Our Break In Scare (And Thoughts On Home Security)

Matt and I had a break in scare at our house last month. It was one of the scariest things we’ve ever experienced, and ever since, I’ve had home security on my mind. Here’s what happened…

It was the day after my step-father Jon passed away, so I had to get up early on that Thursday morning and head to my mom’s house, where the family was meeting with the pastor who would do the funeral service the next day. After that meeting, I stayed at the house just to be with my family, and we had lunch together.

Sometime after lunch, I got a phone call from Matt, who was at home by himself. When I answered, all I could hear on the other end was what sounded like Matt trying to breathe, but unable to get a word out. (For those of you new here, Matt has multiple sclerosis, which causes general weakness and tremors. He’s unable to walk, and has been in a wheelchair for about six years now.)

Hearing that he was having a hard time breathing, and unable to get a word out, I FREAKED OUT!!!! I grabbed my purse and ran out the door to to my car, with my brother hot on my heels. We got in my car and I headed towards our house like a bat out of hell.

On the way, I called 911 and told them that there was some sort of emergency at my house, but I had no idea what was going on. My disabled husband was at home by himself, and all I knew was that he sounded like he was having trouble breathing and couldn’t talk. Since we had no idea what was going on, she dispatched police officers and an ambulance.

All I could think was that he was choking on something, and since it’s a 12-minute drive from my mom’s house to our house, there’s no way I could get to him in time.

With MS and muscle weakness, choking is always more of an issue for Matt than for healthy people, which is why we have a very strict no eating policy for him if he’s alone. So as I’m driving, I’m going through this huge range of emotions. I’m freaked out because I have no idea what’s happening, or if he’s going to be alive once I reach him. I’m livid that he’s choking because he’s not supposed to be eating if he’s alone. I’m scared to death that he might be having a heart attack or something like that. I’m holding back tears because I think he’s probably going to be dead once I ever get through traffic and reach him. I mean, I was all over the place with my emotions, and my imagination was running wild with horrible possibilities of what could be happening.

When my brother and I were about halfway to the house, Matt called back. This time he could speak. I’ve never in my life gotten a phone call that brought me so much relief. I could finally breathe. My nerves settled just enough for me to stop shaking inside. Or at least I was a bit calmer until he told me what happened…

“Someone tried to break into the house!”

Matt had been in his game room, and he said he heard someone on the front porch, but initially assumed it was UPS or FedEx or someone like that. Then he heard the person walking around the front of the house (he mentioned something about them touching or messing with the window screens/storm windows) towards his game room. And then they turned the corner to the side of the house, and started messing with the window unit air conditioner that Matt still has in his game room. He said it sounded like they were actually trying to remove the air conditioner from the window.

I was in disbelief. It was broad daylight outside! I couldn’t believe someone could be so brazen as to be doing this in the middle of the day!

Matt naturally freaked out, and when he gets really and truly scared (which, thankfully, very rarely happens), he has a hard time breathing and speaking. So that explained the first phone call when I thought he was choking and dying.

When my brother and I finally arrived at the house, there were already two police SUVs there with four police officers. Somewhere along the way, after hearing what was going on, I had called back 911 to give them an update and tell them we didn’t need an ambulance, so there was no EMS there.

I knew that at this point, there was probably nothing that they could do since the person didn’t actually make it inside the house, and was probably long gone by then. But I still wanted them to get the story from Matt just in case there were other similar reports in the area. So two of them stayed inside with Matt, while I went with the other two to look around the outside of the house and check things out.

Just before we bought this house back in 2013, and while the house still sat empty (which it did for about four years before we bought it), someone tried to break into the back sliding glass door. He didn’t make it inside, but he did manage to break the glass, cut himself on the glass, and bleed on the door. The police actually took a blood sample and ran tests, and the DNA matched a known repeat offender (for burglary) in the city! So they were able to arrest him. But this time, it didn’t look like we were going to find anything like that.

So this went unresolved, which is pretty unnerving, and we still have no idea exactly what was going on. All we know is that it really scared both of us, and now I have home security on the mind. I know there are simple steps we can take, and then there are some drastic (and more expensive) steps we can take. I’m considering any and all right now, but here’s what I know for sure.

1. We’ll always have a big dog with a loud bark and a scary as heck growl.

Right now we have a big dog, Boo. He’s a 70-pound, solid black Australian shepherd/lab mix, and he’s very protective. I have no doubt that he’d attack anyone who posed a threat to either one of us, and he could do some serious damage if need be.

One day our neighbor’s very large male pit bull named Rufus got into Boo’s yard while I was gone, and he and Boo started fighting. When I got home, I tried to get Rufus out of Boo’s yard, but as soon as I opened the gate, they started going at each other again. Boo wrestled that pit bull to the ground, had him pinned on his back, with his jaws wrapped around Rufus’ neck. I couldn’t believe it. My money would have been on the pit bull, quite honestly, but evidently I have a very tough dog when he needs to be.

Unfortunately, on that particular day last month, I had left Boo outside in his yard when I left, so he wasn’t inside with Matt. Had he been inside, I think his loud and scary bark would have given any would-be burglar pause. I won’t make that mistake again. From now on, any time I leave, Boo will be inside with Matt.

But Boo is almost 15 years old. And as much as I hate to admit it, he probably won’t be around much longer. It might be time for us to look into getting another dog so that he can be trained and ready to take his place as on-call protector of our house.

2. I’ll be installing a solid glass storm door.

I’ve never really liked solid glass storm doors, but I’ve decided that that’s what I’ll be getting for my front door. And I think when the storm door color matches the front door color, they can look really pretty.

glass storm door via Worthing Courtvia Worthing Court

After my dad died in 2002, and my mom was alone in her home, she started getting these creepy phone calls from a man she didn’t know. He clearly knew that my dad had died (probably from reading local obituaries) and was just acting way too familiar for my mom’s comfort. He wasn’t exactly threatening her (although she did feel threatened) and he didn’t start stalking her or anything, but he was just creepy. And there was no reason for him to be calling her, but he did. So there was always that fear for her that this creep might just show up at her front door one day.

The police chief paid my mom a visit just to give her some pointers about home safety. At the time, she had a solid front door like I do, and that’s it. When she opened the front door, there was nothing else standing between her and the person at the door. He told her that she needed to get a tempered glass storm door installed immediately, because she should never answer the door and have nothing standing between her and whoever was at the door. And she should keep that storm door locked at all times.

So I’m going to take that advice as well. A tempered glass storm door will let light in, which I love. It will allow me to see who is at the door, while still offering a barrier between me and someone outside the door. I like that idea more now than ever.

3. I plan to arm myself.

I know this can be a controversial topic. Let’s please don’t let it be. Not here. I’m a law-abiding adult, and I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’ve decided that this is the decision that’s best for me. I’m a 43-year-old Texan who’s never fired a weapon in my entire life. But I want that to change very soon, because I not only want to be armed, but I want to be very well-educated.

My situation is very much the same as a single/divorced woman living on her own. I don’t have a big, strong man who can wrestle a burglar to the ground, or who can get up in the middle of the night to check out a noise in the house…or worse, in the back yard.

Anytime something like that needs to be done, it’s on me. If there’s a loud noise at night, I’m the one who has to get up and check it out. That’s scary, and I absolutely hate it. I hate that feeling of not knowing what I’m walking into, and feeling very unequipped to handle a threatening situation if one may arise.

So after doing some research and getting some local recommendations, I’ve decided to take to take a handgun class. There’s a local woman who comes highly recommended. She has a training school called A Ready Mind, and she’s been an instructor for 16 years, with a focus on teaching women specifically. I like the idea of being taught by a woman, in a class with women, dealing specifically with topics and training geared towards women. The man who recommended this woman’s class to me said that his wife has been shooting all of her adult life (hunting, target practice, sport shooting, etc.), and is very familiar with firearms, and even she learned a great deal from being in the class.

I want to be armed, but I want to be educated. And as Matt and I have no children in our home, I feel confident in this decision.

4. I want to light up our home and property!

A well-lit home and property is often enough to keep a potential burglar away. The front of our house is well-lit, but unfortunately the back of our house is not. We used to have working flood lights on our back porch, but for some reason, they stopped working. I think when we were doing some of the rewiring, the wires to those lights got unhooked somehow.

So at night, our huge, open back yard that has lots of trees is incredibly dark. Each night when I take Boo out before bed, I walk out there with a flashlight in hand. I hate not being able to get a full view of our back yard before opening the door and walking out there.

I want to remedy that very soon. Not only do I want tons of light — on the house, in the trees, along the fence line — but I want to be able to turn all of it on with the flip of a switch. My brother-in-law Bill even recommended having the switch (or one of the switches) for those lights inside our bedroom, or just outside the bedroom door in the hallway. That way if we hear strange noises in our back yard at night, I don’t actually have to go to the back door to flip the lights on. I can flip the lights on right from our bedroom or the hallway.

Of course, when we do our remodel and add the new bedroom, the switch (or one of them) will be in our bedroom with the French doors that lead out to the back yard. I mean, I want that back yard LIT UP like the surface of the sun. If someone’s back there doing something they shouldn’t be doing, I want to see them clearly with the flip of a switch.

5.  I might want a monitored home security system.

I keep seeing advertisements on Facebook and such for various home security systems that don’t require extensive wiring or anything like that. One is called Simplisafe, and evidently it’s a completely wireless system, and the installation is a simple DIY process (or so they say). Once installed, everything can be monitored from your phone. I think there’s another company called Livewatch that’s similar.

I’d love to know if you have any experience with either of these companies and their products, and if you recommend them! I think I definitely want to get some sort of system into place, especially for use when Matt is home by himself, and during the night, but I’m not sure if these wireless, DIY systems are all they’re advertised to be.


So in the four weeks since our break in scare, those are the plans I’ve come up with. I’d love to know what types of home security you have in place in your home. Or is it something that you really don’t ever think about?

I’m not one of those people who lives in fear, and I refuse to ever be that kind of person. In fact, I’m probably on the opposite end of that scale. I tend to take safety for granted, and kind of live with the idea that, “Oh, that’ll never happen to us.” That scare we had last month definitely made me realize that it could happen to us, and while I refuse to live a life full of fearfulness, I’ve realized that it’s probably time to take some practical steps towards a safer and more secure home.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. We have two security systems. A giant 110 pound Akita/White Shepherd who’s in the house with us and an electronic monitoring system. I wouldn’t have one without the other.

    1. I had a break in at my house 3 years ago. It had very negative consequences which I won’t go into here, but I got a Simpli Safe System to help me feel safe again. I love it, it has worked very well for me and I can recommend it for you too. I’m sorry you went through this it is very scary.

  2. I had a scare last week, someone pulled into our driveway in the middle of the night, when I opened the door (I will now be getting a storm door thanks for the tip) they pulled out and went to the neighbors and were there for a few minutes before leaving. There was nothing to call the troopers on, but I live at the very end of a dead end road, there is no reason for anyone to be back here in the middle of the night. My neighbor, who wasn’t home at the time, and I are beefing up security here as well. I want to get a gate for our driveway so it’s more work to haul anything off if they decide to break in and steal something.

  3. Wow. So sorry Kristi!!! A few years ago someone tried to pry our basement door open and failed. When we bought an alarm system for the house, the salesperson told us that most burglaries happen during the day, because that’s when people are usually gone. He said that just by having an alarm sign in your yard and stickers on your windows, you reduce that chance of burglary by 50% because the burglar will just move on to someone with no system. With Matt’s health issues, it’s a great idea to have a system since there are buttons that can be pressed for police, ambulance or fire in case you can’t speak. I know you’ll research the best option. 🙂

    1. Is that statistic still correct? I know TWO people who have had ADT stickers (and the system that goes with it) in their windows and still had their homes broken into. They didn’t have the system on. Burglar’s have wised up to those tricks, I think.

  4. Vivint monitored security was the way we went. They put everything in for you, their techs are very professional, and for full monitoring, in the state of Washington, only cost about $70 a month.
    Definitely do the other stuff, the tempered glass Storm door, the dog, the handgun, but I completely recommend Vivint.

    1. I second Vivint…wireless, not obnoxious/visible and several options to have varying levels of protection i.e. video doorbell, remote viewing/setting options, glass break alarms, etc.
      Reasonably priced and have been very happy with them…Have had another company as well in the past and much happier with Vivint.
      Peace of mind is worth it to me~sorry you had a scare!

  5. Full disclosure, my husband works for AT&T, but their Digital Life security system is amazing! It can be controlled by your smart phone which I think would be a great option for Matt. You can see what is happening on your cameras outside from your phone or the tablet they provide you. You can arm everything and even set off the emergency alarm if you need to from the tablet or your phone if you are at home or away. Might be worth looking into. We recently had it installed at our home and there are so many options including glass break sensors & water leak sensors. I was amazed at what was available.

    1. This the system we have for our home. The peace of mind is worth every penny we paid. I also have a concealed weapons permit and carry a ruger 45. So with all the problems in this world taking care of my own comes first.

  6. I don’t know if it’s the same in Texas, but in Florida and Tennessee, the power company will install yard security lights for a small fee each month, and they light up the areas pretty well. They are always on, though, and you have no control of them.

    I’m glad you and Matt are safe, and looking into more security.

    Linda G

  7. Oh, Kristi!!! How terrifiying! On Valentine’s Day we had a guy try to break into our house. He used the flower pot on the porch and broke the side light of our door. As it turns out, he was trying to get in to escape someone else, but that puts US (my husband and two kids under four) at RISK!Once he got our attention, we called the cops and luckily he backed down. If he hadn’t, he would have been in our house and who knows what would have happened. Our anxiety was not helped by the fact that the police took 20 minutes to arrive. They apologized and said it was due to a shift change, but we knew we never wanted to feel that way again. We have since installed a security storm door, and now we are armed. My dad is ex military, so I grew up with guns, and my husbands family lives in the boonies so they have protection not just from bad guys, but also wild animals. However, we never felt the need to have a gun because we live in a nice neighborhood, less than 2 miles from the police station. Never again! We are very careful to have multiple safe guards to keep our children safe (hand gun in a fingerprint safe, clip stored else where, safety on, ect..) but we both sleep better at night knowing we will not be victims. I agree guns are polarizing, but unless you have been in that situation you cannot possibly understand. I commend you for getting education and doing it responsibly.

  8. Oh, and I forgot to mention, that monitoring system includes medical. So if something happens with Matt, you have someone on the way to help

  9. Krissy, I live in the country with no one in shouting distance and it gets very dark here at night. I have a German Shepard that keeps strangers away, and sometimes is quite entertaining, at least from my side of the fence. 😉 She is 11 years old and last year we decided to get a puppy so our older dog could help train her, from potty training to what to do when protecting you and your home. Wow, how much easier it was to train! So my advice, if you are considering another dog, get on asap so your Boo can led the puppy and it will be ready to go much sooner! Hoping to see puppy pictures. 😄

    1. I’ve found too an older dog makes puppy training so much easier, I highly recommend. I’m also glad to hear you’ll be getting your CCW! You MUST be able to protect yourself. Your tips are great and we too have the same measures in place. By God’s grace not one incident yet, but I feel very safe in our home as ALL should.

  10. I am glad it was just a scare and Matt is ok. I have been a widow for over 16 years. One of the last things my husband did before he died was install the storm door. One of the first things I did after he died was install motion lights all around the house. I also have two dogs I affectionately call “the puppies from hell” – two brothers that are part schnauzer and part jack russell. Very loving dogs that are very protective and can be very nasty little creatures to strangers. I have never thought of a gun but I have never been in a “scared out of my mind” situation either. Everyone reacts to fear in different ways and everyone has the right to protect themselves as they see fit. I commend you for being proactive. Better to be proactive than be a sitting duck. It is a sad state of affairs when we have to be afraid in our own homes. I hope this was just a one time event.

  11. We have had ADT for years. There are a lot of additional things we have added in the last couple of years. 1. Check out Ring at Amazon.com. Ring is a doorbell with a camera built in. It connects to your phone. We get notifications when someone is approaching our house and we can communicate with whoever is at our door without answering it through our phone. We even checked on a crew doing landscaping work in our front yard through that door bell when we had to make an unexpected trip to Texas and we live in Nebraska. My husband actually bought another one and put our original one on our back door. Sam’s sells this kits with outdoor cameras. We didn’t buy ours there…my husband ordered them through Amazon called Arlo. I highly recommend both. He added cameras above our garage door pointed toward the front of the house and one above the deck on the back of the house. It is pointed toward the back side of our house where we have a sliding glass door and garage back door. The Ring doorbell would be great for both of you as you can answer the door without answering it. We love that doorbell! Hope that helps.

  12. That is really scary Kristi! There was a blogger recently who had her house severely vandalized- walls destroyed, water left running upstairs so it flooded downstairs, cat traumatized and let out, etc. Of course I can’t remember her name but I’m sure you can Google an article on it. Like her, you are a public persona and you really need to protect yourself and Matt. I’m not sure what it’s called, but you can set up your landscaping lights to a remote control- so you can have lights on any time you want, and not just set on timers. It actually saves money because you may not always want all zones on at all times. Or, when letting the dog out, you may want ALL zones on for those few minutes. Absolutely do whatever you need to do to keep you and your family safe!

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Bloggers show pictures of their house, talk about what town they live in, show the interiors and all the furnishings. Some even show pictures of their children and talk about their schools, activities, and on and on and on. Maybe I am being a little paranoid, but in the world we live in today, I don’t think I would be comfortable sharing all of that information. Glad this turned out to be okay and look forward to seeing how you install your new storm door as I need one too!

    1. Agree ! I just turned 56 last week and since 2007 have had my CHL in Texas (outside of Waco) and I too cant imagine not having it. I pack everywhere I go !

  13. We have security cameras around our house, inside and out. Very easy to set up and use. The drug dealer we had out front has since left and even the lady that used to allow her dog to poop in our yard and leave it has stopped. I feel much safer with them. We can view them anytime right from our phone, computer, tablet or laptop. One we have is called ESEE (amazon.com) AND THE OTHERS ARE DLINK (bestbuy.com). BOTH GREAT, BOTH HAVE NIGHT VISION. We also have motion sensored lights that come on that sense movement from 30 ft. We dont even get sales people or church people at our door anymore.

  14. Simplisafe is really great! We just installed it last month and it couldn’t have been easier. You can buy as many sensors (window/door open, glass break, smoke) and as many pads as you want and you install them with the included Command-type strips. The company’s monitoring is very affordable and you can have the local emergency services looped into the alerts for about $25/month total. Since you instal it yourself, there’s no installation fee and no strangers in your home. You can also get a panic button on a key fob and the system can be operated from a smartphone, tablet or computer, if you so choose.

  15. I’m sorry this happened but glad nothing bad resulted. Why not make the back yard lights motion sensitive? That’s what I have on the flood lights in the front and back of my house. No sneaking up!

  16. My husband and I both have our concealed carry permits, and he carries at all times, even at work (his boss actually asks him to wear it). Unfortunately, my work prohibits me from bringing a weapon on the premises, so I do not carry all the time, and it scares me that I cannot protect myself to and from work, especially since my child is with me most of the times I am in the car. At home, we have an alarm system, and we have several guns in our house. We are not fearful that she or any other child will get to the guns because we have a biometric gun safe that can only be opened only by my husband’s or my fingerprints. It’s very quick, it opens in about 2 seconds when you place your finger on top, and you don’t have to worry about fumbling with a combination when you’re scared. I highly recommend that type of gun safe.
    My employer once brought in a personal safety expert, and he said that even just having the alarm signs posted in your front yard will deter a burglar. We do have an actual alarm system, but we also have those signs posted as well. I would consider getting a couple of those signs even before you get an actual alarm, just so in the meantime, there will be a visual deterrent.

  17. Hi Kristi,
    That is a scary experience! With regard to flood lights in back yard, you might also want to consider some motion detection lights around the house. Close-up so if someone or something gets too close the whole side of the house lights up. We had that and it worked well. It was only occasionally that an animal tripped it. Maybe they can aim them away from ground level so small animals don’t trigger them. We also had a dummy security system box on the outside of the house. Quite high up and not big, I think it may have been a deterrent too as several houses got broken into in our neighborhood but not ours.
    Definitely would get another dog, so Boo can teach him 😊
    Good luck in the weapons’ instruction class too!

  18. Many years ago, I was nearly attacked by a man outside my bedroom window. I had outside lighting that was also placed on motion sensor as well as an indoor switch. No one wants to hang around after triggering a light!

  19. Since you live in Texas (as do I), I’d recommend you check out Smith Thompson security. They’re great, relatively inexpensive, and a really good option for home monitoring. No association with them in anyway, just a happy customer.

  20. We have an electronic security system, my husband has a variety of handguns and rifles (which I need to learn how to handle), and a dog who has never met a stranger and will lick one to death.

  21. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I did consider the SimpliSafe for myself, but after reading many reviews decided to keep looking. I also use Mr Beam motion activated spot lights in the far end of the yard (where the spotlights don’t quite reach). And I have multiple barking dogs plus the solid storm door (which I love). I’m sure you’ll find the best system for you and Matt and I’ll be watching for your decision. Best wishes !

  22. Kristi – how awful. I don’t know your landscape situation very well, but also think about trimming back trees, bushes, foliage, etc. that could provide coverage to someone trying to break in. And maybe get TWO big dogs! one inside, one outside. God bless you.

  23. Kristi,
    I’m so sorry for the scare! That must have been frightening for both you and Matt. My best friend’s home has an expensive monitoring system and her daughter has Simpli Safe. She feels her daughter’s house is as well protected as her own but it cost so much less. I’m glad you’re putting other things in place while you’re deciding on a security system.

  24. It may be worth looking into Ring as well. When someone rings your doorbell you can answer by phone (there is a camera to allow you to see outside) whether you are there or not. I believe in this instance Matt may have been able to activate the camera when he heard the noise on the porch (even if they did not actually ring the doorbell)

    There is also just regular cameras that are a part of the NEST system that can be indoors/outdoors – I use an indoor one (about $100 and it has two-way speaking) to check-up on my dogs when I am gone for an extended time.

  25. Hi Kristi; Another blogger that I follow just wrote about a home alarm system called GETSafe. It sounds very good and you are able to install it yourself. She also has a promo code so that you can get a free camera as well. It might be something you want to look at. her blog is http://www.missmustardseed.com

  26. Kristi – I was in the home security for 35 years in which time I worked for 3 other companies , so I feel confident giving you advice on alarm systems. Don’t buy a boxed system. You’ll be buying devices you can’t use. If you have problems you have no one to service it. Look for a independent dealer not tied to the major companies. The major companies will give you a low install price with a long contract & rising costs. 1st get the a/c out of the window. As you now know someone thought it was an easy access point. You can not use motion detectors because someone is always home. Get one that you can get your doors hard wired & the Windows wireless. Install a glass break detector in the music room for your glass doors . That would protect if someone was to throw something through it. This should be wireless also so you can move it lasted to your family room. The reason I’m saying to hardware the door is that the contact is hidden in the door jam instead of seeing the transmitter on the door. They should never be painted. Get wireless keyfobs. Get one that has a panic & a medical alert & leave it with Matt. Get a smoke alarm too. Most homeowners insurance will give you a discount for having a monitored alarm with smoke. The faster response the less damage. 2nd – go to Sams Club & buy a camera system . You could set it up to see Matt if you’re not home on your phone or your front door. Matt could look from his computer. If you have any questions that I could help you with send me a message.

    1. You mentioned getting a new dog since your is 15. Wonderful ! Just something to think about. A puppy may be hard for your old dog to take. Maybe look into not a puppy dog that could be trained as a service dog for Matt. One that you can leave in the house with Matt when you”re gone.

      Just to let you know that statistically more break ins happen in the day time when they think you’re at work. They probably thought no one was home with your car being gone. The number one break in point is the front door. They come up & ring the bell and if no one answers break it in. Of course each one is different. I’ve heard so many different stories from customers I could write a book.

  27. Holy Cow! That was so scary to read…when you are done DIY’ing, you need to take up writing mystery novels…I was sitting on pins and needles waiting for the outcome…Thankful Matt is ok. Thankful you are ok as well. Thankful for so many things. Can I say thankful? Take care Kristi. All good ideas here. So far we have not had anything like this…hope that it continues. But, we do have a sticker from the local police dept saying they are ‘On watch’ in this neighborhood. You might consider asking them for a sign that says your on their “watch” list and post it like we have done.

  28. We bought the Simplisafe after talking to our local sheriff. He said he had heard good reviews about it. We paid $200 for one central alarm, three window alarms and two door alarms. The alarm is really loud ( to loud) but it will scare anyone. You can also pay about $15 month to be connected to fire and police. Hope this helps.

  29. Kristi- that is so scary! Thank goodness Matt is OK. I have 2 reccomendations that I have at my house and so I am very confident that they work well. First, get a Simpli Safe security system. they are great and are very easy to personalize for your exact needs and are able to be monitored by the company and by you with your phone at all times. Pet friendly too! Second, get motion detector floodlights all around your house, no need to have to go and switch a light on that way. These are both terrific for peace of mind, too. You can also have panic buttons where ever you want them. The whole system goes up with command stickers, so if you want to reconfigure, it’s easy. Best of luck and stay safe!

  30. We have also had a few scares in the 15 years we have lived in our house. The first time I went out and got an English Mastiff/ Great Dane mix. He would jump up and look out the glass window that was in the front door. It scared lots of people to have 175lb dog look them straight in the face.
    We have always been armed. I’m not a gun person but, I’m more scared of the person getting in my house then the shot gun. The third time we purchased an alarm. It’s monitored and I feel so much more secure. I don’t have to worry if I’m going to wake up before someone gets in. It has been worth every penny we have spent.

  31. Hi Kristi. I am so sorry about this whole situation for you both. I agree with every single word including the gun. And yes on the safety training as well. I do have o e thing to add for everyone;
    Replace every single screw in your door hinges with a minimum of a 4 -5 inch screw. Google this and learn just how much protection just in the different screws makes.
    Screw your windows shut where possible. Leave one “unscrewed” in every room for emergency escape if need be.
    I have a gun in every room and in a strategic place. And learn how to use it everyone!
    Also a wrought iron, decorative screen door with a dead bolt lock. I have both and ain’t nothin getting through that!!!

  32. I’m wondering if your household insurance would cancel you since you blog the contents of your house worldwide? Very vulnerable. Everyone knows Matt’s game room. Hit that room alone and get gaming equipment which is very much in demand. Everything you show is homemade but still–everyone knows your husband is vulnerably handicapped. It is a dilemma and puts him at risk. Worrisome……………………….. New sewing machine, countless tools……………..worrisome……….

    1. I seriously doubt that. While not everyone is a blogger, most people share quite a bit of their lives online these days. Heck, loads of non-blogging Instagrammers share way more of their lives than I do.
      That’s a slippery slope for any insurance company that wants to go down that road.

      1. I simply don’t know. It’s a different world now. Growing up in rural Missouri our doors didn’t have locks. From there to now is such a shock. Technology has changed things we aren’t even able to imagine.

        1. A thief who is an Addicted to Decorating fan? I cannot even imagine it. And if those people exist, well beware because Kristi is armed so Bug Off!

    2. While it’s possible someone could monitor blogs online, for most would-be thiefs it’s pretty unlikely. More sophisticated crooks *might* monitor FB to see who is posting vacation photos, therefore indicating an empty house, but most break ins are crimes of opportunity. It would be a lot of effort for a thief to search the Internet for local bloggers to learn and then locate their homes. The effort is more work than the potential payoff. Just about all houses have electronics or other things of value, and a thief could simply monitor the house for a bit or ring the doorbell pretending to be a delivery person to find out if anyone’s home.

  33. Nothing scarier then feeling like your home safety has been violated. That’s interesting you mention the glass storm door. This is the first house I didn’t have one. I’ve been wanting a glass one. Our old house had a security door… Ugly as heck but cat damage proof and secure😀. Now we live in HOA dictated vanity land. So everything has to be approved, painted to match, etc. We live in a *nice* neighborhood so it definitely has a false sense of security. We have a lot of package theft which is getting worse every year as we approach the holidays. Having grown up where you didn’t even have to lock the back door to having to current conditions is just sobering. 😑

  34. I’m so sorry you had to go through this! I don’t know if this makes you feel any better, but I think it’s quite likely your house was a target in broad daylight because someone knew of your step father’s death. It’s possible they assumed you’d be gone with family and therefore your house would be unoccupied. It’s horrible to think there are people like this, but in my small, safe little town a man was killed in a car accident (which of course made the news) and his house was robbed while the family was at the funeral, even with a drive by police presence. I guess I bring this up just to say that a middle of the day robbery is probably not something you are normally a risk for, it may just have been the circumstances that day. At any rate, kudos to you for taking steps to be safe.

    1. I don’t feel sad about that one single bit. If someone breaks into my house with a mind to harm me or my husband, they deserve what’s coming to them. I wouldn’t cry a single tear about it. I have a right to self-defense.

      1. ABSOLUTELY! In response to Donna, yes, it is sad that you, the victim, have to spend your money purchasing a firearm and learning how to use it, but I think that once you get comfortable with your Second Amendment rights, you wont have it any other way! I felt the same way you did at one time. A little nervous about my first firearm. Not any more. What makes me nervous is the thought of not having a firearm.

      2. I don’t know anything about Texas law. Montana has something called the “Castle Doctrine”, which essentially means a man’s (or woman’s) home is his/her castle, and he/she has a right to defend it. But it’s touchy. You can shoot an intruder, but if they’re already fleeing, you’d better hold your fire. We had two situations recently – one where a homeowner had had kids rummaging around in his garage, and on another night, the homeowner and his wife ‘baited’ the garage, left the door halfway down, and waited for someone to intrude. Two kids (exchange students, as it turned out), went in, hoping to find beer in the garage fridge, and the homeowner stood outside and shot into the dark garage, killing one boy. He was prosecuted and is now in prison. He had bragged that he would kill or hurt someone and did. The Castle Doctrine didn’t hold up, in part, because he didn’t have a clear view of what he was shooting at – he just banged away at random. A responsible gun owner and defender of property needs to be calm and have a clear line of sight before shooting. The other situation was an older man who arrived home mid-burglary and shot at the burglar as he was trying to get out of the house. The man’s story wasn’t 100% – it shifted a bit from the beginning to the end. He, too was prosecuted, but it ended in a hung jury, and the county prosecutor elected not to re-try the case. In any case, I’d be sure that the Castle Doctrine is alive and well in Texas, and be sure that your instructor discusses it. So sorry you folks are dealing with this stuff, but I applaud your intent to keep your home and family safe.

        1. I’m sure they’ll go over all of that thoroughly in the class, but my understanding is that you can only shoot of you personally feel threatened, or if your family member is being actively threatened, meaning that the person is actually approaching either you or your family member. If they are trying to escape through a window or a door (and as long as they don’t have your child in tow while doing so), shooting them is a crime, and killing them is murder, and you can’t chase them down the street shooting like some sort of vigilante.

      3. Dunno which way Donna meant it, but I took her comment as more sad that that’s the world we live in, not sad that a would-be robber might get shot.

        1. I’m thinking that’s not what Donna meant but she can chime in if she’d like to. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the response to Kristi’s blog has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. I never felt the need to own a gun, but my daughter in the country (in Texas) has one. The NRA has excellent classes for gun owners but this instructor near Kristi sounds ideal.

  35. Oh dear Kristi, I am so glad Matt is OK. My husband is also disabled on oxygen. I have a sad story; When I was 6, my 8 year old sister was dragged in the woods and raped, it was horrible. the rapist then dragged her to his truck and would have probably killed her, but our dog, just a puppy at the time, somehow heard her and escaped from his yard and ran and bit him in the leg, allowing just enough time for my naked and bleeding sister to escape. Yes this is a horrible story, lots of lessons learned, for me one lesson was to always keep a big dog around. Years later while living in an apartment in NYC, I had a large German Shepard, my apartment was about the only one not broken into. Even my neighbors would ask to borrow my dog if they had to walk to the store after dark.
    On another point. I carry a gun. I first took a handgun safety and marksmanship class (with my sibling). I later, when I moved to NH, took a hunting safety class and even the class to teach hunting safety. So I keep a gun with me as well as a shot gun ready to help. We live the forest and so there are not only human predators, but four legged ones as well. We have a border collie mix along with a very large golden retriever. The Border collie will not let any man near me that she doesn’t know.

    1. Oh, what a horrible story about your sister!!! It’s hard to believe there are people in this world who will harm a child like that.

  36. My brother had myotonic muscular dystrophy and was often home alone. He wore a bracelet from which he could easily call for help. In addition to security systems and lighting, I would strongly consider getting a bracelet (or necklace, etc.) for Matt. The bracelet helped put our minds at ease knowing that if my brother needed immediate care, he had it with him at all times.

  37. My father had switches next to the bed that would turn on all the outside lights. I did the same in my house. It was a wonderful feeling to know that if I or the dog heard something, I could immediately light up my world.

  38. Kristi, I’m so glad that Matt is safe! In April my neighbor walked out at 6 am to get the newspaper and greeted three unknown men walking from the cul de sac. He said “Good morning” (this is the South LOL) and one of the men said something about looking for an apartment (this is a single family home neighborhood with one to four acre yards and 3000 plus square foot homes so that was a bogus statement.) My neighbor walked back into his house, locked the door behind him and got his hand gun. Within seconds the men were at his front door simultaneously trying the knob, ringing the bell and banging/kicking on it. He positioned himself so that he would be shielded by the door if it opened while his wife called 911 from the laundry room. They managed to open the door, he saw an arm extended holding a handgun and he shot at the arm. The three men ran off and jumped into a vehicle. Another neighbor saw them leave. They have not been found, arrested, nothing to this day.

    I just offer this as a cautionary story because there is apparently nothing that the bad guys will not do and no time of day they will not do it. I love your plan and will consider all your points for my home.

  39. Wow, scary stuff Kristi. Another idea may be to take a basic self defense course. Could come in handy if you happen to wake up and find someone in the house, in your bedroom etc. and the gun is out of reach. My husband holds 2nd degree black belt in Kung Fu and has given classes on self defense to women and kids. His son is black belt as well which came in handy one morning when his stepdaughter was attacked while delivering papers. He had taught her some basic moves and she managed to break away and run, could have been a bad situation as it was dark out, just before daybreak. Is good to know how to break a hold, buying you those seconds needed to run for help. Another one that works well if you are out of the home and someone grabs you, is to jam the side of your shoe down his shin. Works really well especially if your shoes have hard soles. Again this will inflict a fair amount of pain and may give you a chance to run for it and yell for help. My hubby had me put him in a choke hold one time to show that it is very easy to break if someone has their arm wrapped around your neck. He had me grab his neck really tight and next thing I knew I felt my back crack and I was facing the opposite direction. No idea what he had done but certainly worked like a darn. He’s not a big guy, 5’6″ but very handy to have around “just in case” lol! I too should have him show me a lot more to feel confident if I ever needed to defend myself. Things for the most part are very peaceful here in southern BC Canada, but better safe than sorry.

    But good article Kristi, will make everyone aware of things you should do to make your home more “break in proof.” Thanks for bring this to our attention. Also love your blog, I am nowhere near as handy as you are with your renos, but always on the lookout for old furniture etc. I can upcycle into something cool. Gotta love Pinterest! Right now I’m on the lookout for a funky old dresser I can turn into a kitchen island or TV stand. Love going to yard sales in ritzy areas of town as you can usually find really good stuff pretty cheap. Keep up your good work on your house Kristi, I have certainly been in your shoes with trying things in a room, new paint, etc. that didn’t work like I thought it would and had to go back to the proverbial drawing board lol. Right now I’m into colors like deep ocean, dark teal, sea greens, sapphires, etc. Love them, and they look great with “French vanilla” and coral or salmon colors. Just have to figure out how to use them in our new older house we just bought. Going to be a lot of fun!

  40. Oh my Kristi….you two be careful!! I called the police a couple of weeks ago on two young men who were not related to our neighborhood. Fortunately for us, our neighbor across the street watches our home carefully. She is as good as a security system :^)
    We are both armed, so if anyone decides to intrude, they will get two for the price of one!!!!
    PS: this is the first time in months that I have been able to comment. I have no idea what the problem is, but when I try to comment the screen locks up, and that’s all she wrote! I have been loving your dining room exploits(it is GORGEOUS), and your (last???) post about the purpose of your blog, was spot on and I admire you GREATLY for writing that commentary!!!

  41. Horrifying what you went through! DON’T PROCRASTINATE with your security upgrades, especially those that can be done relatively quickly, such as the tempered glass storm door! And have you considered buying security film for your windows?

    Personally, because I am a fresh air freak, I went with a STEEL mesh/barred security screen door instead for over my wooden front and back doors. I NEED the air flow! Admittedly it’s not as pretty as that picture of the glass storm door, but it lets in air and is easy to talk through. During the day when the indoors is darker than the outdoors, you can see whomever is standing there but they can’t really see you, which I like.

    I heard somewhere that in addition to a large killer type dog you also have one of those small yappy-dogs that make a lot of noise and can nip at ankles. I’m a cat lady myself but since you are a dog-lover you might consider that….a replacement puppy for Boo to train and a yappy-dog.

    I guess you aren’t considering burglar bars. If you can stand them, you could at least get them on the sides where they don’t show from the street and maybe, as I did, place tall trellises in front to block the view. Far enough away from openable burglar bar windows that you could get out in a fire.

    Also I heard/saw an interview with a female police captain. If someone knocks on your door, make a point of at least responding, because sometimes the dirt bags will knock and if no one answers they assume no one is home and break in. And if you ARE at home but ignored the knock, you are alone with an intruder in your house. UGH!

  42. How scary for you and Matt! One affordable option that we are considering is a Ring video doorbell. They have a good demo video on their website (www.ring.com). They contain a video camera and microphone and connect with your smartphone. They have a motion sensor so when someone walks up to your door, the video is activated and recording, even before someone rings the bell. You can speak to anyone at the door through your phone without opening the door regardless of where you are (at home or not.)

    Right now our Costco is selling just the doorbell for $200, but you can also add additional cameras and accessories through their website. We were looking at them at Costco last weekend and a couple came up and told us they had bought one and love it. They pulled out their phones and showed us how simple it is to use, and could show us the videos that had recorded anytime someone had come to their door. As a stay-home-home mom with a toddler, I like the idea of being able to speak to anyone at my door without opening it, and being able to record them even if they don’t ring the bell. I would imagine it would also be nice for Matt to be able to speak with anyone who might come to the door and let them know that he knows they are there without having to physically go to the door.

  43. Very scary, Kristi! We live right outside of the city limits and light our house up every night with regular floodlights, plus some motion detector ones. However, right after we moved in, it kind of made me nervous when the motion detector light on the back of our house kept coming on every night, until we caught a raccoon trying to get at the bird feeder. lol I have lights on the interior that stay on 24/7 too. Glad Matt was ok! Thank you for including a photo of the front door on our previous home! I loved being able to lock it during the day and open our solid door to allow light to flood into the foyer.

  44. I am a mature female and live alone. My house (I no longer live in that city) was located next to conservation land with the back of the house not visible to neighbours and windows easy to break into. There were three break-ins with cameras, electronics and jewelry stolen. A footprint suggested the thief was a youth, probably wanting goods to fence for drug money. After the second break-in premiums increased and the insurance company required that I have a costly monitored security system. After that there was another break-in and although police responded these thieves know the time frame they have to grab and run. No one was ever apprehended. Although the break-ins left me shaken and I had to deal with the cost of the deductible, paperwork, replacing items and broken windows I never felt my life was in jeopardy. I would never consider owning or shooting a gun to kill and if you are going to hold a gun be prepared to kill. It could be your neighbour’s son.

  45. Glad everything turned out OK. I am a huge proponent of exterior “hurricane shutters”. When closed completely NOTHING can get through them. Most vendors have a display, complete with crowbar, for potential clients to attempt to open / break into. Any “security system” will NOT prevent entry by unauthorized persons. Hurricane shutters keep your home totally secure…without any further cost. I’m sure you can find a dealer in Houston. Please consider this option. (No, I have no connection to dealers or manufacturers. I had the shutters when living in Phoenix and loved them.)

  46. So glad everything turned out okay, your plans are very well thought out. I do recommend finding a gun range that lets you try different hand guns, to get a feel for what you are comfortable with. The range near me, has a “rental” program, for one fee I can try out as many guns as I can purchase ammunition for (even a few at a time). 🙂 However, trying different guns helped me realize I don’t like automatic handguns, but preferred a revolver. Maybe not as many shots, but much more comfortable for me to shoot. And with practice, I’m getting faster at reloads.

    Also, in your search for a storm door, look for one with extra locking points. We saw one similar to this at the local big box store… http://www.homedepot.com/p/Andersen-36-in-x-80-in-4000-Series-Bronze-Full-View-Laminated-Safety-Glass-Storm-Door-HD4LEL36BZ/205424483 and my new front door will also have at least three locking points.

  47. Not sure where all of you folks live, but those of you who have experienced this type of problem should certainly have an alarm system. Kristi, are you in a dangerous area? Is Waco unsafe? You house is only one story so it should not be difficult to arm it. YOU SHOULD HAVE KEYED DEADBOLTS on any door that leads to the outside. You should also have flood lights that are motion sensored. You can buy them at places like HD and since you house is one story, they should be easy to install. We have them on both sides of our home and multiple sets across the back. We also have a wireless alarm system that we brought from our other home. We had to increase it’s size for the new house. We have all first floor windows and doors armed. We have two motion detectors in the house that are set at night and we had a glass breaking sensor in case someone tries to break in the French doors from the side porch. There is a keyed deadbolt on our front door, back door, cellar door in the foyer, and cellar door in the garage. The police department told us, years ago, that keyed deadbolts are the best deterent after an alarm system and lighting. I don’t believe in guns. That is a personal choice. Loads of people have them. Not us. I have lived in my home for 27 years and have never felt unsafe. There has been a lot of time when I was here alone with children, and then by myself. I was a scaredy cat when I was younger, but I went into therapy around 40 and discovered it was all due to my mother. She too was like that. Always checking the windows and doors, propping chairs up against the doors, it was no wonder I lived in fear all those years. Now I am fine being alone, although now I am not now that my husband is back and working from home. I have a quick question. I noticed your blog has been more about talking about things. Are you on hiatus from DIY? Will you be picking it back up anytime soon? I an anxious to see you finish your dinning room.

    1. Mary Anne, have you not seen Kristi’s killer one woman wing chairs? I’d be working on that baby for a month and it still would not be habitable . IT’s amazing.

  48. Hi Kristi,

    I moved to a new area last year and unbeknownst to me I rented a former drug house. Fortunately, I bought a home within a few months but those few months were tense. I immediately bought the SimplySafe system and installed it, Easy Peasy. It works like a charm. When I moved it came with me and the transfer of service was also easy. The system is reliable and well worth it.

    I have a large dog and lighted front and back yards. I keep the outside lights on all night because my property is secluded from the street with lots of trees. I am also a handgun owner.

    Training is the most important element to owning a handgun. I have attended a number of 3 day classes at a firearms training facility and am so grateful I did. I don’t shoot for sport and hope to never have to use my gun for self defense, however I am confident in my ability to protect myself if needed.

    Thank you for the information about the storm doors. Another good tip I read about is changing out the exterior door hinge screws to extra long reinforced screws to help prevent kick ins.

    I hope this was helpful.

  49. We had a home invasion a few years back at 4:30 am. I had just gotten up to get ready for work….. Not pretty. We now have a security system and the motion detector lights for the backyard. And – we are in a townhouse. And I’m armed, too. NEVER going through that again.

    Needless to say it was a horrible experience.

    Kristie – do ALL of things you talked about. Your safety comes first.

  50. I think if you get a puppy for Boo to train, you should get a dog from the pound! Isnt Boo a rescue dog?

    1. Well, not really. When Matt and I lived in Corvallis, Oregon, one day Boo and his brother Bailey showed up on our front porch playing with each other. I went out and got them, and put them in the back yard to be safe. Then we went around and asked neighbors if they were missing two dogs.

      We found their owners down the street, but almost every day after that, they would escape and come to our house. Finally the owners said they couldn’t handle both of them, and asked if we wanted one of them. That’s how we got Boo, and he’s been with us ever since! 🙂

  51. Girl, so glad everything is ok! We were at my dad’s house a few years ago (which is a super nice neighborhood) and our car was broken into and my husband’s gun was stolen. It was quite an unsettling feeling having someone violate our security – and that was just our car and in a nice neighborhood!

    Agree about always being in reach of a gun at your house. We’re out in the country back in the woods so it’s a necessity for us – mainly for snakes and armadillos. If someone waltzes up onto our property they’re not here for anything good especially since they would have to get around a LOCKED gate and a very foreboding “no trespassing” sign that gives a ton of legal jargon.

    To get my license to conceal carry I had to take a gun class. I took one with real life training and it was great. He set up situations that were closer to real life (like a moving target, shooting without taking time to aim, etc). Highly recommend everyone to take that type of training, not just “ok take one shot at this easy target” type thing. Sounds like you’ll be taking a great class!

  52. Hi Kristi – we live in Amarillo TX and installed Simplisafe a couple months ago. Easy DIY thing to do and could not be happier with it. We also installed lights in our soffit around the entire house. They are on a simple timer – they go on at 5AM for a couple hours and then again at 8PM until midnight. Both of us are concealed carriers. We have a dog too, but she’s not even close to a guard dog. 😉 Simplisafe was a Sunday afternoon thing – very easy.

  53. I am glad that you have taken steps to ensure the safety of you and your husband. I think you are doing it right, and you absolutely need to learn to use a gun if you are going to own one. The world is insane now, and we have to take care of ourselves.

  54. Yikes!
    When I was 18, our house (my parent’s house, technically) got robbed while we all weren’t home. We lived in a quiet neighborhood where the houses are only about 25 feet apart, so we used to leave our windows open. The robbers came in through my bedroom window…

    Turned out to be some neighborhood kids- they stole all my dad’s hunting rifles, some change, a 30-pack of beer, and boxes of fruit snacks (priorities, amiright?) The cops were on it quickly because of the guns, which were found a couple hours later in the woods behind our house.

    Even though it was only a couple kids, having someone break in can totally mess up your feeling of security. We were all on edge for a while after that, and never leave windows open or doors unlocked anymore. Sounds like all the measures you are taking area a good idea!

    Oh and by the way, the robbery happened with our dog in the house. Damn yellow labs are too friendly! They probably shared a fruit snack with her 😉

  55. I’m so horrified for you and Matt! As a woman and someone with MS, I can think of little else more terrifying than your experience and I’m so relieved you’re okay!

    On the pistol, I have a 9mm, but if I had it to do over I’d get a .38 LadySmith just because my SA intimidates me.

    I know you don’t want to live in fear and sister I hear you loud and clear, I refuse to cower my life away. However. 🙂 Maybe a good strong security door on your bedroom to create a safe room for you and Matt (and Boo) should the worst case scenario occur, should be a consideration. The old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure comes to mind.

    Please stay safe, though we don’t know each other, you’re still in my favorite 100 people on the planet and I’d like to keep you (and Matt) there.

  56. Such a scary story Kristi! Have you thought about a service dog that can both help and protect Matt?

    1. No, we’ve never considered a service dog. I don’t know that we need one at this point, especially since I’m almost always home with Matt. I’m his service dog. 😀

  57. I have a doormat that says “The neighbors have better stuff”. So far I haven’t been robbed. So it must be working. 😉
    Happy you & Matt are safe.

  58. Things like this can be very scary. All your plans including arming yourself are smart. Not only would you have to protect yourself but also Matt. Probably a good idea to get another dog, your dog can show him the ropes! As my dogs age I usually get a puppy, I want them to learn from their older siblings and I’ve never regretted it. I would also make sure tree limbs are cut to the height of an average man, that way there are fewer shadows and hiding places. We have sensor lights and flood lights and placing them is very important, shadowy places are creepy! We recently hired an alarm company, best decision we’ve made in years! My husband works nights and for $45 a month I sleep so much better. We also bought this little sensor, has adhesive on the back and is battery operated so you can put it anywhere, ours is on our driveway. If anyone walks or pulls into our driveway a chime goes off in the house it comes with a little reciever. It was under $20 at harbor freight.

  59. Definitely have some motion lights near every exterior entry. You can get the LED ones which use less power and last far longer. You also should consider the “dark sky” initiative for directing light to ground and and not into sky. Our porch light is just as bright, if not brighter and LED with no replaceable bulb than the old fixture it replaced. Another bonus is LED doesn’t attract bugs.

    The previous house in Bell county had motion lights in the back yard and showed the range of wild critters in the neighborhood. I suspect it discouraged the roaming humans from our yard.

    Make sure your locks on doors match the type of doors- keyed bolts for French doors, not swivel bolts to prevent smash and open.

    Landscaping is not hiding windows.

    Random tv/radio/lights in day and night. You can find digital timers with random settings to help.

    Mixing up your window treatments from the routine open day/closed night is good too.

    We’ve been considering diy cameras near entrances. Cameras do not have to be huge industrial things and a dedicated computer/ whatever to watch wouldn’t hurt. We currently do not have medical issues, etc, so monitored in suburbia can be a hassle for us.

    An older friend had a law enforcement consultant look over her property after her house was burgled while she and adult son slept. Storm doors, entry doors, locks, lighting, landscaping were all things she did and was then shocked when insurance offered back some nice rebates for her security steps taken.

    We do have an interesting number of doorbell ringers here who seem surprised someone is home in daytime. Some are legit, some are seeking opportunities.

    Sounds like Boo can help his assistant dog.

  60. Hey Kristi! I’m so glad you and Matt are safe! I had a break-in at my home several years ago while I was at work. My dog was terrified. The two perps went right past her. It seems she only protected me, not the house, as she’d go crazy barking and snarling if I was home! ( I found this out from the meter reader who had a key to the house, he could always tell if I was home.) Since then, I’ve had a security system. Be sure you get one connected to a cell phone, not a land-line.

    At the time, I wasn’t afraid, nor did I feel violated by those two morons, even though I’m a single lady and they went through my dresser drawers etc. I was mad they took my mother’s wedding ring and my good pillow case! But I knew I could look myself in the mirror and know I am a honest person and they aren’t. I’m still not afraid, but I believe in being prepared. I will be getting a handgun and taking classes to learn to use it properly. I’m not the spring chicken I was then, and my neighborhood isn’t as safe as it was 17 years ago when I moved here. I’m scared to death of guns, so I sure wish there was a class like yours here in Ohio.

    Here’s another thing for anyone who is buying a home. My realtor would not even show me a house without an attached garage. She insisted that a woman who often came home from work in the dark was vulnerable walking from her car to the door. I feel a lot safer pulling into the garage and closing the door before I exit my car. I know I’ve rambled here a bit, just wanted to share my experience.

    Oh, and although I love your DIY projects, I’m totally ok with you going a bit off topic now and again. This blog will probably get people thinking about their own home security and that is a good thing!

    1. Hey Mary, there are tons of classes in every State. You will be amazed at the number of classes that are offered “just for women” and it’s a great place to meet lady friends with whom you can go to the range. A handgun is a tool, which when used correctly can save your life.


  61. We really love Simplisafe. The response time is great. It was super easy to install and you can add as many sensors as you need. The monthly monitoring is really inexpensive too. Separately, we also had cameras installed on the exterior of our house, so we can check to see what’s going on when we are away. I think they are a great deterrent, especially for package thieves. I’m sure you could install cameras yourself. The only tricky part is figuring out how to disguise the wiring.

  62. It’s terrible to have been so scared, but the good thing is now you are more aware of what you need to do. I’m 73, live in a very rural area with no neighbors, but you can believe me would shoot anyone trying to get in my house. I applaud your ideas to make you and Matt more secure. Go for it. You and Matt, law-abiding citizens, deserve to have your home safe. The scumbags…not so much. There are signs that say “I am protected by Smith & Wesson” get one! I have a Lady Smith and it is made for women, excellent gun.

  63. Not going to advise you against a weapon as you’ve already decided but if you truly want a weapon to protect your home a handgun is not what you need. What you need is a shotgun. It is easy to miss with a handgun and hard to miss with a shotgun. Also the sound of someone racking a shotgun is unmistakable and anyone who proceeded after hearing that (combined with a large dog growling) would be suicidal.

    1. That’s actually the exact same thing my brother-in-law Bill said. He said that sound is unmistakable, and would probably scare off any would-be burglar (or worse) who was attempting to get into our house. Perhaps I’ll get both. I do want a handgun for concealed carry, but a shotgun at my bedside might be a good idea as well.

      1. I’m sitting here reading this post with a pounding heart. OMG, poor Matt! Poor YOU, racing home thinking the worst! Thank goodness everything turned out OK! It’s a great idea to ramp up the security, and I’m glad you’re going forward with that.

        Funny about the sound of a shotgun being racked — every one of us reading this comment can immediately hear it in their head! I’m all for responsible handgun ownership, good for you that you live in Texas and can get a concealed carry permit. I’m in California (L.A.), we cannot get CC permits here.

        I live alone in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood and though they scare me a lot even with my past experience handling guns, I’ve really been wanting to get a handgun, and a shotgun (sawed-off preferred, but I’m sure those are illegal). My thoughts are I’d rather have it and never need it than need it and not have it. I would never ever EVER want to be put in the position to have to shoot someone or heaven forbid, take a life, but with the way the world is now and especially with what seems to be escalating violence against women, I’d be inclined to shoot to defend myself first and cry about it later. Of course — safety first — take as much gun training as you possibly can, get proficient with all safety aspects, handling, loading, unloading, and cleaning your weapons. ALSO, know the laws on gun ownership and what is considered justifiable protection. Even if someone breaks into your home, there are instances where shooting them is not considering lawful.

        Good luck with the security upgrades, and please keep us posted on them and on what you do about arming yourself.

  64. Excellent plans there, Kristi. As for #3: don’t apologize, don’t give reasons or explanations – just do it. That’s what it’s for. God Bless Texas.

  65. Yes, most home burglaries occur during the day. Unfortunately, when residents of a neighborhood leave for work, the criminals come into the neighborhood to do their “work.” Also, if your local police dept. offers a Neighborhood Watch Program, this is another excellent option. This program facilitates neighbors coming together to watch out for one another and coordinate with the police dept. I am the captain for my neighborhood and by working together, we have done a lot of good in improving safety and security in our neighborhood. Best wishes implementing your plan, Kristi.

  66. I’m so glad you, your husband, & pooch are okay. And a hearty thanks to your local police officers who helped out and offered suggestions. I wish I had time to read all the wise comments that have been offered.
    I have two suggestions to toss into the mix:

    1. Always have a landline so if you need to call the police your address, phone number, and pertinent info will appear on the 911 operator’s screen. I have a corded landline phone on my nightstand. If you only have a wireless phone, then it may take precious seconds for them to determine your location. I bought my landline phone at a big box office store for under $15. If the cord is too short for your liking (as was mine), then just buy a longer cord that fits the phone.
    2. If you have a car with a key fob that has a built-in alarm system, keep your keys on your nightstand. We can activate our alarm system from our bedroom and the car alarm is damn noisy. In addition to a very well-lit house, the noise could help in scaring the creep away.

    I apologize if any of this is repetitive.

    I don’t have a firearm, but have always had respect for a bright woman or man who learns how to use one and continues a lifetime of honing her or his skills. I think everyone who wants a firearm should do exactly what you are doing!!! I hold my wine glass up and offer a toast to you!

  67. Scary! We got these LED battery powered motion sensor lights for the side of our house a couple years ago. They are super affordable, nice and bright and you dont need to wire them in. There is a great review on Amazon by Something For Everyone (filter by top reviews) that accurately tells why they are great. We love them and they would definately deter lurkers!


  68. HI Kristi, so sorry to hear about your scare last month. We as well as a few of our neighbors had our cars broken into so most of us went for home security since it is only a few feet from the cars to the front door. We chose Safe Home Security, Inc. We are not happy with this company. They told us at our kitchen table that they would only accept a credit card as payment. Well my husband used a card that was new and had never been used. That was going to be the only charge on that card every month.
    Well we got a call from the credit card company a month later asking us if we had made a trip to Florida to buy pizza and gas. Well we live in Connecticut and we have never been to Florida. So apparently one (or more) of the companies employees stole our info off of the card and had a happy time. We have changed the number on our card and have refused to give this company another one. My husband told them that if they wanted payment it would be through a check or nothing. We had signed a 5 year lease. They finally agreed but then my husband was severely injured at work a few months later and lost his job. We have waited over a year for workman’s comp to come through and still waiting.
    Since we cannot pay all of the bills that company is last on our list. The point I am making is don’t blindly trust these companies and don’t sign long term leases.

    1. Linda, I’m so sorry to hear about that! How frustrating for you! And I’m very sorry to hear about your husband. I do hope things get better for him soon.

      1. Thanks Kristi! I do have to tell you that I have always looked forward to reading your blog. Yours is actually the only one that I do read. I show my 11 year old daughters what you have accomplished and they are just as I impressed as I am! You are an accomplished writer as well as an accomplished DIYer. You make us feel what you live. Thanks for your inspiration!😇

  69. Good ideas! My only comment is a gun lock for your gun. You do not have children but it is amazing how often visiting guest’s children find a loaded unlocked gun and a tragedy occurs. Just sayin’ seriously

  70. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is notorious for violent crime so home security is a big thing for us. I’m not worried about burglaries when we are out as much as I am worried about home invasions when we are in.

    So here are some thoughts: we have a Paradox alarm system, which has wireless options (we didn’t go full wireless because of the possibility of jamming) but have a mix of both wired and wireless. We have indoor motion detectors and outdoor ones – which is handy for monitoring the back yard. We arm these at night when we sleep so if anyone prowls around the garden it will set the alarm off. Additionally the alarm has a module that sends text messages to my cellphone when it is triggered, so we know what’s going on when we are out. We have cameras too but haven’t hooked them up for remote viewing yet.

    One piece of advice I was given when shopping for a security company is to go with the one that has a big presence in your area – that way their vehicles are always close by and they are able to respond more quickly when something happens (I’m working on the assumption that monitored security is similar to armed response? That they send out a vehicle and some guys when the alarm is tripped?).

    I’m not sure how your local neighborhood watch works but ours has a Whatsapp group where people post messages about anything dodgy that they notice. It works really well for group communication and it’s nice to know straightaway when the neighbors have noticed something unusual in the area. Anyway I guess I’m seconding the suggestion to look into how your local neighborhood watch operates.

    I don’t own a gun (although I’ve thought about it) largely because I am aware of how many people get shot with their own guns (when an assailant takes it from them, I don’t mean accidents) and I know that presenting a weapon can escalate a tense situation. I’ve been high-jacked at gunpoint, and I have no doubt that if I had been armed that situation would not have ended as non-violently as it did. Yes, I lost my car, but it was just a thing, being seriously injured would have been infinitely worse, and much more likely if I had been armed. Of course in another situation being armed might have been an advantage, but on the whole I think it’s about 50/50 and on balance I think I’m (paradoxically it might seem) safer without one.

  71. So glad you are both ok. We just adopted a shelter dog (a middle aged pit bull) and he is the biggest baby and love muffin and very friendly but boy is he protective over us (especially me) if he hears something off in the neighborhood.
    I just checked out Miss Mustard Seed’s blog and she reviewed a wireless home security system on her post today. Figured I’d mention it as it seemed to be fate that my two favorite blogs are both talking about the same topic today!!

  72. I am so sorry you had to go through that. It’s frightening. I live in a big city and moved here during the high crime years (which went from bad to worse during the crack epidemic). Once, we were broken into by their shattering the front door (then wood) to our apartment. Once we were broken into 3 times in 3 days by a professional and calculating thief who disabled the door locks on his way out after the first burglary so that he could slip back in at will. I now have steel doors with interlocking J-bars which make it impossible to pry the doors open, and double deadbolt locks on each door. My windows which open to the fire escape now have steel window gates. They’re not bad looking – kind of Mondrianish. I sleep well at night with these preventions (the locksmiths said the only way someone could get in now is via a hole in the wall!). But all these burglaries happened in the middle of the day, when there’s a lot of activity on the street (as do most urban burglaries that I know of). I know that when I was growing up in the suburbs, dogs with fierce barks were the best means of prevention of all. I think Debbie’s suggestion of a wireless keyfob for Matt would be an important tool.

  73. We have the Nest camera system. For a couple hundred bucks a year it records everything. Additionally, there’s a live stream online all the time- can check my phone whenever I want to check on the house. We have ours set up with various zones specified that will alert us of movement. For ex/if there’s movement by the doors it will send a notification to our devices (phones/tablets/etc). Works great thus far.

  74. I’ve been robbed twice. I’m always after my fella (who stays here on weekends) to leave the porch/garage lights on! And I hate motion sensor ones cause they aren’t reliable. I did jumping jacks under mine and nothing happened. Came home from work @ noon, it was on.I much prefer dusk to dawn. I want them on when it’s dark and off when it’s light. I got my most recent one at Costco for 50bucks. My neighbor got their cameras with phone alerts and caught a jackass stealing Christmas gifts from his front porch last year. I can’t advise you on the gun thing, it’s a personal decision. For me, I wouldn’t use it often enough and my feeling is ” if you don’t use it, you loose it”. So please keep up your skills of you go that route.
    Does Matt have a life alert button he can push?
    Best of luck, be safe.

  75. Hi Kristi,

    I have been following and enjoying your blog for quite some time. You do beautiful work!

    I was sorry to hear about the attempted break-in. That feeling of violation stays for quite some time.

    I am the Operations Manager for Link Interactive. We are an online DIY alarm company offering custom wireless alarm/home automation systems, complete with 24 hour monitoring by our 5 star central station and includes the phone app that keep you connected to your home. If you would like further information, please let me know. I am only providing my contact and website information as another option for you. I am NOT commissioned based.

    Wishing you and Matt continued success with the amazing home makeover!

  76. So glad Matt ended up safe! Scary stuff for sure! I have heard that criminals will watch obits, but that was too soon, so I guess just a random crook.
    I don’t blame you at all for looking to protect you and yours – this world seems no longer safe for us good citizens. As a teen, (back in the 70’s ) our crowd had a “friend” who got in to burglarizing homes for kicks, and admitted to us that one summer, he hit over 50 houses in two months! We all dropped him when we found out, and he was eventually caught. We suspected that he even snatched our Dad’s Shriner’s ring that my brother had shown him once. He denied it, but to this day we think he did it. Jerk!!!
    With the thrill-seekers, druggies and general thugs, life is not as rosy as it was long ago. You do what makes you feel safe. I can’t convince my husband that security is a necessity – I have tried many times to take me seriously, but he lives in a dream world. My own brother is/was a drug addict, and I no longer have contact with him after he duped us out of money so he could get drugs. He would do anything he needed to in order to get high, and threatened me once when I wouldn’t give him any more money. He doesn’t know where I live, and neither do any of my other siblings, because they would tell him. I hear he is sober now, but I can’t trust him….sad, but true. Even with all that, my hubs STILL won’t consider security an issue!
    So be safe, have peace of mind, and learn all you can. I highly recommend a chat with your local police dept., they will talk to you about crime and how to stay safe. I spoke to a detective when my brother got arrested once, and he gave me valuable info regarding the mindset of a druggie. A sad,desperate person will fight tooth and nail to get what they need!

  77. Plant bushes with thorns under your windows, like rose bushes. It’s a deterrent that could get the invaders to go somewhere else. I don’t open my door. I talk to them through the door. You just can’t be too careful.

  78. Gosh…

    MS is extremely debilitating for the patient and truly hard for the people who take care of the patient (or are loving relatives and close friends). Congrats on managing to stay on top of things even when the situation turned scary.
    Your feelings may had been “all over the place” but you did great, reacted fast and efficiently. Honestly, it is pretty admirable.

    About the gun, it doesn’t matter if one is married. There are no bullet proof husbands and not all of us have big, beefy, martial arts masters, for hubbys. 🙂
    Do learn how to use it AND make sure you understand that bullets do not stop at the first obstacle – they go through bodies and walls. Aim well and account for the further course a bullet will take.

    Boo is a great dog! And he might be a good teacher too, for the new puppy you get.

    All the best wishes this incident never happens again.

  79. Thanks for sharing your sad, scary story, Kristi. It is a good wake -up call for us all. Who would have thought that someone would try breaking- in during broad daylight! I never thought about a storm door as extra security and protection before. I always thought it was more for protection from cold and “storms”, LOL! Ours broke recently and we decided to take it off and live without one. Now I am thinking that maybe we better get one again! And thanks to everyone who shared important feedback about various security measures. I am reading them and thinking about maybe adding some.
    This post will probably end up helping save someone from a break-in someday.

  80. My parents are in their 80s and still live in their detached home. My mother has severe demintia and Dad is her main caregiver. For a long time he was tied to the house most days as Mom could not be left alone. As her health fails she has been sleeping much longer (often times until noon) but Dad was still tied to the house as sometimes she would awaken at 8 or 9. Just running up to the store wasn’t possible unless they went together.

    Recently he got his first smart phone and I got him a motion activated camera that sends him a message when it is activated. Now while she sleeps he turns on the camera and is able to go out without worry because the camera aimed at the bedroom door alerts him when she leaves the bedroom. We live in a small town so stores and restaurants etc are less than 5 minutes away and he is able to dash home to look after her as soon as his phone lets him know she is up. It has given him much needed respite from the constant demands of looking after his totally dependant wife of 65 years. He can now be outside in the back yard with out worrying if she has left home by the front door. It has made a huge difference in his life.

    Cameras on the doors are a kinder and safer solution than locking a person with dementia into their home or their room. When the caregiver gets a notification that the ill person has left a safe area they can immediately intervene.

    Hopefully people will think about security cameras to keep people in instead of just keeping people out. I know our family has a lot less stress now that Mom is safe and Dad has some freedom.

  81. In the meantime before you install home security and arm yourself with a gun, if you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to break into your house, you can press the panic button for your car. That’s if your car has one and it would not be much use for Matt when you’re out in the car though. The panic button sets off the alarm and the horn continues to sound until it is turned off or the car battery dies. The noise will distract the burglars plus neighbors are likely to look out to see whose alarm is going off. I sleep with my car keys on my bedside table.

  82. Hubby thought he heard me wrong when he asked how many lights I wanted outside, during some reno’s. In addition to the standard entry carraige lights at the doors and garage, I have over thirteen outdoor lights on my home (less than 2000 sq feet). After dark you could read a book in the yard, literally, with all the lights on. My theory is that if you come into my yard after dark, there’s nowhere for you to hide if I turn the lights on.

  83. There is a horrible feeling of violation that comes when you know someone breaks in or tries to. You will probably have a twinge of that feeling for quite some time.

    I got my carry permit years ago, and carried the gun for a while unloaded just to get the feel for it so I wouldn’t accidentally drop it and it go off or something. LOL

    Definitely get at glass storm door. Make sure your glass door has TWO shocks on it (top and bottom)–they are just made more durable (learned from experience). They also usually come with a key entry, so you can lock it from the outside and your husband won’t have to come to the door to do that. I love what your brother recommended and I highly recommend that light switch for the yard lights be right at your bed table. That way if you hear a noise, you don’t even have to get out of bed before you hit that switch.

    Dogs are the BEST deterrent by far for robbers. The more crazy their bark is the more scary they appear. I have been robbed a couple of times and learned that a fenced yard–even front sometimes so they have full run of the yard can help too!

    Is it possible to take the air units out of the windows? I think I remember reading you got a new CH&A unit.

  84. Houston reader here!!! Home security is my #1 for our family. We have 2 dogs, multiple firearms, I have my Texas License to Carry, the house is well lit from outside, we have a glass storm door (one where the top half slides down making an upper screen window so we can speak to people easier), and we use Smith Thompson Security. Smith Thompson is $17 a month, you OWN the equipment, they come and install it for you, and we have had great response time from them. We upgraded our system to include fire alarm, meaning the smoke detector is wired into the alarm system. If we arent home and a fire breaks out, the system sends an alarm to the monitoring place, and they send the fire department. We live in Houston, and you just cant be too prepared.

    Good luck….and Im so happy to read Matt was ok, the house is ok, and Boo is ok too!!

  85. I’m so sorry you and Matt went through that! While I’ve never had someone try to break into my home, my husband travels for work and I’m left home alone out in the country fairly often. I have 3 large dogs that bark like the dickens if anyone comes to our house, a security system and a handgun. I wouldn’t dare be without any of them! I don’t have a storm door, but now that you’ve mentioned it I think I’ll install one. I’m so glad you are all ok, and I think you’re definitely on the right track to keeping your family and home safe.

  86. Dear Kristi, I am so sorry for the horrible scare you and your husband experienced. May God protect you both and your home. I live in Africa so cannot advise on a security system. I read a blog called missmustardseed.com and she just wrote about this security system in case you are interested: http://missmustardseed.com/2016/07/home-alone-getsafe-review/

    Thank you for sharing your phenomenal talents with us, you are truly so generous to share all the marvelous skills you have and the outstanding achievements you have made in your homes, I have had such a great looking at your wonderful transformations.

  87. We’ve always lived out in the sticks and we’ve always been armed. I carry a .45 long colt revolver and anybody who knows us, knows that gun is always in the door of my truck if I’m out and about. It’s never far from my reach. Our bedroom is down a long hall and my husband used to work off for weeks at a time. He always told me to never open the door if I heard somebody in the house, just fire through the door. We also have 2 dogs both over 70 lbs. They are super sweet dogs, esp my American Pit, but they will put themselves between me and the door if they hear somebody drive by the house and have even barked at my husband when he’s caught them off guard. One thing when it comes to owning and handling a gun make 100% sure you are okay with taking somebody’s life. I have no problem with shooting to kill to protect me and our baby. My mother is extremely nervous around guns and her owning a gun would be useless for protection. In addition to my pistol, we have 2 loaded shotguns, one on each side of our bed. They are out and loaded, now as our baby gets mobile that will change. I know that a lot of people say keep them in a safe with ammo in another location but that’s of no good if you need to get the gun in a quick manner. If somebody is in your house you have NO time to unlock a safe, get the gun out, and then go to another place to get your ammo to load it. Yes have safeguards to prevent children from getting to it, but in your case it’s you and Matt, not sure if you have kids that visit though. My dad always said a unloaded gun is a useless gun. I’ve never been in a situation where I needed my gun but I’ve been in situations that made me feel safer knowing that it was a reach away.

  88. We recently switched to a wireless system with ADT. We didn’t pay anything for installation, no payment for the first three months and the $42 per month after. We have had a traditional ADT system for about ten years and were always happy with it as well. We made the switch because we changed from a traditional landline phone to VOIP.

  89. I totally understand your reaction to that situation. And Matt’s! Many years ago I was awakened by someone trying to break into my home, while my husband was away. I was so scared I could barely speak to the 911 operator to tell her what was happening. And I was surprised at the extreme reaction I experienced.

    Now we live in a small town in SE Kansas, husband still works out of state….Dallas currently….and at 71 I’m no longer much of a match for an intruder. I have a flimsy storm door on the other side of my steel front door….I keep it locked. It’s a habit I made myself do, every time I come through that door, I flip the lock down. Everyone kinda laughs at me, because what in the world do I think is going to happen? Well, I don’t know but I like being prepared, just in case. Besides, several years ago there was an elderly woman who lived less than 1/2 mile from me who was attacked in her home by three young males….raped and murdered. So it could happen. No, that lock won’t keep a determined person out, but it could buy me a few seconds to slam the door shut. At least it is another line of defense for me.

    A couple years ago I took a gun course, along with my granddaughter, and we both have our CCW. Before the course, and even during the class, I was asked point blank if I could actually pull the trigger and shoot someone. I thought long and hard about that. And I believe in my heart that, while I never want to kill another person, I would not hesitate to shoot IF I was being threatened, or someone I cared about was being threatened. That being said, I would HOPE to have enough time to warn someone, if confronted….”see that red dot on your chest? There’s a .380 right behind it….and I WILL shoot you.” Pipe dream? Probably. It’s a comforting thought though. The main thing is, if you draw down on someone, you BETTER be prepared to pull the trigger. Improper hesitation can get you killed with your own gun. Now THAT would be sad thing.

    You’re a bright and savvy young woman, and you will make the right decisions for you and Matt. Bless your heart Kristi, I’m sorry you have to deal with this but you will have greater peace of mind when you get everything into place.

    1. Oh, and I wanted to say that if you get a gun be sure to get one with a laser. You want to know where you’re aiming. It helps, especially in a scary situation because you want all the help you can get.

  90. As a retired judge, home security is a priority for me. We have Cox Home Security, which I note is not available in Texas. However, I feel confident that there is a cable company there that offers a security system. I was surprised at how simple installation is. An expert comes to your house, and identifies the places where someone could break in. All of those windows are doors are monitored. In addition, some sensors for broken glass are strategically placed, and all of the doors are wired. There is a control panel, which we keep by the bed. Not only does an alarm sound if someone breaks in, but the control panel shows you exactly where the intrusion is. The alarm system calls for help. The alarm company calls you to confirm that it is not a false alarm. There is a code to call them off. Our systems was only about $1,500 to install, and the monthly fee is only about $50. We also have guns strategically located upstairs and down. Like you, we have no children, so we need not worry about the guns falling into the wrong hands. I was afraid of the guns in the very beginning, but my husband and I took up target practice as a hobby, and I was amazed to see that I am actually quite good at it. We go to the range once a week, and it is both fun and empowering. As they say, when seconds count, the police are minutes away, and the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. I commend you on taking the gun class, and getting a home security system. Shooting someone is something one never wants to do, but it is empowering to know that you can defend yourself and your husband, if necessary. I wish you well.