J is for Jack-o-Lantern ~and~ the Problem with Printers

J is for Jack-o-Lantern

One of the things about perfectionism is paralyzing indecision. When it comes to pumpkin carving, that manifests as a fear to cut in until I already know exactly what I want. And that's where the pumpkin printable comes in. Use it to design as many as you need until you find one that is truly pumpkin-worthy.

Or just use it for paper Jack-o-lanterns because that's what we did!

Submit your best designs below - especially if you trace it onto a real pumpkin and actually carve it out.

We had a busy day yesterday that ended up with us snacking in bed and each coloring our own pumpkins. I asked my gal Friday whether she wanted an orange pumpkin or white, and she answered yellow like Pikachu. So I printed off a white and she did hers DIY.

I had this idea that I’d do some fancy lettering, but I didn’t think about the fact that I’m terrible at those things. You can probably see where I found a groove along the way and then totally lost it again!

Download your own pumpkin from the chaoticorganized.com Homeschool folder. Get it in pumpkin color or make it your own like MGF did with her Pika-Pumpkin.

31 posts of october day 11 J is for jack-o-lantern and the problem with printers

The Problem with Printers

So, printables like the above are generally pretty useless unless you have a printer at home. For a long time, I didn’t. Printers are just such a pain in general. I printed things only on rare occasion at the library. Those printers were also a pain, but at least there was someone else there to fix it for me when they gave me a hard time. But this decision to go without a home-printer was following years of inkjet print cartridges that dried up on me, so on the rare instance I’d go to print, my cartridge would be miraculously empty despite never printing anything. It was ridiculous! It’s like they sucker you into buying a printer at a very low price and then charge $50 apiece for a cartridge that’s only going to end up printing 2 pages. And you have to buy 4 cartridges for it to print at all. And let me be clear that this isn’t referring to a single brand. It’s my significant personal experience with Canon, HP, and Brother.

A few years ago, when I decided that I needed a printer at home again (going from printing a few pages a year to a few a month), I found myself with another very cheap printer with all the features I would use (all-in-one, flatbed scanner, network printing, etc...), but what really intrigued me was the subscription ink program that came along with it. For $3 a month - $36 a year - they’d make sure that I had functional ink in my printer full-time. (2023 Update: I'm now on a grandfathered plan where I pay $0.99 + tax every month to get 15 pages, with up to 45 pages rolled over. I'm still, years later, extremely happy with this program.)
It sounded like a scam, and indeed many people have many complaints about HP’s Instant Ink program so I have a hard time endorsing it fully, but for me, in my exact situation, it’s been worth it to pay the monthly fee just for the peace of mind. I’ve had heaps of problems with the printer itself (I have to restart it every time I want to use it because of connection errors 2023 update: I rarely have connection errors anymore, still using the same printer), but never with the ink.

That said, there’s now also a free option for up to 15 pages a month, which I’ve now signed up for. The free option doesn’t include rollover of pages month to month, but you can go over your limit. Extra pages are $1 for 10. Mathers will notice that for $3 you can print up to 45 pages on the free plan, so if you’re only an occasional printer this is definitely the right option as the $3 plan doesn’t become any more cost-effective until 46 pages.

2023 update: the current cheapest plan is $0.99 for 10 pages, with up to 30 pages rolled over.

Another thing I love about Instant Ink is that I can print out everything at the highest quality, and can print out pages completely saturated in color ink for the same price as a draft quality with a single word in black on it. On the flip side, every page that gets even a drop printed to it counts against your allowance, which includes the pumpkin that only got sent through 20% before the page got canceled. It’s a waste of a page and a waste of paper.


If you have similar annoyances with inkjet printers, there are options. Affiliate links to follow if you are interested in the subscription ink route, which will mean a small commission for me at no cost to you.

As a tip: For any kind of recurring payment like this, set up a spending limit in some way. One option is to use a prepaid card so that you can’t be charged beyond the value loaded on the card. I’ve been doing it accidentally lately with a paypal account still linked to an expired credit card but that’s not super convenient. There is also an app called Privacy that makes virtual debit cards to deal exactly with these things.

*The biggest complaint people have about Instant Ink is that if you stop paying, you can no longer use their ink cartridges. In fact, since the printer is connected to the network, HP can remotely lock the cartridge and prevent you from printing anything unless you replace it with a retail cartridge. This isn’t insignificant so I feel it needs to be said. However, based on my own experience downgrading to the free plan I came to realize that you pay in arrears, and I suspect many of the people with this problem are refusing to pay the $3 for the last month that they were still subscribed. I know I was mad at first when they wanted to bill me once more.

Printer Problems?

Have you dealt with any of this? How? Do you know of a printer that is not a jerk?
Let us know!

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