Back to School Routine Tips

Back to School Routine Tips

In just three short weeks my son starts Kindergarten and our family will be emerged into a new phase in our lives. Since we really haven’t ever had a back to school routine I wasn’t quite sure where to start on preparing our family for the inevitable need for a good routine once school starts.

So I did what I always do and headed to a few of my favorite blogs to find out what their tips and tricks were to a smooth back to school transition. These parents have the experience I lack and have made me feel more confident in creating a routine on our own.

While I still may be practicing to make sure we can get up on time and out the door to get to school at a decent hour, I’ll feel more comfortable doing so! If you need some back to school routine tips definitely check out these great posts!  [Read more…]

The Smart Way to Buy a House

I’m excited and nervous to say that we’re in escrow on a new home. Not only is this an exciting moment in our lives, it’s a scary moment as well. And definitely, a new eye-opening experience that we’ve learned a lot from.

My husband purchased our current home from family so we didn’t have to deal with loans, escrow, sellers, agents, etc. He secured a loan for the agreed purchase price, below market value, and took care of the process through a title company.

Purchasing a house on our own has been completely different and has really opened our eyes to the smart way to buy a house. And we cannot wait to move on to the next stage of our journey.

Selling Your Current Home

If you have to sell your current home in order to afford your next home, it’s always best to try and get the ball rolling there first if you can. When you go to purchase a new home and purchasing is contingent on selling your current home, your offer may not look as inviting as others who don’t need to sell.

Think of this as a domino effect. Some sales require more than one player and the more dominoes you have, the more difficult the sale gets. Assuring that you have a buyer lined up and are (hopefully) in escrow on the sale of your home can make the purchase of a new home a much quicker process.

Securing Financing

Head out to the bank and secure your financing. Find out what you qualify for and what you can actually afford. Consider writing out your budget if you don’t already and consider every monthly and yearly expense your family has. That way you can accurately estimate the mortgage payment you could pay.

While you can move forward with an offer on a house with a pre-approval letter, consider moving forward with your loan by locking in your interest rate and submitting your information to the underwriter at the bank. This will make things run quicker and smoother later on.

We found that by securing our financing we felt more secure in the offer we made on the home we wanted to purchase. And we knew exactly what our limits were and where we felt comfortable negotiating to. We did not want to exceed our budget.

Finding the Perfect Home

Now that you’ve gotten the ball rolling on the sale of your current home and securing financing for your new home, it’s time to start shopping! Now, this process is both fun and emotional. Make sure to find an awesome real estate agent who can help you find all of the possible options for your family.

Write out all of your wants and things that are deal breakers so that your agent can help find places that fit your requirements. I found that by making sure I was specific with requirements we were able to avoid checking out homes that we wouldn’t be interested in saving us a lot of time.

We were pretty flexible with our wants and needs. We knew we wanted 4-5 bedrooms, at least 2 baths, and a good sized yard for the kids. Everything else we kind of figured out as we went along. And in each home we visited we were vocal with our real estate agent about what we liked and didn’t like. And believe me… some of the homes we ran into we definitely couldn’t make work out.

Staying Within Your Budget

I cannot stress this enough. When going through the home buying process the one thing my husband and I never wanted to do was stretch our budget just to accommodate a new mortgage. We still want to be able to live a bit below our means so we don’t feel the stress of bills each month.

While some of the houses we saw just slightly outside of our budget were tempting, we made sure to stick to our guns and made an offer that was comfortable with our budget. Now I’m not saying it won’t be tight for a little bit as we adjust because it probably will be. And we’ll have to cut back on going out to eat as much. But we won’t be eating ramen each night… ok, maybe a few nights… but that’s just because the kids are obsessed.

Have you purchased a home? What are your smart home buying tips?

What They Don’t Tell You After Birth: Light Bladder Leakage

This post featuring light bladder leakage tips is sponsored by Poise. 

When I had my son there were so many different things friends and family tried to tell me. Their  tips, advice, and suggestions. But in all of those tips, advice, and suggestions they never told me about the things that happen… down there… after the baby is here.

 I don’t mean right after giving birth (although that could be a whole other post), I mean a few months later when you aren’t pregnant anymore and are heading out for your first run post-baby and all of a sudden you’re a mile away from home and have a little dribble of pee running down your legs.

No, seriously. This happens people! And it’s not fun!

new running shoes [Read more…]

5 Tips for Creating a Family Table at Meal Time

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla, but opinions are my own.

5 Tips for Creating a Family Table at Meal Time

When my son was a toddler I thought he was the pickiest eater. Then I started to realize that he wasn’t picky, he was just a kid. So I started to focus more on creating a family table at meal time and truly allowing him (and now my daughter) to experience food differently.

With the changes we’ve put in place I not only have kids who eat dinner, even if it’s just one part of dinner, we also now have a place to sit and talk about our day as a family. Mealtime now sometimes leads to playtime afterwards when the conversation doesn’t stop and the kids request either a game or movie night after we eat.

By eating at home, around a table, we’ve come to realize the importance of meal time and creating a family table. [Read more…]

Social Fabric is Like a Lasagna Recipe #LuvSoFab14

lasagna recipe social fabric layers

Sometimes it takes a while to find out where you belong. What you want to do when you grow up, who your friends are, how you better yourself on so many different levels. And I think I’ve finally succeeded on figuring these out with the help of Social Fabric and Collective Bias.

Friends, community, support. These are the words that come to mind when I think of Social Fabric and what the SoFab community has done for me.

Now I have the chance to finally meet the SoFab family I’ve come to love in person at SoFabCon’14 in Arkansas this May.  [Read more…]

Happy 3rd Birthday Molly!

Molly is 3 resized

Photo courtesy of Grin & Share It Photography.

Enjoying a Mom’s Night In with Mrs T’s Pierogies

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central Consulting for Mrs. T’s Pierogies. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Mrs T pierogies with friends

About once a month or so my friends and I make a point to get together and enjoy a little adult company sans kids. And about every other time we choose to have a mom’s night in as opposed to a mom’s night out.

When it’s my turn to host I always want to serve a dish that just about anyone can eat and that’s simple and versatile. So when I was asked to try Mrs T’s pierogies with my friends I was excited to try it out! Surprisingly I had never tried pierogies but am always looking for new foods.

Not only did Mrs. T’s pierogies turn out to be super easy to make but they’re also very tasty. The perfect comfort food for a mom’s night in. And great with a glass of wine. [Read more…]

What Bugs You Out? Learning About Bugs

This post brought to you by The Orkin Ecologist. All opinions are 100% mine.

Insects. Bugs. Creepy, crawly creatures. Some people fear them, but my son loves them.

We know that every creature has its place on the planet — whether they harm people or property, or help the environment thrive. So when my son started to get interested in the bugs around us I had no choice but to suck it up and start learning more about our small, multi legged neighbors.

The only problem is that sometimes I’m just too bugged out to want to help find specimens for him to study. And one arachnid in particular makes me jump. [Read more…]

My Favorite Thing: Thumbs Up Wine Finder App

Thumbs Up Wine Finder App My Favorite Thing

Oh wine! Glorious wine! You are always center stage at any mom’s night in I host and the mamas are always appreciative. Especially when I host the My Favorite Things mom’s night in event I have every few months.

And this month, front and center, was wine. Because my favorite thing this month is the awesome wine app that helps you shop for wine whether you’re at home or in the store! The Thumbs Up Wine Finder app is pretty darn awesome and I was so excited when I chatted with the folks behind the app to find that they wanted to gift a few app codes to my guests as my favorite thing.

An added bonus? They sent us wine to enjoy at the party!  [Read more…]

Women and Finances: The Truth About How We Manage Money

Growing up my mother was always in charge of the money. When it came to paying bills, doling out allowances, and shopping, we always saw our mom take care of it. So when I got married I just assumed that women and finances went hand in hand.

In the beginning of our marriage my husband took care of the bills. Since he was already paying the mortgage, gas & electric, cable etc before we were married it was just easier for him to continue to handle the payments. But just because he was paying the bills doesn’t mean that I wasn’t involved in the decision making behind our finances.

After we had our second child and I started to work from home we decided to adjust how we viewed finances and paying bills.  I took over paying everything and created a financial plan for where our money was going. And after discussions together we came up with our game plan.

[Read more…]

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