Thursday, May 24, 2012

She Cooks, Too.

Haley asked to make dinner last night so her daddy told her she could. They went shopping to get the ingredients she said she needed then she prepared them all by chopping and cooking. She made omelets, or maybe more like frittatas since everything but the cheese was in with the egg, with tomato, scallions, steamed broccoli, bacon, fresh parsley, and cheddar cheese.

Every time someone asked if she needed help, she shooed us away. I think Dylan was about the same age when he first started cooking omelets for the family and now he cooks all sorts of things. Cooking is one of his favorite activities and he makes the best chicken cheese steak around.

I wanted to add that I changed my blog's friend complained that the light writing on the dark background was difficult for her and I got tired of looking at brown and saw there were some new choices here at bloodspot. Whatcha think? New or old look better?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fleadh Champion! Or Otherwise Entitled...What a Weekend!

 Here she is! The 4X MidAtlantic under 12 Irish fiddle champion! She is very excited to keep the trophy for another year and to get to go to Cavan, Ireland to try for an All Ireland title again.

What a crazy weekend we had...yes, folks, crazier than usual. Hard to believe, I know. Haley's competition under 12's was split into 2 groups because of the number of competitors. The judges were to pick 5-6 kids from each group to compete in the finals at 10am. As is not all that unusual in these things, everything was running late and at 10:30 the other original group was still not finished competing.

The problem with this was that Haley needed to be back home in Philly for her PRYSM orchestra concert (remember a post awhile back about me needing a helicopter...well, I didn't get one) at noon...almost 2 hours away. Her teacher spoke to those in charge and the adjudicator agreed to hear her so we could leave. Haley played and we immediately jumped in the car and drove, like lighting, to Philly. (I did not speed...ahem, my dad drove.)  She didn't feel she had played as good the second time as she did the first...probably because she was watching her mom go from mildly annoyed to extremely stressed as the time we were delayed increased and increased. We arrived about 40 min. late but just in time for her to do the pre-concert rehearsal with her group.

The concert was wonderful though a little sad since it was dedicated to the passing of their conductor and director, Mr. D. The kids did a great job I will never cease to be amazed at all they accomplish each season.

After the concert, we got back in the car and headed back to the Fleadh venue. We had learned the results while driving so knew Haley had placed 1st and Dylan did a great job but did not place. Since Haley was being shuffled to Philly, he had to accompany a friend who he isn't used to playing with but he was a champ and played great!

We arrived back at the hotel and walked in the door just in time to hear them call Haley's name to be presented with her trophy. She walked in and was presented her trophy. I usually get photos of these things but since it was so crazy, I didn't even think to get my camera out.

This is why we go to the Fleadh! After the competitions are over, the kids hang out with their friends and play music together. Haley and Dylan have a group of friends we see every year. They know each other well now and the fiddlers all have the same teacher so have a lot of tunes in common. They played music from about 7:30pm until midnight.

Some time around 10pm, Haley, Alex, and Keegan decided they wanted to form a trio and compete the following morning. Haley and Alex both play fiddle and have the same teacher so know a lot of the same tunes but Keegan is just learning uilleann pipes so has a limited repertoire. The kids spent the next 2 hours trying out tunes and going through tune lists (and goofing off together) then practiced the 2 tunes they picked a couple times.

When I finally told Haley we just had to go to bed it was midnight. We walked into the hall near the elevators and saw John Whelan playing in a session. He asked Haley to have some tunes and she was happy to oblige since she loves playing with him. They played tune after tune. I think we finally got to bed sometime around 1am.

I volunteered Sunday morning and had to announce competitors for the duet competitions. I think I massacred at least 6 Irish names and I missed the kids trio competition. They played really well together and were encouraged by the adjudicator to try again next year. They didn't place because their variations were not played together...they didn't know they had to play every note together because they'd never done that competition before. Haley went swimming with the boys and Dylan watched his friends compete in duets. We went for lunch with the same friends then headed home.

Crazy weekend finished!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teen boys

Teen boys do some crazy things...well, at least my teen boys and their friends do. For a couple years they like riding bikes. Not your normal bike riding but on ramps, hills, and such...jumping and doing tricks. Then they were into unicycles...also, not normal unicycle riding but again hopping up stairs and riding on ramps kinda unicycling. Now it is skateboards. Skateboard tricks on regular sized skateboards and also riding "long boards" down the road going as fast as they can possibly go then spinning around the corners. It is amazing we do not spend a lot of time in an ER...wait, knock wood on that one.

Mother's Day...our way.

I do not like holidays like Mother's Day as the mother. I am better at giving than receiving. I don't want flowers or jewelry or anything like (my husband loves that I am a "cheap date"). I prefer to keep it all low key.

As the daughter, I love finding something "just right" for my mom...this year it was a rose bush for her newer, not quite full rose garden and a container of Chai Tea Latte mix along with one of those cute, tiny, battery-powered whisks to make the milk foamy (my mom loves Chai Tea).

Our weekend began like many of our other weekends...taking Haley and Dylan to NY so Haley could have a fiddle lesson followed by lunch with friends from South Jersey who were also in NY for a fiddle lesson. (I have been thinking of asking the fiddle teacher for a finder's fee for all the kids who've gone to him thanks to Haley. LOL) Then we met our friends from CT who were visiting their grandmother in NY and headed over to Juilliard to watch a couple PreCollege quartet performances. Haley was pretty impressed with the Dvorak piece the last quartet played...sorry I don't remember which it was but it was a Presto movement. She initially felt like the pieces were "a little boring" and said she didn't want to have to play any of them but after the last group played, she came back and said she would have loved to play that "exciting piece." Dylan was mostly just a good sport through it all that but I did see him listening intently to the guitarist in the guitar and flute duo.

We went from the NYC to Rockaway, NJ for an Irish music session mostly because we wanted to visit with our friend, Iris, who schedules the monthly sessions there and hadn't been able to coordinate schedules to go to any of the concerts or sessions yet this year. The kids had a good time and met some new friends at the session. We spent the night with Iris. The kids love spending the night at Iris' because she has many, many guitars (Dylan's favorites) and harps (Haley's favorites) which they are then allowed to play in the morning. She also has a new puppy. Iris tells great stories and is a lot of fun.

We drove home...taking longer than the drive should have because the GPS decided to send us on smaller roads with lots of traffic lights rather than the main highway. Ugh! I knew I shouldn't have listened to it but not being all that familiar with the area up there, I went against my better judgement.

We quickly unloaded our stuff at home, visited the dog and chicks then headed to Grammy's house to visit with her. Haley and Dylan went swimming in the pool which was really, really (think ice cubes) cold!  They didn't last long. Haley practiced violin then we had pizza so we moms didn't have to cook and played a few games of Bananagrams. Haley and Dylan are getting much better at that game. I am always impressed with some of the words they come up with.

Haley made me a coupon booklet for Mother's Day containing coupons for "Free Backrubs," "Free Kisses," "Free Hugs," or "Free Dishes Done" that are supposed to work "on any kid." I couldn't wait to use a few so I used some hugs and kisses ones immediately on her. Haley loves to make gifts for everyone.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Haley's Crafts....

Taking her inspiration from MyFroggyStuff, Haley has made a couple of her own videos for crafts to make for dolls. She'd love it if people would watch them and comment! Here's her youtube channel.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Making It Count Tuesdays....

Over at Everyday Snapshots, Pam does a link up for ideas bloggers have found on the internet and tried. We blog about it then link up to her blog and check out what everyone else there has found as well. Kinda neat!

In my first post linked last week, I talked about the Amish Friendship bread Haley and I created starter for then baked 10 days later. Yesterday we did our second baking. This time we found a recipe @ The Family Foodie for actual bread using our Herman starter. Boy, was it good! It was the perfect texture for us and a little bit sweet but didn't really have a strong sourdough taste (I was worried about that because I am not a big fan of sourdough bread). I think we have found the perfect use for all that starter we are making...sorry, friends, we won't be sharing any starter with anyone. Ha!

Since we had 3 cups of starter to dispose of, I mean,  to use and I wasn't sure we'd like the bread recipe so much, I also tried a Herman starter coffee cake recipe that we found at All Recipes. It was good but I think I'd tweak it if I decided to make it again. The good thing was that it used 2 cups of starter.

I also wanted to show some of the crafts Haley has been making using ideas she finds at and also MyFroggyStuff's youtube channel. Haley has been making little miniature rooms for her dolls using every box that comes into the house....little box rooms are all over the basement floor.

Here are some of the neater things she's made....


Diner box 


Shelving unit for boys' room

Sushi complete with chopsticks


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Busking with Friends...

 On Friday, Paraic called and asked if Haley and Dylan wanted to come to the city to busk with him today because there was a festival going on in the area and there would be lots of people.

His real reason was to have some time to practice with Haley because he has been sending her tune ideas and they have been working out sets together so they can play more at gigs. He sends her exciting tunes that she loves to learn. They both know a ton of tunes but not all the same ones so playing more and more together has helped them learn each others' tunes.

They were not part of the festival so were sitting on a friend's front stoop and there were venders in front of them so they didn't have many people come back behind to drop money in their case (lots of people stood and clapped on the other side) so it was not a very profitable day. But they had a lot of fun together and got to practice. At various times they were joined by other musicians who played along or sang. It was perfect weather and we enjoyed walking around the festival afterward to see the vender's wares.

One thing we need to remember is to have Haley wear capris or jeans when busking because you never know where you'll end up sitting.

Chicken Update...

 Our chicks are growing up. We've had some really warm days and started putting them outside during the day.

The first day we put them in, we thought they could not get through the chain link fence so after watching them for about 20 min. I went inside to practice with Haley. I looked out about 20 min. later and half the chicks were outside the enclosure really close to the fence while some were coming out then going in. Daddy had to put chicken wire around the bottom of the enclosure so they can't escape.

They are so funny in the outside enclosure. When we first put them in, they flit around flying short distances and hopping like they are so happy to be able to spread their wings. Then they get to work pecking and scraping at the ground.  They have been picking on the Buff Polish so we separate her in a fenced in area when they are enclosed so she can heal but when in the outside cage, they do not mess with her or else she is able to get away from them.

Here's our Columbian Wyandotte eating out of a hand. She acts shy and afraid but once you have her on your hand, she doesn't want to get off and likes to sit there looking around.

   Their first chance to peck and scratch at the ground in their new outside enclosure. Aren't they getting        so big! Hard to believe they have grown so much in a few short weeks.

                                                                Coop and enclosure.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wonder How Long It Takes to Learn to Fly a Helicopter?

With all the driving I do...and I do a ton of driving...over 34, 000 miles in a year, I have been thinking lately that I should take some time and learn to fly a helicopter then purchase one instead of a car. This idea has taken on a new urgency since I learned that the qualifying regional Irish competition (that same one that one needs to win in order to compete in Ireland in August) is on the same day as Haley's PRYSM orchestra concert. One event is in Parsippany and the other back home in Philly, a good 2 hours away not including extra time for traffic. Ugh!!  Technically she needs to be leaving for Philly prior to the time she'd be competing. Not quite sure how that's going to work out.

Maybe I could use some Flue Powder....does anyone know a wizard? Or a time machine?

The end of May/beginning of June is a really busy time. Orchestra concerts, classical teacher's studio concert, the Irish competition, then after all that a few really nice Irish gigs for the kids. Haley has been practicing more. Her teacher always jokes about "doubling your practice"....well, I think, she's almost met that goal.