Thursday, June 27, 2013


Well, Steven has survived the week! He just has a little while until bedtime, and then tomorrow morning we will head to the girls’ big performance first thing in the morning. He’s decided it’s not all bad being an only child…but he’s still ready for them to be home!

And now on to much more exciting things. My baby boy was baptized Sunday morning! What a treasure to have watched Doug baptize all three of our children. This time, both sets of grandparents were able to be here for the joyous event!

Aren’t they handsome?


Waiting for it to be time to go! The water was cold, by the way! He did just fine with it, though.


I think there was a big grin on his face the whole time. Olivia videoed it from the sanctuary, so I look forward to going back and watching that to see him from the front!



So proud of my big boy!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And They’re Off!!!

These beautiful ladies headed out bright and early this morning for JoyWorks, a music and arts camp held at Ouachita Baptist University (our alma mater) every year.

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From what I’ve been told, the girls immediately began rearranging their room multiple times upon arrival. Sounds like what their mommy did as soon as she arrived on campus every semester!

Meanwhile, Steven is holding down the fort at home. Although he misses his sisters already, he’s delighted to have complete access to two Lego tables!! He would have had three, but he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to use the pink and purple one.

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I plopped my bean bag chair down beside him, and he said it felt like we were having date time, even though I was editing while he played. Sweet boy! I got a bunch of initial editing done this morning. But, we also had to work in some snuggles…

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, June 24, 2013

In the great outdoors...summer. Although it has been a nice summer so far. If summer was always like this – low 90’s, moderate humidity – I might not dread it so. I’m so thankful that we’ve had such a pleasant June! 

Within our four walls...bags coming out to get the girls ready for camp. They’re leaving us for four days. I always thought that wouldn’t happen until they were teens – well, other than trips to spend a few days with grandparents. Am I really ready for this?

Anyway, it’s a music camp at Ouachita. They are so excited, and I’m excited for them! Can’t wait to discover what they do and learn!

A heart of thanksgiving...for big sisters who recognize that their little brother needs some sister time today before they leave him for the rest of the week.

A heart of prayer...for the girls and camp, Steven without them, and me as I spend the week as the mother of an only child. How do you only children parents do it? You have my great admiration!

My silly children...need no audience – they can enjoy performing just for the sake of it!

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Thoughts from the kitchen...there are brownies in there. And ice cream in the freezer. The fact that it’s all in there and I am in here thinking about it does not bode well for my productivity.

On my bookshelf...Joni & Ken, The Smell of Evil (book two in a YA fiction series about penguins – better than I expected), and Defending the Faith. gowns to put in the girls’ camp bags as a surprise. Not that they really need them. And not that there isn’t plenty of other stuff that I should be doing today. But, the gowns are so easy and I figured out how to make two that are mostly matching, but different enough to suit personalities. I just couldn’t help myself.

Sounds of the moment...the performance going on in the living room. They stop when I walk in. I don’t know if they are practicing and I will be invited later or if they are just going to enjoy each other.

From Hibbard Academy...I’m changing “what we learned last week” to this heading. I don’t know what all will end up in this spot, but it will be fun to find out!

We did have to change our school name. We’ve been Hibbard Elementary for six years. But, we’re about to have a junior high student! So, we had to be a bit more all-encompassing in preparation for the new year.

A favorite thing from last week...Steven’s baptism! I’m so proud of him. Pictures coming!

The planner...say goodbye to the girls tomorrow morning. Take Steven bowling or to do something else fun this week. Pack up last year’s school books and get next year’s on the shelf. Enjoy the company of a friend (Steven’s) on Wednesday. Go hear the girls’ end-of-week performance on Friday.

Because visuals are fun...Steven has had these little blankets since he was born. Well, he’s had the ducky one in his right hand. My mom got him the Pooh one on his shoulder, and then we found an extra ducky one online. Well, he lost two of them months ago. We never really knew when he lost them because he didn’t tell us for a while. All we could figure was that it was related to one of our trips. After he lost them, Doug did find another ducky one online, but Steven really missed the Pooh one. Then came today! He pulled out a little camel backpack and just happened to notice that it didn’t feel quite right. Sure enough, there were his silkies!! Can you tell how happy he was?

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cows in Ears

Have I shared this one yet?

I have no idea of the context. We were waiting in the car while Doug quickly ran into Wal-Mart for something. The kids had been playing, and this is what I overheard:

Olivia: Asleep people can’t plug their ears.

Angela: Unless they put cows in their ears.

Olivia: Yes, you do that.

I have no idea. I honestly have no idea.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, June 17, 2013

In the great outdoors...clouds that will hopefully produce a nice, long, steady rain this afternoon. Tree branches sagging under the weight of ripening peaches. We’ve picked five so far. Bugs had gotten into a couple of them, but the good ones were really, really good!

Within our four playing happily, taking a day to just rest.

A heart of thanksgiving...for friends. Some are safe places for deep needs and prayer requests. Some love on our children like extra aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Some fill our need to enjoy the company of others. Most of them cover more than just one of those areas!

A heart of prayer...for rain.

Random observations...there is a fly buzzing around me. It has been bugging me all morning, buzzing in my hair and face like crazy! But can I kill it? No, of course not! But, the zapper is in my lap. It’s just a matter of time…

My silly children...are words really necessary?

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Well, I suppose maybe they’re necessary for those who do not understand all of the components here. The Lego girl is “Olivia” from the Lego Friends sets. On the right is a Dalek, a “bad guy” alien from the long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who (have I mentioned we’re a geeky family?). And now we know what the Doctor and his companions have always been lacking when facing the Daleks – light sabers.

Thoughts from the’s hot. I don’t like to even think about the kitchen when it’s hot. Although we did find a frozen yogurt recipe and have started experimenting with turning our homemade yogurt into homemade frozen yogurt. I can handle that kind of activity in the kitchen when it’s hot!

The first experiment was too vanilla-y, I think, but it’s still good. Especially with the praline almonds and caramel I added in! Obviously, we’re not trying to make healthier ice cream or anything!

On my bookshelf...should be finishing up Finding God in the Hobbit this week and starting What I Learned in Narnia soon. I have an apologetics book entitled Defending the Faith due in a few weeks, so I’ll probably start on that this week. It’s specifically geared toward apologetics in women’s ministry, so I’m excited to read it. And I still really want to squeeze in some fiction…

Projects...I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to tackle this week. But, I’m determined to do at least one project each week that is not related to school, reviews, or editing. I’m determined, I tell ya!

Sounds of the moment...that stinkin’ fly, music from the next room that I actually meant to turn off while I was in there, and the kids playing in the back. Legos, I’m sure. Does a better toy exist? I have my doubts!

Last week we learned...that Angie can sew meticulously straight seams! She had such a wonderful time at sewing camp.


A favorite thing from last week...introducing the kids to Star Trek via “Trouble with Tribbles.” Fun stuff.

The planner...low-key today, at-home schedule all week, preparing the girls for next week’s camp adventure (am I really sending my girls off to camp?).

Because visuals are fun...he loves his sissy. He shows it by dog-piling on her at every opportunity. And, do you notice her hand on his head? She loves to spike his hair. Sillies.

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P.S. Ding! Dong! The fly is dead!

Friday, June 14, 2013


Well, a lovely dose of food poisoning changed the course of my week, so I didn’t get as much posted as planned. I’m now trying to play catch-up on everything I missed while out of commission!

We used this recipe (click the picture for the link & recipe):

The blog author says to use whole milk. Well, we didn’t. In fact, Doug mixed up a gallon of powdered skim milk (because that’s what we had on hand that day). It worked just fine! True, it’s not the rich yogurt whole milk would have made, but it’s still quite creamy. And it kept us from having to buy an extra gallon of milk on shopping day that we then would have had to find a place for in the fridge. It’s hard enough to find a place for all of the little half-pint jars! (This is only a few of them – the baking sheet was full!)

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Definitely very easy and much cheaper than a tub of yogurt, even if we had bought a gallon of whole milk! The kids didn’t like the unsweetened, plain yogurt on its own, but they have enjoyed it in their smoothies. And, now that we know what we’re doing, it will be very easy to make some fruit yogurt next time around. Yay for another easy, money-saving recipe!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, June 10, 2013

In the great outdoors...summer is finally settling in. I love that it waited so long – a “real” spring was nice. Oh, and the peaches are ripening beautifully! This is the same peach I posted a picture of last week. It’s not the best picture, but can you see how the color has changed in just a week?2013-06-10 11.31.04

Within our four walls...everyone busy with projects. Livie’s finishing up school work and Angie & Steven are assembling a wooden model airplane.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a good start to our week.

A heart of prayer...for a godly man who has had a very powerful impact on our community. His wife was killed in a car accident on Saturday.

Random observations...My baby boy has changed and grown so much! The child who once would not even look at people outside our immediate family (including grandparents!), much less talk to them, now races to be with other people. Nearly every week he asks to sit with someone else at church. Never other children – always some adult. Some days he really surprises me with the people he chooses. I always tell him that he has to go ask permission from the person he wants to sit with. He leaves his bag in “our” pew, goes to ask permission, and then comes back to get his bag.

Last night at church, we were doing a VBS recap for the evening service for the sake of those who were not able to be involved in VBS. The children made crafts that are being sent to other children, and they were asked to take their crafts to adults in the church and ask them to pray with them for the children who would be receiving each item. Steven didn’t wait to be assigned an adult. He ran straight to a man he frequently sits with, someone he admires and loves very much. I could just barely hear their voices (not what they were saying) as they prayed and talked together for those few minutes. It was so precious to me!

Adults frequently don’t realize how much children want to interact with them! Our churches offer fantastic opportunities for generations to merge and mentoring to occur. I’m so thankful for a church full of adults who are willing to love on my children and stand as examples of godliness to them! What a precious gift!

My silly children...(this seems like such an abrupt shift from the previous comment, but this is how our life goes…one extreme to the other in a matter of moments!)…It seems that my precious children never cease to come up with hilarious comments or conversations. I’ve taken to writing them down as they happen so I can share them. I’m not going to share one today, but there will be a post later this week!

Thoughts from the kitchen...we tried something new and it worked! Homemade yogurt – crockpot style! I’ll post more later this week.

On my bookshelf...a self-pub YA fiction duo. The girls loved it. I’m not exceedingly motivated.

Projects...I’ve actually gotten several mending items taken care of. I still need to finish Steven’s second pair of pj shorts. I made a mistake on them yesterday and I’ll have to go back and correct that.

I also need to tackle a major picture project. I haven’t sorted pictures in sooooooo long! That desperately needs to be done!

Sounds of the playing. A/C running.

A favorite thing from last week...a relaxed Saturday afternoon after a very busy week.

The planner...not much. Angela has sewing camp this week, so we didn’t plan anything else.

Because visuals are fun...Smokey says, “Yes, you WERE done with that math!”

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Thursday, June 6, 2013


Me to Olivia: Have a milk carton. (Handing her an empty milk jug that needed to be thrown away.)

Olivia (dryly): Thanks. Just what I always wanted.

Angela (without a moment’s hesitation): I will name it George and train it to do all of my math.

Olivia (a few minutes later): Maybe I should build a robot to do all of my math for me.

Me: If you build a working robot, I’ll never make you do math again.

Olivia: It takes math to build a robot, doesn’t it?

Steven (a little while later): Maybe you should build a robot to do your language arts.

Olivia: It still takes math to build it. Besides, I like language arts.

Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on our wall for just one day? It wouldn’t be boring. I promise!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

“I just love my daddy!”

Want to guess what prompted that statement from Olivia? Especially only a day after she was in big trouble with her daddy (and mommy, too, for that matter)!

Well, I was working on a review while Olivia finished up her chores. Then, we were planning on playing a little Nerts for our date time. She walked in to the library and said, “Mommy, someone booby-trapped my door!”

Of course, I’d been given advanced warning, but I played along, laughing all the while.

She had been suspicious when her door was closed. She never leaves her door closed when she’s not in her room. It only closes when the windows are open and a gust of wind slams it shut. Her windows were not open (although they should be! Yes, on June 3 we have doors and windows wide open and it feels GREAT! We can’t get over it! And we love it! Okay – side note ended.). So, naturally, her suspicions were aroused.

Olivia opened her door slowly to see a string right at eye-level. That’s when she came to report to me. Naturally, everyone gathered around, and she then opened the door.

A somewhat loud POP made the kids jump just a bit. Doug had attached a string to a popper and arranged it so that it would pop when she opened door!

And that little practical joke is what made my pre-teen daughter laugh and say, “I just love my daddy!”

That makes me smile!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, June 3, 2013

In the great outdoors...pure country beauty. The fields are turning either green with corn and rice plants, a luscious brown as the ground is tilled for soybean planting, or golden with ripe wheat, almost ready for harvest. Oh, what a breathtakingly beautiful sight those golden wheat fields are!

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Today the sun is shining, but the temperatures are absolutely wonderful. It was a perfect 60° this morning with a breeze from the north when Doug and I went out to walk. Last night, the weather was perfect for our first night of VBS! Comfortable weather the first week of June? Yes, I think I will, thank you! I’m loving spring and early summer this year!

Within our four walls...somewhere…there is a fourth grade Horizons math teacher’s book. In all honesty, I almost never use it for teaching. The student book is so well laid out (and Angela is so sharp in math) that we rarely need the teaching plan. But, it does include information about which worksheets go with what lessons. Oh, and it has this little bitty section called the ANSWER KEY!!!!! Yeah. That little, phenomenally helpful section that keeps me from having to work through every math lesson myself. I did that last week, after getting behind on grading once again. I had to work through seven or eight lessons. Ick. Then I put it off again over this past week because I was sure I’d run across the teacher’s guide. Nope. Still missing. Sigh.

Maybe if I were to catch up on housework, it would show up. Yeah, that’s really an inspiration to fold laundry.

In happier “around the house” news, the windows are open! Doug picked up a new tension rod for the hanging screen, but I didn’t expect to be able to use it this spring since the temps were starting to climb. It’s hanging today, though! It feels wonderful!

A heart of thanksgiving...for the incredible weather, for a smooth first night of VBS, and for a new week.

A heart of prayer...for new relationships. I have recently been able to attach a name to a “future spouse” prayer I’ve been praying for a friend. Can I tell you how exciting that is?!?! Now I get to pray by name! Someday, that will happen with my children as well. I don’t want to rush that day, but it makes it even more exciting for pray for those two young men and that young woman. God knows their names, and one day He’s going to reveal them. (I wouldn’t be at all upset if at least one of them bears the Choate name!)

Random observations...

My silly children...are rather calm this morning. I think Steven is outside enjoying the beautiful morning. I’m not sure what the girls are up to.

Thoughts from the kitchen...there’s a menu plan posted on the fridge. I have no idea what’s on it for today. Hopefully nothing that requires extensive preparation! I suppose I need to preview it to see what I need to take care of to keep up with it this week.

On my bookshelf...about the same stuff as last week. I’m a bit behind on “school” reading with the kids. Still hoping to squeeze a good novel in this summer!

Projects...mostly mending is on the sewing list this week. Christmas ideas are rummaging through my mind, and I think I might actually manage to get a head start on them this year. Several of them are things I can do while watching Doctor Who or Iron Chef reruns now and then. I like projects like that. I can relax with the family, do something I really like to do, and delight in a sense of accomplishment.

Sounds of the moment...birds tweeting outside. They’re loving this weather, too!

Last week we interesting it can be to drive from here to my parents’ house and back again when there has been and continues to be much rain.

A favorite thing from last week...(or yesterday)…Steven made his public profession of faith and will be baptized later this month! We’ve seen evidence of salvation in his life for months, but he hasn’t quite made the connection to share it with the church and seek baptism. Until now. What a joy it is to know that the hearts of all three of my children belong to Jesus!

The planner...VBS through Wednesday, Bernina Club on Thursday, and hopefully a trip or two to the pool this week. June is a full, full month, but we’re excited about all that’s going on!

Because visuals are fun...peaches!! Oh how I love the process of watching these young trees grow and begin to bear fruit. I look forward to the day when the harvest is plentiful for sharing!