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Rockhopper

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About Rockhopper

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    Hive Mind Worker Bee

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  1. We're mid-move, sitting in an empty house and I couldn't take the dirty floors anymore, so I bought the Shark Duoclean Lift Away from Costco last night. I'm very impressed. I have another Shark on the moving truck that I do like quite a lot, but oh my word I have to cut gobs of hair out of it every time I use it. (It's shocking how much hair I shed as I go about my day.) The self-cleaning brush in the Duoclean really appears to work -- there was NO hair in it when I finished vacuuming. It does lack the self propel function of my old one but I think I'll appreciate clean rollers more. It did great on the hardwood floors too. And Shark's tools are easy to use/change out.
  2. I spent a lot of energy figuring out how to organize my kitchen to work more efficiently for me, and to stay more organized. We're moving soon but I learned some things that I think apply to any kitchen: -Baskets as drawers. I had a small, inefficient pantry. I lined the shelves with baskets (I like the y-weave ones from Target), LABELED each basket and then use them like slide-out drawers. So for instance, I have a basket for pasta. I have one for breads. I have one for sauces and spreads (honey, pb, syrup). -Baskets for grouping and containment. Instead of a group of extracts sitting on a shelf, put them in a basket. Instead of various piles of measuring cups (I tried hanging them on the door but the banging drove me batty) and silicone baking cups, group them in a basket. -A SpiceStack for spices. -If the budget allows, installing pull outs in cabinets is truly a game-changer. I haunted Lowe's and Home Depot for a few weeks and was able to pick up one that had been returned for a steal, and got two others from Amazon. They did not take long to install (I did them by myself) and it is delightful to not ever lose stuff at the back of a cabinet. All the small appliances are in one. All the storage, plastics, etc in another. Oh, and small appliances: we have, for instance, an egg cooker which my dh loves and uses. It used to just be small parts floating around. Now I have *another* basket (!!!) that all the egg cooker pieces go in, on the pullout drawer. Good luck! ETA: THIS is wonderful too! No more lifting up multiple pans to get the one I needed. And it forces me to only keep the amount that fit in it.
  3. I need to join in! At least for a bit... Our packers come in 3 weeks. We have signed a lease on our new place, halfway across the country, but we've never seen it. Reports on the square footage at the new place vary -- the owner says 2000 sq ft, but zillow and trulia and other sites like that list between 1200 and 1500. I think the owner is counting basement space that is livable but technically isn't supposed to be included. Anyhoooo, the point is that any of those numbers are a LOT less than what we currently have. I'm trying to prepare for the possibility of 1200, and that means that I need to downsize a lot. I want us to enjoy living there, and if we feel crowded and cramped at every turn, we won't. We've already eliminated nearly one full room of furniture (we're still undecided about the dining room hutch). I'd gone through the kitchen really carefully a few months ago; I'm pretty confident that everything in there is stuff that works, get used and is liked. However, I'm not sure that's going to be enough. In fact, a lot of the rest of the house is like that. We're at a point where I don't see any "low-lying fruit." But obviously lots of stuff still needs to go. I think? Maybe we're just spread out because we can be? Dh says to take what we have and deal with it there, but I'm scared of being overwhelmed and discouraged on that end. I guess I'd rather be overwhelmed and discouraged on this end? LOL! Anyway, I need to get re-energized. I'm going to go right now and look through youngest dd's closet for outgrown winter clothing. Deep breath. Baby step.
  4. I don't think I'd want a whole house of Sea Salt. Maybe a room, like you said, as a change. Our whole house is Agreeable Gray. We're moving next month and that house is entirely Agreeable Gray too. When we first moved in here, I was really snarky and rude about the Agreeable Gray (despite trends, gray makes me think of prison walls and institutional cafeterias). I always called it Acceptable Gray. But I've really come to love it. It is a really great neutral. It works like white but lets white furniture and trim pop off it. It's not sad or dreary or "too" anything -- it just IS... in a good way.
  5. @PrincessMommy Sorry I took so long to respond -- but I just posted (and cross-posted!) about the field trip co-op I'm planning for next year. When we lived in DC before, we participated in an American Girl field trip group that did field trips every Thursday. I'm not sure what day of the week we'll do this time, and I'm only planning on doing American Girl ones every other week. I'll probably do Zoo and/or Natural History museum trips on quite a few alternate weeks, though. If you know anyone who'd be interested in joining us, please let me know!
  6. (Original Post on K-8 Board) I am organizing a 2-year American Girl Field Trip co-op/curriculum. We will use the American Girl books/girls to study US history chronologically, beginning this fall. The book readings will be the launch point for other, cross-curricular study, and most importantly, field trips. The field trips will primarily focus on the downtown area, although some will move out into the greater DC area. My middle daughter and I participated in a similar group a few years ago and it was a wonderful experience. For that group, we had weekly field trips -- every Thursday. We got to see and do some amazing stuff! For instance, we visited the American Indian museum while studying Kaya. We did a scavenger hunt through the Revolutionary War section of the American History museum while studying Felicity. There were trips to the National Gallery to study contemporaneous paintings and furniture. We did a trip to Dr. William Beanes’ house in Upper Marlboro – he was the imprisoned American Francis Scott Key was visiting when he was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner. We did a docent-led hike in Rock Creek Park learning how escaping slaves used the stars to guide them on the Underground Railroad. However, I'm not up for quite that many field trips this time around! And the former group, specially organized, doesn’t exist anymore, and the woman leading it had decades of contacts and resources in museum education that I simply don’t have. So I'm planning on 2 field trips per month, and using some sort of online forum to stay in touch in between. Target age group is 3rd to 5th graders. Siblings would be allowed to come on field trips, of course, but there would be the expectation that the field trip and curriculum content would be primarily directed to the target ages, and that siblings would be able to either participate appropriately or not be disruptive. Participants would be expected to read the appropriate American Girl book to get the most out of the field trips. At this point, I’m expecting to do the organizing and planning, but I’d love to share the work if other parents are interested. I’m hopeful not to charge any “co-op fees” but parents would need to pay for or provide required reading books (American Girl, plus maybe a few others), transportation to and from field trips, any field trip costs (minimal, since most will be at Smithsonian museums) and any miscellaneous optional expenses (snacks, etc). I think 4 to 10 girls (or boys!) at the target age range would be ideal. Although we won’t begin until the fall, I’d like to start recruiting participants now, so that we could have the summer to get everyone ready. If you are interested, please contact me! And if you know someone who might be interested, please send them this information. Because I don’t want the group to get too large, and because I won’t be there for a few more weeks, I don’t necessarily want to start sending out to groups or list-servs yet – I’ll do that if this more word-of-mouth approach doesn’t get any response. Thanks!
  7. (Original post on K-8 Board) I am organizing a 2-year American Girl Field Trip co-op/curriculum. We will use the American Girl books/girls to study US history chronologically, beginning this fall. The book readings will be the launch point for other, cross-curricular study, and most importantly, field trips. The field trips will primarily focus on the downtown area, although some will move out into the greater DC area. My middle daughter and I participated in a similar group a few years ago and it was a wonderful experience. For that group, we had weekly field trips -- every Thursday. We got to see and do some amazing stuff! For instance, we visited the American Indian museum while studying Kaya. We did a scavenger hunt through the Revolutionary War section of the American History museum while studying Felicity. There were trips to the National Gallery to study contemporaneous paintings and furniture. We did a trip to Dr. William Beanes’ house in Upper Marlboro – he was the imprisoned American Francis Scott Key was visiting when he was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner. We did a docent-led hike in Rock Creek Park learning how escaping slaves used the stars to guide them on the Underground Railroad. However, I'm not up for quite that many field trips this time around! And the former group, specially organized, doesn’t exist anymore, and the woman leading it had decades of contacts and resources in museum education that I simply don’t have. So I'm planning on 2 field trips per month, and using some sort of online forum to stay in touch in between. Target age group is 3rd to 5th graders. Siblings would be allowed to come on field trips, of course, but there would be the expectation that the field trip and curriculum content would be primarily directed to the target ages, and that siblings would be able to either participate appropriately or not be disruptive. Participants would be expected to read the appropriate American Girl book to get the most out of the field trips. At this point, I’m expecting to do the organizing and planning, but I’d love to share the work if other parents are interested. I’m hopeful not to charge any “co-op fees” but parents would need to pay for or provide required reading books (American Girl, plus maybe a few others), transportation to and from field trips, any field trip costs (minimal, since most will be at Smithsonian museums) and any miscellaneous optional expenses (snacks, etc). I think 4 to 10 girls (or boys!) at the target age range would be ideal. Although we won’t begin until the fall, I’d like to start recruiting participants now, so that we could have the summer to get everyone ready. If you are interested, please contact me! And if you know someone who might be interested, please send them this information. Because I don’t want the group to get too large, and because I won’t be there for a few more weeks, I don’t necessarily want to start sending out to groups or list-servs yet – I’ll do that if this more word-of-mouth approach doesn’t get any response. Thanks!
  8. I am organizing a 2-year American Girl Field Trip co-op/curriculum. We will use the American Girl books/girls to study US history chronologically, beginning this fall. The book readings will be the launch point for other, cross-curricular study, and most importantly, field trips. The field trips will primarily focus on the downtown area, although some will move out into the greater DC area. My middle daughter and I participated in a similar group a few years ago and it was a wonderful experience. For that group, we had weekly field trips -- every Thursday. We got to see and do some amazing stuff! For instance, we visited the American Indian museum while studying Kaya. We did a scavenger hunt through the Revolutionary War section of the American History museum while studying Felicity. There were trips to the National Gallery to study contemporaneous paintings and furniture. We did a trip to Dr. William Beanes’ house in Upper Marlboro – he was the imprisoned American Francis Scott Key was visiting when he was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner. We did a docent-led hike in Rock Creek Park learning how escaping slaves used the stars to guide them on the Underground Railroad. However, I'm not up for quite that many field trips this time around! And the former group, specially organized, doesn’t exist anymore, and the woman leading it had decades of contacts and resources in museum education that I simply don’t have. So I'm planning on 2 field trips per month, and using some sort of online forum to stay in touch in between. Target age group is 3rd to 5th graders. Siblings would be allowed to come on field trips, of course, but there would be the expectation that the field trip and curriculum content would be primarily directed to the target ages, and that siblings would be able to either participate appropriately or not be disruptive. Participants would be expected to read the appropriate American Girl book to get the most out of the field trips. At this point, I’m expecting to do the organizing and planning, but I’d love to share the work if other parents are interested. I’m hopeful not to charge any “co-op fees” but parents would need to pay for or provide required reading books (American Girl, plus maybe a few others), transportation to and from field trips, any field trip costs (minimal, since most will be at Smithsonian museums) and any miscellaneous optional expenses (snacks, etc). I think 4 to 10 girls (or boys!) at the target age range would be ideal. Although we won’t begin until the fall, I’d like to start recruiting participants now, so that we could have the summer to get everyone ready. If you are interested, please contact me! And if you know someone who might be interested, please send them this information. Because I don’t want the group to get too large, and because I won’t be there for a few more weeks, I don’t necessarily want to start sending out to groups or list-servs yet – I’ll do that if this more word-of-mouth approach doesn’t get any response. Thanks!
  9. Thank you! Each of your responses helped me fill in my thought process on what wasn't working and what to do to make it work. It's not any huge radical change, but I just couldn't get to a solution on my own. :-} I'll look through the IG to figure out the focus areas/animals for each week, hit those from the other resources and then do a combo of looking at the encyclopedia briefly with her and letting her look for things that catch her eye. Wow, weight lifted -- I'm pretty confident now that we can find a way forward.
  10. THANK YOU! I have a solution that I think is workable. I know that sounds like a dumb question, or a newbie one... I'm not a new homeschooler, so maybe it *is* dumb, lol! Dd (8yo) and I have picked back up WP's Animals and their World study, which was supposed to be our science this year but which we totally flopped at after a couple of days. And I'm afraid we're going to flop again. This child LOVES animals. And knows a great deal about them. And while some of the materials in this curriculum is old-hat to her, I know there's plenty left to learn. But the "spine" is the DK Animal Encyclopedia. The first week has about 6 pages scheduled per day. When a DK or Usborne encyclopedia has been scheduled in other curricula we've done over the years (like SL), it's usually supplemental to the spine and we look at some pictures and captions and move on - unless the kid wants to read all the words him/herself. Since it's the spine, I've been trying to read all the words. But even as interested as she is, her eyes are glazing after the first few chunks, and she's done well before the end of the assigned reading. And then there's still other readings, the fiction reading, the hands-on stuff... If you've done this study -- or used an encyclopedia in this way -- or a similar study, *how* did you do it? Or if you just have suggestions for me, I'll all ears! Thanks! (I'm willing to greatly modify but not entirely ditch this -- I have a lot of $ invested in it and it has a lot of good stuff, I think. I like the journal pages and One Small Square books and so forth.)
  11. I have Mikasa white china and I love, love, love it. It's heavier than special occasion bone china only-at-Thanksgiving kind of dishes but way way way lighter weight and sturdier than stoneware. I hate heavy plates! And I hate the look and feel of Corelle. The noise your fork makes on a Corelle plate! EEGH! It's a simple but pretty design. I got it at Costco a few years ago to replace my white octagonal ironware (can you tell I like white plates? easy to dress up or down, work for any occasion). It has a bit of an octagonal design which for some reason delights me and is the main reason I collected ironware for year. But ironware crazes like crazy, and chips easily too. There was a deep contented inward sigh of "finally" when I found my Mikasa. I bought enough to last my lifetime so I never have to dish shop again. I have what I need in my cupboards and approximately 2 sets packed away to account for inevitable breakage (although I think I've only lost one dessert saucer so far).
  12. My youngest (and i) are really enjoying the new Carmen Sandiego right now. At my oldest's urging (young adult), we are all watching Avatar: The Last Airbender as a family too. She loves How to Train Your Dragon and we watch Nailed It! together a lot. It has occasional adult references that go right over her head. She watches the series Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I'm underwhelmed. There's a lot of silly teeni-ness and not a lot of positive imo but she likes it. She loves watching Chasing Monsters with her dad (about catching monster fish), Sea Rescue and Ocean Mysteries. These are great for kids that love(d) Wild Kratts. There's also a whole series of nature shows -- Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, Animals with Cameras and others -- where scientists watch animals in their natural habitats putting Go-Pros on animals in the group. She also loves Extraordinary Homes and Tales by Light. HTH!
  13. I want to say thanks again to each of you who responded earlier -- your help was ... well, helpful! 🙂 We have a place! We're going to be in Kensington (near Wheaton) just east of Rock Creek Park. Dh's commute will be about 4 miles by bike, and nearly all of it in the park/dedicated bike path. If there's bad weather, there's a bus stop a half-mile from the house with an 18 minute trip to work. Very, very workable -- and we'll only need one car! It's a single-family home. A Cape Cod!! (I was pretty resigned to having to go to a split-level, which I -and I promise I don't mean to offend anyone who has one or loves them!- hate.) Four actual bedrooms (one small, which works out just fine for us). Family room with fireplace in the basement, as well as an office room with a door and a closet. Storage room in the basement also, which helps with the lack of a garage. Nice backyard with a playset for youngest and trees along the fenceline; neighbors behind are on a cul-de-sac separated by the trees. A tree fort may be in our future! And about a block and a half away from Rock Creek Park. Also only a mile from the library, and a farmer's market, and some shopping. Four miles to Trader Joe's, and 2.5 miles to the nearest Metro stop for trips downtown. A really nicely updated kitchen! Yay! I have looked at so many horrifically bad updates on houses over the last few months. I would've loved gas, but I can live - once again - with a glass top stove. Full baths on each level, and the adult son/guest room is even on the main floor -- an added blessing for when our aging parents visit! So many, many pros and not too many cons. 🙂 Major downsizing is in order, as the square footage is a pretty substantial decrease from our cookie-cutter Texas McMansion, but I'm totally okay with that. We've been here less than 3 years, and some of the stuff we accumulated was stuff we knew wouldn't move with us from the beginning. We stayed nearly in the budget we were hoping for, and enough below our housing allowance to account, hopefully, for most utilities. I think selling a car and dropping the insurance on it will help too, plus dh can qualify for a mass transit subsidy/reimbursement for bus fares, so I think we'll find it works out okay money-wise. We are excited -- and the kids are getting there. I'm looking forward to field trip Thursdays!
  14. Around here, only ds is really into strategy games. Dh enjoys them, but not like ds. I don't care for them at all, and middle dd is *very* resistant to board games in general because she always "feels stupid." I like games like Scrabble, but I'm the only one who does. Dh, ds and I all find fast-paced games like Dutch Blitz, but again dd doesn't, and youngest dd can't keep up at all. With all that, it's next to impossible to find a game we all like. And yet I persist! I got Bob Ross Happy Little Accidents specifically for middle dd, the artist. And it was a surprisingly good game that really was nearly a hit all the way around. Each player draws squiggles on 3 pieces of paper. All the pieces of paper are put into the center face down, and then each player randomly picks one. The host takes a game card, calls for a number between one and six, and reads the corresponding word. It might be an adjective, noun or verb -- you name it. The host turns over the timer and everyone has 30 seconds to try to turn the squiggle in front of them into something representative of the word. Because of the squiggle starts and the very short time, the pressure is completely off of everyone, especially the non-artistic types, to really produce "art" - although artistic dd did manage! The results are hilarious. After times up, everyone goes around and explains/argues how their drawings interpret the theme. So funny! Laugh out loud, tears rolling funny. You're supposed to play three rounds, then each player picks their personal favorite and everyone votes on it. With squirrels. That part got a little fuzzy to me. Rule-oriented ds liked it but the rest of us are considering some sort of family modification to end the game. Nonetheless, the whole drawing on the squiggles thing made it worthwhile.
  15. My youngest keeps telling me about Mary Anning, the paleontologist. She was born in 1799. I don't know of any biographies but it might be worth looking.
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