A Tour of the 2015 HGTV Smart Home {Part 2}

I’m back with Part 2 of the 2015 HGTV Smart Home photo tour!  It wouldn’t be lying to say that I like the second floor even more than the first floor.  If you missed Part 1, be sure to check it out here first.

Family Room

As you head up the staircase, you are greeted with more of the natural wood trim that we saw downstairs.

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

That focal wall continues into the family room.  I love that!

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

Also in the family room, there are a pair of curtained reading nooks.  What a fun way to seclude yourself from the rest of the world.

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

Master Bedroom

The crown jewel of the home (in my opinion) is the master bedroom.  The pictures really speak for themselves.

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

A Tour of the 2015 HGTV Smart Home {Part 1}

Have you ever started drooling while you are watching HGTV when they show off their Smart Home of the year?  Imagined yourself living in it and enjoying all of the beautiful furnishings and crazy technology that it holds?  Entered the sweepstakes every day in hopes that it would one day be yours?  Me, too.

So imagine my delight when I actually got to take a tour of the 2015 HGTV Smart Home.  Y’all, I tried to hide in a closet so that I could just stay forever, but they found me.

This year’s smart home is in the Zilker Park neighborhood in Austin – a little bit of the new Austin nestled in between a lot of the old Austin.  The style of the house and furnishings is considered “Modern Austin Farmhouse” (remember when I said to mesh three styles together for a good eclectic mix?).

Shaw Floors has been a HGTV Smart Home partner since the beginning, and they invited me to go on a tour of the home a few weeks ago.  And so of course, I’m going to share some of the home with you!  It was a dreary, rainy day (like every other day in Austin for the last month – what’s up with that?), so please excuse any of my pictures that seem dark!

And speaking of pictures, this post will be really picture heavy (and I even narrowed them down!), so get ready for that.  You’ll also see some other tour participants in some of the shots; I got to tour the home with some of Shaw’s largest Texas retailers, so it was fun to see the house through their eyes, too.

Front of the Home

The front of the home is a funky mix of modern and farmhouse.  As I mentioned, it was raining when I toured it, so a giant tent was set up over the entry and driveway so that we wouldn’t track water and mud into the house.  I could only get a good shot of the front door and amazing neon street numbers.

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

But, here’s what the whole exterior looks like via professional shots from HGTV:

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

My favorite parts of the exterior are the neon house numbers and the walls of glass by the front door.  I love the feel of floor to ceiling windows that meet in a corner like that.

There will eventually be other homes built all around it which will all share the same driveway, so it doesn’t take up as much land in this valuable part of Austin as it looks like it would.

Living Room

When you walk into the front door, you are greeted by an open living room/dining room/kitchen floor plan.  The living room definitely has a Texas vibe.

A Visit to the 2015 HGTV Smart Home in Austin, Texas

I love the black wall adorned with the window pane mirror.  And do you notice the natural color wood trim?  You’ll see that repeated throughout the house.  I think its a great way to tie the exterior into the interior.  Of course, the living room is styled beautifully, too.

Dining Room

How to Fill Water Balloons Without a Water Hose

We only have a few days left of the school year, which means my kids are getting really excited about the summer.  Even though we have torrential rains and deadly flooding around here (the streets surrounding our neighborhood were literally under feet of water a few days ago), the kids can’t think about anything other than swimming pools, water slides and water balloon fights.

Water balloons.  The words that make me feel like the meanest mom on the planet.  I hate them.  It’s not the water that drives me crazy, but it’s the little bit of balloon that no one else picks up out of the yard but me.  But, the kids love them, so I’m stuck picking up balloon pieces all summer long. #partofthejob

How to Fill Water Balloons Without a Water Hose

One of the biggest problems with water balloons is wanting to use them at locations that don’t have running water or a garden hose – like at a birthday party at the park.  You could fill the balloons and put them in a bucket before you left the house, but I always manage to pop several of them in my car.  I’ve been looking for a good solution, and I think I found it!

HomeRight sent me one of their 1-gallon Deck Pro Tank Sprayers.  It’s meant to use to spray pesticides, deck cleaners, and semi-transparent stains.  But, it works perfectly as a portable water balloon filler!

Simply fill the tank with water before you leave home.  When you are ready to fill the balloons, you prime the sprayer by pumping it with the handle on the top.  Then, you can slip the water balloon over the nozzle and depress the trigger to fill the balloon.

How to Fill Water Balloons Without a Water Hose

How to Fill Water Balloons Without a Water Hose

Taking On the World though Destination Imagination {Part I}

Y’all.  I feel like I have been away from the blog for so long.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed, my posts and projects have been sporadic over the last few months.  Tomorrow, I’m jumping right back in with plenty of DIY and home decor goodness to make up for it!  But until then, I am dying to update you on what’s been going on in our world.

For the past three years, Tom and I have managed a team (and sometimes more than one team) of elementary school students in a program called Destination Imagination, or DI for short.  DI is a program that teaches kids how to use collaborative problem solving and creative thinking skills to address open-ended challenges.  The teams present their solutions in tournaments around the world.  Kids from Kindergarten through University can participate, and I participated myself when I was in high school. But now as team managers, Tom and I can’t offer suggestions or help to the kids, so the solutions that they showcase are completely theirs and theirs alone.  Sometimes, their solutions excite us, and other times, they make us absolutely crazy.

Destination Imagination - why I think you and your child should get involved

The first two years, our teams struggled in finding the sweet spot in collaboration.  There were arguments and struggles, and they never really placed higher than middle of the pack in our Regional tournament.  These were super creative kids, but they just couldn’t figure out a way to work together without turmoil.  Tom and I were disappointed, because we knew that they had it in them, and we hoped that they would at least be able to look back on DI later in life and remember some of the problem solving skills that we worked on.  Tom always said that if he helped instill that in just one kid, all of the time and resources we put into the teams would be well worth it.  He’s definitely right about that.

This year, we decided that we’d give it one more try.  I don’t know if it was fate or what, but we ended up with a smaller team than usual (5 instead of 7), with only 3 of the team members having participated in DI before.  But after our first few meetings, we knew that this team was going to be different.

Handmade Note Cards for Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week is next week!  Are you ready to celebrate the amazing teachers in your life?

Every year, I try to think of something fun and different to do for my kids’ teachers.  We are lucky to attend a fabulous school, and we are so thankful for the loving teachers that we have had throughout the years.

This year, I created embossed, handmade note cards for each teacher.  I thought these would be great for them to keep in their desks to use if a co-worker had a birthday or if they wanted to send a thank you note to someone.

Handmade Greeting Card Assortment - perfect for Teacher Appreciation Week

Aren’t they fun?  They were really easy to put together, too.  And, you can customize them anyway you want to.  Here’s how I did it:

Spray Paint to Cover Your Grays – No, Really!

I am in no way a fashion, beauty, make-up or hair blogger.  In fact, I really know next to nothing about any of those things, so the fact that I’m writing this little post is pretty hilarious if you know me.  I was going to post this last week, but I was afraid everyone would think it was an April Fools Day joke!

But, I have a new hair product that I just can’t live without, so I wanted to let you know about it, too.  I’m a helper, y’all.

When I was pregnant with Zack (who is now 9), I started getting gray hair.  My gray hair isn’t the type where you have a few strands here and there.  Oh, no!  I have patches of gray on my temples and around my ears.

Sure, everyone (or almost everyone) has some grays, but mine are incredibly stubborn!  It takes about 10 days of me having my hair professionally colored for them to start showing again.  I have learned that if I keep my hair blonde instead of brunette, the grays aren’t quite as obvious, but they still show.

Here’s a shot of me about 2 weeks after a visit to the salon.
Watercolors Root Concealer - spray paint for your gray hair!