After 17 years of renting homes and apartments we decided it was time. We finally feel like we’re in a place where we’ll stay for years to come. So we decided to BUY A HOUSE!!!! We decided on Pflugerville, Texas. We lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area forever. I actually grew up in Arlington, Tx. Met my hubs in 1999 and from there we went to Keller, Texas where we spent most of life together. We lived in the Frisco, Tx area for a few years but quickly moved back to Keller. In 2013 we had the chance to move to Washington state. We lived there for a miserable 2 years there we started looking to come home. Hubs found out that the company he worked for (Amazon btw) had an office in Austin, Tx. Not home home but 3 hours away was better than 35 hours. So we jumped at it. We’ve actually been back in Texas a whole year now!
We couldn’t find a house to rent before our corporate housing ran out and I just so happen to find an apartment complex in a good area that had 4 bedrooms. Smaller than we’re use to, yes. But doable. So we did it. And we HATE it! We’d been renting houses for so long we haven’t had to deal with maintenance crews coming on their schedule, loud neighbors, smells coming through the walls, etc. Since our lease will expire in August we decided to start looking for rent houses. Then we thought….wonder if we could buy (lots of past job lay-offs have really damaged our credit…reason we jumped at Seattle). So we started looking and getting advice from lenders and BAM! We can actually do it. Never thought we could. We’ve always rented big homes. But we quickly found out that buying a home at the size we want with the upgrades we want was going to be difficult. Especially in the Austin market. So we looked and looked and looked. Yes, we bribed our kids with candy and eating out on the weekends. We brought iPads and iPhones for them to play with too.
We looked at so many areas and so many models we had no idea what we wanted. Some sales guy said when you walk into a home you’ll know if it’s yours. And you know what….that totally happened. Unfortunately not with his builder but the one next to him. We went with Chesmar Homes. Why? Well they have really nice freaking homes! The base price of our home is not bad at all, but of course we have upgrades. But not the kind you’d think. See, the reason we liked Chesmar is the homes sounded solid. By that I mean when we walked into a KB Home you could hear so much outside noise, kids upstairs, etc. This home you couldn’t hear all that. They use a cellulose spray insulation which helps reduce sound. And since we’re in a typical neighborhood where you can practically hear the neighbors in their home next-door you want quiet. And this home offered that. Not only that but wood faux blinds are standard, 12×12 tile is standard, large master shower is standard, huge kitchen island is standard, granite counter tops in the kitchen is standard, garage door opener is standard, full sod and sprinklers front and back is standard!! All those were upgrades in the other homes we were looking at and it was making it to where we wouldn’t be able to buy a home. But not Chesmar. And it’s still all quality brand names that they were selling too. And it was in the same neighborhood we wanted. So yah, why wouldn’t we go with that!
So we picked all of our choices (and upgrades–mostly electrical) out and gave them a check to start the contract!! We are now waiting on our pre-construction meeting. We expect to close on the house in late October for an early November move in!!
Here’s the spot of dirt/rock where our house will go!!
Here’s our choices!! I’m ready! Is it done yet?!?!
At the end of Easter last year I bought a box of fake eggs on clearance for like 25¢ that look like real eggs. I bought them because my kids like to dye eggs but they hate hard boiled eggs. So my thinking was why waste real eggs. Why not buy a box of these every year and let them color them and we get to save them every year. Yah, no. They suck….BIG TIME!!!! But the egg dipper was neat so we saved that!
So here we are ready to start. They were so excited to have 3 dozen eggs to color cause I hate coloring eggs. Actually it’s fun. I hate the set up and the sharing the eggs and colors. So this year with the fake eggs I decided to let them each choose their own coloring kit too. No fussing right! Well that actually worked. Problem is these eggs float. You have to hold them down so they’ll color. Then they don’t hold color that well so every color came out pastel, no matter how long you left it in there. UGH!
End result….SUCK! I do not recommend these for regular coloring. Maybe drawing on them with sharpies would be good but I dunno, I trashed them and will not buy anymore. Back to wasting regular eggs for this family!
I’ve had a wonderful and full season on Etsy this year. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful year yet again. Merry Christmas!!
If you haven’t heard of Urban Air Trampoline Park your missing out!!!! This place is so much fun and it’s a great workout too!
So what is it? It’s an indoor trampoline park. There are several different areas in the park. The Apex which is an open jump area. Each person gets a square (and yes you have to yell at the kids that don’t listen and knock you off balance).
Click here for the Apex and Air Pillow video
The Bowl is for ages 7 and under. It’s basically like The Apex but only for the younger kids. Parent’s should really think about using this. No kids over 7 yrs old are allowed in there. That means they won’t get hurt as bad when they bump into someone…..like a teenager or adult.
The Foam Pit or Air Pillow Pit will probably give you the best laugh you’ve EVER had!!! Like seriously. It’s fun to go in and it’s friggin hilarious to get out! I was seriously laughing so hard the first time that I nearly pee’d myself. I think it took me a full 5 minutes to compose myself to get out of there.
Click here for all 3 Kids on the Air Pillow video
Click here for the Amazing Employee (triple flip yo!) video
The Runway is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a long straight runway of trampoline! It’s cool to watch the gymnasts that come in and do all kinds of tricks on there. It’s also fun to just run on it…..it’s funnier than it sounds.
Lastly you have Slam Dunk (basketball) and Dodgeball. The kids love these but they’re usually over run by jerkhole teenage kids that don’t have manners. But of course your welcome to say something to the rude kiddos (I do!).
Anyway, go and have fun!!! Seriously you will. And the next day you’ll be sore and realize just how out of shape you really are.
Click here for more Air Pillow Fun (including me….omg…smh) video
Now that we’re back in Texas I was able to take advantage of Tax Free Weekend (TFW) again. This year it was Aug 7-9. Here are some tips on how we accomplished all of our back to school and supply shopping for two kids (ages 11 & almost 7) in 1.75 hours!!!
Before the TFW go scope out the stores you want to buy clothes from. Try the clothes on. This helps reduce your “day of” frustration. Sure you wind up going out twice but if you wait until TFW you’ll also be waiting in long dressing room lines and with kids that just sucks. So, on August 4th I took both boys to Target, Old Navy, Academy, and Crazy 8. I picked a location of town that had all stores reasonably close to each other. They picked out what they liked and tried on clothes. If they liked them and fit I wrote the store name, style of clothing, and size for each kid. I used the notes app on my phone for convenience.
Day of TFW. I originally decided on getting supplies on Friday then taking the kids and hubbs out on Saturday. Well I got to thinking why not just get it all done in one day. The kids do a good job at keeping up with my pace and the hubbs tends to lag so why not! I asked him if he minded and he was like……ummmm do it all!!
That morning I got up early and made a good filling breakfast. Biscuits (actually made them the night before for a quick reheat), sausage, eggs, and a sugar free red bull for myself. Full bellies mean you won’t be stopping for lunch early or unnecessary snacks. I also took a screen shot of the boys school supply lists. The photos app opens a lot faster than dropbox and safari. Taking a pic of the lists made it easy since I was able to swipe left/right for each kid. I made sure I had my notes app (for the clothes list I made) and the photos app open and we were off! We left the house 20 min earlier than I had planned too (9:20am!)!
First we hit Walmart for school supplies (don’t forget to use the savings catcher app!!). We got almost everything I needed there. I seriously was missing 4 folders and a large pack of glue. Target was our next stop. First we grabbed the 5 school supplies we needed. Then we were off to the clothing section. Grabbed socks and shorts. That was it. Next up Academy. Grabbed the 2 pair of shorts and backpack I needed there and we were off to Old Navy. We spent most of our time at Old Navy. They have so many shirts and picking the “right” ones are always a tuff decision for the boys. Got what we needed there and went to our last destination. We needed 2 pair of shorts, 2 jeans, and 2 shirts at Crazy 8. And of course I wound up buying 2 additional shirts at the register cause….well Star Wars shirts. The boys were so great that I let them pick lunch and they chose Schlotskzy’s, probably cause this location has TCBY and I’m a sucker for their white chocolate mousse and getting mommy to say no to that was gonna be hard.
That was it. Some people say you don’t save much and it’s not worth it but you really do. You just have to plan. Lots of stores will put items on sale so it makes the savings better. I’m not one to buy an entire lot of clothes for school at once. I’d rather the kids go to school and if they see a style they want we can buy then or wait until they need more clothes which is usually around Christmas time. Target also suckers us into buying shirts for the boys year round. In all for school supplies for two kids (1 elementary and 1 middle schooler), 1 backpack, 9 shorts, 18 shirts, 4 jeans, 4 pkgs of socks, 1 pk of undies I spent $446.72. My savings from sales and tax alone bought their school supplies. We’ll get jackets in September when there are more choices in stores. We’re in Texas, it’s 100° and will be for a little longer, not all stores have all their winter wear out.
I hope my tips help you out!
Our kids are not good in the car….well they can be. Problem is they hate being in the car (we like to drive around and explore….a lot). But when we told them we could stay in Washington or move home to Texas they obviously chose to deal with the long road trip….like they had a choice, lol!!!
We have an 11 yr old and a 6 yr old that would be traveling with us. They each have an iPhone (don’t worry…no service is on my 6 yr olds….it’s and old phone of ours and is basically a Nintendo DS but with better games, lol!!) and iPad (and these were handed down so it’s not like we completely spoil our kids with new flashy items). So first things first on a long trip like this is you have to completely give up all rules and allow them to use them…a lot!!!
A few days before we were to leave for our moving adventure I decided I should get some things for the kids to do so they’re not completely bored or on devices all the time.
Since we’d be going through 7 states I went to the Crayola website for some free state color pages. I printed 2 of each state we’d be going to so each kiddo had their own color page. The great thing is it also had state facts on them. I also printed a US map so they could follow our route. That helps eliminate questions.
Since we’d be traveling on July 4th I printed out a color page for that holiday. I also printed out a few miscellaneous color pages I knew the kids would enjoy. I printed out the kids favorite zoo animals since we’d be visiting the San Diego Zoo. I put all the prints in order of travel, in a sheet protector, clipped to their travel clipboards we’d made a few years back. I also added our Surprise destination of LegoLand!!! I took their favorite Lego character from google images and edited it in photoshop. I didn’t edit the photo…I adjusted the size so I could add words to the top. I added Let’s Go to LEGOLAND!! They were ecstatic when we revealed the packets and saw LEGOLAND was one of our destinations!!
Did our kids do all the activities in their packet…no. But they did read them and learn about each state. They also knew where we were going and what we were doing in each state. And that itself was awesome because it lessens the amount of what are we doing here questions.
I hope this helps you plan a long road trip. They barely fought, were not bored much, and overall just had a great trip.