Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warning!!! Not for the Squeamish!

As promised, here are the pictures of Olivia and her raccoon skinning adventure! But, seriously, if you are squeamish about blood and guts, don’t go past the cute picture the of the kids on the tire swing. My goal was to put enough at the top of this post that no one has to accidentally see something they don’t want to see! I’ve done my duty and you’ve been warned!

Before we began our extended family Thanksgiving celebrations, we went out to join a church family for their dinner at the farm. When we got there, our church member’s son was getting ready to skin the raccoons he’d killed earlier. He sells the pelts, so he is very meticulous about the skinning process. But, he’s also very skilled and quick!

Steven found out what was going on and ran back to the girls yelling, “He’s skinning a coon!” Angela said, “Ew!” and stayed perched on the tire swing where they’d been playing. 2012-11-22 11.14.05

Olivia, though, came running! Slade was almost finished skinning the first coon, but he was getting some meat off for his folks. So, Olivia watched that. As he cut it open more, Olivia started noticing internal organs and naming them. Slade (a nurse) walked her through several more of them, and then they dissected the little heart together. 2012-11-22 11.27.37

But the fun really started when Slade asked if Olivia wanted to help him skin the second coon. What a silly question! Barry (our music minister and Slade’s step-dad) brought out a giant plastic bag and cut holes in it for Olivia's head and arms so she’d have an apron. Slade got her gloved up, and they set to work. He got it started and then told Olivia what to do.

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Then he helped out when the pulling got a little tough.

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But as often as possible he told her what to do and let her try it. He was an excellent teacher.

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Next came the deer someone had shot that morning. Olivia didn’t help with that one, but she watched like a hawk!

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She did come home with the deer heart. We were going to cook it up to go with Thanksgiving dinner, but we just ran out of time and energy to add that to the list!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In the great outdoors...a cold front blew in last night, leaving us with a perfect, chilly, crispy, sunny fall day for outdoor play. Steven was delighted to have to don his coat before heading outside!

Within our four walls...still fall-looking. We love to put out Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving, but our weekend schedule didn’t allow for that this year. We are very much looking forward to decorating this weekend!

A heart of thanksgiving...for flexibility and good books.

A heart of prayer...for a friend of a friend and her family as she battles illness. For my wonderful husband as he continues to battle Greek. And for family members who continue to battle against the hand of God in their lives.

Random mind is so random sometimes that I lose the cool random observations I intend to write here. I think them and then move right on to something else. There, is that random enough for you?

Oh! I remembered! I was going to send you to Home Educating Family’s blog site. The posts going up right now are really awesome! Here are just a few examples…

“It’s NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Thoughts about how different and difficult this time of year can be for children with sensory issues.

“Hospitality in Our Home(School)” – for those non Martha Stewart people like myself. (I really, really needed this one today!)

“Using Picture Books for Holiday Learning”

I also have a contribution that posted yesterday.

“Beating Those Holiday Insecurities”

My silly children...are full tilt today. Pinging, talking, jabbering.

Thoughts from the kitchen...leftovers. Today it’s the twice baked potatoes. Add some deer meat and a veggie and voila – a full meal that doesn’t even taste like leftovers!

On my bookshelf...Liz Curtis Higgs this month. Just because I want to. That makes me smile. Oh, and the “because I want to” Tricia Goyer book that I haven’t gotten to yet.

Projects...still haven’t gotten those Christmas napkins done. But, we are making progress on Christmas presents.

Sounds of the moment...silence, amazingly enough. Steven’s outside and the girls seem to be settled in their school work. Nope…scratch that. Olivia just walked in and is talking through her work. Verbal processing, anyone?

Last week Olivia to skin a raccoon. Pictures to come, but not for the squeamish!

A favorite thing from last week...seeing the different personalities of my children really come out in their interactions with family and friends.

The planner...normal life this week, although I would rather that planner not include school. I just want to cancel it all for the rest of the year! But, that would really not be good for our sanity or our school schedule. So, plug along we shall.

Because visuals are son empties the dishwasher every day. Notice the contrast between the jumble of silverware on the right and the organization by type and size on the left. He has started organizing it in the dishwasher first so that he can just grab each set and transport it easily to the dishwasher. That’s my boy!2012-11-27 07.57.51

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I’m not sure you were aware of this, but my children are downright SILLY! Need proof? I’ve got it! Check out these little glimpses from the past month.

Daddy’s trench coat and hat are just a little bit. But that doesn’t stop Angela!

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Cowboy Steven with the jump rope lasso.

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And cowboy Steven ready for bed. Yeah.

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Olivia celebrating the first day of truly chilly weather and making sure to be a good fan all at the same time. The Razorback pants and red shirt are pretty obvious. The hat, gloves, and vest are purple and gold for the Ouachita Tigers. I think they experienced their first loss of the season that day. Hmmmmm…

Silly 2

Angie & Steven were a little more tame that day. They gave their Hog shirts a rest and went all OBU. They were delighted to pull out the “toe socks” though!

Silly 5

One thing’s for sure – they keep me laughing! (And a bit scared, too.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Performance

Yesterday I mentioned the kids’ Sunday Thanksgiving performance. They did such a great job! Here’s the whole group: back – Jada, Angela, Olivia; front – Ian, Sawyer, StevenChoir 3

They all had memorized speaking parts, which they performed beautifully! Somehow I missed snapping a picture when Angela and Jada were up, but here are the pictures of Olivia & Ian and Steven & Sawyer. (It looks like they’re talking at the same time, but they really weren’t – each child had individual parts.)

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This is my favorite shot! They were singing about how much they have to be thankful for, and in this particular verse they were singing, “We have our family to be thankful for!” They were supposed to wrap their arms around each other while they sang. For the record, we really don’t think Ian was trying to strangle his cousin Sawyer, but with that mischievous grin on his face, there’s no telling what he was trying to do!

Choir 1

I wanted to upload video of all of the solos, but the videos don’t seem to want to upload. So, suffice it to say all six children had solos – Olivia and Angela in the first song and the younger four in the song’s reprise at the end. We were so proud of them! They did a great job!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, November 19, 2012

In the great outdoors...beautiful sunshine and mild temperatures have beckoned my children. They are delightfully playing outside, probably up in a tree.

Within our four walls...gradual conquering of the chaos. I think we might have it tamed before the Christmas decorations emerge!

A heart of thanksgiving...for a few at-home/no school days to start off the week.

A heart of prayer...for my hubby as he continues to push through school, especially Greek. For the record, Greek syntax is hard enough in a classroom, but it’s a killer as a correspondence course!

Also for the Day family. A while back I shared about this precious family whose baby girl was diagnosed with cancer. Isabella’s tumor has not responded to treatment, so instead of doing surgery this week to remove the tumor as planned, they are only going to be able biopsy it and then begin more aggressive chemo treatments once she recovers (probably next week). Surgery will be sometime on Wednesday, with a 2-3 day hospital stay.

My silly children...for whom I am continually thankful, have thoroughly enjoyed their day off today. Their enthusiastic and energetic play left me very, very, very thankful for the beautiful weather and the chance to “let” them play outside!

Thoughts from the kitchen...eating as light as possible over the next three days since we will have various Thanksgiving meals every day Wednesday through Saturday!

On my bookshelf...finishing Giants in the Land and starting my last book from Tricia Goyer’s Liberator series (Night Song). Then I’m looking forward to some “just for fun” reading (although I’ll probably end up writing reviews of those books as well – just because I can’t help it!).

Projects...I actually need to take a break from Christmas gift projects to hem up some Christmas napkins this week.

Sounds of the moment...silence. Beautiful, peaceful silence.

Last week we learned...

Angie & Steven – more about space and Greece

Olivia – southeast Asia and “girl stuff”

A favorite thing from last week...actually from yesterday: The kids choir at church, consisting of my three kids and three Hillman cousins, put on a Thanksgiving performance for us complete with songs and memorized speaking parts. They were fantastic!!! We were so proud! I’ll post pictures and maybe some video (if it turned out) tomorrow.

The planner... today, tomorrow, and Wednesday we will just be taking care of things here at home. Wednesday night is our community Thanksgiving celebration at church (breakfast for supper, prepared by the men of the church! YUM!). Thursday we will be joining a church family for their Thanksgiving celebrations before heading to Judsonia for Friday’s Browning celebration. Then on Saturday the extended Hibbards will be joining us.

Because visuals are fun...Jack & Hello Kitty snuggles. Awwww….

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Things That Make Me Smile

Steven headed outside to enjoy the sunshine this afternoon. A few minutes ago, he came in and asked us to come outside and enjoy the sunset with him. I love, love, love that he notices beauty around him! I wish I had made a note of what he noticed a week or so ago. We were heading to the car, and he commented on the beauty of something. It just made my heart sing with pride. All boy with an eye trained to observe beauty.

Meanwhile, Doug stayed outside to throw a football around with him for a few minutes. Angie came in a few minutes after I did. Her statement? “It’s hard to catch a football when you have one hand holding up your skirts!” (She is in her 1850’s dress-up dress today.) Yes, child, it definitely is. That might be why prissy girls don’t play football!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, November 12, 2012

In the great outdoors...stubborn leaves clinging to the trees after Sunday night’s wind and storms. The delightful chill of fall. When I was out on Monday, I saw fog in the ditches where the ground was giving up its heat. Such beauty!

Within our four walls...reorganization chaos. Doug and I are in the process of slowly purging and reorganizing in the kitchen.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the fireplace. I just put on the last log for the day – we’ll be letting the fire go out as the temps warm up this afternoon. But oh how I’ve enjoyed doing school in front of it the past couple of days!

A heart of prayer...for families in need of peace as the holidays rapidly approach.

Random observations...I really intended to type this up yesterday. I’m not sure what happened to my day yesterday! I seemed to walk through it in a fog. It’s nice to be a little more clear-headed today!

My silly children...have been helping their stuffies play hide-and-seek. We’ve found them in some interesting locations, as occasionally certain ones simply get left when children are called for chores, school, a meal, etc.

Thoughts from the’s hard to cook when the counters are covered in what should be in the cabinets!

On my bookshelf...Dawn of a Thousand Nights by Tricia Goyer is the current review book, followed by Night Song, also by Tricia, and then a YA fantasy fiction novel entitled Giants in the Land. Olivia enjoys fantasy fiction, but it’s such a wide-open genre. So, I’ve been trying to read along with her to know when we need to discuss certain aspects of it. It helps that several YA fantasy authors have contacted our review team with review requests! I have enjoyed the genre more than I expected!

Projects...need I say anything? We are making good progress on gifts, and it’s been enjoyable and not stressful so far. Hopefully that will continue to be the trend!

Sounds of the moment...crackling fire and the tapping of keys. Such a peaceful moment!

Last week we learned...mostly a continuation of what I shared last week.

A favorite thing from last week...seeing the resilience of our children as we closed out the second week of an “off” schedule and late nights. They love routine as much as Doug and I do, but they also handle routine disruptions very well. I’m proud of them!

The planner...routine! Church tonight, art class for Olivia tomorrow (did I mention she does have class after all? She was glad, and I’m glad for her.), and a free weekend leading into another full week off school. We’ll have only squeezed in two weeks of school between the weeks off for convention and Thanksgiving, but convention week wasn’t a restful break. We’re looking forward to next week!

Because visuals are fun...this sight greeted me as I entered the kitchen after my shower yesterday morning. Apparently, this is the hiding place Panda found for hide-and-seek.100_0604

As each animal was found, it progressed to the living room where they all gathered for a picnic.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the election did not turn out like I’d hoped. I can’t say it didn’t turn out like I expected, but I did have hope. I’m still smiling today, though, because God has shown His presence so beautifully this week!

My sweet baby boy is becoming very spiritually aware. He is beginning to grasp the concept of God’s grace and his need for it. He is beginning to see himself as a sinner, and an understanding of what that means is dawning in his mind. Our discussions have been going on for several months, but this week they have been deeper and there has been a much greater evidence of awareness. I love watching the Holy Spirit awaken the heart of any child, but words cannot express how wonderful it is to see it in my own dear child!

God never stops working. I pray I grow less and less distracted by the things of this world so I can see His handiwork more and more clearly.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In the great outdoors...fall. Nippy air (mid to upper 50’s), partly sunny, and leaves everywhere. We didn’t get a whole lot of color around here, but I still love to see the leaves falling. They’re a bit soggy right now but still pretty.

Within our four walls...clutter. Life’s been a little crazy for a couple of weeks, and I just haven’t bothered with the clutter much. I’ll have to get on top of that soon.

A heart of thanksgiving...pretty obvious today – I’m thankful for the freedom to vote. In all honesty, it wouldn’t surprise me to see my children robbed of that opportunity, possibly even before they ever have the chance to do it once. I hope to be proven wrong. It’s fun to take them in with us and walk them through the voting process.

A heart of prayer...for Christians to remember that it doesn’t really matter who the President is. One might make our lives much harder while another might allow us some breathing room for a little while longer. But ultimately, the plan of our God, the true Ruler of rulers, does not suffer at the whims of our earthly elections.

Random observations...

Thoughts from the kitchen...not doing a whole lot of cooking this week, thanks to being included in the church’s feeding of our revival preacher and his family. I think I’ll need to eat nothing for the second half of this week after convention and revival eating!!

On my much fun reading I want to do! Fortunately, most of it also falls into the category of review reading, so it counts as “work.” Have I mentioned that I love being a reviewer? We did find the Scottish fiction series based on Leah and Rachel written by Liz Curtis Higgs. I absolutely love her similar series based on Ruth, and when we ran across this three-book series for $5 a book I was delighted! Hopefully I’ll get to read in before Christmas.

Projects...Christmas projects, of course! Since my children do not read the blog, I’ll probably start posting pictures of what they’re making for each other. It’s so much fun to help them work on their gifts and see how excited they are with every step of the process!

Sounds of the moment...the kids enjoying a bit of Wii time in the next room. They’ve been real troopers with our late nights the past couple of weeks.

We are learning...

Olivia: basic economics, Asia, The Horse and His Boy as our read-aloud – loving that!, fractions, personal hygiene, capitalization

Angela: Greece, Presidents, the sun, estimating, capitalization

Steven: Greece, the solar system, months, capitalization

By the way – it is completely coincidental that they are all three learning capitalization in language arts at the same time!

A favorite thing from last week...seeing God draw people together to do as a team what each one could not handle alone. I get to be a part of that team. What an amazing blessing!

The planner...two more nights of revival (started Saturday night), and then rest and recuperation the rest of the week. Hopefully I’ll get the clutter under control and make progress on Christmas presents. Oh, and the arts center director called and said Angela has been invited to another six weeks of art classes! The new round started yesterday, but we didn’t make it. We’ll start back next week. I don’t think Olivia has another round – kind of relieved by that!

Because visuals are fun...Steven was so excited about his first loose tooth, and it seemed so ready to come out. But the front tail of the root was stubbornly clinging. He ate an apple for snack with the intention of trying to pry that tooth out of his mouth. It worked! The one beside it is loose, too, so I expect it to come out in the next week or two.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Deep Breath

You know it’s a slow morning in the Hibbard house when Mama isn’t showered and dressed until nearly 10:00! I am not a “lounge around in pajamas” kind of person. You might find me dressed in flannel pants and a comfy t-shirt, but it will still be something other than my pj’s. I’m slow if I don’t have clothes on by about 8:00. So nearly 10:00? Yep, we’re in recovery mode! (And the cats are in “you abandoned us for four days and now we need all the attention we can get to make up for it!” mode.)

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It was worth it, though! We left Almyra after church Sunday afternoon and made our way to the mighty metropolis of Cabot, Arkansas. (You doubt my description of Cabot? I cannot imagine why!!) The amazing staff and members of FBC Cabot rolled out the red carpet for the annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention this year. When the minister’s wives leadership team got there Sunday afternoon to set up for our Monday luncheon, we hardly had anything to do! What a blessing! (The visit was nice, though!)

We crashed Sunday night and then got up early Monday morning to start the activities. All three kids had childcare provided this year (thank you, organizers, for listening to the homeschooling moms!), so that left Doug and me free to really dig in to the convention. The minister’s wives luncheon went beautifully this year, and Doug enjoyed a good bit of connecting and visiting throughout Monday. We ended the day Monday with a nice long dinner visit with my parents. YAY!

Tuesday was our big day – the main portion of the convention business. The kids joined us for the evening service, always the best of the convention because of the entertaining reports and incredible choir performances from the Master’Singers (musically inclined ministers and wives from around the state) and either the Ouachita or Williams Baptist choir. This year it was Williams. Tuesday night was somewhat bittersweet this time around. Our state’s executive director, Dr. Emil Turner, is retiring in February, and the official convention farewell was held during Tuesday night’s session. He has done amazing things for our convention and has been a personal encouragement to so many ministers and their families, ours included. We all love him dearly, and although we know we’ll still be able to interact with him, we will miss him in his role as executive director.

We finished the day with our Tuesday night of the convention tradition – dessert afterwards, no matter how late! Smile This year we were blessed to be joined by our friends the Albrechts, former neighbors in Monticello. What a delightful visit!

Wednesday morning we awoke tired, but ready for the last bit of business before heading home. Doug has been invited to a breakfast the past couple of years, and last year he took Olivia with him since I couldn’t go. This year he took Angela. She was so excited! 2012-10-31 07.10.41

This morning we are all delighted to be back in our element, back to our own home, and back to normal eating. Meanwhile, I’m very thankful for a large capacity washer and dryer!!2012-11-01 09.58.59