Calling all green thumbs!

I want to showcase your gardens and best gardening tips on MurphyintheMiddle.com.

Each spring I look forward to planting my small garden.  I am no “pro” by any means, but I enjoy my annual commune with the earth.  Last year, I had a terrible time with my garden.  I planted my usual bounty, watered it regularly, but I had very little to show for my efforts.  It was so bad, I made this video.    

 This year I used my smarts and built a fence around the darn thing and elevated all of my potted plants. While I do have a rabbit that likes to hide behind the garden, he can’t get to it!

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Thanks to the fence and the much needed rain, I actually have a harvest this year.  I know I could have purchased the entire produce section at Sprouts for what I have spent on this garden, but I don’t mind.  I feel victorious every time I pick a ripened gem.

My cucumbers are little deformed, but they taste great.  I just slice them and add a little salt to these babies.

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 The grape tomatoes are so sweet.  I have been popping them in my mouth like they are Tic Tacs.  I am trying keep get enough of them at one time so that I can cut them in half, stuff them with a little feta cheese, broil them a bit then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. YUMM-O!

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 I also have Big Boy Tomatoes.  But like a big boys, they take a long time to mature…(insert laughter here).

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 For the first time, I am growing okra.  I don’t know what to make with the okra as it is not my favorite, I have learned that I like them grilled with a little olive oil.  Any ideas are welcomed.

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 The fresh basil and oregano make me want to cook Italian dishes every night.

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 HELP!  For the first time, I have been able to keep the squash plant alive and blooming.  Sadly, I haven’t had a single squash.  Nor has the poblano pepper plant given me one baby.  Any ideas or suggestions?

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 Enough about my Murphy garden.  How is your’s doing? Tell me your garden story and share photos so that I can share it with others.

Taxes: How Much Money will Uncle Sam get from you in 2013?

I get  confused when it comes income taxes. So, when someone makes it easy for me to understand tax changes, he or she becomes a friend for life.

Bill Smothermon of Brosowske Mares Smothermon & Co. sent out a great tax newsletter that helped clarify the new tax guidelines. I thought I would share with you a table that breaks down some key changes that will impact your tax returns next year so that you can start planning now.

If you have questions about the guidelines or need help with your tax planning, don’t call me…call Bill at 972-392-2727. Tell him Dawn Redmond sent you!
Key 2013 Tax Information

Item 2013 2012 Change
Maximum income tax rate 39.6% 35.0% +4.5%
Maximum Medicare tax rate 2.35% 1.45% +0.9%
Social Security employee rate 6.2% 4.2% +2.0%
Max Dividend/Capital Gain rate 20% 15% +5.0%
Personal Exemption $3,900 $3,800 +$100
Standard Deductions
Single $6,100 $5,950 +$150
Joint or Qualifying Widow 12,200 11,900 +$300
Head of Household 8,950 8,700 +$250
Married Filing Separate 6,100 5,950 +$150
Elderly/Blind: Married Add $1,200 Add $1,150 +$50
Elderly/Blind: Unmarried Add $1,500 Add $1,450 +$50
Key Credits
Child Tax Credit $1,000 $1,000
Adoption Credit $12,970 $12,650 +$320
Lifetime Learning Credit $2,000 $2,000
American Opportunity Credit $2,500 $2,500
Savers Credit $1,000 $1,000
Retirement Plan Contributions
Traditional IRA $5,500 $5,000 +$500
(age 50+ catchup) Add $1,000 Add $1,000
Roth IRA $5,500 $5,000 +$500
(age 50+ catchup) Add $1,000 Add $1,000
401(k), 403(b), 457 & SARSEP 17,500 17,000 +$500
(age 50+ catchup) Add $5,500 Add $5,500
SIMPLE IRA $12,000 $11,500 +$500
(age 50+ catchup) Add $2,500 Add $2,500
Mileage Rates
Business 56.5¢/mile 55.5¢/mile +1¢
Medical/Moving 24.0¢/mile 23.0¢/mile +1¢
Charitable 14.0¢/mile 14.0¢/mile
Section 179 $500,000 $500,000
Property limit $2 million $2 million
Other Information
Tuition and Fees Deduction $2,000 $2,000
Medical Itemized Deduction AGI Threshold
(7.5% in 2013 for 65 and older) 10.0% 7.5% +2.5%

The Rundown Article Archive: Short-Order Stars, Eat, drink and raise money for future top chefs

Did you know that Wylie High School has an outstanding culinary arts program and has a student run restaurant on campus? Programs like are facing budget cuts in the DFW area.

Here is a fun way you can support culinary arts programs like the one at Wylie High School.

The Rundown Article Archive: Short-Order Stars, Eat, drink and raise money for future top chefs.

Murphy ranked among the best small towns by Money Magazine

Murphy homeowners are smart shoppers! The city was ranked #27 on  Money Magazine’s 2011 list of the 100 best small towns to live in the US . The towns were selected based on “great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, nice weather, plenty to do, and more” according to the magazine article. Readers have the opportunity to vote for their favorite small town by “fanning” the city’s Facebook page.

My family initially elected to live in Murphy because of the green space,  decent schools, moderate home prices and cultural diversity. The city has grown since in the six years we have been here and now offers many desirable amenities such as a variety of restaurants and nearby shopping. I still call it DFW’s best kept secret.

Other Texas small towns listed include The Colony (#68), Cibolo (#77), Wells Branch (#92) and Keller (#93).

Here is a link to the story: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2011/index.html

2011 Maxwell Creek Easter Egg Hunt

One of the strongest attributes of Maxwell Creek is that it is a family-friendly community with plenty of kids. The Easter Egg Hunt is always a big hit for residents and a great way to kick off the Easter weekend.

Dawninthehood was on the scene to capture this year’s hunt on April 23rd. The Egg Hunt committee, headed by Maxwell Creek neighbor Shelly Johnson, put on quite a “hoppin” event which included 2500 eggs and a special visit from the Easter Bunny.

See it here:

Maxwell Creek for sale, under contract, sold! – updated 3/16/2011

Maxwell Creek housing inventory at a glance

New to the market

Seven homes are new to the market since my February 21st update; one has already gone under contract!

400 Parkside is back on the market after being taken off the market back in October 2010. With its new list price of $244,900, a $40,000 drop from its original $289,900 in June of 2010, this home has positioned itself to sell.

522 Creekside is back on the market after being under contract. This “for sale by owner” property has the longest days on market of 232 days. The list price is still $250,000.

233 Crepe Myrtle is back on the market at a new sales price of $275,000. This home has nice swimming pool and shows relatively well. I suspect the new lower sales price will interest buyers who want a pool.

506 Royal Oak Drive ($290,000), 439 Teagarden CT ($306,900)and 637 Sundown Way ($329,500) are new to the market at bat-your-eye prices.

Under contract

528 Chalk Hill is technically new to market since my last update, however this listing went under contract in 16 days. Way to go my fellow Ebby agent! This home is great of example of price, location and condition helping a home to sell in the least amount of time.

634 Waters Edge Way is still pending

Sold!

705 Twin Valley sold for $179,900

809 Morningside Trail sold for $257,500

521 Wildwood Drive sold for $270,900

510 Wildwood Drive sold for $347,303

 For a market analysis of the Maxwell Creek Community, click  For Sale3.16.11

(This information is my professional opinion and not that of my Broker Ebby Halliday Realtors, Inc. and is not meant to solicit houses under contract by other brokers)

Openings!

It’s so nice to have places to shop  and visit within a few  miles. I wish we were getting boutiques and unique shops. I’m not complaining because the new stores mean job creation and more money spent in the area (and a bigger tax base). It also means more traffic. But hey, we are getting our major roads widened to handle the traffic. But then we lose the “life at your pace” feel that is Murphy’s slogan.  But we gain convenience and visitors who think going to Wylie/Murphy is going to the city…I will stop right there.

Welcome to the new additions to Murphy and the surrounding area:

DollarTree – now open

Tuesday Morning – Opens March 1

Kohl’s – Opens March 6

Wylie Recreation Center – Now Open

For Sale, Under Contract, Sold! – February 21, 2011

Have you noticed that Ebby signs are popping up like Spring flowers in the neighborhood? We have 20 percent of the listings in Maxwell Creek. If you know any of our neighbors who plan to list their home, let me know. I will be happy to place an Ebby sign in their yard.

Under Contract

Congratulations to our neighbor at 522 Creekside.  After 199 days, their home is under contract. These sellers are “for sale by owner” and this the second time this home has been on the market.

Sold!

400 Crepe Myrtle’s sale finalized at a price of $230,000 for 2787 square feet.

Hopefully the neighborhood comps will get stronger now that the Spring selling season is here.

For a complete listing of Maxwell Creek’s listings, pendings and solds click For Sale 2.21.11

Maxwell Creek in Murphy For Sale, Under Contract, Sold! 2-1-2011

NEW TO THE MARKET

Four homes have been listed in the past week:

408 Post Oake Trl   4/3.1/3-car garage  3,454 sq. ft.    $259,900 (2002)

537 Maize Rd            4/3.1-3-car garage  3,378 sq. ft. $362,322 (new construction)

616 Chalk Hill Ln      4/4.1/3-car garage  3,795 sq. ft.  $366,978  (new construction)

602 Waters Edge Wy  5/4.1/3-car garage 3,814 sq.ft. $370,355 (new construction)

 

REDUCED

308 Post Oak reduced from $299,000 to $293,900

 

UNDER CONTRACT

Congratulations to the sellers of 809 Morningside Trail. This 5/3.1/2-car garge home listed for $265,000 went under contract in 17 days!

MAXWELL CREEK FULL MARKET ANALYSIS

Click CMA 2.1.11 for the full neighborhood listing detail

The snow people of Maxwell Creek

The first snowfall of the season on January 9th brought out the inner sculptor of many of the neighbors. Families and friends joined forces to build  snow people for all to enjoy.  Some neighbors have real talent for snow carving. Here are a few of the “flaky” friends

408 Post Oak

315 Post Oak

 

405 Brookmere

620 Candlewood

620 Candlewood

204 Crepe Myrtle

217 Crepe Myrtle

216 Crepe Myrtle

409 Crepe Myrtle

440 Creekside

812 Hunters Glen

721 Rosewood