December 31, 2015


Adventures this month:
  • Made it to year 2 in the house (and added a new chesterfield couch from Wier's as an anniversary gift)
  • Enjoyed a great weekend with my Chisholm family - Prestonwood Baptist spectacular, dinner with cousins, and mini-reunion with sweet Grandma Evelyn
  • Our first trip to the Arlington Christkindl Market (and a German windmill has made it to my wish list)
  • Extra fun at work for the holidays - ugly sweaters, caroling with coworkers, sing-along assembly, painting party, and more. December at elementary school can't be beat!
  • Celebrated Christmas with gumbo at our house Christmas Eve, big family gathering at my Aunt Jenny's, small family in Carrollton, and lasagna night with Matt's mom
  • Plus lots of fun with friends - Snug w/Cheri, Pub with the Sielings and Motts, football at Shandy's, winning trivia at 903 Brewers (free beer!) with Sherman friends, and more.
  • Bonus: Matt won his big fantasy football draft for the 2nd time in 14 years, woo hoo....
01 / 02 / 03 / 04
05 / 06 / 07 / 08
09 / 10 / 11 / 12

Goal Wrap Up

Giving 35 Challenge = 35/35

Donating time or money 35 times before my 35th birthday in September.
Done and awesome!

Hike 35 Miles = 26/35

Kind of fizzed out on this one but still enjoyed 26 miles of new trails.
4 miles - 1/24/15 - Towne Lake Park Trail + Disc Golf Course, McKinney
6 miles - 2/7/15 - Oak Point Nature Preserve Trail, Plano
2 miles - 5/14/15 - Bonnie Wenk Park Trails, McKinney
3 miles - 6/29/15 - Towne Lake Park Trail + Disc Golf Course, McKinney
11 miles of wilderness hiking at Colorado Bend State Park - Spicewood Spring Canyon Trail, Cedar Chopper Loop to Old Gorman Road/Gorman Falls, back via Tinaja Trail

Swim 35 Times = 28/35
28 by Amanda, Matt definitely swam over 35 times when you add in every time he jumped in after mowing the yard. Too bad the spa heater went out or we could have smashed this goal since by mid-September it was already too cold to swim. Lots of May rain and the days we didn't use the pool because of the exterior renovation made it tricky too. Still a fun one!

Adios 2015!

December 22, 2015

For my Dad

Hope your day is great!
(and do you know where these pictures are from?)

December 13, 2015

2 Years in 1925 {Exterior Before & After}

It's already been two years since we moved to our 1925 house.
Top-to-Bottom: December 2013, Fall 2014, Summer 2015
We actually did a lot more around the house than I would have predicted. All we have left to do is repair the spa heater, paint the laundry room, and take care of the front landscaping before we can say we're "done" - famous last words I'm sure. 

2015 Updates
-Replaced bare bulb in master closet with low profile LED fixture

-Bought/planted pansies in froggy outdoor planter for Christmas
-Indoor planter with succulent for Valentine’s day
-Updated master bedroom windows with white 2” wood blinds
-Caulk sealed master bedroom windows
Upstairs Bathroom Improvements:
-Removed upstairs medicine cabinet and patched drywall hole behind cabinet
-Painted walls Granite Gray, and beadboard and trim Marshmallow White
-Updated bulbs to LED and bought new toilet seat
-Hung new bathroom mirror

-Shortened master bathroom blinds to custom length
-Repainted interior of front and back door interior trim white and tan
-Painted master bedroom Crisp Linen White
-Updated master bedroom, hall, and living/dining areas with coordinating dark metal switch plates
-Replanted front porch planters with small conifers and sweet potato vine 2 green/2 purple
-Moved larger black planter to back porch and re-potted bush
-Replaced bedroom and living room lamps with LED bulbs
-Bought a few new living room and bedroom accessories from Nebraska Furniture Mart
-Started getting quotes for exterior painting project
-Removed and returned dead plants from front beds
-New plants for backyard containers-4 Boston ferns, 2 white begonias, herbs: lavender, Italian oregano, garden sage, lemon thyme, purple basil, sweet basil, banana pepper
-New plants for backyard shady beds-8 coral bells in plum pudding, Thai basil, lemon balm, purple basil, peppermint for fence baskets, 3 sweet viburnum bushes for pool fence (where the hollies died last year), Mexican lavender, rosemary prostrate, and 2 bushes by side fence hedge

-Bought a beach painting from Antique Company Mall for master bedroom
-Bought large modern painting from a Denton artist at the Loophole for living room
-Bought painting of Yellowstone from McKinney Arts in Bloom for master bedroom
-Weeding/yard maintenance/front-side bed cleanup
-Pool motor replacement and leak repairs after it stopped working while we were out of town

-Lots of rain and general pool/yard maintenance
-Bought new pool skimmer baskets and net
-Updated kitchen island light fixtures to hanging glass mini chandeliers from Lowe's with LED bulbs
-Painted inside of front and back door white and beige
-Painted master bathroom trim white
-Bought/assembled 2 bookshelves from Nebraska Furniture Mart for Matt’s office
-Bought larger master bedroom fan, relocated the existing master fan to replace broken fan in Matt’s office
-Planted 2 bushes in shady year corner
-Removed dead fringe flower from front bed and gardenia from side bed
-Added 22 bags of mulch to back side yard and front left bed

-Had foundation professional inspected, all is in tip-top shape
-Bought 3 new kitchen floor mats
-New sago palm and orchid for indoors
-Cleaned pool filter grids
-Bought pool chemicals for next year
-Started exterior renovation project on June 22nd-had all siding removed and rotten trim/windows repaired

Exterior Renovation:
-All new Hardie siding downstairs and on garage
-All new 4-color paint scheme on house and garage-Retreat Green on downstairs lap siding, Sporting Green on upstair shake siding, Dover White on all trim/brackets/rafters, Red Barn on windows and doors, new coat of Antique Tin gray on porch
-Had gutters professional installed upstairs and downstairs
-Bathroom window glass repair
-Removed, cleaned, and rehung all outdoor awnings on 4 windows, back door, and back porch
-Bought/installed new outdoor light fixtures - 3 mission lights for front back door with dusk to dawn LEDs, 2 zinc barn lights for deck, LED bulb/auto sensor for existing garage fixture
-Bought/assembled new standing mailbox and coco doormat for front porch
-Bought outdoor umbrella and umbrella stand from Academy

-Lawn mower repair
-Replaced kitchen garbage disposal
-Had neighbor's dead tree limb over the pool professionally removed

-Bought new lawn mower
-Bought new pool brushes
-Trimmed trees over garage
-Bought/installed magnetic lock for outdoor iron fence
-Re-hung dining chandelier with less chain
-Replaced and installed over-the-range microwave in kitchen (harder than you'd think!)

-Leaf collection/fall yard maintenance

-Leaf collection/fall yard maintenance
-Bought new pool leaf bags and tail scrubbers
-Changed front light bulbs and garage bulb to auto-sensor outdoor lights
-Repaired bedroom doorknob lock
-Replaced hall bathroom pocket door handle/lock
-Upstairs bathroom toilet repair
Guest Room Improvements:
-Patched holes and painted upstairs bedroom Crisp Linen White
-Replaced cream circuits and switches with white
-Replaced broken closet light with LED fixture
-Bought new gray sheets, bed skirt, and coverlet bedding
-Deep cleaned ceiling fan and bought new chain pulls
-Rearranged furniture, added new vintage desert painting from Antique Company Mall
-Bought/filled door draft stoppers from Etsy for 2 attic doors


-Bought flag art for Matt's office from Antique Company Mall
-Bought a 2nd leather couch from Weir’s for our anniversary present
-Rearranged furniture and art in living room and den
-Leaf collection/prepped yard for winter
-Repaired freezer ice maker
-Cleaned pool filter grids

Clearly having a 90-year-old house is labor-intensive (and 1/3 of the stuff on the list above was unplanned) but despite the work we love our old house more than ever, thank goodness! And yes, Matt did almost everything on this list. I did the shopping.

This time last year.

November 30, 2015


Adventures this month:
  • Celebrated our 10th anniversary with a little getaway to Denton.
  • A haircut for me after growing it out for 3 years. I cut off 10 inches for Locks of Love for the 2nd time. It's probably my last time for a big chop too since I'm going to need to start dying my gray at some point soon.
  • New paint and bedding for the upstairs bedroom, prompted by a fun quick visit from M+J (Pub, church, Pantry)
  • Lunch lady duty at work for 1,000 for McClure's annual Thanksgiving lunch, I was the turkey girl this year. Tons of fun!
  • A little Thanksgiving getaway to Spring like last year with Jimmy's parents, Cindy+family, my parents, and Aunt Jenny+Audie. Turkey+cornhole+chimenea fires plus cookies and fun for Lydia's 2nd birthday too.
  • Plus, chili and a rainy "Home for the Holidays" on the McKinney square with Betsy, football watching with the Motts, a cowboy game for Matt, and lots of relaxing around the house over Thanksgiving break.
01 / 02 / 03 / 04
05 / 06 / 07 / 08
09 / 10

November 21, 2015

A + M = 10

Looks like we've been married for 10 years...

November 19, 2015

Denton Anniversary Fun

We celebrated our 10th anniversary with a weekend getaway to the town where we got married - Denton! 
Since we're not taking our big trip for a few more months, we enjoyed a mini-getaway down the road with fun on the Denton square, dinner at the Greenhouse where we had our rehearsal dinner, and a stop by the Little-Chapel-in-the-Woods where we tied the knot. We even spent the night at the same bed and breakfast where we stayed after our wedding, the super cute Wildwood Inn.

Matt's first time wearing a robe - ha!
The Loophole - our favorite bar to buy art.

October 31, 2015


Adventures this month:
  • Chicago Mother-Daughter Trip
  • Tech games at the Sielings, Woodhams, and Motts
  • Oddball comedy tour with Maggie and Megan - Aziz Ansari + Amy Schumer was a hit!
  • Trick or treating in Melissa, book fair busyness at work, plus lots of chili, soup, and leaves falling in the pool
01 / 02 / 03 / 04
05 / 06 / 07 / 08

October 6, 2015

Chicago Mother-Daughter Getaway

Lucky me - after Maggie missed our Charleston trip last March my mom took us on a re-do vacation to Chicago this month. We had a wonderful time, lots of art, architecture, great food, and super-windy weather for the true Chicago experience.
We stayed at the lovely, historic Drake Hotel, and especially enjoyed the Art Institute of Chicago + Millenium Park, double-decker bus tour around town, river architecture tour, walking and window shopping. Plus nice food options at Terzo Piano, deep dish at Giordano's, hot dogs, popcorn, surprisingly good food court choices at the Water Tower Mall. Chicago had lots of great landscaping too, giant hydrangeas, mums, and greenery made the city fancy and clean.
Thanks for a great trip mom and Maggie! Can't wait to do it again someday.

September 30, 2015


Adventures this month:
  • Birthday fun for me - spending the day in Carrollton with my parents (new boots, shopping, bean soup at Herrera's), McKinney evening with Matt on my actual birthday - Landon Winery, dinner at Harvest, and pie on the porch from Emporium Pies.
  • Labor Day weekend getaway to Natchitoches, Louisiana
  • Tech game watching with friends every weekend so far - Guns Up!
  • McKinney Oktoberfest fun x3, better than ever, we went down to the square every day of Oktoberfest this year, Saturday was especially fun with a pretzel party at our house to watch the Tech game too.
  • The volunteering year began - I'm working a the Plano Family Literacy twice a month for Junior League, took my first class with local leader Florence Shapiro through JLCC's "Go Govern" program, and got trained for my first city-service gig on the Library Advisory Board.
01 / 02 / 03 / 04
05 / 06 / 07 / 08

September 12, 2015

Louisiana Labor Day

Some pictures from our getaway weekend/my 35th birthday/start of school celebration over Labor Day weekend. Natchitoches is fairly close, quaint, and cute. We had a great stay at the Andrew Morris House B&B, ate lots of delicious southern food and got our fill of plantation homes. It was also their zydeco festival weekend which made for fun people-watching too. We love LA!
-Food at The LandingPioneer Pub, and Sam's Southern Eatery - po-boys!
-Cane River Creole National Park - cotton gin at Magnolia Plantation, big house and gardens at the Oakland Plantation and other sites on the heritage trail
Hatchet-throwin' @ the fort
Cooling off - 90s + humidity!
Breakfast @ the B&B

September 3, 2015


35 has arrived! At about 50 hours and over $500 donating time or money 35 times last year was a fulfilling goal. Can't wait to see what fun is in store this year.
5 + 30 = A great new year

Giving 35 = 35/35
Donating time or money 35 times before my 35th birthday in September.
  1. 9/8/14 - $ for North Texas Giving Day
  2. 10/11/14 - $ to help send 5th graders to camp 
  3. 10/16/14 - 2.5 hours for Get Out the Vote with Collin County League of Women Voters
  4. 10/18/14 - $ to neighborhood Boy Scouts 
  5. 10/26/14 - 3.5 hours on the cleanup crew for JLCC's American Girl Fashion Show
  6. 10/28/14 - 5 extra hours at work for book fair family night 
  7. 11/7/14 - 2 hours selling wristbands at the school carnival 
  8. 11/14/14 - $ for startup costs to the Grayson College GSA club Matt advises 
  9. 11/22/14 - food donations for local church door-to-door food drive 
  10. 12/2/14 - 3 hours Christmas caroling through the feeder neighborhoods for my school, so fun! 
  11. 12/7/14 - 3 hours running the tech for the Dad's Club Frozen movie night at school 
  12. 12/30/14 - $ to the Red Cross 
  13. 1/13/15 - 3 hours judging school science fair projects and volunteering at Math/Science Night 
  14. 1/20/15 - $ to Frisco Education Foundation for the Richard Dungan memorial scholarship 
  15. 1/24/15 - $ to JLCC's Trinkets to Treasures 
  16. 2/2/15 - $ to McKinney Education Foundation 
  17. 2/13/15 - 2 hours volunteering at school for the PTO sock hop 
  18. 2/28/15 - $ to McKinney's Samaritan Inn
  19. 3/3/15 - 3 hours volunteering at school art show 
  20. 3/28/15 - $ to MISD Special Olympics fundraiser 
  21. 3/30/15 - $ to Junior League of Collin County annual campaign 
  22. 4/2/15 - $ to Yellowstone National Park Foundation 
  23. 4/7/15 - 1 hour at Spring Creek spirit night 
  24. 4/10/15 - $ to Grayson College History Club 
  25. 4/10/15 - $ to Sherman History Museum 
  26. 4/27/15 - $ to Nepal earthquake relief 
  27. 4/28/15 - 3 hours at school fitness night 
  28. 5/5/15 - 3 hours preparing and presenting at Region 10 Tech Conference
  29. 5/7/15 - 2 hours helping with registration for new kindergarteners at school 
  30. 5/13/15 - $ to Texas Library Association 
  31. 5/29/15 - 4 hours at 5th grade promotion night 
  32. 6/24/15 - 2 hours at MISD edtech conference
  33. 7/6/15 - 6 hours at Texas Library Association committee meeting (not including the drive to and from Austin)
  34. 8/10/15 - 1 hour at city library board association meeting
  35. 8/11/15 - 1 hour at school community outreach - popsicles with the principal at local apartments
Here's to 35 more!

August 31, 2015


Adventures this month:
  • A great weekend visit from M+J+L with brisket and swimming fun.
  • Our first trip to Sugarbacon with the lovely Mott's, can't wait to visit again.
  • Beer-themed day trips to finish up summer - Saturday at the Bishop Art's District for antiquing, oyster brunch at the Boulevardier, and stops at Bishop Cider Company (yum!) and Community Brewery and a Saturday in Grapevine for Tolbert's Chili Bowl, window shopping, and flights at the new, cute Grapevine Craft Brewery
  • Back to School for us both and this year has had a crazy start. It's been nonstop since August 3rd, lots of new tech, new people, and general busyness. Just a dozen more things and it should settle into a fun fall.
  • Matt hosted his league's Fantasy Football Draft for the 2nd year, lots of guys + brisket + beer + pool time at our house = getaway to Carrollton for an early birthday shopping + Mexican food for me with my parents
  • Lots of work, lots of fun, and lots of hot, hot days
01 / 02 / 03 / 04
05 / 06 / 07

August 8, 2015

For the 30th Birthday Girl

:: Happy Birthday Maggie ::
Hope your 3rd decade is super sweet!

July 31, 2015


Adventures this month:
  • 4th of July fun grilling+swimming at home 
  • Daytrip to Austin for me for my first 2x2 committee meeting
  • Finished up our house painting project - yay!
  • Fun with the Motts+Sielings, Smoke, Magic Mike for the girls, Phish concert for the boys, and swimming x2
  • A visit to Allen's Nine Band Brewery, close and cute
  • Plus lots of Hulu, reading, gym time, and trips to Home Depot
01 / 02 / 03 / 04
05 / 06

July 21, 2015

90 Year Makeover {Exterior Renovation Photos}

For it's 90th birthday we bought our house a new exterior. Check out some photos of the big reveal.
During 5 Weeks of Work
(also known as the bulk of my summer vacation)
{Sneak peek of the window weights}
Ready for weather, and looking cute!

Paint Colors:
Horizontal green siding - Sherwin Williams Retreat
Upstairs shingle siding - Behr Sporting Green
Window/wall trim - Sherwin Williams Dover White
Doors/windows - Sherwin Williams Red Barn
Porch floor - Behr Antique Tin

Painting our house had been on the list since move-in last year and I am happy to say it is D-O-N-E. Last year we replaced the rotted porch floor and trim with pressure treated slats, started some landscaping, had an enormous cottonwood tree removed that had branches hanging over the house.

Up next was "paint" but it was a little more complicated than that. There was a lot of rotted wood and damaged siding and windowsills from time and untreated drainage issues to repair, as well as dirty and damaged spots from where the previous owners let ivy grow on the house. We also wanted gutters added to prevent future water/foundation damage.

The specialty siding previously ordered was too hard to have custom made to replace damaged areas (about 15% of all siding needed to be repaired). So, "painting" turned into re-siding the lower level of the house and garage, adding new trim on corners, windows, and doors.

We also took this opportunity to go from 3 paint colors to 5. "For fun" we added cute new stand mailbox and new light fixtures for the front porch, back deck, and back door. All out outdoor lights now have light sensors too and come on automatically each night, fancy!

There was some drama (luckily not as much as when we moved in) that including Craiglist, lots of work that had to be done twice, and poor management that makes Matt especially frustrated. I'll sum it up by saying our first site manager was fired and everyone from the company we used says it's been a "real learning experience" - ugh. Never underestimate a 90-year-old house! What should have taken 2 weeks took 4, but it's over now and looks great. We should also be getting half off city tax with the historic preservation exemption for most of our time here, which takes a bit of the sting off too.

Left to do: Finish out the front landscaping, refinish the back deck next year and possibly replace it some day, a new roof far down the line if we live here that long.