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