Monday, December 30, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today…Monday, December 30, 2013

In the great outdoors...we had a few snow flurries this morning! Beautiful! The roof was cold enough that the accumulation started almost immediately. But, the snowfall didn’t last very long, so nothing really stuck for more than a few minutes. It was pretty while it lasted, though.

Within our four walls...Christmas decorations are down, the library has been rearranged just enough to make my new work space more efficient, and Doug and I are trying to get back into work mode today. We are craving routine.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a week to get back in the swing of things before deadlines begin to hit again.

A heart of prayer...for sick friends everywhere. It seems that the flu, stomach bug, and general ickiness abound.

Random observations...I’m struggling with getting back into a good writing mode. I miss it, but I just can’t seem to get a writing flow going again, as is obvious on both of my blogs. I suppose that is a way you can pray for me. I really do miss regular writing.

My silly children...are watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for the first time. We just haven’t gotten around to turning it on for the girls, and we didn’t want Steven to watch it until he read the book. Well, Doug read that book and a couple of others from the series aloud for us this summer, and Steven has since read the whole series on his own.

Anyway…they’re finally watching it this afternoon. But, they have brought the book in with them so they can compare it to the movie (as if they need the book – the girls have read it enough times to quote it from memory!!). I can only imagine the angst when they finally watch Lord of the Rings!

Thoughts from the kitchen...Doug made a delicious pot of chili for lunch today. We are determined to get back to “real” eating this week. It started with smoothies for breakfast, despite the cold. Holiday food may be yummy, but it sure does make us feel lousy!

On my bookshelf...well…first I must say that my bookshelf is CLEAN again! Part of our reorganization effort involved moving it from its old spot near the big computer desk to a spot closer to my new work space. We managed to shuffle things and get it right beside me. Love it! And in the process, I actually got everything back in its place.

And now I can focus on creating a reading schedule and getting back into a habit of reading. 

Projects...As I was rearranging, I found several things that I’d forgotten I had! Now that Christmas sewing is done, I’m going to make it a point to keep up with sewing and knitting projects.

Sounds of the moment...sounds of Narnia wafting from the other room.

From Hibbard Academy...today was grading day. We caught up on all of the pre-Christmas grading we hadn’t gotten done. Well, almost all of it. I still have a bit of language arts to grade. Tomorrow I will plan for the next couple of weeks, and then we’ll start back to school on Thursday.

A favorite thing from last week...it was Christmas week! Lots of favorites! But especially watching my kids as they watched others open the gifts they’d put so much thought and effort into.

The planner...we’ll enjoy an early New Year’s Eve celebration tomorrow night (we all like to go to bed early!). Otherwise, we get to enjoy a week at home to restructure ourselves before life really gets back to “normal” next week.

Because visuals are fun...my son and his fashion statements.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 3, Day 4

Week Three Day Four: The Sacrifice without Spot and Blemish

“I will not take what is yours for the Lord[1] or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (King David) 1 Chronicles 21:24

It is easy for us to picture Christmas in light of the Hallelujah Chorus and sing “Wonderful! Counselor! The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!” This is certainly the celebration of the overall character of Jesus of Nazareth, whose birth in Bethlehem anchors our celebrations. Yet Christians recognize not one Advent but two. The second is the one yet to come: when He returns and initiates the visible Kingdom of God in all things. The first Advent leads us to Bethlehem and the manger.

In the gap between the two Advents, something else had to happen. (click here to read more)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 3, Day 3

Week Three Day Three: A Sense of Destiny

“For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.” John 12:35 (NASB95)

The sensation that is myrrh, though, does not stop in everyday use. Myrrh was a portion of the anointing oil of the Tabernacle. In fact, it was the largest portion of this oil. Exodus 30 records this oil and its purposes. Whatever was touched by this oil was considered holy. It was to be used on the priests and the implements of sacrifice. It was used on the altar and on the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of the center of God’s presence in those times. He never expresses Himself as limited to wherever the Ark is, but for the Israelites of those years, the Ark was where they could know God certainly was. The Ark was to be kept near to the altar for sacrifice and to be kept separate from the people by a heavy curtain.

Why? (click here to read the rest)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advent Reflections, Week 3, Day 2

Week Three Day Two: A Sense of Intimacy

“All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.” Psalm 45:8 (NASB95)

For now, lay aside the thought of myrrh as a burial spice. Instead, let us consider myrrh and its place among the fragrances of intimacy, of relationship, of celebration. Myrrh carries a picture in the Old Testament that is quite different than what we see in the few references to it in the New Testament.

In the Old Testament, myrrh is a part of the marriage celebration. The Scripture above, from Psalm 45, is a good reference point for that use. The whole of Psalm 45 is a celebration of marriage. (read more here)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 3, Day 1

Week Three Day One: Senses and Sacrifice

“Then their father Israel said to them, ‘If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds.” Genesis 43:11 (ESV)

Coming to the last gift, we find myrrh. Myrrh, like frankincense, was an all-purpose spice. It is another agricultural product. Well, more like a silvicultural product since it comes from trees, but you get the point. It is not something valuable because it is rare. It is instead valuable because people liked it.

How do I know people liked it? (read more here)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thanksgivings and Birthdays

I’m pretty sure I took a few pictures while Doug’s parents were here for an early Thanksgiving celebration. But, I have to figure out where I put them! So for now…

I’ll post these from Judsonia when we went Friday the 29th for the Browning Thanksgiving. I didn’t take many pictures, and most of what I took were of this cutie pie!

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I love that smile! My niece Nora turns one on December 17, but we got to celebrate her birthday early as a family. Thanks, Ashley, for such a great idea!

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Big sister Abigail didn’t feel too well that day, so I didn’t get any pictures of her. But, oh is she adorable! I’m a bit partial to those two precious girls!

Meanwhile, my own young’uns had a pretty enjoyable time. These two thoroughly enjoyed the plethora of cats who roam around Nanny & Papaw’s yard!

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And this stinker knew just how to get good and relaxed! I think he was enjoying a new movie. Planes, maybe?

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Naturally, they all three had to find time to play Legos with Uncle Tim. That’s a must anytime, but especially when he’s around!

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After downing a fantastic meal, we had to wait a few hours before enjoying birthday celebration. Nora was pretty excited about her cupcake!

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Especially the icing!

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I tried to get a picture of Abby eating hers, but she didn’t want a picture. I snuck her into the background of one. Smile

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One of these days, my kids will teach Nora the art of eating the bottom of a cupcake first.

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Then she’ll get to enjoy the icing last with just a bit of cake to hold it together!

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And that was our Browning Thanksgiving. As I work through pictures over the next few days, I will hopefully find some from the Hibbard Thanksgiving!

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 5

Week Two Day Five: Priest Above All Problems

“Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.” Exodus 18:15-16

If a train leaves New York at 0545 traveling 60mph on the same track to Philadelphia as a train leaving Philadelphia leaves for New York at 0600 headed to New York traveling 45mph leaves on, how much time does the dispatcher have to warn both trains to stop?

Sound like a major issue? Maybe not if you live in Atlanta, but if you are on one of those trains, it is a huge deal. Yet what you see above is a typical story problem from a math book. It is, however, lacking information. For example, how far is it from Philadelphia to New York? How big of a train? After all, it takes longer to stop a 100-car banana train than to stop a 10-car passenger train.

Without that information, can you actually solve the problem? I’m not asking if your math skills are up to the division, multiplication, and addition necessary. You can see, though, that you do not possess all the information to solve the problem at hand.

This is considered a simple problem, one that a fifth grader may find in a math book. What about the problems we face in adulthood? (read more here)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Thursday, December 12, 2013

In the great outdoors...bright, beautiful sunshine! It’s warming up – actually up to 40 today! Heat wave!  

Within our four walls...gifts are started to appear under the tree as creations are finished. I haven’t been able to get pictures of all of them this year because the kids have worked a lot by themselves. But I will get pictures after Christmas!

A heart of thanksgiving...for answered prayers for my friend Joanna; for friends from church whose company we’ve been able to enjoy more than usual this week; for a warm house; for the cold and ice that will hopefully reduce the mosquito population.

A heart of prayer...for friends needing to make a major decision; for Joanna as she continues to recover from malaria & cellulitis; for peace to reign over the busyness of this season.

Random observations...my seven-year-old used the word “delectable” today. Correctly. The funniest part? When I asked him where he learned the word, he said, “I don’t know. I made it up!”

My silly children...need to be outside. It’s sunshiny and 40. They’re going out for a little while!

Thoughts from the kitchen...I’ve eaten way too much this week. Christmas parties can really do a gal in, especially when one of them offers phenomenal steaks! Oh. My. Word.

On my bookshelf...books waiting for Christmas break when I plan to read something just for the fun of it!!

Projects...I bet you can’t guess!

Sounds of the moment...rustling around as the kids find hats and coats.

From Hibbard Academy...sloooooow progress. We intended to have school three days last week and every day this week. Last week I ended up with laryngitis, so we just worked through what we could. This week it has been one thing after another. We’re still making progress, but I think I might call next week a lost cause. Sewing time!

A favorite thing from last week...enjoying an unexpected Sunday at home. I love our church. I really do. But when ice led us to cancel service out of concern for safety, we suddenly had a wide open day. It was so incredibly nice in the middle of two busy weeks. Thank You, Lord!

The planner...This has been Christmas party week! We ended up not having the senior’s party on Tuesday because of illness, but we’ve enjoyed being with the men’s Sunday school class and the deacons. Tonight it’s our Sunday school class. Then that’s it for this year! It’s been a busy week, but it’s a lot of fun to get to go to all of the parties.

Because visuals are fun...I must show you my most exciting accomplishment of last week. It’s two-fold. 1) A clean sewing desk. Yeah. I couldn’t get to the sewing machine before I tackled the desk. It was time. 2) A permanent work space! I love the flexibility of working with a laptop, but I really needed a base work station. As I cleaned off the sewing table, I realized that the end of the sewing table that is built for a second machine would be perfect for my computer. I’m so excited! It’s been wonderful this week!2013-12-07 12.08.36

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 4

Week Two Day Four: Priest Above All Practices

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 (NASB95)

If you live in the South, you probably realize that many Southerners do love football. Especially college football. The traditions and excitement that surround Saturdays between September and December overtake even the most casual of fans, and cause some of the sanest of people to do some rather crazy things.

The traditions of college football are as diverse as the crowds that do them. In Oxford, Mississippi, the well-dressed members of the football team walk through the tailgating crowd to get to the stadium. In Arkansas, grown people stand up and shout “Woo! Pig! SooIEEEE! to call the Hogs. Auburn University lets an eagle fly around the stadium.

Even the idea of “tailgating” is a strange one… (read more here)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 3

Week Two Day Three: Priest Above All Division

“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

There are, unfortunately, divisions among those who claim the name of Christ. We tend to argue about things great and small. Where else can you find arguments so bitter that a person will not speak to someone five feet away?

Some of the arguments are necessary. It often happens that we take our eyes off the Cross and get greatly distracted. (Read more here.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Reflections: Week 2, Day 2

Week Two Day Two: Priest Above All Religion

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

The first place our minds go when we hear that Jesus is a “priest” is down the road to religion. Left to that path, we are headed to an unmitigated disaster if we do not put some hedges and explanations on that. The truth carries a much tighter focus than many of us like.

Most religions build on a structure of priesthood. The structure is this: there is something beyond what normal people understand, but there are a few that grasp the full truth. Those few then serve as intermediaries between ordinary folks and that something. You get this in Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Mormonism. You get it even in Buddhism and Atheism—yes, atheists have priests and prophets, too, who are out to “enlighten” everyone about the real truth that religious people ignore.

Even some forms of Christianity twist His truth and place additional layers between man and God. (Keep reading here)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Thursday, December 5, 2013

(a little late, but I got to it!)

In the great outdoors...getting colder by the hour as we wait for “Cleon” to officially hit. Will it fizzle out to just cold temps or truly be the ice storm craziness being forecasted?

Within our four walls...laundry is done, phones are being charged, and a fire is built. We’re as ready as we’re gonna be!

A heart of thanksgiving...for a fireplace and gas water heaters.

A heart of prayer...for those who have to work out in this wintry mess.

Random observations...I spent today focusing on work tasks that absolutely had to be done if we lose power as predicted. Now I hope we don’t lose power because that means I’m finally getting ahead – a huge goal of mine between now and Christmas break!

My silly children...well, let me just share a conversation from today.

Me: “Are y’all fighting?”

Angela: “No, we’re just misunderstanding each other!”

Me: “Well, misunderstand each other with sweet tones in your voices, please.”

Steven & Angela together: “Yes, ma’am!”

Thoughts from the kitchen...methinks soup will be somewhere on the menu for this weekend.

On my bookshelf...review books awaiting review.

Projects...working on some knitting projects right now. I’ve restarted one three times. I got a good ways on it before I realized that the needles I thought would work just weren’t going to do the trick. But, in trying to improvise, I messed it up too much to salvage. So, starting yet again! Fortunately, it’s a relatively quick project!

Sounds of the moment...kids jabbering as they finish supper.

From Hibbard Academy...it’s been a bit of an odd week. We were gone Tuesday, and I had no voice yesterday. Still plugging along, though! Two more weeks!

A favorite thing from last week...watching as my children did much of the Christmas decorating. That was fun!

The planner...much of it has already happened. Work meeting day on Monday. Denominational meeting day on Tuesday, followed by a recipe party with the ladies from church. Church on Wednesday. Today I was supposed to go to Bernina Club, but was still recovering from voiceless Wednesday. So, we had a mostly relaxing stay-at-home day today. I think that will continue through the weekend! Read might be back on Saturday – if Cleon peters out and his mom has to work.

Because visuals are fun...Angie found this leaf. I’ve never seen one this big! None of the trees we’ve seen in town have leaves this big, so we’re not sure where it came from.

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Advent Reflections: Week One, Day Four

Here’s today’s link: http://www.doughibbard.com/2013/12/advent-reflections.html

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Thoughts–Day One

Need an advent guide for this year? Allow me to share my wonderful husband’s guide! He wrote this a couple of years ago, and this year he has edited it to fit on his blog. Every day he will be publishing a post. You can follow his blog directly (doughibbard.com), or you can just come here where I will link his post every day.

Here are the first two links:

Introduction: http://www.doughibbard.com/2013/12/advent-thoughts-introduction.html

Week One, Day One: http://www.doughibbard.com/2013/12/advent-reflections-week-one-day-one.html

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hibbard Family Entertainment

This is what my friend Jennifer walked in to when she came to pick up her son from our house Monday evening.

Nerf Wars!!!

For the most part, it was Doug, Steven, and Read against Olivia. Angela collected fallen nerf ammunition for Olivia and I collected them for the guys. The battle roamed all over the living room/dining room/kitchen area.

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Angela eventually grew tired of the game, so she plopped herself down on the couch to crochet. Right smack dab in the middle of the action!

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Olivia ended up behind the couch, so anytime nerf ammo would fall on Angie (which was frequent!), she’d just toss it behind her to Olivia.

I don’t think Read was exactly sure what to think when it first started, but he warmed up to it!

I’m so glad we’re a crazy family!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, November 26

In the great outdoors...we’re actually in the 40’s today after a couple of days of not climbing out of the 30’s. Should be back into the 30’s tomorrow before working our way back up into the 50’s and 60’s.

Within our four walls...enjoying the last few days of fall d├ęcor before we find a time to put up the Christmas stuff!

A heart of thanksgiving...for cold weather and central heating; for various forms of electronic communication options.

A heart of prayer...for all who will be traveling this week; for those who have to be out in this cold; for many other needs among friends and family.

Random observations...we put our apples in a little fridge in the garage so they wouldn’t be taking up space in our kitchen fridge. I went to get one for a wake-me-up snack. It was frozen. I’m eating it anyway. The texture is a little odd, and it’s a bit chilly to be eating a frozen snack. But, it’s not bad! And, it’s still working to wake me up.

My silly children...seem to be enjoying their time off school. Maybe a little too much sometimes!

Thoughts from the kitchen...leftovers today. Yesterday, though, was our first pot of turkey rice soup for the season. YUM!!

On my bookshelf...trying to finish up a few books so I can get started on new ones. Working myself back into a regular reading schedule.

Projects...still Christmas! *smile* 

Sounds of the moment...soft music; Steven playing; girls talking in the back; my phone making noises at me

From Hibbard Academy...the reminder of just how much my kids learn even when we are not formally schooling. I love it! Learning is not only something they love, but it is practically habitual for them. That – not accumulation of knowledge – is what shows me that our educational choices are working.

A favorite thing from last week...watching the kids interact with Grandma and PopPop.

The planner...finishing up work for the week today; church community Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow night (breakfast for dinner – yum!); fish fry with friends on Thursday; Thanksgiving with the Browning side of the family on Friday; home/downtime on Saturday.

Because visuals are fun...we got to enjoy the company of these handsome little men yesterday. You can tell from Steven’s grin how much he loved Read’s company. And it made Olivia’s day to get to babysit adorable little Cooper! 2013-11-25 12.24.562013-11-25 09.24.18

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In the great outdoors...a chilly, sunny day. Although I’m thinking it might be chillier inside the church right now than it is outside.

Within our four walls...everyone doing their own thing. We spend Wednesdays at church. The kids are playing and Doug and I are in the office working.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the cool weather; for an unexpected chance to chat on Skype with my friend Joanna; for flexibility; for a week in which I feel like I’m somewhat getting on top of the schedule.

A heart of prayer...sweet little Isabella Day who (hopefully) is having an MRI today to check on her tumor; for quite a few people who have just been on my mind lately.

Random observations...by the end of this week I just might have all of my current to-dos checked off the list. There are always things to do, but I’ve been trying to intentionally manage my time better this week. I’m seeing progress, and it’s so very encouraging!

My silly children...I’m fully convinced that my children would not know how to act inside a church building if we ever left the ministry. Once PKs, always PKs. They will always see church through that lens. Fortunately, it has been a good lens for them so far. Praying it stays that way.

Thoughts from the kitchen...leftovers today. Then making a rice lasagna for church tonight.

On my bookshelf...hahahahahaha! There are books there…I promise!

Projects...Christmas presents! Shhhhh… 

Sounds of the moment...kids playing; music playing; keyboards…playing? Oh wait, maybe that’s tapping.

From Hibbard Academy...we gave up this week. It’s been a while since we did that. ‘Tis the season! We’ll be back to it for a few weeks after Thanksgiving, but it just worked better to not worry about it this week. Flexibility is such a blessing!

A favorite thing from last week...watching my amazing husband preach a wedding. I am always thankful to be married to him, but sometimes I just stand in awe at the realization that I get to be married to him. Last weekend most other eyes were on the bride and groom. But, I was either glancing down at the sweet children on either side of me or delightfully enjoying the treasure of watching my man perform the ceremony. Yep, I’m blessed.

The planner...quick trip to LR tomorrow; work Friday; Doug’s parents come Friday-Sunday for an early Thanksgiving celebration.

Because visuals are fun...groom’s cake from last week’s wedding. Is that not fun? When the kids were deciding which cake to eat, Angie said, “I want to eat the boot cake in honor of PopPop.”2013-11-15 18.24.28

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sharp Objects

You need to know two things to understand the humor of this situation.

1) Jack the cat has very sharp claws. Even when the claws are trimmed, they are still sharp. There’s just no way around it.

2) In anticipation of receiving his first pocketknife, Steven is learning the rule of not releasing a sharp object until the recipient has said, “Thank you.”

Steven had Jack and was passing him to Angela. After she had Jack in her lap, Angela declared, “Sorry, I should have said, ‘Thank you.’ Fat Jack is a sharp object, isn’t he?!”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In the great outdoors...a blustery day as a cold front blows in. We hit our high around midnight. Lovely, lovely cold! We’re so excited!

Within our four walls...children running laps around the house. Inside, not outside. Who wants to run laps in 20+ mph north winds with a wind chill in the mid-30’s, right? Yeah.

A heart of thanksgiving...for great insulation in our house. We do have a small fire going, but the heater has not kicked on today.

A heart of prayer...for Doug over the next couple of weeks as he finishes up school obligations for this term; various church needs; the Choates as they spend the holidays in the village.

Random observations...we need guest reviewers at www.hedua.com! If you’re a homeschooler who would be willing to submit a review (or two or ten) of your favorite homeschool product? It could be a book, a resource, or a curriculum. Here’s the form: http://hedua.com/reviews/write-a-review/

My silly children...have switched from running laps to walking around blindfolded. I don’t want to know.

Thoughts from the kitchen...fresh chicken broth! Oh yes – and pulled chicken too. I’m just more excited about the chicken broth. Doug put a chicken in the crock pot before we went to bed last night, and it smelled sooooooo good when we got up this morning. I have no idea how he seasoned it, but I can’t wait to cook with that broth! It is currently freezing in silicone muffin pans so I can pop out the 1/4 cup discs and have them ready whenever I need them. Sunday’s chicken ‘n dumplin’s ought to be very yummy!

On my bookshelf...books? Books? Oh yeah, I do enjoy reading, don’t I?

Projects...I’m almost finished with a Christmas gift! Yay! I made Angela a super-soft knit hat with a ponytail hole. It’s pink camo. Olivia will have one also, but hers won’t be quite as soft. It will, however, be TARDIS blue with sparkles. She’s already seen the yarn and fallen in love with it, so I think the lack of as much softness will be okay with her!

Sounds of the moment...the kids playing. Music. There might be some Christmas selections mixed in there.

From Hibbard Academy...Angie and Steven are finishing up their study on knights and are still exploring mammals; Olivia is taking an eastward swing for a bit of a focus on Confucius and China. We finished the evolution book (she’s asked for book two, just for the fun of it!) and are moving on to a general overview of science.

A favorite thing from last week...being home.

The planner...Doug and I both have meetings tonight – mine is a work meeting and his is a church budget committee meeting. Both of us will meet with great people, but I guarantee mine will be more fun! Friday we have a wedding, and Saturday we hope to spend doing some cleaning in the garage and some rotation of closet storage for greater efficiency.

Because visuals are fun...I’m so thankful for these helpful munchkins! I was so far behind on grading, thanks to catching up from vacation. They all pitched in and worked hard to help me catch up yesterday. We made a mess!2013-11-11 11.44.36

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Yes, We’re Alive!

And so the season begins. October through December are usually pretty full for us, and this year has proven to be no exception! But, we’re having fun!

The past three weeks have seen prep for vacation, vacation, transition to the annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, and then catching up from being gone for eight days. Today we’re enjoying our first true down day for quite some time. It’s so nice!

I think a puzzle, the first fire of the season, and some football make for a great way to enjoy a down day.

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Who knows…we might even throw some sewing into the mix. I should do some school prep, but I’m not going to. I’ll just wait until Monday and have the kids join me in a “catch up on grading work” party! Might have to throw some cookies into the mix…

That’s Saturday for the Hibbards. How are you spending your weekend?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, October 21, 2013

In the great outdoors...sun coming and going, but it looks like it’s mostly coming. Nice, fall feeling to the air. Oh how I love cool weather!

Within our four walls...washing, washing, washing. The washer and dryer are getting a workout today!

A heart of thanksgiving...for answered prayer, changing seasons, the energy that cool weather brings, and generous friends.

A heart of prayer...for a family dealing with saying hello and goodbye to their precious newborn all in one day; for friends needing wisdom; for a friend facing surgery this week; for allergy issues to just go away.

Random observations...I like being hydrated. I don’t like the interruptions to my work flow that accompany staying hydrated. TMI? Sorry…just being real. 

My prissy daughter...is very excited right now. We are preparing for a trip, and I informed the children that they needed to pick clothing that they did not want to wear on the trip. Angie’s response was pure delight – that statement was essentially an instruction to spend the next couple of days in dress-up clothes. Her only disappointment is that she can’t just live in her antebellum dress while we’re traveling. 

Thoughts from the kitchen...today we’re taking some chili leftovers and creating a sort of lasagna with tortillas. Something different. We’ll see how it tastes!

On my bookshelf...well…I’m determined to get caught up on review books. Yep. I’m gonna do it!

Projects...today I need to help Olivia make a warm gown for our trip. It dawned on me that she might need it since the temps are expected to drop below freezing. *smile*

Sounds of the moment...lawn mower, dishwasher, happy voices of playing children.

From Hibbard Academy...no school for two weeks, with the exception of a little bit of independent work during convention days next week.

A favorite thing from last week...watching my precious son’s face as he watched a prayer being answered. We’ve seen many prayers answered as a family, but this has been HIS prayer. As we start school each morning, we each pray over someone’s salvation. He typically chooses his friends from church. Last night after church, one of those friends made a beeline for Doug (with no prompting or encouragement from his parents). Steven was standing nearby, and he determined very quickly that his friend was talking to Daddy about becoming a Christian. I saw my big boy’s face start to glow – I can’t believe Moses’ face was much brighter than his in that moment!! He was jumping up and down and could hardly contain himself! The joy of a brand new salvation was made incredibly sweeter by watching my son’s faith grow as he rejoiced.

The planner...for the next couple of days, we are completely focused on getting enough work done to cover being gone for a week. Then, vacation time!!! We’ll head to Branson for a few days, then we’ll drive back down into northwest Arkansas for the annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (leaving the highly trained and heavily armed ninja monkeys to guard the house – you’ve been warned). Yes, we’re just a wee bit excited!

Because visuals are fun...my other reading material. This new issue arrived late last week. I’ve had a chance to skim it, but I’m looking forward to really diving in! 2013-10-18 09.52.15

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In the great outdoors...overcast, humid, and heavy. It’s supposed to rain, but the farmers are praying it holds off so they can get their beans cut.

Within our four walls...goofiness galore.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a “normal” day.

A heart of prayer...for our farmers as they try to finish up harvest, our family as we enter a busy season, a friend who had a recent heart scare (my age!), another friend who meets with a specialist tomorrow about the severe back pain she’s endured for the past month, and the salvation/spiritual growth of many who have been heavy on my heart. 

Random observations...for some reason, cats feel like they have to be right up next to a person in order to successfully bathe. Or maybe it’s just cats around me. I’m sure it is because they know it annoys me to have a cat loudly bathing right on top of me. Our cats live to annoy me.

My precious children...are such servants. We hosted an associational meeting at our church last night, and they did so much to help feed everyone. Then they waited patiently and without complaint while everyone else got their food – even staying away from the desserts that looked so fantastic. And yes, we made sure they each got a plate full of their favorite desserts.

Thoughts from the kitchen...chicken noodle casserole today. The kids are finally to the point where they can make meaningful contribution to meal planning rather than simply requesting the same things over and over and over and over again. It is helping us remember meals we don’t make quite as frequently. Yay!

On my bookshelf...not much motivation. Good books, but I’m just pretty slow about reading them right now.

Projects...pulling out my warmer clothes. Not that I’ve needed them yet, but I need to get it done – while, of course, leaving out enough cooler clothing to keep me from burning up while we wait for cool weather.

Sounds of the moment...kids playing/talking quietly in their last few minutes of free time before school starts.

From Hibbard Academy...kind of a funny thing – I actually don’t really know what the kids are doing in math right now. They are all three pretty independent when it comes to their math (by their choice), and Doug has been doing all of the grading for me. Kind of strange.

A favorite thing from last week...celebrating my parents’ 40th anniversary with them. Their actually anniversary is not until next weekend, but we got to do a reception for them on Saturday. They didn’t have a reception/wedding cake when they got married, and Mom has always wanted to have that on an anniversary. It was fun to be a part of doing that for them.

The planner...working ahead to be ready for upcoming vacation time. YAY!

Because visuals are fun...Steven loves his sissy snuggles!2013-10-13 20.25.13

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Review: Bake Through the Bible

Today’s review is a book from Cross Focused Reviews.

Some parents work naturally with their children in the kitchen. Others need a bit of help. Bake Through the Bible offers that little bit of help in a fun way.

Bake Through the Bible is a cookbook and Bible lesson guide all rolled into one. Each of the twenty activities includes the following components:

  • a Bible story
  • an overview of the cooking activity that reinforces the Bible story
  • step-by-step instructions for cooking, including tips and hints
  • “While You Cook” and “While You Eat” discussion guides, as well as a prayer focus

Bake Through the Bible is a beautiful and book! The pages are full-color, yet well designed to make sure no information gets “lost” in the presentation. Illustrations accompany each recipe, both for the cooking process and to show the end result. It’s also a durable book, with pages that can be cleaned up after spills and usage.

As for the recipes themselves, not every recipe in Bake Through the Bible will be appropriate for every family. But, the recipes are structured for maximum ease of working with children, especially if parents read through each activity in advance to notice the tips, warnings, and time-savers.

The Bible stories are split evenly between the Old and New Testaments. They are paraphrased in the text of Bake Through the Bible, but the references are clear. I’m not too fond of every paraphrasing method chosen by the authors, but I have not seen anything truly negative about the Bible stories.

Bake Through the Bible truly does accomplish its purpose of bringing families together in the kitchen to learn cooking skills and the Bible stories all at the same time. Even parents who are not particularly skilled in the kitchen can utilize this book, as it clearly outlines certain techniques and skills needed to complete the recipes. It claims to be for young children, but even parents of children through middle school age could benefit from this fun book.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Silly Moments

Want some more silly moments from the Hibbard household? How about this image of Angela with her cows? There are five of them…or is it six?

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Let’s see…we have Cowie (Cowabella), the big, used to be fluffly but has been loved pretty flat, cow; then there’s Alf the Calf; Callie is the cow I made for her when she was a baby to match her bedding; Stella is a very, very long cow – long enough to hang around her shoulders; George is a Chick-fil-A cow; and Carrie is that cute blue knit cow in the front – she has magnetic hooves. Yep, that would be six.

She decided the cows all needed some exercise, so she helped them with a round of pull-ups.

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Occasionally she trades her cows for other activities, such as dress-up and knitting or crocheting. But, even then, at least one cow is usually nearby…somewhere.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It’s an Inkwell!

Steven sat down to use his lap desk. At the table.

But, that’s not even the best part about it. The best part is that he took one look at the cupholder and said, “Oooh, look! I have an inkwell!”

Since then, he has made sure to “dip” his pen or pencil before writing. Every single time.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In the great outdoors...gloriously cool with bright sunshine.

Within our four walls...autumn decorations and open windows.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the cool weather, for a little found time this morning, for unclogged and pain-free ears.

A heart of prayer...for many needs among friends.

Random observations...my planner is not crammed this week. I really think that’s because I haven’t entered the tasks I need to do. I’m sure every day will be sufficiently full.

My silly children...were at full tilt yesterday! By lunchtime they had all finished school and were so full of energy. I informed them that they would be spending the afternoon outside. Not a problem for them! At 5:30 I went to ask them what they wanted for supper, and they proudly informed me that they not only had supper planned, but they were watching the time so they’d know when to come in, shower, prepare and eat their supper, and be ready for evening wind down. And that’s just what they did.

Thoughts from the kitchen...we had our first pot of stew this week, and the kids had oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Oh how I’ve been craving cool-weather food! Today’s menu is just a skillet beef and noodle dish, so nothing particularly fallish about it. But still good. Tonight there’s a fundraising fish fry in Stuttgart, and tomorrow we’ll have another fish fry at church. We’ll get our fill of catfish this week!

On my bookshelf...well…I haven’t been very diligent about reading lately. Must get back to that this week. I have several books waiting for me.

Projects...Christmas gifts. ‘Tis officially the season for those to be my sole focus! 

Sounds of the moment...tapping keyboards. Angela is typing emails behind me.

From Hibbard Academy...knights, Archimedes, book reports, sentence structure, animals, evolution, fractions, decimals -  much fun!

A favorite thing from last week...reading Olivia’s book report. Remember how I mentioned last week that writing is laborious for Olivia? That has typically meant that reports and paragraphs require a massive amount of energy and revision. So, when Olivia told me on Monday that she was really struggling with knowing what to say in her book report, I expected a lot of work ahead of us. When she finished the rough draft on Tuesday, she told me she didn’t think it was very good. What I saw literally brought me to tears. It was almost perfect. I showed her where a few commas would be helpful. I pointed out two areas where she needed to work in verb tense continuity. And, I taught her how a present tense response to a book grabs attention better than past tense (I love ____ about this book, rather than I loved.). That was it. It was a beautiful, well-written, extremely expressive report. Yes, I was proud. I was equally proud when she presented a fantastic oral report yesterday.

The planner...my big weekly meeting day is behind me, although I still have one more meeting this afternoon. Doug will be taking Steven to his first night of Cub Scouts tonight! YAY! We’d hoped to start a pack here in town as a form of outreach, but we just couldn’t get it off the ground. So, they’re heading to Stuttgart. We’re very excited. We’ve been looking forward to this for a while! Meanwhile, we had also hoped to get an American Heritage Girls troop started, but it fell through as well. Fortunately, AHG allows families to be a troop when there is no established group around. So, we’re waiting for the girls’ kit to arrive so we can start that.

Back to the planner…Saturday we get to celebrate my parents’ 40th anniversary! The celebration will be a couple of weeks early, but we’re looking forward to it!

Because visuals are fun...Mary Ann usually does our puppet devotional/song intro to Sunday school every week, but she was gone on Sunday. Guess who she recruited to fill in this week? Olivia was as nervous as could be, but she did a FANTASTIC job! Once again – so proud of her and the young lady she’s becoming! 2013-10-06 09.48.39

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Creative Child

I love watching creativity at work. Last Saturday we had an associational ministry day. Our family didn’t get to stick around as long as we’d planned, but the kids jumped right in while we were there.

Olivia busied herself with a couple of other youth as they began making balloon animals. She’s never really been taught to do it. She’s just watched other people do it a few times. But she has no fear. She jumped right in and started creating.

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Of course, she had to start with a hat for her little brother.

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And, she took a break to get her face all painted up.

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I love watching her personality blossom!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Sillies

Somehow it seems that our days are just full of sameness right now. Not much to share; not much to write about. But as I looked back on some pictures, I realized that there has been much fun to write about. It’s just been in little pockets here and there that don’t always seem to stick out.

A Beka can be a bit laborious when it comes to exercises. Lots of busy work. Lots of repetitious writing. When writing is laborious for a child, like it is for Olivia, that can be overwhelming! So, I let her type some of her written work (much easier for her!) we do other exercises orally.

This is one we were going to do orally. I told her to have sentences in mind before she came to me. Here’s what she did to remind herself of her sentences.

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Some days, school offers other unique challenges. Yes, she was working on the page Smokey is lying on. Smokey came and literally plopped down on top of Olivia’s arm as she was writing.

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School uniforms? How about dress-up clothes! Complete with a nice mug of Choffy.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In the great outdoors...dark. It’s a bit later than I usually try to get this written!

Within our four walls...clutter slowly being tamed. There’s a tub of autumn decorations still waiting to be put out, but I need to get a few things tidied first. It’s coming along slowly, just a little bit at a time. Probably will be done by Thursday or Friday.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a perfect day for Farm Safety Day with Angela. Cloud cover. Nice breeze. Humid, but not warm. Also thankful for the thoughtful invitation to be a part of the day. It’s for 5th graders throughout the county. Olivia went two years ago.

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A heart of prayer...for my friend with continued back issues and all that’s involved in that; for wisdom to keep my planner balanced.

Random observations...I took a lot more pictures of Olivia’s Farm Safety Day than I did of Angela’s. Looking back at Liv’s pictures, I realize why. She jumped right into the middle of the group we were with. And they welcomed her with open arms. Angela, however, didn’t really care to be in the middle of them. She wanted to be with me. The other kids didn’t try to include her, and she didn’t try to be a part. Nor did she feel she missed out. She had a great time just hanging around with me. Works for me! I can handle being around this precious smile!

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My silly children...were delighted to be back together this afternoon. They disappeared into the back of the house, and I hardly heard a peep from them. They really love being with each other! And I love that they love being with each other!

Thoughts from the kitchen...I’m out of chocolate. I’m really trying to stay almost completely away from sugar right now. Except for one piece of dark chocolate. I must restock.

On my bookshelf...about the same as the past few weeks.

Projects...a knit scarf from Sashay “yarn.” Why? Because I haven’t finished any of my other projects so I thought I needed another one. I think maybe I need to finish something.

Sounds of the moment...music and keyboards tapping. The kids are in bed, so we get a break from all of those sounds. They were getting quite interesting before we insisted on calm!

From Hibbard Academy...knights! I’m excited. I love learning about knights. And for Olivia, ancient Greece. Another fun period. Let’s see…book reports for Olivia. Can’t quite remember for the other two. Angie’s starting a new unit, and I’ve forgotten what it is.

A favorite thing from last week...personality tests with the youth class on Wed night. Olivia giggled through the whole thing. She had a great time! I love learning about little aspects of personalities.

The planner...yesterday was meeting day, and today was the field trip with Angie. The rest of the week is just typical school, work, and church.

Because visuals are fun...a couple more pictures from our day. 2013-10-01 11.01.092013-10-01 11.22.16

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In the great outdoors...fall weather is trying to arrive on time! On the first day of autumn, the weather actually matched the season. The Stones even already closed their pool (usually open into October) because the temps were getting so cool at night and the leaves were starting to fall. Today’s a bit warmer and more humid, but all in all, it’s more than just autumn – it’s really fall!

Within our four walls...a tub of autumn decorations ready to be spread around the house. We almost never bring them out this early, but the weather is making it hard to resist.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the slow, steady rain that fell all day Friday. And no storms! Leading up to that day, and even as the day itself progressed, the forecasts all called for heavy storms. But they never came. Some farmers did end up with downed rice, which is not a good thing, but overall it was a perfect rainy day!

A heart of prayer...for a sweet baby girl born last week, six weeks early and requiring surgery for a blockage almost immediately; for her mom who has additional medical issues of her own; for a friend suffering from severe back pain; for our youth and children at church; for my own children to discover that God created them just the way they are for His purposes; for so much more.

Random observations...some days it’s all I can do to get my children to do anything. Other days, they are up before dawn and extremely helpful. Today is one of those “other days.” They were all three up early, finished with their quiet times and chores, and then voluntarily went in to tackle the mountain of laundry on our bed. They have moved the mountain to the living room where they are now watching Muppets as they fold. (The TV is not on very often around here, and morning viewing is almost non-existent. So this is a big treat!)

My silly bookworm...Yesterday I told Angela about the bookshelves that lined one wall of my bedroom when I was her age. Her already big eyes grew even bigger and filled with absolute delight! That child would love nothing more than floor to ceiling bookshelves in her room – except maybe more books so she could fill those shelves. It wouldn’t take long to fill them, though. She’s already got more books than shelf space right now. In fact, I think she’d sleep on a mat on the floor if she could fill her room with books.

Thoughts from the kitchen...I have no idea. I’m really ready for fall food – especially a big pot of vegetable soup and pan of cornbread. But, it’s just not quite cool enough yet. So, I’ll contemplate something else for today and continue to wait patiently.

On my bookshelf...several things, which is very atypical. Speed-reading through a pair of Amish fiction novels; slowly (veeeeeeery slowly) working through Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson; working through Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions for work discussion; starting She’s Twelve Going on Twenty for review. It sounds like a lot, but they’re all so different, and I don’t plan to read all of them every day. They’re just scattered out throughout my week.

Projects...clothes rotation. We went through the fall/winter stockpile last weekend. Now we just need to pull out the very summery stuff that really doesn’t need to be worn any more. Amazingly, we still don’t need much, even without new hand-me-downs. God is so incredible in His provision! We are always confident that He’ll either provide the clothes or the resources to get the clothes. 

Sounds of the moment...the Muppets and laughter from the next room.

From Hibbard Academy...progressing to ancient Greece while still finishing up a bit of ancient Egypt with Olivia; moving from ancient to turn-of-the-century (AD 1000, that is) Vikings with Angie & Steven; the properties of light; continuing with birds and evolution; fractions, decimals, and more fractions; sentence structure (varying levels thereof) and writing book reports.

Olivia has discovered just how much easier writing is now that she can type and work her way around a word processor. She’s actually enjoying writing assignments for the first time ever! I never expected her to love writing, and I have committed to do what I can to encourage her creativity and ability to communicate in written form despite the difficulty that writing has been for her. I expected her to blossom in other ways, and I was all set to encourage that in any way I could while teaching her enough writing skills to exhibit competency. I never, ever dreamed that she would begin to truly enjoy writing itself just because I allowed her to learn it in her own time and according to her own abilities. It’s things like this that just thrill me and make every ounce of frustration over homeschooling worth it. I’m so thankful we get to educate our children this way! Words cannot express how amazing it is to watch my children blossom in ways I never could have anticipated, simply because they are not forced to fit into a group learning mold! This is not even about protecting them from public school issues at this point. This is about the reality that they can learn individually, according to their strengths. And in the process, they discover that their “weaknesses” aren’t such weaknesses after all.

Deep breath…okay…homeschooling delight speech over. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

A favorite thing from last week...the rainy day and the cool weather. We had our windows open for three days. Glorious!

The planner...the annual OBU Pastor’s Conference is this week!!! We started looking forward to this year almost as soon as we walked out the door last year. I can’t tell you what a privilege it has been to be able to join Doug at this conference. We get to visit with and continue to learn from professors who invested in us not only in college but in the decade and a half after graduation. They are such a blessing! Can’t wait!

We also have an associational one-day missions event this weekend. Our family will participate in a block party in Gillette, just a bit south of here.

Other than that, it’s work and school. Just about the time I thought I’d learned my job, I was promoted to a new position with a whole new learning curve! It’s rather intimidating but also exciting to be learning so many new things.

Because visuals are fun...my work companions – an iris my mother-in-law painted to match my favorite black irises, and Galadri-owl, a soft, cuddly, cute “just because” gift from my sweet hubby. I think she might become the Hibbard Academy mascot.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Bumper Wipe Clean Activities

Kregel has sent me some great review books over the years. But I just can’t help but think that today’s review book was about nine years too late! If I’d had Bumper Wipe Clean Activities when each of my children were first joining me in “big church,” it would have been a wonderful addition to our “keep them busy” supplies!

Bumper Wipe Clean Activities contains Image(2)seventy pages of high-quality, dry-erase fun. Attached to the book with a secure, elastic strap is a single, black dry-erase marker. My only complaint is that this marker has no eraser.

Any number of felt-tip pens or erasable crayons can be used with this book. In fact, a handy little spot on the back allows you to test pens for use in this book. I actually put a little Sharpie mark on the spot and left it for about an hour. I then came back with a wet cloth to discover that it wiped cleanly off, even though it did take a bit of scrubbing.

The laminated pages are wonderful for a clean erase. Any marking will eventually be a pill to remove if left long enough, but dry-erase marks we left on this books for four or five hours cleaned off beautifully. In fact, I just wiped them off with my finger without the aid of an eraser, cleaner, or wet cloth.

Although Bumper Wipe Clean Activities would be great for keeping a three-year-old quietly busy scribbling away, non-readers do need whispered directions for completing most of the activities if they want to actually complete them as written. What I love most about the book, however, is that it even appeals to my 7-year-old! Many of the activities bore him, but some of the more difficult mazes, matching puzzles, and “find what’s wrong” pages are fun for him.

The activities themselves walk through the Bible from Genesis through Palm Sunday. The crucifixion and resurrection are not explored.

Even very active children will take at least a few minutes to get tired of Bumper Wipe Clean Activities. There are so many pages and activities, and each one looks very different. The pages are colorful, but some also have a great deal of black and white. This allows those who enjoy coloring to enjoy these pages with multi-colored pens or erasable crayons. The quality of this book is solid, ready to take the abuse of being carried around in an activity bag. It is also small enough to carry easily along with a package of markers or crayons.

Yes, I would have been delighted to have Bumper Wipe Clean Activities when my children were younger! I definitely recommend it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the great outdoors...a great need for rain. We are praying for no storms, but we could sure use the rain.

Within our four walls...quiet, for the time being, which is nice. A few minutes ago my children were mooing the Razorback fight song. That seems to be the mood for today. Outside time, anyone?

A heart of thanksgiving...for a successful shoe shopping trip yesterday morning. That sounds a bit fluffy as I type it, but it really was a blessing. We now have two children in adult sizes, and it seems that companies have decided to stop carrying “normal” tennis shoes. But, all three kids quickly found great shoes at decent prices.

A heart of prayer...for rain; for the farmers; for extended family; for our family as we enter our “busy” season.

Random observations...Wasp stings are no fun.

My silly children...are learning French. Steven and Angela are working through the alphabet right now. Meanwhile, Olivia is keeping up with her Polish as well. I wonder how many languages we’ll mix up before all is said and done?

Thoughts from the kitchen...I went out with the Gleaners today for the first time in a few months, so Doug and the kids fended for themselves. So thankful for a husband who can cook quite well!

On my bookshelf...a new book! I just noticed it! My hubby must have slipped it up there when I was looking. It’s Tricia Goyer’s new book The One Year Book of Amish Peace. She has done a fantastic job with her Amish fiction, making sure to distinguish their legalistic beliefs and true faith. I’m excited to read this one!

Projects...planting black irises! My favorite flower. They grew wild in Jordan every spring. I loved it! We’d go out on wildflower trips as the weather started to warm up, knowing it would be just a couple of weeks before the rains stopped and everything turned brown. My mother-in-law ordered some black irises for me recently, and Doug found a nice big pot to put them in. Olivia and I will get them planted this afternoon.  

Sounds of the moment...Steven tapping at a keyboard, sending an email to someone. It’s his typing practice. We have a wonderful, secure email system for the kids, and it is beautifully reinforcing their typing skills.

(Click here for information about that email service, if you’re interested.)

From Hibbard Academy...I honestly don’t know what we’ll be exploring this week. I scheduled lessons and page numbers. I didn’t look at content this week. But I’m sure it will be fun!

A favorite thing from last week...a nice, relaxing Saturday. We even got to watch the Razorback game, something we haven’t had the chance to do in a while! That was fun.

The planner...well, yesterday was shoe shopping and meeting day; today was lunch with the Gleaners; the rest of the week looks like just school and work. My job has changed and I’m learning new things right now, so a “normal” week is a good thing!

Because visuals are fun...haircut time (aka, the only time he’ll let me spike his hair!)2013-09-14 16.36.06

Monday, September 9, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, September 9, 2013

In the great outdoors...summer. It has arrived about the time it should be ending. But, it’s hard to complain after such incredible weather June through August! We still hope it won’t last long, though.

Within our four walls...my children playing, rather loudly. But, I love hearing them have such fun together, even if they do get loud and scary sometimes!

A heart of thanksgiving...for praying friends. Several of them specifically told me they were praying for me today. I needed to hear that. And I have definitely felt the prayers.

A heart of prayer...for wisdom and guidance in work and ministry – balance, etc. We’re about to hit our busiest time of the year, and I want to make sure to keep all of those priorities in order!

Also, continuing to pray for the farmers and harvest. Some have gotten off to a great start, others to a rough one. Still others are at their starting point now. So thankful that they share their ups and downs and let me pray with them!

Random observations...um…do you really want the randomness that is my mind today? I doubt it. Yeah, I think we’ll just leave this one alone.

My silly children...are singing “Rock On, Larry Boy!” at the tops of their lungs. It’s excitin’ round these here parts!

Thoughts from the kitchen...I’ve mentioned before that I’m not great with my children in the kitchen. But, I’m getting better. Today Olivia cooked lunch and I only supervised. If each child planned and prepared or helped prepare one meal a week, that would be nearly half the week. I could handle that!

Oh, and Olivia’s meal was parmesan chicken with garden vegetable rice. Quite delicious!

Meanwhile, they don’t want my help for suppers anymore. It’s usually simple – peanut butter sandwiches, smoothies, or cereal. But, they want to do it and they don’t want me in there! Hmmmm…

On my bookshelf...an Amish fiction novel, but I’ve actually forgotten the title. Oh! Leaving Lancaster – that’s it! I’m not as into Amish fiction as I used to be (I prefer historical fiction), but this one and its sequel have potential.

I’m more excited, though, about my two non-fiction books. Yes, I know, that is a HUGE SHOCK since I am such a fiction fanatic. But, I really am more excited about the non-fiction this time around. One is
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I was going to speed-read through it for review purposes, but before I even finished the introduction I knew I needed to work through it slowly. If it continues as it started, I will be highly recommending it.

Then, there’s
Undercover Homeschooler by my friend Shari Popejoy. Precious, precious lady. Fun author, too!

Projects...finishing up my white peasant blouse, now that summer’s about over! That’s just the way I roll. But, that means I’ll have a brand new top all ready for next spring. Also, I have an owl apron that has been on my to-do shelf forever. Want to make that. Otherwise, Christmas! And we definitely have some exciting projects planned!

Sounds of the moment...kids playing; computer humming; keyboard tapping; no music, oddly enough.

From Hibbard Academy...getting back to it after a week off. Fractions, carrying, metric conversions, sentence structure, punctuation, birds, ancient Egypt, Vikings, and evolution. I love homeschooling!

A favorite thing from last week...the look of utter joy and excitement on Angela’s face when she got her ears pierced.

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The planner...mostly at home this week, which is nice. Gives me a chance to smoothly get back into the swing of school and get caught up on that pesky to-do list. Okay, so maybe just get a few things checked off of it. But still.

Because visuals are fun...Steven’s reaction to receiving a new jug of local honey (right as he finished off a jar he got from PopPop a couple of months ago). His words? “My honey! All mine!”

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