#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

No matter how much time we have to make selections for our custom home build, we seem to use every bit of it deliberating between options before coming to a confident decision. The good thing about that is that we feel really good about everything we’ve chosen so far: cabinets, stone, exterior paint, lights. The bad thing is that it’s a little nerve-wracking having deadlines come down on us.

That’s where we’re at again, this time around with granite. We’ve got about a week left before we have to place our order, but we need to decide sooner so we can move forward with flooring choices (which are due by month end).

We have our options narrowed down to two, both of which we really like. The thing is, they are pretty dissimilar, and that makes them hard to compare.

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

Both granites should look good with our cabinets and flooring options.

But which will look great? Which is the one I want to see every day? Which will be more timeless? And more us?

Ultimately, the decision is ours – it is our custom build, after all. But we thought it would be fun (and helpful) to hear what you think. Which granite would you choose?

One is a little more expensive than the other, but I won’t share which one lest I sway your opinion. :-)

Option #1: Coral Gold

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

We had the opportunity to see the slabs that would be ours should we choose Coral Gold, and let me tell you, they are stunning. I never would have noticed the beauty of this granite by looking at a small sample. Seeing the slab in its entirety really brought it to life for me.

Here’s a picture of Travis holding our (so-tiny-they’re-almost-not-helpful) cabinet samples up to the slab.

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

Maybe it’s better to look at it like this:

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

The kitchen island cabinets will be the darker finish shown on the left, and all other cabinetry will be painted white, similar to what’s shown on the right.

Can you envision it? What do you think?

Option #2: Piracema White

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

This granite slab is aboard a ship on its way to the distributor. Though we aren’t lucky enough to be able to see it in person before placing our order, we are fortunate that its arrival date will work with our timeline – should we choose it. I love the neutral color of this granite as well as its movement.

Here is a collage showing our cabinet colors next to a Piracema White sample.

#SquiresHomeRun: Our Top 2 Granite Candidates

So, which one do you like better? Leave a comment here or join the discussion on Facebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

#SquiresHomeRun: Reflections of My Heart

#SquiresHomeRun: Reflections of My Heart

Today we are just 11 weeks out from the target closing date on our new house. It’s surreal. With each design decision that we see materialize before our eyes, I stand in awe that this could possibly be our home, knowing how very undeserving I am of such comfortable shelter.

I hear many people who’ve built a custom house say they’d never do it again. I can’t say I share that sentiment, though we don’t “plan” to build again. This home we are creating from the ground up has become to me the fondest of projects. Each decision and selection we’ve made has been with much thought and care, and the final product will be the grand culmination of a vision achieved.

Front porch reflections

Front porch reflections

I’m sure we’ll find things we’ll wish we’d done differently. No home is perfect in every way—and so it ought to be, I guess. For this house is not meant to be our final destination. It will pale in comparison to the one that awaits—the one being prepared by the Master Builder.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2, NASB)

Until then, this house will be to me a place of blessing and a place of peace. A place of rest and a place of life. In some ways, it already is. Though we don’t inhabit it yet, my heart is already there. It’s in the layout and the light placement and the exterior design. It’s in the cabinets we’ve ordered and the granite we’re choosing. Every piece of this house reflects a piece of us, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

House exterior before stone and garage doors

House exterior before stone, garage doors, and front porch columns

I've always wanted a white house.

I’ve always wanted a white house.

Would you ever build a custom home? What pieces of your heart would your design reflect?

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini Recipe

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen these days. With the general busyness of summer plus all the extra running around that goes with building a custom home, I’m finding that the quicker the meal, the better.

Today the kids and I came home from some house selection meetings right at lunch time with no leftovers on hand and no plan in mind. We weren’t going to eat out. I needed to come up with something fast.

I’m not normally too creative in the kitchen, but this time a bit of inspiration struck and the result was just the taste I was going for: a copy of Tuna Helper’s Tuna Tetrazzini. (I always loved that handy little box mix, but in favor of eating healthier by making things from scratch, I haven’t bought any in several years.)

Here’s what I came up.

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

1 package linguini noodles
1 package Simply Organic Alfredo Sauce Mix
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 – 7-oz cans tuna, drained

Bring water to a boil. Add noodles and diced vegetables and cook according to noodle package directions. Meanwhile, prepare sauce mix according to package directions. Add tuna to sauce and heat through. Pour sauce over cooked noodles and veggies. Stir to mix well. Add a little milk to moisten if desired.

Homemade Tuna Tetrazzini

What quick meals do you make from scratch?

I Needed to Do This

Last night I drank in more fun than I’ve had in a long time, and this morning my heart is hungover with joy. I can’t explain why last night’s events meant so much to me. I can’t explain the rush of passion I felt when the opportunity presented itself, nor can I explain the tears that burned against the back of my eyes as I lived it. All I know is that I needed this. For whatever reason, I needed to do this for me.

If there’s one characteristic about myself that I’ve always been quick to admit, it’s this: I am NOT artistic. I’ve tried to be, yes. I still have the sketch book from my childhood that tells of my tries to draw horses. I wanted to be good at it, and I practiced; but the natural talent just wasn’t there. And neither was the instruction. The nine-week art class required of all seventh graders is the extent of my “technical training.”

I guess I’ve always been fine with the fact that I don’t do art. Sure, I’d love to be good at it; but I know I’m not and I accept that.

And still, I had to do this. I hadn’t known that – I wasn’t expecting it or seeking it out. But when I was looking into some summer art camps for kids being offered by Pinot’s Palette Des Moines and came across this beautiful painting, even my artistic handicaps couldn’t subdue the urgency I felt. Every ounce of me, without a doubt, wanted – needed – to attend the class.

So I did. I found a friend and my husband’s blessing, and I took a mom’s night out to remember. Today, the experience fills my heart and adorns my wall. It’s the best $35 of blow money I’ve ever spent.

Pinot's Palette - Foret Noir et Jaune

Maybe the reason it means so much is that truth I’ve just told – that I’m not artistic. Maybe I enjoyed it so much because I could never have visualized this scene without the master example nor created it without the step-by-step instruction.

It’s a copycat painting, and an imperfect one at that, but it’s as strongly mine as the passion which drove me to it. I did it, and I’ll be proud to soon display it on the walls of my new home.

Angela Foret Noir et Jaune

Can you think of a time you just needed to do some thing for yourself, even if you couldn’t explain it? Tell me about it!

Homeschool Reflections (and Why I Need Summer)

Homeschool Reflections (and Why I Need Summer)

We are winding down our school year this week. As much as I love homeschooling and know it’s right for our family, I’m relieved. The Homeschool Conference is coming up, and in anticipation of that, I find myself looking forward to next year even before this one is over.

That’s a big part of why I’m ready to be done, I suppose – because before I know it, the time will be here to begin again.

I look forward to enjoying a nice break this summer. I always do. Not only will it be a time to recharge for the next year of homeschooling, but it will also be a relaxed time of memory-making and family-building. (Oh, and house-building, too!)

I expect that this summer will see us frequenting the pool (gotta love that season pass!), firing up the grill (there is no steak in Des Moines like my hubby’s!), and, of course, watching our new house rise. (You can watch, too, by following me on Instagram and Twitter @AngelaRSquires and by subscribing to this blog!)

We probably won’t plan on taking much of a vacation this year; all these other things ought to be fun enough. (Besides, we don’t want to be away from the build for too long!)

But first, the NICHE Conference – which is actually a bit of a vacation for us in itself. We send the kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a few days, and we enjoy a time of reconnecting over booths full of books and sessions full of sage advice. Maybe not everyone’s idea of an exhilarating couple’s weekend, but it is for us. :-)

I need the encouragement this year, too. Every year around this time I start freaking out a little bit on the inside, wondering how in the world I’m going to manage next year’s homeschool. Each year seems to add a little more work – a little more time commitment – and I always wonder how I can possibly do more.

Then the time comes and somehow I do it, usually better than I’d hoped.

Still, I worry. This time it’s over the idea of having two in Kindergarten – and not just that, but having two learning to read. I guess teachers handle far more than that in the classroom, but for me it’s definitely going to be a learn-as-I-go kind of thing. Will we make it through? I’m sure. I just don’t know how yet. :-)

Homeschool Reflections (and Why I Need Summer)

Four-year-old Isabel REALLY wants to learn to read!

So, what’s been on your mind as the school year winds down and summer break approaches?

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