Wednesday, December 29, 2010

its so hard to say goodbye

It's so hard to say good-bye. (Has anyone else been singing Boys II Men songs since the Sing-Off?)
Goodbye Nana & Grandpa. 
What a wonderful Christmas we spent together complete with magical snowfall on Christmas night, leaving us snowed in the day after. So memorable & enjoyed I have nearly no pictures to document it. Gifts were plentiful, but just icing on the good-enough-on-it's-own cake. Just the way we like it.

Not having grandparents in my life as a child (that spoke English anyway) I'm blessed by both sets my kids have. They are loving, patient, generous, and long-suffering. 
I hope your holiday was filled with family & friends to share good food & conversation with in your comfy pants.
We'll miss you guys! 
(I know I did as soon as 6am rolled around & the kids ran to my bed & not Nana's!)

PS: Happy Birthday Aunt Tara!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We wish you & yours the MERRIEST!
And yes, we're a little extra joyful around here this year,
expecting #3 in June!
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eat the good ones or save them for guests?


We made cookies. Every day this week. As soon as Lilah went down for a nap, Carter & I got cracking. Within the 1st half hour after he woke up he'd begin asking when it was time for Lilah's nap.

I have to declare ahead of time which things are grown-up jobs on the recipe. He wants to do it all. And he wants to know what age he'll be able to do the rest.
He is intentional & sincere, as much as his 4 year old boy impulses allow.
He had to assist through 4 days of my choices before we got to his "cut-out" cookies.

Today, when Lilah woke up I gave her 3 cookies to decorate on her own. She smiled & climbed up to decorate. She wasn't even finished sprinkling before she asked "I eat?!"

Carter said "NO!!! We have to save them for our guests, Lilah!"

I stepped in & said "Instead of fruit for snack today, how about you can each pick a cookie that you decorated?"

Carter: "Well, okay. But only the ugliest ones. 
Because we have to save the best ones for everybody coming over tonight"



Lilah had already eaten half of her cookie.



I've asked this here before,
"If I take credit for how thoughtful & kind he is becoming, 
do I also have to take credit for how...uh..
hungry...
and selfish less thoughful she is?"

PS: This is a yummy & easy icing recipe. I did vanilla & added coloring. Think I'll use it next time too. Pin It

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas story set in a digital age


You're going to want to watch this one full screen.


Bravo Igniter Media. Loved this! Pin It

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

you're my present

We had a house full this weekend. I loved every minute of it. The kids running around, taking every toy out of it's place & that belly laughing that I love to hear so much I nearly cry.
One night, sitting at the table after dinner, Carter (my 4 y/o) reached over and grabbed a Christmas bow & stuck it on his pretty little 4 y/o friend Avery and said, "you're my present".
She smiled, sparkly-eyed & replied "what do you want a kiss or something?"


If her mother & I weren't right there (thank God! could you imagine if we missed out on such a moment?!) I wonder if it would have been followed with a kiss or if they'd just have moved onto the next thing like they did.

Am I getting old if all I want for Christmas is a full house all season long? 

image source: weheartit.com
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Dec 1st!

Ahh!! It's December 1st! I'll tell you what I'm thankful that detailgalblog doesn't have any paying sponsors because I failed miserably at keeping up my thankfulness posts before Thanksgiving. Sorry to my few readers that were waiting with bated breath. Thankfully most of you are my personal pals and you know exactly why blogging fell off the to-do list.
I'm back. We've settled into our home in VA and the tree is going up today.
We live a couple blocks from the historic inn pictured above and every where we go, it looks a lot like Christmas. I can hardly wait to start new traditions here in such a magical place for the holidays. I'm racking up quite a list of must-experiences.
I'm sorry that I got lost in family visits and decided to let detailgalblog suffer while I ate comfort food with some of my favorite people in the world. I thought about posting, really I did. But then all I could think of was "my kids running around with their cousins" "getting to linger at the table with my sisters and brothers" and "real Buffalo chicken wings, fingers, pizza" ,"souvlaki and warm pita bread dripping with mouth-watering Greek dressing". And who wants to read a list of thankfulness filled with food and family members.
Truth be told, I hope you were surrounded by people you love and loaded up on quality time with them as much as you over-indulged in pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
I'll try not to get lost in the magic of the holidays and share what I can with you.
24 more days!!!
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Days 13-16: Thankful for

Day 13-16. On these cold weather, less-motivated days I'm thankful for...
13.  I'm thankful for $7 mascara that is every bit as good as the dept store brand I'd been hooked on for years. This one is a winner too & only $5.
14.  I'm thankful for a sweater or coat that makes an instant outfit. 

15. I'm thankful for dry shampoo & cute hats.
16. I'm thankful visiting family means grandparents making up for lost time with my kids from the moment they wake up.  And I get to sleep in. Past 8. Once to 11! Ahhhh...mazing! (and a bit embarrassing). Pin It

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 12: thankful for...

I'm thankful
that staying at my mom's house
is like a plate of comfort food
without the calories
(well except when I indulge in the unmatched food of the area)

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 11: thankful for...

I'm thankful my daughter prefers her daddy

I always envied my daddy's girl friends growing up & hoped one day I'd experience it from a different perspective with a daughter.
Her case is a bit more extreme than I imagined
Let's face it: it's a hit to my mommy-ego when I pick her up to console her because she's hurt and she reaches for daddy.
And I feel bad for my husband sometimes, like say an 8 hour plane ride & she'll only sit with climb/jump on daddy.
In the end, I'll take the hit to my ego and his bruised lap eventually heals.
I love it. He loves it. And she's in love.

I figure after the next 18-25 years in daddy's arms, looking up at him like he hung the moon she'll be much less likely to fall for some quack. 
(Speaking of, did you guys catch the "chirps" episode of Modern Family? Cracked me up. See it here.)

PS: She stopped me in the middle of unpacking, holding my camera, asking "picture me, mama?" when she proceeded immediately to sit on the ottoman & pose, how could I resist? Pin It

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10: thankful for...

I'm thankful that my son
loves art projects, cooking, & music,
is always up for traveling,
dancing & belly laughing, &

because when I found out I was pregnant with a boy 5 years ago
I wasn't even sure I was cut out to be a mom
and a "boy mom", forget it.
what on earth will i have in common with him?
turns out just about everything. 
(besides yoda, comic books, and bugs)

he's one of my favorite people to be with.
good thing, cause it's 24/7.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 9: Thankful for...

I'm thankful...
that my husband makes such a good pot of coffee
every morning

I became especially thankful for this one morning 
walking into a bible study with a couple of older women. 
I yawned & re-adjusted my slipping purse strap. one lady commented, "tired?"
I explained I hadn't had my morning coffee because my husband had to leave early 
& didn't make a pot like he does every day.
She looked at me and said, 
"I miss that too. He used to make the coffee every morning."
She was referring to her late husband. 
I had no idea.
And became instantly more grateful for my daily cup.
And living husband.
(Not in that order.)

image: weheartit.com
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 8: thankful for...

I'm thankful for...
frozen food
especially when the moving truck comes days after you've arrived at your new place
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

7 thankfuls from under the boxes & bubble wrap

Somewhere under all the boxes and bubble wrap is a girl working toward normal but, secretly loving the spontaneity of the in between. 
A week ago we made the three day drive from the South-West to the mid-Atlantic with a 2 year old that could care less about TV sitting next to the 4 year old in endless screen-time heaven! The 80lb lab kept the luggage company in the back and made quite an impression as we traipsed into hotels after dark.

We're making this friendly American city our home day by day with more giggling than melt-downs. For this I am grateful.
Speaking of, here's my list of thankfuls from the first week of November.
I'm hoping to get you 1 each day til Thanksgiving.
And I'm hoping you'll give me grace if I have to compile again.

I'm thankful for...
1. iPhone
how on earth did people find the hotel, good coffee, or keep kids occupied without them?
we fully relied on that little magical device.
2.  Redbox
Does anyone know if it was invented by a road-tripping family? 
Rent one; watch it & get a new one at the next stop. The app makes it easy to find one nearby.
3. Starwood hotels
dog-friendly without fee. comfy beds & good water pressure.
4. Craigslist
sell your house in the place that no longer fits you. 
rent a cozy new one around the corner from everything in the city you hope fits for much longer.
5. Imaginative play & memorable meals on the floor as result of no cable/internet/phone & moving truck coming late.
6. Moving truck arriving. cable/internet/phone installed.
(let's face it #5 crosses from fun to frightening after so long.)
7. Friends that you left behind still just a text away.
you know who you are. i can't thank you enough.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

good-bye big, starry texas sky

"There are only two lasting bequests 
we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots, the other, wings."
Hodding Carter, Journalist

Carter and Lilah Sophia,  
We moved here five years ago and it's where you came into the world. Today is our last day in Texas.

I'm told that before long you won't remember this road that you know by heart now, at 4 and 2. 

I'm told you won't ask for the people that have made us feel at home here-the only home you've ever known. 
We won't pass by "your" hospitals-which are always on "your" sides of the car when we head to the University to see Daddy.  
I keep searching for clues on your face to how your little minds are processing "this is our last time to see our friends", "the last day at school", "the last time we'll walk through the church doors or pull into the gym", "our last night in our house".
I've never been a parent of a preschooler before, so I'm going to experience uprooting and replanting a family for the first time along with you. 

I can tell you this, the people that loved me & embraced me in the city where I grew up have helped to establish the roots that have kept me standing tall and sent me soaring through the years. 
You were loved and embraced here in Texas.
With loads of growing left to do,
God will continue to strengthen & enrich the roots of your lives in our new hometown across the country. 
Texas has been pretty darn good, we think this next place will be even better.
God has gone before us. God has ordered our steps. Follow us, as we follow Him.

If there is more spontaneous hand-holding along the way, I wouldn't mind either. Just saying.
Mommy


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

simple steps

"It's no trick loving somebody at their best.
Love is loving them at their worst"
~Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing
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Friday, October 8, 2010

How to sell your house by owner: Top Paid Resources

*You are reading Part 5 of How I Sold My House By Owner in 3 weeks, so you can too!
All 5 easy, descriptive steps are listed & linked at the end of this post.

1. For Sale By Owner sign, Open House sign ($15 & $7, hardware store)
2. Info Tube ($15, hardware store)
 

3. Professional printing for home for sale Flyer (see Flyer here) $30
4.  Local Paper Ads
Here's the deal. I live in a city of many older conservative people. I decided to give this effort all that I had from the beginning. As much as it killed me, I spent $99 to list the home in the local paper for 30 days (including their website). It was killer to spend $56 each weekend for an Open House Ad, but I learned the hard way that craigslist.org wasn't bringing buyers to my Open Houses. When the local paper messed up & didn't run my Ad one weekend, only 2 people came. They didn't come 'til the last few minutes because they saw my sign on their way to another open house nearby. I hope your paper charges less! 

5. $500 to the friend who's referral led to the sale of our home. 
I used Facebook to advertise my house for sale (status updates, links, photo album)
To reach the largest local audience, I sent a message to every local friend offering them $500 if their referral led to the sale of our home by owner. Unlike say, $50 or $100, $500 is enough incentive for friends to spread the word on your home (give them links to your website, photo album, etc and suggest they share it via facebook, twitter, blogs, & word of mouth).
We didn't end up having to give $500, because it was our flyer in the infotube that got the buyer into our home. It would have been worth $500, not to have to pay 6% to a Realtor.

*Another resource I didn't have to use, but planned to use if my 14 day FREE trial at forsalebyowner.com ran out before my house was sold (which it didn't!) is www.why6percent.com , where you can get an MLS# for a flat fee. This significantly increases your home's visibility. The catch is, you will want to consider offering to pay a buyer's agent 3% commission. Still better than 6%.


photo: infotube.net 
HOW TO SELL YOUR HOUSE BY OWNER:
Step 1: Before the For Sale Sign hits the front yard
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to sell your house by owner: top FREE resources


*You are reading Part 4 of How I Sold My House By Owner in 3 weeks, so you can too!
All 5 easy, descriptive steps are listed & linked at the end of this post.
Now that you've cleaned & cleared, taken photos, and created a website you can make all of that work for you in advertising. Here are the top free resources I used for selling my house.
1. Craigslist.org (free)
2. ForSaleByOwner.com
(Free 14 day trial. The house was sold before it expired!)
These 2 can work together:
Using "create a craigslist ad" feature on forsalebyowner.com, you can create a professional real estate for sale ad that looks like this:
You can also use Craigslist.org & ForSaleByOwner.com to announce Open Houses.

The PHOTOS we had available were key in drawing potential buyers in to see more of the home through these online ads. See the Photos step here, if you missed it.

The key to my successful online ads was keeping them current.
I logged in & re-posted my craigslist.org ad weekly, updating anything that needs to be updated regularly.
The weekly re-posting was tricky; having to delete the previous ad or change something about the title & content to manipulate the craigslist.org system. It was worth time & energy because most buyers are going to focus on the first few days listed on the site. Keep these things in mind when posting & managing your online ad(s): CURRENT, ACCURATE, ENTICING.

3. Kodak Gallery (MOMMY) PHOTO CARDS. (50 FREE)
You may remember this post, where I mentioned these cards which are intended for moms to have easy access to their contact info for playdates, etc. There are no restrictions as far as photo or content, so I used a photo of my home, website across the front.
And the back included important info regarding the home: address, price, a few key features, contact info for showings.  
Concise. Appealing. Essential.
I was able to hand these out to people that came in for a showing, giving them easy access to contact info. I also kept them in my wallet to hand to those that may be looking themselves or know someone in the market for a house. Easy. Accessible. FREE! Get yours here.
4. Flyer 
Using "Pages" on my Mac I chose a flyer template with tear-off tabs on the bottom for posting on bulletin boards at local businesses. I simply inserted text & photos & printed them. You can do this all at home. 
I chose to have them printed locally in high quality to increase appeal which cost around $30. 
But you may have a perfectly adequate printer at home. Here's a glimpse at mine.

I kept a stack of flyers on display using a plate stand when buyers came through the house. We filled the info tube that was attached to our yard "for sale by owner" sign with these flyers too. Be sure to replenish. The buyers of our home were led to us first from the flyer out front. They had it in hand when they entered for the first time.
I also asked to post them in public areas, frequently visited by people that may be looking for a home in our price-range.

Also FREE:
Official Documents.
Real Estate sales documents vary state-to-state. I was able to download & print the necessary forms (sellers disclosure, offer form, purchasing contract, etc) from my state's website. Check with a local title company if you're unable to locate those forms online for your state. 
Have the seller's disclosure & offer form out at every showing & open house. 
I sent each potential buyer home with a business card, flyer, & offer form. 

HOW TO SELL YOUR HOUSE BY OWNER 
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How to sell your house by owner: YourAddress.com

*You are reading Part 3 of How I Sold My House By Owner in 3 weeks, so you can too!
All 5 easy, descriptive steps are listed & linked at the end of this post. 

www.3006105th.com was integral in the sale of my home in less than 3 weeks.
It allows buyers to tour my home online & gather most desired information at their convenience.

This post will tell you how to create YOUR own home website too for FREE or $10: your choice.

I used a FREE blog platform to create & manage www.3006105th.com.
I chose blogger.com, which is user-friendly.
Theses instructions refer to using blogger.com. The concepts can be adapted & used on your choice of website platform.
All of the ideas can be translated to one of the other blog platforms as well.

Here's a screenshot of www.3006105th.com:


You'll need some time.
While it's easy, you want to be sure to publish accurate & thorough information & photos before you advertise the site.
1. the web address.
For simplicity sake, I chose to pay $10 for publishing my site as a ".com" 
(for FREE you can publish as ".blogspot.com".) I highly recommend spending the $10 to increase the chances that buyers will remember the address & for other advertising purposes (signs, business cards, flyers, online & newspaper ads, etc.)
I suggest using your address as I did "www.3006105th.com". It's simple & tells them both your physical & web addresses.
To nix the ".blogspot": Go to Blogger Settings, Publishing, choose Custom Domain.
Check availability. Pay $10 & you've got your domain for 12 months.
****SINCE THE HOUSE IS SOLD, WE'VE DISCONTINUED THE CUSTOM DOMAIN & ADDED ".BLOGSPOT.COM" (IT'S FREE)****

2. Header
Take a look at mine above.
Using a photo editing software, select a stellar photo of your home (I suggest the front view or front door, unless it's hideous & or FAR less attractive than say, your living room or kitchen.) I used Picasa which is free here. A catchy phrase, just your address, or both works for the text on the photo. Before it said SOLD, it read: "for sale by owner"
To insert as the header: Go to Design tab, Edit Header, Choose & Upload Image, select "instead of title & description", Save.

3. Pages (Posts)
Page #1 is a Photo slideshow. Visit Step 2 if you haven't.
I used FLICKR for free here. Once it's created, go to Play Slideshow, Click on Embed, Copy Code & Create a new post, Edit HTML tab & Paste the code. Publish Post.
Page #2 : General Info & Features. (including main home info, a few highlighted features, price & contact info)
The following pages are rooms. Each page has at least one photo of the room & includes a list of the most attractive features of that room.
Beyond rooms, I included a page that is formatted much the same way you'd see a Realtor's site with exact dimensions, materials, etc. It's more official. This is important for making the site appear professional to those that are into that sort of thing.
*You want to reach everyone. It only takes one buyer & they may not look or think a bit like you do.
Finally, I included a page with a map & nearby retail stores. I also included links to the school district's website & the city's website. For that added "imagine your life here" touch.
To be sure posts appear in the order that you wish, you can manipulate the time/date of publishing of each post: post options (below the white box where you enter your post text, post date & time, set date & time.

*Visit my home's site anytime for reference. 
Feel free to copy my format and text, on one condition: GIVE CREDIT when it's due! You can simply state the source for your text or your inspiration by linking to www.detailgalblog.com

*Speaking of credit: I was inspired by this site when creating www.3006105th.com 


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Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to sell your house by owner: PHOTOS

*You are reading Step 2 in How I Sold My House By Owner in 3 weeks, so you can too! 
All 5 easy, descriptive steps are listed & linked at the end of this post. 

Photos can make or break your sale before you've ever had contact with a buyer.
Even the retired people that came to my house had visited the home's website first.
(make yours in Step 3).
Good photos were integral to the sale of my house (the buyers saw several homes after mine and kept coming back to our website to view our photos & it won!)
Before you start clicking, here are some tips that made my photos a hit.
Thanks to STEP 1, even the pantry was photo-worthy.
I highly recommend you finish STEP 1 before publishing photos, first-impressions can't be re-done.  
Grab a good digital camera. (This is the time to borrow a friend's or better, ask the friend to come by & take a few snapshots if s/he’s got a knack for it.)

1. Find the best angle to flatter the space.
Don't shy away from getting down low or stepping up high for the sake of the shot.
High ceilings? Crop down & shoot slightly up. 
  • Be sure to get floor to ceiling in your shot. Chopping the space negates the high ceiling effect.

I snapped the photos of my bedrooms midway through an abdominal crunch! Yep. I got down on my back, crunched up, & stayed as still as possible while I snapped.
Hey, it’s the best way I found to get the magnitude of a room from the doorway!


2. While you've Cleaned & Cleared in STEP 1, consider removing excess furniture from a room just for the photo. I removed something(s) from the floor of each of our bedrooms (chair, ottoman, toy organizer, etc) before photographing. It was worth the extra energy to exude "spacious".
    3. Aim to photograph your home's best assets.
    Buyers want to see the kitchen, main living space, and bathrooms. 

    4. Bad photos are worse than no photos. 
    • If you can’t get a good photo of it or it's not picture-worthy, leave it out. 
    If you missed STEP 1: click here
    If you want to start at the beginning of our journey, read here, here & here.

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      Wednesday, September 29, 2010

      How to sell your house by owner: before the "for sale" sign


      This is Part 1 of How I sold my house by owner in 3 weeks so you can too!
      You may want to follow the personal journey starting here.
      This is not to downplay the job of a Realtor. If you have the time and tools, you may be able to keep the 6% of your home's sale for yourself like we did.
      Confidence is very important starting this journey. I talked about a big reason for mine here.
      I had Realtors calling & knocking on my door explaining the odds were against me selling, telling me my price was too high in comparison, and insulted me with "when you're ready to sell it, give me a call". Here's a little glimpse of how many homes are for sale within 3 miles of my house. Red dots represent homes for sale. 
      Looks like a pubescent face, right? Directly in my neighborhood there are handfuls of homes for sale by Realtors that were for sale for a long while before mine was & are still for sale now, after mine is sold.
      Our house sold by owner in 3 weeks for more per sq. foot than the comparables & we kept every bit of the money! Sound good to you?
      This is how I did it, so you can too!



      We took 3 days to clean out the house.
      Room by room, we got to bare essentials.
      The bottom line is buyers want to see space, not stuff.
      Clothes, furnishings, toys, etc were divided as follows:
      Keep the minimum for use now,
      Store what’s necessary for later,
      Give it away because it’s rarely used or has run its course.

      You may wish to hold a garage sale, or list big items on craigslist.org. We were working with limited time so it made most sense to donate, keep an itemized list, get a receipt, & use it as a tax deduction. Be careful to evaluate the time vs. your true need for $ from the items in question. Is it worth the time & effort of a garage sale that may end in $150 at best? Is it better to sell high value items on craigslist.org & donate the rest in the interest of time & for the sake of getting started on selling & showing the house? Either way set realistic time limits & stick to them.

      The space you’re selling should invite the potential buyer to imagine their stuff there.
      Pay careful attention to counter, closet, wall, & floor space (limiting furnishings, toys, & storage); less is more.

      Don’t forget the pantry, bathroom, & kitchen drawers. Toss rarely used and expired toiletries, organize utensils & clear junk drawers.
      This works better for you too. You’re moving, which means you’ll be packing. The more you toss or donate the less you have to pack & unpack.
      Think: they’re buying the life-style this home offers.

      One of the first couples to tour my home, had already looked at the home’s website (more on that in step 3). When they came in they were discussing where their own furnishings would fit. This is a good thing.

      Think: hotel room or vacation rental: welcoming, but generic. Most importantly, you don’t walk in & feel like an intruder. Rather you are free to make yourself at home.
      (This is in large part done by the previous step. Opening closet doors & seeing empty shelves & hanging racks create just the “imagine yourself here” image you want for potential buyers.)

      Replace ALL owner-specific artwork & decorations.
      This is the time to bite the bullet and paint that owner-specific hot pink wall! You want to sell, and the buyer may share your great taste in homes but may be turned off by your choice of navy blue & green in the bedroom because they have all girls. You want to make it as neutral as possible to keep from turning away buyers.
       
      Your goal is limited furnishings not zero furnishings. Let’s say: fill 1/3 of the shelf or main wall. Choose furnishings to scale that highlight the space the home offers.
      My mantle was filled entirely with family photos, and because it’s a central focus of our living space it needed something to appropriate scale to highlight the great space.  I scored clearance items that filled in the gaps.  You may borrow generic items too if needed. Tasteful seasonal d├ęcor is the way I went because it was fall & those colors are warm & welcoming. (see Step 2: photos)

      Some thrifty decor ideas: bowls of vibrant colored produce (lemons, apples, pears, artichokes) on bare kitchen counters, bargain blooms on tabletops, a pumpkin on a coffee table (in season).
      We had several people, including a Realtor, assume we had the home professionally staged. I even had interested buyers question if it was for sale furnished. This is a good thing.
      Consult my photo album for more ideas.
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      Monday, September 27, 2010

      How I sold my house in 3 wks, so you can too!


      The top FREE resources used. 
      The top paid resources used.
      I sold my house by owner in less than 3 weeks. 
      We got what we wanted for it, buyer paid all closing costs. And we saved the 6% commission. 
      Think you're up for it? 
      I'm happy to share how I did it, so you can too!
      This series includes a 5 Step process (links found below)
      For introduction sake, here are a few key players I had sitting around in my house:
      1. Computer
      3. Sharpie markers
      4. Sprayway glass cleaner, Disinfectant wipes, Swiffer dusters, paper towels
      6. Plastic storage totes & garbage bags
      7.Willingness to let go of what I don't need
      8. TIME
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      Thursday, September 23, 2010

      detailgalblog gets gussied up!

      hope you like the new look.
      happy birthday to me!
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      Wednesday, September 22, 2010

      If He said He would, He will

      This time I wasn't afraid to get my hopes up.
      No matter who said, "it's unlikely" or pointed out the odds are against me,
      this time I let myself believe in it as though it was secure.

      I gave it everything I could, even if it could end up in vain.
      And when I looked around me and saw evidence to the contrary, it only compelled me forward.

      Because I heard the voice of God. 
      It sounded just like the last time I heard Him.
      It sounds a lot like your parents' voice.
      You know the "even if I don't like it, as much as I may want to reason it away or deny I know it..IT IS"?
      Truth is good that way. Absolute.
      If He said He would do it, He will 
      If He's done it before, He CAN do it again. 
      It's more than optimism.
      It's faith; "the evidence of things hoped for, the certainty of what we do not see." Heb 11:1

      I love what The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says about the providence of God
      "[In His providence] God attends not only to apparently momentous events and people but also to those that seem mundane and trivial...Indeed, so all encompassing is God's attention to events within creation that nothing...happens by chance"
      We have experienced this providence, this attention to mundane & trivial just recently.
      You may notice something missing from the top of my sidebar.
      Yep.  
      The house is no longer for sale, it's sold. 
      In less than 3 weeks, for sale by owner.
      Unlikely.
      Especially considering there are handfuls of houses for sale in my neighborhood by Realtors that were on the market for a while before we started selling ours & are still on the market now.
      The price, the method, the timing, it all came under scrutiny.
      Understandably so.
      But, we heard God's voice. We were obeying until He gave us new instruction that was just as clear as the first.

      We put our house for sale not knowing where we'd live when it sold.
      We set our sights on Virginia being the perfect place for our family to spend the next many years. Though it's been years since we visited & even then it was brief.
      For months there wasn't a single job available there, so we had every reason not to put all of our eggs in that basket.
      Still, we did. Even resigning from his secure job here in TX, before he had another job secured.
      We heard God's voice and His promises were etched on our hearts.

      It was the most backwards, spontaneous, unconventional thing we've ever done.
      But we heard God's voice. We trusted His words to us and His promises became our security.

      We were still surprised by the way He Divinely weaved the details together, even as they are still unfolding.
      We got the call for the offer on the house moments before entering a meeting with the VP of the company that Dan will now be working for in Virginia.
      Unbelievable!
      The offer on the house was for what we wanted, closing costs paid by buyer & the closing date provides ample time for Dan to finish up his current job with integrity.
      Virginia proved to be a collection of the things we'd been wishing we had here in TX for the past five years and more.  Oh, much more.
      (image above is a glimpse at our new region)
      I promised God His faithfulness wouldn't be lost on me.
      So this is my encouragement to you if you are considering following the unlikely Word that God has spoken to your heart: He has already gone before you! He said He would.
      Trust. Obey. Believe. You won't regret it.
      Need a little more encouragement?
      Get it here.
      There, you'll find some scripture & encouragement to hold onto after the jump!
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      Monday, September 20, 2010

      of virginia, we are lovers

      We had a great time in Virginia.
      Well, once I mourned the fact that I forgot my camera.
      iPhone caught all the memories for us.
      The first, a rare moment of siblings in close proximity & happy with it. I think it only lasted as long as you see here; but it existed!
      This was the first time our kids saw the ocean. You wouldn't know it. They took to the whole experience without a bit of hesitation. That is, until the current showed them who's boss. Finally, my kids showing an ounce of healthy fear of water.

      It was wonderful. I'm predicting many more memories on that very beach. Pin It

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      lilah sophia, you're turning 2!

      Lilah Sophia, you are almost a 2 year old!

      you are crazy about shoes. my shoes, especially & you walk remarkably well in my heels. you will work tirelessly to get shoes on & even strap them on your own. you push your shopping cart around the house almost immediately after we get you from your crib in the morning. you will jump right into the pool, if we aren't watching. going under doesn't seem to phase you.

      you say all kinds of words now & this makes our relationship so much better. especially since you know that i can understand your words better than your daddy, who has been your favorite since you could choose. i'm loving it.

      your favorite thing to do is "hide". we laugh daily at you walking around the house with a blanket over your body, bumping into things & giggling. you can make quick work of my just-made bed, but i don't mind now since it's the only place i can count on you staying for any length of time.

      you love "shohshies" {horsies} and doggies. "dahdo" {rocco} was your first word, after-all. and you're still asking about "haawy" {harry}, uncle peter & aunt beth's new puppy, who couldn't have joined the family at a better time.you say "mommy {or daddy} hold me?" and it melts us.
      you say "tootie, pease" and the next thing you know we're getting you an Oreo.

      you have the sweetest curls. grammie says they're just like mine when i was little.

      i love you, lilah belle.
      happy birthday, baby girl!
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