Friday, May 27, 2011

On The Hunt ...

Within two weeks of moving into our temporary housing, we reved up our search for a new home.  Up here in the extreme north, one generally has only 5 months to search for / sell a home.  During the rest of the year everything is either under a thick blanket of snow or very soggy from the spring snow melt, also known as "mud season".
If we don't find what we are looking for by the end of summer most of our house hunting will be over until late next spring.  Through our 2 1/2 year search, we've learned that occasionally, one or two homes may come on the market during the winter months, but it is rare.
So far, for us anyway, the internet seems to be the most effective method of searching for prospects, especially since the towns are extremely small, and many miles apart.  A couple weeks ago when we drove down to see a home about 100 miles south of us, the process took nearly all day.  Also, because the communities are so small the realtors only notify buyers of prospective listings through their own agency - they absolutely will not search competitor's listings on your behalf (our welcome to small town politics).  It's all very weird and leaves most of the "leg work" on the buyer's shoulders.

However, after searching for just the right place for 2 1/2 years (our first trip up was Oct. 2008), Mr. B and I found a place we think will work for our family.  Last week we made an offer AND yesterday the seller accepted!!!

The whole process is not a "done deal" just yet.  We still have to make it through the inspections and the appraisal, but it seems we may be on our way to moving into a new home.

You know, yesterday as I went before the Lord with thanksgiving, I first had to repent for my lack of faith and for allowing discouragement to settle into my heart.  Mr. B's job transfer and our move has been a long drawn out process.  When Mr. B first came up here we never imagined our family would be separated by 1,600 miles for more than 2 years.  When the littles and I were visiting during the summer of 2009, we found what we thought would be the perfect home for our family, but we continually ran into all sorts of road blocks and almost a year later we withdrew our offer.  After finishing the remodel work on our home in Texas, we found out I had to have surgery to correct a birth defect in my heart that was progressively getting worse.  When we FINALLY put our home up for sale, the market was so depressed, it took 9 months to sell.  These detours and the separation, took a toll on me, emotionally and spiritually.  Fortunately, we serve a merciful God who is willing and waiting to grant forgiveness, so He can generously bless us.
Although I knew God was in control, I was unable to see where He was taking us, an awful feeling for anyone who is a control freak, like me.  Of course God knows that - He was giving me an exercise in faith.  Why would He do this?  To make me stronger, to teach me another lesson in depending on Him.  He desires to be our everything.  He desires us to fully trust and depend on Him, just as a newborn fully trusts and depends on his/her mother.

The home we put an offer on is more than I ever dreamed we'd be blessed with.  BUT, as mentioned above, it is not yet a done deal, so I'm going to keep you all guessing and report updates as they unfold.  Time moves at a slower pace up here and as of right now we are looking at a closing date in early August.  Won't you join us in our praise and thanksgiving to the Lord?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spaghetti with Bacon & Eggs

We are finally getting somewhat settled into our temporary housing. So, today I thought I'd share a quick, easy and frugal breakfast with you. Our family really enjoys this dish. It could also be paired with a salad for a quick dinner or supper. This recipe doubles and triples very well.

For this recipe you will need:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

5 oz. bacon, cut into matchsticks

1 clove garlic, minced

12 -14 oz. cooked spaghetti (I like to use left overs)

3 eggs, room temperature

3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated (can substitute other flavors of cheese)

salt & pepper

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and cheese. Set aside. In a medium frying pan, over medium heat, fry the bacon and minced garlic in the olive oil. When the bacon is slightly crispy, add the left over spaghetti. Cook until the spaghetti is hot, stirring frequently. When the spaghetti is piping hot, pour the bacon and spaghetti mixture into the egg mixture, and stir to combine well. The heat from the spaghetti and bacon fat will slightly cook the eggs. Stir in salt & pepper to taste.

Note: You can also use freshly boiled spaghetti. After draining, immediately pour the hot spaghetti into the egg mixture, stir well; then add the hot bacon and fat, stirring well again.

Serves 4

This recipe was adapted from "Pasta - irresistible recipes for perfect pasta", pg.171.

Cost Breakdown:

spaghetti - $0.99

bacon - $1.29

Parmesan cheese - $1.98

olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper - $0.60

Total: $4.86 OR $1.22 per person

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Moving, Unpacking & Moving ... Again?

Well, it has been a month since my last post. So, I think it's about time I log an update.

We went to closing on our house in Texas without any hitches. After 2 years and 4 months, the littles and I have been reunited with Mr.B. We've moved completely across the nation from the Gulf Coast to the Canadian border, many of our belongings have been moved into a storage unit and the rest we've moved into Mr.B's trailer house, in a trailer park, while we search for another home. Oh, and I've unpacked, expect for pictures - don't know why I haven't been able to bring myself to unpack those yet ...

Last week I began perusing the real estate sites, again. I found the above pictured gem - a restored/remodeled 1920's 4 bedroom, 2 bath farmhouse on 25 acres only 4.5 miles off the interstate AND it's within our budget. Yesterday, we drove over 100 miles south to give her a look over. Yes, I said over 100 miles south of where we are currently located. Why would we look for a home that far away from Mr.B's job? Because his company is thinking about transferring him - again!! Only this time it isn't completely across the nation - it's only about 150-160 miles south of where he's currently working.

WoW ... The more we think on this little place, the more we love it! There are only 3-4 other homes between it and the interstate on the county maintained 4.5 mile gravel road. The east, west and south views are all farmland / pasture and the view when looking north is of a nice stand of trees followed by pasture. No matter the direction, there is not another house or barn within eyesight of this place.

As you can see in the above photos, the kitchen has been beautifully remodeled. This is an example of the beauty and quality the owner has put into the rest of the home. Accessibility to the interstate for Mr.B's commute to various work sites is very convenient- especially during winter months. Last year, this region received over 100 inches of snow.

Why did we not make an offer on the home yesterday? Because, as of right now, Mr.B's job transfer is not certain. We need prayers for an answer as to which region of the state he will be located so that we will know where to focus our search for a new home. If we knew for certain he would eventually be transferred south, we would begin the purchasing process of this home immediately. During the past two years, we have missed a couple opportunities to purchase other homes (but maybe they weren't missed opportunities, maybe it was the Lord closing some doors, especially since we are possibly looking at another job transfer). Unfortunately, homes on small plots of acreage don't come along too often in this region of the country and consequently, they sell VERY fast.

Won't you all join us in prayer as we continue sailing this journey of uncertainty? Not only am I growing weary, but just yesterday morning OG expressed that living in "limbo" has exhausted her. She, too, is ready for the family to be settled.