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  1. Our possibility of moving to San Jose has just been upped from "possible" to "very probable" and I'm feeling STRESSED and anxious about it. This morning I had a thought come to mind that we should take a weekend trip to visit the area so I will have seen it and maybe not feel so stressed. I think my main stress is the idea that an affordable home will be smaller than ours (1750 sq. ft.) and cost twice as much. After living in the same house for 17 years we've accumulated a lot of stuff, especially for our hobbies. So the thought of moving into a smaller home is stressing me out. That and we need a house with land or a large lot with RV access for dh's automotive hobby... and a large garage would be ideal. How far out from San Jose can you live and keep the commute to an hour or less? What is the "flavor" of different neighborhoods? Schools- I know this isn't the forum for this but what are good high schools or high schools to avoid? Any high schools with Orchestra? We don't homeschool anymore - our youngest/last one home is in public high school. Tell me what is positive about living there. Right now I can only see the many reasons not to move there.
  2. Oldest is in her second semester at college. So far we pay by the semester- We pay tuition, books, rent, a minimal amount for food and transportation to and from school. Anything additional is up to her, including phone. Our children know that when we have more than one child in college we may be paying for less. (In the next year we could potentially have three in college). Tuition - We pay directly to the school. Rent - She has a direct online account to pay her rent to the apartment so we gave her a lump sum to pay the rent minus the amount of scholarship that was covering the rent. The rent is due at the beginning of the semester. She didn't pay the rent on time and so she will pay the $50 late fee herself. Food- There is no cafeteria. The first semester we paid her directly every month as we weren't sure what good amount would be. This semester we gave her a lump sum to manage for the semester She must have a grade of C's or better in all her classes. For any class that she gets below a C she will have to pay us tuition for that class. We will not pay for University for a child with poor grades or who does not have any career/future plans. We have a younger child who did not have good grades in high school and we are not offering that child an away from home University experience. We have told that child we are willing to pay for community college or trade school while living at home after a career/future plan is made. If that child shows good grades and career direction later we will consider University if it is needed.
  3. For a wildfire.Quite a few years ago. Everything was fine when we were allowed to return home. We packed photos, computers, etc. in two cars. Face masks are good to have for the smoky air. We didn't bring our 72 hour kits and ended up without toothbrushes - we had to go to the store to buy toothbrushes. And while at the store we bought puzzles for something to do at the evacuation center. We didn't bring our cat and then felt guilty.
  4. Know this symptom : Neck stiffness and pain that makes it difficult to touch your chin to your chest I'm sure there are more but this is one I am familiar with. When my children were very young there was a meningitis outbreak in that state and our pediatrician always checked for a stiff neck when I brought in a sick child- he would have the child stand and look toward their toes. That knowledge helped later. My son got viral meningitis in first grade. He had been sick and then he slept an unusual amount and acted very sick when he woke up. I did the stiff neck check and he could not look down. I could not make his head bend forward at all. There was no doubt that this was the symptom. I took him to the emergency room at the hospital and they immediately started him on strong antibiotics. He was transferred to a children's hospital and it took a few days to get the test results back to find out what kind of meningitis it was. Several years ago a child of someone at our church got bacterial meningitis while away at college. She nearly died and they had to do brain surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain. Nothing to mess with.
  5. I didn't read all the replies but the best thing that has saved us money is our peach tree - We make bottled peach jam every summer and over the last 15 years I've rarely had to buy jam. With a teenage son that seems to live on peanut butter sandwiches that is a lot. The peach tree has been easier and more productive than my gardening attempts.
  6. I've done both. Some years we have been overwhelmed with peaches and other years have gotten almost none. The variety of peaches on my tree don't can well- August Pride freestone- they turn into mush. I was so disappointed. But in my experiments with canning I learned that if you don't peel the peaches, the peach fuzz gets into the syrup and causes the jars to not seal. So since I can't make canned peaches we make LOTS of peach jam. You don't have to peel the peaches for jam.My teenage son seems to live on peach jam and peanut butter sandwiches. I prefer low-sugar jam which keeps up to a year but I also make high-sugar jam that keeps much longer. I also make freezer peach pies frozen in pie tin shape: Make two batches - we eat about 10 pies per year. A refrigerator crisper bin full of peaches = 2 bowls or 40 cups sliced peaches for 2 batches. Filling can be used for pie or crisp. Prepare Peaches- 20 cups sliced peaches (not peeled) ( one plastic bowl full )-use crisp, greener peaches Wash and slice peaches. Treat to prevent browning by dipping in fruit fresh mixture. Sauce: Combine in large Stainless steel pot: 2 cups sugar ¼ cup cornstarch 1/3 cup minute tapioca 1 teaspoon nutmeg 2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 tsp. lemon peel (optional –2015) Stir in : 20 cups sliced peaches ¼ cup lemon juice 1 Tablespoon almond extract Cook and stir until mixture begins to thicken. Ladle into pie pans a lined with wax paper. (about 2 ½ cups per pie) Cool in pans no more than 3 hours. Freeze in pans. Pop out of pie tins and freeze in gallon ziplock bags. To cook thaw slightly, remove wax paper, place in pie crust, finish thawing. Cook about an hour at 350? Yield: 5 pies or crisps Variations: *You can use ½ cup flour instead of the cornstarch and tapioca, but the flavor/texture is not as good. *instead of lemon juice you can use 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice concentrate or ¾ cup orange juice. *one recipe I saw adds ¼ cup butter to pie filling before baking? *another recipe uses 1 teaspoon salt- would this enhance flavor? Try it.
  7. I like the idea of making a room how you like it. Then you have one space you can go and let your brain sigh relief. Can you create a small outdoor space that you love? If I move from this house I will miss my garden sitting area- it has no grass but I enjoy sitting in it in the evenings or looking out at it through the window. We have an above ground fire pit for bonfires surrounded by chairs and a table nearby to set food on. I strung globe lights from the house to the fence. A long garden box for vegetables, a climbing cecil brunner rose that blooms in the spring, a lemon tree, a fig tree, a small circle of bricks for herbs and flowers... It is a space that makes me feel happy. A space I can escape to in good weather when I'm sick of being in the house.
  8. I just finished the Flavia de Luce series. The protagonist is a smart, spunky 11yo girl. At first I found her a little annoying but maybe more in the first book than later ones. My favorite is "The dead in their vaulted arches."
  9. What is a brand of whole grain pasta that tastes good? Several years ago I had tried many brands and didn't like them (mostly because of texture)and ended up just buying Barilla white fiber pasta to at least get more fiber in the pasta. Now my grocery store has stopped carrying the white fiber pasta. Do you have a whole grain pasta that you like?
  10. My teens were talking in the car this week about which movie to watch Christmas morning because "you and dad take sooo long to get up". ... Apparently they have started their own tradition. Next year I'll put a new movie under the tree for them to open and watch in the morning.
  11. Persimmon Cookies! Soft spice cookies with raisins and nuts. Yum! Here is the recipe I have. Persimmon Cookies 1 cup persimmon pulp 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 egg 1 cup sugar ½ cup butter 2 cups flour ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon cloves ½ teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup chopped nuts 1 cup raisins Preheat oven 350 degrees. Dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp, set aside. In mixer, cream together shortening and sugar. Add egg. Add persimmon pulp/baking soda mixture. Add flour and spices. Stir in nuts and raisins. Drop by teaspoonful onto greased baking sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. *Note – this recipe doesn’t have any salt. IF you are using unsalted butter add ½ teaspoon salt. Here is similar one on the web that has pictures and more spices http://circle-b-kitchen.squarespace.com/food-and-recipes/2012/12/21/grandma-locketts-persimmon-cookies-and-a-love-story.html
  12. I like the draw names to fill stockings idea! This year my girls decided they want to fill my stocking for me because I always fill everyone's stocking including my own and they realized it probably isn't as fun for me to fill my own stocking. My kids are 13, 17, 17, and 19. Traditions do change and evolve over the years but here are a few we still do: --Fancy candlelight dinner on Christmas Eve - fancy dishes, sparkling cider in goblets, etc. It makes it special --Santa's Sleigh- It's like a clue game- We have a wooden Santa Sleigh- probably 8"x12"- I fill it with a small wrapped present for each family member. The presents are numbered and the children have to guess what each gift is and who it is for. I have a master answer key and they come with their list and make their guess. I can only tell what number of answers they got correct. (6 people in our family = 12 answers). I have to double wrap/tape the presents very well because they get handled a lot. We open the presents on Christmas Eve and the winner with the most correct answers wins a candy bar. When they were younger I would start the game several weeks before Christmas. This year we won't start the game until the oldest comes home from college -so they will have less time than usual. --Advent Calendar in Envelopes- I only done this a couple of years but my 13yo is already asking for it this year. I get regular plain envelopes and let the kids decorate them with Christmas stamps, etc. and number them for each day of December. I fill each envelope with small/flat candy- just enough for each family member to have one or a few.I string ribbon along the wall in the hallway and attach the envelopes with binder clips. Each day they open an envelope for their daily treat. -- This year my youngest (13yo) has decided that she wants the kids to put on a performance for Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve. She wants each kids to play an instrument or sing.
  13. The last couple of years I have searched for beautifully illustrated classics. I have found more children's classics that are illustrated. Some are out of print. I buy used. Here are some I have found. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Books of Wonder) by Mark Twain (Author), Trina Schart Hyman (Illustrator) http://www.amazon.com/Connecticut-Yankee-Arthurs-Court-Wonder/dp/0688063462 A Christmas Carol- Dickens illustrated by Lynch http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0763631205?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_sfl_title_93&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood HOWARD PYLE illustrated by BENVENUTI 1962 http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Merry-Adventures-of-Robin-Hood-HOWARD-PYLE-illustrated-by-BENVENUTI-1962-/231714407511?hash=item35f3414457 The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes Hardcover – by Arthur Conan Doyle (Author), Sidney Edward Paget (Illustrator) http://www.amazon.com/Original-Illustrated-Sherlock-Holmes/dp/0890090572/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446791799&sr=1-4&keywords=illustrated&refinements=p_n_feature_browse-bin%3A2656020011 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Author), Hugh Thomson (Illustrator) ISBN-10: 0486440915 (I haven't seen the actual book of this one yet) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486440915?keywords=0486440915&qid=1446794552&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1 Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, illustrated by Lynd Ward http://www.amazon.com/Frankenstein-Lynd-Ward-Mary-Shelley/dp/1435120027/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446790351&sr=1-2&keywords=Frankenstein+Lynd+Ward The Adventures of Pinocchio (Creative Editions) by Carlo Collodi (Author), Roberto Innocenti (Illustrator) http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Pinocchio-Creative-Editions/dp/1568461909/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446787669&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=pinocchio+nnocenti Treasure Island (Sterling Illustrated Classics) by Robert Louis Stevenson (Author), Robert Ingpen (Illustrator) http://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Island-Sterling-Illustrated-Classics/dp/1402775458/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446788925&sr=1-1&keywords=Treasure+Island+illustrated&refinements=p_n_feature_browse-bin%3A2656020011 Peter Pan – by J. M. Barrie (Author), Scott Gustafson (Illustrator) http://www.amazon.com/Peter-Pan-J-M-Barrie/dp/0670841803/ref=wl_mb_wl_huc_mrai_2_dp Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (Author) illustrated by Ted Lewin http://www.amazon.com/Island-Blue-Dolphins-Scott-ODell/dp/0395536804/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446790648&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=island+blue+dolphins+lewin Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (Illustrated Junior Library) by Lewis Carroll (Author), John Tenniel (Illustrator) http://www.amazon.com/Wonderland-Through-Looking-Illustrated-Library/dp/0448060043/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8& qid=1446791213&sr=1-2&keywords=illustrated+junior+library+alice+in+wonderland
  14. A new cheap machine can be more frustration than it is worth so be careful I second the pattern review site for sewing machine reviews. I think the Janome Hello Kitty machines are one of the entry level machines recommended on the site but I don't have personal experience with those. If you want to go with an inexpensive vintage machine from Craigslist you might want to consider a very basic,old, black Singer that does straight stitch only - Model 99, 66, 15, or 201. (The model 99 is a 3/4 size portable). Look for one new enough to do a backstitch (a lever that goes up and down, not the round screw), no major visible rust, no fraying wires, and all the parts present. Try it out before you buy and make sure the motor sounds strong. Why an old black singer? 1. It is possible to get one for under $100 and they were built to last. 2. Very little to go wrong. The straight stitch machines have a nice stitch and were tanks that have less to go wrong on them than a zigzag. Most things you'll sew are straight stitch unless you want to sew knits. 3.They are simple and straightforward to use. I have my grandmother's Singer 66 and all my daughters have learned to sew on it - it is my one machine that they can't "mess up". 4. You can repair it yourself - Owners manuals, replacement parts,how to videos online etc.are readily available. Manuals on how to go through and refurbish old singer 99, 66, 15k and 201s can be found at the Tools for Self Reliance website. http://www.tfsr.org/publications/technical_informatio/sewing_machine_manual/ 4. Many short shank attachment are are readily available. You add a buttonholer attachment to make buttonholes. I actually like the buttonhole attachment on my vintage Singer 66 better than doing buttonholes on my newer, modern, computerized machines.
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