Saturday, December 7, 2013

Grapefruit Muffins! Possibly the BEST Muffins I've Ever Eaten

I was in muffin mode today, baking a whole passel of muffins. I like to bake a few dozen, freeze them, and then thaw a few when I'm in the mood for a homemade muffin. And as I was making all of my favorites like apple cinnamon and pumpkin chocolate chip, I noticed a few grapefruits in my fruit bowl on the table. And I thought, "Hmmmm, why not? Can't be much different than lemon muffins, right?" So, I jerry-rigged a grapefruit muffin recipe together. I couldn't resist popping a piece into my mouth right as they came out of the oven. Well worth a bit of singed tongue. They were delicious! Allow me to share my moment of inspiration with you.

2 cups flour
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
Juice from 1 medium grapefruit
1 Tb fresh grapefruit zest

Streusel Topping
1 Tb melted butter/margarine
3 Tb sugar
3 Tb flour

Step 1
(preheat oven to 400) Mix dry ingredients  together thoroughly in one large bowl.

Step 2
Mix wet ingredients together thoroughly in a smaller bowl.

Step 3
Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the large bowl and combine with a few strokes up a wooden spoon- just enough so that it is mixed together- lumps are ok!

Step 4
All the way full, generous streusel
Pour batter into a muffin tin that is greased or lined with paper cups. Use spray grease on the top portion of the pan. Make sure that the batter goes almost to the top of each cup- you WANT them to fluff up over the top when they are baking.

Step 5
In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and butter from the streusel topping all together. It should be the consistency of crumbly cookie dough. Sprinkle it generously over the top of the muffin batter in each cup, making sure to NOT get any on the top part of the muffin tin.

Step 6
Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes (or when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Allow to cool a couple of minutes until they are warm and not hot- then pop them out of the tin and into your mouth! They are delicious!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

DIY Bulk Pancake Mix

Why pay for a pancake mix at the store when you can pre-mix it in bulk (at less than half the cost of name brand pancake mix) and have it ready to go anytime? WHY?!?! Ain't no reason. Follow these easy-to-make mix instructions and save some money on breakfast!

7 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking powder
2 Tb salt
(yields 9 cups of dry mix)

Step 1
Mix all the dry ingredients together and seal in an air-tight jar/container. The end! Follow the table for mixing instructions.

Dry Mix
Melted Butter/ Oil
1 cup
1 Tb
1 cup
10 pancakes
½ cup
1 Tb
1 ½ cups
15 pancakes
2 cups
2 Tb
2 cups
20 pancakes

This is included in my Christmas on the Cheap project because it can make for great neighbor gifts! Throw a bag of chocolate chips into your dry mix, then parcel out into mason jars, which you can decorate and pass out to neighbors, teachers, etc.
Stole this photo from
because of their simple and cute decorating
method with their jar.
As part of my Christmas on the Cheap project, please note:

Cost:  1.75 per gift
9 Cups Dry mix (with bag of chocolate chips): 4.50
This was just how much my groceries cost me- you can get it cheaper, I am sure.
4 Mason Jars (from Goodwill): 2.00
Lids and Ring for 4 Jars: .50
Time: 10 minutes (plus decorating time)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Large DIY Christmas Advent Countdown Calendar

I made a paper and felt advent calendar last year, but it was not as durable as I would have hoped, causing me to re-invent my advent calendar this year. Thanks to a large cardboard box, my little project didn't put me out a dime, as I already had paper and glue on hand.

(Trying to save on your Christmas budget? Try 5 Ways to get Free Money for Christmas!)

Cost: Under .99
Assuming that you have cardboard, scissors, box cutter, glue, markers, etc., already lying around, 50 sheets of origami paper runs about one dollar, so 12 sheets or so should put you out less than a buck.
Time: 60 minutes

*2 large pieces of cardboard, 28"x24"
*9 sheets origami paper, 3 red, 3 green, 4 white, and 1 yellow
*red, green, and black markers
*glue stick
*bottle of glue
*box cutter

Step 1 (two identical cardboard pieces)
Lay one piece of cardboard on top of the other and make sure they are the same size. Use a box cutter to make any adjustments.

Step 2 (make little squares)
Fold the green, red, and two sheets of the white origami paper into quarters and then cut along the fold lines, so that you will have 12 small red squares, 12 small green squares, and 9 small white squares.

Step 3 (glue 'em down)
Using the glue stick, glue twenty four of the squares in five columns with rows of five, leaving a gap in the third column of the fifth row and a space of about eight inches at the top. (see picture)

Step 4 (special star)
Use the yellow origami paper to make some kind of star or special shape for the empty space in the third column of the fifth row (the marker for December 25, Christmas Day....)

Step 5 (cut three sides)

Using the box cutter, carefully cut around each square of paper along the top, right, and bottom sides, allowing the left side to remain fully attached so that it can act like a sort of hinge. Make sure that each cut goes completely through the cardboard so that it can open like a door.

Step 6 (glue cardboard together)
Using the bottle of glue, spread glue on the second, blank piece of cardboard. Put glue ONLY along about eight inches of the top and then a thing line along the left side, right side, and the bottom. (you don't want glue where the little doors are suppose to open). Put the first piece of cardboard on top of the second and press down everywhere you have applied glue, ensuring good contact. Allow to dry.

Step 7 (making hinges)
Pull open the little 'door'
Make the little doors open-able! Press your scissors along the fold/hinge line on the left of each piece of paper and pull the door open.

Step 8 (decor)
Decorate! Use the remaining paper to create your own version of "Christmas Countdown". I made a little clock.... So inventive, right? Number each square for each of the 24 days before Christmas. (look closely- clearly my college education has done me nothing- I accidentally skipped number eleven, so my number eleven is at the bottom right of my calendar....)

Step 9 (fill 'er up)
Figure out a list of activities/games/treats for your countdown (my DIY Advent Calendar  from last year includes a list of ideas) and then write each day's activity on a small piece of paper, then stick it behind your little 'door'. Now you are ready for a super-exciting morning every morning before Christmas! (That is, if you have super exciting activities....) Have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 2, 2013

DIY Christmas Wreath- Under .99!

I must say, I was incredibly pleased with how this turned out. All I knew when I started out was that I wanted to make a wreath for my door- and look at what I ended up with! I used greens and a few small red shapes in order to make a modern mock-holly wreath. Feel free to use whatever colors or schemes bring you a smile.
(Trying to save on your Christmas budget? Try 5 Ways to get Free Money for Christmas!)

Cost:    Under .99
Assumption that you have cardboard, scissors, box cutter, glue, markers, etc., already lying around. 50 sheets of origami paper runs about one dollar, so 20 sheets or so should put you out less than a buck.
Time:    60-90 minutes, depending on size

*15-20 sheets of origami paper (get it at the dollar store)
*piece of cardboard 18"-36" square
*embroidery floss/yarn
*1/2 page cardstock
*box cutter
View photo.JPG in slide show*tape

Step 1
Cut a two-ish thick ring from your cardboard using the box cutter. It's your wreath- make it as large or small as you'd like- but it looks best at about two inches wide. I just moved and had more cardboard than I knew what to do with. Mine is plain cardboard, but if you have some with writing or markered words on it, no problem! And don't worry about it being perfect or even- you can see my is clearly far from a perfect circle. You will be covering the entire thing up with decor, so don't worry about the shape or colors on it too much.

View photo.JPG in slide show
All stages of folding! The red piece is fully folded, the green
piece on the floor was fully folded and is half way unfolded.
Step 2
Fold an origami sheet in half, then half again, (should be square shaped) then into a triangle, and then fold that triangle in half so that you have a very skinny acute triangle. Make a round cut (for a scalloped edge) or two straight cutes (for a pointed edge) to the outer most edge, away from the folds. Unfold, but don't flatten out the creases. Repeat 12-24 times (as needed to cover your cardboard wreath.) Want smaller shapes? Cut the origami sheet in quarters and follow the same process. 

Step 3
Arrange the shapes around your wreath in a design/pattern/color scheme you like. Move things around, try closer bunching, gradient color schemes, or spacing them out. Just find a configuration that is pleasing to the eye. (Namely, your eye, that is.)

View photo.JPG in slide show
Laid out, ready for glue

Step 4
Apply the shapes to your cardboard ring with just a dot of glue on the back center of the shape and then press down firmly. Allow the shapes to overlap each other.

View photo.JPG in slide show
Just a DOT of glue in the center
Step 5
Using your half sheet of cardstock and markers, write a festive message to all who might come to visit! Attach to your wreath by taping your floss/yarn across the back of your message and then taping the ends of the floss/yarn to the back of your cardboard wreath. (See photo- I used four small pieces of floss, but in retrospect, it is simpler to use two equal lengths of floss)
View photo.JPG in slide show
See my four pieces of floss holding it on?
Be smart. Use two equal lengths instead.

Step 6
Hang that bad boy on your door to let all the world know you have Christmas cheer!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Practical Family Safety App

My handsome mansom and his princess lady
The world has changed. My generation often likes to reference the safer years where we spent our younger days. Now when I think about what my parents allowed me to do on my own, I cannot imagine allowing my children to do the same.

Fortunately, we live in an electronic age and there are options to help you protect your sweet babies. There is one app in particular that I have recently become aware of that is a simple, straightforward way to help keep you safe and give you peace of mind.

dun dun dun dun..... It's called React Mobile.
Yeah, this is totally my great-
something-grandpa Philo Dibble

It does two major things.

1- In Case of Emergencies
All you have to do is program a set of phone numbers and e-mail addresses of people you trust, and should you ever find yourself in trouble, a discreet push of a button will send out a panic text/e-mail to those you had selected, along with your GPS location! Then, it will prompt you to dial 911. Not in the US? This app will automatically prompt you to dial the 911 equivalent for whatever country you are in.

2- Everyday Peace of Mind
My dad is a runner. He likes to go in the early, black hours of the morning, and it makes my mom nervous. This app has a 'Follow Me' feature where someone can track you and see exactly where you are. Like if you are sending your kids to school- you set it up on 'Follow Me' and then can see EXACTLY where your kids are via GPS, so you'll know if they are in trouble, whether it is something serious or just them skipping school.

It can be a scary world out there, and much as we'd sometimes like, we can't protect ourselves or our children from everything. We can, however, be prepared and ready, should anything out of the ordinary occur.

So. There you have it. React Mobile. And you can see just why I'm a fan.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

5 Differences between a Good Mom and a Great Mom

I cannot profess to be a perfect mother. I strive, daily (sometimes hourly) to improve myself and be the best mama I can be, but I know that I have yet to learn all the ins-and-outs of what it takes to be a fabulous mother. I am grateful that it takes years for my children to grow up, as it gives me years of time to improve my parenting skills.

Knowing that, I also cannot pretend to give you all the advice you would need to be the world's best mom, so I have consulted with several other wonderful mothers to give you a list of five differences between a good mom and a great mom.

1. A good mom takes her kids to the park. A great mom plays with her kids at the park.
Your children may or may not be at a park-going age, but the principle is this. A good mother can and will take her children to different places to entertain them and teach them. A great mother engages with her children.

2. A good mom protects her children from falls. A great mom teaches her children how to pick themselves up. 
Again, this is a principle. No, I don't think you should stand by while your children hurt themselves. But I do believe that while it is important to protect your children from harm, a great mother will protect her children while also teaching them what to do when her children (inevitably) get into accidents and make mistakes. Help them learn mistakes and accidents are ok and that they happen to everyone.

3. A good mom keeps her home clean. A great mom teaches her children to clean. 
scrubbing and scrubbing
There are far too many children and young adults that have been raised to be babied. It is much easier to clean your home yourself than it is to teach your children to clean well. However. The extra time spent teaching your children to clean and pick up after themselves will not only help them be clean, but will teach them self discipline.

4. A good mom does her best to not make mistakes with her children. A great mom apologizes when she does.
What I mostly want to emphasize here is that moms need to apologize to their children when they've made a mistake. Your children will learn how to handle their own mistakes by watching you. The world needs more people who can acknowledge their weaknesses and say 'sorry!' when they've done wrong. Help your children become those kind of people.

5. A good mom talks to her children. A great mom talks with her children.
I get it. Your life is crazy, it's a miracle you get from one activity to another sometimes, so communication is sometimes more informative than anything else. When was the last time you spoke with your child and actually listened to what they had to say to you? You've raised your children since they were babies in diapers and sometimes it is hard to remember that they actually have a unique identity and viewpoint that they will share with you if you let them. Take time to listen. A favorite quote of mine by Catherine M. Wallace sums up the importance of listening.

A rare photo of me and my girl
Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you,
no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little
stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff
when they are big. Because to them, all of it has always been
big stuff.

Keep doing your best, loving your children, and trying. Remember. The biggest difference between a good mom and a great one is that a good mom has many great intentions while a great mom acts on them.

Monday, September 9, 2013

DIY Kool Aid Foot Soak

And, yes, this is my hubby enjoying his spa experience

Ready to relax from a hard day's work? Or maybe you just feel like you deserve some extra pampering? Here is an easy solution- a warm, relaxing foot soak. What do you need?

* 1 gallon of warm water
* 1 large bowl
* 1 cucumber, sliced
* 1 packet of lemonade flavored Kool-Aid

Pour everything together into a large bowl and just add your feet! It will refresh and invigorate your senses.

Enjoying your DIY home spa? Add a bit of my DIY brown sugar scrub to smooth your feet (and hands!) in order to give yourself the complete experience of relaxation.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

40+ Cheap and/or Free Activities to Expand your Child's Mind

I was thinking the other day that as a SAHM, my job is literally my home and family. I then got to thinking how if I were a hired hand or nanny, I might do some things differently. When I have a job, I am constantly thinking about how I can improve my work area, how I can educate myself, and how I can make my company more successful. Since my family now IS my company, I started to think in terms of what I can do to make each 'employee' (family member) reach their full potential.

With that, I have decided to make a greater emphasis on exposing my children to as many enriching activities as possible. This is just a beginners list, mostly for kids from 2-8, but it gives you some ideas for mostly cheap/free activities. I've already begun doing two or three of these kinds of activities everyday and I feel like my daughter has really been benefiting from them! Have other ideas? Please comment! I'm always looking for ways to improve!


Put a YouTube video of ballet on the tv/computer screen. Mimic the dancers with your child.
Put a YouTube video of jazz dancing on the tv/computer screen. Mimic the dancers with your child.
Use a weak glue to put pennies on the toes of your child's shoes. Have them watch a YouTube video of tap  dancing, then turn up the music and dance in the kitchen floor (or another hard surface).
Turn some music on loud and just dance around like crazy with your youngster.
Musical Instruments

Using a real or toy piano, practice banging out tunes with your child. Try to get them to play a few notes in sequence to make a tune.
Show your child a video of someone playing the flute. Then, get a paper towel roll, cut a 'mouth' hole out, and draw some dark circles (to make 'notes' with their fingers) and pretend to play the flute with them.
Show your child a video different people drumming, then pull out a few pots and pans with wooden spoons and encourage them to drum themselves.
Show your child a video of someone playing the violin. Then, make a 'violin' for your child with an empty tissue box and some elastics as the 'string'. Give them a 'box' made with a stick that has a shoestring tied from end to end on it and let them make noise!
Buy a recorder from the dollar store. Show your child how to blow notes on it, and then try to teach them to play a few notes in succession to make a tune.

Play classical music on the radio. Watch a video of an orchestra playing classical music. Now play jazz music on the radio and watch a video of jazz music. Ask your child what is different between the two.
Play classical music on the radio. Watch a video of an orchestra playing classical music. Now play jazz music on the radio and watch a video of jazz music. Ask your child what is different between the two.
Hip Hop
Listen to hip hop music on the radio. Watch a video of hip hop performers. Ask your child to dance to the hip hop. Ask them what they like/don't like about the music.
Turn on Disney radio and listen to a few songs. Ask your child what songs seem like classical, jazz, or hip hop songs. Ask them why. Ask them if they can identify any other types of music being played.

Plan a fruit/vegetable garden on paper with your child. Tell them when plants can grow and how they should be planted. Quiz them and ask how they would plant a garden of peas, corn, tomato, and beans (etc) in your yard- where would they grow best? When? Why? Plant their own  bean/tomato plant in a small pot and let them care for it in their own room.
Plan a flower garden on paper with your child. Have 5 or 6 different pictures of actual flowers. Teach them which are perennials and which are annuals. Quiz them and ask how they would plant a garden of the flowers you taught them about. Where would they grow best? When? Why? Plant their own flower in a small pot and let them care for it in their own room. Take them to public parks, see if they can find some of the flowers you discussed.
Find 4 or 5 well-landscaped yards/parks in your area. Show your child pictures of famously landscaped castles, palaces, parks, etc. Help them identify the types of plants/rocks/walls/fountains used in landscaping. Show them the well landscaped yards/parks in your area. Ask them what styles they like and why they like them. Give them a paper and pencil and let them create their dream landscaped yard. Give them a small area of the yard/garden to landscape however they please.
Animal Care

Take your child to a pet store. Show them the different varieties of pets there are and help them classify the animals. (Is it a fish? A reptile? A mammal?) Have them ask an employee what a certain animal requires in order to take home. Help them find similarities in foods and environments. Go home and find pictures online of the natural habitats of each animal they showed interest in. Ask them to make a list of what they would need at your home to make that pet feel at home.
Have your child name off every meat they can think of. Help them make a complete list. Tell them which meats go to which animal. Take your child to a county fair, FFA show, local farm, or petting zoo to find as many of these animals as possible. Have your children ask what these animals need for food/shelter etc. Ask your child to draw a pretend home for their favorite livestock animal and list everything that animal would need in order to raise it.
Bird Watching
Find pictures of common birds in your area. Show them to your child. Help them see identifying characteristics for each one, then take them to a park, the ocean, or just on a walk and help them find as many of these local birds as possible.

Start a bug collection! Find pictures of bugs common to your area and challenge your child to capture as many of them as they can. (Please be wary of dangerous bugs.) Provide them with jars, leaves, bedding, food, and whatever else their bugs might require. Find articles online that tell all about these bugs. Read them to/with your child.
Start a leaf collection! Find pictures of leaves common to your area and challenge your child to capture as many of them as they can. Give them a notebook and tape to store each leaf. Find articles online that tell all about the trees that their leaves come from. Read them to/with your child.
Start a rock collection! Find pictures of rocks common to your area and challenge your child to capture as many of them as they can. Give them a shelf to store their treasures on. Find articles online that tell all about the rocks and how they were formed. Read them to/with your child.
Start a coin collection! Help your child to collect as many different pennies/nickels/dimes from as many different years as possible. Find articles online that tell when pictures were changed and why. Read them to/with your child.

Find a simple recipe and allow your child to help you bake something. Even if you just let them stir in eggs for a boxed brownie mix, let them help you. Make sure to tell them all the steps in baking, i.e., preheating the oven, greasing the pan, etc., and tell them why you do it.
Show your child pictures of food from fancy restaurants. Ask them why the food looks the way it does. Make a meal together and plate it two ways, one, just dumped on the plate, and the other carefully styled. Ask your child which way they prefer. Ask them why. Watch a professional cooking show together.

Find someone who knits (yourself, perhaps?) and ask them to give a basic explanation of knitting to your child. Have them teach a basic stitch to your child, then supply them with a ball of yarn and needles and see what they create.
Next time a pair of pants/shirt gets a small hole in them, pull out a needle and thread and show your child the basics of darning.
Find someone who embroiders (you?) or a simple video online. Have an explanation (via an embroiderer or via a video) of what embroidery is. Find an embroidered pillow case/ wall hanging and have your child identify the different stitches in it. If they are old enough, provide them with supplies and let me create!
Machine sewing
As age appropriate, teach your child to sew with a sewing machine, beginning with the hows of the sewing machine. Don't know how? Find a local craft store, as most host free sewing tutorials.
Next time a button comes off, a zipper gets loose, or velcro gets torn off, show your child how to repair it. If your child is very young, give them a few zippers or pieces of velcro and just let them play with  them.
Give your child a notebook, some photos, a glue stick, and crayons. Encourage them to create a scrapbook page. Look to Pinterest if you need scrapbooking page ideas.
Foreign Languages

Ask your child what country/language they are most interested in and then look up basic phrases in that language. Use an online video or a movie with extra languages to listen to the language. Have them practice speaking the words you've looked up. Borrow a book in that language from the library and help your child identify basic words in it (the, and, you, etc.) Find the languages' alphabet online and teach them to write their own name.

Paint a picture with your child. Go to a local museum and look at paintings. Ask your child how their pictures and the museum pictures are the same. Ask them what differences there are. Go home and look at famous paintings online. Ask your child why you think those paintings became famous.
Pencil Drawing
Draw a picture with your child. Go to a local museum and look at drawings. Ask your child how their pictures and the museum pictures are the same. Ask them what differences there are. Go home and look at famous drawings online. Ask your child why you think those drawings became famous.
Crayon Drawing
Ask your child to draw a colorful scene (like a rainbow or a bunch of colored balloons) with only a black and grey crayon. Ask them why it's hard. Ask them why colors are important. Ask them their favorite colors. Have them draw the picture again with only their favorites. Ask them to draw with all the colors. Ask them what is different between the three drawings. Ask them which ones they like best and why.
Show your child a globe and locate Japan. Tell them that origami is a paper artform that came from Japan. Give them a few square pieces of paper and make basic shapes with them. (find tutorials all over online). A paper airplane can be a good start!
Give your child clay or play dough and let them make a few masterpieces. Take them to a large park with statues or to a museum. Have them compare and contrast their sculptures. Ask them what is hard and what is easy about sculpting.
Show your child famous photos online. Ask them why they think the photos are famous. Give them their own disposable camera and let them take whatever photos they want. Get it developed. Have them pick their favorite pictures. Ask them why they like those pictures and point out what they did well. Frame their favorite photo.
Read with your child, to your child, and give them books. Buy cheap books that your children can color in. Let them add words or take out words to change the story. Give them a notebook and encourage them to write their own story.

Have your child listen to opera, theater, country, and sing-a-long music. Ask them what is different between each style. Ask them what is the same. Ask them how each music genre makes them feel. Have them mimic the singing styles. When possible, take them to an opera, a theater, or country music concert.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How to Buy a House (for the Very First Time!)

My husband and I have recently been considering buying a home. We went from a tiny rented apartment to a large rented home- the next step seems to be buying our own home, but the more I learn about it, the more I’ve realized… Buying a house is complicated! Luckily for me, though, I’ve got a realtor (Becca) who lets me inundate her with a barrage of different text message questions. However, not everyone has a realtor at their fingertips, so I asked her to outline (as simply as possible) what it takes to buy a home.

So, fellow first-time home buyers (also referred to as property virgins, I think)- use the following article as a guide to help make the muddled mess of home buying a bit clearer.

Hey, MyAmConf readers! My name is Becca Summers and I am a licensed Realtor in the state of Utah. I love to help people achieve their real estate goals. My sister and I were talking today about buying a home (this would be her first home purchase). She had a few questions, and I thought, “Why not write a blog post to help explain the process for buying a home; it’s not as simple as one might think.”

The following is a basic overview; no two purchases are ever the same because emotions are involved in the purchase from both the buyer and the seller.  Here are the first five steps to buying a house.

1. Consult with a Realtor. You will discuss the buying process, figure out your expectations for you and your agent, and assess your wants and needs for the home. This will help you learn more about what to expect.

2. Get pre-approval with lender.  Many homes require a pre-approval to be completed in writing before you write an offer. This is essential before you start viewing homes, so you will know what price range to look for.

3. Select and View Properties. Your agent will send you properties in your price range and in a desirable area. Keep track of your favorites and let your agent know what you want to look at.

4. Write offer. Once you have found the property that is right for you, you write an offer. You should look at comparable homes in the area to give you a better idea of pricing.

5. Negotiate offer. You might be surprised, but often the first offer isn’t accepted, so there is then some negotiation. Perhaps you want to move in quickly and they need a few days to move, so they will counter and ask you to change your moving date a few days back.

Wooh! That was all the fun stuff, but now we get down to the nity-gritty parts of real estate. Once your offer is accepted, you are under contract! Here are the last six steps in buying your house!

6. Under Contract. This is where the lender (who you get your mortgage with) and title company (the ones who do a background check to make sure the home title is clear) come in to work through all of your paper work. The lender company and title company each specialize in a different area of the transaction.

7. Earnest Money- When you write your offer to show that you are “earnestly” interested in the property, you will give ‘earnest money’ to the seller. This is usually 1% of the purchase price and will go toward your down payment as long as you actually purchase the property. If you decide not to buy the house, you might lose this money. The opposite is also true. If the seller backs out, you’ll get your earnest money back, plus a penalty equal to the original amount of earnest money.

8. Seller Disclosures. This is a document where the sellers will disclose everything they have done to the property (repairs, maintenance, fire, mold, etc.).

9. Due Diligence. This is one of the most important steps for you as a buyer (to protect yourself!). It is where you go through and make sure the property is right for you. This is the time I would recommend getting a home inspector to go through the house.

10. Financing & Appraisal. The lender (who you get your mortgage with) will order the appraisal (an official guesstimate of how much the house is worth) to confirm the price. They will also verify the loan terms and make sure they are good before the financing deadline.

Look! Becca Summers!
Realtor Extraordinaire!
11. Settlement & Closing.  Settlement is where you go the title company (the ones who do a background check to make sure the home title is clear) and sign all of the documents. Closing is when the home becomes officially yours! Hooray!

Still with me? That feels like a lot of information,  but I wanted to make sure I was thorough. All of these things take time-don’t get frustrated –it is well worth it to have your own house.

I hope I’ve given you some knowledge without giving you a headache. If you have more questions about buying a home (in Utah- sorry, world, I only work in Utah) feel free to email me at or check out my Facebook page