Friday, June 29, 2012


Doug found the camera! YAY! So, now I can share our rearrangement activities of last weekend.

But, I have to give the “old” pictures first. They almost make me want to cry! Where did these babies go? I love the ladies they have become, but how I loved those baby girls too!

Anyway…six years ago, we were praying for what to do with the girls’ bedding. They were both using toddler beds. Olivia’s had an extension on it to lengthen it, but we knew we were going to have to make changes. We really wanted a bunkbed. Well, when the Choates were packing up to move to Dallas, they asked if we wanted their bunkbed! YES!

It was red, but we had the bright idea that it would be fun to change it to purple. Out of his incredible love for his girls, Doug went to a great deal of trouble to paint that thing purple. (Yes, that is Angie hiding under blankets on the bottom.)


Look at those happy little faces!


Okay – nostalgic looking back accomplished. Let’s return to the present.

When we moved here, we decided to give the girls their own rooms for the first time. What a delight to have the space to spread out like that! But, that meant saying goodbye to the bunkbed. Olivia got a double bed (and later the antique set) in her room, and Angela and Steven each got one bunk of Steven’s bunkbed set. The purple bunkbed waited in the garage for its new home with some friends.

But, it never worked out for those friends to get the bunkbed, and just recently God provided for them another way. About the same time, Steven randomly popped up saying he wanted a bunkbed!

So, once again Daddy jumped in and painted the frame – this time back to red!


We plopped his twin mattress on top and our old futon mattress on the bottom for a play space. He’s so very excited!

Meanwhile, we had both an unused bed frame (the twin bed Steven has been sleeping on) and one room that had not received much of an upgrade since we’ve lived here (Angie’s).

After some extended brainstorming, we came up with a semi-loft idea for Angela. She is thrilled!


She has a little “room” underneath. Those of you who know this stinker personally know that she likes to retreat quite regularly. This little “Angie fort” is perfect for her! She has her chair, and a light. I might stick a little bookshelf under there for her at some point. And, for her birthday or Christmas I plan to find the perfect material (probably something Hello Kitty that will also match the bedspread, if possible) to create a curtain to go across the front. Shhhhh…don’t tell her!


Olivia was a little melancholy that she didn’t get any major change this time, but I just reminded her that she had the beautiful antique set. She loves it and has no desire to give that up! But, we might just have to rearrange it a little bit in another month or two just to freshen things up for her. And, Doug and I are due a rearrangement as well. Oh how I love creating “new” even in the midst of the familiar!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Dresses

What’s this? Three days in a row of blogging?! What’s this world coming to? I was going to share our weekend rearranging fun. But, alas, I can’t find the camera!! Fortunately, since I haven’t been too faithful keeping the blog up to date, I do have a bit of a stash of pictures to share.

Does this dress not fit Angie’s personality perfectly? Our sweet friend Mary Ann had made it for display at work, and when it was no longer needed, she offered it to us for Angela. The fact that it came with a matching doll dress made it that much more perfect! And to top it off, the dress fits not one but three of her dolls, although it is a little short on Ella the sock doll. Obviously, this is one happy camper! 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Precious Friends

I’ve turned into such a slooooow blogger! I can’t believe it’s been over three weeks since our visit with the Choates, and I’m just now getting this post up!

We had been counting down the days since our last visit with them, just before they left the States in 2008. Three years, 11 months. That’s a long wait for a visit with such special friends, but we’ve been so thankful for the ways God has allowed us to stay in touch.

It was so neat to see our children join right in together as if they’d never been apart. We all met at the ball park to watch the Arkansas Travelers play. It was OBU night at the Travs, so our evening began with an OBU Alumni meal.


Then we went and found our seats to watch the game.


Early forecasts for game day showed temps getting up near 100, reminiscent of last year’s miserably hot game night. But, it actually ended up gloriously chilly! We even had to escape raindrops on multiple occasions. The two Olivias were using a jersey and each other to try to keep somewhat warm.


Heading home, our sweet hubbies took six of the seven kids with them so Joanna and I could ride home together with just the sleeping Katherine in the back seat. What a precious visit time! They’re so good to us!

All of our kids like early bedtimes and tend to be early risers. So, the late night and not-so-late morning meant a low-key bunch on Saturday. It was sweet to walk into the school room and see them all stretched out on the couch and mattresses enjoying some rest time together.


On Sunday morning the Choates shared just a little bit in the service, but then we looked forward to hearing more from them in the evening. That afternoon we visited, the kids rested and played, and Olivia and Sarah made cookies for our evening fellowship dinner.


We headed back Sunday night to get ready for our fellowship meal and for the Choates to share with the church about Wycliffe and the ministry in the Solomon Islands.


Joanna even cooked up some pumpkin leaves for people to try! I’m not a greens person, but I thought they were pretty good. Of course, I was also told they tasted nothing like they would have with fresh coconut!

It was pretty late when we got home, but we still had time for a quick story with Daddy/Uncle Doug.


Monday morning Aaron motioned for us to go in and take a peek at the late sleepers. Somehow Katherine and our Olivia ended up sharing a bed! Too sweet!


We sadly had to say goodbye Monday morning. We would have kept them much longer if we could have! But, we did get a little more together time before they left.


I made plans all weekend to get a picture of both families together, but we never did get around to it. Maybe next time! Fortunately, next time doesn’t have to be four years away…at least not yet.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, June 25, 2012

In the great’s hot, but we’re getting to “enjoy” something we don’t find in Arkansas – relatively dry heat! It is 100 degrees, according to my phone, but I was just outside in the shade for several minutes and it was not uncomfortable. The Weather Channel claims that today’s humidity is at 36%! Amazing how much more bearable 100 degrees can be at 36% than at 96% humidity!

A heart of thanksgiving...for two of our older ladies from church who have been sick for so long but have been able to come back to church! One has been back two Sundays in a row, and the second one was back yesterday with her full dose of zest for life!

A heart of prayer...for rain. I love the dry air, but we so desperately need rain.

Random observations…it’s amazing what God can do with our days when we let Him have them.

Thoughts from the kitchen...a steak lunch. Wow! Doug went and got some steaks and brown bread, came home and grilled them, added on some broccoli and cheese fries – better than any trip to Outback! It was a celebratory meal. The most recent copy of Home Educating Family Magazine was in the mail today, and my first ever magazine article was published in it! I’m so excited!

On my bookshelf...a book entitled The Book of Books: The Bible Retold that I must review this week. I’m not looking forward to writing this review because I cannot think of a single good thing to say about the book. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that frustrated me so greatly. I greatly appreciate prayers as I tackle the review this evening.

Projects...the napkins are coming along so nicely! Between my Shape Cut ruler and the hemmer foot, this project is going quickly and easily. If I had a day to devote to the project, I could probably whip out enough napkins to last our family a week. So much fun!

Sounds of the moment...a lawn mower outside. The soft clicking of the ceiling fan and whir of the computer. Steven is napping and the girls are finishing school work, so the house is nice and quiet.

Last week we learned...just how creative we can be when the need for change hits. Both Steven and Angie have new room arrangements. Pictures coming soon!

A favorite thing from last week...watching Steven missing his big sister as she spent each morning in sewing camp. This morning the two of them were clashing, but more often than not I see evidence that they really, really do love each other.

The and the pool, Health Fair on Thursday morning, a visit with our dear friend Vickie Thurs afternoon (I can’t believe how long it’s been since we’ve seen her!!!), and then on Friday Doug and I get an away-from-home date! We’re going to see Tim Hawkins in Little Rock. Meanwhile, the kids get to spend Friday night at the Stones’ house, so they’re pretty excited too.

Because visuals are fun...and in honor of our upcoming date…here are a couple of fun Tim Hawkins videos (it was hard to pick just two!).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Then & Now

I left out one picture yesterday. It was a picture of the girls playing with a wagon. These first two pictures are of Olivia and Angela playing in the wagon seven years ago when they were four and two.

Then & Now 2Then & Now 3

And this is last month.

Then & Now 1

I know they’re growing, but sometimes I don’t realize just how much they’ve grown until I see the pictures. Wow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Catching Up–Mother’s Day

It had been a while since we’d made a trip to Monroe. So, after church on Mother’s Day we loaded up and headed down there for a quick visit.

The weather was beautiful, which delighted the children. They loved getting to play outside! They created hotel rooms inside bushes.Monroe4Monroe5








Olivia blew bubbles and Steven went “fishing” for them. These are some strong bubbles! We even  found them resting, still intact, on rose bush thorns!


There were some great snuggles, too.


Angie was happy to do just about anything, as long as she was able to be a princess in the process!


Olivia had fun discovering a new toy called i-Gami. She made a centurion’s helmet and sword!


Hello Kitty had a great visit with Bo. I’m not sure he was too fond of the visitor, though.


Olivia accidentally left Bunny at home. She never goes a night without Bunny, so there were some tears! But, Grandma came to the rescue, digging out a slew of her stuffed hippos and a gator or two! I think it worked. Smile


We had a great visit with Grandma and PopPop and are so glad to have had the chance to make a trip!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, June 18, 2012

In the great outdoors...summer. I think we’ll be at the pool a good bit this week.

A heart of thanksgiving...for my amazing and talented husband, for the chance to visit my parents and brother yesterday, for self-motivated children.

A heart of prayer...for marriages and salvations. And I must say, there is no feeling quite like being able to take a name off the “salvation” list and move it to the “spiritual growth” list.

And on a slightly more material scale, I’m praying for Doug and his computers. Both the church computer and his personal one are having problems at the same time – usually it’s only one or the other, so he can keep working on one while he gets the other one back up to par. Having both “under the weather” makes it a little more difficult.

Thoughts from the is a nuisance. But, I like to eat, and I like to eat food that actually tastes good as opposed to the processed stuff that makes for quick meals. So, I will cook. Not sure what for today, but I will cook.

On my bookshelf...some fantasy and sci fi from Christian authors. Not my typical reading genre, but I did enjoy the youth fiction series I started with Olivia.

Projects...sewing is actually really and truly on the agenda for TODAY! By the end of the day, I hope to have at least some competence with my hemmer foot.

Sounds of the moment...pages rustling as Steven does school work on the floor beside me. He’s also making small, random noises. Nothing too disruptive, but apparently enough to help him concentrate!

Last week we learned...that Angela actually enjoys writing. Olivia has always been the one with the fantastic story ideas, but just this year I’ve noticed that Angela seems to have the patience and meticulous perseverance to actually get a complete story on paper without getting lost in the details. She’s come up with some great results to her writing assignments lately!

I also made the discovery that writing just might be the ideal way to teach Angela how to receive constructive criticism. She’s such a perfectionist that she feels that any criticism means she has failed. (Hmmmm…wonder where she gets that!) But, as we edited on a fairy tale news report she wrote last week, we talked about the editing process and the fact that even professional authors have to go deal with being edited. Now she has determined that she wants to write for fun and wants me to be her editor. *Big smile!*

A favorite thing from last week...our wonderful Saturday! It was so relaxing! We got a few things done, but mostly just were able to be low key and do whatever we felt like. It was so needed!

The planner...Olivia has sewing camp every morning this week, beginning tomorrow. That means no school, but I’ll still be doing school planning this week as I learn the new My Well Planned Day software. And I hope to get ahead on writing. Meanwhile, we’ll probably work in a long overdue library trip one morning and enjoy some swimming.

Because visuals are fun...he said he was sleepy and needed a nap. I think he might have outgrown the cradle just a bit.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Birthday Party…a little late

Well would you look at this. I’m actually posting sometime other than Monday or Tuesday! I really do want to make it more of a habit. I’m sure it would help if I would actually follow the nice and very workable daily schedule I’ve created. I’m much better about creating organization than I am about using it.

As I was going back through pictures to be reminded what I’ve wanted to blog about, I realized I never posted anything about how we celebrated Olivia’s birthday! So, that must be a priority! Then I’ll go back and catch other things.

Olivia’s birthday requests were quite simple. She just wanted a little swim party, and the Stones were, as usual, more than happy to give us free reign of their back yard for the celebration. She wanted simple meals for the day – pancakes, chicken pot pie, and peanut butter sandwiches with Cheez-Its. Meanwhile, her cake request had been pretty solid for some time – a jello cake with some birthday candies for decoration. But as we were shopping that Friday for the final birthday cake/meal details, she changed her mind. She remembered a 3D duckie pan stored up in my cabinets, and she decided a duckie ready to go swimming would be the perfect swim party cake! So, the jello cake plan morphed into a rubber duckie in a purple float! I was actually kind of excited. I knew it would take more time, but I do enjoy decorating the kids’ cakes every year.

We started her birthday morning with the IMG-20120308-00158discovery that the round cakes I’d baked for the floats had been attacked! There were gouges and claw marks accompanied by tell-tale orange and yellow fur marking the culprit very quickly.

I quickly baked up another cake, but I can’t say I so quickly got over being mad at Jack! At least it wasn’t the duck!

Olivia wanted to chronicle the decoration of Duckie, so I handed her the camera while I got to work. Olivia8Olivia7Olivia6Olivia5


Next came our light lunch sandwich lunch followed by presents! Angela made her another sock doll – this one the “son” of William and Susan. His name is George. Steven gave her a Star Wars Lego kit, and Doug and I got her an “Olivia’s Laboratory” Lego kit and a rolling cart for her school books. I think she was happy!

Finally came swim party time. We headed over to Gary & Mary Ann’s back yard, set up the table (Mary Ann left the adorable table cloth out for us. Wasn’t it perfect?!), blew up balloons, and waited for friends!


Several of the people she’d wanted to have at her party weren’t able to come. But, we discovered at the last minute that several people we didn’t expect to be in town were able to come! Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures of the party gang (I was too busy enjoying the party!), but we were delighted that Rachel Hillman and her three kids and our precious friends Bart & Tara came to party with us! Bart & Tara moved to Texas last summer, and we look forward to any chance we have to visit with them.

We sang “Happy Birthday,” Olivia blew out the candles, we enjoyed cake and ice cream, and then everyone jumped into the pool.


After a couple of sweet hours of visiting and kids climbing all over poor Bart, we said our goodbyes and headed home for an evening of showers, chicken pot pie, and relaxation. All in all, Olivia deemed it to be a great way to celebrate turning 11!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In the great, humid day after getting rain all night long! Oh, how joyous that was! It started off a little hairy yesterday afternoon when a pretty fierce thunderstorm came in. We were very concerned about how the hail and wind would affect the crops – especially the corn, which is already so tall, and the rice levees which can easily be damaged by the force of heavy wind and rain. But, so far we haven’t heard of any great damage. God miraculously protected the crops! I love it!

A heart of thanksgiving...for yesterday’s crop protection, for cool weather, for answered prayers from various sources, and for a peaceful week.

A heart of prayer...for travel safety for our group returning from youth camp.

Random observations...I really, really, really need to sort pictures. I’m up to around 3,000 unsorted pictures. Yikes!

My diversions...I’m feeling organizational. Fortunately, I have plenty of options. In addition to needing to organize all of those pictures, I have a new digital planner to mess with! I’m in on the beta testing of Home Educating Family’s new software version of My Well Planned Day. I love, love, love the paper version (the only school planner that I’ve ever even liked!), and I didn’t know that I’d want to go digital. So, I decided to try both this year. Oh…my…goodness! The software isn’t completely finished yet, obviously, since we’re still in the beta testing phase. But, it will be August 1. And it is going to be amazing! I can’t wait until Olivia heads off to Kids Can Sew camp next week so I can spend the week playing working hard to help iron out all of the kinks before August 1. (And no, this isn’t a sales pitch – I just really am that excited about it!)

Thoughts from the doesn’t do any good to have meals planned out if I don’t actually look at the list and use the meals I’ve planned. What is wrong with me?! Although in my defense, we have had quite a few leftovers to use up.

On my bookshelf...a lot of fiction. Can you see my smile? I do enjoy good non-fiction, but oh how I love fiction. My Review Team boss is keeping me well stocked. Thanks, Lea Ann!

Projects...the planner software project is the biggie right now. But, I also am tired of the Wal-Mart bags hanging on hooks both on my kitchen wall and in my broom closet. I’m thinking a bag holder needs to move to the top of my sewing list. And I’m bound and determined to play with my new hemmer foot and get cloth napkins made.

Sounds of the moment... “For Your Splendor” by Christy Nockels on iTunes, the hum of the computer and soft clicking of the fan, sounds of the children playing calmly (they have been soothed by the morning’s rain and afternoon’s clouds – we haven’t had enough rainy days to make them stir-crazy from it!).

Last week we learned...that penguins say “Gork!” and “Gook!” (Mr. Popper’s Penguins – such a fun book!), an introduction to mammals, and that 49 peanut butter M&M’s can weigh anywhere from 82 to 89 grams (what better way to review how to create pictographs than by counting M&M’s? The weighing was just a side curiosity.) That was all Angie & Steven. Olivia discovered the true identify of the mysterious Saburo (The Master Puppeteer), learned more about Japan, and reviewed modifiers.

A favorite thing from last week...a child-free day. I think it was a fun day for the kids, too! Smile

The planner...a pretty normal, smooth week. Nice. So, we’re working steadily on school. If it warms up, we’ll swim (but I won’t complain if it doesn’t!). And, I hope to get this blog updated with pictures from our trip to Monroe for Mother’s Day and our recent visit with the Choates. Otherwise, we’re just gearing up for an “off” week with Olivia going to Kids Can Sew camp every morning next week.

Because visuals are fun...Explorer Steven

Explorer Steven

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In the great outdoors...wet after a slow, steady two and a half hours of rain yesterday! I think the average report has been about an inch. It was wonderful! Definitely worth the humidity of today.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the rain, for our wonderful weekend with the Choates, for a bit of calm on the calendar.

A heart of prayer...for Isabella Day as she goes in tomorrow for attempt #2 on her second round of chemo. She was supposed to go last Wednesday, but her white blood count was too low. So, the prayer is that tomorrow her count will be high enough and that this second round of chemo will reduce the tumor enough for surgery.

Also praying for a bloggy friend’s son (Tate) who is recovering from cochlear implant surgery – part of a long process to battle his hearing loss. Also Brian, the brother-in-law of one of our church members and an Arkansas pastor – he was involved in a serious car accident yesterday and has a fractured skull and vertebrae as well as broken arms, one of them very seriously damaged.

My diversions...there’s no telling what I will get into this week! I will have no children at home Thursday afternoon! I hope to write a good bit and just get caught up on some things. But, it might mean I can finally get back to some sewing, too!

Thoughts from the kitchen...I just realized I was supposed to be working on granola bars, but I came in here to write instead!

On my bookshelf...lots! In the coming months I get to read The Truth About the Lordship of Christ (was supposed to read that one last week, but it’s been postponed), Eye of the Sword, The Book of Books: The Bible Retold, Wish You Were Here, Glamorous Illusions, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, Taken (with Olivia), Battle at Blue Licks (also with Olivia), Peril, and The Hooks Files (one Olivia has already read). Looks like I have a fun summer ahead of me!’s birthday season. I still have two months before Steven’s and three til Angie’s, but I need to get busy contemplating whether or not they’re getting homemade gifts!

Sounds of the moment...Third Day’s “Give” on iTunes, kids playing in the next room – we have one extra for the evening, the air conditioner blowing.

Last week we learned...that Olivia’s observation skills are definitely improving. She takes after her mommy – we both have to really work at being observant. But critical thinking exercises and the fact that she loves mysteries are definitely helping improve her observation skills. Our read-aloud for the past few weeks has included a bit of a mystery, and she’s been putting the pieces together to try to solve it. Neither of us got it right at first, but neither did the protagonist…

A favorite thing from last week...the Choates’ weekend visit. It was neat to see how quickly even the kids fell back into beautiful interaction. More on that soon.

The except for Thursday. I’ll be dropping the kids off at JoJo’s on my way to Bernina Club, and they’ll be there all day! Other than that, we just have a bunch of piddly things on the to-do list that desperately need to get done, but don’t really qualify as big planner events.

Because visuals are fun...