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Everything posted by Ripley

  1. I can call the pitches (strikes/balls) at my boys' baseball games with an accuracy of 99%. :cheers2: I secretly wonder if it's all the years I spent pitching, or just my loud voice influencing what the ump "sees". :seeya: Whatever the case, it has won me the awe of two of my boys (one a pitcher, the other a catcher). :coolgleamA: Unfortunately this talent doesn't translate to MLB games or to my daughter's softball games. And my boys aren't in awe of anything else I do, even though I'm generally an awesome person.
  2. Oh yes! That's a holiday here, too. Actually, any "used book sale" day is :tongue_smilie:. I have all the local church and library sale days on my calendar. I just wish they'd spread them throughout the year more LOL. My Half-Price Books just had a huge clearance - everything $2. I went all three days and still didn't get through every section. I think my 17 paper lists slowed me down; I need to digitize! Glad you had fun. Impressed you even got a few school subjects in!
  3. In the $2-8 range: Sharpies flash drives laser pointers hacky sacks kazoos or harmonicas little alarm clocks Farkle, Uno, Phase 10, playing cards drawstring backpacks carbiners - flashlight, multi-tool calculators white tee/tie-dye * pkg 6+ Hanes tees, tie dye color kits, $2 bag rubber bands * give each kid a tee, 1 color dye, few rubber bands, Ziploc bag, typed instrux Altoids - not technically a food! (Or the Trader Joe's green tea mints, yum!) $5 gift cards - Sonic, Starbucks, iTunes, movie theater $5 cash - presented in origami :D
  4. Thanks, Jasperstone, for the tips and the linked article. I'm doing Operation Onion tonight and through the weekend. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. Definitely doesn't hurt to try, right? :D I haven't told the boys b/c they're always teasing me. They'll be asleep in another hour or so. And then I'll put an onion under their beds, too LOL.
  5. When moms at the park or sports are visiting or on their phones - I'm sitting quietly out of the way. With my hair scissors. Snipping away. Few things gratify me more than eliminating my own split ends :leaving: Store mirrors: the rare time I catch a glimpse of my hair from behind - and am treated to what's left after months of random strand self-hacks. It's awesome incentive to put the scissors down for awhile. (Unfortunately I just ... can't ... stay ... away ... for good!) What a sweetheart. I'm gonna need to borrow him for an afternoon ....
  6. My 16 year old is a baker, too. Over the years related gifts included: aprons (some full, some half, some boring, some funny) quality baking tools (mixer, rolling pin, silicone mats, oven mitts) cookie cutters, frosting tips and bags, sprinkles (high-end sugar ball things and low-end themed or colors) dedicated equipment (his own measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls) gifts-in-a-jar stuff (Bell jars, adhesive labels, paper tags, sharpie markers) other give-away stuff (various bags/boxes/tins for cookies, cupcake carriers) grocery store gift cards (sounds dumb but he really loves those!) I've been trying to find a nice cake stand because he makes a lot of cakes, but in two years I've not found anything I like (and the price I like). Does he have his own recipe box or book yet? My MIL made one for my oldest son years ago. It's kind of like a scrapbook cookbook. Pictures of her, of them, of people long dead but whose recipes were still in use ... It was part her recipes and she left plenty of blank pages for him to add to over the years. And he has. It's pretty neat. That son made a recipe box for my daughter on her 6th birthday. Just a plain box from Hobby Lobby that he painted. We found some "fancy" recipe cards to fit it and he included some self-laminating pouches so the cards would stay protected. She's a messy cook LOL. She loves it.
  7. You all are amazing, and I appreciate the ideas. I have two meals to make next week. This and an AHG mom who delivered her 8th on Monday. There are lots of casseroles and Mexican dishes on her calendar. I'm going to do the meatball subs and Jean's garden salad for them. The flexibility will be great for the kids' evening activities. I like the idea of stuffed shells or ravioli for the other family. I'll add Lisa's capresce salad and fresh rolls. I'm glad for the suggestion to include fruit salad and/or veggie tray. Great idea and I'll be sure to send some to both familes. I'm intrigued by shrimp scampi, but I've never prepared or eaten shrimp. I'm intimidated by calzones and strombolis, never having had those either. Obviously I need to schedule a field trip to an Italian restaurant! Re-con ;). I'm going to make the cabbage rolls this weekend, for us at home. We eat Asian cabbage rolls all the time, so I associate those with home. I can't wait to see how the European version compares to ours. We try to deliver meals when we can. Lots of need in our area. I didn't realize what a rut we were in until reading this thread. It's definitely time to expand our culinary horizons! Thanks one and all, again, for your time and ideas. :patriot:
  8. I've signed up to take dinner to a family at my nephew's school. They've requested "salads with proteins and loves Italian food." Meals will be dropped off at 3pm for the student to take home. I could really use help with meal suggestions and/or recipes. And a guideline for how much to send - 2 adults, 1 boy (age 11). I have two Italian recipes in my repertoire: spaghetti with meatballs and spaghetti without meatballs. I want to avoid duplicating a meal, if at all possible. But only 1 person posted hers: pasta, salad, dessert. Super helpful :lol:. My meal follows hers and will be their last one. I did an internet search but don't know what is "Internet Popular" ... and what is Stuff Real People Eat In Real Life, if you get me. I found a slow cooker Italian chicken with cream cheese and dressing? Sounds disgusting to me, but it's on a lot of websites and blogs. And I found a chicken cacciatore which looks ... involved LOL. Mostly I don't want to send something gross, however involved the recipe. And at the risk of sounding demanding, a crockpot meal would be ideal.
  9. Thank you to all who have posted! And to the OP for the thread :). I have a daughter and several nieces in this age range. I've been looking up these suggestions on Amazon. And I have a list of "new to me" titles to buy the girls! Now to hunt them all down at clearance/thrift store prices LOL. Oh how I love me the thrill of a (book) hunt :D.
  10. I'm not organized enough to have those type of systems. But I know they work well for people who aren't me. What we did was have a generic, blanket "rule" of sorts - and it's kind of still in place today working well with my teens. Basically it's this: "Make it right." It'll look different from kid to kid, situation to situation, day to day. It puts the onus on the kid to come up with appropriate restitution. It's harder than stewing over marbles in a jar - and getting to feel like SHE is the real victim! And more effective, maybe. Immediate gratification can be its own reward. I'd weigh a known consequence against doing/saying what I wanted. Sometimes, some things were worth the 20 jumping jacks IYKWIM. (Maybe, hopefully, your kids aren't as rotten as I was!) So Example 1 I'd follow your script with "I need you to make this right." At first, with younger ones like this, you may need to guide them more. So maybe: "You need to make it right before we go to bed tonight." Offer ideas if they're stumped and need some direction. It's not a punishment, it's a learning exercise. Stay calm, teach this. Maybe the offender would make you a card saying sorry. Or maybe they'd help set the table without asking. My favorite is the heartfelt, on the spot hug. It melted me at six, and still does at eighteen. Example two. Oh boy that's annoying, isn't it??! I stop everything and wait for the interruption to end. Then re-start. And stop again, if needed. Then re-start. Some school days were loooooong LOL. And sometimes it meant lunch was put off a few hours. Or other routines were disrupted. But school was our priority and it had to come first(ish). And they had a role and responsibility in seeing to that. A few delayed lunches and field trips lost made an impact. As did days play time was cut short because school ran long. It's just real life though, right? To some degree? Work, then pleasure. Prioritizing responsibilities. I know adults who still struggle :). But it's important to work at. Easy rewards: bouncy balls, scratch-n-sniff stickers, rubber stamps' Food rewards: tootsie rolls, starburst, dum-dum (small) lollipops ... or maybe M&Ms/skittles/runts instead of marbles? And they can eat whatever is in their smiley face jar for snack.
  11. Those were very interesting reads, thank you! Maybe I'll start saying those are the reasons I avoid news. Sounds better than "I can barely manage my own micro level living. There's no way I could handle things at the macro level." :D There is good food for thought in the mentality of those links. Same as why we might avoid genres of television, movie, music, reads. Why not apply those filters to news, as well? I think it doesn't occur to many of us. Feels sort of like a light bulb moment!
  12. Oh boy. Just saw your most recent post. Can you give him a gracious out? Would he take one if you offered it? A saving face, let's cut our losses kind of thing?
  13. I'm wondering if you have an accountant or lawyer. And if they can be the fall guy - chalk the termination up to something THEY'VE found. Accountant: discrepancies in the books Lawyer: some kind of CC fraud related the purchases, maybe* * setting it up as being Something Else when approaching the employee. Like you're overlooking the fact that they've spent inappropriately. But a third party cannot due to /some made up or cleverly worded/ reason. Sounds like a pickle. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. As if family weren't complicated enough, right? Good luck.
  14. These are also the two that I missed. I put the same thing down for government spending. (And for the same reasoning.) Then I guessed too high for the poverty line. (And was also happy to be wrong about that one!) I don't follow the news. I don't see out the news. I don't watch it, I don't read it, I don't listen to it. (Nor do I vote, a nod to the comment up thread.) My kids are aware of what's going on in the world. They hear it at school, scouts, sports ... they discuss it with friends, family, and each other ... I'm going to give them this quiz later tonight. Thank you for linking to it and its article. I know it's scary what little some of us know about the news. Or worse, how little interest some of us have in the news. But I feel my score is acceptable and hope I get a pass :D.
  15. I'm already on a mega dose of Vitamin D due to deficiency. I take that oscillococcinum at first sign/symptom. Other than that, I take more care to wash my hands. Because I'm out in public a lot and not everybody does :wacko:. this is very interesting to me. So just like ... cut it in half and put it in a bowl somewhere? Does it have to be near the bed or anything? How long do you leave it out or replace it? And :ph34r: ... does the onion get nasty colored? I, personally, LOVE the smell of onions. I'm not sure how well it'd go over with the kids. Does the smell ever fade, or ....? I may pick up a few extra onions at the store today :).
  16. Drinking is a social activity in our families. People are offered shots when they walk in the door. My ex-husband and I both drink in front of our kids. I've probably said I needed one to relax. I've also said I need caffeine to get me going. But he and I have very different opinions on offering alcohol to the kids. He has offered it to the boys as teens, to "take the mystery of it away." I don't agree with that approach and keep my own liquor locked up. It's the only parental/social issue we've ever fought about; and still do. Our respective experiences and exposure to addiction shaped us differently. I made him watch the movie Thirteen when it first came out. He thought it was a cinematic exaggeration and laughed it off. I both fear and envy his naivete and ignorance. I'm grateful he makes clear to the boys that it's a family decision - they're not to discuss it, share it, or offer it to anyone else. And I have to hope my kids understand and follow that directive. Since you're dealing with someone who has shown she won't or can't - I think you're wise to expand your daughter's social circle. I get why you were so upset initially. Why play with fire? (Or genetics.) It's a heavy issue with very real, scary potential consequences for some of us.
  17. I generally do the books in a basket thing. My family averages 2-4 new babies a year. This thread has inspired me to branch out a little from my go-to gift. I don't know why I keep forgetting about Pinterest. (Well, except that whole time suck thing.) Some of my most treasured gifts were from my aunties. They've always spoiled me and never more than my first pregnancy. In their wisdom they included something practical. And in their wisdom they included something totally impractical. First time parents really need both!
  18. I live 20 minutes from Dallas proper. I knew Ebola was "here" but am not following news of it. Well, at least not outside of this thread. Which I only read now because of insomnia. And lack of movement to other threads, here and elsewhere. I didn't know it was UT/OU weekend. Now I know to expect traffic. Or pray the rain forecast is accurate. I travel by air monthly, in and out of DFW. My siblings are medical professionals in Dallas proper. I have kids at public, private and home schools here. Jinnah's worries aren't causing me any undue stress. Nor any of my family members, far as I can tell. I appreciate that there are people at both extremes - on all issues. It helps me better formulate where my own head space is on any given topic. Each extreme keeps me from going there myself, if that makes sense. I feel like I need to make my kids watch Outbreak. The scenes with the sneezes keep replaying in my mind. We've never had the flu, thankfully, but with everything else going around ... perhaps a visual on how these things spread is in order. Plus, I like making the kids watch movies that are (now) technologically laughable.
  19. Oh how I envy thee. Like you, I was blissfully unawares. Until a friend's birthday party 23 days ago. It's been non-stop since then. I may have to end the friendship. (It's that bad of a song.) ((And feels about as infectious as __ enter your virus of choice here __)) I hate when people overturn the rock I'm trying to hide my family under LOL.
  20. I'll parrot these earlier recommendations - The Warrior Cat series The Mysterious Benedict Society Horrible Histories (found at Half-Price Books) My Side of the Mountain trilogy Ramona series anything Roald Dahl and will add these suggestions - Little House/Rose Wilder series by Roger MacBride ... from a reader who didn't like the original Little House books Shiloh trilogy Cricket In Times Square series (seven books total) anything by Jean Fritz for the history/biography lover My 9 year old girl loves anthologies, especially myths, legends, folk tales. I think all of mine did at this age ... stuff from around the world. They look like giant picture books but the reading level is higher. And they still liked the occasional picture :). I just realized how for granted I take my access to the library and HPB.
  21. I read a book in high school called Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence. I came across it by random; it had been left in my airplane seat. It has very little to do with the rabbit situation in Australia. But it did bring that to my attention. And also the history account of forced removal of indigenous children - wow. I knew it had happened in North America but hadn't realized it had elsewhere, too. But really, fascinating what we humans do. To each other, to (feral) animals ... I find it/them to be fascinating topic(s), too! Feral pigs. That's what did damage where I grew up. Fugly little things.
  22. It's hard to get our mothers voices out of our heads sometimes :). The other day I let slip a (My)Mom-ism, in front of my brother. As soon as it left my lips, we exchanged a look and busted out laughing. I hate when I do that! I do it often though. She did an A-1 job beating that stuff into my head! But no - I don't care. If I did their laundry I'd probably care. The breaking of unspoken, implicitly implied rules ... it makes me itchy. I wish it didn't. My life would be much more pleasant. For everyone. I outsource laundry so these things needn't bother me. I have bigger fish to fry and albatrosses to dodge. Like making sure the light switches are in the "right" direction coming and going. (The ones in rooms with multiple switches working a single light.) And making sure the coats in the hall closet are exactly three fingers' width apart. I am in my 30s and not yet in need of reading glasses. But definitely, perhaps, most certainly in need of something. Professional help, maybe. I'll see your Socks and raise you Light Switch Positioning and Coat Spacing. These are my mother's legacies LOL.
  23. I forgot I had signed up to bring dinner to a family from scouts. So they'll be eating the shredded chicken in my crockpot. And the baked potatoes in my oven. With the yummy crispy skins. And the baked potato bar toppings I was going to use tomorrow for the taco bar. Sniffle. It smells so good. Soooooo. Freakin'. Goooooood. :crying: I have four sullen teen boys moping around the house. And one happy daughter who hates crockpot meals LOL. She and I did go to Mass this morning. I bet she thinks her prayers did this! (Maybe they did. I better keep an eye out for a pony in the driveway ...) I'm deciding between pizza and Boston Market. The coupon binder will be making that call.
  24. I have a baseball game at 5pm and a soccer game at 6pm. Two different cities, roughly 30 minutes apart during rush hour. Two boys going to the baseball game, two going to the soccer fields. I'm not sure who my daughter will choose to go with and watch. Probably baseball. It has the concession stand. Priorities ;). I'm making up deli plates for the kids to eat, wherever they end up: Cold sandwiches to order, raw veggies, some fruit and breadsticks. I hate deli plates so I'll be treating myself to a drive-thru. Dinner of Champions. High chance of it being Starbucks LOL. I really like their mozzarella and tomato panini. And I can totally do caffeine before bed, so there's that, too. Oh! And the new apple muffin, warmed up. Nice dessert, maybe. Gosh I better skip lunch to make room for all those calories!
  25. It wouldn't bother me because I view stainless steel as a neutral. Sort of like the blue jeans of kitchen appliances. Goes with everything. Tastes like chicken. Etc. etc. etc. Can you tape some aluminum foil to your fridge for a day? Give the color a pseudo-dry run? :D Few things bother me, but this kind of thing absolutely does. I like to drive the people in my life crazy with these idiosyncrasies :D. If it were a mix of black, white, or almond - couldn't do that. It would drive me NUTS, even if it looked nice or if nobody would notice. I'd know. And notice. Even if I wasn't in the kitchen.
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