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About JennyD

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    Middle TN

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  1. Thanks for starting this thread, OP! My oldest is an eighth grader and about six weeks ago it hit me all at once that it was Decision Time and I started freaking out, too. DS13 really wants to homeschool high school and DH is strongly in favor of it as well. Like you, it feels like the right decision but the stakes also feel a lot higher.
  2. This might be more than you wanted, and I can't vouch for this book myself, but the author is a giant in the field of biblical literary scholarship and translation.
  3. Ooh, so glad you started this thread, OP! I read a lot of very good non-fiction this year, hard to narrow it down. Some of my favorites: Fiction Henry James, Portrait of a Lady Anthony Horowitz, Magpie Murders Nonfiction Jordan Ellenberg, How Not to Be Wrong Judith Shulevitz, The Sabbath World Mark Leibovich, The Big Game Jack Wertheimer, The New American Judaism Practical Nonfiction Mark Cucuzzella, Run for Your Life Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep Cookbooks Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Food Lab
  4. JennyD

    Talk me into buying an Instant Pot (or not)

    Thanks for starting this thread, OP. I don't think that I can justify an Instant Pot -- I already have a crockpot that I use constantly and an ordinary pressure cooker that I almost never use. But I keep thinking that I would almost certainly use an electric pressure cooker and I could definitely use a second crockpot .....
  5. I think Rao's is the best sauce on the market. I wait for it to go on sale and then stock up big time.
  6. JennyD

    The Journal of Controversial Ideas

    This seems like such a weird project to me. Who is supposed to be the audience? Many -- most? -- intensely controversial ideas in academia are entirely obscure to folks outside their discipline. Is the idea that you have say, an article on nanoparticles, an article about modeling coalitions in parliamentary systems, and then a piece about 18th century French artisan guilds, all in one issue? Are they going to get peer reviewers (who are unpaid) in every possible discipline?
  7. Thanks so much for all of the replies! Lots of great ideas here and I am going to go through them all carefully. The JCC here does offer swim team and meets are optional, precisely because they are on Saturday. DS13 really does not want to swim (he did it a few years ago) but perhaps I should steer the other two in that direction. And the school where they attend part-time is a Jewish school so any sports through them also never requires a Saturday, but they just don't offer much year-round. The kids will definitely do track with them in the spring, though, which will be good. I signed the kids up for a ninja warrior class starting last week and so far so good, although the class skews really young and there don't seem to be any teen options. I think I'm going to make more of an effort to get DS13 to the climbing gym, though, and I just contacted a friend's mother to see if maybe the two of them would like to climb together. Squash is actually a genius idea -- we belong to a very nearby gym that has the squash courts in town, and DS10 in particular would absolutely love squash. Neither DH nor I play, though, (although DH can play tennis) so we would have to find someone to teach them/us. Hmm. Definitely something to look into, thanks!
  8. I have three sons -- 13, 10, and 8. They love sports and desperately need lots of exercise (esp my 10yo). In the past they have done various rec sports, but as they are getting older it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good options, particularly for my older two. The main sticking point is that for religious reasons they cannot participate in Saturday games, and nearly every team sports organization I have investigated holds games on Saturday. For a while my older two were able to practice with a soccer team and just not go to the games, but that eventually fell apart. My oldest does indoor rock climbing with my husband, and I found a gymnastics class that everyone seems to be enjoying. I regularly take them swimming and to the the park, and sometimes the school where they attend part-time fields a track team. (This past fall they did x-country, which was a terrific experience. Hopefully they will offer spring track as well.) I have looked into every soccer, basketball, hockey, and baseball team I can find. Everything is on Saturdays. Swimming is a possibility, although that is nobody's first (or second, or tenth) choice. I've thought of martial arts but have yet to locate a school that we would want to try. Obviously we are not the only people in this situation but there just isn't the critical mass of older-elementary school kids that would be needed to get a real alternative option off the ground. The JCC offers sports on Sunday but they are for young kids. I've spoken to the athletic director there and he was not particularly helpful. I know one child who does competitive gymnastics and just does not attend any of the competitions, and one other who manages to play for a travel soccer team but only in the Sunday games. So it's not impossible that I can arrange something like we had going before with the soccer team, but I am wondering if perhaps there are any other possibilities that I just haven't thought of. Any ideas for me?
  9. A friend of mine very recently purchased a very large dining room table from IKEA. Not sure what model she got, but it seats 14 easily and looks very nice.
  10. I had my phone off for Shabbat so I didn't hear anything about this -- and nor did anyone else I was with -- until late this afternoon when I brought my kids back to synagogue. One of my sons said that they had been told that they couldn't go outside because "someone killed a lot of people in a Pittsburgh shul (synagogue) and he's coming here next!" Apparently the news had gotten through somehow and the kids were not being allowed outside. I was glad to be able to tell the kids that the gunman had been arrested, at least. It is just horrible news, although certainly not surprising. As others have said, anti-Semitism has been on the rise, and mass shootings are apparently just a part of the everyday fabric of American life these days, so it was just a matter of time. Our synagogue has pretty tight security already -- a couple of years ago someone shot at the building -- and I am sure that it will get even tighter. IMO, the true canary in the coal mine is the virulent anti-immigrant stuff. I have been Jewish my whole life and things like bomb threats and vandalism have unfortunately been part of American Jewish life for a long time. The first time I truly felt like I understood how the Holocaust happened, though, was when there were the child separations at the border earlier this year. Hearing ordinary people justifying this unbelievable cruelty was just stunning to me. Growing up, we were always told that the Germans were fundamentally anti-Semitic, that there was something in their culture that made them susceptible to Hitler's rhetoric. Jewish children are no longer told this, of course, and now we understand the Holocaust in the context of other genocides in other places. But it wasn't until I heard people -- people I knew! -- defending the child separations that I finally got it. It really can happen here. And it wouldn't take much at all, even.
  11. JennyD

    Skin cancer alums ... best moisturizer and sunscreens?

    Sorry to hear about your skin cancer. I had a melanoma removed 21 years ago and have been careful about the sun ever since. I use Neutrogena products, usually the ones formulated for sensitive skin. Like a PP, I wear sun-protective clothing -- I too love coolibar and solumbra, but LandsEnd and other manufacturers have them too now. (20 years ago the dermatologists would hand out specialized catalogs to patients.) And I stay in the shade whenever possible.
  12. JennyD

    Age spots/actinic keratosis

    Sing it. My dad's torso is just covered with these things and according to my dermatologist that's pretty much my destiny, too. I have decided that I will get them removed if they show up on my face but other than that, it just isn't feasible to take all of them off. DH has something like 20/400 vision without his glasses, which I think will come in handy over time.
  13. I am going to be making a vegetarian soup for about 30 people. Any fantastic recipes for me? I have been contemplating lentil soup but am not wedded to the idea. Huge plus if I can make it the day before.
  14. JennyD

    10yo and horses

    Thanks so much for all of the suggestions!
  15. My DS10 had the chance to (briefly) ride a horse this summer and ever since has been consumed with horses. He has checked out every horse-related book from the library that he can find, talks about horses constantly, and is planning to save any money he receives for his birthday (in January) in what he describes as "a fund for horse riding lessons." DS is also a, well, challenging child, who becomes easily upset and then takes it out on everyone around him. I think that the underlying problem is mostly anxiety, and we more or less have the situation in hand, but he definitely requires a tremendous amount of management, and I feel that easygoing DS8 in particular is sort of getting the shaft, parental-energy wise. Which brings to me to two questions, one easy and one harder: (1) Any recommendations for a good horse-related unit study? Or ideas for not-to-miss resources for one? In particular, I'd like to build some writing assignments around this interest, and I know less than nothing about horses. I see that Amanda Bennett has a unit study put together but it is Christian, which is not suitable for us. And the Winter Promise equine science program is a bit more (and $$) than I think we need right now. (2) I am not averse to getting him some more contact with actual horses, but I am reluctant to get him involved in anything time consuming or expensive right now. Any ideas about how to do that? We live in a city and anything horse-related is going to be a drive. We do not know anyone who owns a horse or is other involved with horses, in case that was not already completely obvious.
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