Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Closing

As we are getting more settled into our little apartment and we are getting closer to Thanksgiving I thought I would use this time to tell you all how our closing went.

Selling our house to downsize I am fully aware is not the norm in our culture. Everyone is pushed to want bigger and better.

Selling our house and moving into an apartment doesn't mean that I do not want bigger and better too! For instance I dream to have a kitchen like this...

Or my own little craft room/office that has every color in the rainbow.


What it does mean is that I want to have those things when I can pay for them out right.

So many people have left sweet and concerned comments and emails saying are you sure that you should be selling right now? There might be a better way to get our of debt. And other things that I would totally be saying a little over a year ago.

And no this is not the best market to sell in, but I will say that God blessed us by selling our house so fast. We are one of the very few non short sales that sold in our neighborhood or even our area. In Chicago I know is a lot worse then other areas right now with the housing market.

But I will be honest even when we got a contract on our house for almost our asking price and then the inspection when AMAZING. All we had to do was clean the chimney. 

Did you read that... ALL we had to do was clean the chimney!

But I also started doubting our decision. 

When we drove to the office for our closing I was so sick to my stomach. I was seriously doubting our decision. I didn't want to leave our pretty house with all our great neighbors. I work hard on that house and I had sooooo many more plans of what I could do with it. But alas, we were now stuck with selling the house.

So I told myself...fine then I don't have to like the people taking my house from me.
I even told Mr. Genius that if they say one bad thing about my house I am calling the whole thing off. 

I am sure I said it with my bottom lip sticking out and my arms crossed and my feet stomping the floor...just like a mature Christ-loving woman should be acting.

So we sat down at closing and the couple buying our house walked in. And of course to my dismay, they were nice people. 


And the wife was holding an adorable 4 week of little girl.

Double Drat!

They walked in shook both our hands telling us how excited they are to be buying our house and how much they love all the things we have done to it. Talked in detail about how the colors were perfect and the trim work we did.

Then I thought well they must be pretty ok if they compliment all the work I have done. 

So I reluctantly talked to the wife in between signing all the papers. 

We found out that there were moving here from the a suburb of Washington DC. They have a 3 year old that has the same birthday as my Romeo. 

By the end of it I felt like we were friends. I was ok with handing over my house to them. Not happy about it, but ok with it.

But my friends it gets better...this next part showed me that God's hand was in every detail of this sale. 

While we were waiting for the HUD. Apparently that is the last thing you need to show that the sale is final. 

I turned to the husband and asked what he did for a living, he said that he sold telecommunication systems.

I half smiled and solemnly said "Aw, that is what my dad sold."

Then Mr. Genius asked, "Did you happen to know Ted Spottswood (my dad)?"

The guys face turned white and his mouth dropped open. 

He said, "Uh yeah, I worked very closely with him the last 5 years he was with us. I knew him very well."

I was in shock. 

"You know my dad?" in a small almost little girl voice, is all I could get out cuz I just broke down and cried. 

The husband stood up and said the most wonderful things about my dad. Things I already knew about him, but it is just refreshing to hear them from other people. 

He then too started to cry and came over and gave me a hug. 

His wife knew my dad's name due to the fact her husband was very upset when he found out my dad died.

My realtor had left the room for a second and then saw I was upset and well pretty much everyone in the room but the 4 week old baby was crying. 

When she came in we told her about the new buyers knowing my dad. She of course was amazed but she grabbed my arm and starting shaking it saying over and over. "Katie, this is AMAZING! Katie, This is just a God thing!"

Which I totally agree with. 

I mean just thing about it. A couple that is originally from TN and another couple that is from DC move and meet up in a far suburb of Chicago over one house! Then what we have in common is my dad!
This was the confirmation I needed to absolutely know with every fiber in my being that we are doing the right thing by selling our house right now.

Although it really made me miss my dad even more. I wanted to call him so bad to tell him what happened.

So friends, if you are rolling around in your head about making hard decisions to get completely out of debt. Do it! And then come here and tell me what blessing that God gave you and revealed to you in the process.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Pictures

Today was a pretty day here in Chicago.

The sun was out!

It maybe the last day we see the sun this year, so I took advantage of it.

We got the boys out to take their pictures for our yearly Christmas cards.

Can I say that those of you that are photographers...I tip my hat to you.

It was a job and a half to get these boys to look in the same directions.

Here are some outtakes from today.

Really big tree, two little boys...

This is when I remembered that Wild Man had been smacking on gum.

Here they are debating over who has the biggest belly.

Then they just started getting loopy.

So I asked then to stand still...


Then they were just over it and we called it a day.

Out of the almost one hundred pictures we took, we have one that is Christmas card worthy.

Thank goodness we have one good picture, so it wasn't a lost cause.

Have you all taken your Christmas pictures yet?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Repairpal Mobile app

Last week I was asked it I wanted to review an iPhone app called RepairPal 2.0 Mobile.

This is how it was described to me:

RepairPal 2.0 Mobile is a new app that tries to make car maintenance and repairs as simple and painless as possible. Also, It could save you money! The new app helps you:

  • Make sure you get a fair price on auto repair
  • Know the fair price for your auto repair 
  • Find shops and dealerships near you 
  • Get expert advice from real professionals

Well I have been having some funky stuff going on with my minivan and in our family I do the house stuff and Mr. Genius does all of the car stuff. Seriously if any light on my car turns on I call him in a panic. And for the past 2 months I have had two lights on that won't go away.

Plus two maintenance phrases that keep coming up.

The low brake fluid light is still on even after the Mr. Genius filled the brake fluid up to almost overflowing, and it isn't leaking.

So I got the RepairPal App and started working it.

You set it up and put in what kind of car you have what year your car is.

Once you set that up you can put in reminders. Which would have been wonderful to have when we lived in the house cuz Mr. Genius did all the oil changes and brake pads and routers. This would have helped up to keep up with how long ago we did those things.

Then I went to my local car repair shop...BY MYSELF!

This was very scary for me cuz I know these guys are going to talk about things I do not know about and I feel like they are going to take advantage of my ignorance and tell me I have to get things done that I do not need.

So I went and asked for a diagnosis which only costs $12.

As I sat out there they came out and said that they think it is the Master Cylinders. I smiled and pretended I knew what they are talking about, then when he went back to put my car back together I looked up on the RepairPal app what a Master Cylinder is.

Not only does it go into detail what the Master Cylinder is, it also gives you and estimate of how much it would be.

The estimate my local Firestone gave me was on the high end of what RepairApp said it would be. But it was within the range.

They also recommended a bunch of other things to do that ended up equaling out to be over $1100!! Yeah right!

So I circled the two that needed to be done with the replacement of the Master Cylinders and when you do that you have to get your Brake system flushed. RepairApp did mention that too!

I took this quote home and then looked at what places around me that where recommended.

When I called the recommended places then were $100-200 cheaper!

I ended up going with the Ollie's Garage and made an appointment for next Friday!

The only thing I let my husband know about was what I decided to do!

This app definitely did give me the confidence boost I needed to feel like I can do "car stuff" on my own. So now when he is out of town I won't be as worried about car repairs.

If you and your husband do not know a lot about cars or your husband is gone A LOT and it makes you sick to your stomach when you have to take your car in for repairs. I definitely recommend this app!

The RepairPal 2.0 Mobile app sells for US$4.99. Click here to purchase the RepairPal 2.0 Mobile App or to learn more about it.

On a side note: We are settling into our apartment. It is a little adjustment moving from a 3600 sq ft house to an 1100 sq ft apartment. But it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. 

Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Room Place

Today we sold our house!

Also as of today we are COMPLETELY....

That is until we buy another house. Whenever that may be. But how awesome would it be to pay cash for our next house?! I don't know if I can wait that long to be a home owner and paint walls and just make a house my own.

We will be moving next weekend, so we are literally over our heads with boxes. We couldn't find our perfect place that met all our needs at the moment so we are temporarily moving into a two bedroom apartment. Yep, this is going to be a drastic change, but in this process I am getting to get rid of A LOT of our items.

Can I tell you how good it feels to purge? I LOVE it! I have sold sooooo much stuff (Craigslist, how I love you) and thrown away a gazillion little papers and broken plastic toys.

We are also getting a storage unit so I am not getting rid of everything...just the stuff that I don't love anymore.

Eventhough I am not getting rid of the things that have sentimental value, Mr. Genius won't let me get rid of our couches.

You remember my green couch?

It also comes with this chair.

I am ready for a change...big time. Almost 8 years with the same furniture is a long time in my terms. So I can't help but make my eyes a wander to the pretties that I see on the internet.

Up here in Chicago there is a furniture called the room place. I think it is similar to Rooms to Go that we had in TN.

I first ran across the room places bedroom furniture when I was looking for a big boy bed for my little Romeo.

Then my eyes wondered onto these couches. In so looking at these couches. I feel like each couch has its own personality. It is hard looking for couches. The couch really has to fit your personality, your style, your decor.

Totally different syle then my current couches. I am just so ready for a change. Couldn't you see stark white pillows and steel blue curtains? I feel like I need to move to a swanky loft in downtown Chicago with this sectional.

This one looks comfy enough to take a nap on...

I like the color...not so much the style. I think my grandmother used to have this couch.

I feel like this one should be at a psychiatrist office. Which makes me think of the Veggie Tales video of "I love my lips". Now that song is stuck in my head.

This one makes me feel like I need to put on a petticoat under my Sunday best and drink some sweet tea.

So my eyes may continue to wonder for our perfect new couch.

*Mr. Genius sighs a big sigh of relief*

But maybe one of those fit your style.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Keep this Handy...

Packing, packing, packing. Phew, this is a job. Even though we have had two garages sales and sold countless things on Craigslist...we still have a lot of stuff.

Anyways, I ran across this list a couple of months ago and I keep it on my fridge as a reminder and I think you all would find it very informative so I thought I would share.

A study was conducted by the The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. 

The study was called "The Importance of Family Dinners"

Children Who Have Regular Sit-Down Family Dinners Are:

1. At half the risk for substance abuse compared to teens who dine infrequently with their families.

2. Less likely to have friends or classmates who use drugs.

3. have lowers levels of tension and stress at home.

4. Are more likely to say that their parents are proud of them.

5. Are likelier to say they can confide in their parents.

6. Are likelier to get better grades in school.

7. Are more likely to be emotionally content and have positive peer relationships.

8. Have healthier eating habits.

9. Are at lower risk for thoughts of suicide.

10. Are less likely to try marijuana or have friends who use marijuana.

Kind of puts things in perspective, huh?

I know later on in life it will get harder for us to have a sit down dinner with our boys. When they get in all the sports, and have more freedom to hang out with their friends. Mr. Genius and I are hoping that us starting the tradition so early in the boys lives that it will be harder for us to break this habit. At least that is the hope.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guest Post from Hometalk

Today I have a guest blogger. Jakob from who wants to talk about some neat new ways to make your own gift wrapping. With the holiday's coming up I think you will enjoy!


DIY Holiday Gift Wrap

True, there’s still a good amount of time before the holidays but if you are interested in making gift wrap from scratch there’s no better time than now to start keeping an eye out for materials.

First of all, understand that wrapping gifts going to friends and loved ones with self made coverings isn’t just about saving a few dollars on those rolls of paper which can often be very generic looking, too loud, or to blah.

When someone takes the time to uniquely wrap a gift the extra effort shines through enhancing the experience of the one receiving it.

In essence, presentation says a lot; even when the focus is giving!

That said, here are a few ideas for the DIYer who wants to go the extra mile and make their own wrap:

Fall leaves: Yes, believe it or not this is an amazing way to cover smaller gifts. Ideally, try and collect leaves that have already changed color but are not so crisp they’ll disintegrate when bent. Then, take some large swaths of news print or other paper and start gluing them on. After you have a nice layer and they are dried place in a safe place until gifts have been purchased and are ready to be wrapped.

Newspaper/magazines: Certain gifts may be related to popular culture or current events. Wrapping them in images from newspapers or magazines sometimes makes the anticipation all the more exciting.

Wood scraps: Very often lumber businesses will allow others to search through their waste and take what they want. This is a perfect opportunity to find pieces to make boxes for gifts that can then be painted. Occasionally you may find some scraps from trim carpentry that can also be used as decorations around the sides. When all is said and done going this route is like giving two gifts in one!

Old posters: Let’s face it. There comes a time when certain things just don’t mean as much as they once did, a prime example being old posters. If you feel it’s appropriate try using them as wrapping paper. They are fun and can bring back a lot of memories.

Photographs: This is one of my favorite ways to wrap gifts. First, take pictures of the intended recipient of the gift, of the two of you together or simply random shots. Then, just like with the leaves stick them firmly to swaths of paper, let them dry and place in a safe place until the gift is in your possession and ready to be wrapped.  When the present is received I promise it will take a while before your loved one opens it up, as they will be so curious to check out all the images –and effort, you put in just for them.

Jakob Barry is a Hometalk writer.  Read more articles like this one or get help with your home projects on


Great ideas Jakob!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Google Analytics

So today in between calling chimney cleaners, pricing storage units, and looking for a place for us to move to...I took a break and looked at my google analytics page. 

I haven't looked at it much lately.

Guess I have been a little busy. ;)

But I have noticed that I was getting A LOT of traffic from pinterest. Like over 70k hits this month!

Which is really exciting for me.

Anyways, I thought I would look at the key word search for a sec and get a good laugh at what people search for. 

At first it was just going through a lot of misspelled words and how to questions.

Then I have to say it just got weird.

Here is some of the highlights of what was on my list:
-my mom teaches me about testicles
-man hair
-little boys in the bedroom naked
-dominican crazy
-reborn dimples
-adults who look like little boys 
Seriously how would the first one and last one get directed to my site?
Have you checked your google analytics page lately?

Take a look and tell me what you find.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sponsor post- Wallums

Wall Decals is the way to go for adding personality to a wall without a huge commitment.

Now that we are looking at getting a rentals, Wall Decals are looking awesome to me right now.

Wallums has great wall decals.

Right now they are having a special of free shipping when you spend over $50.

Go and check it out, I think you will be inspired.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A little bit of me

Do you have a friend that you just love to be around because they make you feel like you a fun person to be around and they laugh at your stupid jokes...eventhough you know they are just plain stupid.

Or someone who feels pain when you feel pain and joy when you feel joy?

That is my friend Sheli at a little bit of me.

I met Sheli a couple of months ago and I am so glad I have.

Sheli has an amazing heart and she is so encouraging.

Right now she is currently trying to adopt and decided to homeschool 3 of her 4 kids! Whoa.

She also has been asked by incourage to be one of their writers!

Today I am guest posting over at her site and on Wednesday she will be posting her first article on incourage!

So proud of you Sheli!

Go and check out Sheli's blog to give this girl some encouragement that she has given me so much of. 

Do you have a friend that makes you walk away and feel good about yourself?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A dresser and a chest

Well another week has past and we still haven't found a place to move to... we have 26 days!!!!

But who is counting?

Excuse me as I go hyper ventilate.

On an update, I have decided that in order to keep my sanity I will not be painting any more furniture until we get settled into our new house.

I just can't handle the stress.

But no worries there are a few projects that I have done that have not been put on this blog yet.

I got a lot of questions about the colors I used from last weeks pop of color side tables.

The top was painted Lagoon but rustoleum and then the white is blossom white also by rustoleum.

Both pieces I will show you today were painted with the blossom white.

Today I have a dresser with a matching mirror and a chest to show you guys.

Here is the after!

This item is sold.

Now I have a chest. But it looks like a small dresser.

 See you can't tell that it is a chest on top with a drawer on the bottom.

Here is the after.

This item is for sale for $200!

Let me know if you are interested!

I am linking to these parties.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shaklee's Defend and Resist

Now that cold and flu season is quickly approaching us I thought this would be a good time to tell you about my experience with Shaklee's Defend and Resist complex.

The description says this:

When you first feel that tickle, get the protection you need with Defend & Resist Complex. It gives you not one, but four clinically proven immune-supporting ingredients: echinacea, black elderberry, larch tree, and zinc. Each supports, enhances, and promotes a healthy immune response.

When I read, "feel the first tickle". I thought how will I know when I feel a tickle in the back of my throat. I honestly didn't think I would know. But then I woke up one morning and I actually felt the tickle in the back of my throat!

It is the feeling when you wake up in the morning and just know that sickness is coming. You don't know when, but you know it is coming fairly soon. 

That morning I took 6 tablets and did the same thing for 6 days after and you know what?!

I didn't get sick. I didn't get a runny nose, or a cough.

And you want to know what else?

Mr. Genius also woke up a couple of days later with the tickle in his throat. I mentioned the Defend and Resist and his response was taking herbal pills were well...stupid. He took his regular cold and flu over the counter medicine...and he got sick!

This happened a couple more times. Of me not getting sick, and he getting sick.

Yet he still doesn't really believe in the "herbal pills".

Some people are a little more stubborn then others. ;)

One this I can tell you is that both Mr. Genius and I didn't get the flu vaccine last year. Just because we couldn't find the time. Mr. Genius got the flu and I didn't.

So I think it is safe to say that the Defend and Resist complex works!

If you have any questions about the Defend and Resist or other Shaklee items please feel free to contact my Shaklee rep,  Debbie Clinton. She is a wealth of knowledge who has used Shaklee products for over 14 years!

PS: This review was out of the my true opinion and I in NO way get any incentive for anyone else buying products from Debbie. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pop of color tables

First of all let me start off by saying that we have a contract on the house!!



And now do not have to have a perfectly clean house! Which makes for a much happier mom. ;)

I truly believe that either you can be a happy person or you can have a perfectly clean house. You can't have both.

Now comes the part where we have to figure out where we are going to call home.

Sometimes I am jealous of my kids and the fact that their biggest decisions are if they should use crayons or markers.

Being an adult is way over rated.

In part of the negotiation we are having to leave our washer and dryer. Which we are too upset out. The washer is not a favorite of ours.

So we are having to buy a new washer and dryer. The first question I have for all of you out there. Front loading or top loading?!!! I need your opinions please! Don't hold back. I have heard about mildew with the front loading ones. Have any of you experienced that?

Also, I hope to work on our house tour video this week.

But first I wanted to show you some side tables I just refinished.

I first got this idea from Eddie Ross.

I just loved the table. I love the white and then the pop of color on top. It is subtle.

I got these side tables.

And here is my Eddie Ross knockoff version.

Aren't they fun?!

Also we have come into the time in our lives where we decided to get rid of the changing table.

After all Romeo has been potty trained for 7 months and he has been too big to use this table for over a year. 

Anyone in Chicagoland interested? I am selling it for $140. Baskets, changing pad, and cover included.

Have a good week everyone!

I am linking to these parties.

Monday: The DIY Showoff, Skip to my Lou, Between Naps on the Porch Tuesday: Tip Junkie, Today's creative Blog , 
House of Grace , Just a Girl Wednesday: Blue Cricket Designs, Domestically Speaking, Someday Crafts Thursday: House of Hepworths, Shabby Chic Cottage Friday: Miss Mustard Seeds, My Romantic Home, Funky Junk Interiors, Shabby Nest, Finger Prints on the Fridge Saturday: Tatortots and Jello, Be Different act normal Sunday: Under the table and dreaming, I heart naptime 

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