least one historical stop? Our stop of choice for our recent trip to the homeschool convention was the Louisiana Purchase State Park.

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We didn’t quite dress for the occasion. It was rather chilly as we took our morning walk through the swamp! I’d love to go back in the warmth of the summer. Since very little sun gets through, I can imagine that even in the humid warmth of the summer, it would be rather pleasant there.

I can also imagine that the wildlife would be fantastic! As it was, there was very little activity going on in the spring chill. We heard birds and tree frogs, but we didn’t see much more than a few little ripples from small fish and some evidence of beavers. I didn’t get a picture of the really awesome stump left by the beavers, but here was a second one.

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Maybe next time we’ll get to see a gator! But, the sights were still absolutely beautiful. Are those trees not gorgeous?! Of course, a picture could never do justice to the true beauty, but I tried!LAP2

So, what exactly does the park commemorate? Glad you asked! To briefly summarize the history, two survey teams left from two different points to survey the property gained in the Louisiana Purchase. One began due south of this point and headed north. The other began east of here and headed west. This park…and more specifically this stone…marks the spot where the two survey teams crossed paths. Essentially, all of the Louisiana Purchase is marked out from this point in east Arkansas. Pretty cool, huh?!

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Here are the kids checking out the stone marker.

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If you look at the tree in the center of this picture, you should be able to see that all the trees behind it make a straight line. That line is the “baseline” for the team that went west. If you follow that line due west, you will find yourself on Baseline Road in Little Rock, AR.

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I just love history. So glad I have a family that loves it with me!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 23, 2012

Outside my window...spring! Real, perfect spring! Highs in the 60’s, sometimes just pushing into the 70’s. Lows in the 40’s. Perfect sunshine mixed with just-right rains. Such a blessing after the humid 80’s and 90’s of March made us think summer was already here.

I am thinking...that there must come a time when I don’t have to remind my children of every little thing. Please tell me that’s coming. If it’s not, just don’t say anything and let me continue with my delusion.

I am thankful for...Doug’s safe trip to Little Rock in the wee hours of the morning; the cool weather; a warm beverage to sip on during my morning quiet time; secure children; children who typically enjoy being together; full bookshelves; opportunities for fun…

I am wearing...jeans – yes, full-length jeans, not capris! YAY! – and a pink 3/4 sleeve button-down shirt

I am creating...yeah…should I just take this one out for now? But, I must say that the opportunities for writing that I am enjoying right now are a worth-while reason for the sewing to be a little harder to accomplish.

I am remembering...life with much smaller kids. My home is so different with no preschoolers. I loved having little ones, but this phase of life is fun, too.

I am going...to get the mountains of laundry tackled today, just in time to create a new mountain.

I am reading...Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

I am hoping...the toe I stumped twice yesterday that is now all bruised and swollen heals very quickly.

I am hearing...silence. I think the kids are doing their morning Bible reading.

On my mind...church members in the hospital, one with pneumonia, one for an out-patient procedure, and one having major surgery. Everyone else, you must stay healthy!

From the learning rooms...Angie & Steven: houses and homes throughout the world and throughout history; the water cycle; Charlotte’s Web; Olivia: Australia; readers & read-alouds about Pacific islands; the digestive system.

Noticing that...my children really are learning to love learning. If I were to never teach the girls another thing, I think they’d keep going just beautifully because they just can’t help but be drawn to learning. That makes it all worthwhile – and motivates me to keep right on teaching them!

Pondering these words... “Not knowing what the future holds can be frightening, but the truth is even without cancer in the picture we wouldn’t know what awaits us.  None of us do.  Any moment could be the last moment you have with your perfectly healthy child.” Words from this HEF blog post by Rebecca. Oh, how many days pass when I am not specifically thankful for my healthy, vibrant children!

From the kitchen...a clean-out-the-refrigerator day. There’s no telling what lunch will be!

Around the house...open windows.

A favorite thing from last week...that love for learning I mentioned earlier. Last week, Angie was assigned a short research project. She dove in with gusto and the very first draft of the resulting report was fantastic! Meanwhile, Olivia has research “Adventures” due every couple of weeks, and she is so enthusiastic about them. Whenever I tell her it’s time to pick a new one, she gets so excited!

A few plans for the rest of the week...cramming five days of Hibbard home life into three, spring zoo trip with friends, kids to Nanny & Papaw’s for a few days, and a Weekend to Remember marriage retreat for Doug and me!

A picture worth sharing...Asterix – a family favorite. The serious look on Olivia’s face belies the cackles that frequently erupt when these books are pulled out!

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Help Hugo & Friends Get Around the World!

So, I had great intentions for blog posts this week. Lots of posts kicking around in my head. You see how many of them actually made it out of my head! So, there’s always next week…

In the meantime, I have a quick favor. Will you check out the project my friend Garth is trying to put together and help get the word out? I won’t gab a lot about it – I’ll just send you straight to the source.

Kickstarter Project: Hugo & Friends Around the World

This has been a long-time dream of Garth’s, and I can guarantee he has the talent to back it up. Will you pray with me for Garth as he tries to put this project together? Will you help share the word? And, if you think this is a project you want to help support financially, I’m sure he won’t mind! Smile

(A little sneak peak)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 16, 2012

Outside my window...a bright, but cloudy morning. Everything is still a bit wet from last night’s rain.

I am thinking...about how to organize my day and the things I need to accomplish in it.

I am thankful for...the rain on the fields. Sometimes the scattered storms will dump much rain here “in town” (all six square blocks of it!), but many of the fields will get next to nothing. They really needed last night’s rain to fall on the fields, and from what I’ve heard, it did!

I am wearing...denim capris and a tan top with beaded trim around the collar, hair down, feet bare. The girls are wearing much more exciting attire – both are in their antebellum dresses today.

I am creating...nothing, still. I’m really hoping that I will get back to sewing this week. It’s funny how I often will not discipline myself to do things I enjoy, even productive things, unless it is something I feel like I have to do. I need to get back to sewing just because it is something I want to spend my time doing.

I am remembering...some things I forgot to put on my to-do list. Excuse me for a moment while I go do that…okay, I’m back!

I am going...to have a busy day, it seems.

I am re-reading...God’s Whispers in a Mother’s Chaos by Keri Wyatt Kent.

I am praying…for some clear direction for my husband related to school decisions.

I am hearing...music from another room. The rustle of Angie’s pages as she does school work. The hum of the computer.

On my mind...marriages that need prayer. Some writing I want to do. The need to focus.

From the learning rooms...I’ll find out this afternoon when I do previews and prep for the next two weeks!

Noticing that...just about the time I seem to start running low on review books, the shelves fill right back up.

From the kitchen...I still haven’t officially menu planned, but I’m thinking that quiche will be somewhere on the list for this week, as well as deer teriyaki, spaghetti or lasagna, leftover fried chicken, and some other dish to be named later.

Around the house...bags still needing to be unpacked and sorted from our trip to Memphis and the homeschool convention last weekend.

A favorite thing from last week...getting to meet some people face to face that I had previously only known through online interaction. Such a fun thing!

A few plans for the rest of the week...school, unpack, catch up on laundry, lunch with the Gleaners Sunday school class tomorrow.

Two pictures worth sharing...Antebellum girls

Steven’s hard work bringing in those trash cans has paid off. He bought his first Star Wars Lego kit – an x-wing. As you can see, he’s not the least bit proud.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Planting

We hoped to try the garden again this year, but we’ve just come to the conclusion that our yard needs drainage help first. We really need to build up the garden into boxes, and that’s just not something we’re getting into this year.

But, we didn’t abandon planting altogether! Last week we managed to get a few things taken care of.

Early in the week, the kids got outside and started working a little bit.

Olivia started with the little pumpkin patch. We buried a few little pumpkins last fall, just to see if they would break down and grow this spring. Sure enough, they sprouted! So, Olivia worked on weeding the little pumpkin mound. But, she started off in her nice white shirt and cute pink shorts. Um, I don’t think so.

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That’s better!

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Meanwhile, Angie and Steven took shovels and began working loosen the weeds in the one small well-drained spot in the yard.

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Of course, toads were a little more interesting than weeds!

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Then on Saturday, we all got back outside to finish up the job. I finished the pumpkin weeding and defined the mounds a little better while Doug helped the kids really clear out the rest of the weeds and leaves.

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Then out came the plants. We planted grapes and blueberries, and then hung baskets with strawberries and tomatoes.

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Hopefully this year’s endeavor will be a little more successful than last years!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eggs

We didn’t get to it until late Sunday afternoon, but we did dye Easter eggs! Or rather, the kids did. It was strange that they were all three old enough to not really need my help…

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Pictures

I love taking Easter pictures of my children. But this year, not much of that happened. I was groggy from a long night, the wind was blowing, and it was cloudy. So, we just got a few shots. Hopefully soon I can snap some spring pictures of them. Won’t be long, though, and we’ll be planning birthday photo shoots!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 9, 2012

Outside my window...early morning sunshine, mingled with a few clouds. The small field across the street from our house is yellow with wild flowers. I love it!

I am thinking...that I’d really like to just curl up with a book right now and forget the rest of the day.

I am thankful for...Doug’s good start to the morning. Yesterday’s start was not so good. He woke up in pain around midnight, and was at the ER by 4:00. Kidney stone. As of this morning, either narcotics have an even stronger effect on him than we thought (already half a pill lasts longer for him than a whole one should!), or he actually did manage to push it on through with the massive amount of liquid he’s consumed. We’re banking on the latter!

I am wearing...my pj’s. I’m actually getting to this early!

I am creating…cloth napkins. Well, I will be just as soon as I get sewing night started again, either this week or next. They’ve been on my list for a while, but the task of pressing under hems was daunting. And, I really didn’t want the look of serged hems for these napkins. So, I’ve just put it off. But, last week at Bernina Club, I spent the rest of my birthday money on a couple of new feet for my sewing machine. One of them creates narrow double hems as I sew. No pressing under and then pressing again. Nope. The foot does it for me! I’m so incredibly excited! Now I want to make those napkins just to get to practice with that new foot!

I am remembering...springs in Jordan. The yellow field across the street reminds me of field upon field of red as the poppies sprouted every March. Beautiful.

I am going...to tackle that laundry pile today. It’s bugging me.

I am reading...60 Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings. About to start Embraced by God. Oh, and Olivia and I are reading Henry Reed, Inc. for school and LOVING it! It’s a cute book on it’s own, but it is a perfect book for Olivia. It’s fun to read it and then discuss it with her knowing it fits her so well.

I am hoping...Doug’s stone really did pass…

I am hearing...not much. The girls are having their quiet times, and Steven is quietly playing. Quiet is nice.

On my mind...prayers for many. Some bring smiles, others bring a heaviness. But, I hunger to have perseverance in all.

From the learning rooms...a short week. But, by Wed we will have gotten two weeks’ worth of work done in a week and a half! Makes a long weekend that much more rewarding.

Noticing that...opinions are as varied as the number of people who have them. If we as believers would found all of our opinions on the Word of God, we might find a stronger voice than when we just present our individualized stance on things. Just a random thought…

From the kitchen...not sure. But, my smoothie this morning was pretty good!

Around the house...Easter remnants everywhere, including candy. I will be a good girl and limit my chocolate, especially the peanut-butter filled kind.

A favorite thing from last week...getting out in the yard with the family. Pictures of the “fruit” of our labor will be coming this week!

A few plans for the rest of the week...school today through Wednesday, homeschool convention (our first) Thursday through Saturday.

A picture worth sharing...I might have shared this one before, but I ran across it on my phone recently. This is from last fall. He’s not this little anymore.Mill Bayou-20120106-00050

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Outside my window...the brightness that comes after a spring thunderstorm. I think the grass just grew six inches!

I am thinking...about where I’m going to put the extra crate I realized I needed for teaching the kids. My teaching supplies for Olivia require the big crate I was trying to squeeze everything for all three kids into. Angie & Steven's both fit in a small crate!

I am thankful for...ready-made curricula. They make my life so much easier.

I am wearing...denim capris and – wait for it – a maroon top! Now, if I had written this yesterday, it would have been a green tank top.

I am creating...um…well…a successful first week of school. That’s it! And a workable organizational system for school. See? I am creating! Sort of…

I am remembering...what it feels like to be back in a good exercise routine and on a disciplined wake-up schedule. I hate getting up at 5:00 and I despise exercise. But, I love the effects of both. We are well on our way back to a habit of both.

I am going...to need to figure out my afternoon schedule just as soon as I figure out how much time school is really going to take each day.

I am reading...the kids’ school readers, and I just finished Just a Minute by Wess Stafford (for review). Hope to get back to Beyond Hope’s Valley by Tricia Goyer (for fun) soon. Wonder if I can get both it and my next review novel read before next week…

I am hoping...my weight and size respond quickly to the effects of getting back into an exercise routine. My pants are way too tight.

I am hearing...new music from Christy Nockels (review coming soon on Joy of Writing), kids playing with a gear-building set.

On my mind...friends in the DFW area while tornadoes are ripping through right now. And, on a totally different note, the imminent return to communication with my friend Joanna. Their email in the village has not worked this time around, and I’ve missed her so much!

From the learning rooms...

Olivia – ships and shipping, Pacific Islands research, intro to anatomy, math review, plurals/subject-verb agreement

Angela & Steven – peoples of the world/intro to world history, water cycle and purification, and I’ve gone blank on what they’re doing in math and LA (and yes, I’m too lazy to go pull it out to refresh my memory)!

Noticing that...it’s getting brighter and brighter as the afternoon wears on.

From the kitchen...spaghetti. Still need to menu plan. Another discipline I hate doing but thrive on the effects of keeping up with!

Around the house...windows closed and air conditioning on. The calendar might say spring, and we will probably still have a few days of spring-like weather. But summer is effectively here, especially considering the mosquitoes demand closed windows.

One of my favorite things...organization.

A few plans for the rest of the week...just school. Next week is the busy one.

A picture worth sharing...notice the camo shirt under the silky robe.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

A Good Day One

Okay, so I know that today is typically my Not Quite Ordinary Observations day, but I am so excited about day one of school that I have to share that instead. Back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow…

But, today was the day. Day one of our new school cores. The bookshelves were arranged…school1

…and the crates were in order. So, we dove in!school2

Steven was…well…full tilt. He was loud and mobile, but he got his work done! After about the third or fourth loud exclamation as I was trying to explain something to Olivia, I threatened to make him go work in his room by himself. He got quieter after that, but no less energetic or silly! (Which is why I have no pictures of him today – I couldn’t get him still long enough! Smile)

I think he’s happy with his new schedule and routine. It’s less busy work and more reading. He used to absolutely love busy work and workbooks, but learning to read “spoiled” that for him. I’m not surprised or bothered by that fact.

Angela started the day feeling a little overwhelmed – which school5might be why I found her in a hiding place doing her independent work! No, wait…that’s just typical Angie. Anyway, for the first time since she was four, she’s not tagging along academically with Olivia. I told her that she’d be getting assigned tougher assignments than Steven (they’ll be doing Sonlight Cores B and C history and science together for the next two years, going back and redoing what she did with Olivia when she was four and five). I could tell she was processing. She doesn’t mind doing challenging things, as long as she can master them quickly and easily. She just doesn’t like to be stretched too far. But, the more we discussed the kind of things she’ll be assigned, the more comfortable she was with it. (And yes, I’ll be stretching her – gently, though.)

We did discover today that her spelling level almost school4matches her reading level. We always knew she was a natural speller, and I love that our new spelling program will actually help me challenge her from where she really is. I think it just might help her grow less bored with spelling enhancement.

Oh, and as you can see, I did manage to get her a bit out of hiding. (Actually, I insisted that she open her “roof” so as to have light to work by! Her response? “I don’t need light!”)

Olivia, though, is the one who really dove into school today. We’re starting Sonlight’s Core F, which is a big jump in demand from Core E.  A lot more daily work is expected of the student. I think she’s a little intimidated by that, but her excitement about the subject material is dwarfing her intimidation. We get to look at and research the Eastern Hemisphere, and part of our emphasis will be learning about various countries in light of how they need the Gospel to be presented to them. She is delighted about that! She’s also thrilled because a good portion of her assignments involve research. And she’s thrilled school3about science, which focuses on the human body this year. Her favorite book title? Blood and Guts. For history, she’s most excited about Ships, Sailors, and the Sea.

All in all, she soared through the day, and I was so incredibly proud of her work and her enthusiasm. It’s going to be a challenging year, of that there is no doubt. But, it’s going to be a fun year. I won’t be surprised if Olivia and I look back when all is said and done and call this our favorite year to date.

Oh, and we’re excited about the new spelling course for Olivia, too. (It’s called Spelling Power, by the way. This review helped me determine that it just might be what we needed.)  Sequential Spelling has been great for us, but after three years the kids were getting really tired of it. Okay, so not just the kids. Anyway, unlike Angie, Olivia is not a natural speller. She’s not a horrible speller, but it just takes a lot more effort for her. I was excited, though, to find with evaluation that Olivia is actually just above grade level in spelling. She was delighted, too, and very encouraged! It dawned on me that her vocabulary is more advanced than her spelling skills, and she tries to use her wider vocabulary when she writes. So, I told her we’d try to incorporate some of her favorite vocabulary into her word lists so she could learn to spell those words, too. She seemed very happy with that.

All in all, the day took a little longer than I’d hoped, just because of needing to explain some things to the kids. But, I think it’s going to be a good year.