Finding a Hidden Gem

This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust Mortgage.  All opinions are my own.

Finding a Hidden Gem

It’s been a little over two years since we moved into our home and we couldn’t be happier. What started as the not so perfect house in the perfect neighborhood is slowly becoming the perfect house surrounded by the best friends! We have a habit of looking for hidden gems. Houses that have a lot of potential if you can see pass either the Pepto-bismol pink master bedroom walls or white kitchen backsplash accented with pastel fruit. However, the floor plans have always been perfect for our ever growing family and with a few touches each house has become our home.  

Owning a home is more than likely one of the biggest financial commitments you will ever make. And finding a manageable mortgage that fits your lifestyle is crucial. To often buyers purchase a house that they cannot afford, or if they can “afford” are now house poor. So much of their monthly income is going to their mortgage that they have to limit the lifestyle they were used to to make the payment. Luckily, SunTrust Mortgage, has a team of experts committed to helping future homeowners with every step along the way. 

When it comes to buying a home, just like on House Hunters, you need a list of “must haves.” What is most important to you and your family when it comes to your home. We sat down and made a list when looking for our current home. On our list location was number ONE. You can change a lot about a house itself, but you can never change where it is located. We also were looking for a neighborhood with young families, a pool, and strong community involvement. Four or more bedrooms and space for a playroom were key. Since we have a young family the zoned elementary school was also important. And finally, staying UNDER our max budget…not a penny over. One thing not on our list was a house that was updated or turn key ready. We don’t mind doing a little work, I guess that is what I mean by hidden gem. Great bones, perfect location, and ready to make our own. 

Sometimes we do have to stray a little bit from our wishlists. For example, ideally I would have preferred that all the bedrooms be on the same level. However, when it came down to it my other must-haves were more important. Distinguishing between must haves and wishlists is important. I suggest making this must-have list before you start house hunting. 

We worked with a great realtor who knew these must haves and our budget.  After several weeks of looking we made an offer on a home that we knew had the potential to be the perfect fit for our family. We negociated back and for because as I mentioned before III refused to go even a penny over budget. And since we were willing to purchase a house that needed a little work, we were able to get the best deal in the neighborhood around that time. With a little work over time we have increased the value of our home and our equity in the house. You can see our kitchen updates here.

 

I’ve mentioned before that III is in accounting and finance, so how and why we spend our money is second nature to him. Each time we’ve bought a home he has spent hours doing research regarding mortgage rates, taxes, monthly mortgage payment possibilities, and how to make sure we don’t have to pay mortgage insurance premium along the way. I wish we would have known about SunTrust Mortgage during our buying process. It would have been great to have so many resources all in one place. 

So are you thinking about purchasing a new home? Then you’ve come to the right spot, because I can point you in the right direction. SunTrust Mortgage has defined the process A to Z in their “Your Guide to Home Buying.” They have answers to everything from “Are you ready to purchase a home?” to planning a monthly budget to account for your new mortgage along with your other expenses. They will help give you the confidence to make your perfect home happen and to purchase responsibly. 
disclosure

At SunTrust Mortgage, we make it a priority to learn all about your unique circumstances. Confidence starts with a conversation. 

Talk with a SunTrust Mortgage expert today. 

This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust Mortgage. All opinions are my own.

 

Meet Poppy!

DSC_0609w

Our sweet baby girl made us a #partyoffive on July 7, 2017. Poppy is here and snuggled up on my chest as I write this post. Newborn snuggles are one of my favorite things in the world! She is currently the sweetest, most laid back little baby! She was born at 7:42pm, weighed 7 pounds and was 20.75 inches long. She is currently being smothered by her big brother and big sister and we are all soaking in her newness! Praise the Lord for a healthy delivery and baby girl, we are forever grateful! 

DSC_0467w

Thanks for sticking around! I promise to be back soon with more recipes, kid activities and hopefully tips for successfully parenting 3 littles 3 and under. We are embracing the chaos and enjoying the journey!

DSC_0517w

Almost Homemade Blueberry Pie

Homemade_Blueberry_Pie_Recipe

III’s favorite dessert is blueberry pie. He said recently a sign of getting older is starting to like more fruity desserts…peach cobbler, strawberry shortcake, and of course blueberry pie. His mom makes the best. I have to agree. III’s parents live on a decent amount of land and have around 25-30 blueberry bushes that have stood the test of time. III tells me stories about when he was little and how he used to pick hours picking them and then take them to sell at a local farmer’s market. He’d make $7.00 for hours of work, but it’d be all his and he was so proud. I had never had blueberry pie until I traveled to LA (lower Alabama), but I glad to say that I can now add it to one of my favorite desserts list as well. And to make things even better, it’s pretty simple to make too!

Simple_Blueberry_Pie

Now, I suppose if you were up for the challenge you could make the pie crust from scratch. I’d give you bonus points and be super proud of you. I didn’t. But if I did I would probably try our this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, basically because I love almost any thing I make using one of her recipes. Plus, she says it’s perfect. Maybe once I get settled in with my three littles three and under I will give it a go. For now, I picked up two pie shells from Publix and made sure I told them thank you for saving me some time on the way out! So, here is the run down. 

blueberry_pie_recipe

Lattice_Pie_Crust

Almost Homemade Blueberry Pie
Serves 6
A deliciously simple homemade blueberry pie
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 cups of fresh blueberries (or frozen completely thawed)
  2. 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup of cornstarch OR 1/2 cup of flour
  4. 1 tbsp cinnamon
  5. 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 tbsp milk
  8. 2 frozen pie crusts (or homemade if you have time!)
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. 2. Set out the pie crust to thaw/reach room temperature (it won't take long)
  3. 3. In a large bowl mix all of the blueberries in the sugar, cornstarch, & cinnamon. If you don't have any cornstarch you can use flour (you'll just need a little more than the amount of cornstarch).
  4. 4. Once the pie crust has thawed pour your blueberry mixture into one of the pie crusts.
  5. 5. Dot the top with small pieces of unsalted butter.
  6. 6. For the lattice, take the other crust out of the pan and lay flat. Use a pizza or pie cutter to slice into strips (about 1/2 inch wide). Carefully thread the trips over and under creating a weave and pinch the ends of each strip to the edge of the bottom pie crust to seal.
  7. 7. In a small bowl mix together the egg and milk. Brush the top and edges of your pie. Then sprinkle the top with a little extra sugar!
  8. 8. Cook the pie at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Then turn down to 350 and allow the pie to continue cooking for another 25 minutes.
  9. 9. Allow the pie to cool for at least 3 hours. This allows the filling time to thicken up to perfection!
Notes
  1. III prefers his extra cool, so he likes it to spend some time in the refrigerator too.
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/
Fresh_Blueberry_Pie

I’ve made this pie twice in the past few weeks and it hit the tastebuds right each time! For the 4th of July I added stars to the top instead of the lattice. Turned out pretty cute and festive if I do say so myself. 

square_blueberry_pie

Fourth of July Round Up

babies and the beach

For as long as I can remember we’ve always celebrated the 4th of July at the beach. And then last year, we mixed things up and went the week before the 4th. The same was true for this year, and so last week my dad’s side of the family all headed to the sand & surf…well, except me & III, because at 36+ weeks pregnant & at risk for preterm labor, I couldn’t go :/ However, my amazing parents, sister, and brother took on the task of beaching with a 3 & 2 year old and picked up my kiddos (and our NEW van!) to make the 6 hour trip. The kids had SUCH an amazing time and my family was reminded that the beach with kids is a trip, not a vacation. While they were gone, I got in a LOT of rest, a few date nights with III, and checked the last little bit off my to do list before Poppy arrives!

So with the impending arrival of baby girl, we don’t have any definitive 4th of July plans, but I’m sure ice cream and the pool will be involved! Here are a few treats from years past maybe I’ll try to pull off! Oh, and a blueberry pie. III’s mom shared her recipe and I recreated it the other day. AMAZING. I’ll be sharing soon!

Independence Cookie Pops
July 4th_Cookie Pops

Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

fourth_of_july_dessert

4th of July Candy Stars

4th-of-July-Stars_10-682x1024

Happy 4th of July!! We are so thankful for those who continue to protect and fight for our freedom!

“Land of the free, because of the Brave.”

Sprout’s Birth Story

DSC_0619w

Seeing as we are less than three weeks, maybe even only a few days, away from meeting our precious baby #3, Poppy, I thought now might be a good time to write up Sprout’s birth story. I’ve been thinking a lot about the birth of both Chickadee and Sprout and how God watched over us during their unexpected deliveries and those first few beautiful hours and days in the hospital as He grew our family. You can read about Chickadee’s birth story here. Adding Sprout was a little bit more crazy but just as wonderful!

……….

DSC_0576w

Sprout, was such an amazing surprise in so many ways. We found, a little unexpectedly, in September of 2014 when his sister was just 10 months old that his small life had begun. I was nursing and while I knew it was possible to become pregnant, I just didn’t think it was likely. It was exciting and overwhelming, but we knew God’s hand was on his life from the beginning. As if things were not already about to get crazy for us with two well under two years old, we also moved into our new house when I was 33 weeks pregnant.

picmonkey_image

We knew I was at risk for preterm labor, but since your sister was born at 37.5 weeks, we thought we had some time to get settled. However, around 34.5 weeks I thought I was having contractions in my back. The doctors ran some non-stress tests and assured me from what they could tell all was well and he was still happy and baking. You surprised them too!

The next day, April 10th we went to bed praying my back pain would cease. I said to III that we needed to come up with a plan for Chickadee (we have no family in town) in case Sprout decided to come earlier than expected. He said we would figure it out the next day. Well….around 12:30am he decided he was ready & my water broke on the way back from the bathroom! This led to the most intense contractions that seemed to never stop. We called several friends and finally Katie, from our small group, picked up (it was the middle of the night :/). She headed over to sit at the house with Chickadee until aunt Rachel (she was the closest!) could get here from Alabama. III packed a bag of the most random things, luckily the camera made it, and as soon as Katie pulled in we headed to the hospital excited and nervous to meet our newest little one! Honestly the contractions were so intense that I was convinced I was going to give birth in the car on the way to the hospital, but thankfully we made it in plenty of time.

I continued to battle pretty bad contractions (med-free) until they were ready to begin the c-section (he was breech like his sister) around 4:30am. As they were prepping me for surgery, his heart rate dropped to 50bpm and everything became very urgent.

DSC_0553

The doctors began to move very quickly and Sprout was born within minutes at 5:06am. We were ecstatic to learn we had a healthy baby BOY! Sprout is named after his great grandfather, grandfather, & daddy. There were some concerns with baby boy being 5+ weeks early. However, we were at ease once we knew his lungs were strong & he was a good size for less than 35 weeks. He weighed in at 5lbs 13oz and was 19.5 inches long. He did have to make a precautionary trip to the NICU due to his earliness. I wasn’t able to see him for almost 12 hours and it was heart wrenching. Luckily, lots of family had made it to Atlanta and he was surrounded by his daddy, grandparents, and aunts & uncle getting lots of love.

Sprout_collage

Later that night I was finally able to hold him in my arms, and sweet boy my heart grew even bigger. Sprout is such a gift and we are so thankful for how God watched over all of us that day. Our NICU stay was short as Sprout made great progress really quickly. The nurses were great, very encouraging, and loved on him when we couldn’t be there ourselves. He was able to come home a week to the day after he was born. We are so blessed by our little man, and we know that God has had his hand on him from the beginning.

IMG_6740w

His is still so smiley, expressive, and loves to snuggle. God has worked in his life already and blessed us to the fullest these past two years! We pray that one day our Sprout will move mountains for the Lord. We love you baby boy!

IMG_6767w