Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New House Updates

Well, I have LOTS and LOTS of updates for you all! Where to start? Hmm, maybe with my mom. She is living in her new place full-time and is loving it there. We still have a gazillion projects to do over there yet, but that will come this fall.

Our new place? Well, after a lot of meetings with loan officers and my inlaws and the sellers and such, an earnest deposit has finally been paid on it. I was originally hoping to have a closing date of mid-June, but at this point, it is mid-July. That doesn't leave us much time to get everything done at the current house and cleaned and repaired and such, but it will work - because it has to.

We took my mother-in-law and two of our closest friends to see the new place a few days ago. That was when the deposit was paid as well. I am so excited! And, some of the rooms are bigger than what I had remembered them being (such as the dining room) and there is a built-in storage cabinet that I hadn't noticed last time in the bathroom. And we found out that one of the garden sheds will be staying there after all. There were two of them and they were going to leave one and take the other one apart and move it with them, but have decided it would be more work than what it is worth and so will most likely be leaving it. So yay! I will definitely not turn down additional storage room when we are in the mode of downsizing!

And now, today, I am working on cleaning and packing our living room. I am being very ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things. I don't want to move a bunch of stuff with us. Plus, our financial situation will be much better once we move (to the point of having a few hundred dollars left over every month as opposed to not even being able to make ends meet where we currently live) and we will be able to afford to replace a few items here and there as time goes on. Not to mention the fact that we have enough of well, everything, to set up at least two full, separate households. It's ridiculous. The thrift stores around here are going to LOVE me by the time we are moved to our new place. Either that or they will HATE me, but I think I'll go with the love option instead. I like that one better.

Today's tackle is to get through the living room. So far, I have done one entire wall in here. I have sorted all the stuff that is on our front wall, cleaned off and cleaned out the chairs, flipped them over, cleaned out under them, cleared off my end table, put away paperwork that needed to be filed into the file box I keep under the table. I have a bag of toys that need to go up to the kids' rooms, I have a box of books that I need to sort through. I have a pile of clothes ready for consignment and I have a bag of dirty laundry (Really? In the living room? No idea.) and I have a bag of trash. Oh and a pile of dishes to go into the kitchen. And yep, I'm only 1/3 of the way done with the main part of the living room. It shouldn't take too long though.

The list for the rest of this room:
Fold clothing in totes next to my chair
Put clothing away or pack it
Clear off cedar chest
Pack items on cedar chest
Clear off entertainment center
Pack items on entertainment center
Sort through books on bookshelf
Pack books from bookshelf
Clear off couch
Flip couch over and clean under couch
Clear off Hubby's endtable
Pack items from endtables
Clear off Hubby's desk
Pack items from Hubby's desk
Clear out front closet
Pack items from front closet
Sort through shoes and outerwear
Make pile for consignment store
Carpet clean
Take out trash

That will be my tackle for today. I had planned on doing it yesterday, but other things came up yesterday. I plan to enlist the help from my children and Hubby as well. If we just plug away at it, I think we could have the entire room sorted, packed and cleaned in a matter of just a few hours. Yeah!!!!

(Then on to the basement to deal with the laundry monster. UGH!)

This post is linked up to the following blogs:

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Hey there everyone! It has been long-awaited, but now it is here! It is giveaway time! But before I tell you about the product that I am giving away, I am going to tell you about the product.

Look at this fit! I love this shot! Taken with Hubby's cell phone b/c my camera is MIA AGAIN!
I had contacted Izzy of Bum-Ware Cloth Diapers about doing a review and giveaway. She sent over two diapers. One for my little Boo and one for one of YOU! We have been using cloth part-time with our kiddos for the last 6 1/2 years. First for JoNo, then Punky and currently for Boo. I say part-time because it depends on who is doing the changing. If Hubby or Mother-in-Law or my mom are the changers, the child almost definitely will go into a sposie, If I'm the one changing, I'm more apt to put the child in cloth because I love cloth!

So, anyhow, we have had this diaper for Boo and have used it quite a bit over the last month and a half. The diaper itself is wonderfully sewn. The stitching and elastic has held up well. The materials that Izzy uses are quality. The diapers are made with hidden elastic around the legs, which works so well for my little guy. If it is serged, then he will sometimes get marks from it rubbing against him, but not with the hidden elastic.

The inner is made of suedecloth, which is one of my favorite materials to use with my kiddos. It really helps to keep their little tush dry. And a dry tush is a non-rashy tush. The outer is made of strong, waterproof PUL, while the inner (hidden) soaker is super-absorbent microfiber. This is even absorbent enough for Boo, who is potty-learning right now and holds his urine until he is ready to just let go.

Sorry for the blur. The boy was jumping up and down to show off his diaper.
It has hook and loop tabs for the closure with laundry tabs sewn in as well. I love this! Not all of our diapers have laundry tabs. If you have ever washed a bunch of a diapers without laundry tabs, you will definitely know the benefit of having these tabs. For one thing, they prevent the diaper chain (one diaper attached to another, to another, to another, so on and so forth). Two, it protects your fabrics as well. That way, the rough part of hook and loop (not sure if that is the hook or the loop) but hopefully you understand what I mean - doesn't tear into the fabric and make it all messy looking either. It also helps to keep the hook and loop free from those little fibers that can get in there and interfere with closing the diaper.

Some additional features that are also available (but which I didn't request) are the ability to add on a doubler for more absorbency. These doublers can be fleece-topped flannel or hemp. And she is also able to do embroidery on the diaper back for extra added cuteness! She has quite a large selection of embroidery options as well.

In all, I grade diapers on the following criteria - fit, craftsmanship, absorbency, cuteness, customer service. Okay, the customer service aspect isn't a direct diaper grade, but in my opinion, the customer service has to be there for me to be a repeat customer. And Izzy is the BEST! I give this diaper a full 5 stars! You did great, Izzy!

And now, one of you lucky readers gets to win one for your little one! The diaper for the giveaway is a BWX AIO. A Bum-Ware eXtreme All-In-One. It is a size Medium (recommended for 10-23 pounds) with Forest Green PUL outer and white microsuede inner. It also includes the fold-back laundry tabs for the hook and loop closure.

To enter to win, you have some options:

Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect (1 entry) - MUST do this first
Visit Bum-Ware and look around. Leave a comment here with what you would choose if you could pick anything from the site (1 entry)
Like Bum-Ware on Facebook (1 entry)
Like this blog on Facebook (1 entry)
Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back (1 entry)

Additional entries that can be done daily:
Vote for this blog on Top Mommy Blogs (1 per day) (You can click on the button on the right)
Vote for this blog on Picket Fence Blogs (1 per day) (You can click on the button on the right)
Tweet about this giveaway (1 per day)
Mention this giveaway on your facebook page with a link here (1 per day)

This giveaway will remain open from today, Sunday June 5th until Sunday June 19th at 11:59pm Central Time. Lots of time for mulitple entries! And it is very easy to do!

I will ask that you please leave a new comment for each entry and include the link to the post or to your facebook page to make it easier to verify. But be sure to leave a new comment for each qualifying entry.

I wish that each one of you who enters would be able to win one of these diapers, but I only have one to give away. For the rest of you, I highly encourage you to place an order with Izzy today!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Houses and Other Updates

If you missed the first two posts that lead up to this post, you can go back and read them here and here. Go ahead. I'll wait. They will even lead you from part one to part two and then back here to part three.

Okay, caught up now? Great! Here we go.

Well, we met with two different loan officers from two different banks on Tuesday about the house that we want to buy for us. The first told us she would get back to us later in the day. The other told us we could expect to hear from them within 24-48 hours. On Tuesday, we had errands galore to run and my mom was babysitting the kids so we left Hubby's phone home with her in case she had an emergency or something. My phone is still dead and gone at this point. So we were just checking in with her from time to time to see how things were going.

Apparently, the first loan officer called on Tuesday and my mom either didn't answer the call or didn't tell us about it or something because we would have definitely returned that call! By the time we got home that night, it was late (like 8:00) and I was exhausted. I begged Hubby to take the kids with him to drop my mom off at her house (she doesn't drive) and he obliged. I think I was asleep before they even left the house. Hubby and kids returned and my Father-in-Law knocked on our door at around 9:00. He woke me up, but I didn't get up. He said that the loan officer had called him when they couldn't get ahold of us and that they wanted us to call them back ASAP. Well, Father-in-Law, I'm pretty sure that they will not be in their offices at 9:00 at night when you pass on this message to us. Oh and he also mentioned that my mom had taken Hubby's phone home with her by mistake. He had tried to call us to tell us about this and he got my mom instead. So Hubby had to leave to go pick up his phone. Thankfully, he waited until the kids were all asleep so that I didn't have to get up.

As it turns out, since I am self-employed, they need copies of my last two years' tax returns to make a decision on my loan. I had them put up, I knew exactly where they were but when Hubby went to get them, he said that he couldn't find them. So I guess we have to request them from the company that prepares them instead. Whatever, it works for us. Today, I get to go pick those up and drop them off with the loan officers.

Hubby had a chance yesterday to go look at the place for my mom and he pretty much agreed with me word for word. A lot of work but worth it. I emailed the lady back and we have to take my mom over to apply to live in the community. There are three people (including us) interested in buying it. Whoever gets approved and has the money available first gets it. I have the money, I just need my mom to be approved first! So that's an important item of business to be completed today.

Okay, I had to take a break from this post because I had to take care of some other stuff. And it is now evening and I have more news to share.

This afternoon, my mom and I ran a few errands. The first of which was to take her to apply to live in the community where her home would be.  The manager there asked her if she could afford $250/month for her rent fee, which she assured him that she could.

Then, we went to pick up copies of my last two year's tax information so that I could show my income to the loan officer since I'm self-employed. Then I went to loan officer one and gave her the information she had requested. She asked me a few more questions and said she that she would email her boss with the information and that she would be in touch with me. I don't know anything just yet though.

Then, we went to the second loan officer. He outright said no. That was expected. It was actually what I had anticipated from the first loan officer actually. But she wanted more info, which is definitely not a no. It's more of a maybe.

Okay, so after that, we went to a store so that my mom could look for a present for my little brother, who just graduated this past weekend. We didn't find anything but while we were there, the community manager called and said that mom had been approved, so we went back to my house so I could email the lady about the house.

We get back, I email the lady and relax for a little bit after running around doing those errands. The lady emailed me back with information about where to meet and everything so my mom and I left again and went to the guy's new house. We meet with them (both the contact lady and the guy - the contact lady is kind of like the guy's caregiver more or less) and we get the title signed over and I pay the man and we are ready to go. We hit Sam's Club to pick up some cleaning supplies and then go to Wal*Mart to pick up new locks and  a few other things then head back towards her  place so she can pay the manager the lot rent. When we get there, he says that she needs to pay a deposit as well. I hadn't even considered the possibility of a deposit but it makes sense, in a way. The only problem is that I just spent a chunk on the trailer itself. I hadn't budgeted in a deposit and my mom definitely doesn't have it. So I ask him if he is able to be at all flexible with the deposit. He says no. So I ask him if we pay the deposit now (with the money my mom had intended for her lot rent), if I could pay the lot rent late. He asks me when that would be. I was actually supposed to be paid yesterday but because of some issues at work, it won't be until tomorrow (Friday or maybe Monday) but I know I will get paid on the 15th as well, so I say the 15th. He said that is fine but she can't move in until the lot rent is paid too. *sigh* So as soon as I get paid from work (this check) I will pay the lot rent and she will be able to move in. But by then, the house will be all clean and ready for it too! So, not exactly a bad thing either!

And the fortunate thing is that we actually have a bit extra to be able to do this for her. I had planned for it to be spent elsewhere, but this is a definite step up for her.  And I think it is really worthwhile. I will just have to plan to make those other purchases next month because this month, I'm pretty sure that all my extra cash is depleted. But that's okay. It is worth it.

And hopefully soon, we will find out about the place that we want to buy too! But I figure, buying one home out of two so far isn't too bad! Even if it is the house that needs the most work and it isn't for my own family. But I'm really happy that I was able to help my mom out and that she will once again have her own place to live and be able to work on stability and self-sufficiency again! ♥

That's it for tonight. Will keep you updated as I know more  as well.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Other House

I had mentioned that I have another house to tell you about in my last post. That house you can see here:

This is a different place that I came across recently. It's a fixer-upper. I am contemplating the option of buying it for my mom. It's in my own personal monthly price range. It would allow her to be independent. She is currently living with a person who is a bonafide and true hoarder (believe me, I have been in the house - she could be on the show!) and really needs her own space. This is a trailer that is centrally located in our city and she would be close to shopping and restaurants, would be on a bus line and a bike path, next to an elementary school where my brother (who is 17 but has developmental issues and really has more of the mindset of an 8-10 year old) could go play on the equipment. It's a quiet neighborhood and I think it is just a good fit. Plus, she can afford it and wouldn't have to live with her current roommate.
This place has a lot of updating to do. And by a lot, I do mean A LOT. But they are (mostly) cosmetic issues and things that could be fixed while she is still living there and most of it can be done inexpensively. There is something going on with the pipe under the kitchen sink. I can handle that myself. I have fixed many a kitchen sink and pipes pertaining to it in my time. It also needs a new stove. We aren't really concerned about that issue at this point though, because my mom only uses a stove in the winter as a means to quickly warm herself. The rest of the time, she uses a microwave, an electric skillet, a toaster and a coffee pot. As long as she has those four things, she is happy. Plus, stoves aren't all that expensive. We could buy one for just a few hundred dollars or keep our eyes out for one on craigslist or even when my in-laws upgrade their stove. But essentially, it is a non-issue.

In the living room, I would want to pull down some paneling and put up some new insulation and drywall. Once again, something that I can do (and HAVE done before) and can do for low cost materials. The carpet will (eventually) need to be replaced as well as the windows and exterior doors/frames. And once again, I can do that work.

The first bedroom is small but needs very little (if anything) done to it. The bathroom has washer/dryer hookups in it so that would be great for my mom. We'd just need to find a set for her...hmm, maybe that set from the couple selling the other house would come in handy after all! The tub needs new trim around the bottom but that's pretty much it for that room. And the back bedroom (the one that would be my mom's) just needs cosmetic work done in there. And maybe new carpeting if we were already working on the carpeting.

The place first and foremost though, needs a good, thorough scrub down. That would be the first order of business. I took my mom by the place yesterday and we both saw it for the first time. It's rough, but could be a real gem. Plus, it could be her's. I'd gladly pay the cost of it and put it in her name and just go from there. There are a few things we want to have checked out first, like the furnace, the hot water heater and the electrical. Just to make sure they are all in good working order and are up to par on current codes. And so that we would know what the cost would be if we needed to make repairs to it (and by we, I mean my mom funds the repairs as it would be her house and I would do the research and hire any specialized people that we would need - I have a few connections that I would put to good use for cheap or free). Gotta love having an electrician in my back pocket!

So that is the second house that I wanted to tell you about. That place is much more likely to happen. Oh, and the really cool/sad thing about it. I have enough furniture in my current house to furnish not only our (possible) new place but also this place COMPLETELY. Absolutely no need to buy ANYTHING for it. My mom would get a matching sofa and chair, a set of end tables and lamps, a TV stand and a desk from us as well as a kitchen table and chairs, a full size bed frame, mattress and box springs, a twin size bedframe, mattress and box springs, a dresser or two, a bookshelf or two and she is set. And we wouldn't miss it. I am actually really hopeful about both places because it would be such a wonderful boost for both my family and for my mom. And I would feel really good knowing that my stuff was going to my mom instead of  to someone that I didn't know and know whether or not they really needed it or if they just wanted it. I know that may sound harsh, but that's just my perspective. So here's hoping!

(EDITED to add: You can read the next part here.)