Monday, July 21, 2014

Seth's Lego Birthday Party

Today is my son Seth's 5th birthday.  He decided he wanted to have a Lego Movie birthday party at the skating rink.  Of course they don't make Lego Movie party supplies yet, so that left me with the task of making everything.  I searched on Pinterest for a few of the ideas, but thought I would share them with you all so that you can have your own Lego birthday party as well.

I went with primary colors for everything.  I bought the plates, napkins, tablecloth and plasticwear at Target.  They had a great deal, 60 plates or napkins for $3 each.  The tablecloths and plasticwear were also $3 each.  The cups I bought at Sams were around $8 for 140.


There were a lot of posts about utensil holders made out of Legos.  My husband decided to take it one step further and make it into a little house.  Complete windows, flowers, and a front door.  
It turned out super cute!


Since the party started at 3, we provided snacks.  I served Black Bean and Corn Salsa with chips (not pictured), Colored Goldfish, Sour Patch Kids, Pretzels, and Juice Boxes.


I bought the cupcakes from Sams as well.  It was just under $15 for a quantity of 30.  I ordered half chocolate and half white cake with white icing and sprinkles.
My husband also made the Lego 5 as a party decoration.


I topped them with these little Lego candies I found on Amazon.  The candles I picked up at Party City.


For party favors, I made Rice Krispie Treats and topped them with a little white icing and stuck Mini M&M's to them.


I bought the favor bags at Target and printed the Lego Tags for free on cardstock.  I cut them out and stapled them to the bags.


The banner I bought at a local party supply store, they actually had it on clearance for $4.  It's from Lego City instead of the movie, but I couldn't pass it up.


Seth with his friends.


I also picked up a Lego Movie Shirt from Target for $9.


He had a blast!  I can't believe he's already 5!  Hope these ideas help out with your Lego Party!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Burying Saint Joseph

About a month ago, my Mom suggested we bury St. Joseph in our yard.  I have heard this many times over the years when trying to sell a home.  It's an old Catholic tale.  You bury him upside down facing towards your home.  He works to get your house sold so that he can be placed upright again.  Once your home sells you remove the statue and give him a place of honor in your new home.  We bought the kit, and a few weeks went by with no activity.  Last Sunday out of no where, we had 3 viewing requests, one of which later included an offer.  Thank you Saint Joseph!

This meant we now had to find a place to live.  We went and looked at a few homes that were new to the market.  We placed an offer on the home we were going to buy before as we felt bad how the deal fell through and were already invested in the home.  The sellers had lowered their price by 1k however since we had our contract to purchase it, so we offered their new price and everything else the same.  They countered for the original price we had agreed upon, which just made us angry and we walked away.  Here's a pro tip:  If your home is a 5 years old and they are building new homes in your neighborhood for 5k more, don't mess around with offers.  Accept them if you really want to move.  Especially if they are good offers, i.e. your full listing price.  

Now we're buying the NEW house across the street and we're going to be neighbors.  AND we get to customize the new house since it's not finished being built yet.  AND the builder is going to pay our closing costs.  It's funny how things work out.  

  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My All Time Favorite Childhood Meal - Tunafish Casserole


My Mom used to make this recipe for me ALL the time when I was little.  It was my absolute favorite.  I believe she got the recipe from a church cookbook, but I'm not sure what church or even how long ago. Normally I cook this in a glass casserole dish about 8x8, but in this case I only had a metal pan available and it worked just as well.  Not only is this quick and easy to make, but it's also budget friendly!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients:

  • Can of Tuna, drained
  • Can of Cream of Chicken Soup (or Cream of Mushroom)
  • 1 Cup Cheddar, shredded (I prefer Sharp)
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces Elbow Noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 Sleeve Saltine Crackers, crushed 
  • 3 Tbsp Butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  While your noodles are cooking, in a casserole dish combine Tuna, Cream of Chicken Soup, Cheddar Cheese, and Onion.

3.  Melt Butter in Frying Pan and add Crushed Crackers, stirring continuously on Medium Heat until browned.

4.  Once noodles are cooked, stir into soup mixture.  Smooth evenly.
5.  Top casserole with crushed crackers
6.  Bake for 30 mins.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dying to go on Vacation

Usually by now I've got some sort of vacation booked and ready to go.  However, our house selling issue  has made vacation nearly impossible.  I'm afraid to leave our dogs at home and get a text saying that someone wants to look at our house; I always take them with us when we have a showing request.  Also since we lost money on the house we aren't buying, our funds are tight.  I was really hoping that we were going to have a trip to Dallas soon and would be buying new furniture from IKEA for our new house.  I so love IKEA, I could seriously spend a week there.  I'm so depressed about it.

We also LOVE cruises!  We've been on 5 Carnival Cruises and I was planning a cruise in the back of my mind for this summer too, even though it was impossible.  I just had some hope that some way, some how it would happen and now that too is out of the question.  I guess we could go camping but ugh...the heat would just kill us.  Tent camping is NO fun in the middle of Summer here in Arkansas.

Some of the ladies in our play group have these awesome Disney vacations planned.  I'm jealous but I would never attempt Disney; the thought of it gives me panic attacks.  To fly or not, where to stay, shuttles or rental cars, the lines, kids whining wanting everything in sight, the prices marked up 100% just because they can.  No thank you.

I've got to figure out something though, before I lose my mind!  Maybe I should just start scoping out the Groupon Deals.  Surely something will come along soon that I can snatch up at a good price.  What are your favorite family getaways?


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our House Selling Issues

Our house has been on the market for a little over 3 months.  Within one month of being on the market, we had an offer.  We accepted even though we were reluctant.  The deal was...they would give us full asking price and we would pay their closing, home warranty, and give them my brand new french door refrigerator.  I was not happy about the fridge;  seriously not happy because we still owed money for it.

Thursday at 5 pm, the day before closing, I received an email from my closing guy as well as a call from our realtor saying that we weren't closing the next day.  This timing however was too late regarding moving out and shutting off utilities.  From what we understood, we would be closing early the next week.  Since we weren't closing on our new house for another 3 weeks, we (my husband, 4 year old son, 11 month old son, myself, our two dogs, and fish) moved into my Mom's in-law quarters in the downstairs of her home. Everything we didn't need for the time being went into storage.  

We understood that the reasoning for the delayed closing was something regarding debt to income ratio, but no problems were anticipated as they had a fix.  Nearly a week later we still hadn't closed and were in limbo.  However during this time, we found out that the people which we thought were first time home buyers were not in fact first time home buyers -- they had a mobile home to sell and their buying our home was contingent on that;  this was never in our original contract!  Had we known this, we would not have rushed out to find a new home, placed an offer, paid for inspection, paid for appraisal, moved everything into storage, etc etc.  Finally we were fed up as we weren't getting much information relayed to us.  We gave the buyers a deadline on Wednesday.  We said they had to let us know by Thursday at noon if they were going to be closing with us and when.  They sent us a contract modification stating they would be buying our home contingent on the close of their mobile home with a closing date of 2 weeks later;  we accepted.  I mean we were already out, what else were we supposed to do?  Not even 24 hours later our realtor received an email stating they would not be buying our home due to not being able to sell their mobile home.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  

There's a bit of back story involved.  Our realtor said that we might consider filing a law suit against the buyers and filing a complaint against the buying realtor for not informing us of the contingency of the sale of the mobile home.  She also relayed this information to the buying realtor.  Everyone involved on our side of the deal were really being left in the dark about everything which is what led to our realtor telling the buying agent about the possible lawsuit/complaint.

After all that went down, we put our house back on the market.  We lost the home we were buying, as well as any money towards it.  We were out the money on the repairs on our home that we had done per the buyers request, storage fees, and money required to turn all the utilities back on.  When I say the repairs on our home and we were out the money, you might think...you're really not out that money...I mean it is your home...right?  Well one would think that.  However some were just stupid, that we would have NEVER done, but we complied with the buyers because that is what they wanted.  

This brings you to where we are now, nearly 4 weeks later.  We've moved back in, somewhat.  Most of our stuff is still in storage.  We haven't had a single showing,  NOT A SINGLE ONE!  I believe what has happened is that the buying agent has been trash talking our agent to others making them not show the house.  So how do we remedy this?  We switched agents last week;  my mother is now our agent.  She is a part-time realtor in addition to her full time job which she is retiring from at the end of the month.  I feel horrible about letting our other agent go as she did nothing wrong.  She's a fantastic realtor and really worked hard for us.  I had my Mom put our old agent down as the co-agent so she at least gets some sort of compensation from the sale -- if it ever sells that is.  I'm not sure if the timing is bad with graduations, tons of rain, vacations... but I'm really hoping having a new name on the sign in the yard will help.  Everyone that comes to our home loves it.  They all say it's super cute and huge open floor plan.  We've done a ton of improvements and it really shows.  New roof, A/C, Heat, Carpet, Hot Water Heater, Dishwasher, and Paint in every room.  

I honestly don't know what else to do.  I'm afraid to file the complaint against the buying realtor because it will probably never sell in that case.