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Monday, October 9, 2017

Baby's First Painting Class

Join us for Baby's First Art Class!
Ages 3 & under
We have small and large canvases available. (Lrg is shown in pic)
Fees include all supplies - Just bring you and baby!
Sm. Canvas: $25
Lg. Canvas: $45
We will be painting in the grass with edible non-toxic fingerpaints.
Class will be from 1-3pm at the Mineola Nature Preserve - We will meet by the pavillion.
All supplies will be provided. Bring clothes baby can get dirty or let them paint in their diaper!
Weather looks to be nice and sunny!
Sign up now to reserve your spot in class!
Deadline to sign up 10/12/17
Canvas Size

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Latte Shake

I literally count the days to Fall every year...I...love...everything...about Fall! I get up earlier (even though its still dark out) I have energy (weird, right?!) and I actually get up and workout without bitching! (imagine that?!? lol)  
One of the other things that motivates me in the morning is my Shakeology! Not like I need a reason to eat or drink seasonal stuff, but here's one of my fave recipes! I hope you enjoy! What's your fave!?


Monday, October 31, 2016


Hey ghouls! Well, its been a few days since Ive heard about any of the clown madness, but still, we are getting home before dark and gonna Netflix & chill!

Wishing you all the happiest halloween! Be careful out there and always have fun!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First Time Homebuyers: Avoid these 5 things

Buying your first home? Exciting and scary, right?! I know that once you get pre approval from your lender to start house shopping its easy to go full force and jump into what you might feel in your heart to be "the one", so here are 5 mistakes to avoid that will save you money, tears an regret:
1. Separate Your Emotions - I know this is hard - buying your first home is an all around emotional event. Keep your cool, stay level headed, ask questions and research! Don't buy it just because you love the pool or the color of the kitchen....Remind yourself that this is the biggest financial decision you have had to make in your life....Its an investment - so be sure you are getting the most for your $ and will get a good return on investment when/if you decided to sell in the future.
2. Get a good realtor. Period. Having a good realtor will be your best resource in everything you do related to your new home and future homes. A good realtor will know the market, programs available for first time  homebuyers and anything else about your potentially new neighborhood that you need to know. Another thing to know is that you do not have to go through the listing agent to see or buy a house. Just about any realtor can show you any home....Find a good realtor and let them make this a great experience.
3. Skipping your home inspection. Again, this is a huge financial investment, you wouldn't want to buy and be locked into a loan for a house you thought was perfect but not until you moved in did you realize the walls were filled with termites and the electrical was from the 1800's. lol Seriously, this will help you determine if its the best investment for you and it allows you to know what is wrong or needs attention. Do.Not.Skip.Inspection.
4. Money. Yup, money. You need to know how much you can afford, first off, but you need to also ask yourself: does your loan payment include taxes & insurance? How much down do I need. Is my rate fixed or adjustable....Ask these questions, research. Be confident you can afford your new home. Also, don't go spending money either, like new cars or big ticket items....Wait until after you close on your home if you need to make a big purchase.
5. Rushing. Take your time. Have questions? Get answers. Research. Research. Research...then research some more. It is so important to not rush into the first house you fall in love with...Make a list of what you want in your first home like size, community, schools, shopping, taxes...so many things...Don't rush into this...Its like a marriage, long term...you have to be happy with this decision and it be the best for your and your family.

Hope you find those tips helpful. Please subscribe for future posts!

Friday, February 5, 2016

5 Simple, Quick & Healthy Meals

Crock pot stuffed peppersNext week I will be doing the 21 Day Fix again and so Im preparing my meal plan for the first week. I found that Pinterest is my favorite source of inspiration. So, below, find my 5 meals for next week and shout out to the bloggers linked!

  Since, I have a pretty large family and cooking separate meals for my family and then me just doesn't make sense. So, here are 5 Dinners I will be shopping for and preparing this weekend for the whole family! You can imitate my meals or customize for yourself. if you are following along! If you click on the link it will take you the recipe.

Now - some of these will be freezer meals so I can just get them out and either pop them in the crockpot before work or toss in a pan when I get home.
Lemon Garlic Chicken from @simplyhanchoredblog
Lemon Garlic Chicken from @Simplyanchoredblog

1. Crockpot Shredded Chicken Tacos
2. Mexican Lasagna
3. Crock pot stuffed enchilada peppers
4. Sauce for spaghetti or whatever pasta you want to use & Sloppy Joes
5. Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Italian Sausage & Roasted Tomato Pasta

Let me just start out by saying that this turned out ahhh.mazing! I had some cherry tomatoes that the neighbor gave us from their garden and knew I couldn't eat enough salads before they went bad, so I perused on Pinterest and tweeked this a bit to come up with this yummy concoction!
First, you'll need your ingredients:
1 whole yellow onion, quartered and sliced
2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes or roma tomatoes cubed

1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic (in jar)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
basil - for spinkling over top
-Toss above ingredients in a bowl to coat the veggies.
-Prepare a baking sheet with foil (or not - I do it to reduce on the cleaning)
-Pour the uncooked ingredients from the bowl that you coated, onto the baking sheet...let the oil drip until its about gone. :)
-Slow roast on 250 for about 3 hours.I didn't pre-heat, I just threw it in there about 5 minutes or so after turning on the oven.

When the veggies have about 30 minutes left to roast - you will want to cook 1 pkg of spaghetti or linguini as per package instructions.
Brown 1lb of mild Italian sausage with a sprinkle of brown sugar. (brown sugar optional)
When the sausage was done I added alfredo sauce (just plain classic alfredo - I used the sauce in a jar but feel free to make from scratch with flour, parmesan and milk) and let it simmer on the stove - by this time your veggies should be roasted - add them to the alfredo/sausage sauce. Let simmer covered while you waited for the noodles to finish cooking.
Once the noodles are cooked and drained. Return noodles to pot or large serving bowl. Stir in the roasted veggies alfredo sauce and toss with noodles. I added some more red pepper flakes.
Maybe top with some fresh parmesan cheese or bacon!

You're ready to serve!

Make sense? I'm not the expert on recipe writing - I'm better just showing you - :P so please forgive me if something sounds confusing but please let me know so I can edit it!


This turned out so good! Let me know how it turned out for you and if you made any adjustments! Bon Apetit!
Until next time!
I always love hearing from y'all!

Friday, January 22, 2016

USDA - Rural Housing Loans

USDA Rural Housing
Whenever I tell people that our mortgage is through the USDA they automatically think "beef".....LOL Not the case. If you are a rural resident, USDA offers an amazing opportunity for funding where you may otherwise not be qualified through FHA, your bank or other lenders.  Here are the two types of residential loans, and my two cents on the one we got for our first home.

First off, let me just tell you that people love to say no. They love to tell you you aren't ready or do this first or you need this....I wasn't having it....If there is a will there is a way, damnit! :P Seriously, I had already tried 2 times to get buy our first house, each time being turned down, but learning some valuable things. We had even gone to our banker about a car loan, but also talked to him about buying our first home. He looked at our credit report and of course told us that we would  need to save 20% and pay off some of the debt and increase our score well over 650, etc., etc....This was the Summer of 2009...In August 2010 we closed on our first house. I'll tell you how.....

Our situation was something like this:

#1. We had lots of old debt - so here's what I did over the course of several months: I went through our credit reports, you can get a free copy from all 3 bureaus once a year. I used annualcreditreport.com , wrote letters to creditors listed in my reports (be sure to check for misinformation or duplicates)  either disputing or asking for proof that it was even my/hubs debt. This takes a month or two to start hearing back, but because some were so old, they were not verifiable from being sold off so many times, they were deleted from our reports. The debt that was verified, I went through and offered settlements. I found some letters/templates online and just customized them. Because some were so old like over 3 years, I offered ridiculously low settlements and was accepted on all but just a few. For example, Hubs owed an old Verizon phone bill that had been sold off to a debt management company several times over, the bill was over $1,000, I settled it for $25. No lie.  You just need to be diligent, write the letters disputing and then offering settlements, you do not have to be a lawyer or know one, just find the right letter to imitate online for free and make your offers. (that you can afford to pay promptly upon their acceptance).
Other debt we made payment arrangements for and within about 6-8 months, our credit score went from being in the 400's to 580, which awesomely is acceptable for a USDA loan. Also, USDA will somewhat dismiss or forgive debt that is over 3 years old, medical or school related.

#2. We had no $ saved for a down payment (I had just spent anything we had on resolving our debt) but I was determined to buy a house, I was sick of renting from slumlords and I went ahead and applied for a loan, provided all the information they required to make a decision and waiting on a pre-approval letter so I could start house hunting (although, I was already house hunting - but to let the sellers and Realtor know we were serious and qualified buyers, you need this letter)...Seriously, the loans can be up to 100% including closing fees, so don't freak out thinking you need 20% down, because you don't always need a down payment.

#3. Realtor or Not - We had a realtor that we had working with us, and I say "with" not "for" because I did about  95% of the work. She pretty much just printed MLS sheets for us and opened doors. I found all of the houses and did the research for the area, vendors, etc. We are a family of 6..She was wanting to show us 2 bedroom houses...Grrr!
We eventually found our new home - for sale by owner and she did not want to use a Realtor. This was fine. Her and I both did what we could to get things done for the title company, USDA and whatever else needed to be done. We learned a lot along that way, too! Especially, trying to understand the inspections report! :P I wish I had a better realtor, but hey, she inspired me to know what is expected from a home buyer, especially a first time rural homebuyer.  She had no idea the programs available to me. I was actually telling her. This is a huge investment and you will need to do a lot of reading and asking and comparing....Its worth it, you should not go into this assuming other people will let you know what you should or trusting that everyone is working in your best interest. Always prepare and educate yourself.

Here are the Single Family Housing Programs offered through the USDA.  Click on links to be directed to the USDA's website on the topic with the details you need to find out if you qualify and how to apply.  These loans are directed to low income families in rural areas (now, don't assume you are or aren't low income, Click here for Income Eligibility. )

Direct Home Loans

Guaranteed Home Loans: (this is what we have)

Housing Repair Loans & Grants:

USDA offers hope where you think there may be none anytime soon. Spend some time on their website for details on eligibility and where/how to apply and answers to other questions you may not realize you have.  I encourage you to at least talk to someone about your options and as always, message me with questions! I'd love to help you!

Was this post helpful? Have your own tips or resources? Comment below or ask me about being a guest blogger!
 Until next time!