Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the great outdoors...a whole lot of dark, as it’s almost 8:00 PM. But earlier today we had lovely snow flurries! It didn’t stick, but it was at least pretty for a little while. In all of this cold winter, we’ve had nothing but cold. It’s been very dry.

Within our four walls...kids all nestled down, finishing up their book time. Doug and I are trying to get a little more work done before we have to turn in.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a warm house!

A heart of prayer...for many needs among family, friends, and coworkers.

Random observations...I had something really fun I wanted to share. Now I can’t remember what it was. This is why I have my handy-dandy planners and notebooks, so I can write things down and remember them, even though my brain is going in ten gazillion directions. But did I write it down? Of course not. Why would I do that?

My silly son...has been reading aloud in a very dramatic voice lately. Here’s an example…

Steven’s Dramatic Reading

Thoughts from the kitchen...Olivia made chicken pot pie for lunch. She also made a cheesecake this weekend. And she can make beautiful omelets. This all makes me very, very happy!

Oh! And let me tell you what else makes me happy. A menu plan for February! 2014-01-25 17.10.08
On my bookshelf...I just remembered that I’m supposed to be reviewing Seekers of the Lost Boy this week. Guess I need to get busy reading it!

Projects...most of this week is focused on getting caught up with work after a couple of very unproductive weeks. Fortunately, yesterday and today have been VERY productive. Still a long way to go, but that’s encouraging.

Meanwhile, I still get to knit the bolero during school, and I’m trying to collect ideas for birthday presents.

Sounds of the moment...tap…tap…tap…and Piano Guys

From Hibbard Academy...Olivia is gradually making her way toward the Middle Ages, and Steven and Angie are heading for the Renaissance. Olivia is kind of in science overview mode right now, while Steven and Angie are focusing on environment.

A favorite thing from last week...a very productive Saturday after a rough and unproductive week. Then a good visit on Sunday with some ministry friends.

The planner...NOTHING this week! NOTHING! Well, other than the norm of church and such. Oh how I love weeks like this! I enjoy getting to go and do, but that makes me appreciate staying so much more.

Because visuals are fun...here’s Olivia’s cheesecake 2014-01-26 08.13.19

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Table for Two

I promised to share about our Table for Two experience at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, so here goes…

Date night was a little special last week as we redeemed Doug’s Christmas present. We sat in a “culinary classroom” with five other couples and enjoyed soup and salad while a chef demonstrated how our entrée was to be made. New York strip, shrimp, green beans, potatoes. After his demonstration, we all went into the “culinary lab” where each couple had a cooking station. Together, we prepared the entrée according to Chef Hall’s demonstration (and under his watchful eye).

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I had the camera, so I got to take most of the pictures!!

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But Doug managed to get one or two as well.

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Does that not look amazing? And those steaks? We cut them with a butter knife!

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Finally, we progressed to a small candlelit dining room where we enjoyed our dinner, followed by an amazing caramel cake for dessert. When all was said and done, we rolled back to our rooms (actually, we had an apartment!) for the night. It was absolutely, totally, and completely delightful.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, January 20, 2014

In the great outdoors...it was a gorgeous day. Temps rose to near 70, and the kids spent the afternoon outside. The rest of the week will be a different story.

Within our four walls...children nestled all snug in their beds as Doug and I finish up a few things for the evening. Thankful we were able to get the house mostly caught up after a very full week last week.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a week at home; for the chance to tell Olivia today that one of her friends will be baptized soon; for friends; for opportunities; for firewood.

A heart of prayer...for a precious newborn who arrived today and the new life she will have with her dear mommy and daddy; for family members and friends dealing with health issues; for various work projects and the growth of the company; for Doug and I as we get back into discipline in so many ways.

Random observations...last week was busy. Could you tell? I thought I was back to more regular blogging than I’ve enjoyed in a while, but last week was a little full. Very good though. Maybe I’ll get to blog about it this week!

My silly children...are so deprived. We realized tonight that they did not know proper phone etiquette. We thought we had taught them. But apparently, we taught them how to be good CSRs. “Hello, this is _________. How may I help you?” Um, not quite.

Thoughts from the kitchen...we hurriedly created a menu plan for this week, but the goal is to return to planning a month at a time very, very soon. We just do so much better! We eat better. We spend less. It’s just all around good for us.

Meanwhile, we still have some decadent cheesecake to finish – it was Doug’s birthday cheesecake. Did I share that with you? No, I guess I didn’t because I haven’t blogged since before Doug’s birthday. Oh my…I can’t find my pictures, so I’ll just share the web photo with you (just click on the picture for the recipe). For the record, we halved the cheesecake portion of the recipe, and still had plenty. Oh my word. This was SO rich! And oh so good.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bottom Cheesecake


On my bookshelf...I have three books going. Very uncharacteristic for me. Well, it’s abnormal for me to be reading two novels at a time. I am back to reading She’s Twelve Going on Twenty, which is much better than I expected. I’m also working my way through the Quest for Truth YA fiction series. I’m reviewing them for HEDUA, but I wanted to read them anyway. This just gives me the nudge I need. Meanwhile, I’m finally getting back to Chasing Mona Lisa, just for fun. I started it ages ago and then got distracted by other novels. So, I’m going to finish it. It’s probably my least favorite Tricia Goyer book to date, but that’s like saying milk chocolate is my least favorite chocolate. Yeah.

Projects...working on a new knit bolero – it’s easy to keep knit and crochet projects going because I can work on them while the kids read to me. That’s been fun! Because of our busy couple of weeks, my schedule hasn’t panned out to figure out what night I’m going to sit down at the sewing machine every week, but that’s a goal. I’m determined. Mornings are for homeschool. Afternoons for work. And evenings are for things like writing and sewing, at least on the nights we don’t do American Heritage Girls stuff or have church.

Oh, and I finished the crochet dish towel I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I love it, and the family likes it as well. I think I might gradually get an entire set made. The towel does not match the dish cloths Angie made for me, but that’s okay. Who knows..I might just get the yarn to make two sets. It’s cheaper than towels and dishcloths that may or may not absorb!

Sounds of the moment...just the tapping of keyboards and the whirring of the computers as Doug and I both write.

From Hibbard Academy...lots of grading stacking up that Mommy has to catch up on this week. *sigh* In the meantime, though, Olivia is heading into the Middle Ages while Steven and Angie are in the late 1400’s. Fun times! Olivia just started a new topic in science this week, but I’m drawing a blank and don’t have a clue what it is. Steven & Angie are starting on weather.

A favorite thing from last week...Table for Two. Oh. My. Word. Separate blog post coming tomorrow.

The planner...tomorrow I get to go out with the Gleaners for the first time in quite some time. Otherwise, it’s a routine week. I’m ready!

Because visuals are fun...it’s the little things in life that make members of my family smile. This one was for Angela.2014-01-17 16.20.28

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Favorite Science Resources

Homeschooling friends! Do you have favorite science resources? Could you do me a HUGE favor and write a review for me this month? Actually, go first to http://hedua.com/reviews/category/science/ to see if the product has already been reviewed. If it has, pick your second favorite! If it hasn’t, here’s what I need:

  • 300-500 words (curriculum reviews can extend to 1000 words) including pros and cons
  • basic info about what the resources contains (such as “hardback textbook, 520 pages; lab kit”)
  • publisher & author name (and info, if available)
  • source website for the product (preferably the product as found on the publisher’s site)
  • publisher’s price
  • publication year of the particular item you are reviewing (even if it’s been updated, use the date on yours)

I think that’s it. You can submit the review here: http://hedua.com/reviews/write-a-review/ anytime this month. (I’ll have a new topic next month!) If selected, your review will be published in March. (And don’t be scared of the “if selected” statement. We definitely have HEDUA standards, but we typically work with guest reviewers as long as the product has not already been reviewed – even if we need to correspond with you about clarification or other editing needs.)

Thank you so much in advance!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Things You Might Hear at My House

Steven: May I please eat a handful of nuts?

Mommy: Yes.

Olivia: Cannibal!!

Steven (singing to the tune of the Star Wars theme): “Cannibalistic, cannibalistic, cannibalistic, ca-an-nibal! 

And yes, this IS daily life.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Because You Want to Know

Did you know that on cold, dry days when the heater has been blowing, flour can jump?

In fact, it can jump off the counter and onto your nice, clean shirt.

Especially when you’re wearing a shirt made out of flannel or a similar fabric.

No, I am not kidding.

Angela had just made a quiche for lunch. I walked to the counter to show her how to pick up the flour-covered Silpat, fold it over, and shake the excess flour into the trash without making a mess.

Except I made a mess without even touching it!

As I stepped close to the counter, Angie and I noticed the flour jumping. Yes, jumping! Popping like popcorn! Next thing I know, my black flannel shirt is COVERED in flour! It is from my neck down and all down my arms. The static from my shirt literally caused the flour to jump off the Silpat onto my shirt in the blink of an eye.

Science in action, let me tell ya!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, January 6, 2014

In the great outdoors...abnormally cold, like everywhere else.  

Within our four walls...an almost clean kitchen, laundry actually caught up, and the house mostly tidy. I can’t believe we’re actually starting our new year on top of things. It feels good.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a warm house.

A heart of prayer...for coworkers dealing with the lovely flu; for those who have to be out in the cold, other needs that surround us.

Random observations...I will have a teenager before this year is out. Not sure I’m ready for that.

My silly children...apparently decided to play Twister this afternoon. The shrieks of laughter were both entertaining and terrifying…especially since I didn’t know at the time what exactly they were doing.

Thoughts from the kitchen...we have adopted a new method for diversifying the menu plan – every week we have to find one recipe we haven’t made in a while and pick a new recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes and if we find anything wonderful along the way.

On my bookshelf...working through some non-fiction while rereading Taken by Brock Eastman for review. It’s part of a YA fiction series my girls absolutely love!

Projects...Angela made me some crochet dishcloths for Christmas and I love them. I decided to add a towel to the collection to see how I like it.   

Sounds of the moment...little snippets of Piano Guys running through my head. “Cello Wars” to be specific.

From Hibbard Academy...back to it! It’s really gone quite well. We started back last Thursday, and the kids have jumped right back into it all.

A favorite thing from last week...rest. Purely enjoyable rest.

The planner...pretty normal for our first week back to routine. The rest of January is pretty full, so I’m very thankful for this transition week between Christmas break and the busyness.

Because visuals are fun...this is what happens when there’s some down time between showers and supper.
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