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Michelle Conde

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About Michelle Conde

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    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

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  1. No. Apparently we used to have that, but they had problems with bedbugs getting into the waiting clothes. Those are some good ideas.
  2. This sounds like a great idea, once I know the kid’s sizes. Maybe next time a quicker trip in to figure out sizes and just grab something for the first day or two, then order the rest online and pick up later? We don’t have a Target here, but I think Walmart has something similar. Thanks!
  3. The bins of cute kids’ clothes, organized by size and gender. I always planned on having a big family—I wanted 8 or maybe 10 kids, so I had everything in good condition saved and ready. A few years after learning it would not be safe to go through another pregnancy, I finally got rid of it all, telling myself that if we were eventually able to afford adopting, I would have an excuse to buy new cute little things. However, now that I’m foster parenting, I really regret all those cute, organized, ready-to-go things. Buying a wardrobe for a new little one is a awful. Not only is it really expensive to suddenly buy a complete wardrobe, and the stores sell clothes half a season ahead of the weather so you can’t buy summer clothes and swimsuits in late August when it’s still 95 degrees out, and you can’t plan ahead and get things on sale that will fit them at a later time because you don’t know how long you will have them—but it’s a really hard time to go out shopping with a little one whose world has just been turned upside down and who is not in the mood to handle being out in public well. Throw in the strangers pointedly glaring at you for the misbehaving toddler while you’re blocking the kicks they’re aiming at another kid and getting slapped in the face, and it is truly a nightmare.
  4. My brother-in-law's family lives 45 minutes away. Dh's parents are at his house this week helping with the kids, as his daughter just had surgery. They were invited to both his house and ours for Thanksgiving dinner. Last week they said, "When are you planning on eating, because we like to eat the Thanksgiving meal earlier in the day." We said we were planning on having it at an early dinner time, around 5 or 5:30. Brother- and Sister-in-law were also planning on eating at dinner time. (Because what mom with young children wants to get up in the dark of the morning to start cooking a turkey, have to rush around all morning to get everything ready in time, and spend the afternoon cleaning up from a big meal only to turn around and feed her kids another meal at dinner to then clean up after?). A few days later we heard from brother-in-law that they were saying, "Oh, well, I guess we aren't invited to have Thanksgiving with anyone. We'll probably just pick up some drive-through on our way out of town." So dh called them and told them to come to our house, and we would eat at lunch. The reason they want to eat then? They want to go home that afternoon to go Black Friday shopping the next day at their home stores.
  5. Well I loved The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, but the author is African, not African American. Does that matter?
  6. I’ve already spent over $200 this month, so I definitely need to rein it in. We are currently pretty well stocked up, though. My budget for the month is $700 for food and home goods like cleaning supplies, diapers, and lightbulbs for the 7 of us (but my fd does get wic as well). Meals for this week Monday: Little Caesar’s because Mommy was sick Tuesday: canned chicken noodle soup and toast because everyone was sick Planned: -dd10’s night to pick and help cook; beef stew and homemade bread - chicken pad thai - avocado chicken caprese wraps - butternut squash pasta (actually I will use turkey in place of the chicken)
  7. Had carried a balance over on the credit card after the Month of Surprises we had, but that is paid off now. Thanks to that month, we have two new debt line items in our budget (a furnace and a car) after we were down to only mortgage and Dh’s school loan. I think I have dh convinced that we should throw our extra funds at the car first—he really wanted to work on the furnace first, because it is the smaller of the two, but it has no interest for two years and our current repayment rate will pay it off before then, whereas the car is 3.99% interest, so I feel we should be putting our extra payments towards that. I discovered a few months ago that we actually can have an HSA through dh’s work. He will hopefully get us signed up for that today, so that we will be able to use that starting in January. I am trying to catch back up on the paperwork that I’ve been falling behind on lately, and found a visa gift card for $100 that I had forgotten we’d received from an internet provider promotion. So that will go into the Christmas fund. I had three different things I should be able to be reimbursed for which I finally did the paperwork for. The next thing I’ve got to get done is getting our old van cleaned up and listing it for sale. Does anyone know where to get the best price on big diapers? My three-year-old foster daughter is really big for her age (wears larger pants than my five-year-old) and is still showing no interest or readiness for potty training at all. She’s in size six diapers, but they’re getting pretty small on her.
  8. I did really well with meal planning, not eating out, and shopping frugally in October. I wanted to see if I could reasonably manage $600 groceries and home goods for the month like I used to when being really frugal. The answer: no, I cannot. But $700 is a reasonable frugal goal for us, now, so that is what I am aiming for this month. Also planning on picking up several turkeys this month for the freezer while they are so cheap.
  9. Not a very promising idea, I guess. Thanks for all your input.
  10. We actually just recently bought a house here. 😞
  11. I understand that the per-pupil funds don't go to a specific student, but the district doesn't receive the state per-pupil funding for my kids if my kids aren't enrolled. And they get our local property taxes whether or not they are providing any services to my children. The above only applies if my kids were a part of the system to begin with.
  12. Hm, it didn't occur to me that this might be illegal. I do know that the school district can pay to send special needs kids to a private or an out-of-district school, and they are still considered enrolled for purposes of funding. There is already a program in place to allow students to go to schools out-of-district the other direction but still in state, which many local families use. (The district doesn't get the state funding for those kids, though.) I wonder how to find if this is legal or not here?
  13. I have always homeschooled all my kids, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my oldest dd would do better in a classroom environment at this time. I started looking into the schools in our district, and am not impressed. There is, however, a new classically-based charter school about eight miles from my house that is almost exactly what I would have designed if I were imagining a school for my kids. It is on the other side of the state boundary, though. They charge $674/month tuition to non-state residents, which is not an option for us—especially as at least some of our other kids would want to go, too, in the next few years. I have an idea I’m considering pitching to the local school district. (School board? Is that who I would need to talk to?). The charter school tuition comes to over $3000 less per year than the amount our state government gives our local school district per student per year. If they were to offer the option of enrolling students in our district and paying for them to attend charter schools over the state line, they would be getting over $3000 a year per student for their district. There are a few other nice local charter schools on that side of the border, so I think there would be a lot of interest in this option. Does anyone have any suggestions? Anyone have experience with getting school boards to work with you?
  14. When I start to hate cooking and dread meal planning, I have found that I can snap myself out of it by looking for new, interesting, and unique recipes that I will really enjoy eating, rather than worrying about catering to the ungrateful, picky mob. And ironically, the complainers are usually much better about eating the unusual things I come up with than more normal, simple fare. (They all got their dad's intolerance for leftovers or repeated meals, other than pizza. So I can make a meal they love once, and then they will hate it if I make it again within a month!) Recently when I was starting to hate cooking again, I started using lots of recipes from carlsbadcravings.com. I also assigned each of my kids a "kitchen day", when they are in charge of all the kitchen clean up and dishes for the day. (I do help them as needed based on their ages).
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