Tag Archives: delanceydreamhome

Finding a Way

The Delancey family is in the process of finding a way to fund an out-of-state adoption if we are approved to foster/adopt. I’m not going to beat around the bush. Kevin and I have finally started the process of adoption. We’re filling out the application, preparing the kids for the process and getting all our ducks in a row.

For those that may not know, adopting through the Foster Care Program in your state has little or no cost associated with it. In fact, if you adopt in your state of residence your court costs and attorney’s fees are reimbursed by the state. People automatically assume that adoption is expensive, well it is if you aren’t adopting through the foster care system.

So right now, I’m looking at all the options available to us for fundraising in the event that we are approved to foster or for adoption. We are finding a way to complete our family.

We have some things that we will need to do, like make our basement office into a legal bedroom by reframing the doorway to include a window, in the event that there is a fire within the home. So our handyman is coming out over the weekend to give us a quote on the cost associated with moving the doorway and drywalling the area where the door was originally located.

Since we are just in the very beginning stages of the adoption process, I am not saying that we are going to fundraise, but we’re looking into all options. There are so many creative fundraiser ideas. T-shirt fundraisers, Tag the bag fundraisers, bake/candy sales, online auctions, cookbook sales, spaghetti dinners, mini photo sessions for a donation, puzzle piece fundraiser and the list goes on and on and on.

Our goal is to earn the money ourselves, Kevin hopes to work as much overtime as possible between now and when we start our training for the foster to adopt program.

I’ll be updating things as we get further into the process, but as of right now the Delancey’s are in the process of making our house a home full of happy, healthy children and a place they can always come home to when things don’t go as planned!

Thanks for stopping by, make sure you check back for future updates and for all the changes that we hope will be happening soon.

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Installing a Honeywell Lyric Thermostat

Kevin and I purchased this thermostat more than a month ago in hopes of having our handyman install the thermostat when he was here last, but he wasn’t comfortable installing a Wi-Fi thermostat. Fast forward to 10pm yesterday… when I stupidly thought “Oh hell let’s install this thermostat. It can’t take that long.” Oh, boy was I just a little wrong. If you’re interested in installing a Honeywell Lyric Thermostat read on….

So let my start from the beginning. Our house had the old school rectangular (York brand) thermostat with two mercury bubbles in it. We wanted to be able to change settings on our A/C and Heat for energy saving purposes and the Lyric does that automatically. I can set it to change when we leave the house for more than 2 hours, it changes when we leave a certain radius around our house (you can change the actual radius) and it goes back to your normal settings when you get back into your pre-defined area.

When I decided to do this last night, Kevin let me take the lead because I’m the tech savvy person in the household. Kevin struggles with technology sometimes, he’s more mechanically inclined. I come from a family with 2 electricians (one is about to get his Masters license) and my sister’s boyfriend is an electrician as well. So I have tons of resources available to me. I just didn’t want to use them… ha ha ha. As a new homeowner, I wanted to do this myself. I am also very mechanically inclined and am not afraid of jumping in and figuring it out along the way.

Now on to the installation process.

  • Make sure you turn off the FURNACE & the A/C at your circuit breaker!
  • Have needle nose pliers handy it can really be a tight fit.

Before you start taking the wires off of your old thermostat to take a picture NOT while in the APP. The app doesn’t save the photo to your gallery. I luckily have dropbox saved to my phone and set up so every single time I do ANYTHING to my phone it’s saved to my dropbox account.

This is what the wiring for my old thermostat looked like…

York Mercury Thermostat

York Mercury Thermostat

All of the wiring in this thermostat is color coordinated with the corresponding letter. BUT that does not mean that your wiring is going to be color coded correctly. Normally, Red is Positive (Power) and black is Negative (ground), white would be A/C and yellow is Heat. Blue is called Common, green is normally the fan, and the orange has something to do with the A/C as well.

Now on to the good stuff. I unhooked all the wires straightened them out and went to town on hooking it up to the Lyric. We have a common 1 zone heating and cooling system. So again, I thought this was going to be easy.

Honeywell Lyric Wiring Setup

Proper Honeywell Lyric Wiring Setup for my house

NOTE: I already put electrical tape on any exposed wiring from where the casing has peeled or split; to prevent any problems. I just took the picture before hand so you could see the colors of the wiring.

 Don’t forget that your wiring colors may be different than mine and they may go to different corresponding letters on your thermostats (both old and new) than mine. This post is only meant to show what my wiring configuration when going from a Merury thermostat to a digital thermostat. I am NOT an electrician or an HVAC tech, just a homeowner who likes to do things myself, when and if I can.

 

I started with the R wire which just so happens to be red. THIS IS HOW LYRIC POWERS ON YOUR HEATING AND A/C!

Green goes to my fan so it corresponded with the G on my Honeywell Lyric.

Yellow goes to my Heat Pump it corresponded with Y on the Lyric.

Orange is part of my A/C equipment it went into W, if you only have 4 wires your white wire SHOULD be the one to go into W; IF the person who wired your house followed the recommendations for color coding wiring.

White is also part of my A/C so it goes in W2.

The only other color I had left that wasn’t used is Blue. This is the common wire. The Honeywell Lyric does NOT need a C wire. This is normally meant for GAS units. We don’t have a gas unit, so no need to connect it.

The Lyric app didn’t give us a wire configuration because of the Blue and Orange wire. I was literally on my own. Kevin had no clue because he’s a generator technician, not a residential electrician. So after much trial and lots of errors, I decided to call their support line and the guy had me remove the blue and move the orange and white wires.

It really wasn’t horrible, just frustrating. So if you are switching from an old school mercury unit and have 6 wires, this setup should help you!

Once you have all your wires hooked up, turn the breakers back to the ON position and let your Lyric start up. Download the Lyric app (both Apple & Android Compatible), create an account if you don’t already have one.

REMEMBER the APP can give you wiring configuration IF you have a common wiring setup. Ours was not considered common so it didn’t give us any wiring diagrams.

If you have any issues, don’t hesitate to call their support line. It really was easy once I had the proper information regarding the wiring digram and my old thermostat.

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat working properly

Finally installed and working properly

 

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 *This post contains at least 1 affilate link. This post was not sponsored, nor am I employed by any brands discussed in this blog post!


Closing

OMG! We’re closing on our FIRST house together in 15 days! I cannot believe that I will be a homeowner in just over 2 weeks!

A lot has happened in the last few weeks and it has been smooth sailing towards our closing date now that we’re no longer working with Navy Federal Credit Union. I wish we could just close out ALL of our accounts, but that would just be stupid on our behalf. We have too many accounts that are linked to those cards, that I just don’t see the point in disrupting everything just because we’ve had one bad experience with our bank. But I’m glad we dodged the bullet with them as far as our mortgage goes.

Our house sorta “failed” the VA Appraisal portion. Basically, the VA sends out a licensed appraiser to make sure the house is in livable conditions. They don’t want active duty service members or veterans to purchase a home that needs extensive repairs that would overwhelm  them financially. So it’s really just a way to make sure that a service member or veteran doesn’t over extend themselves financially trying to fix a home and then default on their home, causing it to go into foreclosure.

So our house needs to have some minor repairs done in order for them to come out and “re-inspect” the things that failed the first time. Basically, they just wanted to make an extra $100 off the deal. But it’s whatever!

So our agent set us up with one of her licensed handyman connections in the area and he’s heading out to the house to fix the two faucets, make sure the automatic garage door opener works, and to paint our front steps! Another $450 that we’ve put into our home, not including the re-inspection fee of $100. I kid you not, we’ve put out $400 for a broken window (that alone would have failed our home for the VA appraisal), we put out $460 for a home inspection, $450 for the original appraisal fee. We’ve spent $1,900 in like 2 weeks time!!! UGH! That’s not including the $500 “good faith deposit” that you put down when you put in a contract on a home! Thankfully we still have plenty of money in savings to cover the 1/4 point for our 3.375% interest rate, plus the other closing costs.

The expenses of purchasing a home are freakin’ NUTS! Which I already knew that there were a lot of things involved, I’ve done extensive research over the last 2 years. During that time frame, we were working on paying off debts and making sure our credit scores were the highest we could get them before we ever applied for our mortgage loan. We wanted to get the best rate possible without putting out money for points. Obviously, we have REALLY GOOD/EXCEPTIONAL credit in order to get a 3.375% interest rate from the bank. If you are in the process of buying a home or are planning on it in the near future, make sure you shop around for the best rate. Check out your bank’s website. See what the lowest interest rate is BEFORE you apply. Make sure you know what your credit looks like. At the time, when we got pre-approved via Navy Federal the lowest rate was a 3.375%, when we had to get a pre-approved via Wells Fargo the lowest rate was 3.5%, a bank can automatically lower it 1/8th of a point without needing approval from a supervisor, so that’s what our loan specialist did. Since I really wanted that 3.375% rate, I agreed to pay $250 at closing (points are prepaid interest on a loan). Granted it was only $13 a month difference in our monthly payment, but it would have cost us more in the long run to have a 3.5% interest rate over the life of our loan! I’ll gladly pay the $250 in order to save THOUSANDS over the life of our loan.

Being that we are so close to closing, my anxiety is overwhelming. Like part of me is nervous about having another bill to pay. Well 3 or 4 more bills to pay each month…Mortgage, Electricity, Cable, etc. We still pay for the Maryland house, haven’t seen a dime from my in-laws in almost 3 months and before that it was like 4 or 5 months! They are so inconsistent and NEVER make a full “rent” payment so we can stop covering the mortgage payment on that damn house! But oh well, we’ve got a bank who sees that we’re on the up and up and that we can support our household even with two mortgage payments!

I’m so ready for closing day, ready to finally be able to plant roots and watch our children grow! We’re counting down the days to closing!!!! FIFTEEN DAYS!

I’ve started packing and purging the things we do not need anymore. Going to sell a few things, so we don’t have to drag them with us. EEEKKK… I’m so excited that this journey is finally changing chapters. We’re on to bigger and better things, one day at a time!

 

Well I’m off to fix my two little loves and myself some lunch!

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Changing Mortgage Lenders

So last week we had to change mortgage lenders. Our original choice for our mortgage loan was Navy Federal Credit Union. But that didn’t last long! We had the worst experience with them, that I’ll explain in this post. So at the last minute, we had to change lenders and decided to go with Wells Fargo. Changing mortgage lenders is not something we had planned on doing, but it has all worked out well.

Talk about stressful and a huge fiasco. We started our loan process with Navy Fed on March 11th, 2016. It took more than 3 business days for them to assign us a loan officer and then 2 more business days to even contact us. Our original loan officer was extremely rude, she basically told me that my husband doesn’t make enough money and that we needed to sell his Maryland property (like we haven’t already tried). She didn’t want to run the numbers, she didn’t want to listen to a single thing I was saying. She was basically not interested in helping us. So I called back and had them change our loan officer. That took another 2 to 3 business days! Finally, a supervisor called me to talk about it. She gave me two options one without income from the Maryland Property and one with income from the Maryland Property. We took the easier option and decided to go without including income from the Maryland Property. So the supervisor offered us a specific amount at a rate of 3.375%. The next day the new loan officer calls me and tells me she has no idea what the supervisor did but they can’t offer us the amount that was told to me the day before. Nothing had changed, except we had paid off at least another credit card! So that should have been a good thing. But oh well…

Last Sunday, I got a phone call from our loan officer at Navy Fed, telling me that they had some questions about out file. They had things so backwards, had Kevin’s income wrong, etc. I totally lost faith in them to get things right. This is a HUGE purchase and I wasn’t about to let the stupidity of others ruin our chances of purchasing our 1st home together.

So I emailed our agent and asked what I should do… She immediately called me and said well my mom is a loan officer at Wells Fargo and has been for 13 years. My agent called her mom and gave her the details and her mom called me. We were on the phone for almost 2 hours on Monday afternoon. By Monday night, she had submitted our application and ordered our VA Appraisal. In less than 8 hours I had gotten the pre-approval, had our loan submitted for approval and ordered our VA inspection. Navy Federal was dragging their feet. We were coming up on two months of waiting. We already had everything else we needed like the ratified contract, etc.

I can’t say enough good things about the process and customer service with Wells Fargo’s Mortgage Department. It has been AMAZING, to say the least! I just can’t believe how user-friendly it is. Almost all of our documents have been signed electronically. Which is nice. I didn’t have to worry about printing, scanning and waiting for Kevin to sign them and send them back to me. It was SO EASY!

I also love how Wells Fargo has something called “yourLoanTracker”. It basically, shows you what needs to be done, what’s done/approved, etc. It allows you to easily track the process of your application and has all the information for Closing (once it’s been scheduled), etc.

Loan Tracker1

Complete Your Application- This section was for where you upload all your documents and then they approve or deny the files in which you upload to their system.

This is what our loan tracker looks like… Yes, these are screen shots of our actual loan tracker.

Loan Tracker2

Subcategories of Complete Your Application.

Loan Tracker3

Financial & Property Review and Subcategories

Loan Tracker4

Prepare to Close with subcategories

Loan Tracker5

At Closing and subcategories

Loan Tracker6

Manage Your Account and Subcategories

I just love how easy it is to glance at the website and see what needs to be done and what has been done already. By far this is the best way to keep a client/customer in the loop without them having to be up their loan officers butt!

If I log on to the site with my cellphone vs a computer, the phone will give me an exact percentage of how complete our loan process is. Right now we’re sitting at 20% for our entire loan process according to the mobile site.
2016-05-06 14.42.09It’s hard to believe that a company has made the mortgage process so dang easy! I’m absolutely amazed at how easily the Wells Fargo process has gone. From here on out I will recommend Wells Fargo’s Mortgage Department and I’ll be more than happy to refer others to our specific loan officer. She has been the best in this entire process. She’s turned our stressful situation into something easy and smooth.

Well I have a few things I need to do today like laundry and dishes (like always).

I hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

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Teaching Photography

For the longest time, I’ve been interested in teaching photography. The only thing is I don’t really have the means to do so outside of the internet. So I want to use my blog, this blog to show others how to use their DSLR cameras. Teaching photography has been something I have been working towards for almost 4 years. I feel that I’m at a point where I can finally give the best information possible.

I know a few years ago when I got my 1st DSLR courtesy of my wonderful husband, Kevin… I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t know who to look to for help and I spent about 4 months using my camera in Auto (UGH! I KNOW!) until I stumbled upon Rachel Brenke (aka The LawTog). She’s an amazing photographer who also happens to be an Attorney, a mom of many children, and a military spouse. At the time I had found her, she had multiple online workshops that were around $89 (on sale) each. So I “begged” (read: asked, I’ve never had to beg for money from him) for the money to take the workshops. I took the first two (a beginner and an intermediate workshop) and fell in love with photography even more.  Over the course of a few more months, my husband bought me my 1st Prime Lens a Canon 50mm 1.8. I loved that lens because it gave my photos something special. I continued to learn, basically spending hours every single day researching local photographers that did hands-on workshops. I wanted to work with someone to get hands-on experience.

I came across Beryl Young and took one of her little mini workshops that happened to be free. I followed her and still do follow her, I get her emails regularly. She uses daily life to teach photography. She also has an online class called Illuminate, this course she created after she lost her 1st daughter Bella. You can read more information about her journey via this link.

Finally, I had found my hands-on mentor, Tammy! She was not exactly local when I first found her and fell in love with her photography style. She had these clean images, they were beautiful, well composed, etc.  When I first found her, her husband was stationed in Nevada. So she too was a military spouse, I felt comfortable with her from the moment she and I started emailing. She was genuine, she just gave me great vibes. I’m so glad I drove the 2 1/2-3 hours to see her. We had a great time talking photography, business, family, military lifestyle, etc. She was great. Love her! I still follow her and send her an occasional update on my photography journey.

So now that I’ve spent the last 4 years studying pretty much every single detail I can in photography. I want to offer my knowledge to others. I want to teach others the basics of photography. There was a time where I wanted to start up an e-course but I don’t really think I have the time or the following to really start an e-course at this time. Maybe in the future, IF I have more of a following.

How do you all feel about seeing posts about Photography on this blog? Let me know in the comments section! I really would love to hear your opinions. If you’d love to learn about photography, please tell me what you’re interested in learning. Or let me know on my other social media accounts.

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Taking the Next Step

I feel like we’re heading in the right direction. We are finally taking the next step in the mortgage application process. Our application has finally been assigned a Mortgage Specialist. I’m so excited that we’re hopefully one step closer to homeownership. I really hope the Maryland property doesn’t mess this up for us.

Taking the next step has my stomach all in knots. I can’t believe that we’ve finally gotten to this point, it’s been a long time in the making. When we last applied for a mortgage Kevin wasn’t making enough money to cover two mortgage payments. Now that we’re in a better financial place we’ve got the ability to cover the two payments if the need is there.

So what got us to the point of taking the next step? Well, it all started when Kevin was involuntarily separated from the Marines in late 2014. The moment we found out that $hit was going down, we immediately went into saving mode. We took our tax return and paid off Kevin’s truck and paid down/off credit card bills. We knew we’d get a separation pay, that would cover the mortgage on the Maryland property. So we didn’t have to stress about that. We put aside every single dime we could from the middle of April until October when we got his separation pay.We moved before we had to be out of our house, we found Kevin the first job he could get in August 2014, so he was getting paid by the military until October and was getting paid by the new company. So we were just putting money into savings or paying off bills.

We had moments of struggle (financially) during the last 18 months. But finding Kevin this amazing job and the opportunity he was given by them… has been such a blessing. We are both so very thankful that he has this job. I’m so glad that we are finally taking the next step and moving forward with our lives.

I guess, I’ll have more to update once the Mortgage Specialist and I go over our paperwork. We could be homeowners by the time the kids get out of school for Summer break, which is what we’ve been hoping for all this time. We’ve done our best to not uproot them during the school year. So we’re hoping for the same this time around.

Well, my household chores are never done. Dishes, laundry, picking up toys and vacuuming is on my to do list today.

Update to come once we’ve gotten our pre-approval or if we’re back to square one.

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YouTube Break

For those that haven’t noticed, our family took a YouTube Break. Mostly because it’s not convenient for our current living situation. Which is a huge bummer. I was hoping to be able to vlog daily, but the people we live with just don’t feel comfortable with me showing their house to the entire world (well those who watch our videos).

It’s been a month or so. I’m really sad that we’re unable to put up more videos at this time. But I just don’t want to risk getting told we have to move, we really were trying to save up for our dream home. We’re still waiting for Kevin’s 1st house to sell (now that the Mayor; who is also a Realtor convinced him to put it back on the market for another year).

We’ve been applying for Contract jobs for Kevin (ones that require overseas travel for months at a time) and for other jobs all throughout the CONUS. We’re still waiting for the right job to come along. But we’re still trying all avenues. Kevin was offered a job, but the pay wasn’t what it needed to be. It was only $2 more an hour, but it was a longer drive which meant more money in gas, it had different hours which meant he wouldn’t be home for dinner with the kids, plus he’d be stuck in rush-hour traffic both ways (to and from work). So it was just one of those things that we had to really talk about. There’s talk of him getting a raise, since he’s been with the same company for over a year now. While it won’t be a huge raise, all the extra money he earns will go right towards paying off our debts (credit card, student loans, and personal loan).

We were originally trying to use our YouTube videos to earn a little bit of extra money to put towards our debts and savings for our dream home. But it obviously takes time to do all that. It takes time to gain subscribers, to gain video views, etc. Eventually whenever everything falls into place for our family, we’ll be able to start vlogging on a regular basis again.

I will be able to make videos that are beauty related and sit-down vlogs on my other channels, but I need to re-organize our room in order for me to do that. Which will take me a few weekends. I need to buy a small desk (or have Kevin build me one that I can stain or paint) and a computer chair. I need to make it so I can use natural light for most of my videos. But as of right now we’re just going to have to play it by ear; as to how we want things set up.

Once I can finally start recording videos again in our room, I’ll be posting the videos or links to my channels here! So keep an eye out for them. But right now I’m just going to have to blog and post photos (if I can find the time to really sit down and photograph anything).

Well I have to go get some more laundry done. It seems I missed a few pieces of clothing for Zachary and Ryleigh when I did laundry yesterday.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week.


Do you ever wonder how many batteries people go through in a day? A week? A month? A year?

I only wonder because I have 5 kids, myself and my husband to buy batteries for on a regular basis. 90% of my kids toys require batteries, 90% of my camera gear requires either AA batteries, watch batteries or specialty batteries. My kids video games require batteries (controllers or the handheld devices).

I buy batteries like once a week because the kids Xbox 360 controllers are wireless, the Wii remotes require batteries, and I’m not really sure if their PlayStation 4 controllers require batteries or now (I don’t pay enough attention to the video game systems). Not to mention we have 3 cable remotes to put batteries in, plus two camera flashes, two video lights, and a bunch of other stuff (Zachary and Ryleigh toys).

Some days I wish I could buy stock in a battery company! I mean they’re needed for almost everything these days. So it would be a smart thing to buy such a stock, if only I had the money to really invest in stocks. One day we will have the money to do stuff like that, hopefully sooner than later.

Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. I’ve just been thinking about a ton of things lately and this was one of those things that made me wonder.

So do you ever have those “Do You Ever Wonder” moments? If yes, leave me a comment below with your thoughts on this.

Well it’s way too early to be up on a Saturday morning, it’s only 7:20am. Kevin got up hours ago to get up, dressed, and fed. He took on a weekend job for the extra cash. It sucks he won’t be home on the weekends anymore, but every little bit of money helps us reach our goals even faster. We’re closer and closer to our goal of getting rid of all of our credit card debt. Only 7 months until our anniversary (which is when I planned for us to be out from under our credit card debt). Once all that’s done, hopefully the Mayor of the town my husband’s “house” is in will have sold the house and we can start making more plans for our dream home.

Well I guess I should actually get out of my bed, get dressed, change diapers, and feed kids.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.


Losing Hope and Motivation

Some days are good days, while others just plain suck. I feel like I’m losing all hope and motivation to make it until we finally are able to have our dream home. Some days I wonder why we’re in this situation…then I realize it’s because my mother-in-law refuses to take responsibility for conning Kevin into buying a crappy “home” for her and his sisters 8 years ago.

I just want to scream and yell! But I know that will do no good. So I just keep my mouth shut, while letting Kevin deal with the situation. Ha. If you can call it dealing with it.

The house (property) is going up for sale again, this time the Mayor of the town the property is in is putting it up for sale. We’re crossing our fingers in hopes that we’ll be able to sell it this time. Maybe we can finally move on with our lives once this property sells…. All I can say is we will no longer be supporting ANYONE in Kevin’s family. I refuse to even help, because they way the take advantage of Kevin, our kids, and myself.

I keep putting on a happy face for my kids, but in all reality… I’m about to become the devil in disguise when it comes to my in-laws. UGH! Sorry, that sounds horrible, but I’m tired of them taking from our children and leaving us with nothing to support ourselves with.

Instead  of wallowing in frustration and pity because I’ve lost all hope and motivation in obtaining our dream home… I’m working on updating my photography website (here). I think I’m going to transfer it to WordPress like the rest of my websites/blogs (except one). But I’m not officially sure yet. I have a lot of ideas, needs, and concerns about what I want my website to do.

I know I missed this past Friday’s Recipe Post, but I’ve been so busy with the kids, school supplies shopping, and shopping for new kids clothes. School starts in just a few days! Yay! Maybe once we get back into a routine with the new school year, I’ll be able to do more with my blogs/websites (this one included).

Well I just wanted to post an update, because I haven’t posted in a while. I’m still alive, just losing hope and motivation.