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AFwife Claire

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Everything posted by AFwife Claire

  1. Yes, just wanted to be another voice of agreement. I have used DIVE chemistry, and also done AP chemistry, and there is no way on God's green earth a student is prepared fr AP chem just using DIVE. It is a solid regular chemistry class, and if a student uses DIVE faithfully, they would have a good foundation for AP chem.
  2. Well, since today was a cold, dreary day, I decided it was a good time to play with the stew! I sauted some garlic before putting the leftover stew in the pan. Then I added some fish sauce and red wine, as well as a lot of frozen peas and carrots to stretch the filling out so I could make 2 meat pies. It ended up being enough for one deep dish 9 inch pie, and one 9 inch one with regular sloped sides that seems a lot smaller than the other one. The pies were delicious, and people gobbled them up. Thanks for all the great ideas, folks. You really saved the stew!
  3. Oh my goodness, this is brilliant! I am doctoring it up and then putting it in a pie crust. It's especially perfect because we had chicken pot pie on Pi Day, but some of my kids definitely like meat pie better, so they were sad we could only have one type of savory pie, lol. Great idea!!
  4. You know, you made me think of something. I had originally been looking at that stovetop Irish stew you linked, but then I thought, hey! I should use my instant pot for this! And I found the linked IP Irish stew recipe on her site and used that instead. But later that day I checked to make sure we had some red wine. Then a few days later, when I went to actually make the stew, there was never any red wine (or garlic--I remember being surprised at that too!) called for, and I just assumed I was crazy and had made something up in my mind, lol. I only used beef broth too. It seemed silly to add water, and now I'm glad I didn't--it would have been even more flavorless! That is interesting about having to add more spices to the IP, or to add them after cooking. I vaguely remember reading something like that in a post on the FB group, but then again, there are approximately 100 billion of those per day, so I just kind of skim through them if I even pay attention to them at all, lol.
  5. Oh, I definitely seared the beef chunks (chuck roast) first (in batches), and then browned the onions, and then deglazed with the Guinness before putting the beef back in and starting the first pressurized cooking. The umami deep flavor is definitely what's missing though. I know in another IP stew recipe I use, I put fish sauce in. Maybe I'll try some of that too . . . You all have given me lots of good ideas, and I'm actually excited about doctoring it when I heat it up again! Since I cook for 10 nightly, I make a lot of everything--but if people don't love it (which honestly is pretty rare), then I will also have a lot of leftovers--I don't want all that meat to go to waste!
  6. I made this Guinness beef stew in my instant pot for St. Patrick's Day. The texture was amazing! The flavor was not. It was so bland and flavorless. No depth or anything at all, really. People ate it, but it was so blah. I added tons more salt and pepper, but still. So now we have leftovers, and I am wondering what you would put in the stew to give it some flavor when I reheat it? Some red wine (but then it wouldn't be cooking all day, so would it be too strong)? Something else? I don't want to throw the rest of this stew away, but no one really has any desire to eat it--it's just so bland! Thanks for any ideas!
  7. Heather, I am SO excited for you and your son!! What wonderful news!!!
  8. I sent you a PM. I am sure my son would be more than willing to give you a tour if you were there on a day no official tours are offered.
  9. Two chicken pot pies, and ds14 made us a chocolate pie for dessert. Yum!
  10. My good friend has taught both classes to my older 2 sons, and is now teaching ap micro to my third. She always uses "5 Steps to a 5" as the only review book for those classes, and my older 2 boys both got 5's on both exams, so I guess it worked, lol. She has her PhD in economics, though, so maybe she is just a really great teacher! :001_smile:
  11. Yeah, don't do it. I graduated with a degree in biology in 1995-and when I started teaching high school level biology classes a few years ago (AP bio was my first but now I also teach regular bio), I quickly realized it is pretty much a completely different course now. There is such a huge emphasis on cellular and molecular biology, as well as genetics, that just weren't there before. There are also so many new techniques and understanding of concepts. Back when I was in college, everything was so focused on taxonomy and classification, and now that is such a minor part of high school biology classes. That is why schools can get by with not doing any dissections anymore. Labs focus on different things now too. Definitely get a much newer book!
  12. We just took a military space-available flight to Germany with 8 of our kids (ages 16-3). We had to rent 2 cars, so I was driving all around the western part of Germany by myself (well-with 4 kids), as dh and I caravanned around. There were a lot of logistical things I was concerned about, but it turned out fine, and we had a really good time. It took us 6 days to get out on a flight back from Ramstein AB. For some reason, a lot of the flights how been cancelled or didn't take passengers or whatever, so there was a big backlog of space-available passengers. We ended up getting out on a C-17 back to McGuire AFB in NJ, even though we had flown on a military contracted commercial plane out of BWI, so that is where our big van was. But God bless her, an Army friend of ours who also has 10 kids (and a 15 passenger van) drove 3 1/2 hours up to McGuire from Frederick, MD to pick us up, then drove us down to BWI so we could get our van, then drove home. She drove about 8 hours for us! She was such a huge blessing and answer to prayer! So that was our last big thing. The next out of the box thing we'll do is move to Ohio this summer. We've never not had the government move us, but now we're retired. And now we somehow have to get this house that we've lived in for almost 4 years and had 6 more babies in, ready to sell. Hopefully it will be worth it to be out of northern VA though!
  13. For our both of oldest 2 sons who have graduated, we had ice cream parties on a Saturday afternoon. I got 3 gallon tubs on chocolate and vanilla ice cream from this weird frozen food co-op I'm a part of, and also tons of different toppings. We had the party as an open house, but on the evite, we did say that at the very beginning of the time specified, we would have a short ceremony. Basically, I said a few words about our homeschooling journey and the plans of that DS, I handed him a diploma we printed off the internet, and then DH prayed. Then we opened up the ice cream bar. Friends came and went, played games, etc. I made a display board for each boy with pictures from childhood to graduation, and I also made a memory book off Snapfish for everyone to sign. It was lots of fun, cheap, and very low-key. No one had any interest in a big formal ceremony, especially with other homeschoolers, but they did appreciate being able to see a lot of their friends from various activities one more time before heading off to college. Funny note: my oldest son knew I had put out a basket for people to put cards in, but he geniunely thought they would just be cards. He was astounded when he found a check in the first one! And the second one too! And the third! I have no idea where he was when we went to graduation parties for friends, or if he just completely paid no attention to anything other than signing the card before, but still--it was really funny. I guess he was definitely not entitled, because he would have been happy with just cards. Instead, he was so incredulously thrilled, lol.
  14. DS#2 is a freshman electrical engineering major. One of the big draws for my son was the individual rooms within a suite of 4 rooms, with common living space. Coming from a big family where he had never not shared a room, this was huge! Of his 3 suitemates, one is fairly local, the second is from Alabama but not close to Huntsville, and the third is from Memphis. DS has made friends with people from all over, however. I have heard from friends we have in Huntsville that around 10 years ago (I think it was?), the school started making a big push to not just be a commuter school. It doesn't have a commuter school feel to my son, anyway, and he has found plenty of things to do (and people to do them with!) on the weekends, so definitely not everyone is heading home. As far as the culture goes, we are comfortable there. We were given an assignment to Huntsville back in 2004 that we ended up turning down to come to northern VA, and we had looked at the area and liked it a lot. To me, it doesn't feel as "southern" as maybe Montgomery. There are a TON of military there, both active duty and retired, so I think that gives a different feel to the city. We have several friends who are retired (military) that live there, which has been nice for us, since we know there are people close by for DS if he ever needed them, since we definitely are not! DS is involved in Reformed University Fellowship and has found a church he likes (because someone struck up a conversation with him at a meal, and it turns out this guy had also been homeschooled and was from a larger family, and he offered to give DS a ride to his church each week--DS doesn't have a car, so he had been limited to just trying bigger churches that sent a van each week, but he really wanted a smaller church). But he has many friends who do not go to church or do anything religious as well. There are a lot of great extra-curricular opportunities. Ds has gotten involved with the Space Hardware Club, and he is having a lot of fun with that (and putting in some serious time--he pulled his first all-nighter preparing a rocket for launch last semester!) He is very excited about all the internship/fellowship/co-op opportunities nearby. He didn't apply for anything this summer, because he wants to work at a military Christian conference/retreat center, but he definitely plans to next year. It's been a really great fit for DS. He did not want to be at what he termed a "pretentious" school (UVa, etc.)--and he also did not want to follow his brother to VA Tech to be in the Corps, on an ROTC scholarship, also as an electrical engineering major. He wanted to forge his own path. His classes have been challenging enough, but he's done well so far and enjoyed them. And we could afford it, so yay! :laugh:
  15. No, having eye surgery before appointment/contracting (if ROTC) is an automatic disqualification. If you are at a service academy, then they will work to get you corrective eye surgery while you are there (which is why they only offer appointments if the issues are within certain parameters--they have to be correctable), and for ROTC, you can either get the surgery approved up your chain of command, and have it done on your own dime, or wait until you are commissioned and have the military do it. The latter is what my oldest son has ended up deciding to do. But you can't have it done on your own before you show up. Heather, I am so devastated for your son and you. I read your update yesterday, and I found myself thinking about it all last night. I am praying somehow, some time, your son will be able to see something good come from this crushing blow. I second the recommendation for UA-Huntsville. My second son is there (his freshman year--electrical engineering), and he really, really likes it. He is on their "Charger Excellence" scholarship, so we are just paying for his meal plan and some random fees. It has been quite doable. I hope your son can find a different path!
  16. Well, this worked out! I was talking to my good friend about all these extra gift bags, and she said she would love to have them. She had just had to buy a baby one because she couldn't find an old one, and she remembered that at Christmas, she needed some ones too. So she picked up the big bag of them when she came to my house for our co-op today. Woo-hoo! Thanks for all the great ideas!
  17. One of my sons had Mrs. Talbert for English 1 last yeat. She is very nice, with a lovely southern drawl. My ds had a weird year in there, but it was entirely a function of his immaturity, and my lack of awareness that there was a problem. Apparently one of his older brothers had had a "man-to-man" discussion with him at the beginning of the year about doing his own work, not asking me for help all the time, etc.--because this older brother thought another one of my sons depended on me too much (probably true at that point--he's a bit lazy, lol, but that has improved with age). So then ds4 never asked me for help. Ever. The whole year, even when I would ask him how things were going, if he was understanding, etc. It was always, "It's going fine!" But it wasn't. Ds didn't understand all of the feedback he was getting or how to implement it, so he was actually getting more and more frustrated, and then it all came to a boiling point! Mrs. Talbert was so understanding and helpful through the "crisis". She recommended that ds do Journey Through Narnia this year, since he didn't have a high enough grade to automatically advance to English 2. We also decided to "redshirt" him, and call this year another 8th grade year. This whole situation played a part in that decision, but it was more just indicative of a lack of maturity and high school readiness. This year I've seen definite growth, and I'm really glad we made that decision. If she hadn't suggested Journey Through Narnia, I don't know if I even would have thought of it! Ds has really enjoyed the class, and it has given him his confidence back (and this year he really hasn't needed my help much at all!) Ds had a different teacher for it though, and I can't recall off the top of my head who it is. He likes her too though.
  18. We will be moving to Ohio this summer, and that, combined with all the decluttering going on around the hive, is inspiring me to get moving! This morning I went through my huge collection of gift bags, saving some birthday, Christmas, and baby ones. But now I have a huge pile of ones to get rid of. Do they get recycled? Just tossed in the trash? Or anything else? They're so darned expensive--but we don't need a supply for the world, you know?! In fact, it's a standing joke in our family that we reuse the same 3 birthday gift bags for each child's birthday! And we don't do birthday parties for our kids, which does cut down on the amount of gift bags incoming, but still--we end up with a positive net flow each year. So what should I do with them??
  19. Yes! We just got back from 2 weeks in Germany. I worried before we left about shoes, our big family (8 of our kids were with DH and me), etc. But you know what, the German people were SO kind and friendly! They were happy to see us (slow tourist time, lol), and to give us the "family" rate for all the tours we went on (even though they all specified in writing, "for 2 adults and up to 4 kids in the same household"). They put on special showings of informational films in museums in English, just for us! They didn't seem to care a bit about my shoes, lol. I was worried that our big family would be met with criticism or disdain, but that was absolutely not true. Several remarked on how well-behaved our kids were, and we got many smiles (and some people took pictures of us, lol). Obviously we were tourists! But it was fine, and they were happy to see how much we were enjoying being in their country and seeing their wonderful historical sites. We had such a great trip!
  20. Okay, that made me laugh so hard, and I shared it on my facebook! I can't believe I have never seen that gem before! What makes it even better is that Jabberwocky is one of the poems my younger kids memorized for their memory work this year, lol. Ahh, the 70's, captured by such high fidelity video, and accompanied by such classic music! :rofl:
  21. I have been reading the threads on child poverty with deep interest and sorrow at what some members here have gone through. Today I happened to read an article in Wired magazine called "A Child Abuse Prediction Model Fails Poor Families". Basically, Allegheny County, PA is using this model to predict child abuse, but the model uses data mined from public service records, such as child welfare, Head Start, county housing authority, drug and alcohol services-pretty much all services that only poor people use--in essence, reporting "how many public resources families have consumed", and using that to predict child abuse risk. Here was the paragraph that really struck a chord in me: "We might call this poverty profiling. Like racial profiling, poverty profiling targets individuals for extra scrutiny based not on their behavior but rather on a personal characteristic: They live in poverty. Because the model confuses parenting while poor with poor parenting, the AFST views parents who reach out to public programs as risks to their children." Anyway, this just seems like one more thing designed to help people that in actuality bites them in the rear. The author of the article suggested averaging the model's score with one a human worker comes up with, but that doesn't happen, and it doesn't seem like it ever will. Machines are always right, and certainly not prejudiced, of course!
  22. Yeah, I am friends with a lot of military wives (obviously, lol). A few years ago there must have been an OPSEC briefing or something, because all of a sudden a bunch of them changed their names, not to "fake" names, but to variations. So for example "Allison Jamieson" would become "Al Meeson" or someone who was "Janet" with a color last name became "Jay" with a last name of that color in a different language. Obviously they weren't taking on a new identity or trying to be deceitful, but it did make them (and their husbands) more secure. And none of them have had any issues with FB kicking them off or whatever. So I think you don't have to use your full, legal name, but I also don't think you want to try "Miss Rainbow Pony" either, you know?
  23. This is also very helpful! Here in VA we pay $200 per credit hour at our community college, so anything less than that sounds amazing! Maybe DE will still work for us, even if it's not free. It's definitely way cheaper than the $1000/class ala carte at the Christian high schools there! Thanks for the fb page too--I'm going to join there.
  24. Now see, I had never even considered enrolling ds in public school so he could dual enroll! Thank you for the idea! I'll have to meet with the school once we figure out where exactly we're going to live and see what they say. Thanks also for a very helpful explanation!
  25. It is looking pretty likely that we'll be moving to Ohio (Dayton area) this summer. We were stationed there before (and actually I went to high school and college there, but I wasn't homeschooled), but my kids were all little back then, and I have not kept up with things there at all. Can someone tell me how dual enrollment works there that has actually used it as a homeschooler? I've read what I think are official websites, but I'm confused on the whole money issue--it's free if there's money, but maybe all the public schooled kids doing DE get it first? Or something? Will it be a problem that we might not have an official address until early summer? Should I be planning on something different for ds16, who will be a junior next year, for next year, and then hope he can DE for free his senior year? And, while I'm on the topic, if anyone is local in the Dayton area and knows about co-ops that aren't CC, I'd love to hear. It seems like that's all my friends that are there talk about! I know there are options with the local Christian schools to take a few classes, but it seems like that is way more expensive than online classes, and then you are definitely not as flexible. Moving was certainly easier when we only had elementary age kids!
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