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Posts by velochic

You're right that this is difficult to budget for as it changes from year to year (and also depends on the age of your home).  We are detailed in our savings and have sinking funds for individual items, but also have a general maintenance fund.  There are some things you know will have to be replaced because they have a fairly predictable lifespan: appliances, furnace/ac, roof, etc.  For us, they have their own line items (and for a few, are even in separate accounts)....
This is great advice, especially for Amsterdam - and Brussels is just a short train trip from there, too.  At 2.5, dd loved traveling overnight on trains.  We shared a berth (the top and I slept on the outside).  Traveling overnight gets you to where you are going and saves a night in a hotel.  Even that young, dd enjoyed the museums, so we didn't restrict where we went, including The Louvre.  We were living in Munich when she was this age, so were centrally located and...
For the older kids, how about some games like MadLibs, Banagrams (there is a book of them), and trivia books.   You can make your own "treasure hunt".  Fill a jar (plastic or glass, clear) about 2/3 full of rice.  Put small objects in as well, put on the lid, then shake it up and they will become hidden.  Have the kids roll it around and find the objects.  For multiple kids, you might do one each and swap them off.  They are very inexpensive to make.  (A hint,...
Here is a nice little article about how tips are taxed.  I know from personal experience (I was a server in my early 20's) that you can make a pretty good living waiting tables (and that some people will stiff you for various reasons, but most people make up for those few who do so).  My cousin averages $45/hr. at a mid-range (non-chain) restaurant on weekend nights and $20+/hr. other times.  He doesn't tip out any other staff, so keeps them all himself.  He works hard...
I agree with crunchy_mommy.  If you don't have insurance, go to an ER.  I'm pretty sure they have to treat without proof of insurance.  Keep going to ERs until you have an answer.  You haven't mentioned what you've tried already (even simple things like changing diet, OTC medications, etc.)  You say that you haven't had a good education, but the mother's instinct doesn't require book learning.  You know something is wrong, because your instinct tells you it is.  Be your...
I make my own soap (body soap) that I then used to make my own laundry soap.  We have hard water and it was not effective for us.  The clothes did not get clean and after a few washes, they were not smelling fresh.  It didn't make a difference with dd's eczema, either, so not worth it.   My dd has severe eczema, as well.  It becomes more severe if its allowed to get out of control.  Making my own body soap (just lye, lard and water) has shown the biggest positive...
These are some great ideas above.    I, too cook almost exclusively from scratch and we don't eat any foods with additives/preservatives/colorings/flavorings while dd's cousins... that is about all they eat.  But what I do is make foods that are familiar to them, but just made from scratch.  They love chicken nuggets and fries.  I just make them myself.  They like chips and dip, I get out my mandoline and slice the chips and make the dip.  They like quesadillas and...
Well, I learned something new yesterday.  It turns out that the library where I work does have a formal policy.  I obviously have not read the personnel manual very thoroughly.  So, for our mid-sized library, the policy is children 8 and under have to be with a parent, including to stay in the library for story time.  9 and above can be there without a parent.  However, they do really evaluate it on a case-by-case basis.  I was told that they have called parents on a 12...
We are a multi-cultural family and we have wine a few times a week with our meals - nicely paired with the food and to enhance the meal, not just drinking to drink.  Dd sees us drinking responsibly and at some point, (she's only 10 now), she'll want to try it, but not anytime soon.  When age appropriate, we'll probably let her have some watered-down wine, at home only.  That's common in dh's country.  Outside of the home, I will discourage any drinking until of legal...
Boy, I don't think that sounds silly at all!  That's a great idea for a go-bag.  I was giving these to my mother near the end when she couldn't even handle being fed with a spoon.  They have those little spouts that you can just squeeze the food into the mouth and they are quick and easy - no utensils required.  They don't have a ton of calories, but have some good nutrients and are light weight.  I have some left over and will put them in our go-bags today.  Thanks for...
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