KidBiz Market


Over Father’s Day weekend, the boys participated in the KidBiz Market sponsored by Buffalo State College.  Thomas wrote about this in his Nachmu Crayons post, but I wanted to add my two cents before moving on to other things.  It was a wonderful experience.  The weather was perfect, and the Elmwood Avenue neighborhood with its Victorian houses and creative atmosphere is always a fun place to visit.

The KidBiz Market allowed us not only to visit, but to actually take part in the action.  It was a great opportunity for the kids to learn a little bit about marketing and entrepreneurship.  Thomas and Jack sold their recycled crayons, and they also played their instruments.  At one point, they even joined with another participant to play some Suzuki repertoire together.



By the the end of the morning, I must say, the boys had done quite well for themselves.  If you donated crayons, stopped by their stand, or supported their efforts in some other way, we extend our thanks.  We are looking forward to going back in July and August.


I would love for the boys to continue their recycled crayon business.  I think it would be a good project for them, but only if they want to continue it.  For now, they do want to continue; consequently, we are looking for some more crayons to recycle.  If you have old crayons you would like to recycle, please let us know.   Thomas has his Nachmu Crayons coupons all ready for you.  I’m not sure if a kids’ business dependent on recycled materials is sustainable, but I guess we will find out soon!


Thomas is Ten

Thomas turned ten years old on April 25.  Our celebration was this week.

Ten seems like a milestone to me.  It is double digits, after all.  When I was young (about nine), my cousin and I decided that being ten meant that you were “almost an adult.”  I don’t think I believe that anymore, but ten is certainly not a little boy either.  A lot can change in ten years.  Thomas has grown in many ways, but he is still the same Thomas.  Here’s a look at his first decade:


Home from the Hospital April 2003

Home from the Hospital
April 2003


Happy Baby July 2003

Happy Baby
July 2003


Turtle Park, St. Louis June 2004

Turtle Park, St. Louis
June 2004


Making Bread May 2005

Making Bread
May 2005


Inspecting Our Attic September 2006

Inspecting Our Attic
September 2006


Talking to Grandma January 2007

Talking to Grandma
January 2007


Posing with Jack August 2007

Posing with Jack
August 2007


First Violin Recital May 2008

First Violin Recital
May 2008


Future Hockey Player February 2009

Future Hockey Player
February 2009


At the Erie Canal July 2010

At the Erie Canal
July 2010


The Engineer December 2012

The Engineer
December 2011


At Delaware Park June 2012

At Delaware Park
June 2012


Leaf-raking Entrepreneur October 2012

Leaf-raking Entrepreneur
October 2012


Ten Years Old April 2013

Ten Years Old
April 2013


Happy Birthday, Thomas!  We love you.


P.S.  For an eloquent post about being ten, take a look at Rachel’s post here.  I really enjoyed her insights.









String Spring Concert

Last weekend was the annual Buffalo Suzuki Strings String Spring Concert.  (Try saying that five times fast!)  We have been doing these concerts since Thomas was four years old so they are getting to be old hat for us.  We practiced our pieces, we placed our advertisement in the program, and then on Sunday, we packed up the cello, the cello bench, and the violin and drove to the University of Buffalo Center for the Performing Arts, arriving at the appointed time.

BSS 2010 color

The highlight of the concert is always the Advanced Ensemble and the senior solos.  This year the ensemble played Trepak by M. McLean.  Then we heard two senior solos.  Alexander Kennelly played Chopin’s  Revolutionary Etude, Op. 10, No. 12 for piano; and William Boissonnault played the Vivace giocoso movement of Kabalevsky’s Concerto in C Major for violin.  The performances of both these young gentlemen were quite amazing.

Of course, we enjoyed listening to our children perform as well.  Jack played “Long, Long Ago” by T.H. Bayly with the cello class, and Thomas played “Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus” by G.H. Handel with his violin repertory class.

The cellos play "Long, Long Ago."

The cellos play “Long, Long Ago.”

At the end of the concert, all the students, except for the very newest ones, play a collection of the Suzuki Book I folk songs.  We took a video of “French Folk Song.”  It’s one of our favorites.  Enjoy.





Last Week: Snowdrops and Scholarships

Last week I picked snowdrops for someone special.


Thomas received news that he has been chosen as one of the recipients of the 2013 Lucinda Yang Memorial Scholarship.  This will cover the cost of the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Summer Workshop coming up in August.  Thomas worked hard on his application.  He submitted a DVD recording of one of his pieces, and he filled out the scholarship application.  We are are grateful for the recommendation from his teacher, Ms. Klansee Reynolds, who must have written good things about him!

Here is a video of the piece Thomas played.  While we were at it, we also recorded both of the boys playing “Long, Long, Ago.”

The weather here has turned colder again, but that’s okay.  We have had more time to work on math and spelling, music and watercolor painting.


And that’s all the news I have.



Winter is looking a bit tired.  We have sleet and gray skies, and I have no sparking white snow pictures to share.  It may be gloomy outside, but it’s a rather good time to be productive inside.  Here’s what we’ve been up to:

I gave everyone haircuts.  The haircut process has been pretty consistent for several years.  Thomas looked through our photo archives one night and found these pictures of Jack at age three.  Not much has changed. The boy is still relieved when the ordeal is over.



Jack is getting older, and so are the rest of us.  I will not disclose the name or age, but someone had a birthday this month.  We went out for dinner, and the birthday person had steak.  I had coconut shrimp and roasted potatoes.  Then for dessert I had the chocolate turtle cake.  It was all so good…definitely worth the mention here!

Our older and wiser Jack is still working on “Etude” in Suzuki Cello Book I.  It’s a tricky piece, and we used the piano one day to work on the notes.  He has been tinkering at the piano ever since.  My favorite is when he picks out the melody to “Ode to Joy.”

Thomas scored a goal in his most recent hockey game.  That renewed some of his enthusiasm for working on his skills.  Both of the boys still enjoy going out on the ice with Dad when the weather is favorable.

This past weekend, I took the boys to Kleinhans Music Hall for a BPO concert.  The Buffalo Suzuki Strings students played the pre-concert, and then they got to attend the featured performance for free.  We heard a Goldman violin concerto played by BPO concertmaster and soloist, Michael Ludwig.  Very impressive.  The students (and parents) were allowed backstage to meet Mr. Ludwig during the intermission.  One of the boys about Jack’s age asked, “How do you play that fast?  Because I play the violin and…”  The adults chuckled a bit.  It was an inspiring experience, and I’m glad I took the boys.

I also made some new curtains for our kitchen this month.  Many thanks to my aunt for the cozy fabric.  One morning the sun came out at the same time that the kitchen was (relatively) clean, and I snapped a picture.


I guess late February can be cheerful after all.


Last Week

Last week Jack lost one of his top front teeth.


He also started to learn the notes to “Etude” on his cello.

The temperatures warmed last week, and the ice melted, giving us a bit of a reprieve from skating.  We used our time in academic pursuits such as multi-digit multiplication and a trip to the library.

We were in the juvenile nonfiction section of the library looking for books on bees and bears.  We did find the desired books, and Jack also happened to see Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan which we had read in the fall of 2011.   “I love this book,” he said.  That’s always good to hear.  We checked it out again.

our medieval castle from October 2011

our medieval castle from October 2011

Thomas worked quite diligently on the aforementioned multi-digit multiplication.  He also put in some good violin practice, polishing pieces and working on long, straight, bows.

And yes, I did watch the next episode of Downton Abbey.  I really don’t like being addicted to a television show, but that appears to be the case.  I explained to my table full of boys that I like watching it because of the pretty dresses.  Thomas said, “You don’t even like t.v.  You ought to have a better reason than that.”  Okay, I really like the shoes too.  At least there are only two weeks left in the season, and then we can all move on to bigger and better things.

jackstooth2Besides, I think this fellow is at least as handsome as Dan Stevens.  Don’t you?



Last Week: We Skated


I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a “week in review” to publish here.  I convinced myself that this would be a good idea, and I decided to start this past Sunday evening.  Then Sunday evening came, and instead of writing, I watched Downton Abbey. 

 Oh well.

It is now Tuesday night, and I’m writing my “week in review.”  Fortunately, last week was pretty straightforward: we skated.

We have a park behind our house.  In the summer, we see soccer fields from our backyard.  In the winter, if the weather cooperates, we see a skating rink.  Last year the weather did not cooperate, and the city was never able to flood the fields.  It was a sad winter.  This year, the weather has been colder, and all three of my boys were excited as the fields were flooded early last week.  By Wednesday afternoon, skating had commenced.  The boys skated on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Even I went out a couple times, and a fun time was had by all.


my three hockey players

Other events last week included a trip to the dentist with no cavities.  Also, Thomas and Jack both received practice award ribbons at their Buffalo Suzuki Strings Saturday class.  Somehow, we managed to fit these activities in our schedule, but mostly, we skated.




Buffalo Field Trip

 by Thomas


One beautiful day we went to downtown Buffalo.  First, we went to Mr. Matt Sperber’s guitar concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Second, we went to the harbor at Canalside.

At Mr. Matt’s concert, we arrived with two minutes to spare.  When Mr. Matt was playing, it was nice and calm music.  He played about four or five songs.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral

At Canalside we saw Navy ships.  At 2:30 pm, a ship called the Niagara from the War of 1812 came to the harbor.  The boat was more than 200 years old!  We also saw a cannon from the War of 1812.  We saw the sailors demonstrate how they load the cannon.  They had a sound system.  They also had a sound effect that sounded like the cannon shot, but it didn’t really shoot. 

U.S. Brig Niagara

The American flag had 15 stars during the War of 1812.

Cannon Demonstration

 A little while after that we went home.


Summer Highlights

One could say I’m slowly growing this blog in fits and starts.  I’m in one of those “fits” this weekend, trying to document the highlights of our summer.  Aside from what I’ve already posted, here is what I want to remember about the Summer of 2012:

Field Trip to the Lockport Cave and Locks

Picking Strawberries at Becker Farms

Bubble Day

Tom’s Suzuki Book I Recital

Jack Learning to Catch a Baseball  (photo by L. Gioe)

Beach Day  (photo by C. Gioe)

A Hockey Season Well-Played

Picking Blueberries at Awald Farms

Picking Blueberries (I had to include both pictures!)

Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts

I don’t have any pictures of the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Summer Workshop which the boys attended for a week in August, but this was a highlight too.  Perhaps there are no pictures because, for the most part, I dropped the boys off in the morning and picked them up at noon.  Kind of a nice change of routine for this homeschooling mom.  That week I even repainted the bathroom and went on a “date” with my husband to get new tires for my car!

Speaking of my husband, he wrote about the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts last year.  We try to attend every summer.  It seems like summer’s “last hurrah” to me.  Last weekend we were trying to beat the heat on Elmwood Avenue, and this weekend I saw red maple leaves while walking in our neighborhood.

It’s been a good summer to remember.