Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival 4/28/13

Hello there and welcome!

I'm happy to join
for her 
Sunday Snippets Catholic Carnival!

A few posts I am linking today~

Friends, thank you for stopping in for a snippet of our posts this week!
Please head over to RAnn's to find other Catholic bloggers 
and the goodies they've linked this week!

Also, you might wish to click over to my book giveaway.

Have a  lovely Sunday!

 Until next time,


Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Giveaway: In Honor of 10,000 Page Views!

Hi there, friends, and welcome!

I hope this weekend finds you well and enjoying a 
peaceful and/or productive weekend....
whichever you need most right now!

So...we are having a super busy day filled with 
household projects, spring-ish cleaning inside and out,
baseball, baseball and more baseball....!
But I wanted to drop in, say hello,
and mention a little giveaway I'm having
that I'm excited about......

I found that nifty little page view counter
( over on the left)
 kind of intriguing 
on a fellow blogger's page
and so I installed it on my sidebar, as well.
I noticed that the visitors were tallying up! 
Faster than I'd have expected!

When I installed it, I believe the views were in the 6000s.
Before I knew it,
 it was rapidly approaching the 10,000 mark.
Thank you for visiting.
Thank you so much, friends, for making my blogging experience so worthwhile,
so meaningful,
so full of friendship and fun
over the past
since I've been blogging!

I began my blog in hopes of keeping myself "focused" as a writer and 
as a homeschooling mom maintaining some order and purpose on our journey.
I love writing,
and note taking.
 I thought a blog would be a lot of fun to start.
I truly did not think that it would become 
such a rewarding experience and that I'd be graced with  such dear friends.
Friends from across the country and around the globe!

How I wish we could gather in my kitchen,
right now even,
over a cup of tea!

Soooooo, in  honor of all those who've stopped in whether fleetingly or regularly,
 and brought the counter to what it is
(and believe me, no one is more surprised that I am
that you actually and purposely click over to my spot!)....
I'm giving away a couple of curriculum-related
homeschool-ish books.

I'm thinking that since many of us are now
in the mindset of planning for the 2013-2014 school year,
these resources that my kiddos have "outgrown,"
might really be appreciated by some readers.

The winning titles are:



( hardcover )

~ Two books, two winners ~
One winner per title

Here are the details~~ 

1. Share the giveaway.....
Blog it, tweet it, FB it, G+ it. Any means of sharing.:)

2. If you are not already a subscriber, please subscribe to my blog's feed. 
Only active blog subscribers are eligible to win.

3. Please leave me a comment letting me know:
- that you'd like in on the giveaway and which title you'd like to win.
-where you shared the giveaway
-the beginning of your email addy so I know who's who on my feedburner page
 (unless it's obvious, of course! )
                                           That's it!

4. The giveaway is open for one week.
You can  enter immediately through Sunday night, May 5.

 The winner will be announced right here on Tuesday May 7.

Good luck, friends!

And thank you once again!

Have a lovely day and I will see you tomorrow for RAnn's Sunday Snippets hop!

 Until next time,


Friday, April 26, 2013

Artful Friday in 7 Quick Takes: A Study of Van Gogh

Hey friends ad thanks for stopping by!
Today I'm incorporating my 'regular' 
Artful Friday post with 
Kelly's QT link up for highlights  of our Vincent van Gogh study!

We adore this artistic genius for so many reasons.....
His endearing and engaging artwork, of course,
 the love and attention to detail he poured into each piece,
his humility,
his all - too - human battle with depression.
A good five years ago or so,
 we studied Vincent. 
But as the boys grow and can more deeply 
 understand  the facets of his life
and his true contribution,
we embarked on a study once again.


Product Details

Insight into the man? 
It's all here. 
THE quintessential guide.


Who doesn't love Mike Venezia's series?


Literally stumbling across a great artist's work, young characters
 track down its source and investigate  
the possibility that a family heirloom is a Van Gogh.
Very cute and intriguing.
I read snippets of it here and there while the boys were painting in his style.
(see # 5 and # 6... :)


Okay, you KNOW we are huge Whovians here....
THIS ep is unbelievably touching.
Just unbelievable.
Even if you're not into sci-fi, tune in and watch at the above link.
Or pick up season 5 right here.
Okay, yup there are monsters and such...
Buuuuuut, a peek into Vincent's psyche and 
a commentary of his maserpieces by a docent, albeit a fictional docent ?
Not to be missed.
 Awesome background and very emotional.
And believe me, you need a box of tissues alongside you while watching.
Do you love "Sunflowers?"
You'll love it even more after you watch this!
Seriously, tune in now.....


A little art background
First we discussed  warm and cold colors from a lesson in 
Teach Art to Children...
using gorgeous artwork within these picture books~

Owl Moon 


Arrow to the Sun


Then we attempted artwork  in Vincent's style:

"Starry Night" in progress~

And here's the  finished piece,
inspired by van Gogh's Sunflowers

For Timmy's version of Sunflowers,
 he used regular crayola paints.
Nothing fancy.
I recently bought that acrylic pad though, 
because the usual paint pads they've been using 
have allowed the paint to bleed through.


Please don't miss this:

Virtual Tour of The Musee D'Orsay

And here's a little more info on the Musee d'Orsay

Here are a few past 'Artful Friday' posts  in case you'd like to 
dust off something from the archives:

 ( knitting, winter crafts, the theater and piano)

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

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

Enter your email address:

You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Until next time,


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Theme Thursday ~ Sky

Hi there and welcome to my little spot on the web!
 I'm so happy to link up today with 
for her super fun blog hop,

This week's theme is SKY and boy do we have sky shots...
We've  snapped so very many.
I think the timeless beauty,
 whether from our own yard, 
the ball field or halfway across the country,
has us enamored.

Sunrise, a late June morning, 2012.
We're about to cross the
 Throgs Neck  Bridge
and head west for our trip cross country.
LI Sound on the right and (unseen) East River on the left

Interstate 90, somewhere in Indiana.
July 2012
My girlfriend took this shot and made it the cover picture
 on a photo album she complied for us for Christmas!
She went into my fb photo album and sent a bunch to Walgreen's 
to make us  a stunning book!
We're so lucky.
Everyone should have a friend like Lois.

A placid South Dakota sky,
a day later
July 2012

Skies over Yellowstone,
just an hour or so following  a huge thunderstorm
July 2012

and over the Grand Tetons.,
the same day.

Sunset over the prairie,
right off the interstate 
July 2012

Isn't the gorgeous blue behind the Washington Monument just perfect?
Aug 2009

One of my favorite pix ever...
sunset over a cannon on Gettysburg Battlefield,
right near the copse of trees where
Confederate General Amistad fell
A huge hero to me.
 His devotion to the cause.....?
It defines bravery

So because of where this shot was taken and 
because of the captivating sunset,
I just love this!
I almost didn't snap it because we were wrapping up a loooong day 
touring the battlefield with a 6 and an 8 year old
 and were piling into the car to head home.

But I needed just one more.

Over the soccer field
Autumn of 2010
I was so focused on Timmy's game and hardly noticed the
beauty overhead that gorgeous early Fall morning
 til my older son pointed out how unusual and pretty it was!

Just a lovely sunset .....
a December in late afternoon.
Taken from our front stoop

Thanks so very much, friends, for stopping in to glance at our "skies."
And thank you, Cari, for hosting!

Please come back tomorrow for a 
Quick Takes/Artful post 
on  highlights of our van Gogh study!
And please consider linking to my Memoir Monday hop....
You are very welcome to join in or to  
 come on over and read 
the reflections of the bloggers who've linked!

Have a lovely and peaceful day!
 Until next time,


On this Date Throughout History...

Hi there, friends, and welcome!

Goodness, how can April be almost through?

We stumbled onto a few interesting tidbits this morning 
in our history reading.
A few  of those coincidental 
"Today in history" facts.........

Did you know that on April 25 in~

  404 BC,
the Spartans defeated the Athenains to end the Peloponnesian War?

the US declares war on Spain and begins 
the Spanish American war?

The Easter Rebellion began under
UK's martial law in Ireland

 The Nazi occupation army surrenders and leaves Northern Italy.
The puppet fascist regime dissolves;  Mussolini tries to escape. 

Watson and Crick publish
 describing the double helix structure of DNA.

Busy day, throughout history, April 25!

World Political Map

Thank you for stopping in, friends, and have a great day!

 Until next time,


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 4/24/13 ~ The Reason CLEATS Names the Blog:

Lest you think it's all Elizabethan rigor ! around these parts......

White Sox
Saturday's game 4/20/13
A hit!



Senior division
Saturday's game 4/20/13
Kev runs home from 3rd
Timmy's up at bat, runs to 1st 
( They were low on players and so they tapped the younger sibs in the stands)

                                                            Have a wonderful day!
 Until next time,


I am gratefully linking my post to the WW hops on my sidebar. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Bard! Let's Have Some Elizabethan Fun...


Hi there, friends!

That cake above?
That's a "wedding cake" I made for my kids'
"Midsummer Night's Dream" cast party.
We'll get to that in just a bit!

So, April 23rd!!
We're huge fans of the Bard around here!
I'm an English major, 
a former elementary teacher, 
and a current homeschooling Mom.
So, we live and breath Will's life and works!
Everyone knows a little about the Bard...
But I've kinda made it my life's mission 
( okay, one of my life's missions)
to drench the boys in his works,
read his original scripts and  sonnets,
dramatize his plays
and learn alllll about his life.
We haven't yet been to England to visit his home, but one of these years, 
we do hope to hop across the pond to

In fact, did you know........

~~~"Hamlet" is his longest play at 4, 042 lines? ~~~

~~~"Comedy of Errors" is his shortest play at  1,787 lines?~~~

~~~That these commonly used expressions are from his works?.........

"All the world's a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players."
From As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7, lines 145 ff.

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
From Dick the butcher's speech in Henry VI, Part ii. Act 4, scene 2, line 77.

"A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!"
From Richard III. Act 5, scene 4, line 7.

"Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die,/ Take him and cut him out in little stars,"
From Juliet’s speech in Romeo and Juliet. Act 3, scene 2, lines 23 ff.

"Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow"
From Juliet’s speech in Romeo and Juliet. Act 2, scene 2, lines 185 ff.
(By the way, "ff" refers to his first folio)

~~~That he died on his 52nd birthday?~~~

Here are some of the places we "met" Will and 
were lucky enough to be able to infuse his writings into our travels:
Below is a shot outside the theater of 
in, you got it,
Plymouth, MA.!
Seriously, go check out their site.
We were camping nearby and touring Plimoth Plantation in July 2011.
 Of course, the Plimoth Players' staging by 6 actors ( SIX )
 rotating all   (yes, ALL ) 
the roles  in the original script of
"A Midsummer Night's Dream,"
was, high on our list of 17th century to-do's.
It may be some time since you've read the play.
Here's how they did it:
The siz actors were able to take roles in each of the three subplots,
 if you will, within the story...
Those three distinct "groups" are
"the workmen,"
"the fairies,"
and "the royals."
It may be a little disconcerting to see Hermia appearing as Francis Flute 
and then again as Puck...but that's how they did it! and they were MARVELOUS.
My kids were preparing to stage an unabridged production of a Midsummer Night's Dream just a few months after we saw the Plimoth Players 
and so they knew the play extremely well.
They truly got a kick out of how the men 
( yes, all men, true to Shakespeare's original troupe,
The Blackfriars of the Globe Theater)
 acted their hearts out in three, and sometimes a fourth smaller role, apiece.
What talent and dedication!
Here's the frieze outside of 
for A Midsummer Night;s Dream.
We took this shot also in the summer of 2011 during what we call our
"Once Upon America trip....."
Which included Boston/Plimoth, Philly, DC and Gettrysburg.
If you have never been to this library in DC, you are missing a truly grand, 
informative, unparalleled experience.
Even those who are not huge fans of the Bard can wander its halls
 and gaze at the exhibits, getting lost forever.

Outside the entry by the friezes for each of his works.
It was 100 degrees in DC that day!

Inside the library:

The boys by a first folio of "Hamlet," 
which they staged the month prior to our trip to DC!
K played the title role (  !! ) and 
T played three secondary roles.
Those were Osric, Francisco and the Player King,
They were 11 and 7, respectively.

Below is a sword used during a Folger production of the scene
in which  Demetrius  "hunts" for Puck 
in, what else?
"A Midsummer Night's Dream!"
Yes indeed, K was happy to see this, as he played 
Demetrius a few months later in our production of "Midsummer."

The remarkable thing about kids is that they 
accomplish more than you'd expect of them, no?
Talk about rising to the occasion?
Give an 8 year old an unabridged Shakespearean script;
tell him he's got three weeks to get it  memorized
and voila!
They're unreal!
Our former home school group produced a few of the Bard's well known works.
My kids and I were instrumental in the behind-the-scenes
 necessities of the staging, 
PR, social media, and producing.
And I managed
the general backstage craziness during rehearsals and the shows
in all the youth productions, kids ages 6-12.
But... amazing.
Here are a few pictures of a few of our endeavors:

June 2011
We used this script:

K, (Hamlet) act 1
Ghost on right
Marcellus and Horation on left

"...whether tis nobler in the mind
to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..."
Above, K's monolgue

Oops, Hamlet killed the wrong guy and now, 
has to dispose of Polonius's body!

Will Hamlet seize this opportunity to kill Claudius 
as the latter is confessing his murder of the king?

Here, K (Hamlet) tells the head of the troupe of actors that he'd 
like a play staged for the royals.
We know though, that he'd like to
"catch the conscience of the king."

T, as the player king, feigns dead in 
"the play within the play."

T, again...this time as Osric,
 bringing a message to Hamlet from Claudius about the ensuing sword fight.

"A hit, a palpable hit!"
Hamlet and Laertes fight to the death

October 2011 
~ A Midsummer Night's Dream~
Here's the script we used:

T played the pompous Egeus, father of Hermia...

..who asks Theseus, Duke of Athens,
 to put his daughter to death
as she will not marry the man of HIS choice, Demetrius
(played by K, in green).
She insists on marrying Lysander (in purple.white)

Above, the workmen.
Here's T, again....also playing Francis Flute, the bellows mender 
and begging of Quince, 
who is trying to organize a skit for the Duke's wedding show:
"Nay, faith, let me not play a woman.
I have a beard coming!"

Above, K "hunts" for the elusive Puck in the dark woods.

"Oh wall, full often hast thou heard my moans
 for parting my fair Pyramus and me..."
The shots above and below were of the workmen's 
"play within the play."
Lemme tell ya,
it brought down the house.
The inhibition with which Flute ( T) 
who plays Thisbe before the Duke and the "lovers"
for their wedding party
was astounding.
Pyramus ( on the floor below)
and Thisbe (T in drag)
were jaw dropping, I have to gush.
for the Bard's hilarity in this scene.

T hams it up and is thrilled to be onstage;
 yet he worked very hard to  memorize
 three roles for this classic and well loved Shakespearean comedy.
K ( in green in the background, at the wedding)

There's the "man" of the hour.
Legend has it that Will would scribble
DRaG to describe "dressed as girl,"
in the plays in which a man would play a woman in plays within his plays.
Hence the term "dressed in drag."

Now, if you're still here, God bless you!
Discussing the Bard, well, you can tell it's one of my passions!
Now, for the cake!

Here it is, again:
And it's  SO simple....

Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines white cake mix.
I know, I know.
But I made this for the cast party, as you know,
 and who had time with all the staging details, photographing 
and creating the cast photo board, making the program, 
running lines with Demetrius, Flute, Thisbe AND Egeus,
 to concoct a completely homemade cake?

Here's what I did:
Make the batter and pour into two heart shaped pans,
One larger than the other.

Cake Stand:
I went to Michael's and bought this tiered stacker as well as the "columns"
The Wilton tiered stacking stands are so much cheaper at Michael's!

Perfect for the setting of Midsummer, right?

I also used this cake stand for my son's 10th birthday party.
Here are the pictures, 


I wrote a classic line from Midsummer on the cake
"Lord what fools these mortals be,"
using Wilton's cookie icing and a scattered a few of the Wilton rosettes around too,
to give it a wedding-y effect.
Oh, I also used some edible silver glitter to give
 the cake a pretty, wedding-ish look.

That's it! Easy!

I placed this picture of Will in a gold frame nearby too...

And here's the version of the cake that we made for 
our birthday party for the Bard tonight:

By the way, do you know this book, 
The Quest for Shakespeare?
If not, what ARE you waiting for?
Go read it and gain some insight into 
Catholicism in the Shakespeare family in 17th century England, 
 as well as elements of the Faith that are obviously 
(and not so obviously) infused within his works.

Now, if you've not seen this episode of Doctor Who, 
 go here and watch it now.
Seriously, now.

 from BBC's site

And for some more  Whovian-Bard fun, click my post right here

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
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why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.

Until next time,


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