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#1 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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With our second baby on the way, it turns out we qualify for WIC. I made an appt. to go in and meet with someone. It's like 2 mos away though.

Anyway, I'd like to hear some opinions on it, if you found it useful, if it saved you money. Groceries are our second largest monthly expense besides the mortgage. Any help we could save would be great.

Also, we don't vax, but one of the things I was told to bring was a vax record for my 2 yo. Is this going to be a problem? He's only had the MMR, and I'm not sure he's getting many more...

TIA for any help!
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#2 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 07:44 PM
 
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We get WIC. They have new food packages now (or should if they don't for you already) that allow for fresh fruit and veggies plus whole grains (bread, tortillas, rice). I think I save about $50-60 a month, so it REALLY helps.. I don't even get the eggs, milk, cheese and fish.. I'd probably be saving closer to $80 if I did.

We don't vax. They have an exemption form from their Ped and that's all you need. They also won't turn you away if you don't have one, but they might give you crap about it.

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#3 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm...that sounds good. I'm not sure I'd use the eggs, particularly, unless Farmer Dave will take the vouchers. But I suppose they would be okay for baking or whatever. I just perfer farm fresh for eating 'eggs'.
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#4 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I like that we get farmer's market checks here.

About vax. They asked "and did you bring the immunization records?" I said "Oh, no. I forgot." and they said "Oh, that's okay. Don't worry about it." And I haven't heard a word since.

S-d D which made them three. M grew lonely, and now there's baby D.
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#5 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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Kids getting WIC are statistically more likely to miss vaxes, so they are just trying to kill two birds with one stone while they have you as a captive audience. It's part of their whole public health thing.

But there is no requirement that you bring vaxes up to date, and if they make it seem like it is a requirement, stand your ground. I just state clearly and succinctly what our family does in terms of vaxes and if they continue to push, I just repeat "Thank you. I'll keep that in mind" like a broken record until they get the hint and move on in the conversation.
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#6 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 08:48 PM
 
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There's no question it'll save you money (unless you don't eat anything they offer), but my opinion of WIC *and they differ regionally* is extremely annoying, but worthwhile if you're living on a tight budget.

The appointments that would last all day, being stuffed inside a church lobby with tons of people and their 800 screaming kids, being patronized and told you need to fork butter and whole milk into your kids or you're basically starving them was for me a bit much.

I didn't really enjoy the grannies squeezing and stripping my kid, doing pokes and lecturing me like I fell off a turnip truck.

I hear that the offices aren't all like this. I'm really glad!
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#7 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 08:50 PM
 
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Ask at your WIC office. I've seen signs at some of the farmer's markets here that they accept WIC. I don't know how widespread that is but it doesn't hurt to ask.

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#8 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually have a stand at our farmer's market, so I know they take the checks. But I don't think the checks are year round, only spring/summer here. My appt's not till October, they may be passed by then.
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#9 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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We do delayed/selective vax, and while I've had to explain myself on many visits, my WIC ladies have been very respectful of our decision. (They're a pretty crunchy bunch, though. They promote co-sleeping as a way to encourage breastfeeding, even though they aren't supposed to. Shhh!)

I get a massive WIC package. It's me, DS (who's still EBF) and DD, age 3.

Every month we get:

7.5 gallons of milk
4# cheese
3# whole grain bread/tortillas
2 64oz. jugs of juice
3 12oz. containers of frozen juice concentrate OR 48oz. cans of V8
3 doz eggs (I use WIC eggs to make mayo)
72 oz. cereal (usually 5 boxes)
3 jars peanut butter
6 cans tuna
$16 for produce

And once DS is 6 mos. old, we'll also get 4oz. jars of baby fruits and veggies, and 2oz. jars of baby meat, as well as rice cereal.

Up until last month, we got 8# of cheese per month. It was crazy. We couldn't eat it all. We got a bunch of mozzarella, shredded it, spread it on sheet trays to freeze, and then bagged it. We have enough frozen pizza cheese to last us a year.

We also get $40 in vouchers to use at the farmer's market. It's called Project Fresh, and can only be used for in-state produce. Around here, some Upicks accept Project Fresh vouchers, so this year we spent $20 in vouchers on Upick strawberries and came away with 25#. We ate them until we were just about sick, and then froze the rest for winter smoothies.

Last year, we picked 25# of strawberries and made so much jam (we also used the rhubarb in our backyard) that we're still eating it.

Rather than dry or canned beans, we always get peanut butter with WIC, as 18 oz. of pb is $1.50-$2 (the stuff we buy, anyway), and 16 oz. of dry beans are $1. So we just pay cash for the beans, to save a few cents.
The other $20 in vouchers we are using toward 50# of potatoes to go in the cellar.

There is no way we can drink 7.5 gallons of milk every month, so I learned how to make kefir, yogurt, & ricotta. The ricotta can be "creamed" with yogurt to make cottage cheese, and the yogurt can be strained to make Greek style yogurt, which is a very good sour cream/cream cheese substitute. Greek yogurt also makes fabulous tzaiki and chip dip. I also combine Greek yogurt with homemade mayo (free again, from the WIC eggs) to make lowfat mayo that is free for us and real food, none of the fillers and crap that's in commercial low fat mayo. Other than the minor cost of the yogurt cultures (maybe 25 cents?) and the oil (another 25 cents?), WIC + a little effort = free mayo. (In turn, the free mayo makes fantastic ranch dressing.)

This is much less complicated than it sounds. I spend about an 90 minutes a month doing it. You need the cultures, a thermometer, a heating pad, a stock pot, white vinegar, salt & some towels- so stuff that most houses have kicking around. Check out Hillbilly Housewife or PM me for instructions.

Before, we were also getting 8 46oz. juice every month, about 4 more than we could drink, so we have a massive frozen/V8 stockpile. Which is nice, because now I can just say, "Oh, when the WIC juice is gone, it's gone". We don't need to be drinking more than WIC gives us, but this way we won't feel deprived, either, as we work our way through the stockpiled stuff, too.

We bake our own bread and make our own flour tortillas, so we use the bread allotment on corn tortillas. Frequently, these get made into chips. Homemade chips with homemade salsa is a mainstay snack at our house.

We get so much tuna, that, even after the BFing mother package ends when DS turns 1, we will have a stockpile that I bet lasts us another year.

As for the cereal, you can only get certain kinds. I never get the hot cereals they offer, since they area always the nasty instant packets. (When a huge container of real oatmeal costs $2. I don't get it.)
I have a system- I don't get any WIC cereal that has a generic equivalent. So I get Life, Kix, Quaker Oat Squares, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Banana Nut Crunch, then I grab one or two big bags of generic Bran Flakes, Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, or Frosted Mini Wheats. These are about $3.50 each. The WIC cereal plus 1-2 bags is enough to get us through the entire month, even though we eat cereal daily. (Cereal is another of our mainstay snacks- DH works a very early third shift, and is home by 1:00, so a late lunch is our main meal. DD and I usually snack on cereal after DH is in bed.)

So yes, I have found WIC to be well worth the minor hassle. Though I wouldn't buy all that milk (I'd just make more soymilk instead), nor name brand cereal, and I'd probably buy a little less juice than WIC gives us, our WIC purchases routinely total $150/mo, so I imagine it saves us a minimum of $100 a month, probably a little more. Like all grocery shopping, there are methods you can use to make it stretch a little farther. I hope this post helps you to devise your own.

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#10 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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Please ignore that mad face at the top of the previous post! DD did that while my back was turned!

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#11 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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I love the new WIC :

Baby gets a baby food package (64 jars fruits/veggies, 31 jars meat, 3 boxes cereal a month) from 6-12 months.

I get a bfing package until she turns a year. It is quite incredible- in Kentucky, there are several to choose from now, so you can get more milk and less cheese, etc. I'm only getting 3 dozen eggs per month now (that's bfing mom and 4yo) but I'm getting $26 in fresh produce!

I don't know if I will still be eligible for anything after she turns 1, but she will get a "big girl" package with milk, fresh fruits/veggies, whole wheat breads, cheese, eggs, beans, peanut butter, cereal, juice (even V-8). Big sis already gets this package... I just love it.

They used to be just milk/cheese/eggs/peanut butter/cereal for the "big kid" packs and that plus carrots and tuna fish for bfing moms. DD1 used to get 31 jars baby juice and 6 boxes of baby cereal. She had juice for the first 2 years of her life and I got creative with baking teething biscuits!

I am so thankful for the changes and so thankful for the program. I believe ours averages $150-$200 a month off of our food bill. Absolutely helps.

As for vax... you can say "we are selectively delaying" or some such. Vaccines are not required for the program and they can get in big trouble if they try to pressure you.

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#12 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 09:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
We do delayed/selective vax, and while I've had to explain myself on many visits, my WIC ladies have been very respectful of our decision. (They're a pretty crunchy bunch, though. They promote co-sleeping as a way to encourage breastfeeding, even though they aren't supposed to. Shhh!)

I get a massive WIC package. It's me, DS (who's still EBF) and DD, age 3.
: I'm glad I'm not the only one to write a novel about WIC
I agree with everything you said and am in almost the exact WIC situation


How do you make ricotta cheese?

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#13 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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Heat a gallon of milk to 110 F, then kill the heat and add a cup of white vinegar. Stir with a slotted spoon and the curds form before your eyes. Pour through a colander lined with dampened cheescloth/floursack towel, so the whey runs off, then rinse under cold water to remove the vinegar residue. Salt to taste. Yeilds one pound ricotta.

If you want it creamier, it can be creamed with almost anything on hand- yogurt, mayo, melted butter, cream, milk, whatever. I add about 1 part yogurt to 2 parts ricotta for cottage cheese.

This works well with oregano and basil in lasagna and ravioli.

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#14 of 85 Old 08-26-2009, 09:35 PM
 
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Can't wait to try it!
So, is it sweet like "real" ricotta, or does it taste twangy from the vinegar?

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#15 of 85 Old 08-27-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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I work at my wic clinic and they are super awesome. it really does depend on the clinic. Not all states have farmers market vouchers, mine doesn't. Mine also doesn't have soymilk or tofu, but others have those too.

We get 12 cans of beans instead of a pound of dry beans or PB and i love the canned beans! That's $12 savings right there!

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#16 of 85 Old 08-27-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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It's not as sweet as storebought, but usually that stuff has added sugar. So you could add sugar to taste, I guess. I never have, tho'.

You shouldn't taste the vinegar at all. That's what the cold water rinse is for.

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#17 of 85 Old 08-27-2009, 12:58 AM
 
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I've gotten WIC since DD was a newborn, my main reason was milk, I drank a boatload of milk when she was born(and when I was pg with her) and DD drinks a bunch still. Here in WA we were getting Og milk(the only state in the US), but now the cost is much more and after Oct 1st we won't get it anymore. We will be getting all of the thing that others have said.

The changes for our family are fine, I am a bit sad about the organic milk, but I can understand the cost factor. I am looking forward to getting tofu and soy milk instead, I'll buy my og milk. Here in WA we do get the farmer's market vouchers, usually it's $20 a year. I used mine to buy peaches and dried a bunch of them and canned some peach jam. I hae not been getting the juice or all of my eggs either, we get like 4 dozen a month and our family just doesn't go through them.

My WIC office is pretty great, I was a bit peeved a few months ago because my DD who is a "normal" kid who has been consistently in the 90th % suddenly was possibly going to have weight issues because she is in the 90th percentile. They have applauded her growth until then, I think it's some new bs thing they are coming up with using BMI. I was told that my DD needed to not eat starches so much-ummmm she doesn't, and not to give her ranch dressing with her veggies, ummmm I don't. It was just annoying that is the assumption. I have never been asked for her vax record, so that's a new one for me. All in all it's a great thing.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#18 of 85 Old 08-27-2009, 01:29 AM
 
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We don't vax. They have an exemption form from their Ped and that's all you need. They also won't turn you away if you don't have one, but they might give you crap about it.
You don't need an exemption because there is no requirement to be exempt from.

WIC Eligibility & Vax
"Immunization records and/or an infant/child’s immunization status are in no way tied to the receipt of WIC benefits. "

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#19 of 85 Old 08-27-2009, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, you ladies are putting it in a pretty light. I don't think this clinic seems too bad. I actually applied for a job there previously. It's an urban center, so it's all done by appt, not the mass pick ups in fire halls I remember going w/ my mom to as a child.

As for organic milk, not a factor either. We have two great local dairies here that are hormone free, better than organic from the store (ultra-pasturize yuck!) imo. One you can even get at the grocery store b/c they are a large dairy with their own chain of convenience stores. I guess I'll have to start making yogurt again.

Hoenstly, I don't even know why I picked up the form, but when I saw the monthly income for a family of 4 was close to $3500, I was shocked! Like, "hey, that's us!" I'll admit it, too, I will go without many many other things to support my grocery habit. It runs anywhere between $500-$700 a month. : If we could save even $100/mo, it would be worth it!
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#20 of 85 Old 08-27-2009, 07:32 PM
 
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I have never been troubled about Vaxes with WIC. I just tell them we don't do them and they say ok and put it in the chart. They will not try to force you to vax.

Student and aspiring midwife mama to Angel: and Iris. Expecting a new sometime near Halloween! I am a all the way!!!!!
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#21 of 85 Old 08-27-2009, 11:33 PM
 
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Even if you have an appointment it can still take a good hour or two before you're finally out of there with your checks, or at least that's how it is at my WIC office. I just started it too. I remember checking when my oldest was a baby and we made too much money, but our second put us under the income guide lines. I like it and it's worth the hassle. For a 1 year old and 3 year old we get: 7 gallons of milk, 6 pounds of block cheese, 2 pounds of dried beans (lentils), 4 dozen eggs, 8 frozen concentrates of juice, and about 4 boxes of cereal. That's a lot more than we can eat in a month. The new food package will start in October and I'm really looking forward to the fresh produce and ww grain products.

Kate~ Mama to two.
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#22 of 85 Old 08-28-2009, 08:20 PM
 
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I made an appointment for a WIC when I read that you can now get fresh produce. We don't drink milk (cow or soy) but I would love to make yogurt and ricotta (and paneer!). The kids would love more cereal, too. We tend not to get it just because it is so expensive.

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#23 of 85 Old 08-28-2009, 08:33 PM
 
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I get a $10 check (breastfeeding) and DD (3 years) gets a $6 check every month.

S-d D which made them three. M grew lonely, and now there's baby D.
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
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#24 of 85 Old 08-30-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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I'm a foster/adoptive parent and my kids automatically qualify for WIC. I stopped for a while because I really didn't need all the milk, eggs, and juice but I'm going to restart. We should be getting the new food packages starting in October. They look terrific. We didn't qualify for farmers market vouchers this summer because my FD is only two and my son turned five.

Our office is nice, the staff usually pleasant, and we get in and out in under an hour (easily.) It's definitely worth it.
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#25 of 85 Old 08-30-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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Yeah I never have had any of the long wait times I've seen on here.

I'm excited about the new food packages, for a breastfeeding mom they are great. Plus when the baby gets to be 6 months you get like 60 jars of baby food a month, that's a lot. I can't wait to get WW bread or tortillas and veggies, it will help us. Plus tofu and soy milk, that's great. I'll get my OG milk myself, I just can't do conventional now-it tastes so weird.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#26 of 85 Old 08-30-2009, 10:40 PM
 
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According to my WIC office, they ask for the immunization cards as a form of ID for your children. If you don't have it (even if it's blank, DD2's card from the Vital records office is blank) then you can use the birth certificate, which is what I need to bring in for DD1, since I haven't a clue where her vax card is.

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#27 of 85 Old 08-31-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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They asked "and did you bring the immunization records?" I said "Oh, no. I forgot." and they said "Oh, that's okay. Don't worry about it." And I haven't heard a word since.
That's what we do too.

Quote:
Plus when the baby gets to be 6 months you get like 60 jars of baby food a month, that's a lot. I can't wait to get WW bread or tortillas and veggies, it will help us. Plus tofu and soy milk, that's great.
Here, you don't get any of the stuff you listed. Just cow's milk, cheese, eggs, cereal, juice and peanut butter (or beans).

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#28 of 85 Old 08-31-2009, 09:55 AM
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What is this "new wic" everyone is talking about?

This is what we get each month (one child):

1 jar of peanut butter
28 oz of cereal
4 gallons of milk
2 juice (can't remember the oz)
2 dozen eggs
16 oz of cheese

I would LOVE to be able to get produce with WIC (or organic foods).
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#29 of 85 Old 08-31-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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IT's coming in October at the latest.
http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/benefits...allowances.HTM

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#30 of 85 Old 08-31-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madders View Post
What is this "new wic" everyone is talking about?

This is what we get each month (one child):

1 jar of peanut butter
28 oz of cereal
4 gallons of milk
2 juice (can't remember the oz)
2 dozen eggs
16 oz of cheese

I would LOVE to be able to get produce with WIC (or organic foods).
Here these items were added at the beginning of the year:
fruits and veggies (fresh/frozen/canned)
WW bread or rice
canned beans vs dried beans
baby cereal and food (60 something jars of fruits and veggies 30 meats and 3 boxes of cereal)

S-d D which made them three. M grew lonely, and now there's baby D.
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