Sounds like you have a plan and the enthusiasm to enjoy your new hobby!
There are a number of good books out there for the beginner and one of my favorites is, A Complete Manual of Amateur Astronomy, written by our own Dr. P. Clay Sherrod. I would also like to suggest 40 Nights to Knowing the Sky as a good starter book.
It is a bit of a pain when the finder and telescope do not agree on where they are pointing. I would suggest during cold weather to set up your telescope indoors and find, if possible, a distant terrestrial target like an insulator or intersection on a utility pole. The further your target object is the better and I would suggest a couple miles if you can. Get the scope aligned on that target and without moving it adjust the holder screws of the finder until it agrees, that should make things closer when you set up at night. You can also fine tune the finders alignment when you first set up for observing by picking out a bright star in the eye piece and then adjusting the finder again.
Hopefully others will chime in with some reading suggestions and perhaps a little more concise equipment set up help, I'm not too familiar with your telescope.