Gift Guide for the New Homeowner

Have a friend or family member that just moved in?

 Let’s face it, there are a million gift guides circling around this time of year. However,one I haven’t seen is a gift guide for the new home owner. For holidays, practical gifts are commonly looked down on, however for the new home owner practicality is a must! Take it from me, right now a can of paint would out weigh any piece of jewelry or smelly candle someone could buy me.

But what to buy?

Consumable gifts are always a favorite of mine. Something someone needs, verses just a want is also a plus! Ask a few questions about what projects your new home owner is working on and before you know it you will have the perfect gift. Below I have collected for you a few great ideas, many are things we have purchased and used, and some are wishes for even me. We chose all Amazon items just in case you need to order something and get it by Christmas. Of course you can always find these things at a local store too. Enjoy!

Trimming sheers make a great addition to any home. Include with them some gardening gloves, a watering can and some seed packets and your good to go!

New linens are a must for all homeowners. A basket of nice new towels with a small bottle of laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets would be a dream gift! 

Storage baskets are great for everyone, but especially for the new homeowner that is in organization mode. 

Nothing says this is my new home like a new mailbox! Now hear me out, this may not be the most luxurious of gifts, but if you go over and install it too… then you win Christmas. 

A place for all the things! This Craftsman is a great tool box for anyone that is living the DIY life. 

Cozy sheets and blankets are right up there with cozy towels. Stick with neutral colors if your not sure what color scheme the new home owner is using. 

Our drill and Impact driver get daily use! This is a gift that keeps on giving. 
Everyone loves coffee right? This is a gift that would be used immediately. Especially when many homeowners can’t find the box that has their old coffee pot!

Edible treats can do no wrong!

Remember…

Whatever you give is always appreciated. Just remember, a practical gift isn’t always a terrible idea. For those of us who are in limbo we appreciate anything to make our house feel a bit more like a home. Comments below and let us know what your favorite gift would be!

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The Tradition of Christmas Cards

Writing Christmas cards is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Ironically, I never remember this being something my family did. However, it was something I picked up as a young adult and do my best to keep up with every year. The tradition of Christmas Cards, and writing them is something I take very personally.

Although many spend hundreds of dollars on family photos and custom cards, I get the same satisfaction by hand choosing cards from the store and writing out a personalized greeting. I find Christmas cards at the most economic places, and they are just the cute as the expensive ones! If you are on a budget and still wanting to participate in this tradition, then check out the Dollar Tree or Big Lots. Even Walmart has affordable cards.

The real trick is to buy them after Christmas and keep them for next year!

Here is my real secret though…

I write Christmas cards because I absolutely love receiving them.There is nothing better than that printed card with pictures of family or friends, year after year. In fact, I always keep mine, so I can look back and see how much people have changed. As a tradition that started back in 1843, I am always happy to see it is still alive and well. Don’t get me wrong, singing elf ecards are fun, but there is just something special about opening a card addressed to my family. In this face paced world it’s fun to receive traditional mail.

Even though I get just as influenced as anyone else by the commercialization of Christmas. I try to pause my overbuying, over planning, and over stressing to kick back, put on a Hallmark Christmas movie and write some cards to friends and family. If you haven’t tried it before then give it a go! Get a small pack and exchange cards with friends, you can even make them yourself!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for some additional information on the start of this tradition check out the article below from Smithsonian Magazine. 

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/history-christmas-card-180957487/

Giving Thanks

Let’s take a minute…

Happy belated Thanksgiving Friends! As we near the end of November and the first of many holidays has past, I feel it’s important to discuss the importance of giving thanks. For those of us in the hustle and bustle of life we often forget to take a minute to step back and be thankful. Life is a wonderful thing, and our life has been beyond wonderful this year.

Looking back, we accomplished so much in 2018. My husband started his dream job, we finally bought our forever home and we have big changes coming in 2019! My hope is that your life brings a smile to your face when you look back on the last year. Recently, I was listening the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman (Best Movie Ever!) and one of the lines in a song made me stop in my tracks. It discusses the building of a home and the lines were:

“There’s a house we can build,
Every room inside is filled
With things from far away.
The special things, I compile
Each one there to make you smile
On a rainy day…”

Memories

After a conversation earlier in the month with my husband he made a comment about how he doesn’t get attached to houses the same way I do. I think that’s the case for most men. (Excuse my generalizations) For many of us, the reason why we collect things is truly because they make us smile. I love walking through our new house and seeing how it’s slowly becoming a home. I walk by a piece of furniture and I remember when my cousin helped us move it. Or I walk into a room and remember painting it with my mother, or by a tree and I remember trimming it with my husband.

You see, what we are creating every day in our home is memories. It’s the memories that I love about a home. The memories that we have already created and the ones that are soon to come. So, the next time you see one of those cute farmhouse signs that say Grateful or Give Thanks, take a minute to do just that!

 

The Big Move

You bought the house now it’s time to move…

Moving is never fun. For most people it is the first time in their life they wish they had less stuff! For us it was especially difficult because our closing was delayed massively. This meant the people we had lined up to help us move were no longer available. The big move occurred for us with a U-Haul truck and some desperate last-minute calls to family when we realized we just couldn’t handle it all ourselves.

Ideally when you buy a home, you have a closing and then shortly after that a moving company shows up and whisks away all your junk to your new home. In our world I had a few things working against this idea. First, I didn’t want to spend that much money since we were already paying a lot for the roof. Secondly, I constantly looked around our house and thought, “We got this.” Long story short… we didn’t have it.

So, I have complied some quick and easy steps to get you moved with minimal stress:

  1. If you can hire a moving company, do it. I think for us the budgeting piece of this move outweighed our logic. We really did have too much stuff to handle it all on our own. A great resource we found and used after was U-Haul. Right on www.Uhaul.com you can hire movers to help with a truck you rent and it’s very affordable.
  2. Call in reinforcements. Even if you have a moving company it’s worth having some friends and family there to help with the breakables, closets and food. Among other things, these items seem to always take more time then planned.
  3. Have the new house clean and ready to go. Due to the timing of everything we had to reschedule our cleaning company multiple times. The previous owner also left a great deal of furniture that needed to be moved to make room for our things. Better off starting with a blank slate.
  4. Pack a box to take in the car. This box will be a lifesaver, keep reading for my free editable download with the To Move in Car Checklist
  5. Label, label, label. Then go ahead and label again. Without labels the people moving things have no direction. Best thing to do is label your boxes by room and list a few items in them as well. Then when you get to the new house, label the rooms. This will eliminate any confusion.

It goes without saying that the big move will be stressful. Just take a deep breath because I promise you the world will not come to an end if something breaks. Many times, moving can be exhausting but in the end, it will be worth all the stress and frustration.

Let me know how your latest move went, or any tips you have! Leave a comment down below and let’s see if we can add even more items to the list!

What to Move in Your Car

And They Lived Happily Ever After …

… isn’t that how the story ends?

In our situation it’s just beginning! It has been some time since I wrote, and it is for a simple reason. Life just got in the way! After a long and exhausting process, we finally closed on Our Florida Farmhouse. A property we fell in love with, and one that we know was worth the wait. As expected our closing did not go according to plan, however in the end it all seemed to work out. This means our timing was a bit off, but with help from family we were able to move in the weekend after we closed, and we’ve been here now for almost a month.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, however you want to look at it) we have got a lot of work to do. When we moved into this property we knew that there was a lot of things we wanted to change, We’ve done our best to try and be patient however, it looks like we’re going to start moving on some big projects a lot sooner than we planned. It’s all very exciting for the both of us and terrifying at the same time. We’re going to try and take it one project at a time, but when you’re looking at taking down multiple walls and renovating a kitchen you start to wonder if it’s better to just do everything at once.

First Steps…

I’m not quite sure at this point how will handle it all, but right now we know we’re going to start by opening up the floor plan. Well, by we, I mean my husband and our contractor. While they work on that I’ll be working on the guest bedrooms. I have already begun to prime them and get them ready for paint. The carpets will need to be taken out and new hardwood floors will need to be laid. All of this is going on while the roof is being replaced. If you ever moved into a new property, then I’m sure you can relate. There are the small things you think you can get done right away, and then there’s a large thing that you should wait for but it’s just driving you crazy!

The good news is this is our forever home…

We decided that before we even found it, so the truth is we have forever to make it exactly what we want. We’re going to do what we can to document most of this experience for those of you who are in a similar situation. This is not a total renovation; our house and floor plan are quite nice. This is more less just making it what we always envisioned it could be.

As we progress on the inside will still be working on small projects for the outside. We would love to have our raised garden beds in by the spring, and chickens living in the coop, but that will take time. The best part about this property is the two beautiful horses that spend every day enjoying our pasture. They belong to our neighbor, but we are more than happy to share our little piece of heaven with them. For those of you who are still hunting, getting ready to hunt for a home, or are starting to renovate your current home, trust me when I tell you it will all be worth it. It might not feel that way now, but it will feel that way in the future. Before you know it, you too will be living your Happily Ever After.

If your curious how this all got started then check out one of our earlier posts here:

The First Steps to Our Newest Adventure

And don’t forget About Us

Home Closing Struggles

What do you do when your home closing doesn’t go according to plan?

Let me guess, you have bought a home and your closing was delayed. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, then it likely will at some point in your life. The issue with buying a home is as the buyer you are relying on a lot of different people. Appraisers, Mortgage Lenders, Brokers, Realtors, Title Companies, Survey companies and more. The downside is you are not their only client. If any one thing goes wrong, then you are living and breathing the home closing struggles. Sometimes it feels as if the stars need to align for a closing to go according to plan.

Add in our roof complications and lots of confusion with fee schedules and you have a recipe for a closing that did not happen on the scheduled date. Here’s the problem, if your anything like me you have not only decided where every item is going to go when you move, but you have made a lot of plans with outside companies for the big day. We originally were supposed to close last Friday, we found out on Wednesday that wasn’t going to happen. Then we were supposed to close this coming Tuesday, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen either. Now it’s time to make some major changes.

Here’s a few ideas to help you keep everything straight.

  1. First things first, when planning your move always plan it for at least a week or two after your scheduled closing. This was one of our only saving graces.
  2. If you are a renter let your landlord know well in advance of when you plan to leave but make sure you give yourself some time to be flexible.
  3. Time to cancel all those fabulous people who were scheduled to work for you! For us it was our roofer, a cleaning company, a pest control company and movers.

As you can see I said cancel, not reschedule. I learned the hard way by rescheduling things and having to call companies again to reschedule. If you are dealing with small companies such as our cleaning company, it’s hard enough for them to fit you in last minute. Do what you can to give them as much time as possible to make other arrangements.

How do you keep sane while waiting for your home closing?

  1. Distraction, distraction, distraction! If you are just sitting around and waiting for news you will go crazy (trust me I’ve been there). Spend time with friends or family and try your best not to focus on the unknown. Enjoy your time with others.
  2. Continue packing. If you stopped because you were down and out about the potential of your dream home falling through don’t. By stopping everything it’s basically giving up. Try to stay positive and move forward knowing people are trying to help you get everything taken care of.
  3. Let it out! Go ahead and have a good cry. You deserve it. In fact, a good cry with a bottle of wine and a box of cookies is even better. This is a stressful time so do whatever it is you do for a bit of self-care. You need it!

All and all, things will either work out or they will not. You must trust whatever it is, it’s meant to be. I know this is easier said then done. The idea of not closing on our dream home after 45 days of waiting is devastating. However, it’s time for even me, to take a step back and be thankful for what I do have rather then what I don’t.

Check out last week’s article on Being the True You for more information on the decisions behind our major life changes:

Being the True You