Thoughts on Insanity and Real Estate

I’m fairly sure that all moms feel INSANE.  Like yesterday, I thought to myself, I am going insane.  I am insane.  These kids are driving me insane.  I am going to FREAK OUT if he puts his foot on me one.more.time.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this.  I just think we all feel this way at some time or another.  That’s all I’ve got on that subject.

They’re so cute though.

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Here’s the deal on our home buying front:

We own a nice house in a nice suburb that we renovated and made mostly nice and then decided we wanted to live in the city.  So we rented out our house in the ‘burbs and found a place to rent in the city.  We moved in August so we’ve been here 6 months.  We have 6 months left on our lease.

We’ve since realized… A. We don’t want to live in half a duplex anymore.  The kids are way too loud. B. We would like a place that is more convenient for Aaron’s job.

So we started looking around at houses to rent or buy.  And we’ve talked about moving back to our nice house in the nice suburb.

We went and looked at a house for sale, technically in the city but not really city and we liked it but it’s a fixer upper.  On the scale of the green dungeon we’ve been working on that has been completely gutted and rebuilt, and, what most people think of as a fixer upper, this is somewhere in between.  It’s livable (which is more than I can say about the nice house in the nice suburbs when we bought it) but it’s not nice and not comfortable yet.

So we’re trying to decide whether we want to move back to our old house or take on this new project.

Pros of the new house are:

  • it’s cheap and taxes are LOW
  • we would add to our real estate empire (Aaron’s words)
  • it has a den in addition to 3 bedrooms (sewing room..)
  • it’s kind of fun to take on a new project
  • it’s a great location in regard to Aaron’s job

Cons:

  • there’s no off-street parking
  • it’s overlooking a Mazda dealership (that view though)
  • we’d be living in a project house again
  • small yard
  • not sure about the neighborhood/neighbors

I’m not sure where I’m going with this subject either.  Just writing as I’m thinking about it.

So, what would you do??

–>Move to the new (old) fixer-upper or move back to the renovated comfy house?

 

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Things to do in Pittsburgh: September 2014

After I posted about the new upcoming events widget Monday, I figured out how to embed the calendar in a post.  It’s already the middle of the month so this just shows the remaining events for the month.  You should be able to click on the events to see more details.  I’ll plan on posting October’s calendar at the end of September.

Lot’s of things going on this weekend!

If you’re into yard sales, there is a huge neighborhood yard sale this Saturday in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  60+ families are participating and they even have food trucks coming!  Here’s a link to the website: 4th Annual Point Breeze Yard Sale  It’s 9 AM to 3 PM Saturday, 9/20/14


Family Update

Sam and I are both still a bit sick though we’re on the mend.  I got his cold so now all three of us have had it.  I’ve been napping while he naps this week.

The baby is due two weeks from today.  I should probably think about packing a bag and getting the car seat installed.  When I had Sam, I had a cold and an ear infection and it lingered forever probably because I was so exhausted.  I’m really hoping this cold goes away before the baby comes.

Sam’s new room is coming along.  Aaron finished the painting this weekend and installed the second new window.  The closet now has doors and the new baseboards are all installed.  He just has to finish the trim around the windows and the closet and then we’ll be done!

I’ve been slowly making my way around the house trying to organize and declutter.  We have a small house.  It’s about 1200 square feet, with small closets.  Sometimes I feel like I’d like a bigger house (with a second bathroom and maybe a fourth bedroom/office) and sometimes I think it’s nice to have a small space because it means we have to get rid of stuff and there is less to clean.

The Dining Room Table Makeover

I finally finished painting the dining room table last week!  It was a long, slow process that I drew out forever.

Sam had mother’s day out today so I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and picked out fabric for the chairs.  I also picked up two free stools from a Facebook group and I’m going to recover those as well as the two stools we already had.

Free stools until you spend $40 on batting and fabric…  I want to paint them too but I’m going to hold off on that.  The white stools need to be repainted so I want to do that all together.

The white stools were originally brown and I spray painted them.  Spray painting does not hold up on furniture like that.  Don’t do it!  Or maybe sand and prime and then use a top coat.  Don’t just spray paint like I did.

Sam and I don’t have much going on the rest of the week.  Maybe I’ll break out the finger paints tomorrow. That kid loves to paint.

Painting our dining room table & Upper St. Clair Library & Park

It’s Monday! Last week, during one of Sam’s naps, I decided to paint our dining room table.  It was a rash decision.  I googled “how to paint laminate furniture,” found some primer downstairs and just started.  As soon as I started, I was questioning it.  I guess I thought this would be a really quick project.  Not so!  I’m only 2 coats into the planned 6.

The plan is 2 coats of primer –>2 coats of paint –>2 coats of polycrylic in hopes that the paint won’t just scratch off.  I might “distress” it before applying the top coat that way when it gets actually “distressed” from Sam ramming cars into it, it won’t be a big deal.

The table legs have annoying detail that took a while to prime.  I put one coat of primer on last week and then another coat on yesterday.

Here is the table before I did anything.

And here it is with one coat of primer.

So still no actual paint on the table yet.  It’s a cheapo dining room set that Aaron and I bought from Craigslist when we were engaged because we didn’t have a dining room table and also had no money.  Neither of us were ever really big fans of it so I figured it couldn’t get much worse with painting.

I’m planning on leaving the chairs brown and just recovering the cushions.


A Trip to the Library

This past Friday, Sam and I met some friends at the Upper St. Clair library.  The Mt. Lebanon library is within walking distance of our house so we usually go there but the USC library has more toys and a nice playground right next door.

The USC library has a Lego table, a train table, some other table with toy dinosaurs, a bunch of plastic bins of different toys and games and these cool magnetic letter boards that Sam liked playing with.

The fact that you can play at the playground and then walk over to the library without getting in your car is really the best part of this library.  The playground is a good one too!  The ground is all turf so non-walkers can crawl around safely.  They have a bigger kid play area and a toddler play area.  Of course Sam likes to venture onto the big kid one and it’s REALLY tall.  This results in 35 week pregnant me climbing in after him.  They also have a couple of tennis courts and basketball courts and small, very shallow creek.

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The picture above is the bigger kid portion of the park plus the stone structure is for climbing.  Tomorrow we’re planning to check out Wiltshire Park (also in USC).  They have a big sand box AND a dolphin that sprays water.  Good times!

 

Coupons, Shoes, Pizza, Fan

A Few Random Things


 Coupons

Friday night, Aaron put Sam to bed and I went to Target to do my first serious couponing shopping trip.  It was so confusing!  I was in Target for almost 2 hours…  In the end, I saved $37 in coupons and with the Target Cartwheel app so I was pretty pleased.  My total bill was brought down from about $140 to a little over $100.  We have SO MUCH peanut butter right now.


 A Pair of Tom’s

Remember how I mentioned that I wanted to get Sam a pair of Tom’s shoes?  Well I found a pair for myself on Craigslist last week for $10 so Sam and I ventured to Squirrel Hill to meet the lady to pick them up.

Here’s Sam wandering along Forbes Ave.

And the new (to me) golden, herringbone Tom’s:


Barbecue Chicken Pizza

I made barbecue chicken pizza for dinner one night last week.  The plan was to make regular pizza but we didn’t have any tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese (remember me mentioning that I didn’t follow the meal plan at all).  We also didn’t have any barbecue sauce so I ended up making some.  It was a really easy recipe.

I cooked a giant onion in a skillet over low heat until it was brown and very soft then added a big chicken breast until it was cooked through and then shredded the chicken.

Stretched the pizza dough onto the pan.  Added the chicken:

Then added the barbecue sauce:

Then the onions:

Then grated cheddar cheese:

And bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes:


New Ceiling Fan

Monday night, we finally went to Lowe’s and bought the ceiling fan for Sam’s new room (I had a coupon that was expiring that day).  Aaron put it up last night and it looks great!  I love it!  I want to buy another one for our bedroom now.  He’s also been painting the walls in that room and it’s almost done.  Saturday is dedicated to working on that room.  Exciting life! I know.

Coupons, Couponing

I’m thinking about getting this fan for Sam’s new room.  It’s $85 at Lowe’s and I have a $10 off coupon.

I put up the fencing around the tomato plant but I think larger deer can still reach over and get it.  We’ll see what happens.  Now I can’t get in there either though…  I’m going to have to use a ladder if I ever want to pick a tomato.

I took a trip to Target last night to buy a new pillow.  Sam uses a pillow now and I don’t like sleeping with just one, especially while pregnant.  I also wandered around Target a bit taking pictures of prices of grocery items.  I want to do a food price comparison post for the stores around here — Giant Eagle, Shop n’ Save, Target, Trader Joe’s, maybe Aldi, Whole Foods.  I’m not sure what products they all carry that are similar enough that I can compare.  I know I want to include organic milk and eggs but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

Target also got me thinking about coupons.  Are you a couponer?  I am not but I’m starting to get into it a little .  I just recently started following a couple coupon blogs, Couponcravings.com and Totallytarget.com.  Shopping at Target has become slightly like shopping at Macy’s.  I feel like I can’t buy anything until I check if there’s a coupon.  Target has the Cartwheel app now, plus they have printable coupons on their website and mobile coupons in the Target app.  You can also sign up to get text coupons.  Then there are manufacturer’s coupons.

I ended up sitting in the Target parking lot browsing the Cartwheel app before going in the store just to make sure the things I was going to buy didn’t have “offers” that I might miss.  I might lose out on saving 5%!  I had also printed out some coupons from their website right before I left the house.

You can get some good deals with all the different ways to coupon but it takes time to sift through and then remember to use them.  I ended up using a $1 off coupon for prenatal vitamins and then they were buy 2, get a $5 gift card so that was a good deal.  I also saved 10% on two greeting cards with the cartwheel app.  I’m no couponing pro.

I can see how couponing can become addictive.  You can “stack” coupons (use more than one coupon for the same product) and even get things for free.  I just have to keep asking myself if I would buy the product even if there was no coupon.  Unless it’s completely free, I don’t want to start buying things just because they’re a really good deal.  I’ll end up spending more!

Since I have the time right now and I’m kind of enjoying finding the deals, I’m going to keep doing the couponing thing for a while and see how it goes.  If you want to get into couponing, I’d definitely recommend reading couponcravings.com.  She posts a million deal ideas, printable coupons, freebies (I did a survey for a free magazine subscription today), and coupon codes and tells you what coupons to stack to get the best deals.