Monday, March 24, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, March 24, 2014

In the great outdoors...sunshine! It’s a beautiful day, although a bit chilly. After a more typical spring week last week, we are back in the 50’s this week. That means we get to enjoy another batch of soup today! Yay!

Within our four walls...much quiet – it’s testing day! Steven has pulled out puzzle books and is joining us at the table…for now

A heart of thanksgiving...for the sunshine, for friends, for friends who pray, for the ability to test at home instead of having to get to one of the state established testing sites.

A heart of prayer...for an expectant mom who lost her husband last weekend; for our farmers and the multitude of issues that face them as they get started; for traveling friends, including my brother and sis-in-law who are on a mission trip; for salvation of loved ones; for ever-deepening relationship with Christ for other loved ones.

Random observations...I am an introvert who really does enjoy meeting new people. They are interesting to me. It’s not easy for me to know what to say to them, but new people are still fun…usually.

My silly children...really have such different personalities. It shows up so clearly on days like today. Olivia can easily beat the allotted time on her test, but she’s taking as much of it as possible just to make sure she gets the questions right. Angela, on the other hand, has no need to slow down, even when checking and double-checking her work. Then there’s Steven, who has to be in here with us because, even though he frequently plays happily by himself, he just cannot bear to be left out today. But, he’s also not sure he can just hang out beside us the whole time. So, he’s alternating between puzzle books here beside us and Angry Birds on my Fire (typically not allowed in the mornings).

Thoughts from the kitchen...pasta e fagioli soup and another attempt to make bread sticks. We make some good bread around here, but we just haven’t managed great bread sticks yet.

On my bookshelf...just finished Thief over the weekend. I loved it! Now I’m getting ready to read a Civil War era YA fiction novel written by a homeschool student (don’t remember the title off the top of my head).’s birthday season. All projects will be birthday related, I’m sure. Or writing related. Although I am also adding to my supply of crocheted/knitted dish towels. That’s what I do when I want to keep my hands busy but don’t really have brain power to connect to the busy hands. 

Sounds of the moment...quiet as the girls continue to test. Although Steven is doing some whispering from the couch.

From Hibbard Academy...testing today and tomorrow, then off the rest of this week and next week. Yes, two weeks. One to play with preschoolers and another for a real spring break.

The planner...My precious nieces Abby and Nora arrive tomorrow and will be here until Sunday. We are so excited! (My parents have had them since Friday since Ben & Ashley’s flight left early Saturday.) So, the rest of the week will pretty much revolve around balancing work and extra kiddos.

Because visuals are fun...what testing day looks like at our house.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014


I had been thinking about trying to get the recipes we’ve tried recently up on the blog. Then my friend Julie asked for them. So that clinched it. Here you go, Julie!

First, the pasta e fagioli soup is a link: Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup in a Crock Pot (Copycat)

The Spicy Orange Chicken comes from this book: Favorite Name Brand Chinese. If you like Oriental food at all, I HIGHLY recommend this cookbook! The book is about the cost of one good plate of Chinese food at a restaurant, and the recipes are just as good!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, March 17, 2014

In the great outdoors...we started the morning with snow on the roofs as well as in a few spots on the ground, especially right around the trees. It melted quickly, but it never did get very warm out there. Our trees are finally starting to bud, though!

Within our four are in bed. Doug is finishing up something. I’m contemplating how the rest of the week will play out. Need to get a good bit done on a major writing project at some point!

A heart of thanksgiving...for laughter. God created an incredible blessing when He created laughter.

A heart of prayer...for my co-workers, the Choates, and other precious loved ones struggling with issues right now.

Random careful what you are doing when watching Tim Hawkins. Especially when watching something you’ve never seen before. Eating, for instance, can be dangerous. You might end up choking on your carrot cake. Fair warning.

My silly children...will probably hear this song on numerous occasions in the future.

Thoughts from the kitchen...some GREAT new recipes! How exciting! Sadly, two of them are soup recipes that won’t be coming back out much until the fall. Unless, of course, spring sticks around for awhile (if it ever actually arrives!). Maybe it won’t be too warm of a spring. (I’m not the kind of person who can eat soup when it’s warm, unless I’m sick.)

Anyway…on Tuesday Olivia helped me make spicy orange chicken (Chinese recipe). It wasn’t very spicy, but it was a BIG hit! Then on Wednesday, we had a spicy cheese soup. Almost like a taco in soup form (but not taco soup). Steven was the least impressed because he wasn’t too sure about the beans, but even he seemed to be okay with it. The rest of us were very pleased. Finally, Sunday was an experiment we’ve been intending to make for a while. Doug loves Olive Garden’s pasta e fagioli soup. We found a recipe that was supposedly a copy-cat version. It wasn’t. It was BETTER! Yum!

New recipes make meal time so much more fun.

On my bookshelf...well, I started Draw of Kings. Then I was reminded that I had completely missed putting a review book on my calendar. Fortunately, it was a quick read. Now I just have to get the review written up – hopefully tomorrow. Next up is some historical fiction entitled The Thief, set in Jerusalem around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. I’m definitely intrigued.

Projects...the aforementioned writing project. Meanwhile, I’m working on crocheting a stuffed cow for Angela for her birthday. I have no pattern (I couldn’t find one I liked), so I’m winging it. This could be interesting, which is why I’m starting so early! Same thing with Steven’s puppy, but it will be knit. Still hoping to find a pattern I like for both of them! I still haven’t decided on the fabric for Olivia’s bag, so that’s on hold. Fortunately, that will be a quick project.

Sounds of the moment...the norm for an evening: tappity, tap, tap, tap with some music in the background.

From Hibbard Academy...a nice backlog of grading. Again. I keep saying I’ll stay caught up. And I did manage to accomplish that for one week! Unfortunately, it wasn’t last week.

A favorite thing from last week...watching the kids get Grandma & PopPop snuggles.

The planner...lunch with the Gleaners tomorrow, dinner with friends tomorrow night, church Wednesday, writing like the wind Thursday night while Doug goes to a banquet, and then the weekend. No telling what the weekend will bring!

Because visuals are fun...the past few days have made us wonder if we misnamed our son. I never thought to name him Linus.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, March 10, 2014

In the great outdoors...beautiful sunshine and spring temps. How wonderful to get to send the kids outside!!!

Within our four walls...peace after the kids spent pretty much all of last week pinging off the walls! So much pent up energy. I thought I was going to need a padded room by the time it was all said and done.

A heart of thanksgiving...for the sunshine that has dried out the yard enough for the kids to go outside!!  For technology that connects across the miles.

A heart of prayer...for multiple people recovering from serious accidents. With all of them, we are so thankful the results weren’t worse! They could have been!

Random observations...time change…ick.

My silly children...well…all I can say is that I love to watch them. They’re so funny sometimes. And that makes it so much fun to be their mother.

Thoughts from the kitchen...leftover lemon pie. And chocolate and almond bark covered strawberries (Steven made me a bouquet of them for my birthday, with a little – okay a lot of – help from his daddy.) Yum! Also, trying a couple of new Oriental recipes this week. If they’re good, I’ll share!

On my bookshelf...hoping to get to Draw of Kings this week. I don’t have a review book due until next Friday, so maybe I can squeeze this one in!

Projects...trying to figure out what fabric I want to use to make Olivia a bag for her birthday.

Sounds of the moment...water running as Olivia gets a shower. Tapping of keyboards. Soft music. Squeaky desk chairs.

From Hibbard Academy...just finished reading about Peter the Great with the younger two, and still working through environments in science. Steven’s learning multiplication, but I can’t remember what the other two are working on. Olivia and I are still in the Middle Ages. Finishing up The Great and Terrible Quest. I agree with my friend Julie – it’s not the best bit of literature, and it’s definitely a challenge to read aloud! But, we’ve enjoyed trying to piece together the clues. I do think I’m about to dislike the ending, though.

A favorite thing from last week...a delightfully restful Saturday with my family. They spoiled me for my birthday.

The planner...nothing! A completely unplanned week! How glorious!

Then, we’ll welcome Doug’s parents Saturday afternoon. And, we’ll do a little ceremony to present the girls with their American Heritage Girls Joining Awards, along with their first badges. We won’t do a ceremony for every badge, but we wanted to do something special to honor their Joining Award accomplishments.

Because visuals are stalagmites!! These were created last Wednesday when the icicles on the gutters melted a bit in the sun, but the drops refroze almost immediately upon hitting the ground. That’s something you just don’t see in the south very often!2014-03-05 09.30.36

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Menagerie

So, Angie walks in this morning with her arms so full of stuffed cows that we can hardly see her. I made the mistake of saying, “I’d hug her, but I wouldn’t be hugging her, I’d be hugging the menagerie!”

Without missing a beat, she responded, “It’s not a menagerie! They’re all cows!”

Yep, you got me there, kid.

Olivia and Steven promptly went to get the dictionary…