Building A House 101

 

When my family and I moved back to Colorado in January of 2015 we had no idea the housing market was such a disaster. We moved in with my parents with the mindset that we would be living with them for a few months until we were able to purchase a house. A few months later we realized we were in trouble, we would find homes we liked but were getting majorly outbid (people offering vacations, 10’s of thousands of dollars above appraisal price, etc). The Denver area was majorly lacking inventory for home buyers so everyone would go crazy over ANY (and I do mean any) house that hit the market, homes were being sold in hours not days. By this time it was March and we had originally anticipated being in our own home by then, or at least under contract.

Brent and I had never considered building a new home before this time, we didn’t think we could afford it nor did we really have the “time” to invest in such a project. Well, we found a new home site not too far from where my parents were living at the time and decided to take a look. We absolutely fell in love but were still so unsure about the process. Since the housing market was so crazy the new home builders were insanely busy too, we had to get on a wait list.

outside of house

 

Once we were on the list things started to get real, we learned a lot through the process and I thought I would share what we learned with you guys.

Find out what comes standard and what is extra…

We quickly learned how building a new house could easily bust your budget if you aren’t careful and do your research. We were fortunate to find a builder who had an awesome standard package that we could build off of.

Honestly, the lot we wanted was about 10k more than we wanted to spend, so we ended up getting a less expensive lot so we could put more money into the house itself.

Go through the option list with a fine tooth comb and truly do a gut check to decide what you can and absolutely cannot live without. Brent and I made sure to involve our realtor in order to decide what was worth the initial upgrade investment or what could wait and even be cheaper if we just did it ourselves.

Stay in communication…

When builders are so busy you can easily be forgotten about, make sure you stay fresh in their mind by keeping tabs on what’s going on. I emailed with our builder once or twice a week, even if it was to just say hey I’m still here waiting for you to dig our foundation…..

We were in a unique situation with our build since the market was flooded with people wanting to build and the entire trade itself was swamped. We then had a random and almost unheard months of rain here in Colorado which pushed our dig date by about 4 weeks (talk about torture).

Know who to talk to and when to talk to them, we had our sales consultant, our realtor, a front end construction manager and a back end construction manager.

Be patient…

Whew…this one was really hard for me. Building always takes longer than they initially said because there will always be some sort of snag that takes time to recover from.

Steps

  1. Sign the contract!
We were so excited!

We were so excited!

2. Go to the design center and choose everything for your house, this was by far my favorite part!!
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3. Dig and pour the foundation! This part is fun because you can really start to visualize the house.

IMG_0291 IMG_0357 IMG_05044.  This is when the real fun starts! Rough framing….

IMG_0647 IMG_0666 IMG_0673 IMG_07145. Rough plumbing, electrical and HVAC

IMG_09356. Insulation, dry-wall and texture

I apparently didn’t take pictures in this stage….even though it was really fun to see actual walls being put in place rather than just wood beams everywhere.

7. Trim, paint, driveway

IMG_1262 IMG_1263 IMG_12108. Countertops and cabinets, this is when most builders will tell you it’s about 30 days until closing.

IMG_1260 9. Final touches for bathroom fixtures, cleaning, paint touch-ups and a final walkthrough before closing.

The whole process from the day we signed our contract to closing was 10 months, a LONG 10 months, but it’s now over and we are so thankful we built!

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Have you ever considered building? Why or why not?

 

Healthy Items to Stock Your Pantry With From Costco

I love Costco, I just started shopping there when we moved into our new house in December. We have a giant pantry and I was excited to be able to have a well stocked pantry with healthy items. I’m going to give you a list of my favorite healthy items that we always keep on hand from Costco.

Cashews!! We have a great love for cashews in our home, but most of their nuts and dried fruits are great options

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Popcorn-we like to have family movie nights on Friday’s or date night’s in and will have some nearly naked popcorn for a snack. It’s a low calorie, crunchy, salty snack option to keep your dietary goals in check.

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Seasonings-They can be so expensive! I love that when I buy them from Costco they are a great value and big jars of them. I particularly like the non-salt all purpose seasoning but the majority of their seasonings are amazing!

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We buy all of our bulk paper products there as well: paper towels and toilet paper.

I made a recent adventurous purchase at Costco recently that turned out well. We have been trying to eat less carbs and more protein in our home so I bought a big box of edamame pasta. I’m impressed with the taste and texture.

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Charlotte LOVES Clif Zbars and I love the stats on them for a processed food. So we buy the variety box and have it in the pantry for when she “needs” a snack.

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For Brent and I we love Larabars and stock up with a variety pack in case hunger strikes between meals.

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I stock up on a lot of canned and dry goods such as: stewed tomatoes, black beans, soups, peanut butter, marinara sauce, pasta noodles, ketchup, mustard, olive oil, coconut oil.

I love their organic grass-fed beef they carry at Costco, they come in 1.5lb portions so I leave one in the fridge for the week and put the rest in the freezer for later use. We do the same with organic chicken breasts.

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Now I can’t leave this post without mentioning some of the “treats” we find at Costco as well, pretty much ANYTHING from their bakery-holy delicious. Also any of their pre-made dips, so good.

Your turn…..Tell me your favorite’s from Costco

If you like this post, check out these:

What Does Health Look Like To You?, 8 Reasons I Put Coconut Oil In My Coffee, My Favorite Items From Trader Joe’s

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Natural Baby and Natural Cleaning Products

 

My Favorite Natural Baby and Natural Cleaning Products

 

Unfortunately, there is a high number of toxins found in many baby, beauty and cleaning products. I have been on a journey for the past six years or so to reduce the number of toxins coming into my home and our bodies. My passion for this grew once we had our daughter Charlotte, I want to protect her from any harmful chemicals that could be lurking in common baby and household products. I have composed a list of my favorite “natural” items that I use on a daily basis and thought I would share with my lovely readers just in time for spring cleaning 🙂

  • Baby Products

This bubble bath is the best I’ve found and I’ve tried many. I love the calming lavender scent, how well the bubbles hold up throughout bath and how long this bottle lasts! I use either one or two capfuls depending on how quickly we need to get Charlotte to bed!

bubble bath

 

My all time favorite baby shampoo/body wash is this. The smell is intoxicating and the ingredient list is something I like. We have used this product since Charlotte was born. I’ve tried samples of others and always come back to this one, we also use the same lotion that comes in this collection.

shampoo and body wash

 

Once Charlotte’s hair started to get long we needed to add conditioner into her bathing routine. This honest company conditioner is my favorite so far and really gets the tangles out of her hair.

I made most of Charlotte’s baby food from scratch, however, in a crunch I really like Earth’s Best baby foods

The wipes I found to be the most cost effective and equally natural are Pampers Sensitive Wipes

wipes

 

Once Charlotte turned one she started drinking whole milk, and Horizon’s Organic Whole Milk +DHA Omega3 is what we started giving her.

milk

Once she started drinking Whole milk I also started adding probiotics to her milk. I firmly believe in the health benefits of probiotics. RAW Probiotics for kids is what we use.

RAW Probiotics

When Charlotte is stuffy from a cold or feeling a little under the weather we like to use some coconut oil mixed with Breathe DoTerra essential oil and it really helps clear up her congestion to help her sleep at night. I rub it on her chest and back and some on the bottom of her feet.

In this house we are a huge fan of Zarbee’s Natural’s products, Charlotte loves her vitamins and asks for them each morning. When I feel as though she has been exposed to a sickness or that her immune system is down this added immune support is what we use. If she does end up getting sick (which obviously happens) we use this cough medicine and it works wonders! There is also a night time version that has some melatonin added which we love as well.

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If she ends up getting something that is a little worse than just a cough we start using Hyland’s products, we use this for overall cold symptoms and it seems to work very well. They also has a night time version that has helped Charlotte get rest even when she has a bad cold.

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I also really enjoy using natural cleaning products throughout our house, we switched over about six years ago and I haven’t looked back. I’ve tried a lot of natural cleaning products and below is a list of my favorite’s…

  • Cleaning Products

I truly love Method cleaning products and use them for most everything in my house. When we built our house we purchased a stainless steel fridge and I knew going into it that fingerprints would be an issue. I love this cleaner for many reasons, the smell (yum!), how well it works, and how long the tiny bottle has lasted us so far. For a general all purpose cleaner I use this, we use the lavender scent though they have many different options and all of them smell luscious. My favorite floor cleaner, seriously. I’m so glad I found this product, it’s ridiculously easy to use (you literally squirt and mop) and the almond smell is my favorite scent in this line. This cleaner also comes in a smaller spray version for cleaning wood tables, blinds, anything wood in your home. If you were to ask my daughter, this soap is her favorite! Anything that foams is awesome in her book and mine too. It might just be a mind thing but I feel like the foam does a better job covering her whole hand (since she insists on doing everything herself these days) and that makes me reassured her hands are really getting clean. Last but certainly not least we use this laundry detergent and once again I love the scent, how long it lasts and how easy it is to use. So all that to say, use Method products and you won’t be sorry!

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For things that need a really good scrub (toilets, showers, bathtubs, etc) I love Mrs. Meyers surface scrub. I grew up in a home that used Comet and I was determined to find a natural version of this type of cleaner.

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For our dish washing needs we really like this automatic dish gel and this rinse aid. The combination of these two makes for some really clean dishes!

automatic dish detergent rinse aid

 

Well I think it’s safe to say that I covered most every baby/toddler and cleaning product that we use in our home. I hope this list will be helpful to you in your journey towards using natural products in your home.

Please tell me some of your favorite natural products…