Your home purchase and your retirement: The implications you should consider.

Three years ago, we purchased our house. Previously, we had bought a very cheap house that was perfect for law school, but the schools were terrible. Me, being a real estate attorney, could see the writing on the wall. I came home and told my husband, “We should move.” He said ok. We put our cheap house on the market and sold it within 48 hours with 3 cash offers on the table. (Thankfully, we sold to an investor, who allowed us to rent for two months while finding our forever home.)

We went under contract on a beautiful would-be brand new construction home. Well 48 hours before closing, the preferred lender of the builder tried to say we only qualified for an FHA loan. Doing what I do, I knew they were wrong. We walked. At the time, it sucked. But God had other better plans. We got our money back from the builder, after threat of a fraud lawsuit due to the lender being their preferred lender. 

Instead we bought in a neighborhood across the street from the new home and boy was it a good decision. Earlier this year, we got antsy. Our house is older and a lot of renovations will be coming up. It also doesn’t have the dream backyard that we would like. But its in a great location with great schools. We started looking for a new house. And we found one. But I couldn’t quite quell that inkling of doubt in my mind. So I sat down and looked at the figures:

Current house: Purchase Price $195,000. Worth: $265000. 20 year mortgage at 3.375: Approx. interest paid over life of the loan: $58,000. $80 extra payment monthly has this loan scheduled to be paid off in 16 years. 

New house: Purchase Price: 365000 Down Payment: 90,000. 30 year mortgage at 4: Approx. 210000 in interest and wouldn’t be paid off for 30 years.

Once I looked at the figures, it became a no brainer. We aren’t moving. Before our kids even graduate for high school, our home will be paid in full. Even without earning a penny on the investment, this alone allows us to save $150,000 for retirement. Plus the payments for 14 years: Approx $13,000 a year:  $182,000. Right there we have over $300K for retirement, simply by living within our means. 

Sure, we talk to the mortgage people and they will tell us how much we can afford. Yes, we can. But this is the exact problem with an American culture. It’s something we fight everyday. I deserve this fancy house. I work my butt off. But that 300K puts me a lot closer to that goal of retiring at 55 than living in a beautiful house will. 

Now, not everywhere in the country will have this option due to cost of living, but if you speak to most if not all financial experts, they all say 15 year mortgages. Can you imagine how much less you need to live on if you don’t have to pay a mortgage or rent?


10 Ways Vacationing has changed since becoming a mom

We are getting ready to head. It’s amazing how through the planning stages, I sit there so excited about going away. We love traveling. But vacationing as a mom is totally different than it was pre-kids. There are some things that will no longer be relaxing. 

  1. Budgets. Planning a vacation for one or two adults is so much cheaper than it is planning for a family of 5. Thankfully our cruise is being 100% paid for through me doing Swagbucks. (Later I’ll do a post on exactly how I earn but its fairly simple. Plus if you click that link its an automatic $5). But that still left incidentals such as pet sitter, gas, parking, etc.
  2. The location. When we were in our 20’s prior to kids, we didn’t care if the flight was going to be overnight or if we were going to have jet lag. No I realize there is zero way I could do an European vacation with young kids. Can you imagine terrible twos on jet lag?
  3. Packing. Packing must now begin a minimum of a week in advance. Every single item that went into a suitcase needed to be written down. There is a bag simply for beach, a bag for overnight, an emergency bag in case our luggage gets lost, there is a bag per child, etc. There was a counting of diapers in order to make sure we would have enough diapers to last the entire cruise. My landing is currently lined with suitcases and my kids have all been lectured that they are going to be left behind if they dare to unpack ANYTHING.
  4. Menu planning. We’ve got some inventive eating going around this house. I refuse to buy anymore groceries other than a gallon of milk to get us through next week. Tonight’s dinner: Buttermilk Roast Chicken because I had a thing of buttermilk that must be consumed. Pre-kids, there was never enough groceries to necessitate a two week pre-vacation clear out!
  5. Safety. Every location we discussed, we needed to go through security and how to keep everyone safe. Pre-kids, you would find me at 18 walking the streets of most major cities alone. Now, heck!, we booked an interior cabin on the ship simply because we were afraid the two year old would find a way to climb off the balcony!
  6. Pre-vacation organization. As a family, we’ve got the house, the dog, and the cat. Everything has to be arranged for before we could even think about locking the door for the final time. Pet sitter? Check. Pet food? Check. Cat litter? Check. Mail hold? Check. Air or heat turned off? Check. All electronics unplugged? Check. 
  7. Toys. Remember those days of lounging on the beach reading a book? They don’t exist anymore or at least not for a minimum of 10 years. Now I need to pack enough beach toys to keep the kids entertained, enough cars and legos to keep the two year old entertained at dinner. Don’t forget those crayons!!!!!
  8. Food. Do you remember just throwing your suitcase in the trunk and driving? No? It has been a long time. Now, there must be that all important snack bag and for us, we must have every snack in triplicate. I guarantee about five miles down the road, 10 minutes after lunch, all three will be complaining about how hungry and thirsty they are! (Either that or how they have to pee already!)
  9. Bills. This one might be more like since becoming an adult but still it has definitely changed since the single days. We will be gone through the 10th of the month. This means every bill we have is going to have to be paid while I am away, so before I can relax, adulthood must be taken care of…..
  10. Post- Vacation Bliss. Gone are the days of arriving home the night before having to go back to work. Now, we give ourselves an entire day to get back to life. There is a mountain of laundry that will take at least a week to get through….. And a ton of sand to vacuum out of the minivan!

Don’t get me wrong. We love vacations. I love building the memories with my kids and allowing them to see all around the world. Heck, I already have a Pinterest Bucket List Board of many, many places to take our munchkins before they get too big. 😦 


A to Z of Fun Family Things to Do Around Atlanta

The spring is upon us and soon will be the summer. I’ve compiled an A to Z list of things to do around the Atlanta area if you are visiting or if you live here. 

A:  Aquarium

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B:Braves Baseball. They just got a new stadium and games start next month!

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C: Chattahoochee River Tubing

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D: Downtown Atlanta. There is the CNN Center, Phillips Arena, Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coke, Childrens Museum, and the Aquarium all within walking distance. 

E: Experience the Childrens Museum. This year they revamped the children’s museum, so check it out if you haven’t been there in a while. 

F: Fernbank Museum This museum offers an IMAX and plenty of large dinosaurs to entertain the kids. 

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G: Go hiking. Georgia is home to many, many hiking trails. Or walk the Beltline. 

H. High Museum of Art. They do a fourth sunday for families, its a great time to check it out with plenty of family programming!

Image result for high museum of artI. Investigate the Tellus Museum. It’s a little further out. About an hour and a half from Atlanta but well worth the drive for this awesome science museum. 

J: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library


L: LegoLand! The kids will absolutely love it. There are rides, areas to build, and even movies to watch. 

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Margaret Mitchell House. Stop in and see where Gone with the Wind was written. 

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N: Newsman. Become a budding newsman at the CNN Center and see how CNN operates!

O: Olypmics. Visit Centennial Olympic Park or visit the Olympic Display at the Atlanta History Center. 

P: Piedmont Park. Saturdays during the spring and summer, they offer a farmers market. There are also many, many festivals in the springtime happening at Piedmont. 

Q. Enjoy some quiet time at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens!

R: Race a Porsche at the https://www.porschedriving.com/home

S: Six Flags over Georgia

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T: Theater. Go see a show at the historic Fox Theater. 

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U: Underground Atlanta. Get there as soon as you can because the city of Atlanta is selling it to a developer!

V: The Varsity. An Atlanta summer is not complete without a visit to the Varisty. Enjoy some amazing onion rings, chili cheese dogs, burgers, and don’t forget an orange freeze. 

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W: World of Coca Cola. Not only do you get to hear all of the history of Coke, you also get to try different varieties of Coca Cola from around the world. 

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X: Xperience the Atlanta Streetcar. My kids love riding in the trolley

Y: Yell at the top of your lungs from the top of Stone Mountain!

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Z: Zoo Atlanta– Who doesn’t want to see some adorable Panda Bears?

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Blessings in disguise

Is there a mom out there that has everything together? If so, I’d really like to meet her! 

If you read my post the other day, we got the ceiling fixed yesterday. Which of course means there is dry wall all over my floor. The playroom is currently destroyed. The laundry is piling up. The dog is puking all over the floor. And there is a handyman banging on the outside of my house.  In other words, its a mess. But at the same time there is a lot to be grateful for. 

As some people know, my husband suffers from epilepsy. Thankfully, his seizures are under control and they rarely happen these days. However, when stress piles up or lack of sleep, he can have one of his auras. This signals to me that he must go to bed immediately and then he usually can avoid having a seizure. He had one yesterday. 

It’s so easy to focus on the bad. But there is so much to be grateful for and counting my blessings should help put that in perspective. I have three healthy, happy, and incredibly energetic children. At least a messy playroom shows that they are playing with the toys I spent money on and they are also wearing the many clothes I spent way too much on. I’m grateful that I have an awesome dog, even though he pukes all over my floor way too often! I’m grateful that we have the ability to get our ceiling fixed and the wood rot on the outside of the house. Most of all, I’m grateful that my husband just requires sleep, when there are many others with his condition that would require much more. 

In days, like this, it is very hard to focus on the blessings, but above all else I’m blessed to live this crazy, insane life!


Have you ever had one of those days?

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Yep, that’s a hole in my closet ceiling from my attic. Yesterday was officially the day from hell! 

On Monday night, my two wild daughters decided to spin in my office chair and my four year old fell off and managed to hit her head on the corner of my desk. She seemed normal. Fast forward to Tuesday. She wakes up completely normal and eats fine. I send her off to preschool where an hour later I get a call about her eyes not dilating and her being dazed. So off we go to the pediatrician for a concussion check (thankfully, we think not but we are monitoring)

Then my two year develops a 101 fever and is super fussy and won’t nap. 

But the icing on the cake is when my husband decided to go into the attic to chase a squirrel. We’ve had the most annoying one ever living over my bathroom and its driving us all nuts. Well, apparently he got a little taken away and ended up tripping and doing this wonderful hole in my ceiling. (He is perfectly fine thankfully!) It sent insulation all over all the clean towels and linens! I had just put the last load of clothes in the washer and was silently celebrating finally being caught up on laundry! (The laundry gods laughed were apparently laughing at me!). Now, everything in the closet is currently in my hallway (which I’ve tripped over 3 times on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night!). And there is insulation EVERYWHERE!

Although we did manage to have a lot of laughs. My husband brought down a pillow case, apparently he thought it was my son’s sleep sack. Instead when he said he found something that would bring tears to my eyes, I screamed like a little girl and ran into the other room. I was sure he had the squirrel in there. But alas that squirrel is STILL up there, driving me nuts!


My baby turned 2!!!!

It seems it happened overnight. It seems like yesterday I was at the hospital introducing him to his sisters. And now he is 2!

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He came out at 8 lbs on the dot. He currently weighs 29 lbs! When did that happen????? He is interested in the potty (and I’m delaying as long as possible). He loves cars, trucks, balls, cows, dinosaurs. He is an awesome sleeper and loves his sisters so! I miss the cuddles. 

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He got his middle name from his Grandpa, who passed away two months before he was born. It was so hard this year realizing that he has been gone for two years. We miss him everyday. I miss the calls after every doctors appointment and giving him the updates on his baby boy! I miss that Elliot will never have a chance to meet him. 

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But now he has grown into a little boy. No more baby. I’m excited to see what the years will hold on this bittersweet day!

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