We try to flip it once a month, though sometimes we don’t and we flip it when it starts getting uncomfortable.
How often do you flip yours?
We try to flip it once a month, though sometimes we don’t and we flip it when it starts getting uncomfortable.
How often do you flip yours?
Specifically, do I think I’m better than DH’s family?
Of course not.
I mean, I definitely think I’m a better person than anybody who advocates separating asylum seekers from their children and then torturing them, but DH’s family are good people. Most of the people I genuinely think I’m better than currently work in the White House.
What I do think we are is better OFF. We are better off than the rest of DH’s family.
Most of that is luck and taking opportunities granted.
Some of that is choice (ex. the decision to have two working parents instead of one).
But even those choices are made based on our specific utility curves and our specific budget constraints. I firmly believe that we are optimizing based on our budget constraints and our utility curves. DH’s family has different budget constraints and different sets of utility curves. I assume they are optimizing as well.
What we’re doing for DH’s relative with the kids is increasing the budget set, but mostly only for higher education for the kids. We pay for application fees, tuition, and books. We only do this for the kids who want to go to college and we stop when they stop wanting to go. We may wish that more of them would go, under the assumption that they don’t have full information, but that’s up to them.
I firmly believe that people with privilege have a responsibility to make things easier for people who don’t have that privilege. Privilege comes with the responsibility to level the playing field. That means political action and it means giving people a hand up while you’re waiting for political action to work.
Why don’t we just give money to them, unasked, no strings attached? Because that would be weird. That would strain relations between DH and one of his best friends. (We do at Christmas and when they’ve had an emergency, but those are socially accepted times to give.) And tuition and books is something we can anticipate and budget for and can easily be separated into a separate mental bucket. Also, so far it’s been pretty affordable.
(In case you’re wondering, this is in response to a mean “just trying to help” message from Anonymous in New Jersey.) (From well over a month ago.) (It keeps getting pushed back because the pandemic is more important than my musings on privilege)
Do you see any benefits for me holding my daughter back from starting kindergarten? Her birthday is a few days before the cutoff.
Reasons for holding her back in my head: another year of relaxed preK learning, slight advantage for her getting into gifted programs, more confidence (potentially). Drawbacks that I see: 1) she might be bored academically if she is the oldest and this might lead to behavior problems, 2) it would cost more money to pay for another year of full-time preK.
I don’t see much research on girls being held back. It’s mostly about boys.
So… this is really the wrong place to ask for positive things about red-shirting (the term for starting a kid late in K). #1’s kids are both grade-skipped (even the one whose birthday is a few days before the cutoff) and #1 and #2 both wish they’d been grade-skipped.
Kindergarten programs vary tremendously across the country, but most of them are still a transition into first grade even in the places where kids are expected to be reading and doing simple addition by the end of the year. That’s because a lot of kids still come in without having had any pre-K and they need to learn how to do things like sit still, take turns, follow instructions, stand in lines, and so on.
On this blog, we don’t see learning as inherently a bad thing. The idea of not getting to learn when you could is anathema. Why start a year behind when you don’t have to? If not already reading, why hold back the phonics tools to read and all the joy that comes from that? Why not get challenged while you’re still young and it’s still fun and you’re not expected to know everything already? Starting later always seems less relaxing because there’s more pressure from expectation. It is easier to drop back than it is to jump forward should troubles arise.
Academic advantages from redshirting tend to disappear by around third grade (athletic advantages persist). For kids on the margin of finishing high school, redshirting can make the difference between not graduating and graduating simply because of compulsory schooling laws– that is, a kid who is a senior age 17 is more likely to graduate from high school than one who is 18.
I’m not entirely sure what the advantage of being in a gifted program is for someone who doesn’t need to be in a gifted program? If a kid needs to be in a gifted program, then they should be, and if they don’t, they shouldn’t? The idea is to address a special need. Depending on the tests they use, an additional year may or may not help because many gifted tests are age adjusted. I guess there are arguments for it if it’s not actually a gifted program but a program for academic achievement, but so much more would be gained in terms of learning by being on grade-level rather than being behind.
Schools are also more likely to diagnose special needs than preschools and get kids with special needs intervention, so that is another benefit of starting on time as most interventions work better the earlier they start. (I vaguely remember my sister getting speech therapy for a lisp.)
In terms of confidence, I don’t know about the research, but I do know growing up, we knew who was a year older because they “flunked kindergarten” or started late. That was definitely worse than being on the younger side. People against grade-skipping are always asking about what happens when our kids hit puberty age etc. (answer: it has not been a problem for DC1), but being on the earlier side of physical development also has the possibility of being unpleasant… much better to not be the first person in your cohort going through it. Similarly with grade-skipping folks are always asking “what happens when it’s time for college” (answer: we’ll figure that out), but as someone with a PhD, I can say I had more options for timing fertility than my friend in the same program who had started kindergarten late (and I needed that time since it turned out I was infertile). And… if something goes wrong in K-college (ex. mono), there’s more options if you are on the younger side than the older… nobody wants to be 19 or 20 and still in high school. It’s easier to delay going into the labor market during a recession with a masters degree or stay another year in college to pick up a different major etc. if you’re younger rather than older (unless you have wealthy parents willing to support you for years, of course). There’s just less room for mistakes and changes when you’re older and wanting to start an adult life.
And that’s why I don’t see the point in red-shirting unless there’s a really good reason, or sports are super important (like, professionally important) for a family.
In terms of actual advice: Take things a year at a time. It is far easier to drop back if things aren’t working out than to get back to a normal grade. Since your kid has been in pre-K (and thus knows how to sit in a circle, not hit people, etc.), it is probably going to be just fine. If it isn’t fine, then you can decide then and try again later. (And if the kid is hyperactive in preschool, she may blossom in Kindergarten with more challenges–that’s the main reason we started DC1 at 4.)
I don’t really understand *why* there’s a yeast shortage because it like… just grows. I assume this is probably something to do with supply chains and maybe manufacturing the non-yeasty parts (jars?). If you want to bake yeasty things and your grocery store has been out, this post is for you. (Now, if your concern is the flour shortage, we just got 50lbs from nuts.com and wandering scientist just bought 25lb from central milling.)
Make a starter and put it in your fridge. Feed it every time you make bread and occasionally (at least once every two weeks) if you don’t make bread. My quick google search on this is not at all helpful– everyone wants you to make a sourdough levain, which is a type of starter, but not the best choice if you have any active yeast in your house. (I will explain later.) So let me dig up one of my bread books and get more detailed instructions for you.
IIRC, if you leave it a long time, sometimes some of the liquid separates. This is normal. You can either stir this back in or pour some of it out, whatever. The starter itself should be liquidy but thick… gloppy I think is a good description.
The starter will generally not be a sourdough if you use this method so it will be fine for brioches and other light sweet breads. It will gain flavor over the months (and years) you use it. We’ve found the flavor to be more of a warm yeasty almost beery flavor as it matures, but it may be that there are different iterations… we’ve done this a finite number of times.
Make bread dough as you normally would. After the first rise (or second if you forget), grab some dough (or just don’t make the bread and keep the entire dough). Wrap it in wax paper and then in tin foil (and if you want to be really fancy, you can put it in a ziploc). This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days or you can freeze it. Whenever you want to make bread, thaw some dough (“walnut size”), let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours, and then incorporate it with the new bread dough as you mix it. When you start running out, repeat the process of grabbing dough (or grab some for freezing each time you make bread).
Discover the joys of quick breads. There are many Irish Soda Breads well worth making. Try different varieties.
Instead of using (all of) it to bake, save some for the “old dough” method above.
A levain is a sourdough starter made with ambient yeast. DH has tried this at several points in our life and only the most recent one, using the technique from Flour Water Salt Yeast was successful. This is what we currently have in our refrigerator. AS A WARNING: Getting this started WASTES flour. Maybe waste is the wrong word, but when you thought you’d stocked up on flour before the stay-at-home order and all of a sudden you’re facing a flour shortage, it is easy to give this levain a side-eye. I had to put a stop to it and we converted the levain to a starter by using the “put your levain to sleep” method and then treating it like a regular starter (see above). I suspect that you still need to throw out a ton of flour at the beginning, but once it has settled down to regular use you should just be able to use the starter and replace with flour and water as above. At least, that’s been working for us so far. ANOTHER WARNING: Some of the smells early in the process are TERRIBLE. Awful vinegary awfulness. But that’s the way they’re supposed to smell? One of the nice things about the book is that he tells you what it’s supposed to smell like at each step. So you’re like, why yes, this is supposed to smell terrible.
One of the interesting things in the book was how it talked about that even though there are different ambient strains of yeast across the country and there are different ways people start these (there’s a grape skin version in Baking with Julia), none of it really matters because it’s the same yeast that survive no matter where you are in the lower 48 in the US. We’d always thought this hadn’t worked when we lived on the east coast because their yeast sucked. But no.
The process is too lengthy to type out here and there’s probably copyright infringement, but here’s someone’s blogpost about living through making the levain. There are a lot of other levain/sourdough starter recipes out there, but be aware that they might not work out.
This levain starter is a sourdough and has a pleasant lightly sour flavor. It is great for making no-knead breads.
We still have a little of this free Oregon Trail yeast in our freezer. We made a starter with it maybe a decade ago and it was amazing until it got too sour even for DH and we sadly let it go (knowing we still had some in the freezer). But it’s a high quality yeast. It’s free with a self-addressed-stamped-envelope, though it sounds like it might take up to six weeks to get to you.
And then make a starter! Or old dough.
What are you guys doing for yeast? Do you have any left? Does your grocery store? What would you do with 25lb of whole wheat flour and 25lb of durum flour?
I’m used to cooking by recipes and buying ingredients each week based on the recipes I chose on the weekend. Now I can’t do that because grocery times for curbside or delivery are not only scheduled 2 or 3 weeks out but in general a third of the things we try to order aren’t available (generally things like eggs, flour, etc., but also random things like Swiss chard) What have other people been doing in this “era of unprecedented recipe substitutions“?
Recipe substitutions are definitely one thing– depending on what you’re trying to make, spinach or really any green will work in place of Chard. I actually used the greens on beets recently because I was craving something and I was reminded how chard-like they are. The internet will help if you’re not used to making substitutions. Of course, it’s nice to know that you’re going to need to make a substitution when you’re doing the grocery shopping– I’ve been using the “comments” space for my preferred substitutes, but some personal shoppers are better than others. Still, in a week when you’re going to be making chard, you might just get some loose leaf spinach for a salad earlier in the week (this is something we did this week) or frozen spinach to keep in the freezer as part of your pantry (we do this with broccoli, though frozen broccoli has only been available once for us and fresh broccoli has been pretty reliable).
Another thing you can do is stock up your baseline pantry and then do the menu planning *after* shopping. Here’s a post about what’s in our pantry (or at least what we try to keep in there… back in the days when we left the house). That can get a little difficult in terms of perishables though, because you generally don’t keep perishables in your pantry and if you’re not doing menu planning before, it’s hard to know what refrigerated things you should get. But you may be able to keep things in your pantry such that you can always make bean chili, for example.
So that leads to flexibility. Go ahead and menu plan your week (I guess 2-3 weeks in advance?), but also have back-up meals that you can make if you get, say the leeks but not the eggs you wanted for your leek and egg dish (that you’re hoping to make from Ottonlenghi’s Simple this week, just as a non-random example). Keep in your back pocket flexible recipes like stir-fry, things in sauce over a starch (if you can find pasta or rice) or over a piece of meat, sandwiches, and so on. If you’ve been able to get any frozen veggies or chicken, these are something you can add to fresh to use up extra veggies. Standard flexible things can be rough because there’s so much demand for things like rice and bread, but you can often substitute carbs (as @scalzi demonstrates, anything can go in a tortilla, like sauteed beet greens with some cheese) or even just not have the carb.
We’ve personally been playing grocery store roulette with things like milk, butter, sugar, and flour (have I mentioned DH’s stress-baking? I was wrong when I thought he was going to stop doing so much). I just ask every week and say we’ll take any substitutions. And some weeks we get it and some weeks we don’t. Some weeks we have a bit too much and some weeks I worry that we’re not going to make it through the week. (I’ve also ordered flour online, but nuts.com now seems to be out.) And for things like free and clear dishwashing liquid, instead of saying “any free and clear dishwashing liquid” which resulted in something with scented with red dye last week that had “gentle” in the title (DC2 gets hives, and I get hives with most fragrances), I’m trying to pick one of every brand but say “no substitutions”. If I end up with four dishwashing liquids then we’ll be set for a little while. If I end up with zero, at least I’m not getting one I’m allergic to.
Of course, flexible meal plans take a higher mental load than what you’ve been doing, most likely. I’m not sure how to get around that if you also want variety. (If you’re ok with just eating the same food and it’s the same food that the grocery store has, then you could do that…)
Here’s another post on different cooking systems from back in 2010.
Grumpy nation, how have you been dealing with menu planning during the pandemic?
Look, we all know we’re living in some dystopian novel, probably written by Donald Westlake, but maybe Vonnegut.
So everything that is happening, is happening, as they say in LA, for a Reason. (The Universe/God closes a door but opens a window?) This is generally true because people in LA who say such things tend to live storybook lives with plots and things.
We’re in a plot and someone is being punished ironically. Or is being given strife in order to have Character Growth. Or maybe the universe is on its way to being destroyed so that they can save it.
But who? Who is the protagonist? And WHY?
I know it’s not me– my life is too boring and I no longer have enough cats to be a cozy animal novel (which I have decided after much pondering this question is my ideal novel to live in). So it can’t be my fault for deciding to not only go to DH’s family thing this summer but to also have an actual vacation for our anniversary when we NEVER go on vacations that aren’t work or DH’s-family related. I didn’t make the universe’s sense of irony do this, simply because I am not at all important. My narrative is supremely uninteresting. Nobody wants to read about me. I’m a side character in someone else’s book.
Who do you think is the protagonist? What kind of novel are you the protagonist of/a character in?