Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013!

Happy Halloween, friends!
Have a spooktacular day!!

Thank you for stopping in!
~Enjoy the holiday~

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 on touch regularly!

Until next time,


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkins and Corn Mazes and Hayrides, Oh My!

Hi there friends and welcome!
Thank you for your kind comments and emails....
I am definitely getting better after what is typically a routine illness,
save for the fact that the medication and I were not getting along.
Finally able to blog  our two recent trips to local farms.
So, thank you for stopping in to visit and share our fun!

On Columbus Day morning, the boys still had their usual violin lessons..
Since  my hubby was off and it was a beeeeeeeeautiful Fall afternoon. despite the fact 
that a myriad of chores beckoned around here, we headed to the farm.
Because there's nothing Long Islanders love more than pretending to be rural -ish.
Let's face it- we're not.
But every Fall, droves of Brooklyn, and Queens
 people head "out east" to my neck of the woods 
for apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides and general eastern atmosphere.
And so all of us farm wannabes just love us an afternoon of
barnyard animals, roasted corn, farm mums for our own front stoops or back decks
 and fresh picked Mackintoshes.

Monday- what fun!
We needed it.
We really needed a break and an afternoon of fun nothingness.
The homeschooling life is totally wiping me out this year.
Something different  and time with family was just what I needed.
The hot apple cider helped!

 Then, last  Saturday after the boys' soccer games, 
hubby ( and coach) went to work while my sister and the boys again 
headed a bit east to find some more Autumn.

Thank you friends, thank you always,
for spending some of your precious time here at my spot on the web.
I'm gratefully linking to
a few of the hops featured on my right sidebar. 

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 on touch regularly!

I hope to be back here soon!
Until next time,


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Daybook/Catholic Woman's Almanac: History, Whovian Parties, Hands on Physical Science, Cheesecake, Easy Dinners, Orchestra and More 10/19/13

What fun to journal the week's events and to read others' journeys along the way as well!
The  routine of reflecting upon  my week
 through the help of the daybook/journal prompts has been so helpful to me
in sorting thoughts and keeping organized!

This week I was online a bit more than I planned and so
I do need to keep this an abridged journal, of a sort, so I can tend to a few other things around the house.....
Though I'd rather be blogging!

In our homeschool this week~ Gr 8/9
History More WWII, reading/discussing Diary of  Young Girl, still. It's rather haunting for both of us and I'm not sure we'll finish it;  FDR's "Four Freedoms" Speech examined ( check out his speech delivered here on YouTube)  as well as The Atlantic Charter between Churchill and FDR; ( loving this source~  American IssuesPrimary Source Reader in US History .) events within the European and Pacific Theaters through 1943; examining lots of my Dad's photos from his service in Manila as a US Army Infantryman.
Math LOTS and LOTS of algebra. I am beginning to see the practicality of signing high school level kids up for online courses...for a variety of reasons. Boy am I learning algebra.
English Author study and cont our American short story course; grammar, writing, tech stuff: blogging, writing code, javascript and online graphic design; 
Vocab Wordly Wise book 9 all lesson 5 and test.

Latin~ cont in Henle Latin
Science~ Earth Sci topics...all covered with hubby as this is his area. More labs, lots of math and reference table work; lat and long, P and S waves
Faith~ Confirmation prep, and moving on in these areas:  Apologetics, saint study, 
Catholic Social Justice. And I did tell you last week how happy we were that kev came to choose the name Karol for confirmation? Yay.

Grade 5~ History~ Early 1800s ~ Mexico gains indep from Spain and the slave trade ends...examine John Locke's writing on freedom and equality
Math~ New: equiv fractions. Review: + and - fractions, fract part of a number
Science~ Physical sci experiments: Also, atoms and the movement of atoms in each of the four states.
Here is~ What happens to  volume when temperature increases...marshmallow  heating in microwave for different periods of time:

Yes, expansion.....
But it's still fun to do  ( and snack on the treats as well). We watched it happen after 10, then 20, then 60 seconds in the microwave........... 
Also experiments with salinity and buoyancy:
The good ole egg floating in salt water~~

Faith~ Seton's gr 5 FYC plus moving in on Our Catholic Legacy
English...spelling and phonic pattern of focus, grammar, punctuation, author study, writing, cursive
Guitar lesson & general  crafty fun stuff

For both boys: soccer, violin lessons and orchestra rehearsal 
We never got to finish our art study  of Picasso....hopefully next week.

So proud of my kids when ~ K spent about three hours with T typing and jazzing up his brother's 11th birthday invitation...which brings me to.....

I'm creating~ lots and lots of plans for a birthday!! An 11th regeneration party! How can he be 11? Yup, you guessed it:  Doctor Who! My friend, Denise, my super creative and hugely Who fan, and I, have been swapping ideas and fun things all timey-wimey! THANK YOU Denise. What fun. Now, down to work making lists of all Galifreyan foods, crafts  and such.

I'm praying for~ the brother of a dear friend.

I'm pondering ~ the perpetual balancing act of all things homeschooling, extra curricular and still mainlining a rhythm of the home that is positive and hopefully faith filled.

I'm cooking~ Easy easy ( and some fast food! Yup pizza delivery too) 
My kids are loving my chicken and pork "strips." I cut up pork chops or chicken cutlets,  roll them in egg and then  bread crumbs, bake and then we dip in Sauce-y Susan and serve with rice and veggies. 
One night I made my easy -peasy cheesecake because we just needed a treat:
Here goes~
graham cracker crust
8 oz cream cheese
3 tsp vanilla
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/2 butter
Add top off with  berries if you like.....
We use canned cherry. Yum.


The liturgical year~ Absolutely loving the rhythm of saying the rosary before we begin school. Even if we're harried and maybe annoyed at one another for some minor thing, it's all quieted in our reflection and prayer. We're armed and ready to attack the day afterward. 
I've shared before, but I love it: The Rosary Comic Book I need to work  exercise into my general life and I was thinking of walking with light weights and bringing the rosary with me to "do" something productive and make the walk more "interesting." I think this would be an alone thing, a little Mom-break.

Helpful homeschool tip or idea to share~I'm going to send you over to my friend Sue's blog for this one! You likely know Sue from her hugely  practical and welcoming
 blog, Stories from an Unschooling Family. At her site, you'll rediscover a treasure trove of info and resources which awaits. So go and enjoy he wealth of knowledge there. Those links on the sidebars will keep us all clicking for quite some time. And thank you, Sue! 


An awesome blog you should visit~  My friend, Anne Marie's blog, Future Flying Saucers and  facebook pageFuture Flying Saucers is all about Bible study, devotionals, kids and homesschooling! What could be better??  We all need more of this in our day...!! Thank you Anne Marie! So, go! Before you miss anything!


A quote from this week~
After the paraphernalia from a particularly messy construction job seemed to somehow make its way into our den.......:
Kid: "Um, Dad, if you don't clean that up, Mommy will be on the warpath."
Hubby: " Gotcha, thanks for the heads up"

Some pictures of our week~

"Timmy the Clown" booked his first gig making balloon creations!
Here he is after the party he worked on Sunday!

 pumpkin picking....&
........hayride at the farm

 Sunset on a gorgeous night...
That's our neighbor's driveway, across the street
 Soccer soccer soccer
Timmy on defense, in orange

A buoyancy, density,  displacement experiment


My posts this week~
Small Successes Thursday~  Catholic Mom Link up
(Come join in!!! 
Click my link to add your post!)

 In Our Homeschool:
 WWII, The Government Travesty, Our Lady, Art,  
Confirmation News,
My Son's Courtroom in About Ten Years and More 

Please come back next week for these anticipated posts~

**The next installment in my current series 
on dyslexia and homeschooling:

*Our  trip to the pumpkin patch!

*Some  "Ode to Joy" on violin

*Next week's weekly wrap/journal

Thank you friends, thank you always,
for spending some of your precious time here at my spot on the web.

I'm gratefully linking to Simple Woman's Daybook, 
Weekly Wrap Up,
Catholic Woman's Almanac and
Homeschool Mother's Weekly Journal.


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

Until next time,


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Theme Thursday "Orange" 10/17/13

Welcome, friends!
This week's Theme Thursday causes me to ponder all things
 sunsets, sunrises, campfires,
birthday cakes ablaze
and rock outcrops. 
(Don't forget I'm married to a 
geologist who's probably taken more photos of 
geologic formations than of our kids.)
Also, this season's team jersey color, this season's prominent hue 
and how perfect:
 the Wold's Most Famous bridge!
So here are all my "orange" thoughts in absolute random order.
Because really, it's more fun that way!

Side of the road in Utah 2013
This illustrates a geologic concept that we had to capture.

"The Bridge Tour!"
A walk across The Golden Gate
July 13, 2013

Sunrise over the Throgs Neck Bridge, Queens
August 11, 2013

Sunset over The Great Salt Lake
July 9 2013

St Anthony's CYO.
Hubby and both boys are in there
Oct 2013

Adirondack camping
August 2007

Hubby's birthday
October 2009

Halloween 2006

Halloween 2008
Dressed as Civil War soldiers

Sunset over Gettysburg Battlefield
July 2009
Right near the cope of trees where General Amistad fell.

"Balloons by Timmy the Clown"
Yup, he booked his first party this weekend....
making balloon creations at a christening!
Hey, I haven't gotten a paycheck in over 13 years.
 About time they go out to work!
Here's a video  he guest posted here on my blog with a step by step
on making balloon  dogs.
This past Columbus Day 2013

Sweet Dreams divider

Friends, thank you for stopping in!
For more ORANGE, please click to Cari's!

Hey, remember Small Success over at Catholic Mom??
Well, it's back!
Bloggers, get your link on and join in the linky  fun.
Let's share some encouragement, Moms!
You can link at my post right here,
or at many other spots in the Catholic Mom community!
Just link!
Your inspiration, needed!

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 with you regularly!

Until next time,


Small Success Thursday: Living in the White Space ~ A Catholic Mom Link Up 10/17/13

Way way way before I had a blog, but not before  I loved to write, not before I was honored to become a columnist  for Catholic Mom,  not before I recognized the need for full time Moms to receive and to give  encouragement and support within our counter-cultural  society, I've been gaining inspiration from Small Successes Thursday.  Well, this lovely series is starting up again, thanks to Sarah's initiative and I'm delighted to participate.

I'm always, always surprised ( and flattered ) when a reader tells me that she gleaned a tip, a piece of inspiration or an idea from one of my posts. Always. And I'm not fishing for compliments here.  I'm just thrilled to be a part of the Catholic Mom family, thrilled to support any venture Catholic Mom offers AND what's more, I know I'll be graced with guidance and glimpses of devoted Motherhood  by others who contribute to the Small Successes series.
Sweet Dreams divider
As for my Small Success, this week, we're reveling in living and becoming in that white space on the calendar. Up until recently, we were so overbooked, so harried with our kids' sports, music, theater, choir, auditions, that we had to consciously and with some regret seriously curtail our commitments. I'm no longer running anything. No CYO division coordinator. No rosters, no emails to send,  to organize, no coaches' meetings to set up, uniforms to buy, games to officiate or generally  be in charge of. Nothing. Now I'm just a Mom on the sidelines with a camera. And can I tell you how completely great that is?

And the kids' social lives? They're severely minimized. If you've read my blog for any time, you'll know that my kids have been in numerous shows at local community theaters and they've had a good number of call backs on auditions as well. All that is wonderful, soul building, positive and amazing. But it does come with a price. And I don't mean filling the gas tank.
There was much family time missed so that one of them could take an extra curtain call after two weekends of shows and several months of rehearsals four and five times per week. Throw in harried dinners, costume accessory shopping and panicked script-drills. 

Just a few of our theatrical endeavors.........:

Yup, Capt Jas Hook
March 2012

As Egeus and .......
........ and as Thisbe in "Midsummer"
Fall 2011

As Robin in Robin in the 'hood, an original production...
 modern day Robin Hood Meets West Side Story
Summer 2013

Hansel and a little forest elf in The Bad Musical
summer 2009

The boy whose love made the 
velveteen bunny real
December 2008

 The Prince of Denmark~
lots more....those are the biggies.

Given the proximity of our home to The Great White Way ( 70 miles, but nothing compared to those who live across the country) the level of competition is becoming fierce as the kids get older. Those who don't get roles off off Broadway are coming further out into the 'burbs and boy are they good. Which means adrenaline is high and of course, yeah, that's a good thing.
 Competition is good.  Once in a while, rejection is even better.  
Last June T had three call backs for highly acclaimed theaters, each one for the role of Gavroche in Les Mis. The field narrowed and narrowed and alas, after much prep and even some anxiety, he wasn't cast in any theater. But what a lesson in life. 
 ( and in early 1800s French history!) What a feeling to have that potential exist and to have efforts rewarded in being asked  to return.  And in getting used to rejection. Because it's out there at every turn.

With a concerted effort to not look at those cast calls and after a serious discussion with the kids about the fact that we are taking time off ( as in, this is the first stretch of time since summer of 2008 that we're not prepping for a show of some sort)...well, those blank spots on the calendar?
They are fruitful. They're certainly not wasted.
And now they're full again. 
Full with  family nothingness.
Board  games.
A few quality and fun shows brought home from the library on DVD.
The family novel.
(We're done with Tolkien and may be rereading Narnia.)
And homemaking.

Because use of those blank white space to create a welcoming, 
warm home where memories are made and where rejection hurts but 
we learn to move on and try again.
That's right now, my call to motherhood.

So that is my small success for now.
Glancing at the calendar during the day to double check
our schedules and seeing that our evening is empty.
Only to be filled with the memories that cannot be gotten by driving through rush hour traffic to yet another audition, 
another rehearsal, another hell week.

Yep, those show are simply grand.
Especially those that are  immortal.
Lines that haunt you.
Lines that make you think, laugh, explore your soul.
Arthur Miller's All My Sons, anyone?? 
Now where are the Arthur Millers of our generation??

Timmy as Bert in the Miller classic
February 2013

The cast that breathes life into a playwright's words are genius.
Just genius.

 The standing Os are,,,well, there's nothing like them.
From what they tell me. 
Driving home from K's most recent  show in June,  he reflected,
"I was born to perform."
Well, may be. But let's take a break for now.
I'm not a stage person.
Just a behind the scenes kinda Mom.
Trying to hold time still while it blurs past us as a car
 speeding down the highway.
Celebrate the birthdays, the milestones and  yet, the extra ordinariness of it all too.

Sweet Dreams divider

What are your small success?
Please share!
You are welcome to add your link below if you are a blogger
or to tell us in the comments, too!

Thank you for visiting!
I very much appreciate the time you spemd here at my corner of 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 with you regularly!

And please click to Catholic Mom for more Small Successes

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Please click over to be inspired by others' posts as well! 
Until next time,