Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pre-Drywall Meeting (A House Update)

We had our pre-drywall meeting on July 31. I am still in awe that we had our pre-construction meeting on July 1 and our pre-drywall meeting on July 31! Our PM told us that he does not think that has ever happened before!

Our PM also told us that our pre-settlement walk-through would be on September 23. Hopefully that means we could close on September 25. After the meeting I called our loan officer and she said we could try for that date but it would all depend on USDA. I have come to know that God is in control of this and so I know that we will close when he is ready for us to close. Our PM did say that he would be continuing to PUSH for an earlier date but that he does not want to compromise quality (THANK GOD) just to move us in earlier. And Micah and I appreciate that! So if the timeline does not change we will close in 8 weeks! We are beyond excited!

The walk-through was amazing and again I didn't get any pictures because I was so focused on what our PM was saying (I really have got to do better with that)!

2 things happened during the walk-through that made me so very HAPPY (other than simply having this amazing house).

One was our PM informed me that my kitchen island could be rotated 180 degrees so that the cabinet doors and drawers open toward the stove-top instead of toward the sink! I know that seems like such a small thing but to me that was HUGE! I want to keep my baking stones in the island and maybe my pots and pans (not sure on that one yet) and to have to walk around the island to pull out the stones was going to be a hassle so I asked about rotating the island and our PM true to his word called the cabinet guys and found out it would not be a problem! I have read a lot of negative things about Ryan Homes but knowing that the small details (that mean so much to me) matter to them too makes me know that they our determined to put together a great home for us!

And the second thing, the thing that actually made me cry, happened after our walk-through. A few days ago our Sales Rep took me through a finished Port Royal (so that I could measure for our refrigerator) and I noticed that there was no light for the pantry (there is no light anywhere near the pantry). The pantry is kind of in its own hallway between the kitchen and the dining room and there is no light! NONE! How no one has ever found this odd before is beyond me. I have fretted and worried over this discovery for 2 or 3 days now.

I know. I know. I have issues. Don't judge me!

Anyway, we mentioned it in our walk-through and asked if it was too late to have one put in (the last thing we want is to delay this build) and while our PM did not tell us no he said we were on a tight timeline and the decision would need to be made by Monday and that we would probably have to go UP THE LADDER to get approval. I decided that there was already enough stress on these guys with the deadline they were under that I was not going to add to their stress by coming in at the last minute with a change (especially one that appeared to be a pretty big deal). Micah assured me that we would put in a light after closing and I just decided that worse case scenario I would keep a flashlight in the pantry. And we moved on! I did make a few jokes about the no light situation (but I seriously was just kidding around). And we finished up our walk-through.

I had made some Chocolate Toffee Bars (AKA Christmas Crack - recipe coming soon) for our PM and asked him to stop by the house to pick it up (since it was like 100 degrees out and I didn't want to give him a pile of melted goo). When he stopped to pick up his goodies he told me that they were putting in a light in the pantry for me! WHAT!? And not just any light but a light with a glass globe WHAT?! and a switch outside the pantry door WHAT!? I managed to keep it together but I was totally overwhelmed. When I went in the house to tell Micah, I cried! I never expected that! Our PM (and Ryan Homes) have done so much for us already and I feel like this is just above and beyond! Every time I turn on that pantry light I will think of our PM and how much he has gone out of his way to make this house a HOME for us!

I know this post is already really long so on to the pictures!

Insulation and drywall
 We passed all of our inspections so the house is a go for drywall and insulation! This picture was taken just a few hours after our walk-through. I love how these guys don't mess around! They get in and get the job done!

Storage room in the garage
 So far this is Micah's favorite part of the house! It's a built in storage room in the garage.

My office
 Now that the insulation is in you can get a much better feel for the size of the rooms. This is my office (look at all that natural light) I LOVE IT!

Stacks of drywall everywhere
 There are 4 or 5 of these huge stacks of drywall all through the house. We have our insulation inspection on Monday and once we have passed that they will start hanging the drywall. Our PM said that usually takes about a week from start to finish so we are praying they can finish up by Friday!


Breaded Chicken and Parsley Potatoes

I decided to try a new chicken recipe last week. I had some boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs that I needed to use up. I would normally make Amish Baked Chicken but I tried that once with boneless skinless chicken and it just was not as good (it was still good just not as good).

Breaded Chicken and Parsley Potatoes

Print Recipe

Breaded Chicken & Parsley Potatoes


Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • olive oil
  •  
  • PARSLEY POTATOES
  • 6 russet potatoes (can substitute with red potatoes)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon parsley dried
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

Mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl (I use a glass pie plate whenever I am breading anything). Beat egg and milk together in another shallow bowl. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture then coat with bread crumbs and place into the prepared 9×13 pan.
 
Drizzle breaded chicken breasts with olive oil and bake at 350 for approx 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Parsley Potatoes:
 
Fill large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.
 
Wash potatoes thoroughly, then dice into about 1-inch pieces and place in boiling water. Cook approximately 15 minutes or until tender. Drain water.
 
Meanwhile, melt butter in saute pan on low. Add garlic salt, onion salt and parsley. (Can add more or less of any ingredient to taste)
 
Stir cooked potatoes into butter mixture until coated well and serve!

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The Verdict: The chicken was good and I will make it again. I liked how simple the recipe was and that I always have the ingredients in my kitchen so this is something I can make anytime I have boneless chicken thawed. Everyone LOVED the potatoes and so I will be making those over and over. They were very simple to make and again I always have those ingredients on hand. Next time I am going to make them with red potatoes though and see how they turn out.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Front Door and a Bathtub (A House Update)

This has been a slow week (seemingly) at the house. Lots of little things that have to be completed before dry-wall are going on and I'm afraid they just don't make for great pictures.

The electrician has finished up and we passed our electrical inspection!

The plumbers have finished up and we had our plumbing inspection yesterday (not sure if we passed that yet or not).

The HVAC guys have finished and we passed that inspection!

The framers have finished and we had our framing inspection yesterday also (again not sure if we passed or not).

Our low-voltage electric (cable, internet, security system) was completed and passed inspection.

We also had our termite inspection (which we passed) and then the framing was treated to prevent termites in the future!

The roofers still have not come (and I'm not happy about that) but I am hopeful they will come today and finish by Monday!

And the best news of all:

WE ARE HAVING OUR PRE-DRYWALL MEETING TODAY! 

This is a HUGE answer to our prayers! We had our pre-construction meeting on July 1 and we started praying then that we would be able to have our pre-drywall meeting by the end of July. There have been many times that we just didn't think it was going to happen but it is! Thank the Lord! Jason (our PM) and all the work crews have really worked so hard and we are beyond thrilled!

Once we have completed our pre-drywall meeting they will begin insulating the house and hanging drywall. Our PM told me that could start as early as this afternoon!

And now for the pictures. 

Our Front Door
 It has not been painted yet but it has been installed. I think painting the front door is one of the last things that they do. I love my front door. I love the windows beside the door. I love my house!

Master garden tub
 They were finally able to install our garden tub in the master bathroom. I'm not sure exactly what the problem was but obviously it has been fixed.

Love the window above the tub
 I love this HUGE window that is above the garden tub. I have vision of candles and flowers decorating both the window and the tub. Of course the lovely construction trailer will be gone and replaced with a house so some sort of blinds or curtains will need to be added too!

The inside of the front door
And here is a picture of the front door from inside the house. I'm going to say it again (and probably not for the last time either) I LOVE MY HOUSE!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Our July Financial Goals Update and Our August Goals

Now that we are actually building the house and we have something that we can walk down and look at, touch, and see it is becoming easier to stick with our financial goals and to even push ourselves a little bit more in saving all that we can.

Our Motivation
Here are goals for July and an update on how we did:
  1. Pay all of our July bills DONE
  2. Pay off old debt (1,250). Close Visa account that we paid off last month DONE (Thank you Jesus for the ability to do this!
  3. Fully fund our closing cost account (1,950) DONE! Again, all glory to God that we were able to accomplish this.
We were actually able to save more than the $1950 that we needed for closing cost so we are already ahead in our goals for August! 

August Goals:

  1. Pay all of our August bills 
  2. Save as much money as we possibly can save toward moving (we have to hire a moving company for a few hours to help with some very large and very heavy pieces of furniture), a refrigerator (our new house does not come with a refrigerator), ceiling fans, mini-blinds, and Tyler new bedroom furniture. 
Our goal is to save $1500 dollars toward these things. And I have a personal goal of finding a Groupon for our movers and saving as much money as possible on that expense. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I made these muffins on Saturday as a special treat for the kids. This was the first time I had made them and they were very good! I do have a few things that I will be doing different next time (don't I always). But overall this is a great recipe and fine as is.

The recipe says that these can be frozen and so the next time I make them I will be freezing a few to see how the flavor and texture hold up after being frozen. I would have tried that this time but I made BIG muffins instead of regular sized (my regular muffin tin was dirty - keeping it real) and the recipe only made 6 so there were none left to freeze. 6 muffins + 5 people = Only Crumbs

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Print Recipe

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins



Course: Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 3 ripe bananas mashed
  • Chocolate chips and/or nuts (I used mini chocolate chips)

Directions

Mix dry ingredients together. Beat egg in a small bowl. Stir in the mayo. Add to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Stir in bananas.
Spoon batter into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and/or nuts.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 12 muffins. Freezer-friendly.

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The Verdict: I will be making these again. Next time I will be adding both nuts and mini chocolate chips. I also will be making "normal" size muffins instead of Jumbo size. And I will be freezing a few of them to see how they hold up to being frozen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We Have Windows! (Update on the House)

They were able to install the windows yesterday despite the fact that it rained all day! They did not get the front door installed (I'm not sure if they were supposed to do that or not). But I am very hopeful that because they got the windows installed we will be able to have our Pre-drywall meeting on Friday. I am texting our PM today to double check that.

The electricians, plumbers, HVAC, and window guys were at the house yesterday working hard. It is so awesome to walk down and see 3 or 4 trucks lined up on the road in front of the house. It just makes me smile!

Windows!
I was so excited when I walked down yesterday and saw the windows going in! Things are really starting to come together! The windows on the left are the theater room windows and the windows on the right are in my office.

Shingles!
When I walked down to the house this afternoon (in between storms) I saw that they had delivered the shingles for the roof! Not sure when those will actually be put on the house but they are there and ready to go whenever the roofers arrive. And you can see the windows in the master bathroom have been installed too!

The end of the day
 I LOVE our house! I thank God every single day for this huge blessing in our lives!

The back windows and sliding glass door
I took this picture standing in the kitchen looking into the breakfast nook and the family room. Those are the windows and door that I love. Look at all that light coming in! Someday we are hoping to have just one huge piece of glass (picture window) and French doors but for now I am more than thrilled with the windows and slider. You can see the entrance to Delaney's suite of rooms on the left and one of the master bedroom windows on the right.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Start of Week 5 (House Update)

We are in for a very busy week at the house and also an exciting week (we hope). I talked to our PM yesterday and he said that he is really pushing the guys (trades) to finish up this week so that we can have our Pre-Drywall meeting Friday! The only thing that might hold us up - WINDOWS! They were supposed to come and install them last Friday but due to weather they could not. So they are supposed to come today (been praying all morning for good weather). If they are able to come today and get them done in one day, our PM is pretty confident that we will be a GO for Friday!

HVAC
The HVAC guys were hard at work on Monday, they did not finish but they certainly got a lot done!

Our very own HVAC creature
This giant "creature" that is above where our air handler will be is quite something to behold. I am simply amazed at the way things look behind the walls and ceilings of our home. I guess I never really thought about it before but now that we are watching our house be built from scratch I am simply in awe!

Master bathroom tub frame
The plumbers were hard at work on Monday too. They built the frame for our master bathroom tub and did some more plumbing work throughout the house.

The electrician was hard at work again too. But I forgot to get pictures (I will get some tonight).

Things are moving along (of course not nearly as fast as I would like) but I so appreciate how hard these guys are working. The hours are long and the temperatures are hot. But they are doing an incredible job and we are beyond thrilled.