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#1 of 35 Old 07-31-2008, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey everyone!

In May, my SO and I will be faced with the choice: Where do we move? We're currently living in Tennessee, and I don't like this tiny little town where we live.

Upon talking to him, he's suggested we move to the Minn/St Paul area. I have never been but he lived there about 10 years ago for a little over a year.

I am originally from South Florida, but have handled the cold here in Tennessee quite well. When we move, we'll have a 9-10 month old baby. We're both chefs and would be looking for work in the restaurant industry.

So can anyone tell me about the area? What are nursery/schools like? What's it like to rent? Areas to look for/Avoid? General greatness about the area? Stuff/Great markets/Stores you love?

Thanks in Advance!!!
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#2 of 35 Old 07-31-2008, 01:42 AM
 
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The Highland, Mac Groveland, Merriam Park areas of St. Paul are very good. It's a very nice area, really expensive if your buying, but you can find reasonable places to rent.
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#3 of 35 Old 07-31-2008, 03:31 PM
 
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It is MUCH colder here than TN. Much, much colder. That and the Lymes disease are the only bad parts about living here.
You should be good for jobs. There are lots of nice restaurants here, I'm amazed how often I see TwinCities restaurants on FoodNetwork.
I've heard the schools are good, but I will be homeschooling so I didn't research them too much.
There are several active groups in the area, API, TCBabywearing, Meetup groups, LLL, etc. The parks and museums are really nice.
The local/sustainable/organic food movement here is huge. Great farmers markets. Several food co-ops (retail stores, not just buying clubs).
Craiglist pretty much has the run on classifieds for the area. It's THE place to find jobs and rentals.
If you look on the city websites, you can get maps of the neighborhoods, which actually have names and boundaries and everything, I guess like "wards" are down south. Where I come from, a neighborhood is nothing so official, LOL! That will help your search for rentals. You can also check out crime stats/gunshot reports. The only area I would totally avoid is North Minneapolis, the area west of 94. That seems to be where the main concentration of crime is. I really like the Windom Park neighborhood in NE Minneapolis. The parking isn't so crazy, it is hilly and more wooded. And a great location for getting anywhere (once the bridge is done). I know lots of AP types like the Powderhorn and Longfellow areas.
Good luck!

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#4 of 35 Old 07-31-2008, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by emgremore View Post
It is MUCH colder here than TN. Much, much colder. That and the Lymes disease are the only bad parts about living here.
You should be good for jobs. There are lots of nice restaurants here, I'm amazed how often I see TwinCities restaurants on FoodNetwork.
I've heard the schools are good, but I will be homeschooling so I didn't research them too much.
There are several active groups in the area, API, TCBabywearing, Meetup groups, LLL, etc. The parks and museums are really nice.
The local/sustainable/organic food movement here is huge. Great farmers markets. Several food co-ops (retail stores, not just buying clubs).
Craiglist pretty much has the run on classifieds for the area. It's THE place to find jobs and rentals.
If you look on the city websites, you can get maps of the neighborhoods, which actually have names and boundaries and everything, I guess like "wards" are down south. Where I come from, a neighborhood is nothing so official, LOL! That will help your search for rentals. You can also check out crime stats/gunshot reports. The only area I would totally avoid is North Minneapolis, the area west of 94. That seems to be where the main concentration of crime is. I really like the Windom Park neighborhood in NE Minneapolis. The parking isn't so crazy, it is hilly and more wooded. And a great location for getting anywhere (once the bridge is done). I know lots of AP types like the Powderhorn and Longfellow areas.
Good luck!
Wow, thanks for all of this information! That is exactly what I am looking for. It makes me happy to hear there is such an active market/co-op scene!

Thanks for the tip about craigslist as well. I have been checking them out, and there seems to be quite the abundance of work.
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#5 of 35 Old 07-31-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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It *is* pretty cold up here! A good friend of ours from Tennessee had a job for a year nearby (Northfield, about 45 min. south) and she was fairly miserable! Fortunately, she found a job back in TN! Granted this winter was pretty freakin' cold! But there's a lot to do if you get into it-- cross-country skiing, hockey...you go with it.

We live in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood of St Paul and we LOVE it! There are lots of old houses (ours was built in 1889), lots of racial diversity, two things that are important to us. House prices are very reasonable here. Lots of families, kids playing together throughout the neighborhood. The crime rate is probably a bit higher here than in other neighborhoods, but I've always felt perfectly safe. The East Side in general has a bit of a bad reputation but it's not entirely warranted, in my opinion. In St Paul people also like the Mac-Groveland (buying a house is pricier there, yes) and I like Highland Park too. Both have lots of families. My best friend lives in the Field neighborhood in Mpls and it seems very nice (the best ice cream place in town- we think- is located there too). There's lots of information on-line about neighborhoods, depending on what you are looking for.

As far as I am concerned, & speaking as a consumer, the food/restaurant scene here is pretty great. My husband and I are kind of food-ie types and like a range of restaurants from dives to more high-end places for special occasions, and everything in between. Great locally-made ice cream in both St Paul & Minneapolis (we like ice cream, can you tell???). There are a number of really wonderful restaurants that feature local, organic produce and meats.

The farmer's markets are indeed great-- the St Paul Farmers Market has been around forever, all farmers/vendors have to be local (no re-selling of produce from California and stuff like that, I've heard that is allowed at the Minneapolis farmer's market but haven't been there myself to verify, there's no reason for us to go there, really!). The St Paul Farmer's Market roves around the city throughout the week, we only ever manage to go to the big one on Sat/Sun (in downtown) but I know people who go to the satellite locations fairly frequently. Mill City Market (in Minneapolis but different from the regular farmer's market) is *relatively* new but features all organic, local. We belong to one of the many co-ops, Mississippi Market, which has two locations in St Paul. We love it! There are a lot of CSAs in the area to choose from as well. Quite easy here to eat locally, at least in the summer, which is important to us.

I don't know much about the schools as our baby is yet to be born but I do know that the St Paul school system is open enrollment. There seem to be a number of different options - from traditional ones to Montessori to magnets of various kinds.

Good luck with your decision!

Daniela ~ Mami to Thalia Adelita (born 10/05/08)
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#6 of 35 Old 08-01-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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If you're looking for an area that's literally 10 minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, consider looking in the suburb of Roseville. It's very quiet, has several conveniently located grocery stores, a nice big mall, and a fantastic library.

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#7 of 35 Old 08-03-2008, 09:03 AM
 
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I have to say Longfellow area of Minneapolis!!1 Ton's of kids, families, playgroups, huge ap group, natural, progressive political mamas! Longfellow is beautiful, the houses and gardens are wonderful. Though I have to say if you plan on having a large family you might be in trouble as most of the houses are tradiotional bungalows, meaning small! Our house is 950sf with two kids an my husband and myself. Very tight!

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#8 of 35 Old 08-03-2008, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the really great information mammas!

I've been scoping out Craigslist, and things look pretty good. Rentals seem a bit expensive, but there's plenty of affordable ones. Hopefully in May, we'll be set to move, and it looks like Minn/St Paul is a really great choice!

Thanks again everyone!
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#9 of 35 Old 08-04-2008, 11:22 AM
 
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no re-selling of produce from California and stuff like that, I've heard that is allowed at the Minneapolis farmer's
The Minneapolis Farmer's Market off 94 and Lyndale and the one on Nicollet Mall DO ALLOW re-selling of produce.
The Mill City Museum Farmer's Market DOES NOT allow re-selling nor does the Midtown Farmer's Market...both focus on local, sustainably grown produce and products.

What "type" of people are you and your DH (as the city has some distinct genres of populations in specific areas and you might find one neighborhood a better fit than others)? Are you hipsters, bike commuters, planning on AP/NFL/LLL?

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#10 of 35 Old 08-04-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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I love living in MN

Good luck on your move.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#11 of 35 Old 08-04-2008, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What "type" of people are you and your DH (as the city has some distinct genres of populations in specific areas and you might find one neighborhood a better fit than others)? Are you hipsters, bike commuters, planning on AP/NFL/LLL?
Well, my SO is Irish, and very Irish Catholic. I'm not religious, but I don't mind that he is, and its never really been an issue. He is very into his Irish heritage. I would say we lean more to the liberal side of things (we're both tattooed and pierced), but all in all, we're pretty normal people. And since we're both chef's, we are HUGE foodies. Being closer to great markets/restaurants is more important then being close to the nearest mall

I would call myself 'semi-crunchy', just because I really hate doctors! I am planning on BF'ing, but unfortunatly CD'ing was not an option for us right now. I really wish I knew more about all of this stuff before getting pregnant and all (this was an unplanned pregnancy), but I know with my second (if I have another), things will be very different.
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#12 of 35 Old 08-04-2008, 07:00 PM
 
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unfortunatly CD'ing was not an option for us right now.
Just an FYI, you can practice Elimination Communication either full time or part time while using disposable dipes. We have monthly meetings in the TC area if you are interested. I have more EC info on my website linked in my siggy So if you are concerned about environment/saving $$/more baby communication, EC is the way to go.

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#13 of 35 Old 08-04-2008, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just an FYI, you can practice Elimination Communication either full time or part time while using disposable dipes. We have monthly meetings in the TC area if you are interested. I have more EC info on my website linked in my siggy So if you are concerned about environment/saving $$/more baby communication, EC is the way to go.
Wow, I have never heard of EC before! Well, I think maybe I have heard a few stories here and there about it, but that's really a pretty cool idea.

Thanks for the tip, and I will for sure research it some more
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#14 of 35 Old 08-06-2008, 12:43 AM
 
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we are HUGE foodies. Being closer to great markets/restaurants is more important then being close to the nearest mall
Then I say stay within the metro TC areas of St. Paul or Minneapolis. Both have excellent restaurants and a lot of variety and a lot of character.

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#15 of 35 Old 08-09-2008, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is the public transport situation like around the twin cities?
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#16 of 35 Old 08-09-2008, 11:32 PM
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What is the public transport situation like around the twin cities?
Generally speaking, within the two cities it's good. The 'burbs can have rather limited service or none depending on where you live. From downtown to the Mall of America/ Airport runs the new lightrail. Quite the hit! IIRC, funding was pulled by the governor for the proposed lightrail that would connect the two downtowns running along University Ave BUT was restored through some legislation wrangling.

If there was a burb you were looking at, Roseville is quite nice and situated nicely between the two cities. It has lots of parks and paths. It is also a big enough city to offer a number of housing options for many different budgets and taste. My kids are older so I am not sure about daycares in the area.

If I had to choose between St. Paul and Minneapolis, hands down I would pick St. Paul (sorry Minneapolis!). Daytons Bluff, Como and Highland are supper cool neighborhoods but costly unless you get lucky. I agree the eastside gets a worse rap than it deserves. Along Whitebear Ave there are some nice quiet areas where renting and owning is not as expensive as the previously mentioned neighborhoods.

As for Minneapolis, you can pull up the crime map here and come to your own conclusions: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/poli...stics/codefor/ . I have not been able to find a map like that one for St. Paul. Minneapolis has great places to live. Some you have to be more careful in though. If you are brave, some of those bad areas are due for gentrification and buying in them now at a low price could pay off... if you are brave and lucky! As mentioned all already, Longfellow is pretty good. Northeast Minneapolis is often overlooked but has some good spots too.
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#17 of 35 Old 08-11-2008, 12:08 PM
 
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Generally speaking, within the two cities it's good. The 'burbs can have rather limited service or none depending on where you live. From downtown to the Mall of America/ Airport runs the new lightrail. Quite the hit! IIRC, funding was pulled by the governor for the proposed lightrail that would connect the two downtowns running along University Ave BUT was restored through some legislation wrangling.

If there was a burb you were looking at, Roseville is quite nice and situated nicely between the two cities. It has lots of parks and paths. It is also a big enough city to offer a number of housing options for many different budgets and taste. My kids are older so I am not sure about daycares in the area.

If I had to choose between St. Paul and Minneapolis, hands down I would pick St. Paul (sorry Minneapolis!). Daytons Bluff, Como and Highland are supper cool neighborhoods but costly unless you get lucky. I agree the eastside gets a worse rap than it deserves. Along Whitebear Ave there are some nice quiet areas where renting and owning is not as expensive as the previously mentioned neighborhoods.

As for Minneapolis, you can pull up the crime map here and come to your own conclusions: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/poli...stics/codefor/ . I have not been able to find a map like that one for St. Paul. Minneapolis has great places to live. Some you have to be more careful in though. If you are brave, some of those bad areas are due for gentrification and buying in them now at a low price could pay off... if you are brave and lucky! As mentioned all already, Longfellow is pretty good. Northeast Minneapolis is often overlooked but has some good spots too.
Hey hey now, Minneapolis is nice and the public transit system is much better in MPLS than St. Paul. (although St. Paul will be getting light rail soon to connect the two downtowns)

FYI: Como and Highland Park and MacGroveland (St. Paul) neighborhoods have property taxes 30% higher than most comparable MPLS neighborhoods. (DH and I bought our house last year and we looked in all of these neighborhoods) Longfellow is directly across the river from Highland Park and MacGroveland and you can get about 500 square feet more for the same style/era home here.

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#18 of 35 Old 08-11-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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You may want to come up for a visit in January or Feb to get an idea of what it will be like. :

Check out http://www.citypages.com for more info about the Twin Cities. They might have want ads for employment as well!
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#19 of 35 Old 08-12-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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Hey hey now, Minneapolis is nice and the public transit system is much better in MPLS than St. Paul. (although St. Paul will be getting light rail soon to connect the two downtowns)
TOTALLY agree. bus from st. paul is not so great. i love st. paul and would love to live in highland, but minneapolis is way more transit friendly and easier to drive around even, IMO.
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#20 of 35 Old 08-21-2008, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey all! Thanks again for the great information!

I would have asked some more sooner, but I got distracted with having a baby

What's the music scene like in Minn/St. Paul? I enjoy a lot of big groups, but I am really all for supporting the local guys.

Also, how tough is it to go see Independent type films? I got spoiled living in Miami with the Independent Film Fest being there every year. I really love independent films!

Thanks again guys!
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#21 of 35 Old 08-21-2008, 12:45 PM
 
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What's the music scene like in Minn/St. Paul? I enjoy a lot of big groups, but I am really all for supporting the local guys.

Also, how tough is it to go see Independent type films? I got spoiled living in Miami with the Independent Film Fest being there every year. I really love independent films!

Thanks again guys!
Congrats on the baby!

I have friends who play music locally. I'm not big into music, but I think there are always local bands playing at coffee shops or bars or whatever.

There are a few theaters in Minneapolis that show indie films.
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#22 of 35 Old 08-21-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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We have the Uptown and the Lagoon Theaters in Minneapolis which are probably the best known indie film houses; there is also the... erm... name escaping me... Parkway! Parkway theater which shows some indie films and also mainstream ones, as well as Oak St Cinema on the U of MN campus and the U of MN Film Society. There is also the Twin Cities International Film Festival every year which shows hundreds of films from around the world.

We live about 3 miles south of downtown and have excellent bus service and very good access to light rail. There are places to eat nearby that serve local and organic food, nifty shops and excellent ice cream. We have a fantastic block and look out for each other. It is not perfect (we have had cars stolen), but it's the neighborhood we can afford, it's diverse and there are lots of kids, and parents who all watch each others' kids.

Music scene is very vibrant, I would say; not hard to find a free concert on any given night (especially a weekend).

A PP suggested City Pages - that is probably undoubtedly the best place to find information about concerts and shows - there's also the Star Tribune (local newspaper) and thecurrent.org (hip arm of Minnesota Public Radio).

: mama to T 9/04 and E 11/08
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#23 of 35 Old 08-23-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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Those that know will tell you that the local music scene is very good here. I'm not really one of those in the know, but the ex-boyfriend of my best friend owns a record store and he is very involved in local music scene- and he constantly goes to local shows, there are lots of local, small recording outfits, etc etc etc. We tend to go to some 'bigger', nationally touring groups...for example, we've been to see Nicklecreek, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, The Wailin Jennys, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Leo Kottke (who is actually from Mpls), Huun Huur Tu (Tuvan throat singers), Issa (formerly known as Jane Siberry)...but we also saw Bruce Springsteen at the Excel Center (where they play pro hockey here in St Paul), so that was a HUGE show!

Several of the smaller above shows have been at the Cedar Cultural Center (http://www.thecedar.org/), which specializes in world music, folk and traditional music, etc. It's a great place & family-friendly, kinda hippy-ish in a good way. KFAI is a wonderful community radio station - worth checking out/listening on-line (http://www.kfai.org/). Their schedule includes an extraordinarily eclectic collection of programs, from jazz to soul to latino music to reggae to folk to blues to hip hop to..., and a number of news programs, local & national/international (incld. Democracy Now), to programs geared towards specific communities around the Twin Cities (Somali, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Hmong, LBGT, Disabled,...). Heh. They don't call it "Radio without boundaries" for nothing!!!!

I saw your birth announcement on another thread and if I didn't say it there, I meant to (honestly I get a bit lost when on motheringdotcommune, there are so many threads! but I think Sept 2008 DDC, since I'm there too).... but CONGRATULATIONS on Fiona's birth!!! ::::

Daniela ~ Mami to Thalia Adelita (born 10/05/08)
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#24 of 35 Old 08-24-2008, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys for all the congrats and info on the city!! Looks like we're actually going to be moving sooner then planned.... Right around thanksgiving! I'm sure it will be burrr burrr cold!!! But that's ok. We'll just have to stock up on little warm baby clothes!

I've been scoping out apartments on craigslist, and I'm starting to get pretty excited about the move! I can't wait to be in a normal city again! Horray!
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#25 of 35 Old 08-24-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Congrats on Fiona's birth, and welcome to the world, little one!

Here's wishing you a smooth move and lots of fun and friendship when you arrive here. I'm betting you'll love it. I'm a native who moved away (south) for 10 years, then came back to stay. Though it's cold here in the winter, there's so much to love that (I think) it's worth the effort.

Welcome.

Christine , wife of Ron , mama to Tony (4-25-03) and Maria (3-19-06) :
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#26 of 35 Old 08-25-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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Congrats on the birth! I hope it was beautiful and on the upcoming move! There's a ton of great places to live...Craigslist has some really great listings, but I HIGHLY recommend visiting and seeing them in person before signing anything or sending money! Some of the bigger apartment complexes have "model" apartments that they photograph and then show you when you visit and they're nothing like the actual units in the complex...just FYI!

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#27 of 35 Old 08-25-2008, 11:40 AM
 
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Congrats, mama! My middle name is Josephine
We moved right after Christmas last year and it was :
Let me know if you need help with rentals! I'll do what I can.

Emily, cooking allergen free, knitting, reading, gardening Mom to 1 beautiful girl, born in the water on July 1, 2006 Wife to 1 handsome man since September 10, 2005
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#28 of 35 Old 08-25-2008, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are all so awesome and helpful!

Does anyone wanna be my friend? I think it would be cool to establish some friendships before heading up that way.
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#29 of 35 Old 08-26-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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wanted to chime in that in my experience, the stuff on craiglist (especially the cute places and the good deals) go SUPER fast. and when you're apartment searching from out of state like we were, there was no way we could jump on anything fast enough. i found our apartment the old fashioned way, by looking in the newspaper classified. the listing wasn't even in the online classifieds, just in the paper itself.
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#30 of 35 Old 08-26-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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You're a chef, right? I'll totally be your friend. :



Seriously, though...I'll gladly be your friend. One can never have too many, and I know only too well how hard it can be to start over in a new state.

Christine , wife of Ron , mama to Tony (4-25-03) and Maria (3-19-06) :
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