Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bethlehem Celtic Classic 2012

Yesterday was another of those great days! I so love fall and all the festivals. Haley, Dylan, Daddy, and I went to the Bethlehem Celtic Classic. Each year they host a fiddle competition at the festival with two age groups, 13 and under and 14-18. It is a little different from a Fleadh in that the kids have to perform three different styles of tunes together in a set and are allowed to have accompaniment. We love going to this festival because we've gone for the past 3 years and know many of the people who attend and run the festival. This year Haley's friend, Alex, was there as usual and we were pleasantly surprised to see a couple of the Next Gen kids and one of Haley's PRYSM friends there to compete as well.

Dylan and Haley with Alex, Alanna, Patrick and his dad, Bob.
These kids all took 1st and 2nd in their age groups.

Haley with her buddy, Genevieve. Haley got to know Genevieve really well during
4 hour rehearsals with The John Whelan Band in Ohio this summer.

The kids had a great time staying backstage with their friends talking tunes and whatever. Haley played a slow air, The Wounded Hussar, the High Level hornpipe, and a reel, Trim the Velvet accompanied by Dylan. There were 8 kids in her age group ranging in age from 10-12yo. Haley took 1st for the 3rd time and her friend, Patrick, took 2nd. They told Haley she could move up to the next age group next year if we wanted.

Here's a link to Haley's performance.

Haley receiving her medal.
We stayed for the next age group to hear Alex and Alanna plus Dylan was to accompany Alex. Below is a photo of the kids waiting for Alex's turn. Don't know if you can see it from the pics but the building where the competition is held is an old ice house with brick walls. It has great acoustics and looks really neat.

Alex and Dylan competing.
Alex took 1st in his age group and Alanna took 2nd. Dylan was 2-0 in 1st place wins for those he accompanied. Ha! After the competition, while waiting for the judges to make their decision, the fiddlers who were still there came out and played a few tunes together with Genevieve.

We walked into town after it was all over and had lunch at Bethlehem Brew Works with Alex and his parents. Haley enjoyed trying on a cute hat in a little shop. After lunch we walked back to the festival and watched a few Highland games. We listened to a little music and met up with some other friends for a bit then headed home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Perfect Day...

 Every once in awhile you get one of those perfect  family days. Saturday was one of those days!

A couple weeks ago, someone had suggested I get in touch with the people who run the North Wildwood Irish Fest and let them know about Haley. So I sent an email and they responded. It was very close to the day of the festival so their entertainment schedule was set but they got in touch with these very nice brothers, Celtic Pride, who generously agreed to allow Haley and Dylan to join them on stage.

They sent us their music...they sing common Irish pub songs and some of their own original works. Haley and Dylan knew many of their songs so they played along and sat out those they didn't know. During their break, they let Haley and Dylan have the stage for about 20 minutes to play their own traditional music.

After the performance we drove to Cape May to get take-out dinner from the Lobster House, our absolutely favorite place to get seafood. We followed dinner with a walk on the beach...the weather was perfect. Then we topped it off with some fudge for the ride home. All the way home we watched a huge storm brewing in the distance...lightning dancing through the tall clouds. It was amazing!

My Antique Store Find...

 Haley had a little girls' makeup desk in her bedroom with a tiny stool so short her knees were getting close to her chin when she sat on it. She's getting taller and older so it was time to retire the tiny desk and look for a new one.

I had a little time on Thursday too far from home to get there between patients so I walked around the main street of the town where I was and found a little antique store. I noticed this cute little desk just the right size for the space in Haley's room. I honestly did not think it was an antique but thought painted white, it would be perfect. I talked the man down on the price wiggling it...the legs were not screwed in tight.
He was willing to negotiate. I only had my little car so put down a deposit. Haley and I went to pick it up today. She sanded it down while Daddy went to get some white paint. They painted it together and Haley is so proud of her work and the result. She cleaned her room and we put it in. Now we just need to find a nice stool or chair for it!

The finished product. Pretty good for $50. Eh?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poor Chicken...

One of our beautiful Black Australorps, Crow, was attacked by a neighbor's dog yesterday.  Haley and Daddy were home all day except for about 20 minutes when they took Newt to his friend's house so they could drive him to wrestling practice. They returned home and noticed a huge pile of black feathers in the front yard. Ritch thought for sure a chicken had gotten eaten by a chicken hawk or something. He never expected to find her scared and standing next to the fence. The neighbor came over and explained her dog had gotten away from them and attacked her.

A few of the chickens just started getting out now and then the past couple days and need their wings clipped again. Not sure if Crow was out of the fence prior to the dog coming into the yard or if the dog running to the fence scared her out. She is missing feathers on her tail, back, and neck. Part of her wing near the top has been eaten off and she has some puncture wounds on her back. We've separated her from the rest and covered her in antibiotic. Hopefully she won't get an infection. Wish her luck!

No pictures isn't very pretty.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


 Our chickens are laying! Not sure if they are all laying but yesterday we had a record number of 10 eggs! Usually we get somewhere between six and eight eggs. Most of the chickens are laying in the nesting boxes but one Americauna keeps laying in strange places. We now know how they came up with the idea for Easter Egg Hunts.

I love to hear the girls after they lay crowing to let us all know what they have done. We all love to go out and check for eggs...I wonder how long until that becomes a chore. We have a Buff who has been laying huge double yolk eggs. Haley likes eating the "twins" for breakfast.

Today is our first day to sell eggs. Wish us luck!

Civil War Re-enactment

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day. Ritch and I took Haley and her friend, Lily, to Cold Spring Village to see the Civil War Re-enactment. The village had a low turnout of reenactors for the event due to the anniversary of Antietam in Maryland and a huge re-enactment down there this weekend. Even so, the girls had a great time visiting all the shops and crafters and talking to the Civil War people about their jobs and camps.

They watching basket weaving, tin smithing, newspaper printing, woodworking, and visited the old schoolhouse. We talked to a woman cooking in an outdoor beehive oven, visited a couple different types of homes from the 1800's, and saw a variety of farm animals. They talked to the Civil War doctor, soldiers, a woman telling about food and rations the Confederate Army might have had, and learned about different arms and how bullets were made.

Watching basketmaking.

The girls have decided that telegrams are really cool and want to learn morse code so they can send their messages via telegram rather than texting each other. LOL

Sending a telegram
Union soldiers arrive!

Tinkerbell's Thundershirt works great for thunderstorms but not so well for repeated musket fire.


Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the cool early morning weather, the festivals and craft shows, mums, and the colors of the leaves. The past week we had two hot air balloons float near our house. My parents went up for a hot air balloon ride a number of years, I think Newt was a baby. We went to watch and pick them up when the balloon came down. I don't think I want to ever go up in a balloon but I do love watching them and I think they look so neat in the sky.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Yum!

Haley has been doing a lot of baking and trying out new recipes. Her latest "find" was one for salted caramel hot chocolate. She and Daddy went shopping for the ingredients and then she treated us to a delicious cup of steaming cocoa complete with whipped cream and drizzled with caramel. Yum!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Haley was recorded fiddling on the street in Cavan, Ireland by and her video was posted today on their website. They spelled her name wrong and added a year to her age but it's a really nice video of her playing a jig.

Friday, September 07, 2012

New School Year 2012-13

I have been meaning to write this post for the past week or so. I keep putting it off but now I have a few minutes so thought I'd bite the bullet and get it done. My boys started school on Thursday. Both boys are now in high school. Newt is a junior and Dylan a freshman. Dylan decided to play football this year for the high school and spent the summer getting up and out the door for early morning workouts to get ready. He is enjoying the practices and the scrimmages. Tomorrow is the first real game for the varsity but Dylan will not play until the JV game on Monday.

Haley started back to regular violin lessons last weekend. The summer was crazy for both her teacher and us and I think she had only 3 lessons from mid-June until now. She is back in full swing with scales, etudes, and beginning Bach Partita in E Major and Mozart Concerto no. 3. She is very excited about her new repertoire and practicing a lot. On Tuesday we drove to New York for a fiddle lesson and a rare Tuesday night session. (They are usually on Wednesday nights and conflict with my work schedule.) Her buddy John Whelan was there so she was even more excited to go.

Haley started school slowly over the last week or so. I changed my mind on a couple things and reworked some others to make life a little easier for me as far as planning goes. Here is what we have planned for now. I guess we can call this Haley's 5th grade year since she'd be in 5th grade if in public school though her work is hardly what the average 5th grader is doing...

Math: Saxon Algebra 1 (I had struggled with whether or not to complete AoPS Pre-Algebra then decided against it with Haley's input. It did not have enough practice of problems for my taste and she much prefers a straightforward approach to math. Saxon has worked well in the past so we're giving it a go.)

English: K12 Literature Analysis and Composition (This has always been my most difficult subject planning-wise because I had to take from so many resources and combine. I thought we'd try this internet based option. The readings are at the appropriate level for Haley and vocabulary, spelling, composition, and literature are all included in one program.)

Science: Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry Level II, Essential Chemistry for Gifted Students by Sganga, The Elements and Carbon Chemistry by McHenry, various labs resources like Adventures with Atoms and Molecules and Chemistry experiment kits, and additional resources like Eyewitness Book's Chemistry, The Rainbow science curriculum, and Thinkwell Chemistry. (If we make it through most of that she'll have a wonderful understanding of chemistry basics.) I also have a few other books for us to read like The Disappearing Spoon, Napoleon's Buttons, and From Caveman to Chemist.

History: Our spine is World History: The Human Odyssey. We are back at the Ancients this year. Also using The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer, History Portfolios Ancients (for Haley's creative side), and various other ancient history resources I have laying around.

Languages: Rosetta Stone Gaelic and Spanish. May start Latin in a month or so once I see how much work the other subjects take for her.

Music: Taken care of with violin and fiddle lessons. Theory with The Language and Materials of Music by Briggs.

Art: Not sure if we will do anything formal here but have a few ideas I need to work on to see what sticks. Haley is always creating artistic/craft type things. I think she'd enjoy some type of art study or at least some regular time to create with different medium.

I think that's it for now.