Personal School Supplies

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by sarthur1229, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. sarthur1229

    sarthur1229 New Member

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    I saw some replies to my 'tables vs. desks in 3rd grade'. I wanted to start a new thread to respond/ask about the issue of school supplies. As a parent, I agree that if I buy the 'better' brand for my child to use, I expect that she should be able to use what I bought. Things like crayons, pencils, glue, markers, don't matter so much. But, the kind of scissors and folders/binders I buy are a different story. If I spent a little more money for a plastic folder (that would last and look nice) then I don't appreciate her coming home with a paper one and telling me the teacher said "It doesn't matter which one you get, that is why I told parents not to write names on them."
    As a teacher, I wish that parents would get what we ask them to on the supply list. If we ask for 2 plastic red folders, that is what we need. There is usually a reason we ask for specific things. We don't need 2 Scooby Doo, Lisa Frank, or Batman ones. I don't think parents realize this. I end up having to buy those kids the 'right' kind of folder and then the parents ask why did I send home the 'Batman' one.
    I think it would be so much easier if the parents just send a 'supply' fee and the teachers got what they needed for the class. That would be easier than parents crowding Wal-Mart trying to get them themselves. As a parent, I would love to skip that wonderful little trip to Wal-Mart for school supplies!
     
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  3. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    I start my school supply list by saying that the items I ask for are for a specific reason so please do not stray from the list. If parents send things I did not ask for or they are wrong I have no problem sending them back home.

    I let my students use the folders and notebooks that they brought. I keep the extras I ask for in a basket and pull them out as that child needs them.

    We were told at my school that we could not ask parents to send in money instead of supplies. (I thought that also sounded like a much easier task and something parents might appreciate) We were told that here it would affect our state funding or something. I'm not sure they were exactly right, but that's the story we got.
     
  4. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    My students get to keep their supplies. I buy things like crayons, markers, folders, etc during the back-to-school sales for children who do not have them. I know a lot of parents are against community supplies, so this policy of mine just helps keep the peace. Any community supplies are from my own pocket. Who can complain about that?
     
  5. srh

    srh Devotee

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    In our Kinder classes, there is no personal property. If we request something, we ask for money and do the purchasing ourselves so we can get it all alike. One example: headphones for computer use. We had such a mishmash of headphones last year, and some were much too hard for students to figure out quickly, etc.

    I suppose it's different in upper grades, because Kinders do not have their own desks (but then, neither do some upper graders!). If there is not a way to keep items "personal," then I'd opt for a supply fee also. But if my children had been in a classroom where the things I bought went to someone else, I would certainly have complained about it! It DOES matter, when you've taken the time to shop and choose, and possibly spent a little more for something a little nicer.
     
  6. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    I buy all the folders, writing journals, notebooks, crayons and scissors myself. My families are mainly new immigrants, and either can't afford/or don't seem to "get" the concept of school supplies for their children. I watch for the sales in July/August at Target, and pick up a different classroom item each week.
    I would be thrilled if each student paid $5.00 for these supplies, but I really think it would be tough to collect it.
    Just one of the joys of teaching in an urban setting!
     
  7. sarthur1229

    sarthur1229 New Member

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    I also buy a lot of things from Wal-Mart & Target during the back-to-school sales. I got crayola markers for $.25 per box! I bought 24 boxes for $5.00. After the sale each box was like $2.99 or so! I also buy notebook paper, composition books, and folders by the case when they put them on sale at $.10 each. I take my daughter with me so she can go through one line and I go through another (some stores limit customers). I get eraser caps and pink erasers from Walgreens when they run their sales. They know I am a teacher and have been very generous in letting me purchase enough for my entire class.
    This is my first year teaching so I really wanted to make sure that I had everything (at least in supplies) that I needed for my students. I was keeping up with all of the receipts, but got tired of that and threw them away. I wonder if it would have made that much difference on my income tax?
     
  8. srh

    srh Devotee

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    It certainly can make a difference in your taxes! I stick a large manilla envelope on my fridge, so that whenever I come into the house with bags from ANY store, I drop the receipt in if I bought anything for school. At the end of the year I'm amazed at the things I'd forgotten about. It works! Also, stick in parking receipts for professional development (I have at least five a year at $7 a shot for our induction program) and receipts for university units you've paid for.
     
  9. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    Feb 26, 2007

    When I was a student, I loved going back to school shopping! Although, as a teacher, I understand the idea of a supply fee, and I actually like the idea...especially in kinder! But I can't help but remember buying and smelling my box of 64 (and later 96) crayola crayons! I'd be very sad if my teacher took them and gave me some discount crayons that broke easily!!! I guess I'm a crayon snob!!! lol When I had my own classroom (5th grade), I had community supplies but the children who had their own were allowed to use their own. But I had crayons, glue, markers, and scissors if anyone needed them!
     
  10. JenL

    JenL Comrade

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    Feb 26, 2007

    this goes along with supply lists and community supplies...
    i have taught three years but this is my first year at the school i am at now and i am going to teach in the same position next year. this year i didn't get to help make the supply list so i am so excited to change some really weird things on it. however, my collegue didn't seem too keen on changing what has been done in the past. i was wondering how i should go about the changes....these are things that i don't think i can live with another year because they are driving me nuts.:eek:
    no art boxes....no markers....specifically stated on the supply list!
     
  11. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    I live in LA, and it made about $40 difference. Since the max allowed for reimbursement is $250, $40 was the most any teacher here could save. Honestly, I didn't have all of my receipts. If I would've been audited, I would've had a problem, though! Just a risk that I took.

    I was looking for that reimbursement this year, but I didn't see it. I'll keep looking.
     
  12. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Old as I am, I still dream sometimes of my grade school desks, with all of MY things arranged neatly in there. I would open the lid to my desk and just stare at them, sometimes. At home, everything was shared, shared, shared, but at school, I had things that were MINE. With my name on them and everything! NOBODY could touch the inside of my desk except me. Nobody will ever know how much that meant to me.

    If my teacher had taken my things and doled them out to the other kids, and made me use somebody else's things instead of my own, my heart would have broken and I don't think I would have ever recovered.

    Every child needs and deserves things that are his/her own, even at school. An inviolable space, where he/she can keep things that are inviolably theirs.
     
  13. Lilu0819

    Lilu0819 Companion

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    A question for those of you who combine all of the supplies into "community supplies"...

    What do you do with the supplies at the end of the year? How do you give them back to the kids or do you keep them?
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I mark on my list what will go into community supplies and what will be 'personal property'.

    At the end of the year I keep whatever is left (not much). There just is not enough of each community supply to evenly divide each item among the kids. Plus they have used my 'surplus inventory' from past years during the course of the year so it all evens out.
     
  15. srh

    srh Devotee

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    It's just not practical in many situations for students to personally own supplies. Unless students are old enough and responsible enough to care for things and keep track of them, forget it. Not to mention, we do not have individual storage areas for students. I teach afternoon Kinder and share with the morning teacher; our kids share one set of cubbies, etc. We keep our pencils, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, and any miscellaneous items in a single tub for each table. They have learned to take what they need and pass it around. Works great for us!
     
  16. Becca363

    Becca363 New Member

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    Sometimes, it is difficult in setting ones standards, however, we each set rules to what works for our classroom, because not every classroom is the same. I would have to say that I am in agreement with you Mamcita when you said, "If my teacher had taken my things and doled them out to the other kids, and made me use somebody else's things instead of my own, my heart would have broken and I don't think I would have ever recovered."
     
  17. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Starting this year, some of our supplies are passed down to further grades. Things like clipboards and mini dry erase boards are given back to the student the next year and so they can bring it to the next grade. They are trying to make as many standard supplies as they can. Some stuff like crayons we don't bother trying to give it back. Instead we use the old crayons to make art projects the next year.

    I'm a teacher's aid but I decided to buy some extra supplies too when I saw the clearances. I'm glad I did. Most of the parents didn't contribute to the wish list we sent in December and again in January. The extra folders and glue sticks came in handy and they were CHEAP.
     
  18. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I think the key is to make sure and identify which items are personal and which will be shared ON the supply list. It prevents a lot of problems and hurt feelings later on.
     
  19. 2ndgradebluejay

    2ndgradebluejay Rookie

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    Our PTO purchases all of our basic school supplies. It is wonderful and the only thing I buy are a couple of extra folders.
     
  20. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    My kindergarteners use their own crayons and scissors. We share glue and markers, however, next year my kiddos will use their own markers too. Some kids take so much pride and ownership in having their own supplies and take great care to keep them nice--even in kindergarten! Others will break or lose new crayons within one day!
     
  21. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Why no markers? We don't use markers to color with (except in the art center) but they love to draw with them and color in with crayons. Sometimes I will let them do their handwriting or something with markers and it makes it more exciting for them.
     
  22. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    That's a great point. When I was in school my parents had to replace the supplies MUCH more often if they were used as community suppliest than my personal supplies. My classmates' families were in the same and worse financial boat my family was in, yet many were very wasteful of the supplies.
    (when supplies were shared, regardless of how the teacher was with the community supplies, they had to be fully replaced bimonthly). Personal ownership of supplies gave me such a huge feeling of ownership and I knew I had to be responsible. When there is so much of the shared supplies it seems too endless to matter about not being wasteful. I've noticed this same attitude in classes grades K to 5. Those who share everything are very wasteful, those who are responsible for thier own supplies are no where near as wasteful.


    I feel that as long as parents have to foot such a large part of the school supplies the only shared supplies should be glue, cleenex, and hand sanitizer. Items such as pencils, crayons, markers, folders and paper, should be self responsible. If the teacher doesn't wish for the unique folders this supply fee is a good idea.
     
  23. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    We use the fee for science suppply requests. Notes are sent home to parents for specific items, or if they do not want to purchase what is on the list they are to send in a specific dollar amount usually $1.

    This seems to work every time because parents who don't want to mess with finding these items will send the money in while others prefer to bring in actual items.

    I wish we could do this for total school supplies, but AZ restricts what fees can be collected from parents. AZ states no fees for public schools, unless its for science or extra curricular items; otherwise your school funding will be reduced by a certain percentage.
     
  24. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    This is just my opinion, but I feel the teacher should set the rules. Someone said some parents are against community supplies, well TOO bad! You are the teacher, you set the rules. In my class, I explain to the parents in a letter before school starts why I use only community supplies (which I buy). Then during the first few days of school I explain to the kids, and send home anything they do not want to share. If you don't like it... sorry to say - TOO BAD, sometimes the teacher gets to make the rules! :)
     
  25. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I want to make sure I understand what some of you are saying: are you really saying that when your children come to school on that first day, with their little bag of their very own crayons, scissors, etc, that you take it away from them and distribute their things among all the other students? That you will tell the children that the supplies they bought, themselves, are not really theirs at all, but community property? That the list of 'supplies' given to me, to buy supposedly for my child, is really for the classroom in general and not for my child at all, except that my child will be one of thirty kids dipping into this community pot of crayons, etc.?

    Yes, the teacher sets the rules in his/her classroom. But the thought of telling a child that he/she can't use his/her own things, or even keep them in the individual desk and take pride in them, but must instead throw them into a pot for everybody to paw over, makes my skin crawl. It sounds a lot simpler for the teacher, but I wasn't aware that was the main issue. My children were in elementary school in the eighties, and that before-school trip to Walmart was a big deal. We loved choosing school supplies, buying #2 pencils that fit the description on the list but which were uniquely and obviously Sara's, or Andy's, pencils. Sometimes we ordered pencils with their names on them; they were easy to keep track of and harder for other kids to steal.

    And, I'm sorry, and I suppose this will just seal my rep as a mean one further, but to take a child's own property away and not let him/her have his/her very own things. . . how is that different from stealing the child's property from the child? Ease and equal distribution are one thing, but why can't the kids who don't have their own stuff, or who broke theirs or tore theirs up or lost theirs or never had theirs, be the ones who have to dip into the community pot, and the kids who take pride in their own things use their own things?

    My own kids' list always stated that families who wanted their kids to have their own things, needed to buy all those things themselves, and families who didn't care, or kids who didn't know how to care for these things, could throw theirs in the pot and share, but that it was a choice. All those kids' hands all over the community pencils and pens and scissors, etc? No wonder the kids are sick so much! And no wonder some of them still have no respect for an individual's property when they get into the upper grades.

    Okay, tear into me. I don't want my kids forced to dump their nice pencils into a box for just anybody to use. I want my kids to be able to use their own things, keep them nice, and take pride in ownership. If other kids can't do that, they need to be taught how, and the only way to teach pride in ownership is to let them own their own things and to reward those who keep them nice.

    Those old faded jokes about the little girl who comes home from kindergarten exhausted, saying "All day long, share, share, share. . . .?" Suddenly that's not so funny any more.
     
  26. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Nobody will tear into you. Well not me. I do NOT take anything away! I tell parents before school starts. If children do bring their own supplies in they have the choice of bringing them home or sharing... it's totally up to them and their parents. I would NEVER force anyone to share their own things. We talk about how some things you might not want to share (a special pencil, etc.) but that those things shouldn't be at school.

    You have to understand that some children (at least in my school) can not afford all the glorious fancy pants supplies other kids can. I went to school in the eighties and we were quite poor. I can remember feeling like I was less than, because I had less than the other kids. I don't want any child in my class to feel that way AND I also want to build a community where sharing plays an important role.

    To be honest, the first few days, some of the kids complained, but after that, none of them seemed to mind. I even have a few who commented on how they like sharing and not having to worry about losing/damaging their own supplies. For my class, this works.
     
  27. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Sharing is important, but at what level are the students expected to have their own things and take care of them? I've had middle school students who expected everything they needed to be somewhere in the classroom in a box for them to dip into, rather than be responsible for anything, themselves. Even at the college level, I have students come up to me and ask where the pencils are kept. This is ridiculous.

    How can they learn to be responsible and organized if they have nothing to be responsible for, or to organize. No, I can't bow to this one. Let the kids who bring their own stuff use their own stuff.

    Some kids have cooler shoes than others; would we require all shoes to be thrown into a pot and shared? That's just the way life is.
     
  28. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    You are right, that is the way life is, but, it is not the way 2nd grade is. :)

    Are you always required to raise your hand to speak? Walk in a line down the hall? Say 'Please' and 'Thank You' and be respectful to everyone? Of course not.

    In school, we try to teach our students some basic values of community. Kids are responsible for their behavior, work, and (in my room), keeping track of their own reading, writing, math, and poem folders and work. They do keep supplies at their seats sometimes, but they are shared with everyone.

    You say that isn't the way life is. I agree, but isn't the innocence of youth worth something? I teach a primary grade because of love their innocence. I love teaching them to respect and take care of each other.
     
  29. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    You present your case well, and I respect that. I still can't agree, but that is okay, too. The innocence of youth is of vital importance. Respecting and caring for others is of vital importance, also. But there does come a time when we are all expected to become reliable and dependable as individuals, and I feel that, for small children, being given something that is their very own and being expected to maintain and organize it, helps them later in life. People, after a certain age, who must rely on others to lead them through life in even the small details, are not the people most would want working for them in any capacity. (I am not referring to disabled people here.) A child who is expected to care for and keep track of a pencil might later be able to care for and keep track of two pencils and a pair of scissors. It starts small and builds up, but if our children are not permitted these small steps, how can we expect them to learn to be responsible for the bigger things in their lives? I do not feel that allowing a child to feel the pride of personal possession and inviolable personal space is in any way compromising their innocence. And I do feel that children who are allowed, even required, to take responsibility early on, become adults who understand the difference between "mine" and "not mine" and are less likely to get into trouble for putting their hands on things that are not theirs to touch. Many people these days have no concept of things that are not theirs if they want them, and I think it starts down in the lower grades when children are not allowed to have things that are theirs and theirs alone, and hands off to anyone else.

    This issue disturbs me greatly, even while I can see the other side plainly, too. The other side is certainly easier for the teacher.

    I have posted more on this subject here: http://weeklyscheiss.blogspot.com/2007/03/hands-off-my-pencils-or-youll-be-sorry.html
     
  30. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Well the beauty of most schools is that they let teachers make these decisions on an individual basis (at least mine does). I'm sure, from year to year, and class to class, teachers have different opinions on this. I'm grateful my administration leaves these decisions up to me!
     
  31. kem

    kem Companion

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    Maybe it is just me, but does this really need to be debated? Teachers should be allowed to make their own decisions on this matter-it is their classroom! For space issues, we have community supplies. We actually request Crayola crayons, Elmer's glue, etc. Even if they are more pricey than the generic ones, they are still so, so cheap during back to school sales. There are always a handful who don't bring any supplies. Having a community supply saves me from digging into my own pocket-I do this enough during the rest of the year! As far as ownership and responsibility, I have never observed this being a problem in first grade, nor has it been when the children got older.
     
  32. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Mar 2, 2007

    Community Supplies defined (in my classroom):
    Community supplies are supplies that are put together for all student use. In my room scissors, glue, paints, markers, and notebook paper are community supplies. I find that less gets used (as well as cut) if these items are not in their desks. They are allowed to get them any time we need them. Scissors, glue, paints, and markers will go home at the end of the year. I usually send a note home to parents telling them that they can donate the supplies for students who are in need next year. Most parents like to donate them, so I don't have to worry about sorting them all out.
    At the beginning of the year I discuss with my students why we do it that way, and all (so far) have been okay with that.
     
  33. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    kem, I totally agree. That was my point. I'm the teacher, I get to decide. I've never had a parent make a stink about it.
     
  34. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    I've found that students take BETTER care of the community supplies than they do the ones that are only theirs.
     
  35. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have done it both ways in my classroom. I prefer to give them their own supplies. I provide them with a plastic box that holds one ruler, one brand new sharpened pencil, 8 crayons, 8 markers, one bottle of Elmer's Glue, & one pair of scissors. They LOVE LOVE LOVE
    this more than life itself. I replace supplies as needed through the year.
    This year I have been doing the community supplies and I am going to be changing that next week. We will talk about their "boxes" and how they will be responsible for the contents and to put them away nicely on the shelf. They learn that these boxes are only for our "work time" and not to just color or draw any other time of the day. I keep baskets of stuff for those times and everyone can use them.
     
  36. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    Mar 5, 2007

    Well, community supplies vs. own supplies also depends entirely on whether your students have a place to store their stuff in the classroom. Or as Grammy Teacher puts it very nicely, "boxes" for "work time".

    Remember, many classrooms today are tables, not individual desks. As I've had it explained to me (Yes, I was a parent who initially griped about this!), many teachers have reverted to "community" because there is only space for 5 or 6 boxes, not 25.
     
  37. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    That's true about the storage of that many boxes. With 4 and 5 year olds, even 12 boxes can be a problem. I have little instigators too who like to sneak into the boxes if they accessible and they steal stuff and fill their boxes up! But, that's kids for ya.
     
  38. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Mar 5, 2007

    In September I had community supplies. All provided by the school. The students did not bring anything in themselves. By Oct. I switched to individual pencil boxes. Again provided by the school. I couldn't stand finding boogers and other grossness on the community pencils. And it was my 3rd grader that would point those things out, and blame another student. It has been so much easier with them having their own things. They actually take very good care of the items. I rarely find pencils, or crayons on the floor. We still have community glue and scissors.
    I personally would never take a child's folder that a parent sent in and give it to another child. I just don't see how that is fair to the parent or the child. If one child brings in a cheap .20 cent folder and another a 2.00 plastic folder, I don't think it is fair to switch. The child that brought in the .20 cent folder picked that out with a parent or the parent picked it out and thought it was good enough for that child. The other parent and child picked out the more expensive folder.

    BTW I was raised in the 80s also, and we were on food stamps. I never noticed what the other kids had or didn't have, I knew I had what I needed.
     
  39. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Mar 5, 2007

    The responses from here are very different from most of the responses on this forum.
     
  40. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Mar 5, 2007

    Our firewall won't let us through to your link.
     
  41. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

    Joined:
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    Mar 5, 2007

    Try this one, and scroll down a few posts to the one about supplies.
     

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