Monday, March 25, 2013

Packing & Moving

I can't believe this week is finally here! We have been anticipating this for months (we first stepped in the new house back in November and didn't turn back since). I will most likely be M.I.A. for the next week. The next three days I will be busy packing up the house and maybe relaxing a bit, it is my spring break after all :) Friday-Sunday will be spent moving LOTS of boxes with a break for Easter festivities. Please hang tight. I may stop in to share a few pictures with you, but if not, I promise I will next week! Wish us luck!

xo, Erin

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March = Moving Month

For the first time in this adventure, the feeling of sadness has hit us. This past weekend, we got a big jump on packing and rooms are in shambles. I struggled to take pictures off the walls because of the how it left our house. It's empty, bare and lonely around here. This is our first house and we have spent HOURS of time to make it ours. It has been a learning experience and our life the past three years. So many happy and fun memories were made here, working on projects together. There were no bad surprises for us in this house, and sometimes the unknown is scary.

Here's a peek into the current state of our house:

goodbye gallery wall :(

bubble to last for years... or a day in my case

my supporters as I packed

excessively labeled the boxes, 9/10 say fragile

furniture stretch wrapped for protection

empty shelves

patching many holes

loading one of the bedrooms up

Every night, we try and get something done. This weekend, we are going to Chicago and bringing my mom back. Next week over spring break, she is going to help me pack up the kitchen and other rooms so we are ready for moving day next Friday!

xo, Erin

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hey, Friday

This week was fast and overall great. I easily came up with 5 highlights to share with you.

1. We got very exciting news this week about our new house. We got the 'Clear to Close', a lower interest rate AND our monthly payment is $150 less than originally quoted! Woohoo! This really should cover numbers 1-5, but I guess the rest of my week was equally as great :)

Click Photo To Enlarge
This will be our new house in 2 weeks!

2. My in-laws were in town this weekend and we spent Saturday showing them our new house, wandering around the Home & Garden Show in Cincinnati then playing some games at night. This was probably one of my best hands I've ever been dealt in Euchre.

3. This weekend also graced us with some gorgeous weather, definitely a tease

4. My Birchbox was pretty awesome this month. I especially love the cute Madewell nail file and the Benefit lip tint

5. We officially started packing last night. Packing is not fun and is overwhelming, but this means we are getting closer to moving day! 

We will be enjoying some Guinness and Corned Beef and Cabbage this weekend. We may stop by the Irish Pub that's close by to enjoy some authentic music.  What are your plans for St. Patrick's Day? 

xo, Erin

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Healthy Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Lots of sitting around at night and being cooped up inside can cause you to gain a few extra pounds. I was slacking a bit on my gym schedule and polished off 2 jars of Nutella in the past month, whoops! I am back on track eating healthy, getting my workouts in and using the MyFitnessPal app. Last night I threw some ingredients together to come up with a very yummy AND healthy stuffed pepper.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

6 large peppers
1 can of reduced sodium black beans- rinsed and drained
1 can of corn- drained
1 cup salsa
1 bag of brown Success boil-in-bag rice
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup colby-monterey jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Wash and core peppers and set aside
3. Prepare rice as stated on the package, about 10 minutes of boiling time
4. While rice is cooking, brown the ground turkey until no longer pink, then drain
5. In a bowl, combine the beans, corn, salsa, cooked rice and turkey. Stir until well combined
6. Stuff peppers with the above mixture, filling them to the top
7. Top each pepper with a sprinkle of cheese. I also added an extra spoonful of salsa, but not necessary
8. Bake for about 45 minutes or until outside pepper is cooked to desire softness
9. Enjoy! {We topped ours with a tablespoon of non-fat sour cream as well, yummy}

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Fever

We had a burst of warm air this weekend (70 degrees), along with Daylight Saving Time. It definitely got me very excited for spring and summer and to be outside. I know I mention it a lot, but I am so over winter and cold weather. I love to be outside and love to wear lighter layers.

On that note, we will be very busy this spring with our new house. I want to take a quick vacation after school gets out before I start nannying for the summer. It will be right around the time of our 2-year anniversary, so we can call it a celebration.

I want something in reasonable driving distance. I was originally thinking somewhere warm and relaxing like Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

Now, I am leaning towards something more adventurous like a trip to Mackinac Island and the U.P., with a stop in Traverse City and Silver Lake Sand Dunes.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Do you have any other suggestions? Maximum driving distance of about 10 hours one way, from Cincinnati. Somewhat afforable. Looking for some relaxation, but we definitely love to explore!

xo, Erin

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Already?

This week went by super fast, mainly because we had a snow day in the middle of the week. I could get used to that! My in-laws will be in town this weekend and we are taking a trip to our new house to give them a tour (and because we want to see it again!)

It's Friday, so I am linking up with From My Grey Desk to share my top 5 from this week:

1. We drove by our new house this past weekend and was greeted by a sold sign. 

2. Spring shoes are already on clearance at Target. I think I'm taking the ones on the left back, but I'm super excited about the other pair. Trendy, comfortable and so cute!

3. Yes, we had a snow day. Yes, it was awesome.

4. Spent my day off baking some yummy cookies. White chocolate strawberry cookies, recipe to come!

5. This guy was a super snuggler this week. I won't complain.

xo, Erin

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Snow Day Happenings

Most likely the last snowfall in this house, bittersweet

Yesterday we had a snow day. We got about 6-8 inches of snow Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and a day off was very appreciated. It was our first, and most likely last snow day for the year. I told Greg I would get up with him to help shovel and make him breakfast, but when 6:30 rolled around, I had other plans. Staying in a warm bed and cuddling with Murphy sounded a lot better. Here's a look into my day:

{8:00} Woke up, threw a load of laundry in the wash

{8:15-9:30} Ate breakfast, watched the Today show, read blogs

{9:45-10:45} Went to the gym

{11:00} Took a shower

{11:30} Baked cookies

{12:30} Made a healthy lunch: Chicken Salsa on a tostada and apple slices with peanut butter

{1:00-1:30} Power nap

{1:30-3:30} Masters homework: read and take a quiz

{3:30} Got ready for the day

{4:00-5:00} Watched Ellen and surfed the internet waiting for Greg to get home

{6:00} Dinner. Last night was leftovers so I made a quick salad and reheated some chili

{7:30} Quick run to Kohl's to pick up some work pants for Greg

{8:30-10:00ish} Tv and some lounging

I think I will take a snow day once a week :) How would YOU spend a snow day?

xo, Erin

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Calm Before The Storm

Sorry folks, but my life has been very uneventful. I never realized how busy we really were with house projects, until now. We have been soaking up these last few days before packing begins and our life is chaotic once again. There has been a lot of napping, tv watching, internet surfing and just plain ole' being lazy these past couple weeks. We started watching Walking Dead on Netflix, and a week later, finished all the episodes. I guess we should have paced ourselves. Greg even made a comment that his back hurt from sitting on the couch so much.

We are definitely looking forward to projects starting back up and warmer weather. We enjoy getting out after dinner and taking a walk and playing some frisbee. We can't wait to explore our new neighborhood and  the surrounding area. There are lots of trees, hills, paths and a golf course to explore -- there may need to be bikes involved to see everything.

Will update soon if anything exciting happens around here -- and document our packing experience. Not sure what's worse, packing or unpacking. This is how I might feel in a few weeks:

xo, Erin

Monday, March 4, 2013

{Sold} in less than 30 days

I mentioned a few weeks ago, that we sold our home and are moving to a town 10 miles south. With the economy and housing market, we were a little nervous our house would 'sit' for a little or we would accept a price less than what we wanted. Good news: neither of those two things happened. We sold our home is less than a month and the purchase price was right where we wanted it.

Of course, everyone wants to try and make money on their house and some may even wait for a better offer, but that's a big risk you may regret in the future. Here are some great tips on how to sell your home fast.

1. {Clean} I can't stress how important it is to have a clean house. No one wants to see dirty carpets, dusty fans or dead bugs in the basement. We went in each room of the house and made a list of everything that had to be cleaned, even the little things. We taped the list to each door and felt accomplished when we could cross something off. The list included: dusting fans, blinds, baseboards, furniture, vacuuming, deep-cleaning bathrooms, etc. Any little thing that had to be done before a showing got written down. 

2. {Maximize room size and move furniture around} Most rooms already had an open layout so this step went fairly quick. There was one room in our house that was the catch-all room since we lived here. We knew we had to organize this room and stage it so perspective buyers could see the potential. We worked with what we already had (love seat, filing cabinet and 2 bookshelves) and called it a study. We moved the furniture around to utilize the space and make the room feel bigger.

3. {Declutter} This is a super important step if you have a lot of 'stuff'. It is hard for some buyers to see how big a room may be if it is full of furniture that is too big for the space. We utilized this step in our basement. It is unfinished and has acted as a storage area for extra furniture, holiday items, patio furniture during off-season, etc. It was a mess! We rented a storage unit (for only $60/month) and started loading our cars up. This opened up the basement and allowed buyers to see how big it could be if they wanted to finish it in the future. Don't forget about your closets. Just because they have doors on them, doesn't mean people won't open them. They want to see how much space is in there, so minimize the 'stuff' and either throw it away, donate it or put it in storage.

4. {Create a honey- do list} Have you been putting things off around the house that need to be fixed before people come look at it? We needed to paint our interior doors since day 1, and somehow this got pushed to the back burner. The doors were scuffed and some had crayon on them from the previous owners. We looked past it, but knew how much better they would look painted.We went around the house and wrote things down that needed attention like tightening a toilet seat or getting touch-up paint for a mark on the wall. Don't overlook the small stuff

5. {Keep it comfortable} Once you start showing your home, make it comfortable for potential buyers. We turned the heat up to 68-70 (normally it's 65 when we are at work), we left water bottles out and some chocolates as well.  If you have a dog, lock them in a crate in a room that buyers won't spend a lot of time in. We choose a secondary bedroom and put a blanket over the crate hoping this would calm him so he wouldn't bark. Just leave a note on the table so they are aware.

6. {Personalize things} Our realtor suggested leaving a handwritten note on the table by the water and booklets. We talked about main points such as how we renovated our home completely, that the great room was perfect for entertaining and close amenities such as Kroger and the highway. Don't go too much in depth, but something short and sweet telling them a little more about your family and house would be perfect. Also, you don't need to remove every frame and picture in your house. We ended up leaving all of ours up. I would suggest taking it down if it's a big 3 ft. canvas and obnoxious. People like to see who currently lives there, it paints a picture and tells a story about the house.

7. {Price aggressive} Sure, everyone wants to make money off their home and get the highest price possible, but this might mean waiting. The longer you wait, the longer your house sits on the market and people wonder why. We started with a higher number just to see what kind of traffic it brought in. Unfortunately, things were slow and we had no time to waste. After 10 days, we dropped the price to right where we wanted to end up. This immediately brought multiple showings and a few offers to us. Price is not something to play around with. Rather than dropping it slowly, drop it to the price where you want to end up.

7. {Get an awesome realtor} This is key! Our realtor we used this time around sold us our home when we bought it a few years ago. We stayed in touch and she saw our renovations over time. She was very knowledgeable on exactly what we did in each room and the value it brought to our home. This helped tremendously during negotiations and the appraisal. She made a great booklet for buyers to take that talked about all the wonderful amenities in our home. She offered suggestions to us for showings and our price and guided us the whole way. She was knowledgeable when it came time to writing addendums and all that fun stuff. You need to get a realtor that is passionate about what they do and will put you first. If we didn't have a good realtor, there is a good chance our house would still be on the market. { Sarah, you rocked it. We can't thank you enough! }

This is what worked for us. Do you have any other tips and tricks that you think would be valuable?

xo, Erin