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:


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
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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Course: Breakfast


  • 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)


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!

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.

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!

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.

PW's Potato Skins

I made my first recipe out of my 20th wedding anniversary present (The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook) and it was amazing!

I made PW's Potato Skins for two reasons. 1) I have this really annoying habit where I have to start at the first recipe in a cookbook and make the dishes in order. And PW's Potato Skins were the first recipe in the book that I knew everyone would eat and probably like. 2) My kids love potato skins, they always ask for them at restaurants. They hardly ever get them cause you know we are a family of 5 with only 1 income trying to build a house and appetizers are like 10 dollars and so unless someone is willing to give up their meal it just isn't gonna happen.

PW's Potato Skins
 Here is the recipe along with my review and the things I did different and also the things that I plan on doing next time.

8 slices thick-cut bacon (I just used a pound of regular bacon)
8 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean (I used the smallest ones that were in the bag)
Canola oil
Kosher salt (I forgot and just used regular salt, next time I'm using kosher salt to see if I can taste a difference)
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (I used New York White Cheddar instead, next time I will be using the regular sharp cheddar)
1 cup sour cream (I just sat the sour cream out on the table because not everyone in my family likes sour cream)
4 green onions sliced (I forgot about these too, and I bought them and everything. Next time I will not forget!)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fry up the bacon.

Wash the potatoes and rub the skin liberally with canola oil. Place on a baking pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the potatoes are fork tender.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise. (Next time I am going to give the potatoes some time to cool down. My poor fingers were burnt BAD)

With a cookie scoop or spoon (I used a cookie scoop), scrape out the inner flesh of the potatoes, leaving a small margin of  potato in the skins (I left quite a bit more than she shows in her pictures, because I wanted enough potato to taste)

Brush both sides of the potato skins with canola oil. Salt both sides liberally. (I brushed and salted the inside of the skins then I placed them back on the pan and brushed and salted the other side)

Place the skins cut side down on the pan and return to the oven.

Bake for 7 minutes, then flip the skins to the other side.

Bake for 7 minutes more, or until the skins are crispy. (mine took the entire 7 minutes on each side)

Grate up the cheese.

Chop the bacon into bits (I just roughed chopped the strips of bacon as we like larger pieces of bacon on our potato skins)

Sprinkle cheese onto each potato skin.

Then sprinkle with bacon and return to the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

Before serving, spoon 1 tablespoon of sour cream on each skin and sprinkle with sliced green onions (I did not do this as my boys do not like sour cream and as I mentioned I forgot the green onions, but I will be adding those next time).

And the verdict on these were unanimous: EVERYONE LOVED THEM! I have already planned on making them for New Year's Eve (but I know that I will make them before that too).

Next recipe I will be trying: Cinnamon Rolls!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The End of Week 4 (House Update)

We ended week 4 on a high note followed by a low note! But before we get into the lows let's focus on the highs and take a look back at where we started week 4.

The beginning of week 4
 I am always amazed when I look back at how we started the week and then see how we ended the week. It truly is unbelievable all that they accomplish!

The end of week 4
 Roof and walls and framing! Plumbing and electric started and our first "goodies" delivered. A great week for sure and certain.

Reading the roof for shingles
 On Saturday morning the roofers came to get the house ready for shingles (I have not idea when they will actually put those on).

Ready for shingles
 By mid afternoon the roof was ready for shingles and the plumbers were back and working. We did not see the electrician on Saturday, however he was there Friday night until after 7:00 in the evening!

Boys Bathtub installed
 The plumbers installed the boy's bathtub! And if you look closely you can see that they also put in the plumbing for the tub and the shower. They capped the toilet drain and ran the water line too. They were working hard!

Our low note of the week
Our house was vandalized sometime Saturday night. Someone took a can of the plumbers expanding spray foam and filled an outlet in the master bedroom with the foam and then attached the empty can to the wall. I cried and called our Sales Rep to tell him about it and also to ask him to go down and check the house for any other things because I was too afraid to look myself. He called me back a few hours later and told me that this was the only incident he saw but that he would notify our PM and have him look the house over on Monday just to make sure. I am praying that this is our only incident of this kind and that whoever did this got it all of out their system and will now leave our house alone!

Let's get back to focusing on the GOOD! The plumbers and electrician should be back this week and we are also hoping to the see the HVAC crew too. We were really praying that our Pre-drywall meeting would be this week but I don't think that is very likely (however I am e-mailing our PM today just to see if it would even be a possibility) so now we are praying that we can schedule it for next week (the first week of August).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Plumbers and Electricians (New House Update)

I was so excited when I walked down to the house yesterday morning and saw not only that the electrician was back but also that the plumbers were there working too. Now that most of the work is happening on the inside I have to wait until the end of the day to get pictures.

Last night, Andrew decided to walk down to the house with me (he wanted it to just be him and me) and since this was his first time being in the house we spent about 30 minutes just looking around. I didn't take many pictures because I was more focused on showing him things and discussing things with him. 

Wires Wires Wires
 As you can see the electrician was very busy yesterday! He ran wire and put in switch boxes and outlet boxes all over the house. They are empty but they are there! He did a lot of wiring in the ceiling for lights and fans.

Can lights in the kitchen
I have 6 lights in the kitchen along with the huge window in the family room and the glass slider in the breakfast room. I think that will make for a very bright kitchen, which I love! 

Master bathroom shower
 The plumbers were also hard at work yesterday. They installed the drain for the master bathroom shower.

Laundry room
 And they worked on the laundry room. You can also see that the electrician was working in the laundry room too! The room behind the laundry room is the master bedroom closet.

As today is Saturday I do not know if they will be working on the house or not. I am hoping that they will (according to our neighborhood rules they are allowed to work on Saturdays) as I am still holding out hope that we can have our pre-drywall meeting the first week of August.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Trades Have Arrived (A House Update)

Micah was off work (from the Post Office) yesterday and so we took the kids to Disney World for a few hours. The weather was SO HOT! But the kids had a great time so it was worth it. I did learn that I really need to do a better job of taking pictures in our everyday life. I did take my camera but I didn't get one picture of our day (BAD MOM)!

In the morning
 Before we left for Disney, we of course went down to the house to take some pictures. The guys were back and were working on framing. They also opened one of our goodie boxes (it was our soaker/garden tub).

Roofing materials
 We were so excited when we got home from Disney to see lots of NEW things had happened at the house. First, some of the roofing materials arrived. I am wondering if they will start working on the roof today!? That would be so awesome!

The electric was started!
 There was also an electrician at the house when we got back. He installed the outer meter on the house and the fuse box in the garage (forgot to get a picture of that). No wires, and noting is hooked up but it's a start and one we did not expect to see until next week. I am hoping that he will be back today to work some more!

Master bathroom tub
 The guys opened up one of the boxes that came the other day and it was our soaker/garden tub for the master bathroom.

HVAC closet
 The framing guys were hard at work yesterday too. They framed out and built the HVAC closet that is next to Tyler's bedroom.

Dining Room
 Here is the decorative wall around the dining room. When the house is finished their will be 3 white pillars in this opening. One of the (many) things I love about my house are those pillars. I have always (for as long as I can remember) wanted a house with pillars. I guess it could be part of my "Gone With The Wind" obsession but pillars in a house make me happy and I've never had them before so I'm really excited.

Our front door
 Hiding in the garage is our front door! Yep, it has windows on one side. I am going to have a love-hate relationship with those windows, I already know. See, right now we don't have windows or a peep-hole or anything at our front door. So when someone rings the doorbell the kids and I are like little ninjas trying to figure out who is at the door (hoping it's Ed McMahon but knowing it probably a Jehovah Witness) without being seen by the person at the door. Well, that window is going to allow us to see just fine who is standing at the door (oh please let it be Ed McMahon) but well since I'm not invisible that window will let them see me too.

The back of the house
 I realized that due to the extreme amount of rain and the extreme amount of mud that said rain made at the house I had neglected to get any pictures of the back of house so here it is. The back side of the house (and my husband). Hi Honey! Thanks for my house! I love it! And you too, of course.

Master bedroom niche
 The framing guys also built my niche that is right outside the master bedroom. I love my niche! I have two of these in the house we currently rent and while I have no idea how to decorate them I love them. And I'm looking forward to finding a way to make this one AMAZING!

View from the back to the front
 I took this picture standing in the family room (yes, we have had a lot of rain) so that you could see some more of the layout of the house. First, over on your left is my kitchen peninsula (that I love), straight ahead is my big arch (that I love), and if you look closely right behind that you will see the decorative wall around the dining room (that I love), and then the small arch (that I love) in the foyer, and finally the front door (that I love). I also took this picture so you all could see the rest of the framing that the guys did today. They worked on bolting down and securing all the beams and tresses to the framing in the rooms. Looks amazing!

From the front door
I took this picture standing on the front porch. You can see the foyer and my small arch. The rest of the picture is kind of dark so I will try and get a better one today or tomorrow. But I love that you can see all the way to the back of the house from the front door!

We are hoping that the plumbing guys will come today and that the electrician will be back too. I'm not sure that the framing guys are done but we are really hoping to see some trades in the house this weekend. I don't think our pre-drywall meeting is going to happen in July but I am praying now for the first week of August. It seems to take about 6 weeks from pre-drywall to close so the quicker that happens the quicker we are going to be able to move in.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Our First Goodies (House Update)

On Tuesday the guys finished putting the sheets of wood on the roof. I'm not sure if the framing is done (they did not work on Wednesday) but our PM texted me and told me plumbing should start today and the other trades should begin on Monday!

9:00 in the morning Tuesday 

 At 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday the guys were already hard at work finishing up sheeting the roof. They closed up the hole at the top and were working on the decorative peaks and the rest of the front.

Still working on the front
The front of the roof still had a long way to go!

Kid's side of the roof done too
But both sides of the house were done!

Around Noon
Here is the progress around Noon. They had cut the holes in the roof for vents and fans and had trimmed off the excess sheeting.

Almost finished
There was quite a bit of progress from 9:00 to Noon. As you can see the front is almost done. These guys are AMAZING!

End of the day on Tuesday
And by the end of the day on Tuesday the roof was completely covered with wood (despite a 2 hour downpour).

First Goodies!

On Wednesday when I walked down to the house around Noon there in the garage were our first "Goodies"! I cannot be sure but I think they are the master bathroom garden tub and the tub for the boy's bathroom. I know that over the next month the garage will fill-up with cabinets and appliances and windows and more and more goodies but these were the first. And I LOVE THEM!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

20 Minute Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

This is the second time I have made this dinner and we all love it. It tastes amazing and it's SUPER QUICK!

It is a great easy recipe! That uses basic ingredients that almost everyone should have on hand!

20 Minute Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

Print Recipe

20 Minute Teriyaki Chicken & Rice

Since I don't have a rice cooker I made this in a pot on the stove.

I used boneless breasts this time and last time I used boneless thighs. I think next time I will try it with both! 


  • 3 - 4 pieces Pre-Cooked Chicken
  • 3 cups Rice
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • enough water added to sauce ingredients to equal 3 cups


In a bowl, mix brown sugar, soy sauce, water and ketchup. Stir until well blended.

You may want to adjust the amount of rice you make based on your family but I made 3 cups of instant rice to feed my family.

So for 3 cups of rice I need 3 cups of liquid so I simply add water to the above ingredients until I have 3 cups of liquid.

Put the liquid into the pan and then stir in my rice. I turn the burner on high and wait for the liquid to begin to boil. Stir the rice, put a lid on the pan, and turn the heat off. I leave the pan on the burner and then finish up dinner.

Once I'm ready to serve, I fluff the rice with a fork and add it to the pan of chicken that I have re-heated on the stove with a 1/4 cup of butter.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Beginning of Week 4

Week 4 started with more framing, the tresses being installed (that was really awesome to watch), the decorative roof peaks being started, and the roof being boarded up and gotten ready for shingles.

9:00 in the morning

They were already hard at work Monday morning when I headed down to the house around 9. They were working on framing and waiting for the crane to arrive so they could get the tresses on the house.

So excited!
 The crane came around 10:00 in the morning. I saw it drive past our house (where we currently live) and so I threw on some shoes and headed down to get some pictures. Have I mentioned how much I love living right next to where we are building!

Crane getting ready
 The crane is getting ready to lift the tress up to the roof of the house!

There she goes
 Still amazed that I got to witness this first hand! The first tress going on the house!

And now they nail it down
 The guys nailing and strapping the tress down to the house.

At around Noon
 When I went back down to the house around Noon the crane was gone and all the tresses were on the house.

Decorative front
 They were also working on getting the decorative fronts on the house.

At around 3:00 in the afternoon
 When I went back down at 3:00 p.m. they were working on sheeting the roof (not sure if that is the correct term). This is the master bedroom side of the house.

Kid's side of the house
 They were working on both sides of the house at the same time! I kind of wonder if they race to the top! I know I would!

6:00 Monday night
 And here is how the house looked at the end of the work day on Monday. Not quite done but pretty close!

Decorative fronts done
 They didn't get the roof done but they did get the fronts on our decorative peaks.

Almost done with the other side too
 Looks like they almost finished this side too before they stopped for the day. Hopefully they will get it all done tomorrow!

Arch in the foyer
 This is the arch that is in the foyer. I love my arches!

Large Arch and a smaller arch
 The large arch will lead into the family room and the smaller arch (on the right) leads into the kitchen

Arch leading into Delaney's area
 There is an arch that leads into Delaney's Suite. It is her hallway, linen closet, bathroom and bedroom. It comes off the family room and is completely separate from all the other bedrooms and bathrooms. She will have lots of privacy!

Arch into Master Bedroom Suite
 This is the arch that leads into the master bedroom suite. Which is a hallway, a niche (in the wall), the bedroom, bathroom, and master closet. It comes off the eat-in-kitchen and is on the opposite side of the house from the kid's bedrooms and bathrooms.

Large Arch
 This picture was taken standing in the family room looking toward the front door.

Kitchen Peninsula
 They framed out my kitchen peninsula too. I was so excited when I saw this, I did a little happy dance! This picture was taken from the living room looking into the kitchen.

Kitchen peninsula
 Here is the peninsula taken from inside the kitchen looking toward the family room. I LOVE IT!

Master bathroom shower
 They also framed out the master bathroom shower. I love my shower too!

It is really starting to look like OUR HOME! I get more and more excited every day! I have no idea how I'm going to make it to September!