Taking a step back I decided I needed to ensure my programmer (PICkit3 clone) actually works and that I can actually upload programs. When I ordered the last LCD screen I also got a few PIC16F877A chips since I have some books that use them for learning to code in C for PIC's.
It's taken me a few days of reading, trial, and error but I've finally gotten an LED to blink (pretty impressive right!).
Next step is attaching and sending text to a standard 16x2 LCD.