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Everything posted by Donna

  1. Absolutely should not be required to allow pets.
  2. My husband can fix most anything so cosmetic things don't concern us. We look for solid structure, foundation, safety (like electrical and plumbing) and big ticket items like the roof and chimney in decent condition. No mold or chance of mold. We just purchased an older (1954) home and I was looking specifically for hardwood floors, larger rooms, one story, and the above mentioned items. We've repainted and put on gutters. Bathrooms are dated (late 1980-1990's) so will need remodeling eventually but fine for now. Kitchen is older but we love the solid cabinets and will only need to change floors and sink.
  3. If you don't mind walking and want as close to free as possible...Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell, and Ben Franklin Museum (even if you don't go in, you can see a "ghost house" showing where he lived). If you walk the streets near the Ben Franklin Museum, you will find the New Hall Military Museum, Carpenter's Historic Hall, 18th Century Garden...all between Chestnut St. and Walnut St. (between 3rd and 4th St.). If you walk around there is a foundation of a 1700's home discussing home size with shop on the bottom. My dd and I love walking around that area of the city just to see the architecture and read the signs. There is also a Museum of the American Revolution nearby but I don't know what it costs and have never been inside to see if worth's newer. If you are in Philly on the 1st Sunday of the month, the Philadelphia Art Museum is free.
  4. Dd16 took three DE online courses per semester this year including one semester each she had been dreading (Statistics in fall and Biology this spring). Both required hours of work per day and proctored tests. In addition to her other two course each semester, her hugely busy touring schedule (this spring she took proctored exams in Thailand, Ireland, Brooklyn, and Montreal), recording a new CD, and learning a lot of new music, she was swamped and sometimes more than a little stressed out. I am very proud she managed to overcome her test anxiety and maintained a 4.0 GPA (her goal). We head off to Ireland in a few weeks where she'll be the fiddler for Riverdance all summer. She is going into her senior year of high school and trying to decide what comes next. She has some amazing touring opportunities (dream jobs for her) she definitely wants to pursue but would also like a college education so is seriously considering continuing her education online. She will be, technically finished high school by December in time for a six month U.S. tour which she will be doing on her own (without momma). It has been an incredible journey for us and with this era coming to a close, I can look back and am extremely grateful for each and every moment we've spent.
  5. Read books, knit, mess around on my phone, grade/edit papers, read articles I have saved online for when I have time to read them, play a game on my phone, or if it is nice outside I go for a walk.
  6. We used a number of these ideas. I also found dd did not have the endurance to write as quickly or as long as the stories she wanted to tell. Rather than limiting her creativity, I let her tell her stories into a recording device then I wrote them down for her and she could draw pictures (writing a sentence or two about the picture). She also learned quickly how to type so she could transcribe her own stories.
  7. We turn on AC somewhere end of May/early June when temperature has been over 85 for a number of days without going down much at night. Otherwise, open windows do just fine for us. I like it cool at night when I sleep but we generally only keep AC around 68 or so.
  8. At our new town library, I am able to "borrow" books for two weeks through an online app and have them sent to my Kindle.
  9. Protein bars, nuts, dried fruit. We also bring empty water bottles and fill on the other side of security and always travel with our own bamboo cutlery (doing our part to reduce single-use plastic consumption).
  10. We are vegan so our meals are a bit different... Monday: Patatas Bravas (recipe: Tuesday: Thai Green Curry Vegetables with Tofu over Basmati Rice Wednesday: Loaded Sweet Potato Chili Fries (recipe: Thursday: Salads- with lettuce, fresh veggies, herbs, roasted veggies, nuts/seeds and beans Friday: Haven't planned that far out yet.
  11. I agree. Maybe if she had been homeschooled, she would have been able to express her opinions in a more cohesive, well researched article.
  12. Many of the opportunities (musical) dd has gotten over the years have seemed fortuitous but connections made by attending concerts, camps, workshops, and other events were huge factors. I cannot tell you how many free and very low cost concerts we attended over the years where all the other attendees were retirees except for dd and I. It always amazed me that no other parents in our area took advantage of these opportunities to expose their dc to different cultures and musical styles. In one town near where we lived before, the local school district did a multi-cultural week where different cultures were studied throughout the week (stories, food, geographical studies, etc...) and it culminated in performances on a Friday evening with different cultural groups from the area-- classical dancers from India, Mexican style music and dance, Greek dancers, Russian dance, Irish music, etc... every year something slightly different. Parents only had to walk or drive their children to the theater (very small town) to see the free event and the only people who showed up were the families of those participating and 3-4 students with their families who were receiving awards from the week's events for poetry or artwork. Music concerts aren't everyone's priority (and music isn't every child's passion) but there were certainly parents who wondered aloud to me and behind my back about the opportunities dd received. We certainly attempted to let others know about opportunities when asked or when we thought others might enjoy them and dd was always more than happy to invite friends for performances with her as she enjoyed collaboration. After awhile I noticed we were always inviting others but they were not reciprocating when their dc were given the opportunities...they were opportunity hoarders and, in most cases, their hoarding kind of backfired because their now grown dc are no longer even involved in the activities for which they hoarded the opportunities. In those cases it seems the parents were guiding the involvement and not the kids....and the joy was taken out of it. I agree it would be more fair of people (when they have the resources to spend--time and money) to say "I won't/don't" rather than "I can't." There have certainly been opportunities my dc missed over the years because we prioritized one thing over another and sacrifices were made to do the things they did do because deciding to be very good at something involves sacrificing other things because we cannot be two places at once. It is unfair of others to judge anyone else's dc's opportunities without acknowledging the work and sacrifice (and sometimes a little added luck/timing) that went into the receipt of those opportunities.
  13. My garlic and shallots are growing nicely. The salad is coming in beautifully and I have cut it twice already. Radishes are coming up. The parsley I planted last year is huge. We just moved into our home a year ago and have been messing around with our greenhouse here. We have radishes, beets, broccoli rabe, salad, herbs, peas, kale, carrots, brussels, tomatoes, and a few other things I can't recall plus a lemon and a lime tree growing in there. I've been growing, harvesting, and replanting all winter trying to figure out what grows best in there. We are in coastal NC and had a very mild winter.
  14. Reading, knitting, cooking/baking, gardening, and walking.
  15. We are finally allowed to tell people...dd will be the fiddler for Riverdance the whole summer in Dublin, Ireland. She is so excited!
  16. One other tip I just thought of...if you are picking up your car in Dublin at the airport but spending a night in Dublin city centre, I would suggest going into city centre from the airport on the bus (I think it is 6 euro per person) rather than driving in Dublin city. The roads are often one way, full of traffic, and confusing (a difficult first driving experience on the wrong side of the road) and parking is costly. We generally spend whatever days we have in Dublin then take the bus back to the airport to pick up the car to drive to the next place.
  17. I use whatever rental agency is the least expensive when I book-usually look through Exp*dia for a deal. I think the time I had the punctured tire it was Hertz. The last time we went in February it was Budget. I have never purchased personal accident insurance. When I had to file a claim, it was frustrating because of the company Chase uses to take care of the claims kept asking for the same paperwork over and over again...this was just for a 100-something euro claim for a new tire for the car. I finally got frustrated and called to tell them I sent them everything and even highlighted what they were asking for before they finally reimbursed me. It was a bit of a hassle but well worth the savings on the two week car rental. I always use Google maps on my phone with an Irish SIM card in the phone for unlimited internet (I use the company called 3 which has stores in various towns but have also purchased SIM cards at a local Tesco). I would never pay to rent the GPS. Are there that many traffic cameras in Ireland? Mostly driving teeny little roads and going much slower than I would at home because I am driving on the wrong side of the road, sitting on the wrong side of the car, and shifting with the wrong hand. (Oh, and check to be sure you know how to back up the car before you go far...was riding while a friend was driving and we could not figure out that we needed to pull up on the ring around the shifter to get the car in reverse...that was an adventure. LOL)
  18. If you get a chance to catch Riverdance at The Gaiety Theater in Dublin while you're over, dd will be the fiddler. That's where she and I will be all summer, June through mid-September. 😊
  19. Yeah, if you think you've seen small roads, nothing compares to Ireland roads where you have a stone wall on each side and barely enough room for two cars to fit...and then a tour bus comes the opposite direction. If you drive out to Dingle, the road on the pass has a cliff going up on one side and down to the ocean on the other with room for one car at a time...scary. I travel to Ireland 1-2X/ year (for the past 8 years) and until the last 2-3 years CC insurance would not cover Ireland due to the frequency of damage but as soon as they did, I began using it. No issues at all. Make sure to check the car well when you get it. I usually video a walk around the car when I get it to avoid being taken by previous damage but have not had an issue. I did have to use the CC insurance once last year for a tire puncture and it took a little over a month to get reimbursed but I did in the end. It only took a couple minutes for the paperwork when dropping the "damaged" car at Dublin airport (and would have been even quicker at Shannon- my very favorite airport) but well worth the savings. The rental company was very good about quickly answering emails to get me the information the CC company needed to take care of the reimbursement.
  20. If you are driving, check the credit card you are using for the rental car to see if it covers the insurance on the car which will save almost twice the car rental cost. Let your credit card know you are traveling so the company does not block charges. If you have meal restrictions, check the airline you are flying to request meals that will work for you. Often the "special meals" (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc...) are nicer than the regular meals the airline provides. Someone mentioned an international driver's license? I've driven in quite a few countries and have never needed anything other than my state-issued drivers license. You will not need a special driver's license to drive in Ireland. If you can drive manual, it's way less expensive to rent than automatic. I recommend the smallest car you can comfortably fit your family in...Irish roads are very narrow with little wiggle room. We always use our phones but get SIM cards for the country we are traveling in. For about 20 euro, you can get unlimited data (perfect if you will be using Google maps to get around) for a month and a limited number of phone minutes and texts for the country you are in. We use What's App or Messenger to communicate with family and friends back home. Way less expensive than using the international travel feature on our home phone plan. (Just check with your phone company to be sure your phone is unlocked...all V*rizon phones are unlocked.)
  21. When the kids were young we did a five week road trip from our home in NJ through Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, then home through the Dakotas. We had a skeleton plan, camped along the way at parks, and found adventures every day. We hiked, fished, went white water rafting, got up early some mornings to see wildlife in the parks, found a castle in Colorado, rock climbed, and went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead (probably the most fun as dd and I had read all the books about a year prior and it was a very hands-on place).
  22. I had different expectations for each of my kids but ultimately it was up to them to decide what they'd like to do to earn a living. My oldest, I thought would go to college and get at least a four year degree--he went for a semester then decided he had no idea what he wanted to do but thought he'd prefer a trade so is now an electrician apprentice. My middle ds, I never expected would go to college as he was always better working with his hands. He took a few courses on guitar building and now does that plus construction-type work. I expected dd would go to college and get a 4-year degree (most likely at least a MA before she finished) and she most likely still will but it might be a more round-about path for her than graduating high school and going to college. She'll have nearly two years finished doing DE at the community college while in high school but, beginning this summer, will be touring professionally with her music (much more than we've been doing until now) so she may decide to take a few courses at a time to finish up a BA degree while she tours. (We'll see how she feels about touring once she's done it. She may decide she doesn't want to live on the road 4-6 months at a time.) I have a master's degree.
  23. Mine were expected to follow the laws or they weren't allowed to drive. No keys, no car. Period.
  24. There are a lot of harpists in Irish music. They either play along with the tunes, adding in variations, or chord along as backup. I'm not a harp mom but reading your post, I thought, maybe learning from a harpist in Irish music or other folk music might teach improvisation and backing (chording) skills which could then be applied to whatever style of music she'd like to play? Not sure where you live but I know a number of Irish/folk harp teachers who teach via Skype or other online platform if you'd like to pm me.
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