Link Love

@#$@# Indiana

so called “lone wolves” are actually organized white domestic terrorists

NRA membership in comparison to other organizations

More photos from the March for Our Lives

Parkland kids are still kids, amazing as they are

This is a pretty good use of the profits from fake money.  (One morning this week I got a notification that something I’d donated to had been funded… turns out *everything* on the entire site had been funded.)

Wondering where to put your excess guilt money from the Republican tax cuts that are doing their best to doom America’s future?  This month I went with Spread the Vote to help people in states like mine without voter ID to get the ability to vote.  November 2018 is coming up and the whole world is at stake on that ballot.  (I also did a little donors choose and a little $ to local democratic candidates– if we’re going to fix this country it has to start locally in purple states like mine.)

The newly passed budget in perspective

Turns out the Frugalwoods made a lot more $ than I realized!  (Nonprofit 990 forms are publicly available and show income for highly compensated employees, of which Mr. Frugalwoods is one.  And boy howdy is he one.)  This whole forum thread is kind of interesting.  And it brings up the question of whether or not a couple posts about acknowledging your privilege balance out saying you have a regular salary in the nonprofit sector when really you’re making an excrement-ton of money in spite of working in the nonprofit sector.  Also… it makes me feel like we’re, you know, “middle class” by comparison when I know that rationally we really aren’t under any but the most clueless of definitions (at least not when DH and I are both working).

Non-apology apologies from Facebook in perspective

How to download everything Facebook knows about you.

How to download everything Google knows about you.  Here’s how to limit what they know.

If you missed it, we’re still taking ask the grumpies questions for our next batch!  (You can always ask or email us at

This Pacific Rim review is pretty awesome

inna bucket

Kitten photo shoots

Soliciting more ask the grumpies questions!

Ask the grumpies is a feature we run almost every Friday (sometimes we post less-popular but still fascinating google questions).  You ask, we answer, or we punt and ask the grumpy nation to answer.  In any case, you get the benefit of not only our wisdom but the collective wisdom of the far wiser grumpy nation.

What questions do you have for us?  What can we bring clarity or further confusion to?  What can the grumpy nation ponder and discuss on your behalf?  Ask in the comments below or email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com.

What’s in your pantry?

I was going to have this be:  “and how has it changed over time” but I can’t find a previous post about what we always keep on hand.  There’s descriptions of cooking systems, which includes a brief overview of the pantry system, and a post about what to cook when you’re really broke, but nothing on the basic question.  So the basic question will come first!

So what is pantry cooking?  Pantry cooking is when you always keep certain things in your pantry (and refrigerator/freezer– not literally just your pantry) so that they’re on-hand so that you can decide what to make without having to menu plan or make extra trips to the grocery store.  You combine having the ingredients on hand with having a repertoire of things that you can make with those ingredients.  You can buy in bulk, and when you’re close to running out, you make sure to buy more even if you don’t have any particular menu item in mind that will be using it.  Here’s a quote from the cooking system post:

I always have the ingredients for spaghetti, bean chili, tomato soup (and grilled cheese sandwiches), lots of rice/quinoa dishes, and so on. My pantry is full of cans of tomatoes, beans, and grains, and I always have eggs, milk, onions, carrots, and usually celery on hand. These, along with sauces and mixed frozen veggies, fruit, and/or nuts, can be turned into any number of meals, especially with chicken and bacon in the freezer. I used to also keep potatoes, but they don’t work well with my metabolism so that’s out (sweet potatoes aren’t as versatile)… no more occasional fry-ups. When something is used up, a new one is bought to replace it. If there’s a sale, we stock up. This saves time and can save money, but can get boring if you’re not feeling especially creative. (In the summer, creative juices are flowing… not so much during the school year.)

Also, if you overspend one month, you can make up for it by eating off your pantry the next month.

All of the food in your house isn’t considered your pantry under this system, only the stuff that you always keep on hand.  The seasons and sales will provide different meals than will just using your pantry alone.

We keep:

basic condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo)
carrots, celery, apples
minced garlic (yes, we should use regular garlic and mince it ourselves but we only do that for special dishes)
sunflower oil
lemon juice
sour cream or yogurt
some kind of fresh green thing (like lettuce)

Olive oil
vinegars, soy sauce, tabasco
spaghetti, other pastas
various canned beans
various canned tomato products
peanut butter
maple syrup
O cereal
red wine, white wine, brandy or sherry


tea, coffee beans

huge amount of spices
salts, flours, baking soda, baking powder, sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla
chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts

boxed macaroni and cheese
spaghetti sauce
TJ’s sauces (ex. red curry)
trail mix, almonds, raisins
fruit cups/applesauces for kids’ lunches
lara bars

frozen mixed veggies of various kinds
frozen peas
frozen chicken breasts
frozen berries of various kinds
fresh ginger
ground beef or buffalo

Do you have foods that you always make sure to  keep on hand?  What are some of the things you try to never run out of?  How has your pantry changed over time?

My car worth $750 needs $1000 in repairs

Right now we have 3 cars.  DH’s shiny new Honda Clarity (which he continues to be delighted with, but I’m not sure I would have allowed him to buy had I known there was faux wood paneling in the interior– I suspect their interiors designer is a hipster Millennial who does not remember used station wagons from the 1970s), DH’s old Civic (worth $1,300 as a trade-in, $2,300 in private sales, and may need a new expensive hybrid battery within the next 6 months), and my tiny 2005 Hyundai Accent which has 47,000 miles and needs a new timing belt and front brakes and a back brake rotation or something.

While DH was getting the Civic ready for a private sale (he spent a couple weeks detailing it– you can barely tell it once housed two carseats in the back), my car’s check engine light went on.  We took it in.  It now needs about $1K worth of repairs.

We decided to get those repairs done.  Every time we do this, I keep thinking, I hope this will be the last time for a while!  Because it takes a few days for the shop to have an opening and then they hold onto it for a few days (or weeks, now that the parts are older and harder to get) and I’m without a car and that’s irritating.  This time the hassle wasn’t such a big deal because I was able to just drive DH’s old civic around town.  If we had a third parking space that didn’t block our garage, I’d totally just keep all three cars and allow for one to be in the shop from time to time.

I really am not up to buying another car right now, even if we can (barely, if we don’t have any additional major money emergencies) afford to get another Hyundai Accent for 15K to replace my ancient one.  I still kind of want a Prius, but I’d like to refill our emergency funds before spending another 27K on a vehicle.  If it only costs $1K/year in upkeep, we’re still coming out ahead keeping the old car, even if it isn’t worth what we spent on it.  Other used cars worth $750 are going to have worse problems than this one does.  In a lot of ways it would be worthwhile just to get rid of these two cars to get one that’ll be problem free for the next five or so years, but I just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with that right now.  Hopefully this repair will kick that can down the road until I have the energy to deal with it (and, presumably, more money in the slush fund).

And then we hopefully won’t be posting about car repairs or the when to get a new car dilemma for a few years!

sometimes link loves just come on Saturdays

A terrorist turns into a troubled lone wolf just by revealing his skin color.  (Narrator:  Actually, he’s still a domestic terrorist.)

Marielle Franco, a Brazilian politician who fought for women and the poor was killed

Twitter enables neonazis

Women in academe:  short takes on the news

John Oliver’s new book

Budgeting with YNAB

What FIRE bloggers owe readers

9 Money questions for marriage

When it’s smart to use student loans to pay for college

How to tell a story in terms of organizational theory (this is a really helpful thread– even though it’s in tweet form)

Spread of sterile aesthetics

Apps that are correlated with happiness vs. unhappiness

Cat Ipsum

A brief ask the grumpies novel interlude

Idon’twannaworkanymore wrote:

Dear Grumpies,

I just want to read novels.  That’s all I want to do.

What is wrong with me?



Dear Don’twanna,

Books are better than work; there is nothing wrong with you.  This doesn’t help you work, of course, but you can bask in the warm glow of Being Right.


All Books, All the Time.

c/o The Grumpies

p.s.  This is the last ask the grumpies in our queue– we’ll be putting out a call for more questions next Friday.

I got asked to do a women’s history month thing

I got an email late on a Wednesday in February asking me to let the emailer know by that Friday if I could participate in a women’s history month showcase of women’s research.  See the attached letter for more details.

I opened the attached letter.  It started,

Dear [friendly adjunct in another department, that is, NOT ME],

Then the letter itself didn’t say much.  Like… I don’t know what they want me to do.  Just that they have 24 women participating in 40 minutes and they want to spotlight “my” research and will be a huge honor for them if “I” participate.  Then it repeated itself a lot over three paragraphs without providing any actual information other than the day of the event and time.

Then I looked up previous years and it looks like maybe this part is a poster presentation (with big name speakers previous to this), and, importantly, all of the research being presented is gender research.  I do not have any current research on gender.

My guess is here that someone said no and I am definitely not their first choice.  On the one hand I should go as a public service.  On the other hand it sounds like a lot of work for no good reason.  On that first hand again, it probably wouldn’t kill me to network with other women across campus.  On the other hand, I don’t WANT to.  (Especially if having to make a poster of an already published paper is involved!  I don’t do conference posters.)

Being a woman sucks.

Where Leah’s donation went

Leah won our “most commenting of 2017″ contest .  That means she got to pick where we donated our previous month’s blog earnings to.  How much did we donate?  We topped it up so that we could give $50.

Where did she pick?  Advancement Project

According to its website:

Advancement Project works in deep partnership with organized communities of color to dismantle and reform the unjust and inequitable policies that undermine the promise of democracy through the development of community-based solutions to racial justice issues.

Here’s their charity navigator page—  looks pretty good.


Link Love

#2 has been stuck in various airports this week.

There’s a hate loving politician in Maine who is no longer running unopposed.  Donate to Eryn Gilchrist, his opponent, here.

Domestic terrorists kill black victims in Austin.

NYTimes Conservative columnists get paid a lot to blather on about the same thing over and over again.  Also, they still don’t understand free speech.  Not that that matters because it’s easier to write something stupid for lots of money than to actually do research and know things.

A whole thread of pictures of teens in Boise, Idaho protesting.

Boston students protest in the snow on a snow day.

This post is 8 years old and still true.

One way white men can help

Health sharing ministries come with a catch

Leightpf is back!

Are career coaches worth it?

The privilege of pretending

Beautiful oops

Coffee cuts suicide risk by 50%

Math learning games

Contraction consternation


Zoos and science museums review species

Ask the grumpies: Math practice and enrichment for different kinds of learners

Natasha asks:

I have a kid who is […] having a tough time with math (3rd/4th grade): he grasps new concepts just fine, does well on tests… and then 2 weeks later he can’t remember any of it! His school math program seems to fly from topic to topic, and even though his teacher assures me that even if he missed something this year, all the same or similar topics will be revisited next year, I worry that he hasn’t had the chance to master the basic concepts. It’s more of an issue with retention of the material than understanding the concepts. I know you love math – do you have any suggestions as to what books or methods may be helpful to practice 3rd-4th grade math? I believe it is so important for kids to get solid foundation at the elementary-school stage.Teachers simply shrug and say it’s the student’s responsibility to practice old material (well, I do agree with that) and point to Khan academy. The school is using the Envision Math program. I am terrible at explaining but love doing math puzzles and fun problems together with kids – and that doesn’t seem to be enough.

On the flip side of the coin – I have a second grader who is doing really well in math and needs more challenge. The teacher gives her additional (optional) higher-level worksheets, but my daughter doesn’t seem to be thrilled about those and prefers to read or draw. We are doing some fun logic and puzzle games at home, but maybe you have additional advice on fun math activities (books, games, workbooks) that provide additional challenge without being too much like homework?

Let’s start with the older child.  There are two potential things that could be going on.

The first is that your kid is a normal kid who is good at cramming for the test and then forgetting after.  This habit is so normal that much of the US math curriculum just assumes it will happen– that repeating topics thing they’ll be doing next year even has an education jargon term.  It’s called “spiraling”.  The best math curriculum for this specific problem is called Saxon Math, which is not the most exciting math program (it can be enervating for gifted students), but does an excellent job of repeating and integrating concepts throughout the year and not doing the standard focus and forget.  There’s a good research base behind Saxon Math working well for average to below-average math students (less well for high ability and gifted).  If you’re attached to a university library, you could probably check out a textbook for 4th grade to see if it is helpful.

The second potential problem is one that I saw highlighted when I did a quick google of the Envision Math program (which I hadn’t heard of before this query).  Apparently Envision Math is  shallow (or at least that’s what people complain about along with it being repetitive) so it is natural not to remember the concepts– there’s not really anything to remember.  If what people say online is true, it’s all surface with no roots.  If you want to grow roots and approach math from a completely different angle, you can’t go wrong with Singapore Math.  That’s exactly the opposite solution of what my initial thought was, but after having read a few of these links of people complaining, I’ve reconsidered.  Another benefit to Singapore Math is that it ISN’T the same as what’s being taught at school.  Being able to do the same math multiple ways is valuable both because it keeps you from getting bored, but also because it gives a much greater context and understanding to how this magical world of numbers and mathematical concepts actually works, how it’s put together.  You start seeing the full 3-d math forest and not just the shadows of the math trees.  Those Aha! moments have always been my favorite part of math tutoring and teaching.  Singapore Math also has a strong research base, although most of this research is done on the full population of students, not any specific group.

Given my morning’s research, I take back my initial recommendation about Saxon and suggest starting with Singapore instead.  They have placement tests he can take to see which books to start with.  You will need two workbooks for each year (ex. 3a/3b) and the textbook is useful.  We didn’t find the home instruction guide or teacher’s guide to be useful– it was essentially a lot more examples and activities for the teacher to demonstrate, but your son is already getting the concepts, so the textbook and workbook should be enough.  It probably does not matter which of the three series (US/Core/CA) you use as long as you’re consistent.  We use the US editions because the other two didn’t exist when DC1 started and we wanted to reuse the textbooks.

If he also needs to know his addition/multiplication facts, we don’t really know any solution for that other than practice.  Flashcards aren’t much fun, but they do cement facts and make later math easier.

Turning to the younger daughter.

Second grade is the perfect year for Math for Smarty Pants.  In another couple of years you can get used copies of Aha! and Gotcha! by Martin Gardner which are super fun.  She may enjoy tessellations coloring books (and creating her own using graph paper!) or folding 3-d geometric shapes.  I am having a really time finding anything on amazon, but somewhere out there, there should be workbooks that show you how to use a compass to create a triangle and then other 3-d geometric shapes from that.  A quick google finds lots of the basics with “compass and straight-edge construction” (and some youtube videos where people put together the already made forms) but with cardstock, tape, and something to score with you can make really elaborate 3d designs.  Origami is another fun math craft– DC1 has been watching youtube videos to make shapes, but there’s also a lot of great books out there.  Tangrams are perfect for this age group.  This classic set from Tangoes is my favorite (mine from childhood was black, my kids’ is blue), but DC1 also really enjoyed a magnetic set that comes with a book that is occasionally available from scholastic.  I found the rubix cube super frustrating, but now there are online videos showing you how to solve it so it’s more fun.  DC1 also really enjoyed maze puzzle balls (and saved up allowance money to buy a second)– but I also find these frustrating.  I think it depends on your agility not just the thinking things through thing.  (And, as we’ve mentioned before, DragonBox is fantastic.)

If your son is willing, there are a number of card games that secretly practice concepts that they might be able to play together.  I tend to like the ones that Scholastic sells off and on– they have a really good one called money madness that was a money addition/subtraction game that we liked a lot.  Our kids recently each won the raffle for the university’s math day and got math games.   The one currently spread all over our dining room table is a simple memory game called rat-a-tat cat, and the one neatly stacked in a tin is 7 ate 9 which is a fast little addition and subtraction game.  They’re probably too simple for your kids.  :/

Our math tag has a bunch more suggestions for enrichment at various stages, including items our readers have recommended in the comments sections.

Best of luck!

What enrichment would the Grumpy Nation recommend for these ages?

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