Saturday, August 29, 2015

The End of Week 9 (A New House Update)

WOW we are at the end of week 9! I can not believe it. This is the final stretch with only a few major things left to do (still LOTS and LOTS of little things to do).

The house looks amazing and I can not believe that in less than a month (Lord willing) we are going to be calling this place HOME!

Some landscaping done
 They came late on Thursday night and put in some of our landscaping. We are still waiting on our Palm Trees (this is Florida after all and Palm Trees are a must). But they planted our bushes and laid down the mulch.

Our trees
 They did plant two trees in our backyard. I have no idea what kind they are so I am going to need to ask our PM. And since I do not have a green thumb AT ALL I'm also going to have to research how to take care of all these plants and shrubs and bushes.

More landscaping pictures
 This lone little plant over by the side of house looks so sad. I guess if they don't add anything over here I'm going to have to make a trip to Wal-Mart and buy it some friends! But the rest looks amazing! LOVE IT!
Just hope I don't kill it.

Almost done!
The outside of the house is almost done. Palm trees, sod, and paint touch-ups I think are all that is left to do. So exciting!

Boy's bathroom
They installed the mirrors in the kid's bathrooms the other day (I had forgotten to get pictures).

Door knobs
They came yesterday and installed the door knobs all through the house.

Biggest news of the day
The biggest thing to happen yesterday was Duke Energy came and took our electric meter off the pole (in the front yard) and moved it on to the house! Which means we now have electricity going to the house. It is not turned on yet (I think that will happen Monday) but it is there and ready to go! Bring on the air conditioning!

They also did a preliminary clean yesterday (just to get the house ready for paint and carpet). I think the paint is Monday and then the carpet on Tuesday. Once the carpet is laid my access to the house will be very limited but there really will not be that much going on anyway. I have been promised by my PM that I will be allowed in to take pictures of the BIG stuff!

On the financial front: I was at the IRS office yesterday morning at 8:05 (25 minutes before they opened) and I was number 213 in line! I had to wait outside in a line for almost an hour and then I went inside and waiting another 40 minutes! But I got the papers that the underwriter was wanting and I got them faxed over to them. Now we wait and see if there is anything else they are going to need!

The good news on the financial front is I called the USDA hotline yesterday and they are processing loans submitted from August 19 to August 28 (so technically they are up to date on loan applications) so maybe ours will not take two weeks to be approved!

27 days till closing (praying)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp

Andrew's final meal of the day was a variation of the same meal he requests every year.

Fettuccine Alfredo!

I have made just plain Fettuccine Alfredo and I have added chicken to it too in years past. But this year he asked me to make it with Lobster (the kid has good taste I'll give him that) and as much as it broke my heart I told him that this year it was just not in the budget. I am praying that I will be able to deliver next year. I just happened to luck out on my Aldi's shopping trip though because they had shrimp on sale and so I grabbed two bags and we had Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp.

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

Print Recipe

Fettuccine Alfredo

Course: Main Course


  • 1 box fettuccine noodles
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 12 cups half & half
  • 1 12 cups Parmesan cheese fresh shredded


Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions.
Melt the butter on low heat in a medium-sauce pan. Once butter is melted add the half and half to the butter and stir. Add about 1 cup of the cheese and let melt (mine did not melt all the way until I added it to the hot pasta).
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and add back to the pan. Pour butter mixture over pasta and stir. Adding more cheese if desired.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.
If I have any leftover Parmesan cheese I will sprinkle it over the pasta right before I serve it.

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The Verdict:
 This is a really good recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo. It tastes amazing and is fairly simple and quick to prepare. It however is not a cheap pasta dish as the cheese is expensive where I live. But I have been able to find it at Aldi's which does allow me to save some money.

I do have Alfredo recipes that I like more than this one (and I will be sharing those later) but this is my simplest one and also probably the least expensive one too.

I served this with Homemade French Bread

Financial Goals Update from August and Goals for September

There were a few changes to our goals from last month but I am going to start with our original goals and then update you to the changes that have been made and then I will post our new goals for September.

The reason we are saving
So here were our goals for August
  1. Pay all of our August bills  DONE
  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.

If you remember one of the goals that we had worked so hard for was saving $1950 toward our closing costs and we accomplished this goal in July (thank you Jesus). Well, when the mortgage company re-ran our credit and finalized the loan paperwork for final approval we ended up needing to dip into that money to pay down our only credit card and get the balance below a hundred dollars. So we had to take around 300 dollars from the money we had saved and pay that card down. We still had all of our closing money we just had less to put toward the items that we were going to need once we closed. But we were thankful that we had the money in our house fund and that we were able to do it with no problem.

Now for the amazing news! When the final numbers came back we owed NOTHING at closing! As a matter of fact (if nothing changes) we will actually leave closing with a check for about 150 dollars! HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD!

So all the money that we had saved toward closing is now going to be able to be used for things for the house! So here are our new goals for September

  1. Pay all of our September bills 
  2. Save as much money as we can to put toward our new home. Refrigerator, mini-blinds, ceiling fans, Tyler's bedroom furniture and movers. 
The goal is to have 4500 dollars in the bank at closing plus another 2500 dollars borrowed from Micah's TSP account. This will give us 7,000 dollars! We currently have a little over 3,000 saved and we will be applying for the TSP loan on Monday.

We are so thankful that God has given us the ability to save this money and that he has stepped in in such mighty ways to reassure us that his hand is in the building of this home.

I just realized that the next Financial Goal update that I post should be after we have moved into the house! Oh my goodness that is exciting!

Columns and Mirrors and Glass Oh My (A New House Update)

Another great day down at the house. They are working on the details now and that is very exciting but also very slow (or so it seems)! I know the little stuff has to be done and I know that it takes time to do but I mean come on can't we just have a BIG party (like those painting parties people have) where everyone comes in and knocks out the work in like 2 days! I will make pizza and brownies!

 The electrician was back putting in the light switch for my pantry light!!! And the drywall guy was back touching up the drywall and finishing up my nook (outside the master bedroom). The closet guys were back and finished installing my shelves. A crew also came and installed the mirrors and the shower doors. And they also got the columns assembled and ready to be placed once the carpet is done.

Pantry shelving
 They finished up the shelving in the closets and the pantry. Except for a few shelves in the master closet which I am assuming they are waiting for the final painting to be done and then they will install those too.

Dining room light fixture
 This is the light fixture in the dining room (it matches the one in the breakfast area). You can see my pantry door in the background.

Mirror in the master bathroom
 Giant mirror in the master bathroom! I forgot to check and see if the mirrors were also installed in the kid's bathrooms (I will check that this morning). And a peek at the glass that was installed around the shower.

Glass for the master bathroom shower
 Since I don't think I have said it today I will go ahead and say it now I LOVE MY HOUSE!

My columns
Aren't they beautiful! I LOVE them! I have always (I'm talking since I was little) wanted columns in my house. And now I have them. They make me smile!

When Micah and I walked in the front door of the Port Royal and I saw those columns I knew I was going to love this house. When I saw the gourmet kitchen I knew I wanted this house. And when we saw that it was 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms we knew we needed this house. God has blessed us beyond the telling by allowing this home to be ours and we are forever grateful to him and to the amazing crew that is building it.

I am not sure exactly what is going on today. I know they are supposed to clean before the carpet is laid (which is supposed to be Tuesday). I know the landscaping and sod still need to be done. I know they have touch-ups to both the inside and outside. But I think that other than carpet, another coat of paint, the rest of the appliances, the yard, and turning on the electricity all of the major stuff is done. I THINK! Of course I could be very very wrong! I guess we will wait and see.

In financial news I am headed to the IRS office today to get copies of our 2012 and 2013 tax transcripts. They don't fax those anymore or e-mail them and it takes 7 to 10 days to get them in the mail. So I am headed down there first thing this morning to get them so that I can fax them over to the mortgage company for the underwriter. And we will just leave it with that!

28 days till closing (hopefully)

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)!