Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, Dec 31, 2014

In the great outdoors...bright sunshine. What a treasure!

Within our four walls...lots of playing. Enjoying the last little bit of Christmas break.

A heart of thanksgiving...for Christmas break, for friends, for time to lay the groundwork for a good start to 2015, for the chance to read more than usual lately.

A heart of prayer...several in need of salvation lay heavily on my heart these days; also, a couple of church members dealing with serious health issues; and friends who need wisdom and provision.

Random observations...I’m sitting here thirsty, forgetting that I have a cup still half full of water sitting beside me on the desk. How often do we do that in so many aspects of life? (Oooh…I think that’s a post starter!)

My silly son...loves bouncy balls. I have no idea how many he has. A bucketful…

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But what he does with them is even more overwhelming sometimes. He goes into the foyer where there is hard floor and a very enclosed space, and he dumps or throws them! They bounce everywhere. Loudly.

But, he is always diligent to clean every single ball up. I don’t find them all over the house (my firm stipulation for allowing this many bouncy balls to be collected over the years!). So, I let him enjoy his little balls.

Thoughts from the kitchen...let’s see…Angie cooked spaghetti yesterday. Olivia is supposed to be making chicken noodle casserole today. And we have a plan completed for January. Works for me!

On my bookshelf...currently reading a review book, The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen. She is one of those writers who doesn’t fall into the standard romantic fiction mold – my favorite kind of author. Makes me want to go back and reread the book of hers I reviewed several years ago: The Girl in the Gatehouse.

Projects...creating a writing plan. I’m realizing that most of my creative energy is going into HEDUA right now. Which means I’m not writing here or on my Joy of Writing blog. So, I’m brainstorming some post starters and a plan for getting them up on the blogs. It’s reigniting my excitement about writing.

Sounds of the moment...truck rumbling outdoors, music playing, kids playing, keys tapping.

From Hibbard Academy...Christmas break! Although, I am fully prepared for next week. Yay! Okay, so maybe I’m not all the way caught up on grading, but we’ll get there.

A favorite thing from last week...Christmas celebrations all around. A wonderful and relaxing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with my family. Christmas Eve candlelight service at church (my favorite of the year!). Christmas with the Browning side. And yes, in my writing planning, I do intend to share more of such celebrations with you!

The planner...Christmas with the Hibbard side in Monroe this weekend. Then back to normal life next week!

Because visuals are fun...Olivia commented the other day that she just doesn’t get “selfies.” Frankly, I don’t either, and I’m usually no good at taking them. But, when she made that comment, I couldn’t help but say, “Come here…let’s do one!” I think this one turned out all right!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In the great outdoors...sunshine and cold. It’s a beautiful combination.

Within our four walls...a fire blazing, children doing chores, and Christmas decorations bringing cheer.

A heart of thanksgiving...for safety on the road to and from Little Rock yesterday, for connection with friends across many, many, many miles, and for the realization that Christmas is still Christmas whether I get everything done or not.

A heart of prayer...for dear friends with both financial and health needs.

Random observations...Doug is doing an online survey about kids and reading. Are we really that odd that we blow the top off most of the “how many books” questions?

Conversation with my sweet daughter...

“I think I missed a lot reading the first half of Philippians today.”

“Want to memorize it with me next year?”

“Sure! The whole thing?”


“Sounds good!”

She didn’t hesitate or even have to think about it. That makes me smile.

Thoughts from the kitchen...Doug made up a banana nut waffle recipe this morning. Yum. Oh, and his potato soup from Sunday is probably going back in the crock pot today for a reheat. It’s a great soup day.

On my bookshelf...Christmas books! I’m enjoying a slow reread through Doug’s A Journey to the Manger (although I’m noticing all of my editing errors in the process!). But I think I might even get a couple of others read – even if it’s over the weekend after Christmas. The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs and Tricia Goyer’s Christmas novellas are on the top of the list.

Projects...Christmas calendars, mainly. I did get the last items needed to finish making gifts for the nieces and nephew. It’ll take about five minutes to get the girls’ done, since they’re already sewn. I haven’t started my nephew’s yet, but it’s a quick project so it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so start to finish. I like easy projects!

Sounds of the moment...a theological history podcast Doug is listening to.

From Hibbard Academy...Steven just started a new math book and Angie is finishing hers up (I love being able to let them go at their own pace instead of having to fit into a specific school year!). Steven is in the colonial period in history and finishing up light in science. Angie is studying Asia in history, and Olivia is finishing up the French Revolution.

A favorite thing from last week...listening to the kids play together. I love how they enjoy each other. Yes, they fight. Yes, there are times when they don’t want to be together. But they really do love each other. 

The planner...Monday was meeting day for HEDUA and the Christmas parade in Stuttgart (Doug took Steven but the girls and I stayed home this year), yesterday was ABSC executive board meeting, tonight is church, tomorrow night is a Sunday school Christmas party, and Sunday is our cantata. ‘Tis the season!

Because visuals are fun...getting ready to ride the Cub Scout float in the Christmas parade.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In the great outdoors...clouds; chill; dreariness; lots and lots and lots and lots of leaves.

Within our four walls...quiet, for the moment. It’s currently a little after 8:00 in the morning, and the kids are supposed to be working on chores. But it’s awfully quiet.

A heart of thanksgiving...for both a fireplace and a heater; for a nice stack of wood; for a “normal” week; for provision in all things, even when it’s hoped-for rather than currently present.

A heart of prayer...for the aforementioned provision for several friends and ourselves; healing for others.

Random perfectionistic tendencies are coming out in odd ways, I think. I used to be very OCD in many ways, but Doug has helped me relax that. For a while I became embarrassed of any perfectionistic tendencies, so I tried to force myself to be okay with imperfections. Now I think I’m learning a balance. Sometimes it’s okay to like things just so. Even though it doesn’t hurt to have them mussed up a bit, it also doesn’t hurt to have them just like I like them. It will probably take the rest of my life to learn that balance.

My silly children...are now emptying the dishwasher. And jabbering away. There are so many times when I hear them jabbering but can’t really tell what it is they’re saying. Now is one of those times. Not sure I really want to know!

Thoughts from the kitchen...hmmmm…I should probably check on the lunch plan to make sure I don’t need to prep anything this morning.

Homemade pizza. I suppose I should go see if we have appropriate meats for it. Because I’m a meat pizza kind of gal. The more meat, the better!

Of course, there’s always no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. Dark chocolate, nonetheless. We could have those for lunch instead. I’d earn lots of brownie points from my children for that one.

Speaking of brownies, Alton Brown posted that if you bake your brownies for 15 minutes, take them out for 15 minutes, and then put them back in to finish cooking, you’ll have gooey brownies. Yum!

Think maybe the dreary weather is having an effect on me? I just want to eat junk food. Not good.

Oh! We did discover something fascinating this week. I absolutely love halloumi, a Cypriot cheese. Actually, the whole family loves it. But, it’s expensive. And can only be bought at certain stores. That kind of thing happens when it can only be made on the island of Cyprus. This week, though, Doug fried up some mozzarella. Something about the way he fried it made it taste a whole lot like halloumi. Not exactly. But definitely enough to satisfy the fix now and then. Very nice.

Okay – now I’m done with my junk food ramblings. Maybe that will get it out of my system and I won’t have to fight the “eat everything in sight” temptation all day.

On my’s time to start reading my Christmas books. Also, I have a new novel to review.

Projects...sorting through pictures for calendars. I used to keep all of our pictures so well organized. It’s been a while. I need to get back in that habit! 

Sounds of the moment...bells jingling as the kids get something from the hall closet (there’s a bell-laden hanger on the closet door – I probably should have chosen a better place for it!).

From Hibbard Academy...just pushing through until Christmas break. Diligence. Two and a half weeks. We can do it.

A favorite thing from last week...good visit with the Browning side, decorating for Christmas, and seeing Christmas sewing projects come together well.

The planner...pretty tame this week. A busy stretch starts on Sunday with our first Christmas party.

Because visuals are fun...the picture’s a bit blurry, but here’s our new Calliope Designs ornament for this year. I love our penguins!

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We bought our first one Christmas of 2000 when I was pregnant with Olivia. Isn’t that adorable? They were real clay dough at the time.

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We had a few gaps over the years (they were hard to find before the web store opened). And we’ve bought a few extra special individualized ornaments when we’ve had the chance. But imagine our surprise when we opened the package this year and saw this surprise from the owner of Calliope Designs…

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Yes, I cried. So special!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In the great outdoors...just what would be expected for Thanksgiving week – chilly, some leaves still clinging to trees, other trees bare, the ground covered with leaves.

Within our four walls...a bit of a late start, but getting going nonetheless.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the cool weather, for a flexible week, for perfect provision.

A heart of prayer...for peaceful family visits this week. It seems that every family has something that causes a challenge over the holiday season. Praying for many friends this week, that those challenges will instead become opportunities.

Random observations...The road between us and the new co-op was paved yesterday. On the day that Steven’s friend Read was over here. Talk about excited boys! I moved the round table from in front of the big window, and the boys moved their Legos in so they could both play and watch.


My silly children...are tired this week. But they’re still silly.

Thoughts from the kitchen...Doug is making ham and potato soup today. Yum! I love it when it’s cool enough to really enjoy soup. Meanwhile, Angie is mixing up the first of two batches of challah dough. Thanksgiving rolls need to be a little extra special, after all. Oh, and Steven requested caramel pecan sticky buns for Thanksgiving morning. No better dough for those than the sweet challah dough!

On my bookshelf...some non-fiction that I really need to read. I so very much prefer fiction.

Projects...Christmas! ‘Nuf said. 

Sounds of the moment...something pounding or banging in the background. Not sure what those kids are doing. (I did mention they’re silly, right?)

From Hibbard Academy...the week off. Olivia is finishing up a few things, and I’m working on some planning for the coming weeks. But, otherwise, we’re enjoying the break.

A favorite thing from last week...flexibility that resulted in a good Saturday with the Hibbard side of the family. And shopping successes.

The, Christmas projects, and school prep the first part of this week. Read spent yesterday with Steven and will be back tomorrow, so they had fun. We haven’t quite decided yet how we’re spending Thanksgiving Day, other than putting up Christmas decorations in the afternoon. Then we’ll do Browning Thanksgiving in Judsonia on Friday.

Because visuals are pretty girls.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In the great outdoors...beautiful, wonderful, invigorating COLD! (Okay, so it’s so wonderful because I like winter but I get to enjoy it from the comfort of my warm house. Yes, I’m spoiled.)

Within our four walls...a renewed dedication to getting up and going in the morning with diligent exercise. Ugh. (We WILL feel better. We WILL feel better. We WILL feel better…if we just go back to bed. Oh, wait.)

A heart of thanksgiving...for my incredible husband and precious children. For the cold. For a working heater. For the sewing machine sitting beside me and the inspiration to sew that hit me last week. For a real week off from school next week. (It’s been a while since we’ve had time off that hasn’t been tied up with something.)

A heart of seems there are continually health and relationship needs all around me (and right here with me). There is need for wisdom. There is need for clarity of mind and open hearts. And I know I’m being vague – we can always pray for these things. But in this moment I can think of specific ways to pray these prayers over a dozen people – and more come to mind with every word I type. Oh, the needs are so real. Will I be diligent to pray?

Random observations...growth spurts. Angie has officially hit her big pre-teen one. Big time. She could potentially catch her Aunt Alli by Christmas. This is her first height goal. Her second will be to pass her mommy.

My silly children...are pinging. They have been for a couple of weeks. Now I realize why it is that people in the north hate the winter so much. It has nothing to do with the cold, really. It has to do with the children who cannot be sent outside to work off the massive amount of energy pent up inside them. But, we don’t really want to grow calloused toward our sweet children, now do we? So, we determine instead that we hate the cold. I could see that happening to me, too. Yes, even cold-loving and heat-hating me. But I still love winter.

Thoughts from the will be Spicy Orange Chicken, a Chinese dish. With Angie’s help. Yum! Almost makes me excited about cooking. Almost.

On my bookshelf...oh yeah, I did plan to be reading. Oops! I started sewing instead.

Projects...I have the cutest projects going on! But, I can’t show you yet. Not until after Christmas. All I can do is share pictures of the first few stacks of fabric. Think maybe I’m doing some girly sewing first? I’m still waiting for a couple of notions for the project, so I’m not 100% if my idea (I would choose a project without a pattern!) will work. But, it looks promising! And cute!

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Sounds of the moment...quiet. The kids are finishing chores. There is music in the background and the tapping of keyboards. But otherwise, it’s just quite. For now. The pinging will resume as soon as chores are done, I’m sure.

From Hibbard Academy...conversions for Olivia. Thanks to Steve Demme and Math-U-See, I now can remember how to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius and back again. In fact, I can now do it in my head. It’s amazing!

A favorite thing from last week...the freedom to spend Saturday indoors because all of the yard work was done.

The planner...busy week. Doug has a meeting tonight, and I will hopefully dig either into writing or sewing while he’s gone. Church tomorrow night, providing a meal and childcare for a foster parent meeting on Thursday, and our Hibbard Thanksgiving celebration on Saturday.

Because visuals are fun...Let’s see. Should I share this one?

All ready to hunt…or maybe not QUITE all ready.

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Or this one…cowgirl keeping warm on a cold day (even though there is a heater right under her – I think she just wanted the coziness).

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Or maybe even this…learning to use flint and steel to light a fire.

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Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Miracles of This World

by Olivia Hibbard

I often ponder the miracles of this world;

How the sun doth rise to glory

Arcing over us, from east to west it races.

How the eagles soar

And how dedicated to each other.

The purring of a soft cat

As loving claws insert and green eyes plead.

The beauty of the bending tree

In gusts of wind so ferocious.

The way of a dog with its master,

His viciousness at any invaders.

And how they happen I cannot say,

But I praise God for these wonders.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Now Available in Print!

I’m so excited! Doug’s Advent book is now available on Amazon in print and is Prime eligible, for those of you with a membership. Here’s the link:

A Journey to the Manger: The Places of Advent

(As an additional note, in a few days you should be able to purchase the print version and get a discount on the Kindle version if you want it as well.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In the great outdoors...a cold front is rolling in. For now, it’s still pretty warm and muggy, but that’s not supposed to last. I’m excited!

Within our four walls...a bit of goofiness, which makes me wonder if morning chores will ever get done.

A heart of thanksgiving...for our incredible veterans, including my grandfather and father-in-law, as well as so many friends.

A heart of prayer...for friends who are dealing with family issues right now, issues of many sorts – relational, health, financial, decision-making, disappointments, work issues and on and on. It’s all around us.

Random, I started this post first thing this morning. I just skipped this particular starter. Now it is after 9:00PM and I’m just getting back to it. One of those days. But a productive day, thankfully!  

My silly children...are goofy. Wait, I mentioned that, didn’t I? Well, I’m not sure that there are words to convey the reality of the situation. It’s like they sense the coming weather and are behaving as if they’ve already been cooped up for weeks in anticipation of being cooped up for a few days.

Thoughts from the kitchen...pulling something from the freezer today. I love it when we cook enough to put an entire meal into the freezer for later!

On my bookshelf...Christmas books! I’m so excited! I intend to actually read them at the appropriate time this year. Let’s see, I have Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam, and Sarah Sundin. I also have The Women of Christmas, a Christmas devotional by Liz Curtis Higgs. But the one I’m most excited about is not on my bookshelf – it’s on my Kindle. It’s entitled A Journey to the Manger: The Places of Advent, and it’s written by none other than the wonderful Doug Hibbard! Clicking on the image below will take you directly to Amazon. (A print version is in the works, but it might not be available by the beginning of Advent. But, even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle reading app for computer, tablet, or smartphone and get started!)

Journey to the Manger

Projects...I’ve decided to do a lot less homemade this year because we already have a pretty nice stash of gifts we’ve put away for the kids. But I still want to make a few things! I’m ready to have a day to just sew and create. 

Sounds of the moment...rumbling across the street is drowning out everything else. It looks like they might finally be working on the road that was torn up by construction equipment when the store was going up. The noise is worth it if that’s what they’re doing! Not long ago, they actually worked out the little gravel road that leads to our driveway. It had gotten so bad that it was hard to get in and out after a rain. They dumped four loads of gravel on it before working hard to pack and smooth it. It’s wonderful now! So thankful!

From Hibbard Academy...Angela is learning how to write a research paper while Olivia is finishing up a book in preparation for her next responsive writing assignment and Steven is learning about plurals. The younger two are in a review phase in math, and Olivia is learning about conversions. Angela is studying Korea and Japan and more about the human body. Steven’s enjoying lessons on light while diving into early American exploration, about to get to the first English colonies. This will be the first time our lessons on the Mayflower will coincide with Thanksgiving – that’s kind of neat! Olivia is so independent that it’s hard sometimes to keep up with where she is in history and science. I know she’s finishing up a science module that deals with the history of science. She’s enjoyed it so much that she sent a little note to Dr. Wile (author of the textbook) to let him know. I love that he’s so interactive with “his” students. In history she is somewhere in the late 1600’s/early 1700’s.

A favorite thing from last week...finishing up a major project more quickly than expected. We had a pretty big yard project going on, and I kind of expected it would take at least one more Saturday. Nope! We finished it! Yay!

The planner...fundraising banquet tomorrow for our mobile crisis pregnancy center. That’s about it! I like the looks of that, especially after a couple of very busy weeks.

Because visuals are fun...they all wanted to read the same book for book time. Fortunately, Olivia has a big bed!2014-11-09 20.08.22

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In the great outdoors...a new day starting; clear blue sky; birds singing; beautiful fall!

Within our four doors and windows; children chattering as they start their day.

A heart of thanksgiving...for friendship.

A heart of prayer...over the passing of a dear family friend.

Random observations...yesterday I received the latest issue of Home Educating Family Magazine. Typically this is an exciting event for me because I love this magazine. But yesterday’s was really special. Why? Because of this:


This is one of those dreams I never even thought to dream! It’s still surreal that I get to be Senior Editor for HEDUA! I love my job!

My silly children...are excited about Latin. I love that. Of course, Dwane Thomas makes it fun in Visual Latin, and we’re very relaxed about it. But, they’re learning so much about the foundations of grammar and word structure. Even if they never become proficient enough to truly read and write in Latin, they’re establishing such an awesome foundation. And they think it’s fun! That’s what homeschooling is all about!

Thoughts from the kitchen...the realization that I forgot to check the menu plan last night. I try to always do that so I know if lunch needs to be handled early in the day. Ah! Shepherd’s pie. Easy enough!

On my bookshelf...working on Elizabeth Camden’s latest, With Every Breath.

Projects...I need to mend Steven’s jeans and get back to a regular sewing time. Lots of projects since Christmas is quickly approaching! 

Sounds of the moment...trucks rumbling across the street. A constant sound these days.

From Hibbard Academy...Olivia is learning about the drafting of the Constitution, finishing up a unit on poetry, and making solid progress through pre-algebra (thank you, Math-U-See!). Angela is learning about Commodore Perry and starting a unit on writing. Steven is working through early American history – we’ve explored the Aztecs and Incans and are now looking at the Mayans. He’s learning new punctuation and enjoying a review stretch in math.

A favorite thing from last week...visiting the Nina replica on Saturday! We got to join a couple of homeschool families (including the wonderful Trica Goyer and her family! Fun!) and had a great time!

The planner...normal week except for a jazz concert Thursday night. Otherwise, just trying to get everything squared away before we head out to the annual meeting of the AR Baptist State Convention. So excited!

Because visuals are fun...just another stuffed animal? I think he stayed there for a good hour!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Celebrating Steven!

It is time to continue with the look back at our celebrations of the summer. Steven was second!

Steven’s birthday fell on a Sunday this year. That meant a little stretching of the birthday celebrations to make sure we got everything covered. We started on Saturday evening with a pool party. And, yes, I was too busy visiting to get pictures of everyone – or even of the table! But, we had an enjoyable cookout/pool time.

The craziest part, though, was the fact that we wondered until day of if it would even be warm enough to swim! In AUGUST! Is that not crazy? It was a bit cool that evening – enough so that the adults had no interest in swimming. Fortunately, we all have good swimmers and were able to visit around the pool while watching them.

Steven didn’t request a cake this year. He wanted brownies. Peanut butter cup brownies. Yum!


We stuck a couple of candles in the middle one so he could blow them out.


The family celebration and gifts came on Sunday afternoon.


We had his pancake breakfast Saturday morning, but Sunday lunch was chicken ‘n dumplings, per his request. That’s a typical Sunday lunch for us, so to make it special we made sure to pull out the special occasion bowls!


Then came gifts. His primary request was books. Olivia and I found a series called the Homeschool Detectives. How fun is that? It’s an older series, and we could only get used copies. But, he was excited nonetheless! He also still loves the Little Bear books, even though he’s far surpassed that reading level. Doug found a set, and Steven was delighted!


The stuffed animal (especially dogs) lover got two new puppies – this black one and an adorable Husky. Can you tell he was happy?


Of course, a Steven birthday is not complete without at least a small Lego set. He wasted no time getting started!


He is now, once again, the official Cookie Inspector of the family. I managed to get the design cut out of his old outgrown shirt and sewn onto a new one.


But this was MY favorite of his gifts. A funny book written and illustrated by Angela.


We topped off the afternoon with giant brownies and homemade peanut butter cup ice cream. All eight candles fit on this one!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In the great outdoors...the sun is just beginning to rise. That’s the only thing I don’t like about fall and winter – dark mornings. But, it’s also fun to make it up before the sun.

Within our four windows. Family progressing into the morning. The smell of oatmeal cooking.

A heart of thanksgiving...for God’s hand on the progress of our farmers. For a life situation that allows our family to get up and walk safely together in the early morning hours.

A heart of prayer...for what’s left of the farming. For tough decisions some friends need to make. For the Choates and various needs.

Random case you’d like to know, I do not recommend starting your day by spilling grape juice all over yourself, your delicious omelet, and the floor. It somewhat affects the dynamics of the morning.

My silly children...are discovering that they don’t have as much energy as they’d like to think. At least, not for a brisk family walk first thing in the morning!

Thoughts from the kitchen...other than the grape juice? I think it’s a leftover day. We’ve made an adjustment in our leftover storage to keep from wasting as much. If it’s not enough for a second meal, we put it in a small bag or container and place it in the leftover section of our freezer. That section is now full. Time for leftovers. But we also don’t have to toss what we don’t get eaten today.

On my bookshelf...I have decided to always have a book going. I am more inclined to read if I have something started than I am to start something. I will just have to make sure that at least every third book is non-fiction – otherwise I’ll only read fiction! Last night I read the first few chapters of With Every Breath, Elizabeth Camden’s most recent novel. I have loved Camden’s writing since her very first book. She does have her own formula, which tends to make the books a bit predictable in some ways. But, there’s always depth to that formula, and I always learn something historical. Fun stuff.

Sounds of the from the living room. Work going on across the street. Outside sounds through open windows.

From Hibbard Academy...plugging along slowly. I’m not super motivated this week, but we’re doing it anyway. We have a full, five-day week. We’re doing this!

The planner...routine until this weekend when we get to go visit the Nina!

Because visuals are fun...Olivia found her daddy’s old hat. It suits her. Smile

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Two Sides of the World

This morning we got to see the lunar eclipse. We don’t have a camera capable of capturing the beauty that it was, but Doug did get a couple of very distant shots and posted them on Facebook. In one of them, the speck of the moon is actually red! It’s neat!

If it had not been cloudy on the horizon, we would have been on the easternmost edge of those able to view the sunrise and eclipse at the same time. We saw the eastern sky lightening as the moon was setting in the west. But, the sun was still hidden when the moon disappeared into the clouds. It was still a beautiful sight, though.

It became even more special when we realized the Choates were watching the eclipse on the other side of the world! Isn’t that amazing? The moon was rising for them, the night beginning. It was setting for us as the night ended. And we all watched it – together yet thousands of miles apart.

Yes, I’m sentimental. It might seem like nothing to some people, but it was pretty special to me. God keeps us connected, and I love that.

Speaking of the Choates, will you pray with me over a couple of things?

First, rain for the village. Last they heard, the rain tanks were empty. Without the water in those tanks, they cannot return to the village. Their scheduled departure date is coming up quickly. So, please pray for rain!

Will you also pray over their village e-mail? Here is a post from Joanna to explain a little how it works:

Village E-Mail

Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In the great outdoors...fall!! Okay, so it’s still a bit warm. But, that’s okay. It’s still in the air. And that makes me happy.

Within our four walls...Piano Guys. I love their music! We’re all just soaking it up as we process through the morning.

A heart of thanksgiving...for music – what a marvelous creation! For a routine week. For a day of sunshine rather than the expected rain – hopefully it will help the farmers get that much closer to done.

A heart of prayer...for writing projects Doug and I have before us; for the farmers; for so many friends in need of prayer

Random observations...notice the date on this.

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Yes, it’s yesterday. I changed it right after I snapped this picture. The funny thing is that I think I change it every day. I really think I do. But some days I look at it and it’s showing that five days have passed since I last updated it. How does that happen? I really think we’re skipping days. That’s the only logical solution, right? In fact, that’s the only reason it’s October instead of August. Yes, I made that mistake on Facebook, stating that something was happening on August 18 instead of October 18. *sigh*

My silly children...have fun doing the most ordinary things. I love it! Angie and Steven are sorting Box Tops right now to see if we have enough to mail in. And they’re having fun doing it.

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Thoughts from the kitchen...ham and potato casserole. It used to be one of our favorite dishes, but we haven’t had it in forever. Nice to pull out old favorites and have them feel fresh again.

On my bookshelf...I feel like a broken record because I have not been diligent to make time to read in so long. I really want to work that back into my schedule.

Projects...a few minor schedule revamps. Editing Doug’s new Advent book. Starting a Christmas sewing project with at least one child.

Sounds of the moment...the aforementioned Piano Guys.

From Hibbard Academy...tweaking the schedule a bit this week. I can’t believe this is the first time we’ve had to do this! We usually have to make a lot of adjustments within the first couple of weeks, but this one has really worked! Now that we’re solidly into the school year, though, we’re finding that a few things are falling through the cracks because of time pressures. So, we’re going to make a few changes to see if we can relieve some of that pressure.

A favorite thing from last week...a nice family trip. Just us. Not associated with anything obligatory. Not tagged before or at the end of a ministry trip. Just a chance to be away as a family. We needed that!

The planner...routine. Not normalcy, because routine is not normal this time of the year. But definitely routine. Nice!

Because visuals are fun...some of Angie’s school work is quite challenging this year. Smokey understands this and wants to make sure she is available to offer all the help she possibly can. Help. Yep. That’s what it is. Right?

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, September 30, 2014
In the great outdoors...perhaps the last hurrah of summer. We’ll see.
Within our four walls...much sneezing and sniffling.
A heart of thanksgiving...that colds are the worst health problems we typically have to deal with; for my amazing husband; for the sunshine; for my incredible co-workers.
A heart of prayer...for everyone around us struggling with the fall colds and allergy mess that comes with harvest season; for friends dealing with work issues; for a precious friend facing a transition; for rain to refill the water tanks on Marulaon so the Choates can return to the village as planned.
Random observations...colds are annoying no matter what, but I think warm weather colds are especially so. Cozy sweatshirts, hot showers and beverages, and mugs of soup are my favorite comforts when I have a cold. But this warm weather makes them less than comforting. Yes, you can go ahead and throw stuff at me. I know I’m crazy.
My silly children...are all a little groggy today. We’ll see how school goes!
Thoughts from the kitchen...chicken pot pie. Next best thing to chicken noodle soup.
On my bookshelf...planners! And if they’re on my bookshelf, that means they aren’t on my desk anymore. And if they’re not on my desk anymore, that means the prep work for next year’s planners is almost done! There’s going to be some great stuff in HEDUA’s high school and college planners next school year. And I’ll actually have a high schooler who will use one! Exciting!
Projects...plotting and planning for Christmas. Shhhh…I can’t say what because I have a daughter who now reads some of these posts! 
Sounds of the moment...I can’t hear much because of the congestion in my ears, but I think I do hear the children chattering in the background, a little music, and Doug turning pages of a review book he’s reading.
From Hibbard Academy...a short week this week. Steven just finished learning about Columbus in history and is learning about light in science. Angela just finished Australia in history, and I’ve gone blank on where she is in science. I know she was learning about memory, but she’s moved on from that. At least I remembered that she was learning about memory! Ha! Both of them are working on capitalization, and I think all three kids are dealing with fractions. Fun stuff. Olivia is very independent these days, so I have a hard time keeping up with where she’s going in science and history. She absolutely loves Dr. Wile’s Exploring Creation with General Science. It’s right up her alley! Together we’re reading Out of Many Waters and learning about the plight of the Jews during the Portuguese Inquisition. I never knew!
A favorite thing from last week...seeing all three kids stretched out on the floor around the radio listening to the Razorback game Saturday. It’s not so much that they were enjoying the game. It’s more that they were enjoying it around the radio. With all of our modern technology, we can easily lose our ability to listen. But, if you want to keep up with a football game on the radio, you have to listen…and remember what you’ve heard. They were having so much fun and were keeping up with it well. It was precious!
The planner...working our hardest to get everything essential done by the end of the day tomorrow. Then, an extended family weekend. I think the word “zoo” might be jotted down on the calendar. It’s been a while, and we’re excited!
Because visuals are fun...Steven received a whole stack of belt loops, stars, and pins at his Scout pack meeting last night! He was excited!
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Celebrating Olivia

Summer is birthday season in our home!

I posted the special birthday photo posts I love to do each year, but I never shared our celebrations! So, to my digital scrapbook, here I add the celebrations of the summer, beginning with:

The Celebration of Olivia!

We had just returned from Dallas, so she was perfectly happy with a calm, low-key birthday. Every now and then, her birthday falls on Memorial Day, and this was that year. So, it was easy to just take the day off!


We started with her breakfast request – pancake-wrapped bacon on a stick! Fun!


There was also some fun piled up in the Fuf in Mommy & Daddy’s room to watch Thor on the “big screen” (projected onto the wall).


And just some good old-fashioned “we like to be together” time.


Steven loves to tackle Olivia from behind after she sits down at the table for lunch. A birthday tackle is extra special.


Daddies have to get birthday tackles, too.


Olivia chose a peanut butter cheesecake instead of a decorated cake this year. She asked that it have a Doctor Who touch, though. What could be more fun than chocolate TARDISes and Daleks?


Especially when you put them on top of a no-bake peanut butter cheesecake.


Olivia had several fun gifts this year. Building sets always fascinate her, and this one was robotic!


Angie always makes such fun and creative cards for birthdays. This year she made Olivia an airfield diorama that included C130, Lego, and Doctor Who creativity. Inside the TARDIS, she put two Lego minifigs that look like Olivia’s favorite Doctor Who characters.


The came Angie’s gift – a stuffed TARDIS. I think Olivia was happy.


Although she requested a Doctor Who birthday, it isn’t ALL about DW for her these days. She has such a variety of interests. Steven’s gift to her reflected one of them. He was a little disappointed because it didn’t get here in time for her birthday, but she was just happy to find out what he bought. He got her a hardcover copy of Inkspell, a book she’d been wanting, sequel to Inkheart. She was so excited! She absolutely loves fantasy.

She got a few of other things from us – Hog earrings, a fun new t-shirt, a much-needed summer nightgown. But the most fun was watching her open a gift of something not quite so new.

For years, we’ve had a back-up for Bunny. We learned very early on that it’s wise to have at least two of a favorite lovie. We decided it was time to reveal our secret. So, two well-loved bunnies ended up in a gift bag on her birthday. This picture is blurry, but I think you can still get the essence of her reaction! It was awesome! 


So, we now have Bunny and BunBun. And yes, she CAN tell them apart! (Although, she did have trouble that day figuring out which one had been out with her in the weeks leading up to her birthday. She’s still not too sure about that.)


Another fun birthday has come and gone! And the teen years are officially here. Looking forward to a lot of greet teen birthdays!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, September 22, 2014

In the great outdoors...a forecasted high in the 70’s. Yay! It’s been a mild summer, but that doesn’t make me any less ready for fall. My favorite season!

Within our four walls...the need to make a couple of tweaks to our most recent library rearrange. I have a portable table that won’t stay up all the time, but I want to have a good place to set it up (other than right in front of the bookshelves where it is right now!). It gives me a place to stand and work – I need that!

A heart of thanksgiving...for the blessing of friends who love us and our children; for software that lets me plan ahead in school but then make changes easily as needed (My Well Planned Day) – more easily than in my beloved paper planner (which I still use for day-to-day schooling); for new work tasks that are beginning to “click.”

A heart of prayer...for one of our farmers to get his combine fixed quickly, easily, and inexpensively; for the rest to continue to have smooth harvests; for our family to have a smooth few weeks in preparation for a few months.

Random observations...Why do I fight getting up on time in the mornings when I know I’ll feel so much better and the day will go so much more smoothly if I will just go ahead and do it? This morning has run so well because we got up on time. I’ve just got to get that in my head at 5:00 when that nasty alarm goes off.

My silly children...are really quite marvelous. It’s such a blessing to be their mom, and it’s a blessing to see the many things God teaches me through them. Yep, they’re pretty awesome kids.

Thoughts from the kitchen...we’ve given the kids each a day of the week to make dinner. Olivia’s day is Thursday, Angela’s is Friday, and Steven’s is Saturday. For the time being, they frequently still need help. But, there will come a day…I look forward to that day!

On my bookshelf...the need for a plan. Okay, so that’s not on my bookshelf, but it’s related to my bookshelf. I’ve managed to get a handle on much of my schedule: school grading & planning/prep; a work flow for my HEDUA work week that seems to be working smoothly so far; a writing plan. But I still need to schedule in regular reading and keeping up with blogs. Getting there!

Projects...we laid out Christmas projects over the weekend. I’m getting excited! 

Sounds of the moment...soft piano music as Doug and I work on our top of the morning tasks.

From Hibbard Academy...two more weeks of not-quite-full school schedule. Ah, ‘tis fall in the Hibbard household. But, that’s okay! We’re making good progress anyway. And we’re having fun. These are such delightful cores! It’s fun revisiting with Angela what Olivia and I thoroughly enjoyed together. And, with Steven I’m rediscovering the books we loved five years ago. Has it really been five years? Then there are the new things to enjoy with Olivia’s brand new core. Yes, I love homeschooling!

A favorite thing from last week...watching Angela being surrounded by girls who were fascinated by her. Olivia, Angela, and I went to share some Jordan fun with local GAs last Saturday night. We all put on Jordanian dresses. The girls have outgrown their own…but they could wear mine! How did THAT happen?! Fortunately, I had three different styles in my closet, so there were enough for all of us. I never really had the chance to get pictures, but take my word for it – they were cute!

Anyway, we started the evening by just talking about Jordan. But, when that was over, I told the girls they could come up and get a closer look at some of the Jordanian treasures I’d brought. Several of the girls crowded around Angela instead. Olivia nudged me and said with a smile, “I think they like Angie!” They loved Olivia, too, making sure to run and give her hugs before she left. But Angie was the same age as many of them, so that drew them to her in a different – and very precious – way.

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The planner...normal until Thursday when Doug and I get to go enjoy the annual pastor’s conference at OBU, continuing to learn under our former professors. We so look forward to this every year! Then on Saturday, we’ll have our association’s annual one-day missions event. Our family will be here in Almyra helping with a block party.

Because visuals are lady! It’s amazing her skirt stayed black!

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