Friday, November 24, 2017

Family Visit

Lisa and Barb drove 'up the hill' to join us for lunch. We had a delightful meal with lively conversation and the obligatory house tour before they headed back down to Phoenix.

Black Friday Shopping

This is how the Severinghaus family does Black Friday shopping.


Bob, Lukas, and Noah played Christmas music last night. It was a delight to hear the laughter along with the music flow down the stairs.

Christmas Party Preparations

What is a tradition? According to Merriam Webster,? a tradition is an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)."
By this definition, I think we can safely call our Christmas gathering a tradition. Hosting a Christmas gathering is something we have done most years and this year will be no exception. Noah scoured the cookbooks and websites for appropriate cookies. Once the selection was made, was time to create a shopping list, which he of course composed in Excel. 

The boys are now taking turns mixing up different doughs and setting them in the garage for chilling. It looks like we will be busy rolling out cookies for a few days this upcoming week, a fun physical break from the mental work of school. 

Thanksgiving Morning Preparations

Lukas set the dough for the dinner rolls the night before and then woke up early to finish the work. He also managed to whip up a pan of orange-cranberry cornbread to bring to the festivities in Phoenix. Once there, the camera remained in the purse, so no pictures.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This Is What Happens..

Most of the food we purchase in the stores here in Flagstaff are shipped in from someplace else - much like many other cities. It is not hard to know what came 'up the hill' the bag, the tub, the plastic container expands. This is the display of the Thanksgiving staple at Target - all the lids lose on the shelf.

Thanksgiving Preparations

This year, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Phoenix with near and extended family. Our contributions are pies, bread, and salads.
We baked the caramel apple pie yesterday, and today we made pumpkin and pecan pies. Lukas set the bread dough allowing it to rise overnight while Noah carefully placed the pecans in a concentric pattern on the pie.


Noah participated in his first team policy debate today.  He and his two teammates argued for retaining the status quo rather than affirming the resolution "The United States Government should Abolish Imminent Death Organ Donation."  His team gets a chance to refine their arguments and debate one more time next week.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Revamping Furniture

With the dining room finalized, we turned our attention back to the living room. The new arrangement works well and the only drawback is we will need a larger rug to anchor the room. The worn coffee table looked a bit out of place but with Noah's assistance,  it has received a new lease on life in a darker color. Just one coat and the table is as good as new. Now, to paint the smaller shelves to match. It is nice to be able to do the work in the garage with the door open - so far the winter temperatures are holding off.

Our Cardboard Man

Ever since he was a little boy, Noah has been fascinated by boxes. He has crawled inside, or stood, in almost every box that has ever entered our home. As he grows older, he finds himself having to think creatively to fit into the box. Yet, the joy does not seem to wear off.
This is who rang the doorbell on Saturday.

I'm pretty sure he is not 'made in China'


Boy Scout Troop 33 hosts a large fundraiser in the fall and the boys had a chance to participate. Noah and Lukas took customer orders, arranged the orders, served, and cleaned tables, while Bob spent the time in the kitchen slicing bread and doing dishes. They all came home tired and with a greater appreciation for the hard work of running a restaurant.

The scouts were encouraged to bring a dessert and Lukas happily complied. He multitasked - he listened to a podcast, snacked on candy, and whipped cream.

Modern Play Date

Noah is spending time with his good friend, Coby. But Coby is not in the picture. Well, in a sense he is, he is on the phone, and the two are playing a video game. The wonders of modern technology allow
these two young men to stay in touch despite the long distance - KY to AZ.
Notice the red stand for Noah's phone - one that he designed and had 3D printed a few weeks ago.

Helping Dad

I caught Noah and Bob in deep conversation. They are designing a piece for a robot so that a camera can be attached. They are taking advantage of the 3D printing services at NAU. How much simpler than trying to construct it in our garage.

Boys Scouts

The boys have visited several scout troops before selecting one to join.  The jumped right in by attending the November camp-out - a kayaking trip on the Colorado River. Since it was a water activity the camera stayed at home, so we have no pictures. Thanks to Google and stock photos we could get a glimpse of the fun they had.

Before they left, they needed to update their uniform shirts with new troop numbers and council patches. I am grateful for a sewing machine that makes this task a lot faster and easier.

Dining Room Chairs

After spending an entire day in Phoenix in search of a dining room table, we turned to the internet to locate chairs. It is far simpler, no long distance driving, the selection is enormous, and the chairs are delivered to our house at no extra cost.

Lukas and Noah assembled the chairs in their spare time and just in time for the recycling collection so that the cardboard could go!


Noah and his classmates are reading through Taming of the Shrew in seminar. Noah volunteered for several of the smaller roles, meaning he is up and down a lot. The upside, for him, is that each roles have relatively few lines.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Phoenix Art Museum

Lukas and his classmates in Challenge II are studying art this semester. One of their projects is visiting an art museum and after perusing the collection, select one piece to sketch and study in detail in preparation for composing a persuasive speech on the artifact.
Since we were in Phoenix, we stopped at Trader Joe's and stocked up on tasty treats before we drove 'up the hill' again.

It is worth noting that we left Flagstaff when the temperature read 26 degrees. Down in Phoenix, it was 80+ while still early morning. It is good to know that warmth is only a few hours away.

Cast Iron Pizza

Friday evening is frequently home-made pizza night. Noah cooked his pizza in his little cast iron pan.  He said it tasted as good as it looked. Lukas tried to cook his in a Pyrex dish.  I think he will follow in his brother's footsteps next week, the Pyrex made the crust a bit soggy, not the thick crunchy crust he was hoping to achieve. A good lesson learned.

Helping Mama

Bob, Lukas, and Noah all pitched in to help prepare for a morning seminar held at our home on Saturday. Since I was the speaker, I spent my time thinking and organizing my thoughts, while the boys cleaned up, moved furniture around, and created visual aids.  These guys truly bless me.

Packing Operation Christmas Child Boxes

We continue the tradition of packing Operation Christmas Child boxes. The added incentive this year was the free meal at Chick-A-File for every box brought to the store. Needless to say, we were not alone in opting for chicken sandwiches for dinner that night.

Budding TA's?

Lukas and Noah are finding themselves assisting Bob with several of his work projects. Most recently, they commandeered the dining room table for robot assembly and programming.  Later in the week, as I was trying to school going, I was sternly told, "We cannot do that yet, we have to help Dad with this code, he needs it ASAP." So I retreated to the living room studying my American history book, while Lukas and Noah swapped ideas and codes on the computers in the 'Internet Cafe.'  I guess the principal of SILL Academy has the privilege and authority to establish the class schedule and lessons for each day.

They will be ready to serve as Teaching Assistants (TA) when the head off to college.


We stopped at Alex Pumpkin Patch for pumpkins and walked out with arms full of pumpkins and squashes. The owner generously threw in several unusual varieties, and the one that has to be opened with a chainsaw piqued the boys' attention.

Since Halloween fell on a Tuesday, the College Bible study group that meets at our home, decided to join us for carving, food, and fun. For several students, this was their first pumpkin carving.

We opened up the garage and carved the pumpkins on the garage floor. As the evening progressed, it got chilly and Bob and the boys set up our fire pit. Many of our neighbors stopped by for trick or treating, warming up by the fire, and visiting. It was a fun evening and our driveway had an impressive line of lovely pumpkins to show for the festivities.