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Everything posted by StephanieZ

  1. I'd drive to the destination and rent a nice cabin ON THE SLOPES that is EASY to ski to for lunch. Get a cabin with your own hot tub (plus or minus your own heated outdoor or indoor pool depending on how big your group is and how much money you've got to burn.) If you live in driving distance from a ski place with nice outdoor hot springs, personally, I'd feel safe going to those at non peak times, unmasked, and I love them. Ice skating would be another fun activity for evenings for non-skiers. Bring your food for lunch at the cabin. You could bring chili and have it warming in the
  2. FWIW, my 18 year old is a pianist (very seriously) and since March, all her lessons have been on ZOOM. She is even taking her Royal Conservatory of Music Level 10 performance exams virtually in December. Those exams are usually not only done in person, but typically only in about one location per state. We had to drive out of state one year for them. It's a big deal and costs several hundred dollars at this level, which makes sense since they bring in out-of-region judges and the exams are lengthy and require a very high level pianist as judge. So, that's to say that you can TOTALLY take lesso
  3. A large portion of pet families include both cats and dogs. You're a serious dog trainer, right? You can train your dog to be nice to cats, just like you train them to be nice to toddlers. Of course, if you're not confident you can train your dog to be nice to a cat, then don't get one just yet. Wait until your not-cat-safe-dog has passed away (hopefully not for a long time), then get a cat FIRST before getting a puppy. I've never heard of a puppy who couldn't be trained to be kind to cats, chickens, etc. I'm sure it could happen, but it'd be very rare (and worrisome) for a young dog to be unt
  4. Some ideas: High quality knives and a sharpener An ice cream maker (there's one that is an attachment to her KitchenAid). If you got that, you could continue the theme with a set of cute ice cream bowls and an ice cream scoop. A food processor with various attachments.
  5. Got mine today. I'm usually flaky about doing them -- got them when my mom was elderly and frail -- to protect her. But other than that, it's been really rare for me to get them, mostly just because it was a very low priority for me. I was at the dr today for something totally unrelated, and I gladly accepted their offer of a flu shot as it was high on my priorities to get it done in October. Why? Because COVID19 is already swamping our urgent/ER facilities, several areas in my state (WV) are already having to divert critically ill patients to other parts of the state or out of state bec
  6. It's a thing in the USA. It's essentially a scholarship program based largely on testing high on a standardized test - the PSAT - that is administered to pretty much all 11th graders. The top 1% of students become semifinalists. There there's an application process that winnows those semifinalists just a bit (16,000 to 15,000) to become finalists (essentially, they have to have strong, consistent grades, and they have to get a comparably high score on another standardized test - the SAT, and you have to fill out forms with their transcripts and get a recommendation, etc.. (I know the process w
  7. Thank you all for the kind, kind words. I'm so happy for her, and I am proud, too. It's easy to dwell on my parental shortcomings these challenging days of parenting young adults, and I have to say it's really nice to have a reminder of some of the things I did right. DD's pretty much 100% schooling on her own, transitioning to college courses this past year, so I'm pretty much DONE homeschooling. This sort of feels like the last task I had undone ... from being a homeschooling mom. And, now, it's really pretty much all over other than checking the boxes over the next 9 months. I guess it
  8. Can you please indulge me in a mama brag? I can't/won't do this IRL, but I want to share it with someone. My third and final child . . . just got official notification of being a National Merit Semifinalist. (And her score is very high, and she will no doubt be a Finalist and then a Scholar.) Both my older two kids did the same, so I'm 3 for 3 for nailing this particular achievement. I've screwed up a lot. But, at least I did educate them well.
  9. Random ordered thoughts . . . Sooooo many nuances to this decision. Usually, owning two houses at the same time isn't an option financially for most folks. So, you've gotta sell first, then buy. + Don't pay extra on your current mortgage right now. Save the cash. That's a no brainer. + You should sit down with a knowledgable realtor for an hour. That would answer most of your questions much better than I can. + Answers depend a lot on market conditions. In some towns, it may be that things are so "hot" that no seller is going to accept an offer with a contingency to sell your
  10. I do understand that it's hard. That's why I suggest "reminding yourself," of the reality of the situation. As long as they are mentally fit (legally and medically), you are NOT responsible for their problems. If/when they both become unfit (or one is a danger to the other), then you may have to take control, but that would require a lot of legal guidance. As long as either of them is still mentally fit, then you have zero power in this situation, and IMHO, you're best off learning to handle your lack of control and limit your own vulnerability to pain/trouble/angst. If you need therapy to hel
  11. I'm sorry you're experiencing this. Sounds really rough. (((hugs))) I'd remind yourself that you may owe your parents some degree of caring, but you owe NOTHING to your parents' crap. Humans =/= their possessions. When "you have to deal with it," you can choose to simply A) decline being executor of the estate and just let the state take everything they own or maybe set it on fire or whatever. or B) If there's enough money available to make it worth the while of dealing with the estate, just spend as much as is needed to hire help. Go through it as much as you wish (or not at all),
  12. What you describe is the PERFECT home to buy IMHO. Good bones, needs cosmetic updates. Go buy it. Update as you can.

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  14. Hell to the no. Wait a year. It'll be fine. If there's some urgent need for one or two procedures/visits this year to keep things stable, fine. But, committing to monthly medical visits? Forget it unless there is no other medically appropriate alternative that allows for waiting.
  15. Don't hesitate. If you can afford it, do it.
  16. Get rid of all carpeting. Made a massive difference in our household.
  17. 1) It may or may not be helpful, but your daughter *might* be able to change exchange plans because it might permit her a "special enrollment period." If that's the case, check her state's exchange and see if there's a better plan that would provide better coverage. 2) People, please remember health care when you're voting. Until we get single payer universal health coverage, these stories will just devastate more and more families.
  18. All your pets need to be treated. Get "good stuff" from the vet, more than simply Sentinel. If you've got an active infestation, Sentinel on only one pet would take ages to rid the house of the fleas. I'd add a good quality topical "topspot" such as Advantix for the dog and Advantage Multi for the cat. I don't know about rabbits, but if they can get fleas, then give them whatever your vet recommends for them. BE CAREFUL because some dog products are VERY toxic to cats. Don't use a dog product on a cat. EVER!! You need to vacuum daily and throw away the vacuum bag each day. And wash
  19. Absolutely not normal and definitely awful. GROSS!!!! I'd be furious!
  20. Thanks much for all the kind words. 🙂 ps. I should have mentioned that the very first book I bought on homeschooling, in 2000, at the recommendation of a new friend, (when d23 was three years old) was The Well Trained Mind, 1st edition. And the first internet forum I ever used at all was this here forum, around the same time, back when you could make up a new name for every post and the message boards "turned over" every so often to keep them concise enough that our old dial up internet could handle them. And this forum here is now the only internet forum (outside of FaceBook) that I visi
  21. My first homeschooler, who is now 23, just graduated from college! She was homeschooled start to finish, from learning to read at age 4, though high school. The only times she was in a "regular" class room were her 2 morning a week preschool when she was 2 (adorable) and then when she headed off to college. She's now a graduate from the University of Alabama College of Engineering, with a BS in Computer Science and a second major in mathematics with an emphasis in computational mathematics and also completed a year's worth of work experience through their co-op program. She ha
  22. I'd put pretty things -- bamboo salt cellar, pretty pepper mill, possibly oils or vinegars if they were in attractive bottles. Maybe you could put attractive jarred jams, apple butter, etc. If they're tall enough, you could put wine bottles there up right, either unopened bottles or the half-drunk-now-cooking-wine bottles that I keep around on the counter. Other ideas are attractive water pitchers or vases. Or a tea pot. On a shelf like that in my brother's kitchen, I put an antique family wooden recipe box that has a stack of my dad's old recipe cards (who died 20 years ago) in it. It's
  23. I have a similar design (all appliances on perimeter except a small prep sink on the island.) I chose a large, wide, single level island with seating for 2 (3 if they're kids), and I can't think of a single thing I'd change. Having the large single level allows for lots of work space. We'll routinely have 3-4 folks working at the island comfortably. I have my prep sink on one corner -- the one that's nearest the cook top across the aisle, for easy dumping of pasta water/etc. I'm happy with that, and two folks can actually access it at the same time if desired because one can stand on the
  24. Traditionally, all cabinetry had visible hinges and visible knobs or handles. You can absolutely have both. I actually like the look of visible hinges and handles or knobs. Personally, I went with a variety of coordinated knobs and handles in my kitchen/dining cabinetry when I built a new kitchen a few years ago. I put handles on the vast majority of cabinets, but used knobs on the smallest doors in decorative glass-fronted cabinets at the top of my cabinetry (cabinets go all the way to the 10 ft ceilings) as well as the upper cabinetry in the dining room (glass fronted doors and small/s
  25. 1) Go ahead and buy a couple books on puppy raising! Look for a recent publication date (within 5-10 years) to ensure it will focus on modern positive methods. You're looking at raising an infant vs an 8 year old . . . (based on your prior experiences with a more mature new dog). You need a new skill set! Get some books! 2) You can get a crate with a divider panel that is both movable and removable. This allows the crate to create a small enough space initially to help with potty training, but still be useful when your pup is an adult. 3) A "play pen" is also helpful to coop up the
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