I’m sorry, sammy, but I have to partly disagree with you here again.
First of all, why are you making a difference between “HTML and CSS” and “HTML 5 and CSS 3”? Why not start to learn it all right away? The only thing to know is that HTML 5 and CSS 3 are partly experimental yet and some things shouldn’t be used yet or should only be used with care.
Secondly, regarding knowing “the exact prefixes needed (-webkit, -moz, etc)”: this is one of the things many newbies learn and do wrong. The first thing to learn is that these are experimental CSS properties that have been implemented to test certain features in a browser and are not supposed to be used on production sites. I saw people use them and then complain why they have to declare everything three or more times because they thought it would be normal to use these prefixed properties.
It is good and right to learn that these exist but it is not the first thing to learn when which prefix is “needed” because you are approaching the whole thing from the wrong side then.
Lastly, I think you know my opinion about SASS, LESS, and all that other crap already but just for the sake of completeness I’m gonna say it again, anway: I think all the programs, frameworks, and techniques you linked there are mostly useless and/or redundant. Nothing of this is actually needed to create websites and I’d even go as far as saying nothing of this is making a decent developer’s life substantially easier. All these ready-made programs are doing is add a lot of redundant bloat to your websites and/or computer. If you have a good editor with syntax highlighting, code completion, and maybe a snippets archive (I’m using Coda which has all that) you don’t need any of that crap to create websites quickly. And you also don’t need any boilerplate, bootstrap, or grid system nonsense if you know what you want and what you’re doing. After all, I think these so-called “aids” aren’t helping you in any way to learn the gist of a coding/programming language, you just plug something in or write an abstract command and it is doing everything automatically without you actually understanding what you do.
Now, that said, back on topic: aaronafc, if you really want to learn how to create a website then don’t take premade templates but rather create your own site from scratch. Of course it helps to look how others have done something (I’ve learned a lot by analyzing the source code of websites where I liked some feature) but by doing it yourself you find your own style of coding etc. while with using someone else’s code you might inherit some bad or wrong code without understanding what’s wrong.
You would, of course, create some wireframe or layout sketch beforehand and then convert that into an actually working website. A good goal could be to create a website for something that really exists, either just for you as exercise or for real (e. g. a local association or organization or whatever).
Donít click this link!