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justasque

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About justasque

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  1. Yes, I think small things, so that the guest can have little tastes of a lot of different things, are often a good way to go when entertaining, especially at a buffet or as appetizers.
  2. In my circle of friends, these wouldn't have been eaten. A small skewer of fruit alone, or perhaps with a very small cube of a homemade baked good (strawberries and brownie squares would be nice) would be more likely to be eaten. Processed baked goods are a firm NO for most women I know. Same. I like to bring fresh, healthy foods that are simple to make but taste good. After once making 30 cookies in the shape of the mainland United States for one dc's event, I vowed Never Again. A whole doughnut from Dunkin' ranges roughly from 280-450 calories. Munchkins are 60-70 calories each, so three of them would be 180-210 calories. I aim for around 500 calories per meal, plus about 200 calories for a mid-morning or evening healthy snack. It would be hard for me to justify eating three doughnut holes, especially alongside other high-calorie foods like sausage and bacon. This drives me nuts. I once took home the leftovers from a catered Mexican buffet. No one else wanted it. I made some more rice and those leftovers fed my family for a week. (I do understand people who don't want buffet leftovers for germ-type reasons.) I try to consider leftovers when I make a party menu, so that I can be generous with what I offer, while minimizing waste by making effective use of what doesn't get eaten. I wouldn't eat any of that, to be honest. It would be extremely hard to stick to a reasonable number of calories, and there's way too much sugar and fat for my body to feel good after the meal. I would prefer more veggies (there aren't ANY!), more fruit (without the yogurt or doughnuts), and perhaps a crustless mini-quiche crammed with veggies. Sometimes people "pre-game" - eat before the party, so they aren't starving and faced with an unhealthy menu like the event the OP went to. And sometimes the timing for a party is awkward - too late for lunch, too early for dinner, especially when you take travel time into account. Sometimes it's more a logistical thing - traffic flow, seating, conversational timing, and so on can make it less likely that someone gets up to fix themselves a plate, let alone seconds. And sometimes it's such a great party in terms of social interaction that everyone gets caught up in it and doesn't stop to eat!!! My family once took it up on ourselves to provide bottles of hand soap to the staff bathroom for an entire scout camp, for the entire summer, because no one else seemed to feel it was necessary. Our scout, pre-armed with one more bottle than there were sinks, and having placed a full bottle at each sink at the start of the summer, would surreptitiously bring a full bottle to swap out for an almost-empty one each time they used the facilities, taking the empty one back to their tent to be refilled. Healthy food doesn't have to be restaurant-quality. Simple fresh foods, attractively presented, can often be much easier to make than the doughnut skewers (which I am sure were beautiful!!!). Cut fruit - whatever's in season - in a pretty bowl. Mini spinach-feta and/or broccoli-ham-cheddar fritattas, made in a mini-muffin pan and piled on a pretty plate. .Quarter-slices of homemade whole grain bread (in a bread machine) with natural peanut butter and a quality jam, or perhaps a spread of cream cheese with nuts and dates. A green salad with strawberries and pecans and low-salt turkey, or one with apples and craisins and chicken and goat cheese. While it wasn't a lot of food volume-wise, it was certainly a lot in terms of fat, sugar, and calories. (OP, I know the menu wasn't your responsibility, and I am impressed that you make what they asked you to make, and made it super-pretty with the hearts too!) This. I try to serve foods my guests will feel good about eating, and that will be tasty because they are made from fresh, quality food, rather than added fats and sugars. People in my social circles generally try to eat healthy foods even at special events. When you eat lower fat, lower sugar foods on a regular basis, your taste buds adjust and you don't enjoy higher-fat foods or those higher in sugar. They just don't taste good any more.
  3. Yes! When I bake, I get out my whole "baking" bin, and I can easily see what we have on hand. This is especially useful during the churn of kids going away to summer programs or college (needing a few baking basics, for which we "shop the pantry" first) and then returning. We put returning supplies right back into the appropriate bins, so although we always seem to have two half-used bottles of vanilla extract and three boxes of cocoa, we can always use the oldest first, and wait to buy new until there really is none left. It helps to reduce the clutter and reduce the waste of having to toss old food.
  4. I use my pantry for storage, and keep frequently-used foods in the kitchen. For example, I put all but one can of black beans in the pantry; when I use the one I bring up another. I make sure to put newer things in the back, and older things in front. I group things by food types - the proteins are at eye level - cans of salmon, chicken, beans. Nearby are the tomatoes/sauce/paste, and cans of corn. I have a section for soups and broths, where I also put the coconut milk (which I use for sauces). Ready-to-use sauces go there too. My herbs & spices & such are in the kitchen, in three plastic bins. They are roughly divided into "Savory", "Sweet", and "Baking". The baking bin also has food coloring, cupcake liners, baking powder and baking soda, etc. I have a small container with a clear lid (leftover from a take-out meal) labeled "Pumpkin" which has cloves, ginger, and everything else you might put into pumpkin pie. Don't forget you can use plain old cardboard boxes for storage. I use the ones that hold frozen burritos in the grocery store (which I get when I buy the last of the burritos in that box), the boxes that a 12-pack of good beer comes in (which are also the PERFECT size for sewing patterns), and the big sturdy boxes from applesauce cups bought at BJ's. I leave corn, beans, and tomato cans in the boxes or flats they came in (from BJ's) until I am down to only one or two of them. It's not pinterest-y, but it is very budget-friendly. As my nest empties, I am moving various rarely-used kitchen tools & appliances (big crock-pot, large roasting pans, etc.) to the pantry, and moving more food into the kitchen. Things like paper plates, large coolers and not-often-used lunch boxes, first-aid (including meds, knee braces, and the like), cleaning supplies (like vacuum bags & swiffer refills) and big platters go there too, all grouped by like items. Every January, I do an "eat down the pantry/freezer" exercise, in which I take inventory of what we have on hand, and try to use as much of it in meals as possible. I use this as an opportunity to clean the shelves as well, and declutter anything we don't need anymore, before stocking up again.
  5. Exactly. And the skills and confidence learned can transfer into home maintenance as well, which will serve him well in the future. I am big on DIY projects, not just because they can save money, but also because once I learn how to do a job, I am more appreciative of the work involved. This makes me better able to hire a qualified person else to do the job when necessary (because I know what to look for in terms of skills and quality work), and more willing to pay them decent wages for it because I understand what goes into it.
  6. If your ds's philosophy is along the lines of "buy quality, maintain it well, make it last", that's a reasonable approach to owning things. But "maintain it well" can be expensive and out of proportion to the value of the item unless he learns some DIY skills. The vast majority of teens simply don't have the income to support this quest for perfection. And even if a teen can afford it, often when college and marriage and kids come into the picture, it's hard to maintain this standard financially. I've done body work before. This is an easy fix. If my kid wanted his car to remain pristine, I would encourage him to learn how to do as much as possible himself, especially if he was a teen. Being able to do this kind of fix himself would save a significant amount of money over the life of the vehicle (since there will be more scratches in the future), and give him the ability to do the job as often as needed, and to the high quality level he desired. Body work can be tedious, but it is not difficult. I did it as a teen, as did my siblings. If, however, your ds has the job done at the shop, be sure to ask for the leftover paint. This will save a bit of money the next time the car gets scratched, and the body shop is likely to toss it if he doesn't ask.
  7. I've done this a few times now; here's my advice. BEFORE BUYING NEW, ask yourself, do I have an old one the kid could have, and we could buy the new one for me? I suggest this for two reasons. First, the obvious value of learning to make do which is good for a young person on a low budget. But also, we have found over the years that what goes to school doesn't always come home again, for one reason or another. So rather than investing in the best, lifetime-worthy pots and pans and such, or the nicest matching linens, consider sending your older ones and upgrading your own collection instead. (Also, often a senior moves to the location of their first job, and it doesn't always make logistical sense to bring the dorm stuff along if they are flying or moving long-distance.) Minimize, minimize, minimize. Moving in is fun. Moving out is most definitely not. The less stuff, the better. When it comes home for the summer, you have to store it somewhere. Possibly in your house. If you have two kids in college, and they both have an apartment's worth of stuff to store, it gets even worse. So did I mention minimizing? Yeah. Also, as soon as it comes home, sort it into things needed at home and things only needed at school. Pack the latter up into tote bags and such so it is ready to go; this will make moving back to school ever so much easier. Tote bags - Ikea is your best friend. Next time you're there, pick up four or five of the big blue bags. They are perfect for packing bedding, clothes, and other soft goods. The double-size grocery bags (think the ones at Marshalls & TJ Maxx) are perfect for textbooks, cooking things, and other small dorm necessities. (That said, the actual Marshalls etc. ones are not as sturdy as they once were; keep an eye out for good ones of a similar size.)
  8. If you are dressed/groomed nicely, you can often confidently walk into the lobby of a decent hotel as if you had a room there, and use their lobby bathrooms. Walk in like you know where you're going and are supposed to be there. I have done this in several major cities, without incident, and the bathrooms have been super clean. (Like it or not, looking nice often gets you privileges and favors that you wouldn't otherwise get. And the previous poster's story of the fallout from letting the wrong person use your bathroom speaks to why. Pros and cons, obviously, to a complex issue.) There are several free museums in the city. FIT and the folk art museum come to mind; I've used the bathroom in both, plus they are nice small museums to visit - 30-60 minutes depending on your interest in the current exhibitions. If you have a museum membership at home, check the reciprocal membership museums. I've been to several museums in NYC for free because they are reciprocal with my local nature center to which we belong. Having your membership card and a list of museums will give you options should you need them.
  9. On my way out the door but - Main Public library, third floor or basement children's area. FIT museum (free), lobby to the left. Penn Station (and presumably other train stations). Parsons - the building where they do tours - people walk in to use this one all the time.
  10. As others have said, the "carry on" is the roller bag that goes in the overhead. The "personal item" is the backpack or purse or tote bag or whatever that goes under the seat. There are now fare classes that do not allow a carry on, although they do allow a personal item. I have always understood it to be that the underseat bag is the personal item. So if you could put your backpack into the small bag (or vice versa) you would have been ok. But if they are two separate things, they can't both fit under the seat, so that's where the problem lies. I am assuming here that you either had a ticket that didn't allow a carry-on (aka overhead bit) item, or that you had a carry-on roller bag as well as the other two bags. I have often heard them announce at the gate that if you have two personal things, you need to stuff one into the other or you will be asked to gate-check one.
  11. I don't have a link to a specific one, but mine are mostly Columbia, Royal Robbins, and Magellan. I have long-sleeve, short-sleeve, and sleeveless versions. Long-sleeve is nice when you want sun protection; some folks wear them open over a cami as a "jacket" look. Sleeveless is when it's hot but you don't need the sun protection. And short-sleeve when sleeveless isn't quite appropriate but you don't want the long sleeves; it's more of a "camp" look. Most of the long sleeve versions have tabs so you can roll up the sleeves. The pockets aren't particularly useful because the fabric is so light that anything put into them would weigh them down in a way that would be uncomfortable and not flattering. However, if you just want to stash a few bills and an ID, they'd be fine. Some of mine have a "secret" zippered pocket over one boob. I am all about secret pockets, but there's not a whole lot of "secret" when you've got something stuck under your shirt on your boob. However, the properties of the shirt in the summer heat more than outweigh the not-useful pocket issues. Some have pockets in more useful places, though the weight issue still applies. Other useful features on some shirts include a tab for hanging your sunglasses on. These are sold as "fishing" shirts but I've seen them mostly on "active older adult" types of well-dressed middle aged women who are travelling, going to outdoor festivals, doing an urban sightseeing day, and that sort of thing.
  12. Am I the only one here who has one of these shirts? And who, dare I say it, is obsessed with them? They are fabulous in the heat! Specifically, those 90+ degree days. And yes, they are lightweight, quick-dry, great for one-bag travel, and so on. Sometimes the women's versions are marketed as travel gear, and rightfully so given their properties. I call mine part of my "lady who works at the zoo" outfit; I wear them with a khaki-colored hiking skirt. I've just picked up a couple more for an upcoming trip. I don't like those with pockets on the boobs, but there are versions with stealth pockets in the side seams or the princess seams, and most have that great flap in the back (which covers a mesh panel - it really does keep you cool in the heat). (Full disclosure - I neither hike, nor fish, nor work at a zoo. I just like practical clothes.) Hmm, they are actually darn sturdy nylon, but sometimes they have snaps rather than buttons, so.... I think that gets the point across nicely.
  13. I should add that at Panera, we've never gotten so much as a stink-eye. There is a knitting group that meets there at the same time; they are larger and louder, but they seem welcome also. I have a small whiteboard and a couple totebags full of textbooks, manipulatives, and such that I haul in with me. (I hold up the whiteboard and write on it; it's about 2'x3') And it's not unusual for another customer to come up after we are done and say they wish they had a math teacher like me when they were in school!!!
  14. I have tutored at several libraries, at a local Panera (and in other coffee shops now and again), in students' homes, in my home, and in a local homeschool co-op. (The co-op was in a church. When there weren't enough students to run a co-op sponsored class they let people who had a relationship with the co-op borrow a vacant classroom for tutoring a small group, or do tutoring the the room used as a study hall.) Basically, all the kinds of places you might teach a younger homeschooled kid when their older sibling is in a nearby class. In some cases I have been paid for my tutoring, and in some cases not; that has never come up or been relevant when using the various spaces. The library I have used the most has small study room that fit 4-6 people. You can only book a room so far in advance, so there is a chance one won't be available. But so long as we have been flexible it's been ok. I can see that in a smaller library with no study rooms (or less welcoming librarians) it might be something that they can't accommodate. When at Panera, we sit in the back, and at least one of my students and usually their parent buys something to eat. I wouldn't use a cafe without somebody buying something. I do make a distinction between an individual tutor with, say, 1-3 students, vs. a tutoring company with more students and/or more tutors. In the case of a company, I think they should have a formal arrangement with the library, which may or may not include a fee.
  15. Just wanted to add - while your MIL's behavior issues could be due to dementia, it could also be something simple like a UTI. Or it could be some other problem, possibly related to her fall in some way - stroke would be another thing I'd want to rule out. (Maybe the fall contributed to her current issues, but maybe the fall was caused by a medical issue rather than just being a misstep or slip.) If she's in a nursing home, they are probably savvy about such things, but get your dh to double-check that they are looking for a cause for this behavior rather than just assuming it's dementia. I don't want to add to your task list, but getting the diagnosis right could help her recover properly so there's less on you in the long run.
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