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Everything posted by masaki

  1. Wow, this could get really good! Bumpity-bump!
  2. :hurray: :hurray: :hurray:
  3. Ummm. I wouldn't get a border collie as the family's first dog. They are work dogs and need lots of exercise and stimulation. They are darn cute, though. If I were in your shoes, I think I would go for a small dog, preferably out of puppy stage. The puppy stage is the most labor intensive and if you're already a bit apprehensive and have got littles to chase around, you might resent the extra work that a puppy entails. Maybe check out the rescues in the area? We adopted our pug from a rescue, who is happy and lazy, or happily lazy, that is just our speed. He loves short walks, cuddles, and naps. He sheds like mad though, and for that reason alone I would not want to shack up with another pug after he's gone. I had read shedding would be a thing, but I did not expect the mounds of dog hair this little guy leaves in his wake. Oh, and no matter what breed and what age dog, take her/him to obedience class.
  4. It's wonderful that you were able to sell your properties so quickly. We were feeling very discouraged near the end. The market was weird at the time. The house we ended up buying was the 25th house we made an offer on. We actually made our offer sight unseen. By that point, we could tell what the floorplan would look like based on square footage in mls. That's how much time we had spent looking in our desired area. The house was a total fixer, in fact, the lag with the house we were selling enabled us to gut and remodel the house we purchased before we moved in. That part was great! It was selling that was stressful. The changes we made were recommended by the realtor, so I think it's smart to wait to see what yours has to say. Initially, we thought the house would sell quickly due to location and size, but people couldn't get past the 80s style. It had once been a cute little California bungalow (built in 1922), but had since been added on to several times. It was maze-like and all that Craftsman charm had been long stripped away. Best of luck to you!
  5. Hi, Dawn. We listed first. After several months of no offers we made the most cost-effective high-impact changes we could afford. The house is located a few blocks from the beach in SoCal, so we focused on the kitchen and the outdoor areas. There was dark paneling on just one wall in the family room that was also painted white. It really changed the feel of the house. The cabinetry and paneling, in and of themselves, were nice and good quality. Their look was just not what most people want these days. I found that people were looking for a "clean slate" they could envision themselves in. As you know, a kitchen remodel is a huge, months-long, expensive inconvenience. If a buyer is not getting a killer deal on house itself, chances are they are not looking to spend thousands more to redo a kitchen any time soon. Buyers are more likely to pass on a great house just to avoid a kitchen project. And tend to be more willing to make concessions on other parts of house if the kitchen is appealing.
  6. We had a poodle when I was a kid and she was sweet and friendly. I would encourage you to try puppy/dog training. The parks dept in our area offers classes, as do the local Petco & Petsmart. If you have those in your area, they may be worth a try and tend to be reasonably priced. Or you could ask your vet. It sounds like you have a socialization issue. Homeschoolers, even our pets aren't properly socialized! Lol. Seriously, it's just takes practice- exposure to new people/dogs and training and she'll be good. When we put our pug through training a few years ago, it was my son, 10 at the time, that took classes with the dog. He loved it and our dog still behaves his best for him. Just don't coddle or try to "soothe" your poodle when she gets worked up. You'll be reinforcing the behavior that you are trying to fix. If you give her attention and affection when she's freaked out, she won't understand that it's not acceptable. I learned that lesson the hard way. Good luck!
  7. We were in same boat last Spring. House was on the market for months with a tastefully done 1980s kitchen. Custom cabinetry in walnut with copper hardware. Lovely, but not modern. We decided to paint cabinets white and change all hardware to brushed nickel and the house was sold a couple of weeks after. Could have been a coincidence, but we received so many compliments on the kitchen after it was painted. Before, people worried about how much additional money they would have to invest in updating the kitchen. Didn't change countertops, although it's great that you can, but the end result was a bright, clean, more-spacious looking kitchen that people loved when they walked through. Stainless steel appliances are still very popular, which is why we went with the brushed nickel. I learned that it doesn't matter what the seller likes or thinks is beautiful, it's all about appealing to as many buyers as possible. Good luck!
  8. We got this set-up last fall for our Halloween/Nightmare Before Christmas party: Projector: Epson VS220 SVGA 2700 Ordered it from amazon, but I hate to see how much the price has gone up! We did not pay $489, it was $299 when we bought the exact same thing. Maybe you can find something similar for less somewhere else. You can hook this projector up to an iPad and stream content from the internet, we usually use Netflix. Or, you can hook it up to your laptop or dvd player and play dvds. You can also hook up your gaming console, we have the old wii and some games. This works especially great with group games, like Wii Dance or WiiSports. We've also used this projector for a photo slideshow at a graduation party. Screen: Camp Chef Indoor/Outdoor 144 Again, it looks like the price has gone up, but not as drastically on the screen as on the projector. This breaks down completely, the frame and screen packs away into a a sturdy case with handles. You can take it anywhere. Great quality. Speaker: AR (Acoustic Research) Portable Wireless Speaker I bought this on clearance at Home Depot last December for $59.98. The one currently offered on amazon includes a transmitter, which ours did not come with. For our Halloween party last year, we borrowed our neighbor's huge, professional event-type speaker, and it was a little overwhelming for the space we use. This speaker is much smaller, gives clearer sound, and it really doesn't have to be that loud because you set it down where everyone is seated. We have a long driveway with the garage located towards back of property, we set up the screen close to the garage. This space is technically in the back yard area, and although not completely enclosed, it is mostly private. Screen is not visible from street or neighbors' homes. We've really enjoyed using all this cool stuff. The kids love having a bunch of friends over for movie night. We live in SoCal, so weather is mild enough to do this most of the year. That is why we went for it. If we were only going to get a couple months a year out of it, it wouldn't be worth it for us. It's a lot of fun to set up lawnchairs and blankets outside, invite friends and neighbors :D pop tons of popcorn, and watch whatever we want. We used it twice just this week, our kids and some of the neighborhood kids watched Madagascar and Frozen. I think ET would be fun to do next. Next summer, I want to get some of these. I hope Costco stocks them again. If you have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
  9. This is easy, tasty, and great with any kind of berries, although I prefer to use mixed berries. It's nice with lemon curd and berries, too. In addition to buying heavy cream for the cake batter, I also buy a can of whipped cream because I usually don't want the extra step of whipping cream myself for topping. And, the heavy cream you don't use to top the cake and berries can go towards making more cake! I prefer to use heavy cream that is not ultra-pasteurized and that I buy at Trader Joe's. Here's an article about simple recipes using summer fruits. We love clafoutis at our house. I prefer making them when bosc pears are in season, but really, they are delicious with just about any fruit. We've tried clafoutis with berries, apples, plums, and cherries. Plums soaked in cherry liquor, too.
  10. It's great to hear that Mr. Q has made science easy to understand for your dd. I'll be using the Life Science book with ds6 in the fall and I chose it because it looks like it presents the information in a clear and interesting way. I also like that he uses humor. And, I've seen how discussion can make all the difference in getting the most out of the reading in any subject. It's so great that your mom helps out! Thanks for sharing your experience, I'm looking forward to getting started.
  11. I have been thinking about this, too. My oldest is starting high school in fall. I would prefer if he brought a lunch at least three times a week, for both health and financial reasons. I've found that there's this whole lunch box community online with lots of blogs devoted to lunchbox life-lol. Everything from SUPER cute and fancy diorama-style lunches I would never want to eat because they're amazing, to how to create manly-man lunches using Easy Lunch Boxes. I bought two sets of ELBs (I hope they last) and I am collecting lunch ideas now. Sounds kind of nuts, I know, my mom would've just slapped a sandwich together and thrown a banana or an apple in a bag and called it a day. It was fine for me because I didn't eat a lot as a teen, but my boy is 14 and tall and gets really hungry. I'm looking for things that combine a good amount of protein, carbs, and nutrients. Not being able to warm things up at school kind of limits options, though. If you want to see some of the cute stuff, just for fun, check out Lunchbox Dad. I learned a lot from food prep videos by on youtube. She makes all the week's lunches for herself and her husband in 2 hours on Sundays.
  12. It's great that you are able to be home during the rest of your recovery. :) You might want to check to see if your local library is offering a summer reading program for kids. There are usually fun little incentives for reading a certain number of books, or for a certain number of minutes each day. Libraries usually put together reading lists for each grade and one of the nice things about these lists is that you'll be sure to find all the titles at your library. Over the years I've found some nice reading lists, but inevitably, some of the titles are out-of-print or impossible to find. My little ds is the same age as yours, and right now he loves Henry & Mudge, anything by Mo Willems, for reading to himself. Our current read aloud is Little House in the Big Woods and I'm planning to read through the next two books in this series before moving on to something else. I would also suggest checking out audio books, so you can both enjoy some good stories! This spring, we started using Dreambox.com for fun math games. They offer a free trial, after that it's $13/mo. My son enjoys this a lot, he likes going at his own pace and choosing what type of problems to do. He plays once or twice a week. Good luck!
  13. Ds took the algebra class at LIVE Online Math this year and he loved it. The class met live three times a week, but the lectures were also recorded. So, if ds missed a class for some reason, he was able to watch the recording later to get caught up before next class meeting. My son enjoyed interacting with teacher and other students the most. The kids always had an opportunity to work out problems together during class. The instructor, Mr. Bovey, was always encouraging, upbeat, and genuinely concerned with kids' progress. What I liked best about it was that my son could ask questions and have them answered in "real time."
  14. I have two kinds of area rugs, both of which I bought with kids and pets in mind. One is a really lovely wool rug, very traditional persian-style rug in black, cream, taupe, sage, and rust. We've had it for over 10 years and it has held up great. I get it professionally cleaned once, maybe twice a year, and then vaccum regularly. The other is an outdoor Olefin rug, in a chocolate and taupe stripe. This one I can take out to the back yard and wash myself with mild soap and the garden hose if something spills on it, it get muddy, or just to refresh. Both have been in the main living area of our home at different times. Right now, the Olefin rug is in our den and gets the most use. I bought the Olefin rug from the Home Decorators Collection website. They run sales often. I bought the wool rug from Smith & Noble, but I don't think they sell rugs anymore. Good luck with your decorating endeavors!
  15. I don't think it has to be perfect. At times you'll find small discrepancies among resources could maybe be confusing for your student if they are reading things...not out of context exactly, but pieced off from the rest of the story. I think your idea of spreading out the readings within the time periods they cover makes a lot of sense.
  16. How about a tutor to help him get the hang of proofs and fill in whatever gaps there may be in his understanding of TT Geometry so far? We had a similar situation a couple of months ago with a few problems in the SM CWP 6 book. Ds hit a wall and my dh and I couldn't explain things for him in a way that really made sense to him. We used LiveOnline Math to hook up with a tutor and after a few sessions he got the hang of things and he's now sailing through the rest of the workbook. It was worth every penny to me. Sometimes there are bumps in the road, it doesn't necessarily mean curriculum is all wrong, just that a helping hand is in order. Good luck!
  17. That's a great idea, I'll check out local libraries to see if they offer math tutoring over the summer. I really want to find someone that understands Singapore, which makes things a little harder. I can do the problems and show ds how to get to the answer, but it's not the SM way and that's what I'm wanting for him to practice. But, who knows, maybe I'll get lucky! Thanks! We usually go running to Khan whenever we hit a snag, but you're right, the SM stuff stops at 3A. Bummer.
  18. Would a scrapbook-style album work? The pages with page-protectors would be good for displaying/storing plans and write-ups, photos. There are also different types of add-ons like pockets for saving cds/dvds or other small items, and fold-out pages for documenting bigger projects. I suppose it's sort of a lapbook-type thing, but because pages and other materials are acid-free, at least you know they'll hold up over time. http://www.c-lineproducts.com/product_category.php?cat_id=memory-book-scrapbooking-products Just an idea.
  19. Ds is working through SM Challenging Word Problems 6 and needs a little help. I am swamped right now and looking for some outside help with this just for the summer. I know I could google, but I'd rather go with someone that others here have tried and liked. Any recommendations? TIA:001_smile:
  20. Hi Danielle, American history/gov't is our plan for 8th. We followed the 4-year history cycle during the grammar years, but have decided to tweak things a little bit for middle school, partly because we haven't done much American history over the years. What my ds knows of American history is from SOTW, documentaries, and current events, so there are a lot of gaps. We'll use K12's American Odyssey in 8th. It just arrived today so I can't tell you much about it yet, but I did buy it because I'd read good things about it here on the boards. Critical Thinking Company has a neat series you might be interested in, it's called Critical Thinking in US History (cd-roms) that use original source documents to teach about conflicting ideas during specific points in our history: the American Revolution, the Constitution, the Civil War, Women's Rights, Industrialization, and a few more. Nice if you want to focus on government. You might also like to look at the The Teaching Company's Early American History, Native Americans through the Forty-Niners. It geared toward high schoolers, but looking through the study workbook, it looks very doable for an 8th grader. HTH:001_smile:
  21. There are only a couple of items that I'm picky about when it comes to brand. 1. Pentel's Hi-Polymer erasers-I was introduced to these in a drawing & painting class I took in high school. They are really great at not tearing paper or leaving marks behind. They're also handy if you use chalk pastels. I buy these all the time, usually at Target, never seem to go on sale though. 2. Ink refills for my beloved Parker pens. I've had the same two, one on my desk and one in my purse, for the last 15 years. Other stuff I stock up on: -dry-erase markers -dividers with tabs for binders -cardstock-I use these as dividers sometimes, but also for special printables. -printer paper and ink -binders-every other year or so, I like the 2 1/2"-ring ones from Costco A previous poster mentioned socks and undies, we do this too. And, if I see a deal on iTunes cards, I pick one up. iPad apps add up.
  22. Susie, your plan sounds great! I found Modern Times too heavy the first time around, so we didn't even finish SOTW 4. For next time, I was planning on focusing on American history, just because we haven't covered much of it in depth, but your idea of focusing on geography and current events really appeals to me. I'm going to keep it in mind when I start planning in earnest for 8th grade. Thank you! As for resources, Boomerang! comes to mind. It's more of a "fun" thing maybe, but I they do cover some current events.
  23. You might want to dig around the Discovery Education and National Geographic websites. There are some free resources on both, like videos and lesson/project plans, on many topics including dinosaurs. Depending on how long of a unit study you want to do, you could either buy a nice Dino encyclopedia or check one out of the library and have your dd go through it TWTM-way, writing up fact lists or short summaries on the dinos that really interest her, or you can select a few from each of three periods in the Mesozoic Era for her. Dover has detailed coloring books, if you think she'd enjoy including a picture with her summary. Maybe put together a timeline too? If you google prehistoric time line, you'll find a nice one on National Geographic's website. You could also include a few bios on famous paleontologists. If you have a natural history museum near you, you might want to see if they offer any materials, presentations, or special events that might fit into your unit study. HTH
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