Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Hunger Games" Themed Cupcakes for Birthday or Halloween!

Hey there, friends!
 October is just around the corner
and I'm seeing lots of
Halloween-ish recipes and crafts about  and looooooooving them all!
What  a festive time of year!
Perfect weather, perfect memories.
The love of costuming the kids
(okay the craziness too, at times... all part of the fun though)
Year after year, even as the kids get older,
of trekking around the neighborhood, enjoying the friends, 
the aromas, the crunchy leaves, the snapping of pictures and capturing of memories.
This treat, though, doesn't exactly encapsulate
 THAT aspect of the beauty and the loveliness....
Nope, I'm sharing a real gorey, crowd pleaser!
We made these cupcakes at my son's 10th birthday party and  what a hit they were
 among many themed treats and snacks!
You can click here to glimpse a bit more about his

And here's President Snow
(AKA, the birthday boy!) 
surveying the treats before party time.
If you have not read the Hunger Games series with your kids
yet, what on Earth are you waiting for??
You. Must,
The political discussions, the correlation in SO many ways of
the characterizations to  ancient civilizations too...
the in depth discussions around current world events and
history are without number!
We also discuss the lack of any any religion at all within the series
and its impact on the leadership throughout Panem as well as  the citizens'despair.....
my kids have noted and compared the futuristic society within the books
to the direction in which our country is moving.
Really, the series is much more than meets the eye.

So, my son, upon our planning of costumes, treats and such for the upcoming
awesomeness of HALLOWEEN!! said I should share
our  "Clove's Impressive Array of Knives Cupcakes" 
( the line Katniss used to describe the knives wielded by one of her opponents)
from his party here on my blog for the holiday!
I thought it was a great idea,
especially for those of you with BOYS who cannot get enough of,
well, the bloodiness ( aka red food color!)
of the holiday!

So here goes:
A couple of shots of the cupcakes up close:
As you can see they are ultra easy to put together!


Here's what you need:

1. Your favorite cake recipe
( or a boxed mix)

2 .Your fave icing recipe  

3. mini cupcake holders ( I found  festive ones here

3. red food color You likely have it in the house, but if not and you want to make life easy, you can pick it up here.

4. candy knives as seen above
I bought mine at a local party store when I last needed them. This year the store  no longer sells them!   So I found them on amazon!

Just assemble as we did, above, or using your own creativity. Display on a lovely platter and you're all set.
Happy Halloween!

Happy Hunger Games 

and ......
May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor!

(If I could cue Vincent Price's laugh  from "Thriller," here,
I would. But I can't!! )

Until next time,


Thank you for visiting, friends!
If you enjoyed your visit here today, 
please subscribe to Campfires and Cleats by scrolling to
the box at the top left.

Sunday Snippets ~ 9/29/13

Hi friends and welcome!
It's been a while since I've linked with RAnn's Carnival of Catholic Posts......
I so enjoy reading the other bloggers' links at RAnn's home on the web!

So here's our week in blogging....


 Come on and click over for seven bloggers' contributions.
There are stories, reflections, crafts, a trip to DC for The March,
 a winning Respect Life video 
and more!  

Please head to RAnn's for more Sunday snippets....

Thank you for visiting, friends!
If you enjoyed your visit here today, 
please subscribe to Campfires and Cleats by scrolling to
the box at the top left.
Until next time,

Thanks to Shabby blogs for the   dividers

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Theme Thursday: "Out" 9/26/13

I always enjoy linking up at Cari's hop
 and discovering how others interpret the theme for the week...
Just lots of fun....
and we, Moms, do need an occasional, fun diversion, right?

So here's my take on OUT:

AS SOON as the rain stopped, my little man zipped 
from the cabin right OUTside into 'his' lake.
More in this post of Adirondack Memories.
Being 10 and cooped up all day in the cabin,
 even with a box of game-goodies.....
"Sorry" anyone? just no fun.

Thanks for stopping in friends and please click over to Cari's 
for more Theme Thursday posts.

While you're here......
will you take a walk with a few of us Catholic bloggers 
on the topic of "pro-life??"
Nancy coordinated the whole effort, contributed to by several bloggers.
Please click over for stories, reflections, crafts, a trip to DC for The March
 and much more on the prolife topic.

The post is here, along with all the pro life links.
Thank you for visiting, friends!
If you enjoyed your visit here today, 
please subscribe to Campfires and Cleats by scrolling to
the box at the top left.
Until next time,

Thanks to Shabby blogs for the   dividers

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Protesting the Legal Holocaust~ Respect for Life: Pro-Life Blog Carnival

~Hi there friends~~!
Welcome to my home on the web
 AND to the Catholic Bloggers' Pro-Life Carnival!
Thanks for stopping in to spend some time here.....
I am honored to be a part of this month's team of Catholic bloggers 
writing with a Pro-life focus.
Nancy of Do Small Things With Love is the creator and organizer
 of the series..Go Nancy!.... 

She's compiled a few of the photos which appear 
in the posts of the contributing bloggers:

Beautiful, no?

In the posts that I share here,
I discuss our parish trip to DC for The March for Life 2013
and  the Respect Life video that my son created and for which he received 
an honor at the diocesan level.
I hope that you'll have a chance to visit all of 
the pro life posts of these bloggers,
 who wrote for this month's collective:

Jennifer from Catholic Inspired
Melody from Blossoming Joy

The post  links are below..........

Thank you for visiting, friends!
If you enjoyed your visit here today, 
please subscribe to Campfires and Cleats by scrolling to
the box at the top left.

Until next time,

Thanks to Shabby blogs for the rose  dividers

Friends, my son's video at link#5 is n-o-w working....!
Thanks to those who informed it was broken.
BUT the URL below has  been changed.
Please click here to get to the post with the Pro Life Video at #5

"And the Winner..." of the Ultimate Homeschool Planner Giveaway Is...............

DaLynn McCoy!

DaLynn's name  was randomly drawn in my   Ultimate HS Planner 2013
 giveaway of last week.
 For the Display of His Splendor is DaLynn's home of the web!
You probably  know her already...if not, please
 go say hi, enjoy her lovely posts and tell her I sent you!
(DaLynn, I'll contact you for your snail mail address.)

Can I tell you how very  happy I am to be part of a
<<<<< growing >>> >
circle of kind, caring, supportive friends 
here in the blogosphere!?

THANK YOU to all who entered!
I wish you EACH could have won.

Have a great day friends and thank you for stopping in!

Until next time,


(My giveaway post will be reverted to draft form in a few minutes
 to save  others the trouble of clicking there and 
entering now that the drawing is over.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Algebra SOS: Our Resources, Links, Materials and God + Algebra

I'm not sure if anyone's ever actually died of algebra.
I'm afraid to look into this too deeply, for fear of truly finding out.
When  I do <ack>  get myself and, most importantly, my son ( ! ) 
 through the curriculum and
successfully  mastering the concepts this school year,
I'll be by this lake,
subject of many of our vacation pics and blog posts:

with a pitcher of white zin, and  a massive feeling of accomplishment, 
come summer 2014.
Lavender Dreams divider

Until goes:
My son is in grade 8 and  while he'd be taking algebra anyway this year, 
we've decided to  "accelerate" him into
the curriculum for which he'll take the state test, the Regents exam, in June.
Here's the Board of Regents website, with a focus on algebra,
 for my NYS friends and readers.
For out of staters, maybe you might use this as just one more
additional resource for practice examples?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's  heavy in common core.
Well, whatever we think of the substandardization that CC is bringing down the pike,
we still need to master the material, right?
So let's do that.

We plan to enroll him in high school next school year and since he is learning algebra and Earth Science at home ( the latter, with my hubby as this is his area)
he'll take both of those tests and then enter high school in the "advanced" track.
Okay, so lots to say about that and to worry about too,
( though I think I've done a pretty good job of hiding my stress
over being an inadequate higher level math teacher where my son's concerned).
At mass today, Father said this in his homily, as he
discussed the Gospel,
"Fear is the absence of Faith."
Since I'm algebra-obsessed,
 I took this to mean that he was specifically telling me
I should  look to the Lord to give me what I need 
to not only conquer the course but make these numbers dance poetically.
It put things in perspective.

So, let's focus on the path to success this year with a plan, with great resources and
most importantly, with Faith.

Please jump in and share any resources which you've used 
and can recommend with assurances!
 Believe me, I am wide open to tips and advice!
Thank you for that!

Here is a listing of resources we're using this school year.

Lavender Dreams divider

Ok, I have to say that I AM an amazon affiliate.
 I am not affiliated with any of the other companies to which I link here. 
I'm really just linking to them because I'd like to make it easier 
for my readers to click to the source and get more info.

Lavender Dreams divider

As our spine:

Math U See Algebra (student text)
Math U See teacher edition
Test booklet
Algebra/decimal inserts
The entire set of Algebra 1 MUS is found here.

Product Details

 Product Details
Lavender Dreams divider

Resources for ME to obtain concept-background 
and presentation tips:

Bob Miller's 
Algebra For the Clueless

I LOVE LOVE the Bob Miller series!! 

You must check out Bob's series. 
He breaks every topic into fundamental,
manageable pieces of info.

Algebra 1 pub by Holt

The above is really intended for whole classroom instruction,
 as it contains overhead transparencies....
BUT, the ideas and unique presentation of concepts drew me in....
so, we put the overhead on the table between us and use it that way.
It can be adapted and it works out fine.
There are literally 92 "Lesson Openers" throughout the book 
on every topic imaginable within 
the realm of algebra. 
It is REALLY worth looking into.
Lavender Dreams divider

Ancillary materials for review /
 additional practice problems:

Algebra DeMystified

Algebra 1 Abeka

Algebra 1 Glencoe

Lavender Dreams divider
~Some Fun Resources In Which to Spend Algebra Time~

Fred's Home Companion: Algebra

Life Of Fred Beginning Algebra
as Serious as it Needs to Be

If you don't know Life of Fred, you should!
Go get a LOF book and have fun!

Lavender Dreams divider

~Review books for year end assessments~

Integrated Algebra
Barron's Review Course Series

Front Cover

Algebra Schaum's Easy Outlines

Front Cover

And, again, here is the link to past  NYS tests, presented by the 
Office of State Assessment.
These can be used as additional review!

Lavender Dreams divider
~ Algebra DVDs we've used and liked~

Math Relief!
( click for their site)

The Standard Deviants - Algebra Adventure

Lavender Dreams divider

Friends, thank you so much for stopping in today to take a peek 
at our journey and spend a little time here in my space!
Perhaps some of this info has been helpful to you on your quest
 to master algebra in your homeschool as well!
I'd love to hear from you if you have time to comment.

Lavender Dreams divider

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time here at my home on the web!

Don't forget to subscribe to Campfires and Cleats
 by scrolling to the subscribe button at the  top left sidebar.
I'd love to stay in touch regularly.

Until next time,


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thought-Gathering Journal ~Along with Lots of Geography, History,Whovian, Math and Other Great Links From Our Week~9/21/13

Hi there and welcome to my little corner of the web!
I very much appreciate your visit....!

What fun to journal the week's events and to read others' journeys along the way as well!

The weekly routine of reflecting upon the week
 through the help of the daybook/journal prompts has been so helpful to me
in sorting thoughts and keeping organized!

In our homeschool this week~
Well, here goes.....
K: History~Fasicsm and Mussolini's rise post WWI, the Treaty of Versailles, Hoovervilles, the Bonus Army, FDR's 1932 defeat of Hoover, "Happy Days are Here Again," tenets of the New Deal ( a great book we are reading: New Deal or Raw Deal. Wow, talk about debunking the legend that is  FDR! Whoa.  Now Obama has some ELSE to blame for the ruination that he "inherited." Who knew that some economists are still reaching back 80 years to pinpoint the destruction of America's finances? Sheesh.
Also, Eleanor Roosevelt, polio research.  
Science: measuring density, volume, mass and rounding to nearest tenth, labs around the same.
Math: review ( so we can launch full speed ahead in to the algebra curr this week ) circumference and area of a circle, pi, pythogorean theorem, beating division and multiplication logic problems to death, operations with positive and negative numbers. Coming soon: a post with a cheat sheet on just that. Those pesky negative signs.
Literature: A unit on the American Short story. focusing on Stephen Vincent Benet's "The Devil and Dan'l Webster," which had us gripped this week..... and moving to Edgar Allen Poe next week.
Grammar.Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 9, Use of Strunk and White's Elements of Grammar as our spine.
Faith/Apologetics, Confirmation prep, writing for his tech site, blogging, creating code ( He is learning java script too and just loves it!) I've got to get a post up with our specific  materials. I have found numerous really good ones....well, he's found that great tech stuff...I'll share soon.
Latin: moving on in chapter 2

T: History. This week, Napoleon met his Waterloo after we mapped out his trek across Europe and into Russia and then being exiled to Elba. I'd still like to know why the French gov't gave him a 400 man army upon exile? I have to be missing something here.
Gotta say, Csar Alexander was pretty crafty, zipping ahead of Bonaparte and burning those bridges.
Math: fractions: fractional parts of numbers, adding and subtracting fractions with same denominators, equivalent fractions.
Science: matter...all about it: 4 phases, chemical and physical changes, etc....
Faith study, saint bios, cursive, Shakespeare study, lots and lots of spelling and phonics
T is dyslexic and I will be sharing here, once I get enough time to sit and organize a series of posts, some of the resources that I've used and rely upon with success.

~ fractions in pj's~


My best read  on the web this week...... 
Autumn Inspiration Week at  my friend, Becky's blog!  Please click over and ........prepare to be inspired!  I just know her  words will bless you as they have me. At Journeying Outside  My Box, Becky has joined an autumn series hosted by our bloggers' group,  Inspired Bloggers' Network, which is wonderful!  (I did not link up, knowing I'd not have the ability to commit to the series.)
In other blogging "news," my friend, Nancy, is organizing a  pro-life series which will go live on her blog this coming week. I'm thrilled to have contributed two posts and I can't wait to read the other bloggers' pieces. I'll definitely share the pro life links here when they are up. Until then, why not head over to Nancy's welcoming blog and enjoy her style and her craftiness? You'll be happy you did! 

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...
Geography, geography, geography......... I honestly don't have pictures of this, save this incidental one of the map behind my son ( opening his 'start of the school year gifts last week) 

 But my "tip" this week?  I have taken to hanging world maps and USA maps in pretty much every room.  It hit me last year ( and do I do anything about it immediately? No. It took me several months.) when my younger son came in 4th <woohoo>  in our county's National Geographic GeoBee and my older son was eliminated in <gulp> the first round  and this after drilling and reading and using these amazing resources: 

National Geographic Bee Ultimate Fact Book:Countries A to Z

AND despite him being asked questions about places WE TRAVELED TO  THAT PAST SUMMER.  Well..... I needed to bring my geography immersion up a notch.  Or a thousand notches. When I told my kids this, both said, "Even more geography than last year preparing for the Bee? Ack!" Never fear. Once at every meal, each of us takes a turn asking ONE question about anyplace in the world. A border, a capital, a body of water, a line of latitude, a landform. Overheard here at the table last week? Are you ready? This: "Wow, this is fun!" Ha! Also, I had no idea we'd incidentally refer  to the maps when discussing anything and everything: world events, a fun chat about our summer travels, etc..... 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing...
The boys met their violin teacher this week for an evaluation so that he can form classes. They're so excited to join the orchestra this season! Their lessons and orchestra rehearsal itself begins in mid October and will run til mid May. T had a cooking class this week for "Overstuffed Apples," which I may link up at my friend, Lisa's, recipe hop. Giving the teacher, Chef Rob, the credit, of course.  Yum.   Lisa's got the most welcoming hop around!
The boys, for the first time, ever are age-wise on the same soccer team in our CYO! They are loving being together. I have to say, they are by no means star athletes. No delusions here. BUT. They are pretty strong defenders. They  ( humbly) call themselves The Wall. One other benefit?  Selfishly? When hubby takes them to practice Wednesday nights...          I. Get. To. Be. Home. Alone. Sigh. Don't know when that's happened before! Wow, it was nice. An hour and a few minutes beyond, of quiet. What to do first?


My favorite thing this week ...
Just some pretty nice, smooth moments where the kids were actually doing, getting along, life was balanced, the laundry was away and the dishes cleared before midnight.

I said "moments." This was not how my whole week went. Gotta be grateful for those moments of gold!


Things I’m creating...
Well, maintaining rhythm and balance and keeping my patience AND not overloading my kids in the process. When the eyes glaze over, I've come to recognize that it's time for a break. ... grab a snack, a cold drink, let them go shoot hops for a few minutes in the yard. Also, hubby's birthday's in  ten days or so. We're creating a photo collage of some sort of our summer's travels, Also, planning the birthday dinner menu, wrapping, etc...


I’m cooking...
Nothing fancy, though I did throw a whole chicken in the oven one afternoon this week which was scrumptious! I also got two more dinners and one lunch out of it, in leftovers! Chicken soup, chicken salad and chicken fingers...added roasted veggies and a couple of different styles of potatoes and we were set there for a few days with no fuss.


I’m grateful for... 
health. I never take it for granted. Ladies, a plea: Make. Your. Annual. Mammogram. Appointment. Now.  Go, I'll wait. Call now and book it.  I had my mammogram and ultrasound this week. Yep, it;s a pain int he neck and you need to take time out of your busy schedule to book it, drive there and wait, wait, wait. But.  You have many people depending on you. You must be proactive.  My hubby's mom  ( who died at age 56 of the disease) and his maternal uncle  ( yes uncle) had breast cancer.  Two of my  first cousins, too. One was beaten by the disease and passed 11 years ago.  Decades too young. The other appears to have beaten it.   I've had more positive mammograms and ultrasounds than I can count and been  aspirated and biopsied so many times, that, friends, if I can do it, so can you! Go.


A  quote...
"My superpower's  homeschooling! What's yours?" 
...stolen from  my friend, Denise! Go click over to Denise's absolutely lovely blog. She has sage advice for the homeschooling Mommy over there. Plus, she's Whovian. What's not to love about Denise?   And if you do click to that Whovian link, scroll to the bottom of my post to see the clip of David Tennant and Catherine Tate! Right now, time's of the essence;  soccer game time is quickly approaching. So it's easier to ask you to click here to  my own blog for the video than embed a YT link! 


My posts this week...

(please click over to enter!)


What we're up to next week...
Moving on through the curriculum, more soccer, art classes at the library, and choir practice  for my younger son. 

 I absolutely love  participating in 
The Homeschool Mother's Weekly Journal
Weekly Wrap Up!

Friends, thank you so much for stopping in and visiting!
Please click over to our hostesses for others' weekly wrap ups and journals
Catching a glimpse into each others' homeschooling journeys 
is quite inspirational ( and fun!) 
Isn't it?


For a how-to on my personalized back-to-school message boards,

And for details on our first day celebratory pencil cake,


Don't forget to subscribe to Campfires and Cleats
 by scrolling to the subscribe button at the  top left sidebar.

Until next time,