Friday, April 30, 2010

New Session....

Tuesday night we finally made it to the session at The Shanachie. Fintan, a wonderful banjo player who we've seen at various sessions around the area, has been asking me to bring the kids over to the session there. The problem has always been that it is on Tuesday nights and until recently I had to take Newt to wrestling practice on Tuesday nights. We've done some rearranging of his wrestling schedule to fit in his weight lifting which left us with on open Tuesday night. So, we made the hour drive and went to play. It was a very nice session with many different types of instruments. There were some people we knew from other sessions and some new people as well. One man invited us to play at another session he attends on Sunday afternoons so we may try that one as well. Just as we were getting ready to go, Chris, one of the leaders of Next Gen stopped in so Haley wanted to play a few tunes with her. She hasn't made it to Next Gen very often this year due to other engagements.The kids kept Grammy and I out very late and they had a great time!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Crops... ; )

Two days ago we "harvested" our first crops from our raised beds. The mesclun salad mix is growing very well and we've had salad greens for the past 2 days. We've enjoyed our greens as salad and on chicken wraps. Yum!!!

The last photo is of our early peas. We have planted 20 blueberry bushes, 4 grape vines (2 varieties), 2 apple trees, 2 rows of pole limas, 2 rows of strawberries, a row of potatoes, and partial rows of peas, okra, summer squash, cucumbers, and carrots. We also have some tomato plants started but not put out yet plus containers of herbs and herbs in the square foot gardens. I am sure I am missing something.

When we moved away from the lake, I was sure I'd miss it but it is so nice to have room for gardens and fruit trees. I love our yard. We have a nest of blue birds with 3 little hatchlings in a bird house Ritch made, another huge birdhouse we call the condo with chickadees and who knows what else, and I found a nest of wren eggs in one of our bushes. Every morning we hear turkies in the field behind the house gobbling. The males strut around with all their tail feathers open this time of year. There are also deer in the fields across the street and behind the house.

The people who sold us the house left behind a large trampoline and the kids and I have loads of fun bouncing each day. We use it as a break between school subjects or instrument practices. It is great exercise!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I hope am spelling that correctly. Haley's babies are moving to the top of the container and one has already begun making his chrysallis. The others are still 4cm long but the one hanging in now thicker but only 2.5cm long. It is pretty fascinating to watch it happening. One continues to feed by hanging down the side of the container and eating the little bits caught up in their web-like stuff. You can see him feeding in the top photo.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Picasso, anyone??

I love rainy days for homeschooling. We get so much more done without the warm outside beckoning us. We even managed to get to art today and did a short study on Picasso, his life and works. We ended with the kids creating their own collages. You can see the definite musical flavor in both Haley's and Dylan's works of art. LOL Haley's butterfly babies (aka caterpillars) are now 4cm long. They have eaten a lot of the food and one is hanging at the top of the container. We wonder if it just happened to wander up there or if it is getting ready to make its chrysallis.

Violin Musings...

I was thinking earlier today about how this year has been so different for Haley musically. She's spent so much lesson time on orchestra material for two different orchestras, especially in the fall when she was learning to read music almost from scratch and a lot of time on violin technique....time that previously was focused only on solo pieces.

Out of curiousity, I looked at where she was this time last year (thank goodness I blog otherwise that information would be difficult to find LOL) and was surprised that she had just started Book 4 last April. So, she has gone through Books 4 and 5 this year even with a few non-repertoire pieces thrown in though it didn't seem like she'd made as much headway repertoire-wise as she had in previous years. Also, her technique has improved tremendously and she's made remarkable gains in her music reading skills.

We've made a lot of changes logistically in the past year as well. A few months ago she had her regular Suzuki teacher 1-2 times a week, a teacher for helping her learn to read music once a week, her local fiddle teacher once a week, and twice monthly visits to NY for fiddle. A few months ago we stopped the music reading teacher and last month, sadly, had to stop lessons with the local fiddle teacher. All those lessons were spreading her too thin and our resources...time, travel and monetary... are better spent with just one violin teacher twice a week and one fiddle teacher twice a month. It is working out very well and she's able to focus more on the necessary material.

All-in-all it's been a different but good year. Leaves me wondering what the next year will bring.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baby butterflies...

The Easter Bunny brought Haley a butterfly raising kit so we mailed away for our babies (caterpillars). They arrived on Saturday in their little plastic cup with food on the bottom. Every other day, Haley is measuring them and writing down any other interesting observations in her Butterfly Journal. They were 1cm when they arrived and in just two days already are 50% longer. When they go to the top of the container and make their crysallis on the little piece of paper, we will transfer them into the butterfly house.

Artistic Creations...

This weekend while killing time between a violin lesson and orchestra rehearsal, Haley and I stumbled upon a teacher supply store and loaded up on art supplies including this kit for making sun catchers. Haley painted one in the car on the way home which I wasn't thrilled about. Luckily she didn't make a mess. She, Dyl, and Daddy had fun painting them together yesterday after finishing schoolwork. Here are all their creations. Daddy wouldn't pose with his.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Easter Pics...

I know it's been awhile since Easter but it's been a crazy few weeks and I realized that the photo at the top of my blog is from last Easter. It seems like the kids have grown so much and we've had so many changes in a year. Newt has been in school for almost a year and has a lot more hair...who would've thought he had curls? We've moved into a new house. Haley has a new fiddle teacher...she's hoping for a new fiddle soon as well. Here's looking forward to all the changes in the next year!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Irish Session...

Yesterday, after work, I drove Haley to NY for a fiddle lesson. After the lesson, I took her to play in Brian's session at Dunn's Pub. From the outside, the pub looked like it had been plucked out of Ireland and placed there in White Plains. Inside, there were so many people packed into the tiny place. Brian chose tunes from Haley's tune list most of the night so she was able to play almost the entire 2.5 hours we were there. She had a great time! Stick a microphone in front of her and she is happy as can be! That man sitting next to Haley playing the accordian is John of the best button accordian players ever.