Building a Home

Now that we are back in Austin, we are ready to start building our new home.  We bought a lot in February and have been working for the last few months on permits, a construction loan and plans.  Because we will be living in the RV for 4-5 MORE months while we build, we’d like to start ASAP.  I have a feeling that, while living in an RV on a great adventure around the U.S. was fun, living in an RV in Austin will not hold the same charm.

Next week, the husband gets to do his favorite part of the build – preparing the site with the Bobcat.  For some reason, he loves to get in that Bobcat in the heat and move brush all day.  Crazy.  For me, the beginning means becoming familiar with my house plans and starting to plan the details (in the air conditioning).

Because the lot is small, we won’t really have a backyard.  So the kids will play in the front yard.  They are old enough that a fence is not necessary.  However, we have a 12-year-old dog that probably needs a fence.  We were thinking of doing an invisible fence but are concerned about doing one with our Lucy.  Has anyone done an invisible fence with an older dog?

Here is our lot. It’s not much to look at yet!

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Caramel Apple Cake

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I am a Pinterest addict.  I’m not sure what it is about it, maybe it appeals to my Type A personality, but I love it.  I also love apples and caramel…and recipes…and baking.  So when I saw this recipe by The Novice Chef, I had to make it.  Yes, I know it’s called a dump cake, but I prefer to leave that word out (you guys with kids know why).

I made this cake over Memorial Day weekend for my family and it was a huge hit.  It is very simple and quick to assemble and you bake it for about 45 minutes.   We ate it warm out of the oven.  We topped it with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream and a simple caramel sauce that I made (see below).  I love the melting ice cream over the warm cake.

This cake was also excellent left over.  Just spoon in into a bowl, stick it in the microwave for a few seconds, along with the caramel sauce.  Then top with ice cream.

I could drink this Caramel Sauce:

1 c. sugar
6 T. butter
½ c. heavy whipping cream

Heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Once it is all melted and just as it comes to a boil, add the butter and stir until melted.  Add the cream slowly, still stirring constantly, until incorporated and smooth.  Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

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Building Fences

We are spending the holiday weekend in Brenham with family.  It’s nice to spend some quality time after being away for awhile.  For us, quality time means swimming, walking, exploring, a lot of cooking and eating, and this time, working on the land.  Last Thursday and Friday, Brenham got about 24″ of rain and there was a lot of damage done to the land.  There was a lot of anxiety and worry about work already done around here and what this meant for the future.

We came up with some solutions, including a temporary fence so the neighboring cows wouldn’t invade the garden and house.  We all helped – even the kids – and got it done in this lovely Texas heat.  It is good to remind ourselves that it could have been worse. We were unharmed.  The house was unharmed, and after a few clean-up days, the property will be back to a new normal.

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Coming Home

As we drive home from Tennessee, I am thinking about the past 9 months. We set off last August to travel the U.S. in an RV. After my hubby came up with this crazy idea, I agreed to the trip mostly due to our lives seeming to be out of my control. I felt like the five of us were passing each other every day without really living our lives. Does that sound too dramatic? I guess we just weren’t having as much fun as I thought we could.

So we ditched almost everything and set off. There were rough times at the beginning. We were okay with the space and one shower and homeschooling, but friends were missed and we sometimes longed for Austin. Things got easier as time went on and going home for Christmas and a ski trip with friends were the perfect breaks.

Now that it’s May, when I look back, all the issues and problems somehow seem less significant. The family time spent was invaluable. We visited all the lower 48 states and had countless experiences. My hope is that my kids hold awesome memories and someday appreciate the trip as a whole. Personally, I crossed off a huge number of bucket items. I also more fully appreciate my life in my little spot in Texas.

We are all excited to get home and begin our next adventure: building a new house, renewing friendships, getting back to work and hopefully, playing a little more.

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