Monday, April 28, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 28, 2014

In the great outdoors...the remnants of last night’s storm system, dropping its final rain on us.

Within our four walls...children full of energy. Wish I could say the same for myself.

A heart of thanksgiving...that we didn’t get much in the way of storminess last night.

A heart of prayer...for the many in Arkansas who do not share the same praise. Sixteen deaths, as of last report. Many homes destroyed. Some church planting friends of mine lost their church building, but as far as I’ve been able to discern, that’s the greatest of the damage from people we know.

My silly oldest and youngest...seem to be intent on messing with each other today. So far, it’s been fun for both of them. We’ll see if it stays that way.

Thoughts from the kitchen...I had a stomach bug this weekend. I’m not all that excited about the kitchen right now.

On my bookshelf...just finished a very intense WWII book entitled Defy the Night about a teenage girl who gets involved in an effort to rescue children from French internment camps (1940-1942). This book was fictional, but is based on real events. I love stories like that, but they are still very hard to read. Now to see what’s next…

Projects...sanity. Oh, wait. That’s a lost cause, isn’t it? I really need to organize a project plan. So, that’s my project.

Sounds of the moment...the vacuum cleaner running. I love having kids big enough to do chores.

From Hibbard Academy...sick day for Mommy. I’m feeling better, but I don’t have the planning done for this week. So, that’s the plan for today. The kids are so, so, so disappointed, as I’m sure you can imagine.

A favorite thing from last week...precious quality time with family in the middle of the extreme busyness of the week.

The planner...not much this week, which is nice. I was going to try to make Bernina Club this month, but I think I’ll be more relaxed earlier in the week if I don’t go. Then we have a CPR and First Aid training class Thursday night.

Because visuals are fun...once upon a time this dress reached the ankles and wrists…on Olivia! Angie doesn’t care, though. She’ll wear it until she just can’t get it on anymore.2014-04-24 07.35.05

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Thursday, April 24, 2014

In the great outdoors...plentiful sunshine, which is a blessing considering this week was supposed to be full of storms. The farmers are definitely happy!

Within our four doing morning chores. I love having big kids!

A heart of thanksgiving...for the aforementioned sunshine, random acts of kindness, snatched moments of togetherness even in very busy weeks, and allergy medication.

A heart of prayer...for the farmers, health for several people, and sustenance as we face a very busy May.

Random observations...I’m tired of school. We’re on track to get a summer break this year, with the exception of some math and language arts maintenance work. I’m looking forward to that.

My silly children...are such delights. They keep me laughing. So thankful for that!

Thoughts from the…well…I actually do have a plan. I just don’t know what it is. Guess I should look at that before school starts.

On my bookshelf...a fun-looking book by Carol Barnier entitled The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles. Carol is hilarious (you can see for yourself here), and I can’t wait to read this book!

Projects...well, it’s the end of April and I haven’t actually started on that birthday present for Olivia. Guess I should really get that nailed down.

Sounds of the moment...a lot of quiet. Hmmmm…

From Hibbard Academy...the read-alouds are really the thing we’re loving most right now. Steven, Angie, and I finished A Little Princess yesterday and will be starting Kildee House. Olivia and I are enjoying The Shakespeare Stealer. It’s hard to believe I used to hate reading aloud.

A favorite thing from last week...I turned in my big writing project! Ahhhhh…

The rather funny. The schedule has been very full this week. So full, in fact, that I haven’t even had time to write anything in my planner! Anyone looking at it would think I’ve had a nice, relaxing week. Right! Let’s see…anyone familiar with should see major changes in the web site this week. That has kept us all busy work-wise. Doug and I had meetings in opposite directions on Tuesday. Then we met up in Little Rock afterwards for an early date this week. Wednesday was normal church. Tonight an organization is meeting at our church, and we’re helping provide meal and childcare. Tomorrow night Doug has a wedding rehearsal, and I’ll be catching up on work I missed by being out Tuesday. Saturday afternoon is the wedding. Phew!

Because visuals are fun..cows and a bunny resting after doing their morning pull-ups.

.2014-04-22 08.05.42

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Many Sillies?

The children were being quite goofy at the breakfast table, so I asked, “How many sillies do I have?”

Olivia quickly answered, “Seven!”

“Oh, so I’ve just not met four of them?”

“No, you’ve met all of them. We just have different layers of silliness. Girls have two and boys have three. They come out at different times.”

Steven’s response, in an offended tone: “Hey!”

Olivia had a quick answer. “Well, I had to come up with something for the seventh silly.”

That stopped me in my tracks. “You made all of that up on the fly?”


Now, at the risk of ruining the humorous moment, I must make an observation. All of this coming from Angela wouldn’t have surprised me a bit. She’s bit witty since the first words came out of her mouth. Olivia? Not so much. She takes after me. She has to think about her witty responses – they don’t come naturally.

But yesterday morning, it all just flowed.

Proud Mommy moment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Favorite Part of Homeschooling

When kids love learning, they get excited about it. When they get excited about it, others catch the excitement. When others catch the excitement, they want to learn too! When they want to learn, too, that excites the first kids even more, making them want to teach what they know.

And that, my friends, is when you have the precious image of two sweeties sitting side by side at the piano.


You hear things like:

“Okay, now what is this?”

“A fancy ‘s’?” (giggles because she knows she’s being goofy)

“No, silly, that’s a treble clef!”


Music theory “clicking” into place at the piano between supper and book time. Sweet memories.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 14, 2014

In the great outdoors...gloomy and wet.

Within our four walls…restlessness attempting to be contained.

A heart of thanksgiving...for a new week; for the green on the trees; for a break in at least some of the allergy symptoms.

A heart of prayer...for the farmers; for my mother-in-law’s family as they deal with the recent death of her father.

Random’s very still outside right now. Which is odd for the prairie in the spring.

My silly children...really need a pretty day and a dry yard. The indoor pinging is only increasing.

Thoughts from the planning is not coming easily for me this month. Not at all. I work so much better with a plan, but sometimes creating a plan is just overwhelming. Why? I don’t know. Just part of my insanity, I suppose. Motivation is not very high for anything this month, it seems.

On my bookshelf...choices. I do have some reviews outstanding, but I have more flexibility than usual about getting them taken care of thanks to some changes in the plan and to Olivia for taking over some of the YA fiction for me. She’ll be writing her first review this week.

Projects...This is the last week for my big spring writing project. It’s mostly written – just one thing left. So, I’ll be doing a lot of editing this week. Then I’m going to sew. Because I want to. And because birthdays are coming. But really because I want to.

Sounds of the moment...bouncing balls. Steven has a gazillion little bouncy balls, and he likes to see how many he can bounces at once.

From Hibbard Academy...I feel like a bad mom/teacher today because I don’t really know where we are. Great start to the week, huh? Thursday and Friday ended up being just independent work days for a variety of reasons. Today it’s time to get back into the swing of things and figure out what’s coming.

A favorite thing from last week...Last week was such a blur! Between allergy meds and a full work/writing schedule, I’m having trouble dredging up what actually happened last week. We did get to enjoy watching the first Captain American movie together on Saturday. The kids loved it. Even princess Angela said that was an action movie worth watching.

The pretty clear this week, but the to-do lists are full.

Because visuals are fun...The kids were trying to stream some episodes of The Clone Wars yesterday afternoon. But, with storms rolling in, the internet connection had its wonky moments. So, Olivia propped Bunny up by the TV and adjusted his ears to “help the reception.” I love that my kids joke about adjusting the rabbit ears even though they’ve never dealt with antennas like that!

2014-04-13 16.05.29

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Earlier this week, we learned about the French Revolution. Shortly after school was over, Angela walked into the living room and asked if she could have part of one of the cardboard boxes lying around. She wanted to make a sword for Napoleon.

I’ve learned to not ask questions.

But, I always do get the update. My friends, meet Napoleon in full uniform.

2014-04-07 17.24.39

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 7, 2014

In the great outdoors...a chilly gloom, but also a slight green glow around the trees as new leaves finally start to make their appearance.

Within our four walls...jabbering. I’m not sure what the kids are jabbering about, but there is a lot of it! Meanwhile, we’re back to school and “normal” routine after two weeks of be a bit off.

A heart of thanksgiving...for Allegra. Just being honest here. And provision. It baffles me sometimes.

A heart of prayer...for newborn twins, born yesterday at 30 weeks; for supernatural wisdom for our farmer friends; for the Choates

Random observations...How can my children grow so much and still have clothes that fit? It seems they are outgrowing everything. Yet when we went through their summer supply, they once again needed almost nothing. And there weren’t hand-me-downs for Olivia or Steven. How is that possible? I just don’t understand. But I am thankful.

My silly firstborn...wanted to walk to church last night because she likes walking in the rain. That’s fun to me. Well, it’s fun that she likes to do things like that. But it wasn’t fun enough for me to agree to walk to church in a cold rain. We drove. We’ll walk in the rain another day.

Thoughts from the kitchen...a general lack of enthusiasm. I have a menu plan somewhat started for April, but it’s not functional at all. I have no idea what we’ll be eating for lunch today. I’m thinking brownies might hit the spot. If I put nuts in them and ice cream or Cool Whip on top, we’d have protein, dairy, and grain. Some strawberries would add the fruit/vegetable group. Yep, sounds like a plan.

On my bookshelf...actually, what’s NOT on my bookshelf is more concerning. I have a review book on my schedule for this week that is not on my shelf. So now I have to figure out if I have misplaced it or if I never received it in the first place. Lovely.

Projects...for the next two and a half weeks, my big spring writing project is the biggest focus – getting it done and edited before the deadline. After that, I’ll get back to birthday projects. And sewing. Liv needs a gown and Angie wants a new robe.

Sounds of the moment...the aforementioned jabbering, along with some clanking. Kind of like the sound of marbles in a bowl. Maybe. I don’t know. Who knows what those hoodlums are up to? In ten minutes, they’ll be up to school. Bwahahaha.

From Hibbard Academy...getting back into the swing of things. Olivia is trying to wrap her head around integers, Angela is learning the difference between dividing a word into syllables and dividing a word between two lines. Steven is being reminded that one-syllable words are just that: one syllable.

A favorite thing from last week...watching Angie’s fashion choices

The; church; meetings; writing. The usual.

Because visuals are fun...the shoes make the outfit, don’t you think?

2014-04-06 12.50.45

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


When we made our delightful pasta e fagioli soup, we decided that the only thing missing was good breadsticks. Even with all of our homemade bread success, I had not managed to get the breadsticks right…

…until now.

We’re still working on the seasoning, but we’ve got the texture down! Ours are probably a little more like Little Caesar’s than Olive Garden in texture, but they’re really good.

So, what’s the secret?

We use a low sugar, non dairy dough recipe. Our favorite in the Olive Oil Dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Once the dough has done all of its rising (depending on the method you use), roll it out to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1/2-3/4 inch thick strips. Place the strips on a lightly greased or silicone lined cookie sheet, keeping the strips about half an inch apart. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Bake at 400 for 6-10 minutes or until they just start to brown.

Here’s where we’re experimenting. So far we’ve tried butter and garlic powder or light oil and Kernal Seasonings Parmesan Garlic shake. We’re still trying to find the perfect combination, but that’s a personal preference thing!