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?”

“Yep.”

“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 observations...my 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 bookshelf...it’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!