Life in the dream home

Category Archives: Uncategorized

A while ago I had mentioned that our roof was on its last legs and needed replacement here.  Well we finally got it done last month and here’s picture of our brand new roof.

We got the terracotta color because we wanted it to match the color of our deck and because it complemented the yellow facade of our home really well. Here is a close up of the roof,

and a picture of our deck. Of course our deck needs a good scrub, a fresh coat of stain and some sealant.

The old roof was had much much more damaged that we had thought originally and the contractor said that we had done the right thing by replacing it this season as it probably wouldn’t have lasted 12 more months. The wood was literally falling apart. It was like powder in some places.

Can you see the rotten gutters in the picture below?

The wood shingles over this part of the damage looked okay, but we peeled then, we found holes in the roof.

The damage in the above picture is located to the right of the living room. Look what happened to the ceiling in the living room from water leaking through the damaged roof.

That’s water damage and yes I know we have popcorn ceilings. I still haven’t found a lab that I like to do the asbestos testing and even if it turned out that we do not have asbestos in the ceiling, removing this popcorn is way down on my list.  So, we went from this, a bland boring roof,

to this when we literally had no roof,

to this,

and finally this.

Now that we got the major things that we couldn’t do ourselves out of the way, its time to focus on the fun stuff.

BTW, I would be eternally grateful if anyone can direct me to a good video or tutorial on how to insert a window screen back into the window. The old screen was torn and had been taken out by the previous homeowners. Buying a whole roll of the screen to replace the torn part seemed like a waste of money, because the roll of screen material came to more than twice what a pair of new screens costed. But, I haven’t been able to insert them at all even after trying for hours. The few videos that I came across haven’t really been helpful. So if anyone has any suggestions, please please do throw them my way.


After our tree trimming and general clean up of the yard it was time to focus on the lawn. As I mentioned in the tree trimming post our lawn was bare and brown and the only green was the green from the spiky crabgrass and weeds growing there. Here’s a picture to remind you of what it looked before.

When it came to deciding on whether to get a new lawn or to just add grass seed, fertilizer, water and wait, the husband and I could not agree. While I wanted to do it by myself, he insisted that we get a landscaper to lay the new lawn even if it meant that it would cost more that way.  He won, by saying that the kids could have a new lawn by the end of the week instead of having to wait 3 or 4 weeks.

So we went from

to this,

to finally this,

and this, all in one day.

The kids have been enjoying their new lawn ever since. The play out in the lawn then move to the deck and splash around in the kiddie pool before heading for their bath and dinner.

We also added some mulch  to the veggie patch and planted some tomatoes, various colors of peppers, eggplant, zucchini and beans.  THis picture was taken before we planted them.

and the white stuff that you see are the flowers from the tree next to the kitchen window. I am using it as free  and organic fertilizer for the veggie patch.

Here are some more pictures of our new lawn.

Please forgive the lone flip flop and the broom in the next picture. They were left behind when the dad came home early and the kids ran to greet him.

BTW, did you guys notice that our deck needs a new paint job.

While I was researching on ways to clean and re paint a deck, I found out that we need to re-seal it first. Does any one know whats the best time to do this, i.e. before spring, before summer, during fall? Would really appreciate suggestions and tips on how to do this.

Our backyard is not huge at all. In fact the entire size of our lot is under 6000 sq ft. But, when we first saw it, we were more than impressed at how beautifully it could serve all the three functions we had in mind for it.

A deck or a patio where we could sit, relax, eat, play, work and sleep ( on clear starry summer nights).

A  dedicated place to grow fruits, veggies and herbs.

And most importantly, a decent sized lawn for the kids to run and play.

But, as you can see from the above pictures, it was an over grown, unkempt mess. There were brown spots on the lawn when we toured the home ( when the above picture was taken), which by the time we moved in, had weeds and crabgrass all over. The lights broken and in need of updating

The hedge and trees needed trimming. There were  also dead and dying plants.

The sprinkler and drip irrigation system were not working and needed replacement, and finally a deck that needed a thorough scrubbing and a new coat of paint.

We started our backyard with a clean up of what we thought were dead plants and also cleaned up the yard a bit, by cleaning I mean trying to trim the crabgrass with shears. So that the kids could run and play on the grass when we couldn’t take them to the park.

Then we pruned a  couple of limbs from the tree next to the deck. The limbs that we pruned were directly over our roof and posed a “significant” safety hazard should they fall or get damaged during a storm. This was recommended by both the roof and the home inspector. To do this we called  landscapers and asked for their suggestions on how to limb up the tree without damaging it. Then we got a tree cutting service to take care of the job. It’s the tree on the right in the picture below.

Did you guys notice the arrow on the left pointing to the tree on the other side on the  fence. This tree though not technically ours, covers a part of our deck and side yard with its canopy. At first we were glad to have the canopy extend to our deck, since our deck was uncovered and the apple tree did not have any leaves and offered no shade, but  two weeks into moving in we realized that the fruit that was falling from this Pomelo tree was rotting and damaging the deck.  The dark area directly under the canopy that you see in the above picture is not  its shadow, but the damage done to the deck, by rotting fruit from this tree.

So at first, I bought a pair of shears and tried to trim some of the offending limbs seen in the below picture, but it did not make much of a difference.

So I borrowed a  handsaw and  a ladder from my sister and carefully trimmed the branches of the tree that were hanging over the deck. I took care to leave the limbs intact and just take out the leaves and fruit that were directly over the deck.

Next on the list the lawn and veggie patch. I’ll be back with updates about them  in the next post.

One of the first things I did after our move in was to set up my son’s room. Although he was excited about the new home and couldn’t wait to live in it, I knew that he was upset about having to leave his school and his best friend behind. I wanted to make the transition from the old home to the new house, old school to the new school, going from playing with your best friend for hours every day to seeing him once in two weeks, as easy as possible.  So, I unpacked all of his stuff before anything else and this is how we set up the space.

A place to sleep and do homework,

and a place to play with the trains he loves so much or to relax with a book.

The room is still very basic, almost spartan, but it serves it’s purpose as a place for him to go to when he needs to sleep, study, play or just a place to get away from it all and unwind.  I did not buy any new furniture or decor items for his room,  everything in there is stuff that we already own. The bed is part of a bunk bed that we bought for him last year when he turned five, but had to dismantle and use as two twin beds when his sister figured a way to get on the top bunk. The table and chair were originally in my sewing corner at our apartment, but I felt that they coordinated really well with the blue Thomas & friends bedding and his toy storage system. The soccer ball chair was purchased along with the bunk bed, the night light was  purchased few months ago, the blue rug from our apartment and the lamp a gift from a friend. The closet does not contain any of his stuff and hides my fabric stash and sewing supplies.

Here is another view of his room,

and another,

and one more.

Did you notice the amount of sunlight this room gets.  It’s one of the brightest rooms in the home. Although I love the bright and airy feel of the room, the blinds don’t block out all of the light when it’s time for bed but still not dark outside, so we have to work on kid friendly curtains or some other way to block out the light when we want to.

Also did you guys notice that he does not have his clothes in his room, they are in a dresser in the master bedroom and will stay there until we figure out what to do with the closet or have some kind of storage for them here. So that’s all for now, but I can’t wait to start working on his room again and share the updates.

We’ve lived in our home for 100 days now and are completely loving it.

The floor plan is working perfectly for us, the school is good and a 5 minute walk through the park literally, the park is 2 doors down the street and a complete hit with the kids.

When the husband needs to work from home which is 3 days a week sometimes, there is enough room for him to work undisturbed without me having to ask the kids to keep the noise level down the entire time. The kids in turn have enough room to run, play, roll, jump, scream in short have fun.

But we know that there is a lot more that needs to be done to convert this dream house into our dream home.  So I made a list of all the things that I thought we needed to do. Some of those improvements are both important and urgent, some can wait and some are purely for style and comfort.

Here is a list of things that we came up with.

  1. Termite treatment. DONE ( Completed on move in day).
  2. Get a new roof.
  3. Paint- interior and exterior.
  4. Remove popcorn ceilings and texture from interior walls.
  5. Add recessed lights in the  living room, family room and kitchen.
  6. TV wall and media storage in family room.
  7. Replace carpet.
  8. New microwave  and trim for the built in cabinet.
  9. Remove the plants and shrubs under front window
  10. Remove weeds in the driveway and side yard
  11. Backyard landscaping ( new lawn, sprinklers, lights)
  12. Paint deck and fence
  13. Plant flowers in front yard
  14. Build  wooden platform to cover pipes in the front porch
  15. Clean and paint fireplace
  16. Change glass doors of the built-ins
  17. Refinish all fixtures from brass to bronze
  18. Install curtain rods
  19. Install new microwave and trim
  20. Create new office space.
  21. Plant a couple of fruit trees in the back yard.
  22. Convert the wall in sitting room into an office for the husband.
  23. Sew curtains.
  24. Organize garage and set up zones for work and play.
  25. Changing all bulbs to energy efficient
  26. Shelving in the garage
  27. Change light fixtures
  28. Remove shower door in upstairs hall bath and install shower curtain instead.
  29. Add shelving in the downstairs hall closet to make it into pantry/coat closet.
  30. Convert walk-in closet in the master bedroom sitting room to a sewing space.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and I will add to and update it as we go along.

It has been raining all morning and it’s dark and deary. Its one of those days when although the tummy craves comfort food, it feels like an uphill task to go and make a soup or a dish that takes all day long.  The following is the dish I make during those times.  I call it the lazy days pasta.

Lazy days pasta

The dish is quite simple to make actually and a combination of fresh veggies, protein and the other items borrowed from the pantry. I have used asparagus, red, yellow and green bell peppers and onions for the veggies and shrimp for protein. A

lthough chicken or I suspect a firm fish would work too, but then that would not be an under 15 minute lazy days dish.

Veggies and protein

I used penne pasta ( that’s what I had in my pantry) and store bought alfredo and tomato sauce.

Items from the pantry

The way to make it is to start cooking pasta first.

Cook pasta

Then saute garlic in olive oil and onions in olive oil. I have used a couple of cloves here and slightly over cooked the onions, when I ran to get the door. Lesson to everyone, do as I say, not as I did. We don’t need them to brown, just turn translucent and soft.

Garlic and onions

Add asparagus and cook for a minute.


Add the veggies and cook for another minute.


Add the sauces. I’ve used about a cup of tomato sauce and 1/1th of a cup of alfredo sauce here.

Sauce and veggies

Add the shrimp, and let the sauce warm up.



Add drained pasta to the dish and mix.  I do not use any extra salt or black pepper to taste, except for the salt in the pasta water. You can adjust the seasoning according to your taste though.

Mix pasta with the veggies and sauce

And, there you have it possibly the simplest pasta dish after the microwave mac and cheese.

Lazy days pasta

I don’t have a picture of this dish in a bowl, because whenever I make this dish the family is very hungry to even wait for it to be transferred to a dish and served at the table. We just plate it straight from the wok.

I apologize for the bad quality pictures, will take better pictures of the dish next time and upload them.

The deed was recorded at 10:45am the day before yesterday and we got the keys at 11:45am that morning. Our realtor called us to tell us about the deed transfer and an agent from the agency stopped by to hand over the key to the new place. And, suddenly it was all over and we were home owners from  house hunters.

The whole process took 60+ days from start to finish  and 100+ days if we count the number of days from the time of our first offer on the property.  And 3+ years if we count our entire house hunt. Yes it took 3 and 1/2 years to find a house that would become a future home for us.

The home is being fumigated as I write this post and the guy from the termite agency said that its okay to enter Monday evening. This property was a foreclosure, and vacant for the past few months, so there is dust and dirt and cobwebs in the closets. It needs a thorough cleaning before we can move in.  We hope to move in by Wednesday next week, as that our last day in the apartment after 4 extensions because of the loan.  Will keep everyone posted in real time along with pictures of the home.