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Michelle Conde

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Everything posted by Michelle Conde

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Not a very promising idea, I guess. Thanks for all your input.
  5. We actually just recently bought a house here. 😞
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. 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).
  10. That’s so neat! My dad has his dna and his mom’s available for matching online, and has had I think five! cousins (to varying degrees) contact him for help finding their birth families. He’s becoming quite the expert. He has had to learn to slow down and wait for them to ask for the next step, though—some of them have gotten pretty overwhelmed when he responds with too much all at once. There was one in particular who asked for his help working out a tangle, and then seemed kind of offended when my dad figured out that the reason they were showing up as more closely related than was physically possible was due to having some antecedents who were double first cousins get married.
  11. I get that generally men are more likely to have a personality with the tendency to jump in and set themselves up as an authority figure by patronizingly explaining things to people, but I’ve never personally met anyone who did it in a sexist way. The men I’ve known who do this do it to everyone, not just women, though particularly to people with less forceful personalities. And the person I know who does it the most is a woman. If the same action done with the same intention is not sexist for her, it doesn’t become sexist based purely on the gender of the speaker. So for “mansplaining” to be a sexist act, the man doing it would have to consistently do it only towards women. I’m sure there are people like that out there, but I don’t think it’s nearly as widespread as some think, as I’ve yet to meet one.
  12. I was thinking I would start accounts for all foster kids we have for over a month, if I can find a vehicle that works for that, and just set up a monthly deposit while they’re with us. Alternatively, I heard of an instance where a family just set up one 529 and used it for all of their foster kids who made it to college and were still in contact with them when they did. But it would sure be nice if there were a way to make the money “follow” the kid, so they could benefit from it even if we didn’t still have contact.
  13. I guess the ABLE account is something to revisit in a year if she is still with us then. She currently has a referral to get in with the pediatric developmental specialist to try to determine the cause of her delays (suspected either the neglect, autism, genetic, or a combination)—but they tell me it takes about nine months from the time of referral to actually seeing the specialist. So maybe we will know by then if she is likely to remain severely delayed.
  14. Her delays weren’t documented until she came into my care. Reading the FAQs for the ABLE accounts, I‘m concerned that if she’s later no longer considered disabled, any money in the account will be subject to a 10% federal penalty. The pediatrician said that if her delays are all caused by the neglect she’s experienced, she may catch back up with enough time.
  15. It looks like my state does have an ABLE account, but the beneficiary has to be shown by a physician to be disabled for at least a year.
  16. Beehive Federal Credit Union—the Mission Savings Account (but the money can be withdrawn for anything, not just a mission). It has some pretty strict rules of use. You can deposit up to $100 per month by direct deposit, and up to $10,000 total.
  17. Do those with foster parenting experience know if there is a way to start a savings account for a foster child and ensure that the money will actually go to the child when they’re older? I know you can do a 529 college savings account for any beneficiary, and maintain control of it until it pays out—but I don’t know if our foster daughter will ever be looking at the possibility of college. (Early Intervention tested her as severely delayed in all areas except motor skills). I have great kids’ savings accounts for my other kids that give 3% interest, and they said I can open one for a foster child—but the person I spoke to wasn’t really certain, but thought that control of the account would have to be passed to whoever her legal guardian was in the future.
  18. How interesting that there are other cultures that don’t ever allow new siblings to try to “help” with a baby! I am also curious where. I breastfed, but I think that my olders trying to help with the little one was the biggest help in having them connect with the new babies and feel proud of the baby and pleased at being so big and helpful, instead of feeling jealous or displaced.
  19. Her sister is doing okay-ish, but they are really, really missing each other. We had her over for a sleepover Friday night. They had a wonderful time, though our little one had a very tough time when we had to say goodbye. We spoke to our bio kids about the possibility of bringing her here to make sure they are okay with it, and are taking steps to make our home able to accommodate another kid. We spoke to the dhs certifier on Wednesday and told her we feel that these girls really need to be together, and that we would support either bringing sister here or whatever is needed to make that possible. But it’s ultimately not up to us, so we’ll see what happens. I think there is supposed to be an assessment for her difficulty of care sometime later this month. Apparently the person in charge of that is very overbooked.
  20. Oh, I didn’t know that. Seems like it would be simpler to just make general announcements in the general sessions, but whatever. It’s not like it really matters.
  21. I think the changes to young women’s are going to be great. It kind of bugs me that they announced the temples in the Women’s session. After all, it would bug me if they announced something like that that affects everyone in the Priesthood session. Unless maybe they thought the attendees would be more reverent during the announcements in the women’s session. 🙂
  22. Update: She is still here with us, and has made so much progress. The self-harming and hurting others is still happening daily, but it's now down to several times a day. She is picking up new words all the time, and started putting words together for the first time this week. We've got nearly all her therapies in place now, and she will hopefully be starting at the relief nursery preschool next week, where she will be getting the rest of them. Also, those two mornings a week, I will have a few hours of uninterrupted homeschooling time! We are nearly through with the zillion appointments for everything imaginable, and will soon be down to just having her regular appointments for therapy and visitation. And she is just generally brighter and happier.
  23. Welcome! Glad to have you here! I don't have twins, but I do have two who are 19 months apart with a competitive, fast-moving younger boy and a slower, methodical older girl with dyslexia. I have had to really emphasize that this is not a race, and to come down on him when he wanted to compare/brag about what he was doing compared to her. (Especially when she was in 1st and he was in K, I just took to sendng him to fold 3 pieces of laundry every single time he would start in about reading better or trying to jump in with answers to her work faster than her.) It's easiest to avoid when they are in very different curricula. In math they do well with the same materials, but since we use both singapore and Beast Academy math, I have used switching back and forth between those two in different orders to help avoid the obvious direct comparison between them. My other suggestion is to make time to focus on the areas of strength of both. My son's areas of strength get a lot of attention because they are core academic areas, but I have made sure to include time for art classes and poetics and calligraphy for my daughter for her areas of strength, too.
  24. Wow, those are some crazy low prices. I thought milk was amazingly cheap here, at $1.68/gallon. We used to get milk for about $3.60 to $3.80 in our old town. When we went to the city 3.5 hours away where I could get milk for just under $2.50/gallon, I would buy 16 gallons and wrap them up with ice under blankets for the drive home to put in the freezer.
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