Tuesday, December 29

hosting our first thanksgiving

The past two months have been a whirlwind.  I've loved a lot of it... we've had some great times in the new house and really celebrated with friends and family.  

This was our first year hosting Thanksgiving.. and boy was it a wild one.  We had about 13 people over, and cooked enough for a small army.  This was also my first time making a few dishes from scratch.  Overall I would say it was a success!  And I didn't burn anything!
I started with fresh cranberry sauce the weekend before, 11/21/15

Knocked out two pecan pies that weekend as well...

And then the Wednesday before, I started on my Oreo turkeys.. a little creepy at this point.

The Man got the turkey ready for the smoker.. lots of butter, brine, and seasoning happening here.

Our oreo turkeys were a-dor-able! I loved my little flock.  These were so easy to make and were a perfect break from all the cooking I had going on that required concentration.

Like my first ever from scratch cheesecake!  

We had the buffet setup and ready for everyone to dig in!

It's just not a Southern Holiday table without deviled eggs and pear salad.

Our menu included:  two turkeys, fresh cranberry sauce, two styles of dressing (my MIL and my grandma's recipe), gravy, fresh creamed corn, green beans, two sweet potato souffles (one with pecans, one with marshmallows), rolls, a cheese ball, a multitude of desserts, watergate salad, and the previously pictured deviled eggs and pear salad.

We had both smoked and fried turkey.. it was so good!
A few hours later, I finally had room for some cheesecake.  I'm so glad it turned out as well as it did!

 We had bought a bean bag toss game on a whim when we moved into the new house, and though I don't have the photos to document it -  it turned out to be a HIT!  We set it up on the front lawn and there were some serious competitions going on. It worked out well since the day was sunny and warm (we are in the South) and I think it gave everyone a break from their food coma. 

I hope everyone had a good time.  It definitely made me feel like we've got a good chance at hosting again in the future.  I mean, could you turn down this little cutie?
I didn't think so!

Friday, November 27

fall-ing more in love..

We've been in our new home for a few months now, and I can say I'm seriously loving it!  It seems like I blinked and fall has flown by.  I thought I might need to do a quick recap of one of my favorite seasons before I start posting "first Christmas in the new house" pictures.  We're currently prepping for our first time hosting the big family Thanksgiving. More on that to come, for now -  here is how our September, October, and a dash of November have been around our new home.
I went a little pumpkin crazy at the farmers market, and finally got the mum I'd been daydreaming about since I first saw them on display at Lowe's.

Since we don't have a fireplace in the new house, I've been displaying my "mantle wreaths" using a wreath holder set on my buffet by the door. 
A little more fall decorations on the dining table.  Thank goodness for non-breakables.  Somehow the felt pumpkins end up all over the house, even though house rules state "No kitties on the table!"
I did a little baking for a dinner party or two.  This is hummingbird cake, a bit of a Southern tradition.

I even pulled out my super tall cake cover for this one.  It makes the bundt look so TINY!
We've kept the kitchen pretty busy, and Adam's learned his way around the smoker.  I'm getting spoiled to him handling the protein preparation for our big gatherings.. it's working out well!
We spent a day in the woods, carving pumpkins...
Adam really enjoyed this version of carving.  
I finally got our bedroom unpacked, as well as most of the rooms put together.

The craft room is quick becoming a kitten favorite.. it gets amazing sunlight in the morning.

But they still love my #workfromhome Wednesdays, because it means they can play in the office while I work.  I love having their cat tower in my office -  it means they spend more time in there on my work from home days.

We had a few trick-or-treaters, but not nearly as many as at our last house.  That's fine with us though.. more chocolate for the homeowners.  

My pumpkin/mum obsession continued and I managed to capture this pretty butterfly/moth? one day while watering the plants.
We had an adventure one night when the power cut out.  We were in the guest bedroom, discussing where the bed should go -  when we heard a loud boom and the house went black.  It was a Friday night and Adam had to work all weekend, so we thankfully had our phones in hand ready to tuck in for an early night.  Our plans changed quickly.  Other than our phones, there was no light in the house.  Flashlights still had not been unpacked, and if they had been.. I'm not sure where the batteries would be.  We ended up sitting on the back porch listening to the emergency vehicles through the trees. Someone had run off the road and hit a power pole behind the house.  
Thankfully the next morning we had power, but not without this inventive solution from our local power company. (Can you see the power pole in pieces?)

We still had more unpacking to do.. with help from the kittens.

But thankfully, it's feeling more like home every day.

It was a journey, but I love coming home to our house.  Sometimes I just walk around in awe of where we started.  I'm glad I took pictures along the way.  It's crazy to think that this time a year ago.. we hadn't even found this neighborhood.  We were looking at house plans, but our home wasn't on the market.  It all happened..

in less than one year.


Here's to many more fun adventures!!

Monday, November 23

heart of the home..

I knew from the very beginning of deciding to build that having a kitchen I loved was a driving force.  I knew once we started seeing everything come together in our home, that the kitchen was becoming one of my favorite rooms.  It's a space where we really worked to bring in our love of all things shiny and merge that with a level of comfort and function that any heart of the home deserves.

So please indulge me as I share the glamour shots of one of my favorite spaces in our home:

At night, when we're settled in, the glow from the under cabinet lighting is perfection.
I had to have a little Disney sprinkled in there somewhere.

Curious about what's in our kitchen?  I've included a source list below because I always like to know where people found things for their homes.

Cooktop -  GE 36" Ceramic Electric with 5 burners
Hood -  Zephyr 36" Savona in Stainless
Dishwasher -  Bosch 800 Plus Series
Refrigerator -  Samsung Counter-depth 4-door with Cool Select Plus
Ice Maker - Scotsman residential nugget ice machine SCN60
Ovens - KitchenAid double electric with convection on top

Other fun stuff:
Cutting board -  Real Simple, Bed Bath & Beyond
Knife block -  Kohl's (Black Friday last year!)
Crock - Bed, Bath, & Beyond
Utensils -  Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Pampered Chef
Spoon Rest -  Disney World!
Salt Pig - olive wood from Amazon (.com, not the river)
Salt and Pepper grinders -  Target
Oil and Vinegar carafes -  Target

So far, I'm loving the kitchen.. and just wish I had more free time to bake!

Thursday, September 17

cardboard, packing tape, and caffeine...

It's been quiet on the blog lately for one BIG reason...

We moved!

We closed on the house on Friday, August 28th... a mere 223 days from the day we started our build.

I'm sure I'll eventually recap more in depth what the last few days of the process were like, but for now.. just know it was down to the wire.

As in, we were leaving Friday to meet with the lawyers at 11am.. and at 10:45am the flooring guys were ripping out our hardwoods in the kitchen.  No lie.  I walked by and saw subfloor.  The floors had been scratched horribly during the install of our dishwasher and had to be replaced.  Still, it was terrifying to see our beautiful floors (not to brag) being bashed with prybars and hammers as we were on our way to sign for the place.

I still cringe.

At least the cats were chill about moving.. or at least, about the boxes.

Here's the breakdown of how the last few days of building went.

Monday, August 24th  -  both our Realtor and banker were concerned we'd have to move closing.  Alternate arrangements start being discussed, but our builder insists it will be done.

Tuesday, August 25th -  I took off work in the morning for our appliances to be delivered.  We love our appliance guy, but this had me a nervous WRECK!  And understandbly so... since 3 hours after they were supposed to arrive -  they still weren't there.  The reason, our cooktop (that I so carefully chose) had been cracked during shipping and had been sitting in their warehouse for almost a month without being discovered as broken.  Oh, and it's discontinued.  And a special order.

In the meantime, they go on and deliver the rest of the appliances (after a stern conversation with me) and at the house we have insulation being blown in, gutters installed, painters working on touch ups, and flurry of other activity.

Wednesday, August 26th - More concerned conversations about time lines, and we meet with the home inspector.  No huge issues are found, but there are a few that need to be handled.

Emails are sent back and forth and we have to bring even more paperwork to the bank.  They are serious about their paperwork!

Thursday, August 27th - We are a go for the punch list meeting and our builder has called in a 2nd project manager to help get us to closing.  It's fairly quiet at the house, but we give a pretty comprehensive list and discuss keeping an amount from the upgrade payment until everything on the punch list is completed.

After the walk through, Adam and I utility-hopped all afternoon trying to get our water, power, and internet swapped over and setup.  There were also quite a few "is this real" moments and "OMG I'm freaking out" moments.. and lots of caffeine.  We've been burning the midnight oil between prepping for inspections (doing our own walk through's), packing, and spending time with family.

Friday, August 28th -  We met over at the house early to check on the progress of the punch list and things are hopping!  Lots of workers there and things are looking much better than the day before.  At this point, my focus went away from perfection and was moving towards the "this is home" end of the scale.  Still, as I mentioned above, seeing floors ripped out right before signing was pretty scary.

We closed and spent the afternoon and evening packing, running errands, and all those other fun pre-moving things.

Saturday was a surprise day of family and visitors at the house.  It was a loong day and I knew the weekend was going to be an exhausting one.

We moved in on Monday, August 31st, and spent our first night in our home sweet home.

Moving was crazy, unpacking even crazier.. but we made it.  Thank goodness for the kindness of our neighbors, the support of our family and friends, the willingness to pay movers to do the heavy lifting, and the wonder that is Krispy Kreme, Coca-Cola, and sweet tea.  Without that... and the love and patience of my darling husband... I don't think we would have ever made it.
But we did!

We're moved in! - Day 226 of our build

Thursday, August 27

a big risk...

One area to the house that we made the most changes to was the kitchen.  We rearranged appliances, changed cabinet layouts, expanded the island, and decided to do something drastic with the backsplash.

Once appliances are installed, we will have a chimney style vent hood over the cooktop.  With this in mind, we decided that the backsplash should run all the way along the wall and up to the ceiling.

I was terrified over this decision.  The backsplash tile was the last tile we selected.  I was torn between two and Adam was pushing for his favorite.  Once again, I acquiesced and I am glad I did!

Our backsplash is installed and I love it!
This was one of those make or break installations... I would either love it or I would hate it and have ruined our whole kitchen.

Boom! Love IT!

The creamy marbling of the tile brings in grays, white, cream, and I think it adds texture without being too busy.  I can't wait to see it grouted.

Also, Adam insisted on under cabinet lighting... another win.  The ambiance of these lights are amazing when the rest of the space is darker, and I love how it shows off the tile.

And -  isn't our kitchen faucet so leggy and pretty!  It's like a curvy pin-up perched atop the island.  

We're getting closer every day!!



Backsplash is installed and exclamation points ensue! -  day 216 of our build

Wednesday, August 26

front door debacle...

Adam and I chose to make quite a few upgrades when it came to our front door.  We added sidelights, a transom, and even carefully selected a specific paint color to help it stand out.

Clearly, we weren't careful enough.
Meet our baby blue front door.

Our initial plan with the paint color was to go two shades lighter than the house.  But remember, that was also back when we thought the house would read more dark gray than navy.

It does help the door stand out.. but not exactly in the way we intended.

Thankfully the painter is going to revisit our choice.  We decided to try a more gray tone, and see how it works out.  Worst case scenario... we deal with it until I can find the perfect shade.

In the meantime, aren't our little shrubs out front just too cute!

Edit:  After a 2nd coat of paint, things are looking much more gray and much less "little boy blue."  We agreed to keep it for now and I'll share some updated pictures soon!

Painting the front door - day 216 of our build

Tuesday, August 25


It was late in the evening, on August 19th, Adam had to work and we were running behind on checking out the house.  We were downstairs and slowly working our way back to the main floor when we heard someone shouting "Hello!"

I figured it was just one of the neighbors touring the house, or someone checking out the neighborhood, but when we reached the top of the stairs -  we saw the granite delivery guy!  He wanted to make sure he was at the right house, and he was!

They had a truckload full! 

I didn't take many glamour shots since we were kinda in their way, but when we came back by at about 10pm that night.. I saw this beauty.

This island will be the focus of our kitchen and I could not be happier with how it turned out.  The granite color for the kitchen is Steel Gray (aka Gray Pearl) and we added a waterfall edge to the island only.  The sink is an undermount black granite composite 60/40 sink. I am so excited as my big stew pot will finally fit in the sink now!
The granite in all the bathrooms is New Caldonia which has a nice blend of grays, white, cream, black, and browns.  I really love how it looks with the oil-rubbed bronze on the faucet.

The jack and jill bath a few days after installation when the mirrors were installed as well. I really like the back splash and how nice the granite looks with the paint colors. 

I know it was a late night for the installers, but they made this nerdy nester's day!

Granite installation -  day 214 of our build