Category Archives: Keeping Up The Home

I Open At The Close

I open at the close.

Advice given to Harry Potter in Deathly Hallows now has a new meaning to my family.

We are closing on a house!image

This has been a long journey from us actually deciding to look into houses in earnest. We found this house after looking at quite a few other options. Most were simply not viable. This one was the best option and it sort of clicked when we walked in that this was the place.

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We first signed a contract for the house in December but found out a few days later that it couldn’t be sold. Apparently there is a rule about getting a mortgage on a property that had been bought less than three months ago. Three months ago, you ask? Yep, it’s a flip house.

The previous owners bought the property and put some work into it, including a roof, windows, and general cosmetics, in order to turn it around and sell it for a profit. I’m completely comfortable with this because I simply wouldn’t be able to do that kind of work nor be able to finance it.

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It’s a 3br/1ba house, about 1100 sqft, a couple mature trees in the front yard (tire swing? yup!) and, one of my leading requirements, a nice flat front yard for playing around.

Going into a nice new house we were going to get newer furniture and will need a washer and dryer but we’ve already graciously been gifted some pieces by friends and family! Thank you all! We don’t really need much but if you want to contribute something small a gift card to Lowe’s or Target or Walmart (or anywhere you want) wouldn’t be turned away, but please don’t feel like we expect anyone to contribute anything! Just a message of good luck and any experiential advice will be welcome.

Keep an eye out for new posts about the house because we have plans to make this a home. I want to craft a loft bed for Sariah, we are planning a cool paint treatment for Sophia, and the kitchen will need some shelving and maybe a desk area. So much to do now. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page and YouTube channel too for videos from us!

 

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So, we have a new part of our life opening at the close of this deal Monday Feb. 22. Wish us well. Thank you for your part in getting us to this point in our lives!

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A Note to Family and Friends

Family and Friends,

Please read this message, you needn’t read anything else on my blog, I know some past posts haven’t been the most friendly but this is different. This one is from Crystal and I both. With Sariah’s birthday rounding the corner, Crystal and I would like to take this opportunity to share an exciting idea we have had.

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This year gave us a monumental surprise, when, on May 4 our dear Sariah was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It has been a significant change in lifestyle for not only Sariah but also for all of us, including you, as her support system. Please don’t diminish your contribution to the system, we all work together to ensure her safety and wise choices not only in relation to the disease but to growing up and becoming the smart and beautiful young lady we all know she will be. From performing finger-sticks and calculating the required insulin after meals to her classmates at school walking with her to the nurses office; everyone has their role in this.

With Sariah’s consent we would like to ask, that for her upcoming birthday, in lieu of gifts you make a donation to either the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) or to the Monroe Carroll Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Links will be at the bottom of this letter. Please don’t go out of your way to make a larger donation than what a gift would have cost, any amount will help the cause. If you weren’t aware, the JDRF and the Children’s Hospital were the organizations that donated much of the information, supplies, and gifts that we received in the hours and months since diagnosis.

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The mission of JDRF: JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, policy influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D. If you would like to donate to JDRF you may do so at JDRF.org, under the “Get Involved” tab, then click “Ways to Donate”. If you choose to do a “Tribute Donation” we ask that you select the Middle Tennessee Chapter in honor of Sariah.

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Who hasn’t heard of Vanderbilt? They are a committed and focused team of medical persons devoted to delivering the highest quality care to children, creating a special environment for children and their families, and to serve as a resource that is responsive to the children, the families, and to the community. If you would like to donate to Vanderbilt you may do so at ChildrensHospital.Vanderbilt.org. Near the bottom of the page is a link called “Giving”, and then on the right side of the page you select “Give Now”.

While we have your attention, we would like to tell you about something more fun. Each of the girls has an email address that they will gain access to when they are older. It seemed like a fun idea to send an email to them as a sort of time capsule from past versions of ourselves. You can send messages to SariahDarks2008@gmail.com and SophiaDarks2014@gmail.com. On our honor, we won’t read your messages, I log in routinely to ensure they aren’t overrun by spam but I don’t read messages, I want the girls to be able to be the first to read those words.

Thank you for your continued support. With love; Matt, Crystal, Sariah, and Sophia.

Easy Dinner Rolls

Sariah and I had a great time today making rolls. I am so lucky to be able to spend so much time with my dear daughter and be able to teach her so much. I don’t know that its the best recipe for rolls we’ve ever had but we did pretty good. I got the recipe from, of all places, Facebook.

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1pk dry active yeast

3/4c warm water

1tbsp sugar (Agave Nectar)

1/4c butter, melted

2 1/2c baking mix

 

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease/butter your pan.

Combine the yeast, water, and sugar and let proof for 10-15 min.

Add the melted butter and baking mix to the bowl and mix well. Turn dough out onto floured counter and knead until nice and soft dough forms. Shape individual rolls and place in the pan. Cover with a damp towel and let rise 1 hour. Brush with melted butter.

Bake 12-15 min.

When golden brown take out and brush with more butter.

Enjoy.

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20131107-184959.jpgThis was a great learning experience. We’ve all heard it before but I’ll tell you its great to let the kids help in the kitchen. Its not only a good chance for a safety lesson but also real world math concepts and following directions.

20131107-185008.jpgAs you can see the rolls didn’t turn out perfect but I think she had fun and I know I did. They turned out tasting pretty good and because of events beyond our control we left them to rise for two hours so they came out nearly the same size.

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Preparations, engage.

The family is so excited, just one week until or trip to Florida. With this week we will be very busy making final plans, cleaning the house, and preparing our crap to be packed.

Sariah is very excited and I have told her a few of the things we are going to see on the trip but thankfully she hasn’t remembered them. I wanted to have some surprises for her but I also wanted to make sure she’d want to do some of the things so I took the chance and told her about the puppet show and the mermaids. Good ole kid brains… They’ll concentrate on something for ten minutes and then forget it ever happened, so I think we’ll have some fun surprises in store.

I am going to do my best to stay updated on here because this is our first family vacation that Sariah may actually remember when she grows up. Thinking about that takes me back to our vacations when I was growing up, I can remember parts and a couple of pictures exist but I really wish there had been a better record and memory keeping system, like our precious internet.

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