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Moats, Guillotines & Macaulay Culkin: How we’re keeping our family safe

Listen, Andy and I (and our kids) are as weird and nutty as they come. We wave our sketchiness banner high.
But we still like to keep other, more ominous forms of sketchiness outside our four walls, so we recently installed a whole-house security system. Y’all, I had no idea how easy they are to order and install, or I would’ve done this a long time ago. In case you don’t have one yet, I wanted to show you how simple it is to turn your unassuming home into a giant fortress of safety and self-contained familial weirdness.

We’ve always had it in the back of our minds that we wanted one, but now that we have little kids to think about and we’re sharing our house and our lives here on the blog, it was definitely time to make it happen. We don’t care so much about someone taking our stuff (but back away from the brass animals!) but obviously, keeping our weirdo kids safe is priority number one.

Hard to believe it's so easy and inexpensive to get a whole-house security system! Great tips on how to shop for and install one!
I used to think getting a whole-house security system was some pricey proposition that required a guy to come run wires all throughout your house. Not so! It’s super simple. Here’s how it worked for us.

1. Read reviews for the top companies in your area
We basically just googled around for good security system companies in our area and read impartial reviews. We found three companies were consistently listed among the top, so we called each of those companies and got prices.

2. Consider what you want in a security system
We wanted all of the following things:

  • A moat around our yard stocked with sharks with laser beams on their heads
  • Guillotine installed in the front door opening

Front door guillotine - and other must-haves for your whole house security system

  • Mine field within the hardwood floor
  • Hidden cameras inside the shrubs
  • Laser-guided machine gun nests in the trees
  • Toy airplane drones recording car traffic patterns
  • Underground escape tunnel direct to Disney
  • Self-destruct feature that makes the house explode if invaded
  • Permanent installation of that kid from Home Alone.

Security System
Turns out you can’t get most of those things. (I KNOW. Somebody fix this!) It’s hard to find a good underground escape tunnel installer.

But we did consider the recommendations from all three companies and, based on those recommendations, installed motion sensors and other security goodness all through the house. One thing I’ve heard is that it’s best to stay away from security systems that are wired through your internet or home phone, because someone could just snip those wires and disable your whole system. The best kinds are connected via cell phone towers so they can’t be disabled.

3. Order and install

Okay, check out how easy this is! The company ships you a couple boxes like this that house all your components.
(We went all out and put sensors and gadgets everywhere, so this is just one portion of our system.)

Here’s our smoke and heat detector. If it detects smoke or heat, it alerts the fire department immediately. Let me tell you how much my little mama heart loves knowing this extra level of protection is in place for my Tinies.
How to install a whole house security system
On the back, there are little sticky tape piece thingies. You remove the paper on the sticky parts…
How to install a whole-house security system
…and just stick it to the ceiling. It communicates wirelessly with the rest of the system, so there’s no wiring or anything complicated. You don’t even need a screwdriver to install it.
How to install a whole house security system
Plus, doesn’t Andy make installation look FUN?! Look at that big smile. (The truth is that he was making a goofy face just a second before and he’s laughing at himself in the photo above. #Busted! I will blog about your goofy faces, husband.)
Installation of a whole house security system

That’s exactly how simple it is to install each aspect of the entire system. Everything just sticks in place. Crazy, right? We had it all done in less than an hour.

But what about cost?

I understand that different companies bill differently, but for us, we paid a one-time fee for the sensors and components, and pay a set monthly fee regardless of how many components we have. Our monthly fee is totally manageable – something like $30 to $50-ish a month.

It’s just worth it for things like this:

  • Easy panic buttons to call for help in case of an emergency. ANY emergency: medical, fire, etc. If something happened to the kids, I could just press a button and an ambulance would be on the way.
  • Access to our system via our phones. If we forget to turn on the system, no problem – we can turn it on or off from anywhere.
  • Separate home or away settings. You can turn on all kinds of motion sensors throughout the house when you’re not home, but when you’re home and want to be able to move freely through the house, you can turn on a different set of sensors.

I know it kind of sounds like this is a sponsored post, but it’s not (and I’m purposely not even mentioning the company we chose). I just want everyone to be protected and safe and I wish I’d known sooner how simple it is! (If you know anyone who needs to get a security system, make sure you share this post with ’em!)

Great to hear it's so easy and inexpensive to get a whole-house security system! Helpful tips on how to shop for and install one!

Do you have a whole-house security system? Do you think this self-destruct feature idea can take off? Should I patent it? Don’t steal my brilliant security ideas, guys. Okay, take them.

Let's connect


  1. I sure hope you didn’t compromise on the sharks-with-lasers bit. That sounds essential.

  2. Julia @Cuckoo4Design says:

    Ha, that list is awesome. I want the same thing for our house. My daughter is adding a three-headed-fire-spitting dragon to the front yard yet though.

  3. What company did you use? 😉 I would love to get something like this for our home.

    • Front Point. We just used them too and it’s so easy and great. The salesperson really helped me determine the needs of my particular home. For instance we chose not to get motion sensors since we have relatively big dogs who roam freely. Great company and customer service. So easy!! And less expensive than I ever thought.

      • with the big dogs you set the alarm in the stay mode that way the pets can roam free with out alarm going off. All your doors windows and smoke& carbon alarm system still works

  4. I can’t believe they don’t make escape tunnels anymore. That is so weird. Do they let you test the system out after you install it? I am thinking a test run to see how fast they come out?

    • I think it takes one minute for them to notify police and ambulances, etc, then after that it’s just however long it would normally take for the police to get to your house. (I like to think it will take zero minutes.)

  5. Wow! That does seem easier than I thought! And I would love to know the company, too… 🙂

  6. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that most home invaders shy away from any home whose occupants are known to be bat s(h^$ crazy. So I say leave the guillotine.

  7. I’m neurotic so we totally have an alarm system. Nate agreed after I woke him up every other night in our first house because I “heard things”. Great tips!

  8. i think you should have gone with the guillotine… at least maybe when kids are of dating age.

  9. You know you’re a parent when… you want an underground tunnel direct to Disney. I would select “a bar” or “Target”. 😉

    Glad you got a security alarm– too many creepos out there. I’m a super paranoid Dateline aficionado so an alarm system, as well as firearms in the house, are a must for me.

  10. Since we are getting rid of our landline – I want to get an emergency button for the kids to use. That way, if anything ever happened – and they wouldn’t be able to unlock my cell phone – all they need to do is to hit the big red button. I was inspired by my grandma 🙂

  11. I am pretty sure if I had an alarm I’d be setting it off myself all the time (fine, I do that with other people’s alarms so am 100% confident about that). I’d probably do better with the sharks and moat.

  12. I’m liking the moat idea, without the sharks. Is that considered a backyard water feature?

  13. I’ve always been more of a “this house is protected by the Good Lord and some guns” kind of gal, but this actually sounds pretty cool. The only people I’ve ever known that had alarm systems either lived in the big city or in a really cool Victorian house…that happened to be in not such a great part of town. (Wow, how much do I sound right now like I’m from the sticks?! I swear I’m not as hick as this makes me sound! lol) Anways, this was seemingly super easy and cool. And if one day we live in our own house instead of a parsonage, I’ll have to look into them new fangled alarm thangs. : )

  14. Funny you should post this today, was hoping for a post from you since you make me laugh every time you do and my life is boring and sad. Lol
    PLUS when I was thinking about you posting, It popped into my head that you post a lot of what most people keep private — which got me to thinking about all the Nut Jobs out in the real world … well you get the picture. I love the guillotine and want one!

  15. Dave had an alarm company sales guy come out to our first house right after we bought it (because they called him up, and he hadn’t yet learned that that sort of thing happens a lot when you’re a grown up, and it’s okay to tell them no). We almost got the alarm system just because our normally suspicious of strangers dog really liked the sales guy. Umm. Yeah, that doesn’t have anything to do with your post, but I don’t get a chance to tell that story very often. Which is maybe just as well. ANYWAY…this is the most entertaining description of installing an alarm system I’ve ever read!

  16. I would be afraid the fire dept would come whenever I cooked dinner:(. But other than that, it sounds marvelous!

  17. I was just talking to Scott about getting a security system in our next house. A lot of the same reasons you did it and mostly just to keep my neuroses in check!

  18. I am so glad we finally got a home security system. It does bring piece of mind. I really like the motion activated cameras that can be viewed via our iphones. I also think dogs add great security. I just need to get one.

  19. Also check with your home insurance company. We discovered we save more off our monthly rates by having an alarm system then it costs to get one. (Now, are we good about activating it? Not as much because the alarms go off WAY too easily on the windows. Like the police came the first time we set it and we were away, because we didn’t know it was going off!)

  20. I don’t know how you did it, it’s just you, but you made this post really entertaining!!! xo Kristin

  21. My brother-in-law f-i-n-a-l-l-y talked my nonagenarian mother into getting a home security system a few months ago. One thing I like about it is that her medical alert bracelet/necklace is part of the system, and that the monthly fee for the whole security system is LESS than the monthly fee for a different company’s medical alert alone.
    What I wish was different is that there is no nifty button on the control panel that I can push which then makes the medical alert button beep or screech or something…because she misplaced hers a few days ago and she needs to find it! If I lose my phone, my husband or one of the kids calls me, and voila! Phone, here we come. That stupid alert button could be 6 inches from my nose and I have no idea. (But I can tell you lots and lots of places where it isn’t. Grr.) A lost medical alert is no better than none at all.
    Great post as always, Kelly!

  22. Oh man! I am cringing reading this! Only because I PAID dumb money to have one installed many years ago. I had no idea it was so simple. Love your tips and tricks.

  23. Love the title of this post. Leave it to you to pull a reader in within the first five words of your TITLE. Now, THAT takes skill.

  24. We did this in our house a few months ago…totally worth the money! The company we used was Vivint. You can read all about it here:

    Jenna @ Wife in Progress

  25. A system like this is on my to-do list for the future! My husband’s work can involve a lot of travel, so we are definitely getting a system like this after we have children so they’re extra safe.

  26. My system didn’t come with a direct to Disney tunnel! I feel ripped off.


    The BEST thing, okay, maybe not the BEST, but it’s super great and awesome… is that if one of my kids decided that they reallllly need to go outside RIGHT NOW while mom is in the shower/sleeping/hiding in her room on the laptop(what?), the alarm goes off and I catch the booger child before they make it to the porch. Not that that happens. Often.

    • Oh my yes…my middle son was called “Houdini” because he could escape anything and did…often! I put in extra flip locks on all the exterior doors and windows.

      Really easy to put them in. I put them WAY higher off the ground than this video shows.

      Now the kids are all grown and gone.

      If security from bad guys is a concern here’s a few things I’ve learned:
      We’re getting new windows and decided to have impact resistant glass as part of the design. You can take a sledge hammer to the glass and still can’t be penetrated. We’re doing on glass on just the bottom level windows of the house. You can buy a film to put on existing windows.

      The easiest point of entry for bad guys is the entry doors. The doors are only as good as the frame and most doors are only pine that easily breaks when a bad guy kicks the door. We’re also getting new doors with long metal plates in the frame to prevent kick-ins.

      A dog is what most experts suggest, but my dog is too nice!

  27. Definitely creeping on some old posts! While I don’t have kids, I’d like to know my home is safe – as much as my husband is big enough and ugly enough to take care of himself, I’d feel better if no one could get to him!

    PS your Austin Powers reference (intentional or not) made me LOL. 😀


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