Saturday, September 29, 2012

Other Fall Recipes!

I shared my previous Mandarin Duck recipe post as part of a fall recipe sharing post. If you’re interested in something other than wild game recipes (I don’t blame you!), check it out by clicking on this Saturday select button!

Saturday Select–September 29, 2012

Do you have a fall recipe to share, either on your own blog or simply as a reader? Comment below with your link or recipe!

Mandarin Duck

Fall is here, and so is fall food! At our house, that has typically meant soups and stews, as well as more pot pie and other baked dishes – things that are too hot to cook, much less eat, during a southern summer. But since moving to duck hunting country (people come to our go-to-the-middle-of-nowhere-and-turn-left home from all over the place to duck hunt!!), we’ve learned that fall means learning new ways to use duck as well.

Sometimes we just shred it and mix it in with our pulled turkey or chicken for pot pies, soups, etc. But, last fall I discovered what has become our favorite duck dish. In fact, I happened upon it quite by accident. I had defrosted duck and leftover noodles that really needed to be used. I just needed some way to make it into a saucy skillet dish. So, I grabbed the first sauce that had the right smell! (No, I don’t mean the other sauces in our fridge were bad – they just didn’t smell like they’d go with duck.) It ended up being mandarin sauce. The improvisation was a hit, and now it is a big request!

And for those of you who don’t like the gamey taste of wild duck, let me give you a hint: any sort of Oriental sauce, especially something strong and thick like teriyaki or mandarin, works wonders for flavor!

So, here you go…our favorite accidental fall recipe.

Mandarin Duck
4 duck breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
12 ounces garden rotini or egg noodles
1/3-1/2 cup Panda Express Mandarin Sauce**
1/3 cup water
2 cups frozen broccoli

-Cook rotini/egg noodles separately, according to package directions.
-Using a small amount of olive oil, cook duck chunks in a large, deep skillet until browned.
-Add noodles, sauce, water, and broccoli. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat until broccoli is tender, 6-10 minutes.

Serves 4-6

**We’ve discovered that the mandarin sauce can be hard to find. I found a recipe online, but haven’t tried it yet. I’ll go ahead and share it, just in case!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Homeschooling Outside the [Curriculum] Box

Blog Hop Button
Happy Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop Friday #3! Today’s theme is “Homeschooling Outside the [Curriculum] Box.” I am such an “in-the-box” thinker that a curriculum is a must for me! But, even I push those boundaries a little bit.

First, let’s announce our calendar winner from two weeks ago! And the winner is…

Congratulations, Maria! Email your address to ann [at] thehibbardfamily [dot] com to claim your calendar!

Now back to this week’s topic. Like I said, I am a curriculum person to the core. I tried to just put it all together myself one time. I lasted about three months and was stressed to the max the whole time. Even after beginning to use a curriculum, I tried to organize certain subjects on my own. Nope. Still miserable. I finally gave in and accepted the truth: I need my curriculum guide.

So, what does homeschooling outside the box mean for me? It means making sure that the curriculum works for me rather than me being a slave to the curriculum. I accomplish this in several ways.
  • I rarely make a week of the curriculum guide fit into a week of school. We typically spread four days of school work out over five days of the week.
  • We don’t do every subject every day. The curriculum guide might have every subject listed every day, but that doesn’t stop us from really getting into history on Monday and completing two or three curriculum days at once! We can always do the same with science on Wednesday, if need be.
  • I don’t do everything! Gasp! It’s true! I used to think I had to complete every task and check off every box. But, sometimes we just skip things! Or we come up with something else we’d rather do instead. It took me a long time to convince myself that this was okay. Now I absolutely love that it is okay!
  • I listen to the kids play. My all-time favorite memory is of getting the girls a Frosty treat one day. They sat in the back seat of the van and pretended that the small, melted portion of their Frosty was little bitty Greece and the more prevalent thick portion was Persia. We had just learned how Greece, though outnumbered, defended themselves valiantly against the massive Persian army, and they were acting it with their Frosties. There is nothing I like more than when my children play what they are learning.
The biggest way I break out of the box, though, is by just living. We go on field trips and learn in everyday life, but I rarely plan for any of that to be educational. That is a huge step for me, because I like to plan. But we learn so much more when the pressure is not there. That means we aren’t always quite as intentional about our field trips or extracurricular activities as other families might be. We still learn, though. We enjoy the activities. We learn from them, even when we might not realize we are learning. And we reserve the planning structure for the ever-necessary curriculum itself.
If you homeschool, how do you break out of the curriculum box? Or do you even need one in the first place?

Whether you homeschool or not, leave a comment for an entry to win this week’s giveaway: an On-the-Go Planner!
And don’t forget to click the blog hop button at the top to visit my review team friends!

Remember: due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. This giveaway is not tied to any social media site. All prizes must be claimed within eight weeks.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Air Show 2

I’m a bit confused. I really thought I saved a lot more pictures than this to include in this post. But, I also did discard a good number because our phone cameras just could not capture the distant motion. So, anyway, here’s what we have!

We found a nice spot to just unload and camp out for the day. We were in the shade of a C-130. See Steven all huddled up? Yep, we were chilly! The kids would slip out into the sun for a minute to warm up and then duck back into the shade. It was so nice to be chilly!

AS kids

We started with the Canadian SkyHawks! I love that their parachutes are the Canadian flag. I always snapped too late to get pictures of them connected. Those stunts were amazing!

AS Canadians

This one descended with our flag waving beneath him as the Star Spangled Banner was sung. That was pretty awesome! Doug had some great video of it, but it’s sideways and I can’t get it to turn upright, so I’m going to leave it out. Here’s a picture, though.

AS Canadians1

Then the planes began to fly. We saw an F-18 Super Hornet flying upside down (among other things!)

AS Upside down

Otto, a fun helicopter with personality (there is a face painted on the front of the helicopter, though it’s hard to see here). In this picture, he was playing with a giant yo-yo!

AS Otto & Yo-Yo

The Heritage Flight is one of my favorites. The Heritage Flights began in 1997 on the 50th Anniversary of the United States Air Force. The idea was to feature an aircraft from the early days of the Air Force (or even the Army Air Corps) flying side-by-side with a more modern aircraft.

AS Heritage 1

This year featured two F-4 Phantom II jet fighters flying alongside a P-47 Thunderbolt from World War II.

AS Heritage 2

AS Heritage 3

I love this shot from under the wing of our “Sunshade C-130.”AS Heritage3

A couple of times, we had neat views of planes flying over the static displays, like this B-24 Liberator from World War II flying over a B-52. This B-52 is from Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, which is near where Doug’s parents live.

AS B52 and something

Then there was this shot – a C-130 on the ground, and I really think that little dark speck on the right above the wing is Fat Albert, the C-130 that flies with the Blue Angels.

AS C130 and something

One of the most exciting parts of the show was the demonstration of taking an air strip. First came the helicopters which dropped supplies and even a hummer!

AS Helicopter

Then came the C-130s to drop the personnel and more supplies. Doug and the kids moved into a better position to try to catch a first glimpse of the planes.

AS Watching the C130s

Here they come!

AS C130s

AS C130 drop

Doug got some great video of the drop.

AS C130

We were all pretty tired before it was time for the Blue Angels to close out the show. We stayed long enough to get a close-up view of Fat Albert. He’s not as exciting as he used to be. He used to be modified with extra jet assistance for quick take-off, so it added a bit to the drama. Now that he’s upgraded to the J model, that is built in and take offs are the same as with any other C-130J. But, it was still awesome to see this beautiful plane painted with the Blue Angels color scheme. So, we stuck around to watch him take off…

AS Fat Albert4

show off in the air…

AS Fat Albert3

and coming in for a landing.

AS Fat Albert2AS Fat Albert 1

As we headed into Jacksonville for a quick snack before making our way home, we did get to watch a bit of the Blue Angels as they made their rounds and gathered into formation to fly back around in front of their audience.

AS Blue Angels 1

All in all, a fun day once again. Oh, and that picture I couldn’t fine of the kids in the nav’s seat? Here it is!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In the great outdoors...the heat is back, but fall is still in the air! We can feel it in the mornings when we walk. Steven is fine with the delay, still wearing shorts and t-shirts without a second thought. The girls, however, cannot stand it. It’s supposed to get up to 90ish today, but they both came in wearing warm clothing this morning. Poor girls. I understand! I’m ready too!

A heart of thanksgiving...for another season of clothes, including the mound of clothes waiting to be folded; for air conditioning and heat; for God’s protection over our church ladies as they encountered van trouble on their way home from Indianapolis Sunday.

A heart of prayer...for the farmers as they finish harvest, especially as downed rice greatly increases the likelihood of mechanical issues. For fair weather while they finish up.

Random observations...Steven turned his night light back on last night. He just felt like it. I just smiled.

Thoughts from the kitchen...I am about to have a freezer loaded with pot pie filling and turkey rice soup base (except it will be a chicken/duck mix instead of turkey). That makes me so very happy! Soon, hopefully, we’ll start seeing turkeys back in the store so I can mimic my wonderful grasshopper herding friend and freeze turkey for the coming year.

Oh, and the bread book I mentioned? Awesome pizza crust! We had a homemade pizza prepared, cooked, and ready to eat in about the amount of time it would have taken to open and cook a frozen Red Baron pizza. I’m not kidding. And it was the best homemade pizza I’ve ever had. Now to make those caramel pecan rolls.

On my bookshelf...not so much fiction this month. Sad thing. But, I must stay well-rounded, true? I’m looking forward to finishing The Bible in World History for next week, and I have some children’s books to review.

Projects...The supplies for my Christmas plans are on their way! Can’t wait to get started!

Sounds of the moment...the gabbing of children, hopefully accompanied by some serious room-cleaning.

Last week we learned...I am so out of school mode this week that I don’t even remember! Olivia and I finished up the Mongols and started on Russia, I think. Angela and Steven are finally about done with ancient Egypt and ready to move on to glimpses of other ancient civilizations. Greece will be our next major emphasis.

A favorite thing from last week...discovering that I made the right choice when I decided months ago to stay home instead of going to Indianapolis with many of the ladies of our church. I missed the fellowship, and I’m sure the conference itself was great. But, God confirmed in many ways that home was where I was supposed to be. I like it when He does that.

The planner...trying to get all work done today before Doug’s parents arrive tonight. They get to stay through Sunday, so we look forward to some good visit time. They’re taking the kids to go have some fun tomorrow while Doug and I head to the annual pastor’s conference at Ouachita. I’m so excited! But, I  just might have to cancel school next week, too, to get school prep done and be ready to head into the fall. Crazy times are coming!

Because visuals are fun...this is not a good picture at all, but this was the view of the sunrise as we left for our morning walk earlier this week. We typically go out in the dark, but we were late that morning. This view was incredibly gorgeous – much more so than the picture shows!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Provided for Again!

Well, I ran out of time for that real post – about to have to get ready to take Angie to art class. So the second Air Show post (I need to get a few pieces of technical information right before I post that one!) and the Observations post will have to wait ‘til later.

But, I did get all of Angie’s fall clothes sorted! YAY! And that was after getting both Livie & Steven’s clothes done Saturday afternoon after tackling other tasks in the morning. I think that has to be record time. I have never gotten completely done in (essentially) one day. It usually takes me three or four days. I think I can get used to this big kid thing, considering how much of the work load they were able to bear this year.

And once again, God has provided so beautifully. You’d think I would stop being surprised. We do have a list of things we need to buy, but with all of the growth we’ve seen in all three of them this past year, I just knew that list would be huge. I’m so thankful!

Off to awaken Steven from his nap and head to Stuttgart…

Back Up and Running!

A “real” post is coming soon – hopefully by early afternoon if get Angela’s fall clothes sorted before lunch! In the meantime, I want to encourage you to visit Home Educating Family’s review site. An amazing team has been working so hard to work out kinks and make the review site (and every other aspect of the site) better than ever. From what I’ve seen so far, I can tell you they have succeeded!

Even if you’re not a homeschool family, we still have much to offer you! While our priority is to review resources for homeschoolers, we have so many reviews that apply to the general public as well. We review fiction, nonfiction, biographies, games, and resources for the general spiritual training of the family. Think of all the ideas you can find for Christmas gifts! Plus, every week we will host giveaways and offer discounts on certain reviews. Just click on the image below and check us out. Share us with your friends. Comment and let us know what you think. I am so proud to be a part of this organization, and I am excited to share our work with you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nope, Not Ready

Steven has gone without a nightlight for a week. It all started with a “sleepover” in Angie’s room at the end of last week. Typically the sleepovers are in Olivia’s room or Steven’s room, and both of them have nightlights. Angie has never really used one. And it was pretty dark in her room that night.

The next night I went into Steven’s room to tuck him in. He had already turned his overhead light off, but his nightlight wasn’t on. I reached to turn it on and he stopped me.

“I don’t need it, Mommy!”

What?!?! You don’t need it? You’re my baby boy. You’ve always used a nightlight. It’s always been a really big deal.

He just laughed and told me that he liked the dark in Angie’s room and didn’t need his nightlight anymore.

I’m convinced there’s a rule somewhere that baby boys aren’t allowed to outgrow things like nightlights until they have moved out of mama’s house. Then they can outgrow them, they just can’t tell mama. Sounds good to me!

At least he still wants it in his room. It’s a cool Lightning McQueen nightlight he got for Christmas a couple of years ago. He said that even if he doesn’t use it, he wants to keep it til he’s seven.

Okay, then!

Just another reminder that I am now the parent of big kids. All three of them. Fun? Without a doubt. Exciting? Definitely. But still a little tough occasionally. Just a little. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In the great outdoors...a crisp, clear sky shining down on sparkling green and brown, wet from recent rain and waving in the brisk northerly wind. We had to close our windows after only a couple of days last week because the air became so still and humid, even though the temperatures remained in the 80’s. This morning a new cold front pushed through, and we could tell when it happened! Around 8:30 it went from muggy and still to breezy and dry in a very short amount of time. So nice!

Oh, and my children are in the great outdoors!!! To let you know what a big deal this is, you need to realize that people around here have said that they have never seen a horde of mosquitoes as profound as what we’ve seen the past few weeks. And, we live in mosquito country! Our typical feisty brown mosquitoes that were bad enough have been replaced with monstrous, vicious, black vampires that can drill through the heaviest of clothing, even thick denim or double-layered socks. Many have guessed that these monsters came up from Louisiana with the hurricane. But, wherever they came from, today they are drastically reduced! Still around, especially as the day warms, but not nearly as numerous.The kids are ecstatic, and they have been outside every moment they have not been doing school work.

Within doors…windows flung open wide. On Saturday we took an inventory of all the screens, found the ones with tears, pulled the torn screen out of the frames, and replaced it with fresh screen. So today we can open every window. Yay!

We also did some other reorganizing and minor rearranging on Saturday. We cleaned the piles of dead mosquitoes, both on the floor and in the numerous webs along the walls and ceiling, out of the garage. We also moved a few things around to make the garage more manageable. I love the results! (And yes, the skeeters were still around on Saturday, but we did manage to find some repellent that seemed to work. We doused up with this…

Repel 94109 Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent, 4-Ounce Pump Spray

and we didn’t get a single bite…well, until we came inside, showered the stuff off, and began to fight the skeeters inside the house. Go figure! But, I’m convinced that stuff works for Almyra (and apparently Louisiana) mosquitoes – nothing else has!

And back to indoors…we rearranged a bit in our bedroom as well. Just a little bit. We have two closets in our room, one that we share for clothing and then a second one that housed a couple of storage tubs, all of my sewing and craft supplies, and a few other things. Meanwhile, my sewing table and some supplies shared this wall, leaving it a bit cluttered (ignore the laundry baskets of unfolded clothes, please!!). The chest was squeezed in beside the rocker and the sewing table took up a little more space than the chest is taking up. I do have nice recessed lights above the area, giving me a lot of light for sewing, but it was cramped and cluttered…now I have a relaxed reading corner, with nice lighting and lots of space!


We accomplished this by cleaning out the closet, finding new places for anything that wasn’t sewing related, and moving my sewing table into the closet. Immediately needed supplies and resources on the shelf to my right.


Other supplies to my left, and fabric on the shelves above. Oh, and the lighting is actually phenomenal in there, too. Now I have all of my sewing supplies in one place, I can hide projects easier, and our bedroom is much less cluttered. Ahhhhh!!!Sewing1

And now that I’ve rambled much more than usual…

A heart of thanksgiving...for fall!

A heart of prayer...for needs within my extended family.

Random observations...I thinking I’m feeling rather verbose today. I’m sure you hadn’t noticed.

Thoughts from the kitchen...a pot of turkey rice soup, our first in months. The kids were so very excited!

And this book.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

We’ve had it for a while, and we’ve heard it talked about for even longer. But I finally cracked it open just recently. The Oat Flour Bread alone (pg 104) is worth the price of this book. Oh…my…goodness! And it really is five minutes a day for fresh bread every day (well, plus resting time, but only five minutes of active prep). And mixing up a batch of dough to last a week or so only takes about fifteen minutes. Now I just need an extra fridge to store all of the doughs I want to keep made up!

On my bookshelf...halfway through Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington and can’t wait to get it finished! (Have I mentioned how much I love being a reviewer? I could just focus on the homeschool essentials and keep my review load way down, but it’s historical fiction – and Tricia Goyer, no less!!! It’s like icing and ice cream on the cake!) Also reading Third Grade Detectives: The Puzzle of the Pretty Pink Handkerchief, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and Water Sky to keep up with the kids’ school reading. Oh, and Olivia and I are very much enjoying her read-aloud, The House of Sixty Fathers while I’m taking a stroll down memory lane with Steven and Angie as we read Greek mythology. I loved those stories when I was their age! Yes, I think we enjoy reading!

Projects...starting on Christmas plans! I had a powwow with each of the kids this week to make their creative plans, and we have most of our ideas nailed down. I have a few up my sleeve, too. I’m getting excited!

Sounds of the moment...a child rummaging around the kitchen for a water bottle. The hums and clicks of fans around the house.

Last week we learned...about China and the Mongols, proteins, and basic geometry (Olivia); finished up Egypt, continued with what goes on underground (both of nature and of man), and a lot of math review (Steven & Angie).

A favorite thing from last week...the delight of productivity.

The planner...Angie had art class yesterday, today Olivia had an eye appointment (she’s outgrowing her current glasses, and her eyes have worsened a bit with growth, as expected), and Thursday Olivia has art class. This weekend we pull out fall clothes to see if anything fits. Yikes! Looking forward to a week off school next week, including a visit from Grandma & PopPop!

Because visuals are fun...I know I’ve shared several pictures, but here’s one more – my sweet girls and me.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Air Show Post 1

Before I start, let me say that I forgot the camera again. The Kodak has awesome zoom and takes great action shots. So, it is ideal for an even like this. We had our phones, and the cameras on them have higher resolution than the Kodak! Great for shots of the kids up against the static displays. It’s just hard to get much more than small segments of the displays. And we did get some good distant shots of the show itself, but nothing close-up like with the Kodak two years ago.

Having said that, let me warn you that we still took a TON of pictures! I think between the two of us we ended up with somewhere between 100 and 150 pictures. I’ve been trying to wade through them all to decide what to share. This first post will be of the kids enjoying the static displays, and the next post (later this week) will be of the show.

First stop actually had more to do with ground than air! The Army Corps of Engineers had some of their equipment out as part of the static display this year. To the kids, it was Army green farm equipment!! They were thrilled!

The proud operator of this brand spankin’ new grader got up on the front of it to take these fantastic shots of the kids.



But, my kids see the delight in the big equipment and the littler stuff. They were exceedingly thrilled to hop into this Bobcat!



Here they are checking out mobile flight control.


And an ambulance.


And a very cool Humvee.


But nothing is quite as awesome as the planes, of course.

We started in the back of a helicopter.


Then they learned about the refueler, which I think is absolutely fascinating!!


And, even though this was a bomber rather than a cargo plane, This B-52 was still awesome because it came from the base in Louisiana that Grandma and PopPop frequently visit.


It was pretty cool to get to climb up under the bomber with the bay doors open!


But of course, the highlight of the day is always getting up close and personal with the C-130’s!

This is my favorite picture of the whole day!!!


Steven wanted this picture, up under the engine.


Taking a break in the cargo bay.


Waiting just outside the cockpit for our turn to go up.


I took them up in a C-130J, which does not have a navigator. So, they got pictures in the pilot’s seat. I know Doug got a shot of all three of them sharing the nav’s seat in another plane, but I can’t seem to find it. Maybe I’ll get to post it later…


Livie was the co-pilot this time around!


Okay – time for church, so that’s it for tonight! But, stay tuned for more later this week!