Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Busy Weekend...

No photos today...I misplaced the battery charger for my camera and cannot remember where it is. I spent a lot of time today between school and violin practices cleaning out places I thought it might be. Looks like I will be buying a replacement. Then I am sure the old charger will certainly show up.

Well, wrestling season is over for another year. We spent all day Saturday watching wrestling. Newt placed 4th in the Regional tournament so does not get to go on to the State tournament this year (only the top 3 move on). He was pretty disappointed with himself because he didn't feel like he wrestled his best during his final match...he has wrestled the same wrestler on Friday night and won 6-2 but Saturday afternoon he lost 8-3. He just didn't look like his normal wrestling self that match...not the best time to have a bad match.

Earlier in the day he lost a tough match against a really good wrestler who will probably go on to place very well at States. He then pinned his first opponent in the wrestle-backs but in the finals, he lost. All in all, Newt had a great season. His record was 30-something wins and 3 loses. He is now eating well and looking forward to working hard for next year.

Sunday was a busy day for Haley and I plus a lot of driving. We hit three states and heard lots of music. We woke early in the morning and drove to NY for a fiddle lesson then we drove to PA to attend a fundraising event for a local Irish radio program. It was held at Shanachie Pub. Different musicians were scheduled to play all afternoon plus there was a Chinese auction...Haley actually won a couple of the prizes she had stuck her tickets into, an Irish doll and an Irish toddler outfit set. We got to hear some of our favorite performers, including Gabe and Marian. At the end of the day, Haley and Paraic fiddled together to end the show.

On the way home, we stopped into Dublin Square because we knew Gabe would be playing. He was on break by the time we got there so he and Haley ate dinner together then when they finished eating, played a few tunes sets. We stayed and listened to him play until he got upstaged by the Academy Awards.

Today was a nice quiet at home kinda day. Haley spent most of the day doing schoolwork with practice sessions between. We then headed up to her bedroom...whew! I can't believe we survived. Her room is now least for a day or two. I can't believe how many crafts and drawings one child can make in a couple months. The difficult part is getting her to part with a few so her room can be semi-clean. Ha!

The chicken coop is nearly completed. I will post photos as soon as I get a charger for that camera. In the next few weeks, we should be getting some chicks. Can't wait to see how Bella reacts to those. She is a sweet pup who snuggled the little baby rabbit Dylan found last summer so it should be interesting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homeschool...finishing up the year.

I don't know why but I always feel like our school year roughly coincides with the regular public school year. Maybe it is my nostalgia for a new start every fall or something. I don't know. September is when we switch up history and science cycles and when we change the grade we tell people Haley is in...this corresponds to where she'd be if in school. All other curriculum tends to be on a continuous cycle...just moving on and changing when we finish something.

Haley and I have done a good job with the curriculum we picked this year. There haven't been many bombs. In the past month or so, we've finished up some things and moved on to others.

Here is where we are right now...

-Saxon 87...we finished up Thinkwell Pre-alg but I didn't think Haley had enough experience manipulating numbers to move on to Algebra 1 and she didn't like her initial experiences with Art of Problem Solving Pre-Alg...again due to needing more experience/practice so back to Saxon we went. She's happy, doing well, and feels confident in her math abilities.

Language Arts:
-Lightning Literature 7...I have been waiting to start this program. I wanted Haley to be able to get the most out of it and be able to do 7th grade level output. We started this about a month ago and she's doing really well. We are taking our time and working toward completion of a chapter every 3-4 weeks.
-Wordly Wise...continuing on with this
-Language Mechanics for practice with grammar.
-Writing With Ease...we just started this last week so I don't really have much to say...yet.

Foreign Languages:
-Rosetta Stone Spanish and Gaelic...continuing with this.

-We are nearly finished with PLATO and have only 2 more lessons to compete. She is almost finished with the workbook she's been doing concurrently called Just the Facts. We have a few other resources to go deeper into rock study and planets. I am thinking about getting Discovery Ed Streaming for the rest of the year and just following her interests until Sept. when we will start Chemistry.

-This is going slowly but steadily. We are reading through 2 chapters of History of US by Joy Hakim every week and note booking a page for each chapter along with maps. Also reading along in We Were There Too and doing pages from a number of workbooks/activities about Revolutionary Times. I hope to get through the Civil War by Sept and Haley would love to do a Civil War lapbook.
-Mapping the World with Art...we have about 4 more lessons in this book then we'll be finished. Once finished we will do more with regular art though I haven't decided which of the many art curricula we will use yet.

-Violin, fiddle, orchestra, and piano (which just started in January) continue to go well.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

District Champ!!!

 Newt has worked toward this moment since he was 5 years old. Every year we attended the district tournament and watched those high school wrestlers in the finals stand under the lights in the dark gym full of spectators as the announcer reads off their records and accomplishments. This was Newt's 1st time under those lights and he has a pretty impressive record for a sophomore 60-7 career so far plus lots of accomplishments including 3rd in the district and 4th in the region last year.

Newt has worked so hard and been so disciplined this year. In the District tournament he pinned his first two opponents in 50 and 55 sec. respectively. The score of his finals match was 8-3. He clearly dominated the entire match. Next weekend is the regional tournament. It won't be such a cake-walk. He will have to wrestle tough opponents for the first time this season. Win or lose...I am so proud of him.

Newt on the podium

All the District Champions

Monday, February 06, 2012

Next Gen...

The Next Generation of Irish Musicians meets in Philly once a month. It is a free program for kids and interested adults who get together and learn new tunes, have a snack, then play session-style together. The group plays every year at the Garden State Discovery Museum and the New Jersey Folk Arts Festival.

Haley has been participating with the group since she was 5 years old and started fiddle lessons with one of the group's founders, Kathy. The past couple years, it has been difficult to make it to the monthly sessions with her lessons, competitions, and orchestra events on Sundays, but we try to get there when we can.

This past Sunday the kids performed at the Discovery Museum. Here are some photos of the event...

Haley and her buddy, Alex, played a duet together. They came up with the tune set at the last minute but did a good job. Luckily they both have the same fiddle teacher so they have similar repertoire. It was a fun performance.

Doll Pies...

Haley is a creative kid. She spends a part of her day making things. (Sometimes this drives a neat freak mother crazy but I try to be supportive.) Her creations are very cool. She made her own "Quiet Books" for each of her little cousins for Christmas, always takes off with boxes to make little detailed houses and rooms for her small dolls, makes her own jewelry (the latest was a pair of guitar pick earrings with magnetic findings because her ears are allergic to metals), and enjoys making cards and crafty letters to send to friends.

Yesterday, she came up with a new project....Barbie/Monster High doll pies. The pies in the photo are a pink cherry pie, mixed fruit pie, cherry pie, and pumpkin pie. They are very cute and tiny!  She is hoping to sell her "pies."

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Rice Pudding...

My aunt once shared her rice pudding recipe with us and we love it...wonderful for the athlete who needs to carbo-load. I usually double it.

Rice Pudding
Bring to boil in a large pot...
1/2 gallon milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup rice
Turn on low to simmer and cook for 2 hours stirring every 15 min or so. Check to see that rice is fully cooked...pudding should be thickened.

Remove from heat and add 2 eggs tempered with a little milk (whisk the eggs with the milk) and 1 Tbsp vanilla. Cool a bit and serve. You can add a little cinnamon if you like as well.