Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lighting and Counter Tops (A New House Update)

Another good day down at the house!

The electrician was there installing light fixtures and switch plates. As far as I can tell he is not done yet. There is one switch plate that is still just exposed wires and he did not locate the light switch for my pantry yet (I also forgot to see if he installed the pantry light).

Also, the cabinet guys were back and installed my final counter top and also cut out the place for my stove top! HURRAY!

Outside lights
 I LOVE my outdoor lights! I think they are so pretty. Things are really start to come together and all the "little" details are starting to be added. So exciting!

Garage with lights
 Matching pretty light fixtures! I am a happy girl.

Smoke detectors and HVAC vents
 These are the tiny details that I have always just taken for granted. Of course the vents have covers, of course there are smoke detectors. But after looking at holes in your ceilings and walls for weeks and weeks you kind of notice when the holes are gone and "things" are there instead.

Hallway lights
 These are the light fixtures that are installed in the hallways around the house. Pretty! I know in this picture they look kind of gold/brass but they are silver. All of the lights, door handles, and faucets are silver.

Foyer light
 I LOVE my tray ceiling! I also LOVE the light in my tray ceiling!

Breakfast area
 Chandelier in the breakfast area. This is the area off the family room/kitchen where the sliding glass doors are located.

Master bathroom
 Fixtures over the sinks in the master bathroom. Still don't know which side is going to be mine.

Master bathroom sink and light
 Cannot wait for the mirrors to be installed so that the bathroom has a more finished look.

Kid's bathroom light fixtures
 These are the light fixtures in both Delaney's bathroom and the boy's bathroom. Sorry for the dark pictures the electric is not on at the house yet and the kid's bathrooms have no windows so the rooms are very dark.

Counter where the stove-top will be
 Final counter-top installed and the place for my stove-top was cut out too! The kitchen is really starting to come together and I simply cannot wait until the rest of the appliances are installed!

Outlet in the floor
This is the outlet in the floor of our family room. It is where we will plug in the Christmas tree! I get a HUGE smile on my face every time I say that because THIS Christmas we will be in our New House that by the way I LOVE!

The plan right now is for carpet to be put down Tuesday. I know the electrician has to come back, the trim crew is not finished yet, mirrors and shower doors have to be installed, the rest of the shelving still needs done, appliances will be delivered, sod needs to be laid, and landscaping will be done too. I think we are getting power sometime this week and I know they are planning on doing a quick clean before carpet is put down.

29 days from closing (maybe)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Electrical, Trim, Shelving, Insulation and Sprinklers (A New House Update)

Yesterday was really busy down at the house. Lots of different trades working and getting things done (well half done). I don't think anybody actually finished up yesterday so I am assuming they will all be back today.

Insulation in the attic
 Sorry for the hazy picture the humidity was playing havoc on my camera lens. When I went down to the house at around 8:00 in the morning they were pumping the insulation into the attic.

Light switches
 The electrician was installing light switches. He did not finish (not sure why) so I am hoping that he will be back today.

 I noticed that the thermostat is now installed (not sure who did that: electrician or HVAC) so I'm hopeful that once the electrician finishes up we will have power to the house and maybe some air conditioning!

Boy's linen closet (my second pantry)
 The shelving guys were there yesterday too. They did not finish up either so I am hoping they will be back today to work some more. This is what is supposed to be the boy's linen closet. However, I have claimed it for my second pantry. The pantry in the kitchen is WAY TOO SMALL to be my only one and so while I had thought about using the coat closet (since this is Florida and we don't really wear coats) it is just to far away from the kitchen. So I have commandeered the linen closet outside the boy's bathroom.

Tyler's closet
They did get the shelves installed in the boy's closets and Delaney's closet.

Master bathroom
This is the linen closet in the master bathroom. One of the many things that I love about our house is all the storage. Other than the pantry in the kitchen the house has a ton of storage. And the pantry is probably plenty big enough for "Normal" people but when you are the type of person who buys 25 pounds of flour at a time "Normal" just won't do!

I didn't get any new pictures of the trim or any pictures of the irrigation system. I will try and remember to get a few pictures of those things today. I am hoping that sod will be coming here quickly and maybe even some landscaping! I am also hoping that the electrician comes back today along with the shelving guys and the trim guy (cause he didn't finish up either).

Hopefully 30 days from closing (not sure if this is realistic or not)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Start of Week 9: Plumbing, Counters, and a Space-Age Water Heater (A New House Update)

We started week 9 yesterday and it was a very busy day down at the house. Lots of projects were worked on and some were even completed! I love it when things get finished (finished to where I can tell they are finished and not have to guess if they are done or not).

 The plumbers where there, the tile guys were back, and the cabinet crew was working too. The irrigation guys did not come (maybe because of the weather?). So hopefully they will be there today!

Water Heater
 This is our space-age water heater! Seriously this thing has more buttons and gadgets than my car!

 It is all digital and comes with a large instruction manual! I wonder if they would let me take it home now so that I can start reading it! I might just finish before we close.

Boy's bathroom
 The plumbers came and installed the toilets and the faucets! It is really starting to look like a home now! A fully functioning home!

Delaney's bathroom
 Here is Delaney's bathroom with all the fixtures installed and ready to go! You can see her soap dish installed in the shower too.

Kitchen sink
 They installed my kitchen sink too! I love a shiny new sink! My goal will be to keep it this shiny and new looking every day!

 They also installed my dishwasher yesterday! Let me tell you right now (in the Keeping It Real) I hate doing dishes! HATE, LOATHE, ABHOR, DISHES! And so I love this little appliance, more than I love chocolate. And I really love chocolate. But I love my dishwasher more.

Top of the dishwasher
 I love that the controls are on the top of the dishwasher so they are not seen when the door is closed! Again, look at all those buttons! I guess I need to get this instruction manual too so that I will know how to operate my dishwasher before moving in.
Inside of the dishwasher
 Love Love Love my dishwasher! Look how big it is inside!

Soaker tub in the master bathroom
 I love my faucet for the tub in the master bathroom!

Master bathroom counter
 And here is our master bathroom counter with the faucets installed! SO PRETTY!

Master bathroom shower
 The fixtures in the master bathroom shower and our soap dish too!

Shower seat
 I was not sure if I had posted a picture of it before but since I LOVE it so much I'm going to post a picture of it again! This is the little seat in our shower! I LOVE IT!

Kitchen bar installed
 The counter guys installed the bar in the kitchen. It is huge and I don't think I will have any trouble getting 5 bar stools around it.

Kitchen peninsula
The kitchen peninsula is one of my favorite features of the house. It's so large and will offer me so many options for ways to use it! As an eat-in-place in the kitchen, as a buffet for holidays and family gatherings, as an extra place to decorate for holidays and just a normal "homey" feeling.

I think that week 9 is off to a great start and I look forward to all that will be accomplished this week. The plan is for the carpet to be laid either the end of this week or next (and then my access to the house will be very limited). They are also supposed to come back and fix one of the kitchen counters (our PM is on top of that). The yard is supposed to irrigated and sod should be laid also.

31 days to closing (if we stay on our current schedule)

Monday, August 24, 2015

The End of Week 8 (A House Update)

We ended 8 weeks this weekend and to my disappointment they did not work on the house Saturday at all. I was so bummed.

But the dishwasher and the water heater were delivered and so I'm hoping that they will be installed this week (maybe even today)!

Here is how we started week 8

Outside of the house at Week 8
And here is how we ended week 8

The end of week 8
The trim was finished, the garage door was installed, the driveway and walkway were done, the sidewalk was poured, and the land was graded for the final time! I'm pretty sure the outside of the house is almost done! We need the irrigation system installed, the sod laid, the landscaping done, the paint touch-ups done, the outside lighting installed, and the front door replaced. Okay so maybe the outside is not anywhere near as done as I thought!

Beginning of week 8 
The inside of the house at the beginning of week 8.

The inside of the house at the end of week 8

End of week 8
Tile laid, cabinets installed, and dishwasher delivered (sorry no picture of the dishwasher -it's still in the box).

End of week 8
Bathroom tile done! Also towel bars, soap dishes, and toilet paper holders were installed.

End of week 8
Bathroom cabinets and granite counters installed!

The HVAC guys were also working this week putting in the units and placing the vent covers (which a few are missing). The hardware for closets were installed but no shelving has been added yet!

I know the plumbers are supposed to come this week and I know the irrigation system is supposed to be installed this week. I think they are coming to fix some tile issues (that our PM caught) this week also.

Last week was awesome and we are so excited to see what changes this week will bring. Our loan also goes back to underwriting today and so we should hear something on that this week too. And hopefully it will get turned over to USDA for their approval by the end of this week too.

32 days to go (according to our schedule)!

Homemade French Bread

Andrew asked for homemade French bread to go along with his Fettuccine Alfredo and so homemade French bread we had!

I make this recipe in my bread machine so it is super simple and super easy. It ALWAYS tastes great and makes such a pretty loaf of bread. It is not a quick recipe (it has to rise 3 times) so you will need to start it in the afternoon if you are wanting it for dinner.

Homemade French Bread

Print Recipe

French Bread

Source: Taste of Home Cookbook page 452
Course: Breads


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 12 teaspoons salt
  • 3 14 cups bread flour
  • 2 14 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar heaping
  • 3 teaspoons wheat gluten optional
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cold water


Add water, vegetable oil, salt, flour, sugar, yeast, and wheat gluten to the pan of the bread machine. Set machine on homemade cycle: 15 minutes preheat, 10 minutes knead, Rise 1: 60 minutes, Rise 2: 30 minutes.

Punch down dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf 16-inch x 2 1/2-inch with tapered ends. Sprinkle baking stone with cornmeal; place loaf on stone. Place in microwave and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes. I ALWAYS LET MY BREAD RISE IN THE MICROWAVE!

Beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2-inches apart across top of loaf.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
Can be used to make breadsticks, that are brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with garlic powder.

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This is my go to French Bread recipe for when I'm making just plain French bread. The bread is quick and easy and tastes amazing!
Because this is homemade without a lot of preservatives added in the bread will not stay fresh for long so keep that in mind. I usually store the leftovers in the refrigerator. If it does go stale before you eat it all use it to make French toast! 
I have not made the breadsticks yet but I am planning on making them soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Big Batch Cinnamon Rolls

We have a special family tradition for birthdays. The birthday boy/girl picks all of the meals for the day. They can have almost anything they want (I say almost because this year my son asked for Lobster which is definitely not in the grocery budget). But other than that I don't think I have ever said No to a request before.

Sometimes their choices are simple, like coffee for breakfast (since I do NOT let the children drink coffee). Of course this was my sweet-tooth child so it was not just coffee but dessert coffee. You know with chocolate and caramel and whipped cream. And sometimes their choices are a little tough - like Krispy Kreme Doughnut Hamburgers with Bacon and Cheese Fries.

But my prayer is that these special meals that they pick will allow them to realize how important the day of their birth is to us and how special they are to our family. I spend almost the entire day in the kitchen cooking and cleaning so we don't usually do it on their actual birthday but within a few days of the actual day.

My middle son turned 17 this month (he is my sweet-aholic) and so Tuesday was the day I made his meals. For breakfast he wanted homemade cinnamon rolls. And so homemade cinnamon rolls he got!

Yummy! Cinnamon Rolls!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls!

Print Recipe

Big Batch Cinnamon Rolls

Course: Breakfast


  • 3 cups water warm
  • 3 tablespoons yeast
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 2 cups Bread Flour
  • 34 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 7 cups bread flour
  • 2 sticks butter melted
  • brown sugar
  • white sugar
  • cinnamon
  • ICING:
  • 12 cup butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 6 cups powdered sugar sifted


Mix water with yeast and sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes to activate yeast.
Add 2 cups flour. Mix.
Add oil, salt, and eggs. Mix.
Add 7 cups flour, a couple at a time. Mix and then knead until all flour is incorporated and dough isn’t sticky.
Set dough in a LARGE greased bowl. Let rise until double. It took about an hour for my dough to double. I ALWAYS LET MY DOUGH RISE IN THE MICROWAVE.
Divide dough in 1/2. Roll out one 1/2 into a long rectangle.
Spread rectangle with 1 stick melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon. Roll up.
Cut the roll into 18 pieces.
Let the rolls rise again, for about 30 minutes!
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Mix ingredients together until easily spreadable. Adding more milk if needed to get to a spreadable consistency.

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The Verdict:
These were very good! A little time consuming but I think all cinnamon roll recipes are! I will be making them again but not before I try the Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls.
The recipe makes a TON! Two pie plates and my biggest glass baking dish stuffed full! The icing was okay (I like the cream cheese kind better). But it did not make anywhere near enough for the entire batch. I guess we like more icing on our cinnamon rolls than the recommended amount. So next time I'm going to double the icing recipe (already changed).
Also, next time I'm going to buy some disposable pie plates (at the dollar store) so that I can freeze some of these rolls before baking.

Too many for just us
And because I had cinnamon rolls everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I loaded up a tray of them and took them down to the guys working on the house.

Bathroom Counters, HVAC, and Finances (A New House Update)

First I want to start with the Great News about our financing! Our re-score came back and the numbers were good (really good) and so we do NOT need to buy a point and our house payment is NOT going up (well it went up about 8 dollars a month but that was because of the home owner's insurance we went with).

And now for the most amazing part. God's hand has been in the building of this home from the beginning. This house is a miracle on so many different levels. And I don't think that even we realize how much He has orchestrated on our behalf in the building of our home. But yesterday, once again, God showed himself in the process and showed himself MIGHTY! Not only do we not have to buy a point, and not only did our house payment not go up, BUT we are actually going to get money back at closing! MONEY BACK! We have been told since we signed the contract that we were going to need about 2,000 dollars at closing. And yesterday when we locked in our rate and they sent the final numbers over to us it showed that we were going to need $2,850 dollars at closing. But when I looked over the numbers I realized that they had only credited us with $2,000 in down payment money when we actually paid $2,500 and they did not have the $2,500 credit that our realtor was giving us from his commission. So once they corrected that $3,000 error! We will walk away at closing with a check for about 150 dollars! GOD IS GOOD!

They came yesterday and re-graded the land (this is the last time they will be doing that). They took down the black plastic fence that was around our house and did the entire property. We now have a huge pile of dirt in the backyard (forgot to get pictures) but the yard looks amazing!

Our dishwasher and water heater came late yesterday afternoon (no pictures because it was too dark in the house) but they were not installed.

The HVAC crew was there and installed the air handler, the air conditioner and MOST of the vent covers. Not sure why not all of them were done but I'm sure they will be back to install the rest.

And the granite guys were there too installing the counters in the bathrooms.

Air handler waiting to be installed
 They HVAC guys were there and installing the air handler and the air conditioner. Along with most of the vent covers.
Grading the land
 They graded the land for the final time. I think they are coming on Monday to install the irrigation system.

Front yard
 I think the yard looks great! I cannot wait to see it with grass and landscaping done. I forgot to get a picture of the backyard (it looks great too) and will try and remember to do that today!

Side yard and air conditioner
 The side yard looks great too and you can see our air conditioner there on the side of the house. I'm not sure when they will actually turn it on and start using it (or even if they can start using it yet).

Air handler
 Here is the air handler installed in it's little closet along with our thermostat (in the box).

Counter in boy's bathroom
 They installed the granite counters in the bathrooms. This is the boy's cabinet and counter in their bathroom. I'm not sure when the plumbers are coming to install the faucets and things (I thought they were coming yesterday).

Mater Bathroom
 I'm not sure if I have told you lately or not but I LOVE my house! And I LOVE this HUGE cabinet and counter that we have in the master bathroom. It's huge and I have lots of ideas in my head of how I'm going to decorate it.

I don't know if they will be working down at the house today or not. I know we have some tile issues that are supposed to be fixed and I thought that the plumbers were coming yesterday so maybe they will be there today. We also have a few small cabinet issues that I was hoping would be fixed before the start of next week too. Today will be a wait and see kind of day (since some Saturdays they work and some they don't).

 34 days to go (according to schedule)