Josiah’s Doljanchi (Traditional Korean First Birthday Celebration)

The older I get, the more I am learning how to appreciate and truly enjoy my Korean heritage.  Two factors also help – the fact that I married a guy who was born and raised in South Korea and…my very, VERY Korean grandmother. 🙂  For those of you with a Korean g-ma, you know what I’m talking about!

Anywho, last month was our little boy’s first birthday!  And I spent weeks and weeks waist-high in glitter, hot glue guns, polyester filling, and beans.  But it was completely worth it.  You’ll see what I mean below. Read more…

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How We Renovated Our Basement For Under $1,000 // The Story of Our First Home

Almost exactly a year ago, I flew into Kansas City from Phoenix and spent about four days looking at 20+ homes to find “the one.”  We were going to be first-time homeowners, and we were in for a steep learning curve with the housing market and the loan/mortgage process.

Thankfully, we got connected to a really awesome real-estate agency in the area and started looking at hundreds of homes through the MLS listing.  This is how our conversations went as we would talk on an almost daily basis to narrow down the search –

“Did you see the new house that popped up on the listing today?  What do you think?”

“It’s okay…”

“I checked out the details and it has a brand new roof, a new heater, no foundation issues, and a history of clean ownership.  And it has the 2+ full baths that we want and it even has three bedrooms.  It looks great!”

“Yeah, but…I just don’t like the kitchen that much.  And the paint all over the house…what were those owners thinking when they painted each room a different color?”

Can you tell who was saying what in the conversation? 😉

After realizing that walls can be painted and minor renovations are a part of the home buying process, we narrowed it down to a couple of factors that were absolute “must’s” on our list – (1) located within a few zip codes that we loved and had that safe, cozy feel, (2) 2+ bedrooms and 2+ bathrooms, (3) most major renovations already done as we needed to drive halfway across the country after we got married to move in right away, and (4) within our budget, of course!

Turns out, the whole home search thing is not as easy as it looks.  In the first two days, we had gone through all of the homes we had starred and none of them were the right fit.  We went through the MLS listing again and decided to look at several more homes that I had initially written off of our list. Read more…