Thursday, May 30, 2013

Videos from Peekskill...

I promised some videos from Haley's performance with The John Whelan Band last weekend...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Paramount Theater Peekskill...

Haley had a blast yesterday afternoon performing with The John Whelan Band at the Paramount Theater in Peekskill, NY. What a beautiful theater! I love old buildings and this theater was recently renovated but they left all the beautiful details like the painted ceiling and the carvings on the end seats.

We arrived at the theater around noon for a sound check which took a long time. I am only beginning to understand all that goes into sound with a band...having the right mix of sound in the monitors for each musician then the house sound with everything controlled in different places. Ugh!

After the sound check we went up to the green room which consisted of one main room with pizza and drinks then a number of dressing rooms. Everyone fueled up then there were a few run-throughs of some songs being sung by guest performers and a quick discussion to make up a set list.

In previous performances, Haley's job was to come up at some point during the show, perform a tune with John on accordion then do a solo and stay on stage for the rest of the performance. This time, she was onstage for the entire performance. She knows most of John's tunes from his CDs and listening live. There were a couple tunes on the set list I knew she didn't know...I don't think the audience could tell she stepped back from the mic a bit and bowed smaller. She quickly learned each on the fly and by the second go round was back up close to her mic and bowing confidently.

There were a number of special guests invited onstage. An accordion player, a singer, and the special guest above, Joanie Madden, from Cherish the Ladies and Pride of New York. They did a set of reels and a lovely rendition of The Sally Garden completely unrehearsed. I will post a few videos soon.

Here is a picture that shows how much Haley enjoys performing. When we got into the car after the show she said, "I didn't ever want the show to be over." (This was after performing for nearly 3 hours!)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Announcing the 2013 Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour...

Announcing the 2013 Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour, June 14th - June 21st.

Homeschooling: Or Who's Ever Even Home is very excited to be participating in the Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour 2013 from June 14th-21st. 

This international blog tour is organized by parents who met on The Well Trained Mind Message boards.

We come from different parts of the world, different school choices, and different social and economic backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common. We know that parenting a gifted child can sometimes be as challenging as it is rewarding.

If you have ever woken up at 3 AM in the morning wondering “What am I going to do with this child?” then this blog tour is for you!

From June 14th-21st the Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour will discuss some of the most pertinent issues facing gifted education today:

On June 14th Sceleratus Classical Academy will kick off our tour with “Comparison is the Thief of Joy.”

On June 15th Only Passionate Curiosity will share “Maturity vs. Ability; It’s a Big Deal”. Childhood Inspired will write about “Nurturing Other Aspects of Giftedness Besides Academics”.

On June 16th Teaching My Baby to Read will feature “Harry Potter, Muggles, Mudbloods, and Giftedness in Family Trees”.

On June 17th Homeschooling: or Who’s Ever Home will write about “Nurturing Musical Talent in the Gifted Child”.

On June 18th Strader Spiel will discuss “Homeschooling a Gifted Child with Special Needs” and The Washington Collation of Gifted Education will share “I’m an Advocate and So Are You”.

On June 19th Northwoods Classical Academy will write about “The Making of a Mathlete”.

On June 20th Homeschooling Hatters will share “Just Let Him Be a Kid”, and Sceleratus Classical Academy will end our tour with a guest post titled “When a Flower Blooms”.

There is still room for more contributions, so please email if you are interested in joining the tour!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I think we are inadvertently starting a dog-sitting service. We often watch our neighbor's dog when they go away. Hershey stays in his outside kennel and one of us, usually the boys, walks over a couple times a day to let him run or take him for a walk and feed him. He'd a good dog and listens really well.

This week, an Irish music friend who often has house sessions, asked us to take care of his dog while his family went away to his daughter's wedding. He brought Loki over on Wednesday night and Loki made himself right at home. He fit himself right into our family. He and Tinks get along great with just a little butt sniffing now and then. He sleeps with one of the kids on a rotating schedule. I got him a chew rope which he rolls around on the floor with or retrieves for us. He is a great dog! (If it weren't for the shedding hair, we'd probably try to keep him.)

Today Haley's Civil War Diaries class had a table set up at Vineland Founders' Day. The table had Civil War items the kids made like lanterns and hardtack, their Civil War lap books, and other period items.

We couldn't stay long because Haley's orchestra concert was also today but she had fun. She met President Abraham Lincoln and his bodyguard.

 She met some Confederate soldiers. Her character for her Civil War diary is Caroline, a violin playing Confederate spy.

 Well, I should have trimmed the photo to take out the cars but I thought this looked so "Little House on the Prairie."

Haley did a quick change in the car as we drove through traffic to PRYSM's orchestra concert. I am always impressed with what those kids accomplish in a few months. They sounded great!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Congrats, Haley! 5X MidAtlantic under 12 Irish Fiddle Champ!!!

This past weekend was the 2013 MidAtlantic Fleadh in Parsippany. (Yes, I spent Mother's Day listening to Irish music...What better way is there to spend that day?)

Saturday, Haley did a great job playing and took 1st for the fifth year in a row in the under 12 solo fiddle. She took 2nd in fiddle slow airs. Her friend, Sofia, took 1st and her other friend, Bram, took 3rd so it was a great competition!

Dylan competed in under 18 accompaniment. He had decided about 2 weeks or less ago to compete because he doesn't really like to compete and would rather just perform. It was a "bad mommy" moment for me because the first competitor in his competition played and Haley, Dylan, and I looked at each other and said, "He played three tunes." I had forgotten that they go from playing two tunes in under 15 to three tunes in under 18. Ugh! I had Haley and Dylan (Haley played fiddle for Dylan to accompany) quickly pick a hornpipe they often play together. They had no time to prepare it or practice it before Dylan's turn came up. He played great but he isn't the most traditional of players so he didn't place. He had planned to compete in banjo and in duets with Haley but he only knows jigs and reels on his banjo and didn't have any other type of tune to add for a third tune so he withdrew from those competitions. He and Haley will work on it for next year and be ready to go.

Sunday, Haley, Alex, and Keegan...they called themselves "The Converse Trio" because they all wore Converse sneakers but Dylan said maybe the "Coffeetotallers" would be a better name in reference to some of their favorite Irish musicians who call themselves the Teetotallers...took 2nd in the under 15 trio competition. They worked really hard and played well together plus had a lot of fun doing it.

In between competitions the kids spent a lot of time going swimming and playing tunes together until the wee hours of the morning. It was a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Sightseeing in Philly...

We had a special day Monday. Haley's friend, Sofia, and her mother drove down from CT on Sunday. They spent the night and Monday we took them to Philadelphia to see the sights and attend a concert. Our first stop was the Liberty Bell which was much smaller than they had imagined it to be.

We walked all over our favorite spots in Olde City. We showed them the foundation of a house in 1776. Haley loves it because it is so small and says on the plaque that the first floor was generally the person's workplace and they lived in the 2nd floor and attic. It amazes her that they needed so much less living space than we, Americans feel we need today. The girls are pictured below with Sofia sitting on the house foundation. In front of her is the kitchen garden in the "backyard" with Haley at the gate. You can't see it but to the right of Sofia is a well pump.

Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated this garden to the soldiers who died defending out liberty. It is an 18th century style garden. The tulips were in full bloom and were very beautiful and fragrant.

The Betsy Ross House

Ben Franklin's Grave

The concert we attended was an All Mozart Concert by the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra with Roberto Diaz and his wife, Elissa Lee Koljonen, performing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. Haley loved the piece, especially the last movement (Presto). During the intermission we were able to go backstage to meet the soloists.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

A Weekend Day in the Life...

We are usually running for some reason or another on the weekends...lessons in NY, gigs, sports events, or sessions. I really enjoy a good day at home without schoolwork to think about. I have time to get my house in order and Haley gets some good practicing done.

Today I had over half the house cleaned before Haley got out of bed at almost 10am!!! Yes, 10am...she must have really needed to sleep because she is almost always up by 8am unless it is cloudy out and today was beautiful and sunny. Newt had spent the night at a friend's for a bonfire last night. (Bonfires are very popular for the high school crowd around here.)  Dylan got up early to head to Great Adventure with his best buddy, Drew. So, I took a shower, opened some windows to let in the warm, fresh air, cleaned all three bathrooms, and dusted before Haley wandered down rubbing her sleepy eyes. She was shocked it was 10am, too.

She got breakfast and dressed then practiced her orchestra material followed by her technique. I vacuumed and helped with her technique practice. Then I cleaned her bedroom (what a job!!!)...we are supposed to have guests tomorrow night so I needed to get it done...I'd been letting her do it and putting it off a deep cleaning for too long.

Newt came home around noon and picked up Haley to take her pond fishing. Thank goodness. It is really hard to clean her room when she is complaining about everything I try to throw away. I sometimes imagine her grown up on the show Hoarders. The kids texted me Haley's first two fish. They caught quite a few and Newt caught a 1lb. sunny but couldn't keep it.

While they were gone, I finished up my cleaning and worked on sewing the modifications to Haley's Southern Belle gown for her Civil War class. A couple weeks ago, Haley and I found a couple great dresses and a large crinoline plus some clip on pearl earrings at a local thrift shop for $15. One dress is a wedding gown which we dyed pink. It came out really cool with the lace taking more of the pink than the gown. This gown is way too big for Haley and I am not a seamstress so altering it that much would have been a nightmare but I may wear it to the Civil War Ball in June except we'd need another crinoline.

Wedding gown pre-dying.

Haley dying the gown.

The other dress we found should work better for Haley. What a find that was! Here it is with the too big crinoline underneath. I modified the crinoline to the right length for Haley and made an off-white lace skirt with under skirting to go under the dress but over the crinoline so the gown will be floor-length. I still have to figure out a way to attached the skirt I made to the crinoline.

Haley and Newt came home from fishing and I gave Newt a haircut and helped Haley practice her fiddling and repertoire. Daddy got home from work and started re-hanging our photos...he recently painted most of the house.

All in all it was a very productive day. We are waiting for Newt to return home with pizza and we'll watch a movie while we wait for Dylan to get home.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013