Dang! And I spent all this time typing this up for nothin! LOL! Well, here was my advise, maybe it'll help someone else:
Depending on how far you went should determine the appropriate response.
Spent the time to design your Sim, then just saved the Sim under the individual save options
You didn't actual "create a family" or "create a household", per se. IF this is the case:
1) Load The Sims 3.
2) Create a NEW game with the "+" icon (assuming you don't already have a saved game showing up) and click the check mark icon to "Play".
3) Select "Create Sims" (trust me here).
4) Click on the "Premade Sims" button. It's the one with 6 head silhouettes.
5) When the Premade Sims window comes up, set the gender and age brackets to whatever they were for the Sim you created.
6) Search through the list of Sims til you find yours (there will be a folder icon in the lower right corner of their image) and click the "Accept" button (the check mark bubble at the bottom right of the Premade Sims window).
7) Assuming you don't want to make any more Sims for this "family", click the "Accept" button (again, the check mark bubble) located at the bottom-left of your screen... at the right-most end of the available options. If you haven't finished the "Personality" portion of your Sim, you will be prompted to do so now.
8) You will now see a framed photo of your Sim. This is the point of no return. If you have any last-minute changes to make, click the Cancel button (the X bubble). If you're ready to play, click the Accept button (the check bubble).
9) Next you will either select a pre-built house or an empty lot to build upon. If you select a prebuilt house, you have the option of having it furnished with all the basic amenities.
10) Play. You should be able to figure it out from here, especially if you follow the tutorial advise.
If you just made your Sim and saved them, follow steps 1 through 10. If you went as far as creating a family, but didn't move them into a house or lot, follow steps 1 and 2, then instead of going to "Create Sim" at step 3, instead go to "Move in Household". This will let you select your "family" from the available list. Then move onto steps 9 and 10.
If you made your Sim, made a "family", AND moved them into a house (or lot), then follow step 1, select your saved game (provided you remembered to save it), and it should automatically take you to your Sim's home. If you forgot to save your game, any steps after creating your family have been lost, and you must refer to the paragraph above. If you DID save your game, and it's STILL not showing up... something is borked.
I suggest referring to the paragraph above, choose a house, save your game, exit out, and try reloading it to make sure it's all working A-OK. If it still won't bring up your "family" and their house... contact Electronic Arts.
Hope this was helpful.