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Rockhopper

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Everything posted by Rockhopper

  1. I keep a small inkjet around for color printing, scanning and copying. We actually got a color laser a couple of years ago when I bought a ridiculous amount of print it yourself curricula that we never used, but I had a total geek-out time all summer printing all those pretty color pages and binding them... Sigh. Anyway, even with the color laser, the inkjet gets used a lot. The inkjet we have is a Canon (TS6020, for what that's worth) and it was right around $50 about 2 years ago. It has some quirks but gets the job done and doesn't take up much space. I don't spend much money inkjet printers, as I view them more as "disposable" than the laser printers. I always buy cheap off brand ink from Amazon and it has always worked fine. (I send photos out -- unless, you know, they're for kids to paste into a notebook or something.) So no worries about high end quality. Actually, I buy cheap off brand toner cartridges too. And they work great. Our little b&w Brother laser (which we've passed down to our son but still works great) is over 7 years old and still going strong.
  2. You all have been so helpful, and supportive. Crying some tears of relief tonight, instead of exhaustion or guilt. Some excellent take-aways for me in here -- about what really does need to happen, and about my level of control of that. Words cannot express how grateful I am, for the compassion but also for the helpful thoughts about things to do and ways to reframe how I'm viewing it all. Also, enormously helpful is the reminder that people's comments are made from concern for my parents, and from their perspective, and probably mostly with good intentions but without a full understanding of the situation. Thank you so much. That was very much a mental shift I needed to make -- giving the same grace to them as I need myself. I'm going to go ahead and remove a lot of details now. I feel ready to move forward in a different frame of mind. Thanks again!
  3. Thanks to each of you. I really appreciate your thoughts and your encouragement. After this last trip, I really came home questioning myself. It helps a lot to have an outside perspective from people more removed from the situation. I also appreciate the springboard of ideas to think about different ways of helping from afar. Some of these are already happening, but reviewing them helps me brainstorm other things.
  4. Financial concerns and connection to their community are big reasons they won't move. Also, my brother and I both move frequently. Oh, I forgot another big one -- my grandmother lives next door to them and my dad checks on her, drives her to the grocery store, etc. He's absolutely amazing. But he is doing too much and it is starting to take a toll.
  5. Details removed for privacy. How to handle being the peanut butter in the sandwich when both kids at home and parents far away need you. And how to deal with comments from people who would like you to help more. And how to know if/when you're doing enough. I want truth, but please be gentle.
  6. Ft Worth! Such a nice zoo. Dallas was improving the last time I was there (which, admittedly, was a while ago), But Ft Worth is truly world-class, IMO. I would rather go there, for instance, than San Diego. But my favorite is Cameron Park in Waco!
  7. Oh my goodness. I just figured out how to run the reports on what you've ordered/returned/etc. We spend a LOT of $ at Amazon. Wowsa. But we've bought entire rooms of furniture, appliances, tools, computers, textbooks, curriculum -- as well as regular monthly orders of paper goods, pantry staples, personal care items. I ran a two-year report, and it showed 684 orders, with 67 returns, representing under 10% of the total. A decent chunk of them (close to 20) happened in the last two months because of our move, and one single defective appliance in that time frame accounted for a big chunk of our total return $$. That, plus new work boots for dh -- it took 3 tries to get the right fit, and each pair was $$. But those were listed up front as Free Returns, and it just doesn't seem right that they'd hold things like that against you, when they're set up deliberately to be a "try and return as needed" system.
  8. I return things *all the time*. Of course I also order things all the time, but I return a pretty decent percentage of the things I order. Sometimes it's because they were just flat out wrong or not up to par. Sometimes it's clothing, and we don't know if it will fit or not. We moved a couple of months ago, and sold or got rid of a lot of our stuff before the move in anticipation of much smaller space. But I still ended up needing a lot of new purchases, smaller items, throw pillows to go with new rugs etc. And at one point I returned 8 or 10 items in a single day. I tried throw pillows out, and they just didn't work. The colors weren't right or whatever. Things you can't tell from a computer monitor, things you have to see and touch in person. I don't feel like I've ever been flagged or had any kind of interaction that would make me think that I'm at risk of that happening. My huge Amazon return annoyance right now is that I moved from a big sprawling city, to an even bigger, more densely populated city. At my old house, I had a UPS guy come by pretty much every day and I could always drop off my returns with him. Here, my Amazon items rarely come by UPS, and I often don't even have a UPS option for returns. When I do, my nearest UPS store is a headache to get to. But worst of all, most of the time, Amazon will only give me the option (free, at least) to return to an actual storefront Amazon store. Which sounds novel and cool and all that, but it is mind-blowingly yucky downtown traffic to get to it, and then there's never anywhere to park anywhere near, and even if there's parking, I have to pay, and then I have to lug my returns into the store... I need to be able to block out at least an hour to return anything there. So that, more than anything else, has made me much more cautious about my Amazon purchases.
  9. It sold, so I guess it's moot now. And my wallet is less empty, so all is well. 🙂 (In case anyone was curious, "it" was a lot of Lego Christmas Village sets. I'm in a family of Lego fanatics, and I'm the least so, and get tired of finding homes for Legos -- but a seasonal Christmas Lego village? That sounds just my style! But oh my what an expensive thing to get started... So I run Ebay and Marketplace searches occasionally, looking for a good deal. This one was -- but hours away from me. 😞 )
  10. Anyone in Sayville, NY? Or have a friend or student near there? Someone with transportation who'd like to make a little money? I have an item on FB Marketplace I'd like to purchase but the seller won't ship. So I'm trying to find a way to get someone to pick it up, pack it and mail it to me. I am far enough away to make the whole thing just not very workable otherwise.
  11. I don't think that you'll ever regret ripping that band-aid. And hopefully now that you've started, it will get easier. Besides, a kid's capsule wardrobe is easy and inexpensive to replace, even without hand-me-downs. Think of it this way (because I know you are): if it was this hard for you, imagine how much harder it would be for your dh or one of your girls? At least you have all the institutional knowledge of where things came from/how old they are/growth rate patterns in your kiddos/etc... Streamlining *now* is a gift you are giving THEM, in the event you aren't able to help *later.*
  12. Well, I'm not sure that it would be considered budget-friendly, but SimpleHuman makes really good trash bags, and they're available from Amazon, and the price point is better if you buy in bulk and/or Subscribe and Save. I have odd-sized square cans for trash and recycling, and love that I can get a perfect fit from SimpleHuman, and that I can buy in advance and never have to worry about running out. And I've never had one break or split or any other kind of trash bag disaster. Also, I'm weird, but it makes me really happy to be able to have the white bag for trash and the blue for recycling. ETA: I use the H bags for our main house trash. My (teen) dd shared a bathroom with her older brother for the last several years and was really self-conscious about her personal trash. I got her a small lidded trash that fits on the inside of the bathroom cabinet door. It takes the R bags.
  13. May her memory be eternal. I'm so sorry for your loss.
  14. "Screenagers" is the only thing I've found, in a day of researching. But it's not the right age range. Commonsense Media has a Media Literacy curriculum that I think might work for us. Not quite what I was hoping for, but it looks good. Apparently I'm looking for a unicorn, but I'd still love it if anyone knows of a good resource.
  15. Oh, the irony!! Trust me, I know! But I'd love to watch a show with my youngest about media/screen balance and limits. I'm not as interested in anything specifically about safety, although it'd be great if it were a subtle subtopic. I don't want to scare, just start a conversation. Info about outside time as an alternative would be great too. Trying to discuss an article *I* read or a show *I* saw just isn't as effective. Definitely not ready for something aimed at teens. More in the 7-10 year old range. All my Googling is ineffective -- all I'm finding are shows/videos for parents.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. @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!
  21. (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!
  22. (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!
  23. 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!
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