Friday, March 7, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
|Me, circa 1979|
I've been wanting to make a list of goals or things to accomplish by the time I am 40, since I just had a birthday. But I thought for today, I'd switch it around and think positive and look back at what I am proud of, not just think of more to do.
I do still have some goals--like roller skating 40 times before I'm 40, but I'll save that list for later. I am proud of:
- having four children and surviving their babyhood's
- all the remodeling work we have done on our houses
- that I've been able to invest time in raising our kids
- that many of my health problems of the last couple of years have started getting resolved
- that I had the courage to leave my "normal" life behind for Casey to go to law school and pursue his dream (I'll admit I cried a lot when we planned it)
- teaching my kids to read
- the passion with which I have been able to pursue and study my faith
- the peace I feel stronger as I age
- waking back up to having goals and dreams this year
- the joy that music of so many kinds has brought me
- the giving I've been able to do
- the love of my parents, I'm so grateful for it, even though I didn't create it :)
- that I've smiled and found joy in a variety of circumstances
- I have very fond memories of all the laughs I've shared over the years with my siblings, and roommates, and especially my husband
- the plethora of mornings I coaxed kids out of bed, got myself in gear and got everyone where they needed to be on time
- it's not shiny or fancy but just the basic every day needs met like that for my family I am deeply proud of looking back
- I'm grateful for the consistence of love from those things
- glad we got a camper last year, grateful for the memories the kids already have from it
- sewing skills, not as much for the small amount of money they've made but mostly for the homey quilts the kids enjoy when they are sick
- spiritual changes that have allowed my heart to be more open to giving and receiving love from more people
- 15 years of marriage
- working hard with my best friend (see number 21)
- hanging on to my sanity when things were rough and it felt impossible
- making the best of sad things like when we lost the house we were building, and enjoying the adventure of this fixer
- retaining information that I enjoy contemplating and discussing from books I read
- picking a home with a new library nearby to enjoy
- getting the kids involved in summer reading programs
- adjusting to girl #1's celiac diagnosis and implementing her gluten free diet
- serving as a RS president and the spiritual and humbling growth it gave me
- arguing with my husband as we grew to see each other's perspective and I learned to be a more sincerely loving person from him
- getting involved in dance and roller skating at the urging of caring friends
- forcing myself to self-nurture and build the joy I have to share
- discovering again the treasure that is all the books, podcasts, and other learning material out there to devour and enjoy
- making the best of a life in a place we knew no one and turning it into our home
- forgoing substances that many enjoy but have prevented wasted money and time and addiction. I think that has been a real boost for our family.
- I'm proud that I made it to 36! And I kept it positive and non self-derogatory :). And I can't wait for the future!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I gathered my favorite tutorials on making regular jeans into skinny jeans. Since I'm a passionate thrifter, I can't stand to see an almost great piece of clothing go to waste. I altered my jeans last week, but didn't take a lot of great pictures. I thought to be helpful I'd gather up the best posts I could find to share here. Let me know if you try this!
|Love Charles Vintage|
P.S. I picked these blog tutorials based on their clear and simple directions, lots of close up pictures and a simple lay out.
Monday, March 3, 2014
|The day we toured our future home. When the bank foreclosed they turned off all the plumbing and duct taped over everything. Most of the light fixtures were ripped out and built in appliances missing. |
Looking at foreclosures takes a lot of vision!
There are a number of bank and finance expert articles on the web concerning the how's of buying a foreclosure or pre-foreclosure home. So I will try not to duplicate that technical information here. However, since we purchased this place, and some of the others we've fixed and resold I've noticed that a lot of people seem curious but also frightened by that process. I wanted to share some of the tips I would share with a friend who is interested.
- You are right to be curious. So much money can be saved if you are willing to go through the hassles of home remodeling and willing to do the research to get better prices than new construction. It may not affect your monthly payment tremendously but it can give you a much higher amount of equity when it comes time to sell. It's a long range view.
- One common myth is that property tax will be higher in a nice neighborhood so even though the price may be reduced on a foreclosure/bank owned property the property tax will be higher than a new neighborhood. Many people don't realize their property tax can be protested and changed. We did that and they reduced it significantly, virtually erasing any net gain we would have had building a new house. Talk to your county tax assessor's office for instructions on protesting your property taxes.
- One thing that made our transaction successful (and even possible) was the real estate agent we were using. Since my husband is an attorney and former real estate agent himself he could have eventually handled this transaction himself but we were SO grateful to have the services of an expert who has been working with banks on these properties for 30 years. He knew exactly the right timing and negotiation tactics to get our family this home. If any of this had been done differently it would have been swooped up by cash investors the next day. He was a gem and the ONLY reason we got this house. We are very indebted.
- It takes research. Not everyone is handy enough to do their own plumbing or electrical or flooring. I get that. We hired out our carpeting, but Casey has done most of the rest. There are certain things you may love and other things you'd never touch. You don't have to do all the work to make it a good deal to buy a fixer. But what you DO have to be willing to do is the research on what things cost. Before you make an offer it is a good idea to have priced the materials and labor on all of the "must do" projects to decide if the property is a good deal for you.
- While doing this research take into consideration the types of materials you want versus what you'd get building a new home. We got a better deal than a new home, as you'd expect from an older one, but what makes it an exceptional deal is when you can get much nicer materials (ie. tile instead of vinyl, thick soft carpet vs. the cheapest kind, stone counters, tall cabinets, etc.) than you would in building. If you have never built a new home you might be surprised at how cheap the base level materials are and how much the price adds on as you upgrade to decent stuff. You may find that you'll want to upgrade either way, so it pays to just do it in a bigger, older house you can get for less.