Friday, November 17, 2017

We have closed 2 times now...

Updates- We finally closed on September 5th. Way past the contract date.  Basically no one wanted to take the blame for what happened but I am so happy to be done with the Carmel house.  I have a list of people who we will never use again when buying/selling a home.  Yes we have so many happy memories in the house, but we outgrew it almost immediately after moving in.  The neighborhood left a lot to desired and the taxes.

I learned a lot since listing in March about house selling and buying.  The local markets and tax rates/maps.  I would say I am a bit obsessed with looking up tax rolls, maps and percentages.  All so important that people don't think about.  Yes- you are told the taxes, but you have to find out if they are at tax cap, the school taxes and more.  I found very handy sites to look this all up.  Eparcels works for every county in the Hudson Valley (and probably more but I only checked Dutchess, Westchester and Putnam while we were looking.  his helped with property lines, tax history and sale history, way better than zillow.

On November 1st we closed on our new home.  Super excited and Tim has gone full blown contractor for just about everything in the house.  We did get the keys on the 27th, so we had a few days before hand.  He started with garage so then he could get his tools over to this house.  Then we started with basement, which resulted in flooding with the storm we had.  So while that is on a standstill we moved to the kids room, which now have polished hardwood and painted rooms.  They are set!

Thinking of buying?  Check out my tips-

  • Google the address and check pages 5,6,7 of them to get past the listings and see if anything happened at the house.  One house we saw and loved had a pedophile who had lived there.  Pictures of him in the house were used on a TV episode, bad vibes.  Another house had a murder happen in it (this was a rental we had looked at in June).  Crazy right?!
  • Drive around day time and night, check out the neighborhood, road, traffic. 
  • Schools- Join the local Facebook group for town/school and see what parents are saying.  
  • Use people your friends have used not just those recommended by the realtor.  Our inspection guy was a friend recommendation, he was great and we used him twice (the first house needed too much work we walked away).  We used lawyer that came recommended by friends. The lawyer we used to sell, was awful.  If I am paying you I shouldn't have to do your job. Also ask on FB, you will get the good, bad and ugly for sure. 

Get ready to watch the process as we make this house our home.  Who needs HGTV when you have Putnam Handyman and Karen...  just kidding, kinda!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My Little Girl is 6 and heading to 1st grade

A letter on your 6th Birthday.

To Charlotte-

6 Years ago you came into our lives, completing our family of four.  Jack received a sister, you two continue to be the best of friends and the ones who annoy each other the most.  This will continue well past your high school years.   You are a tough girl.  Many say they want to be like you, you are their spirit animal.  You are a boss, and that I hope sticks with you the rest of your life.  You are self directed, get things done but still know when to ask for help.  You look up to others and also help those younger.  You are determined and talented, you practice.  You have already learned practice makes perfect and you are so excited for 1st grade with your friends.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Leader in Me at Home: Creating Our Family Mission Statement

Our our recent family trip to Universal Studios we partook in two workshops with The Leader in Me during the Family Forward.   The Leader in Me is a whole-school based model to empower children.  We did The Leader in Me at Home activities which helped us rethink what we do at home with Jack and Charlotte.   They also suggested Mission Statements for the family.   After the the trip we discussed and formed one together based on our principals with the help of their prompts.  Want to learn about making your own?  Check out Leadership at Home.

Our Family Mission Statement: Make Peace, Protect All, Honor Others, Care for All, Be Your Best, Love Yourself and Respect Everyone.

Win-Win Trunk of the Tree for 7 Habits

Have you asked your family what is their purpose?  It is not a typical question, first there were a bunch of funny answers, but those funny answers were the real answer for our purpose.  We honestly hadn't thought of our purpose or a mission statement until partaking in the activities during Family Forward.  FAMILY FIRST was the main idea that kept coming up from the kids and adults.  This involved sharing out feelings on success and happiness.

Most importantly was the purpose, RESPECT.  To do that we have to have a bond, stand up for each other, love and help our family.  In our home we want to be loving, caring and happy.  If we are those things, everyone will be happy fulfilling our relationships and priorities with one another.   We went over these questions using the Leadership at Home questions on their website for guidance on Our Family Mission Statement.    More importantly with our mission, how will we contribute to society as a family.  Our family has always been service-oriented.  Dad is a first responder, mom plans community events and works with special education children and the kids donate and recycle toys, clothes and more.
Taken during The Leader in Me workshop
As a parent, I want caring kids who strive for themselves first and the family.  Starting with making leaders, and "the roots" of The 7 Habits Tree.  The Win-Win (playing well with others) is the trunk of the tree before taking care of yourself and BALANCE.  Modeling as parents for the children is key.  Making better kids, students and humans. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Moving Summer 2017

This post is LOOONG overdue.  I started writing it in June.  I am going to edit with where we are now the second to last week in August, basically 2.5 months LATER! 

June 1st here and I about to dive head first into packing up the house.   We are in contracts currently with our house and should be closing beginning of July. That date came and went.   I am super excited but as of right now we have no where to go. We found a rental that is amazing after going to see 4, one ended up having a murder there too.  Our luck.   Moving is stressful and throwing kids into the mix adds to that stress.  I just keep thinking about the new beginning is it going to bring. Everyone in the house will be included in the process too.  Jack and Charlotte have given us their requests and they are quite funny. For the most part when we have gone to homes they have stayed in the car or outside on the phones with no interest coming inside. 

My happiness currently includes the fact that I am getting to throw out, sell or donate much of the house. I am limiting what we move with us.  We did the first purge last summer, and everything we have is very organized and labeled, but I don't want to take extras.

UPDATE 8/21/17:

We still have NOT closed on our house.  I am lost at who is to blame, but overall some major details were left out of the offer/contract and the buyers have not closed on their place so they have not closed on our place.  We have been very annoyed. We issued a Time of the Essence letter, and suddenly things moved along and the people rented.  I won't name name until we have closed but buyers lawyer is not one I would recommend or deal with again on a sale.

We found an amazing furnished rental on Candlewood Lake with a beach, dock for the boat and views.  I will miss waking up to the lake when we move out.   So I am taking it all in until then.  The kids love having friends over, going fishing and taking friends out on the boat.

While sad to be out of our first family home, after all the drama in selling it and stress of this sale, we rushed out the final weekend before leaving on vacation and basically shut the garage and just left.  No final picture of the four of us but we're out.  Hopefully sometime next week we actually officially close and I can stop paying for the house. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Children's Activities the Expense of It All

As moms we want it all for our kids. We want to sign them up in activities to keep them busy, keep them social and well because everyone else is doing it.  I started with library and a moms group when my first was only weeks old.  It continued from there.  Swim lessons, town soccer, balance bike racing, dance classes, the list goes on.  The price of it all can add up to a mortgage payment itself. How do we do it, why do we do it?  Asked today, my answer was, we just do.  I go without, my husband goes without, all for the kids to go with.

I find when we are busy, they sleep better, behave better- once in activity.  We are better honestly, I have always been an on the go person, always out. Transitioning to said activity- they never want to start, leave house to do for "fear of missing out" on a show or game, move off couch at times.  Though I am heard all kid do this.

Currently they have private hockey lessons, separate coaches, karate twice a week for Jack, Art/Drawing class for Charlotte,  and LEGO Club after school for both, which I run.  BMX is about to start in May for both. Now the expensive comes in, equipment, monthly charges, per session charges.  Honestly I have never thought about it. We have decided or the kids asked to join a club or sport, and we signed them up and paid.  Maybe it meant no date night, that month, limited extras, trips to Target or the mall.  We just did it.  My thought it as home they are going to just choose video-games, TV, iPad or sit around so if they are enrolled in something they are out, busy, occupied beyond the screen.

I know eventually the kids will choose less. They will pick a seasonal sport, or just one altogether.  They are young, so we will take it as it comes.  I will continue to do without so my kids can do with.  So if I have to write another article, and another job has to be worked.  I can only hope when they are old enough they remember all they did and they do it for their kids too.

How do you manage it all with your kids?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

National Puppy Day is March 23rd! #peppypets

Peppy Pets Fever On National Puppy Day  - March 23rd
The Next Best Thing to a Real Puppy – Peppy Pets from TPF Toys

Love is… a new Puppy!  Puppies emit oohs and awes, a  je nais se quoiemotion that is nearly universal.  And while so many would love a new puppy, a real life new dog is not always in the cards.  

Peppy Pets to the rescue!   Young children and parents alike will love the irresistible personality of these adorable dogs! They are great for training kids how to take care of their pup without the mess by going for walks with Peppy Pups and playing with them so they get all the attention they need!Or a great companion for your other pets!

Peppy Pets™ brings to life the authenticity of puppy friendship, complete with a pup that follows its owner everywhere.    The cuddly plush puppy has a spring in its step and when walked by its owner, can run, jump and wag its tail like a real dog. 

Whether for National Puppy Day (March 23rd), or anytime - Peppy Pets are a perfect addition to the family.

Brimming with personality and no batteries needed, Peppy Pets have ultra soft fur, distinct paw pads and springs in their feet that help these eager Peppy Pups move and prance, just like a real dog.  Peppy Pups bounce, jump and waddle as they go for “walks” with their kid owners, and turn heads as they go. Peppy Pups adore cuddling, snuggles and squeezes, showing characteristics of a real dog that all pet lovers embrace.

Peppy Pets from TPF Toys is  available at retailers nationwide.   Ideal for children ages 4+, Peppy Pups are available in available in - soft brown, and black and white - and are available at Toys “R” Us nationwide, priced at $19.99.

Monday, January 23, 2017

We Collect Pressed Pennies From Everywhere

Our Pressed Penny Collection

What do you buy on vacation for souvenirs? We do pressed pennies. We travel a lot and with two kids that can get expensive and honestly how many stuffed animals do I need?  About 3 years ago we started with pennies. We became members of the Bronx Zoo and every time we went the kids wanted something. I had noticed the pressed penny machines everywhere, since we would be coming a lot I figured this would the best bet to keep the kids happy, not break the bank and have a cool collection of something.

Bronx Zoo and Disney

And so it began. A penny collection.

We then went to Disney World in 2013, the kids wanted everything! What is a thing to collect while there without spending a lot? Pennies (which technically cost $0.51)!!  We stuck mostly to pennies but sometimes did quarters while in in Disney. National Zoo in DC was another great penny collecting location.  I also use it as a teachable moment, talking about the animal or image on the penny and asking the kids questions about facts too.

Some of our Pennybooks

Everywhere we go now the kids take turns cranking the machine and taking ownership of half the family collection. Typically most gift shops have books for the pennies, the "big purchase" we make.  We will date the pennies sometimes to remember when we visited, especially if its a frequented location so we take our time collecting. Recently in Universal Studios Orlando, we also added to our collection with a new book.  Smaller attractions and even rest-stops on road trips have pennies.

You can go to this website:  They list all the pennies in locations, we used to this to double check our completed NYC Zoo/Aquarium collection.

  • Use an old M&M tube to hold your quarters and pennies (I organize them 2 quarters/1 penny in stacks)
  • Go on and get list of all pennies in that location (great for larger parks like Disney, Zoos, Attractions)
  • Find penny holding book at gift shop or order generic one from AMAZON 
  • Save SHINY/NEW pennies for the pressing, they come out and look better
This stays in my car until filled. 

This is not a sponsored post, just a great mom tip/hack.