Choosing a Neighborhood – Building a House

First a little note about my online documentation of our home building process. In an effort to keep our our family safe I’m going to try and not mention the name of our new neighborhood or builder. I want to keep some things private and also respect the builder. Beyond that I do plan on sharing as much of this process online as possible.

For the past few years I’ve been keeping up with the real estate market in our town. I knew that we’d be ready to buy sometime soon and wanted to have a realistic expectation of what we might find once we started looking. So when we decided we were really ready to take the plunge I had already done a ton of research on the surrounding neighborhoods and current real estate market. We decided on a planned community that has a variety of amenities and a good location.

Here are few reason we selected the community in which we are building:

Location – Our new neighborhood is only 5 miles from our current home so we are already familiar with the area and like the ease of access to all of the things we already know and use. (church, stores, friends, family, etc…) Also, there are a lot of new neighborhoods being built in our town, most of which are surrounded by undeveloped land. Our new neighborhood is already in a fairly established part of town so we don’t have to worry about large complexes being built across the street or next door.

Amenities – For our family we wanted a neighborhood that had street lights, side walks, a pool and a other family friendly amenities. Yes, choosing a planned community means you typically get less yard space (especially in our city) but we’d rather have community than more land.

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School District – Our kids are in public school this year and we had to consider their needs as well. If we moved out of our school zone they would have to most likely have to switch to a different school next year. We chose to stay in the same school district.

House Plan – I’ve looked at a lot of nice neighborhoods that had great amenities and a good location but ultimately wasn’t able to find a floor plan that worked for our family. I am a firm believer that bigger isn’t always better. Most people would probably assume we are building a huge house for our large-ish family but it’s really not that big. I’ve seen 3,000+ square feet houses that were poorly designed and didn’t make good use of the space. Our new home will be a little less than 2,500 (which some people think is too small) however, the space is all used very well. Plus, you have to take into consideration the utilities and cleaning of a bigger house.

Cost – Finally, cost does play a huge roll into where we were able to buy. Luckily, we were able to meet all of our previous requirements and still stay within our price-range. Even with the current real estate market surge in our area.

These 5 things combined helped us choose the neighborhood where we will be building. We also looked at online reviews of our builder and did plenty of other research.

 

 

We’re building a house

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Our future backyard at sunset

So last week we signed the contract to build a home. This is huge because not only is this the first house we’ve built but it will also be the first house we will own.

When Joe and I were engaged and planning our wedding (10 years ago) we had a lot of friends that were also getting married. While they were planning their weddings they were also buying their first homes together. We decided to wait to buy our first home and I’m so glad we did. Never would we have imagined that we would have 4 kids. We most certainly would have bought a house that was way too small. Also, as we’ve lived together in several different homes over the past few years we have a good idea of what kind of space we need and what works best for our growing family.

I don’t know if this new house will be our forever home but we are treating it that way. I’m trying to imagine our 4 little guys growing into large teenager boy it’s difficult to imagine but I’m trying to plan ahead.

We still have a lot of work to do before they even start building the house (there are so many choices to be made) but we are extremely excited, and a little bit anxious too. However, we are terribly sad to be leaving our current neighborhood. We have the best neighbors ever and our kids have made so many great friends. That being said, we are only moving 5 miles away. The hardest part of this move will be leaving our great neighborhood. But I see this opportunity as a chance to make more friends.

I’m going to try to document and share our home building process on here, and Instagram too. I’ve had so many questions answered by reading blog posts and have loved reading about other people’s experiences of building their home.

Tips for Packing School Lunch

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I pack 2 school lunches every day, in a few weeks I will be packing 3 school lunches. I’m working on streamlining the process to make my life easier but also still provide healthy lunches for my boys. Here are a few things I do to help make my life a little easier.

  1. Buy in Bulk – A lot of ingredients are required when you have to pack 3 lunches 5 times a week. So I frequent big box stores when I’m able or a just buy several boxes of whatever product I’m buying.
  2. Buy Proper Food Storage – I bought several 3 compartment food containers and a lunch box that fits said container plus has a place for a water bottle. We save money buy reusing the food storage containers and giving the boys water bottles for their drinks. Plus, I can store messier food in the containers.
  3. Pack Ahead – I typically pack the boys lunches the day before. I have a toddler at home with me while they are at school and he also requires lunch. So whatever I make him for lunch I just make more and pack the boys lunch while I’m at it. I just store them in the refrigerator so I can just pop them in their lunch boxes in the morning.
  4. Remember your food groups – I know my kids would love a meal full of sugary treats and carbs but I also know that if I pack them fruit or veggies they might actually eat it. My boys are well rounded diners so I try to provide a few different foods in their lunch. For instance, one lunch may be pizza rolls, baby carrots, grapes, veggie straws and a Go Organically Fruit Snack.
  5. Have fun – I know I get sick of eating the same thing every day so I try to make the boys versatile and fun lunches. Some of their favorites are pizza rolls, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, crackers and cheese, and more. They typically only have sandwiches about twice a week. I also like to include a fun sweet treat like Go Organically Fruit Snack.

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I received the featured product in exchange for my honest opinion. My opinions are not influenced by the company.

Smurfs – The Lost Village DVD Review

Once again we had a wonderful Friday evening with our traditional pizza and a movie. This week we watched Smurfs – The Lost Village and it was a huge hit.

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About
Smurfs – The Lost Village

In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!

I loved the Smurfs when I was young and I loved being able to share this fun story with my kids. The Lost Village explores the story of how Smurfs came to be and what secrets lie beyond their small village. It’s fun for me as an adult to learn more about the characters I loved some much as a child.

The cast boast many popular actors whom you might easily recongnize their voice, or not. One of my favorite things to do while watching animated movies with my kids it to try and figure out which famous actors are voicing the characters. Sometimes it’s easy and other times I’m quite surprised. This time there were several voices I recognized right away like Jack McBrayer, Rainn Wilson and Ellie Kemper.

The DVD and BluRay also comes with so much bonus material like commentary, interactive featurettes, and music videos. Overall, it’s a great movie for family movie night and we can’t wait to watching it again.

I received the featured Blu-Ray in exchange for my honest opinion. My opinions are not influenced by the company.

First Day of School

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Yesterday was Jude and Noah’s first day of school. This year they are attending a year-round public school. I’ve had a variety of emotions over the past few months about them going to school this year instead of homeschool. I feel at peace about the decision and know there are many benefits to this decision. It’s not one we took lightly but when we originally decided to homeschool Jude 4 years ago we said we would take it year-by-year and do what was best for each child. I am sad to give up all of our free time and flexible schedule but I think there are so many positive things that will come from their days at school.

As I dropped them off at school yesterday morning they walked into the building holding hands and I knew they would be alright. While they were at school I took the 2 little guys out for a fun morning at Pullen Park and it was nice to spend some quality time with just the 2 of them. I didn’t know what to do with myself all day, it was calm and quiet around the house even with 2 little boys. I think they also liked the extra space they got with their brothers gone. When I picked up Jude and Noah from school they had smiles on their faces and told me all about their days. Noah admitted he was a little nervous but then happily told me about his desk, cubby, recess, story time, lunch and his new teachers. Jude had lots to talk about as well. He is ready to volunteer for all the things and wants to participate in all of the extra activities offered. I also noticed a big difference in Jude’s behavior after school, he was very relaxed and attentive. I think the structured school day really helped him.

After dinner we took the boys for a bike ride to Pelican’s Snoballs where they continued to share their excitement for school. They were all pretty exhausted when bedtime came around and were happy to go to bed, not only because they were tired but because tomorrow was another school day.

I know there will be challenges that come along with each school year but for now I’m so happy their first day was a success. Photo Jul 31, 7 24 18 PM Photo Jul 31, 10 55 45 AM Photo Jul 31, 10 42 03 AM Photo Jul 31, 10 01 01 AM

 

Summer is almost over….

I love summer, I don’t always love when it’s a heat index of 115 outside but I love warm summer days spent at the pool. So I’m a little sad that summer is almost over for my oldest 2. They start school on Monday, July 31st. I know it seems really early to start school but they are at a year-round school. We’ve never done year-round school but everyone I know that does it loves it. This is also our first year with public school. I’m bother excited and nervous for my boys. I know they will do fine but sometimes change can be difficult so I’m praying they have an easy transition. Tomorrow we go meet their teachers so I’m hoping that will help ease everyone’s (mostly mine) nerves.

But for now we have a few days left of our official summer so we’re making the most of it with lots of trips to the pool, hanging out with friends and relaxing.I’m excited for them to start this new chapter of school I just don’t know if I’m ready for summer to be over.

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Probiotics for Women

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I’ve been using Jarrow probiotics on and off for several years and have always loved the results I see when using them. Whenever I’ve been pregnant in the past I’ve use them to help regulate bowel movements and keep my pH levels balanced. And with my babies and kids I’ve used Jarrow probiotics to help heal their gut health especially after stomach viruses.

I’ve been taking the yum-yum dophilus, fem dophilus and Jarro-Dophilus for women for a few weeks now and have noticed that the yum-yum dohilus has helped me feel more regular and healthy. They are really easy chewable tablets and taste great which makes them great for my kids to take too. The fem dohuilus have helped during my hormonal shifts and help keep the urinary and vaginal bacteria in check. I also really like that this formula doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated. Additionally, the Jarro-Dophilus for Women has been great at keeping my vaginal microfloral healthy.

Jarro-Dohilus for Women contains four probiotic strains that support vaginal urinary and reproductive tract health. What is great about Jarrow’s formulas is the EnteroGuard enteric coating which allows the probiotic to pass through the stomach unharmed and ready to be released in the intestines intact.

Jarrow also make a variety of other great probiotics for men, women and children all of which help balance pH and healthy bacteria in the body.

Jarro-Dophilus is available at health food stores nationwide and at many online retailers. Visit jarrowprobiotics.com for a full list of locations.

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Weekday Adventures: Sunflower Field

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We joined the several hundred other families that went out to see the sunflower field in bloom along the Neuse River Greenway Trail this week. At first we tried to go on Sunday but the parking was crazy so we waited to go on Monday morning. Not only was the weather a bit cooler but the crowd was considerably smaller.

We parked at the The Mial Plantation access point, 6008 Mial Plantation Rd and walked about a mile along the trail to the Sunflower field. The city of Raleigh started planting the sunflower field a few years ago as an application site for biosolids from the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The sunflowers will be harvested and the seeds will be used to produce biodiesel.

We had a great time walking along the Neuse River Greenway Trail and the boys loved seeing all of the flowers. The boys rode their scooters and we got to talk about waste water, biofuels and of course all of the beautiful nature that surrounded us.