COUNT ON CROSS… keep you informed!


To increase the odds of a quick, well-priced sale, make the effort to get your home viewer ready.  It is important when selling a home you do a few minor improvements that can be extremely persuasive when it comes to appealing to buyers.  Buyers need to envision the homes as his or hers, not yours.  You want to try to make your home look less like you and more like a new house.  Doing the simple and inexpensive things can speed the sale of your home and ensure a fair selling price.


1.  DO A THOROUGH CLEANING:  It should go without saying, dust bunnies and dirty windows are going to be turnoffs to most buyers.  They are looking to buy a “new” house, so any signs lack of upkeep will be viewed negative.  It’s worth hiring a service to clean carpeting and remove stains from upholstery.

2.  UPDATE THE BATH:  If your toilet seat is worn, stained or dated, put in a new one (the cost is about $30 and the job takes less than 10 minutes).  Replace the shower curtain and liner.  Re-caulk around the tub, when this job is done right it will score lots of points with prospective buyers.

3.  IMPROVE THE LIGHT:  Everyone loves light, so make sure draperies are open and replace missing or dim light bulbs.  If your compact fluorescent lights have dimmed over time, replace them.  When showing the home turn on all lights and open all windows, even in the middle of the day.

4.  CLEAR OUT CLUTTER:  Get serious about throwing out or donating stuff you don’t need.  Closets, and cabinets should have space and not be packed full.  Remove unnecessary and unused furniture from rooms to help make rooms look larger.  You are getting ready to move so start packing all of the knickknacks and personal items.

5.  PAINT OVER RISKY COLOR CHOICES:  If your bedroom is purple or your living room is orange, cover it up with a nice light beige.  Even if your house is already painted in neutral colors, consider repainting rooms where the walls and ceilings are stained or faded.  Nothing makes rooms look new like a fresh coat of paint and it’s one of the most affordable ways to update your space.


All of these examples are from homes using the same furniture they already had.

before after 7




before after 1—————————————————————————————————————————————

before after 5—————————————————————————————————————————————–

before after3—————————————————————————————————————————————-

before after2—————————————————————————————————————————————–

before after 4—————————————————————————————————————————————-

before after 6Contact the Cross Group for help on getting your home ready to sell….




Deborah Nickelson, of Antioch, is the new owner of Scends Deux restaurant in Antioch, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nickelson is taking over the Bases

Deborah Nickelson, of Antioch, is the new owner of Scends Deux restaurant in Antioch, CA
The Bases Loaded restaurant in Antioch has a new owner and with that brings many changes.  Deborah Nickelson of Antioch is the new owner of Scends Deux restaurant.  The restaurant at the corner of G street and West 4th street is scheduled to have a grand opening on August 30th.
The new owner believes her family’s time-tested menu and experience in the industry will be the recipe for success.  Debora Nickelson’s Cajun-soul food eatery, Scends deux is slated for a soft opening on Saturday and a grand opening on Aug. 30.


I would like to introduce you to my newest listing is at 1555 Willow Lake Road in Discovery Bay.



This home is over 2700sqft on a large lot overlooking the Discovery Bay Marina


4 bedrooms with a huge bonus room and 2 bathrooms


Beautiful eastern exposure views


Large back deck


Updated kitchen


Custom cabinets with pull outs


Kitchen family room combo with fireplace


Upgraded master bathroom with jet tub


3 car extra deep garage and side yard access


For more info and to have pictures and video sent to your phone call 888-881-6801 enter home code 21880#

sign rider


Contact me with any questions or to schedule a showing of this home.

Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services



Nascar Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli Sells Mansion for $4.85 Million

Nascar crew chief Greg Zipadelli is finally looking at his mansion on Lake Norman from the rear-view mirror.

Zipadelli, now the competition director for Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing, has sold his massive estate in Mooresville, NC.  Originally listed for $6.8 million back in August 2013, the home ultimately closed in mid-March for nearly $2 million less than the decorated crew chief’s original ask of $4.85 million.  He paid just $1.175 million for the property back in May of 2007.

Built in 2008, the Tudor-style mansion sits on a nearly one-acre lot overlooking Lake Norman and has a total of five bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half baths. Highlights include mansion-standard amenities such as a gourmet kitchen, formal living areas and a wine cellar, along with a few unique perks. A decked out man cave comes complete with a wet bar, video game arcades and a pool table; and Zipadelli’s personal office sits adjacent to his garage.  Outside, the scenery of Lake Norman takes center stage from a wide patio area that includes an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, and a pool with a hot tub. A pathway leads from the home to a private dock on the water.


Hayden Pannetierre sold her Hollywood home for $3.075 million


After settling into Nashville, TN, earlier this year, actress Hayden Pannetierre has officially bid adieu to the Hollywood scene—at least, as far as her home in Los Angeles is® has confirmed that the television and film star has parted ways with her house in the celebrity-preferred Hollywood Hills West neighborhood. News of Pannetierre’s home sale was first reported by TMZ and records show the property changed hands in an off-market deal for $3.075 million in early February.  Pannetierre paid $2.635 million for the property back in March of 2008.

Built in 1962, the stylish residence has been updated to include designer finishes, wood flooring, recessed lighting and other luxury touches. An open floor plan of 3,120 square feet contains three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and an office.  Outside, 180-degree views of Hollywood take center stage thanks to a large, entertaining space with a pool.

Earlier this year, Pannetierre purchased a home in the country music capital after two years of working in the city on the ABC hit series “Nashville.” In addition to her Nashville home, Pannetierre reportedly owns a penthouse apartment in Hollywood, FL.


Gwyneth Paltrow pays $14 million for new home with Chris Martin® has confirmed that actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, have purchased Lautner’s Garwood Residence in Point Dume. The couple paid $14 million for the home.

Presiding over a little more than an acre overlooking over Little Dume, the Garwood Residence sits hidden from the outside world behind tropical landscaping that provides the perfect cover for the celebrity haven.  A primitive covered pathway leads the way to the one-acre summit, where the 3,650-square-foot home sits. Three bedroom suites, a chef’s kitchen and a media room have perfectly framed views of the ocean through rows of floor-to-ceiling windows, while outer buildings with separate yoga and art studios offer places to escape for the creative type. For the sports enthusiast, there is a custom, full-size tennis court designed by the legendary tennis player and art dealer Gene Mako.  Outside, the landscaping design is punctuated by jungle gardens filled with fruit trees, a pebble-stone pool, and an outdoor master steam room and rain shower. A private pathway leads to the shore and a protected cove that presents the perfect place for boating visitors to drop anchor.


Vince Vaughn Buys $6.5 million home from Trojan’s football coach

In early March we learned that the former USC Trojans football coach had sold his Manhattan Beach, CA  7,300-square-foot custom Craftsman home to Vince Vaughn for $6.5 million.

Built by Nick Schaar in 2002, the rustic-contemporary Craftsman enjoys a half-acre lot and has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The grounds include a saltwater swimming pool and spa, a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen, and a guest house.  Inside, vaulted ceilings and a wealth of windows give the home an airy feel. An enormous living room is highlighted by a stone fireplace. The country kitchen comes complete with commercial-grade appliances, a center island and a breakfast nook that faces toward the backyard. The master suite features a private sitting area, a pair of walk-in closets, a steam shower and a spa room.


Zac Efron Lists His Home For Sale $2.849 million

Newly listed in the Hollywood Hills West area of Los Angeles is a home owned by the film and television actor. Zac Efron is asking $2.849 million for the Case Study Program home designed by esteemed architect Rodney Walker.

Built in 1947, the home of the “High School Musical” star has two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and 2,400 square feet of living space. Telescoping walls of glass add an organic dimension to the open floor plan, and open the interiors to a large deck and impressive views. Shaded by mature trees, grounds spanning one-third acre offer a relaxed state of living with various patios and an infinity pool with a private cabana.


Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services




If you are like most couples, your home is one of your most valuable assets.  It is important to know what your options are and how to protect yourself.  I specialize in helping couples decide what is best for their unique situation.  It is important to contact a Realtor to help guide you through the process.



1.  Do I have to sell to divide equity?

Not necessarily.  The equity in the house can be shared in a number of ways.  Selling is one option, but a buyout could also be possible.  If you opt for a buyout, it is important to remember that removing one spouse from the deed does not relieve them from the liabilities and responsibilities of the mortgage loan.

2.  Who is responsible for paying the home mortgage?

A separation or divorce agreement may specify that one spouse make the mortgage payments but if both spouses’ names are on the mortgage, both are liable if the paying spouse defaults on the loan.  The only way to protect yourself from being liable for the mortgage debt is if the other spouse qualifies and resonances the loan into only their name.

3. What if we owe more than the home is worth?

If you owe more money on your mortgage than the home is worth and it is not likely that either spouse will be able to pay for the home, a short sale might be the best option for you.  In a short sale, the mortgage lender agrees to allow the home to be sold for less than is owed on the mortgage.


Contact me for all you real estate related questions.

Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate




Luxury country living is exemplified in this exceptional rural estate, custom built in 2007 . This spacious 6 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom 7476sqft estate sits on 12.28 flat acres. Kitchen-family room combination, large upstairs entertainment area, huge game room with full wet bar, loft, home office, etc.  100% irrigated and fenced!. 6 stall horse barn, 4 car garage, 1 bedroom in-law suite attached to main home, 3 bedroom 2 bathroom separate home in the rear of property.  If you are interested in more information on this home contact me at

























Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate



New home for sale in Discovery Bay.  This home is on the water on a premium lot…..  3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom, 1524sqft  Offered at $520,000.












Contact Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services

Buying – Selling – Relocating – Investing

COUNT ON CROSS…..for all your real estate needs!


If you are thinking about buying a home it is important to contact a real estate agent now!


Realtor’s have community knowledge and vendor information that can help you get ready for your move.  If you need a mortgage lender, or neighborhood information, a real estate agent will help you in the step by step process of purchasing a new home.



A few info graphs for home buyers:


Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services


Buying – Selling – Relocating – Investing

COUNT ON CROSS….for all your real estate needs!


If you are thinking about selling a home it is important to contact a real estate agent now!


Realtor’s have community knowledge and vendor information that can help you get ready for your move.  Realtor’s can give you information about the local market to help you decide if now is the best time for you to make a move.




A few home seller info graphs:


Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services

Buying – Selling – Relocating – Investing

COUNT ON CROSS…..for all your real estate needs!


If you watch Modern Family you know that Phil Dunphy is a real estate agent. The home the Dunphy family lives in is currently for sale but he’s not selling it.


10336 Dunleer Drive in Los Angeles has been listed for sale at $2.35 million. The home is a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathrooms, mahogany floors, marble countertops.

The house is used for all the external shots of the Dunphy household. The inside looks completely different though, as those scenes are filmed on soundstages.  The home’s current owner says he collects a nice fee from ABC every time they use the set. The new owners will get to negotiate their own contract with the studio.

Claire’s “Slow Down Your Neighbors” campaign for neighborhood caution must have worked, because the community is recognized for being safe for kids and spacious.   When the home was new in 2006 – three years before the show – it sold for less than two million.

A few Philism’s for you (some of the best real estate related puns from the show:


Every Realtor is just a ninja with a blazer. The average burglar breaks in and leaves clues all over the place, but not me. I’m completely clueless.

You haven’t seen a commission since you joined the Navy.

I haven’t sold a house all month. Do you see me saying “I’m done?” Never. Because there is no “done” in Dunphy.

I always follow the ABC’s of real estate….. Always Be Closing



If you, or someone you know, purchased a home with a FHA or low down payment loan, you are probably paying a monthly mortgage insurance premium fee.   With home values on the rise you may have enough equity in your home to now remove the mortgage insurance fee.  Contact me at for more information.

Information provided by:


If you are thinking about purchasing a new home, you might not always know where to start.  

10 things to know when looking for a new home.

  1. Find a great Realtor
  2. Get pre-approved with your real estate agents preferred lender
  3. Find what loan is best for you
  4. Figure out what your maximum purchase price will be
  5. Determine your wants and needs in a new home
  6. Search what neighborhood fits your needs and your purchase price
  7. Find the perfect home for you
  8. Know what you are signing
  9. Protect yourself through the escrow process
  10. Move into your dream home!

Contact Kari Cross with Intero Real Estate at with all your real estate questions!


In our homes we are always looking for extra space.  Consider using the area under your stairs to fill a need you might have in your home.  Below are 15 stair storage ideas to inspire you to find the best fit for your home.


























13.  DAY BED






What is under your stairs?

Provided by:

  • Kari Cross
  • Intero Real Estate Services
  • 925-584-1640


I have been a real estate agent for over 15 years but I don’t sell homes!  

Over the years I have worked with may different buyers and sellers but it is not my job to sell a home….. I guide people through the process that will fulfill their personal dreams or needs, I assist people prepare for the largest financial decision of their lives, and I offer ongoing home information needed throughout the years they live in the home.

no homes

STARTING A FAMILY:  Working with a newly married couple looking for the perfect home in the right neighborhood close to a great school so they can start a family….It is not my job to sell this couple a home, my job is to help this couple with their dream to start a family.  Years after the sell when I visit the family in their home and watch how their kids have grown, I know that my job is much more important than the house, my job affects people’s lives and I couldn’t be more proud of that.

INVESTORS:  Working with many investors…..It is not my job to sell them a home, my job is to help them expand their business portfolio.  Finding a home for investors and assisting them with finding the perfect tenant.   In the recent years many of my clients have decided to invest their money in real estate and I provide them with the information needed to make the best financial decision they can.

RELOCATION:  I help people relocating to a new area get familiar with a neighborhood/city/state….. Moving to a new area is very stressful but I provide clients with the information needed to make the transition as smooth as possible.  When relocating to a new area every client will have different needs that are important to them and I help them through the process.  I am not selling them a home, I am helping them get familiar with a neighborhood, city or state.

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP:  I assist people going through a financial hardship…. When someone is going through financial struggle or on the brink of loosing their home it is a very difficult time.  I give my clients the information needed so they know how to navigate through the process.  I advise them of all the different options and help them determine what the best decision is for their situation.  I walk them through the process and I don’t sell their home, I help them get through a stressful financial struggle.

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS:   I help first time home buyers fulfill the American dream of owning a home… When making the biggest financial decision of your life it is important to have someone you trust guiding you along the way.  I provide my first time home buyers with all the information they need so they know that they are making the right decision for them.  I help my first time buyers figure out what they are looking for, what they want and what they need, and walk them through the entire process.

DIVORCE:  I help couples going through a divorce communicate about important home decisions…. When helping divorcing couples I help both husband and wife make important decisions about the home they are selling as well as assist them both in finding new homes.  The process can be very emotional, stressful and frustrating and the communication I provide helps both the husband and wife get through the process.

CHANGING HOME NEEDS:  Many of my clients need to downsize after the children move out or move into a larger home when they have more children,  When my clients need to sell their current home and buy a new home, they are concerned about moving from one home to the next.  I work with multiple parties to ensure that the client has a seamless move from the old home to the new home.

ESCROW:  The escrow process can be confusing.  I provide information and guidance for my clients to assist them through the escrow process.  I help my clients navigate the paperwork with confidence assurance throughout the entire escrow process.

LOAN INFORMATION AND REFINANCE:  I provide lender information for both clients looking for new homes or wanting to re-finance their current loan…. giving my clients information is a huge part of my job.  When you are purchasing a home or refinancing your loan years after, I help my clients obtain the loan information needed.

AREA REFERRALS:  I offer referrals to contractors and service providers in the area….  Throughout the time people live in their home they sometime need the advise of a local contractor or service provider.  I offer my clients references that may have been used by other past clients by keeping a referral database.

Just like in most jobs, as a Realtor I wear many hats.  Working with people and helping them through the real estate process is my passion!   I don’t sell homes…..I assist buyers and sellers with their real estate dreams, financial questions, lender information, etc.

I look forward to assisting you with your real estate needs……..

  • Kari Cross
  • Intero Real Estate Services
  • 925-584-1640


In the past few years the housing market has had many changes and RealtyTimes recently predicted some of the top housing trends for the California Real Estate market for 2014:

  • Mortgage rates will go up
  • Home values and prices will increase
  • Fewer investors buying up properties and more buyers looking for primary residences
  • Seller’s market will continue but cool off
  • Home buyer’s need to start searching

real estate trend


Mortgage rates are predicted to rise, but not too far, up to 5% or 5.25% in 2014. The
Federal Reserve will begin tapering soon and the greater the reduction in Federal government purchases, especially of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), the more rates are likely to grow.

It’s a great time to buy now because mortgage rates are still below the historical average so if you’re thinking of making a move, 2014 is the perfect time to jump into the market and start looking! With low rates and increasing home values, now’s the time to buy in order to make a smart investment for your future.

Speaking of mortgages, home buyers also need to be prepared for stricter qualifications on home loans. Come January 10th lenders will be required to prove borrowers’ ability to repay a loan according to new “qualified mortgage” standards. An important statistic to keep in mind is the maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43% that borrowers will need to qualify.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has also announced plans to reduce the maximum loan limits for conventional conforming loans some time in 2014.

If you are considering buying a home in 2014, contact your local Realtor now to make sure you know how these changes will affect you. 


Predictions show that home values and prices will rise in 2014.  Moderate predictions are clocking in at a 6-8% increase for California markets whereas others foresee a 10-15% increase.

According to Bill Plattos, Execute Vice President of First Team Real Estate, “2013 has begun the upward progression of the real estate market in California. In the next 3 to 4 years prices and sales will continue to rise bringing us back up to a peak.”


Investors swoop in when home prices bottom out like they have in the past few years, seeking foreclosed homes and short sales to snatch up.  However, as our economy strengthens and home values come back up in 2014 there are fewer distressed homes on the market to interest investors.  The rise in home values in and upswing in the economy will also make it easier for current home owners who’ve built up equity to afford a down payment and enter the market in search of a bigger and better home to fit their needs.

Fewer investors also means less price competition and fewer bidding wars for buyers shopping for primary residences.  2014 will be the prime time to buy and sell for home owners who are ready to move on to a better neighborhood, larger home or location offering a more convenient commute.


The seller’s market will continue in 2014 for California and on a national level.  However, it will be much cooler than the one we’ve witnessed over the past two years. “The market will get closer to normal – or as normal as the market can be,” says Plattos. “It will continue to cool and inventory will come up to a moderate level, not too low or too high.”


With the seller’s market leveling in 2014, that means buyers need to be realistic about the home they can afford.   Home buyers, now is the time to start searching the best deals in real estate in order to get the most for your money.



Provided by:

  • Kari Cross
  • Intero Real Estate
  • 925-584-1640

JUST LISTED: 1309 Roselinda Ct.

1309 Roselinda Ct.Roselinda.Front
New home just listed for sale in Brentwood.  4 Bedroom, 3 Full Bathrooms, Original model home with wood floors, plantation shutters throughout, One bedroom and bathroom downstairs, two lofts, upstairs laundry room with sink, located on a court….Must see!  

Click the link to view the virtual tour and see more 

View the Virtual Tour for 1309 Roselinda Ct., Brentwood, CA
Schedule a Showing
Brentwood Homes For Sale
Search All Homes For Sale
Free List of Foreclosed Homes For Sale
Avoid Foreclosure
What is Your Home Worth?
Homes Close to Where You Work
Kari Cross
Intero Real Estate
Schedule a Showing!
MLS#: 10639848
Licensed In:
License #:
L2L Virtual Tours


So I love Pinterest….BUT

I’m pretty sure it is responsible for many marriages ending in divorce….

and mine might be next!


What kind of people can actually “DO IT YOURSELF ?”  Is it really DIY ?

If my husband comes home from work again and I say to him “look what I found on Pinterest today”, I might have to look for a new place to live.  I have to say I have found many clever crafts on Pinterest and I have made some amazing meals that my family loves.  The problem is my percentage of good to bad is really low, and getting lower.  I have two really bad Pinterest finds and the second one might make my husband divorce me.

It started small.  I went grocery shopping and made purchased the food to put together a month of crock pot meals.  I worked all day and made the meals just like I found on Pinterest and it was totally awesome.  I won’t have to cook late at night, I will come home in the afternoon and the house will smell wonderful.  Everything was wonderful until we sat down to eat them and they were all really bad, so bad I had to make a second dinner for the family.  I have learned that my family is obviously very picky about the food we should stick to the food we are used to.


Then I decided to get crafty.  When remodeling my daughters bedroom she wanted something different and cool so obviously we went on Pinterest for ideas.  We saw several ideas that we loved and we decided on an EASY project.  Well, it looked like an easy project.  Half way through the project I found out the truth…. it was not a DIY project at all.  What kind of person can “Do It Yourself ?”   I thought we would get some old wood pallets paint them white and stack them to make an elevated bed and L-shaped coach.  In my head it looks really cool and super easy.  What it didn’t say on the website was:

  1. Not all pallets are the same size and shape   What?  How was I supposed to know that?
  2. You have to sand the pallets before you paint them.  That was not a step I planned in my head.
  3. You have to use a paint sprayer to get the paint inside the holes of the pallet.

I went from throwing some paint on some pallets and stacking them against the wall to needing my husband to cut, sand, and paint the pallets…… see how the divorce scenario came to play?  It is still an awesome idea….. just not the DIY project I thought it was.  (I will have to share pictures when it is done, only half way finished at this point)


P.S.  I know several people who have made the crock pot meals and they loved them….I also know that many projects are actually DIY, but some should be labeled Do IT With A Team Of Experts.





If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t just pick a real estate agent that will list your home for sale.  I can give your home the maximum exposure needed to put your home in front of more buyers.  I have a proven 16 point marketing plan designed to get your home sold.

Contact me today to get more information on my 16 Point Marketing Plan and my Communication Guarantee!


The October 2013 Numbers Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes For Sale
Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes for Sale have seen steady price improvement month to month as well as year to yearas inventory levels remainlow.The Numbers This MonthDISCOVERY BAY, CA47 Homes are currently pending15 Homes have sold September 1- October 31, 2013

93 Homes are currently available


159 Homes are currently pending

13Homes that have sold September 1 – October 31, 2013

135 Homes are currently available for sale

This Months Most Expensive
The most expensive of all Discovery Bay, CA Homes for sale this month is listed at $1,199,000 and includes 4 bedrooms, 2.5bath and has 2,700 sqft. I toured this home last week and what impressed me the most was the view. This home is on the water and also has a pool in the U-dock.(schedule a showing).

This Months Least Expensive
The least expensive of all Discovery Bay, CA homes for sale came in at $229,000 and would be a great home for a first time homebuyer or an investor looking for a rental property with positive cash flow. It has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with 1,608 sqft and is a condo on the water(schedule a showing).

This Months Must See
There were some great Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes for Sale to consider for this months ‘Must See home tour.
A home listed on Wayfarer Drive listed at$499,888 is this months winner. It is a custom home located on the Discovery Bay Golf Course with amazing views. The home has been completly upgraded throughout and is move in ready.(schedule a showing).

Click to see the full report

Below are highlight properties for The October 2013 Numbers Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes For Sale. See more at the full report:
Highlights Maps & Local Schools
Status: Active
5650 Edgeview
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Active
4700 Discovery Point
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Make an Offer
5671 Starboard Dr.

Status: Pending
2454 San Simeon Ct
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Just Sold
5551 Arcadia Circle
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Just Sold
2414 Santa Cruz
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

See the Full The October 2013 Numbers Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes For Sale
Search All Homes For SaleDiscovery Bay Homes For SaleBrentwood Homes For SaleFree List of Foreclosed Homes For SaleAvoid Foreclosure

What is Your Home Worth?

Homes Close to Where You Work

Kari Cross
Intero Real Estate
Information valid as of October 30, 2013. Please contact us for the most current information and status of these properties.


I recently published a book!


Before, During and After


Over the years I have worked with many different buyers and sellers and every situation is different.  Some clients like to know everything that is going to happen all up front so they know what is coming and others would rather just be lead along the way.  Depending on your personal situation, this is a perfect book for anyone thinking of buying or selling a home.  I wrote an easy to read, step by step account of what will happen during the buying or selling process.  Although every transaction has different specifications, the time line and process is always the same.

The book even has an additional section that helps both buyers and sellers prepare for the move including packing tips.  Although the book was written so someone with no real estate knowledge will easily understand everything, the back of the book has a complete glossary of real estate terms to help you navigate the real estate language.

Any of my clients that will buy or sell a home using me will receive a FREE copy of  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN BUYING OR SELLING A HOME…Before, During and After


The book can also be purchased on (search Kari Cross).


Writing this book was a long process and I am so excited to say that I finally completed it.  I look forward to sharing this tool with my clients and hope it helps remove some of the stress that comes when embarking on one of the biggest transactions most people make.

For more information:

Kari Cross

Intero Real Estate Services



Rock singer Kid Rock is selling his 5 Bedroom, 5 Bathroom, 8,305sqft Balinese-style mansion in Malibu.


28830 Bison Ct.


5 Bedrooms

5 Full Bathrooms

Built in 2002

8,305 sqft


The private oasis features the quintessential California fusion of seamless indoor/outdoor living, and an enormous open kitchen and dining room.  A tropical sanctuary located on idyllic Point Dume, a private/gated custom designed home with beautiful executed details throughout.  A charming guest house overlooks the pool with shower.  Riviera 3 Beach key

Awesome Pool and guest house


Huge Kitchen and Dining room


 Master Bedroom and Bathroom


 Large sitting area and

Bedrooms with full length sliding windows/doors


 For more information Contact

Kari Cross

Intero Real Estate



The home tour has something for everyone……..but, if you are thinking about buying or selling a home make sure you call to see how you can participate in this years Home Tour.

The Home Tour is a day of fun, FREE activities for the whole family

Saturday September 15

Home Tour 11:00-3:30

Concert at the maria 4:00-7:00

Lions Club Motorcycle Run and Car Show

home tour

Showcasing Discovery Bay homes and lifestyle the Home Tour starts at the Yacht Club with music, food, fun and prizes.  Tour all that Discovery Bay has to offer with homes on the water, on the golf course, as well as gated and non-gated homes.

SELLERS:  If you are thinking about selling your home, call now to get your home on the market and included in this years home tour… don’t want to miss out on the added exposure the home tour offers!

BUYERS:  Make an appointment today to get a sneak peek of this years homes for sale and help to find exactly what you are looking for!

  • 925-584-1640
  • Facebook:  Kari Cross
  • Website:
  • Author:  What you need to know when buying or selling a home

WOULD YOU RATHER BUY A HOME FOR $200,000 OR $150,000? ….you might be surprised with your answer



What if I told you $200,000 would be better and that if you are interested in purchasing a new home in the near future… will be better than later.


Many people look at only the current Real Estate Market conditions when deciding if they should purchase a home or not, but the most important thing to look at right now is INTEREST RATES.  In California interest rates are at an all time low and some people forecast rates to increase in time.  If interest rates do increase the home you can afford to purchase today will be “out of your price range” tomorrow.

(everyone’s specific situation will vary, but this is an example of one client)

Current interest Rate 3.25% – Monthly Payment $875.00 – Purchase price $200,000

interest Rate Example 5.25% – Monthly Payment $875.00 – Purchase price $150,000

With the above example…..if you would like to stay with a monthly payment of $875.00 you can no longer afford the $200,000 home.

With the unknown interest rate future and home prices beginning to increase, if you are thinking of buying a home….make sure you call today to review your options.



The Bloomberg News posted an article on October 14, 2012 that shows promise for the California housing market and it echo’s what I see as a local Realtor.

SAN FRANCISCO — California, the state that led the nation into the housing boom and bust with some of the most reckless subprime mortgage lending, is now leading the way out.
A plunge in new defaults in California helped push U.S. foreclosure filings to the lowest level in almost five years, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of home-loan data. Across the country, 531,576 properties received notices of default, auction or repossession in the third quarter, down 13 percent from a year earlier and the lowest since 2007. One in every 248 households got a filing, RealyTrac said.
California, the birthplace of subprime mortgage lending, saw an explosion of foreclosures thanks to such industry innovations as “no-doc” loans that required no proof of income. The state’s recovery is mirrored by U.S. home values that rose 1.2 percent in July from a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case Shiller index of property prices in 20 major cities. It was the second straight 12-month advance and the biggest jump for the real estate gauge since August 2010.

“We’re starting to see improvement in some of the hardest hit areas, strong demand, competitive bidding on properties and rising prices,” Sean O’Toole, chief executive officer of, which tracks sales of foreclosed properties, said in a telephone interview.

The gains are moving in tandem with foreclosure declines as lenders control the flow of bank-owned homes that come to market, crimping inventory and pushing up prices, said Daren Blomquist of Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.

Initial filings in September fell in 31 states, led by California, the most-populous U.S. state, which dropped to a 69- month low. Defaults dropped 45 percent from a year earlier, 34 percent in Arizona, 22 percent in Michigan and 21 percent in Georgia, RealtyTrac said.

Home sales in California’s biggest population centers climbed in August to the highest level since 2006, according to real estate research firm DataQuick. Median house and condominium prices in six Southern California counties jumped 11 percent from a year earlier to $309,000, while values in nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area gained 11 percent to $410,000, the San Diego-based company said.

California home sales probably will increase 1.3 percent to 530,000 units in 2013 for the third consecutive year of gains, the Los Angeles-based Realtors group forecasts. Estimated sales of 523,300 in 2012 would represent a 5.1 percent jump from 2011.
“Pent-up demand and first-time buyers will compete with investors and all-cash offers on lower-priced properties, while multiple offers and aggressive bidding will continue to be the norm in mid- to upper-price range homes,” according to Appleton-Young’s forecast.

If you are on the fence about buying or selling a home, make sure you contact your local Realtor and know what is happening in your area.  Don’t let the market pass you by.


The town of Discovery Bay is having an event for both local residents as well as people who might not be that familiar with Discovery Bay.  This will be a “must attend” event you won’t want to miss!


The day will start off with A GIANT OPEN HOUSE (The Discovery Bay Home Tour) with a chance to win a flat screen TV, a trip to Napa and more.  Along with the home tour you can also enjoy a FREE concert, a car show, and a motorcycle run, and Boardwalk day.

Discovery Bay Home Tour:   The 2nd annual Discovery Bay Home Tour will start and finish at the Boardwalk Grill Marina parking lot and will have a variety of open homes to tour throughout the community – on deep water, lakes, and in the Country Club.  The tour opens at 11am and will stay open until 3:30pm.  Start at the Discovery Bay Marina, enjoy some music activities for the whole family, get your map of the homes and then see the homes currently available in every part of Discovery Bay.  Make sure you enter to win some of the great prizes up for grab!

Free Concert by the Bay!   The Discovery Bay Lions Club will be hosting another great free concert at the end of the YachtHarbor. Bring your lawn chairs and grab your spot early for this popular evening, featuring three hours of great live music and fun for the entire family. The free concert starts at 4:30 PM. Food, beer and wine will be available, with 100% of proceeds going directly back into our community where it is needed most.

 Car Show at the Marina!   The Discovery Bay Lions annual car show is a popular event, and is open to all makes and models of cars and trucks. This show is getting larger and receiving more attention every year. Prizes will be awarded for Best of Show (selected by the Show committee), Hottest Hot Rod (selected by the ECC Fire Department), and Most Likely to Get A Ticket (selected by the Sheriff’s Department). The show runs 10am – 3:30pm.

 Motorcycle Poker Run:    The annual DB Lions Motorcycle Poker Run will start from the Boardwalk Grill, then make a few quick stops heading into the Sierra Foothills. Breakfast and lunch is included in the registration fee.

 Marina Boardwalk Day!: The Discovery Bay Marina Boardwalk will host a new line-up of local artists and vendors, along with wine tasting and new things to see and do, at this month’s Boardwalk Day. Boardwalk merchants will feature some spectacular sidewalk specials.

Don’t miss this one day only event that has something for everyone! 

Over 25 vendors, food, music, jumpy houses for the kids. 

Bring your family and friends to this FREE event

…and you might be the one that walks away with some great prizes!


The housing recovery is well under way, although the peak summer sales season seems to be fading. A report last week showed an overall drop in inventory at the national level, which has contributed to rising prices in several markets across the country.
The lack of inventory is actually creating a housing boom-like feel for those buyers at the lower end of the market. This is because the low inventory can’t keep up with demand, and therefore is creating multiple-bid situations, which are driving up prices.
Oakland, Calif., led the nation with the largest decline in inventory, which was down 59.3% from last year. Other cities that had at least a 40% decline in listings from a year ago were Riverside-San Bernardino, Stockton, San Francisco, San Jose, Bakersfield and Fresno – all in California – and Seattle.
What do you do as a buyer who’s up against multiple bids for every home you’re interested in buying? There are five rules of the road here:
1. Make your offer as solid as possible. If you know that your offer will be up against others, make things as simple as possible.  Try to write an offer with all the standard fees paid or even better.

2.  Get prequalified for a loan. Sellers will be more interested in talking to buyers they know will pull through with a loan. Show them by visiting a lender or mortgage professional before you start house hunting. Get prequalified for a loan and your offer will be much stronger.
3.  Have as much downpayment and closing cash as you can. This is common sense, but worth noting. A higher downpayment these days will get you a much better loan and also will likely put you at the front of the bidding line above buyers with less cash on hand.
4.  Be patient. You may not get the first house you fight for. It’s OK. Inventory may be tight, but there is a whole population of sellers out there who’ve been waiting to sell. They’re watching the market and will come around, creating more homes to choose from.

5.  Choose the right Realtor. Make sure your Realtor who’s helped buyers buy homes in the area in recent months.  The real estate market is always changing and Realtors can help you to understand the market in your area. 

If you have any questions, please let me know.

COUNT ON CROSS…..for all your Real Estate needs!


The Hilton 4th of July fireworks will come early this year.

For those of you who don’t know….every year the Hilton family has a huge firework show set off a barge in the middle of the delta water. Some boats show up over a week in advance to get the perfect spot before the 5,000 boats show up to enjoy the show. Boats line up to enjoy a huge party followed by an amazing firework show. With the boats lined up around the barge to watch it is as if the fireworks are falling right on top of everyone and the sound echoes over the water making it an unbelievable show.

The show will be held on July 3rd at Mandeville Tip on the Delta.

*for those who can’t make the Delta party, Antioch and Stockton have firework shows the night of the 4th.


Plenty of studies over the years have shown that watching too much TV is bad for your health – physically and mentally. Not only are you sitting and inactive for long periods of time, but the brain becomes passive and often disengaged.

However, TV can be menacing in other ways too, like in the form of misinformation.

Reports this past week have revealed that HGTV’s popular “House Hunters” show is likely mostly fabricated. One couple that was featured on the show came forward and said that their story was mostly made up. Maybe that’s not such a surprise, but it’s worth talking about.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the premise is to follow home buyers in their pursuit of buying the perfect home. It aims to capture the dramas that come along with that journey – the aspirations, disappointments and, ultimately, the happy endings.

Since the show is marketed as a reality show and is shot documentary style. While many of us already realize that most “reality” shows on TV are far from it, there’s still a danger in people watching this show and thinking it reflects, in some way, the realities of a typical home purchase.

I feel this is a good example of why consumers need trustworthy agents to set realistic expectations about the real estate process itself far in advance, and also to educate them on the current conditions in their local market. Real estate, like personal finance, has always been one of those things in which people turn to the strangest places for advice. Parents, barbershops, colleagues, friends. Many tend to listen to anecdotes about what went wrong and what went right and take it as pure gospel.

Even though I give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that most were not turning to “House Hunters” as a way of educating themselves on the real estate process or turning to the show for financial advice, I’m glad this story was released. It is a nice reminder that often what we see on TV – even as it’s being touted as “reality” – is, in many cases, fabricated or distorted.

The true reality is that sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t when trying to buy a home. The key is to be prepared, understand the process and the local market, and not let setbacks deter you from your goal of buying the perfect home. Use an experienced agent who knows the local market and you’ll see that, mostly, there’s no drama at all


Studies show that texting while driving is 23 times riskier than using a cell phone.  The same study also showed that talking and listening to a cell phone was just 1.3 times as high as non-distracted driving.  The 1.3 is also the same distraction as listening to the radio and that number goes up when changing the station on the radio.

If people are talking on the phone (just as they would if they had a passanger in the car) they will be unable to text while driving.  When texting most drivers have their eyes off the road for nearly five seconds…..that equates to a driver covering a distance  the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the road.

The truth is drivers have many distractions while driving and I think we all need to be reminded of the importance of driving carefully and paying extra attention when behind the wheel.  Many states have a “hang up and drive” motto but if everyone was on the phone, they wouldn’t be able to respond to any text messages.  If people talked on the phone they would not have a need to text.  If you are singing along to the radio, talking with friends in the car, or talking on the phone….at least you can always have your eyes on the road.  Singing and talking is better than texting any day.

Keep your eyes on the road…..Don’t text and drive!


THANKSGIVING DAY is when we stop and give thanks for all we have……MEMORIAL DAY is when we stop and give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have.


It is the  VETERAN,  not the preacher,  who has given us freedom of religion.

It is  the VETERAN,  not the reporter,   who has given us freedom of the press.

It is  the VETERAN,  not the poet,  who has given us freedom of speech.

It is  the VETERAN,  not the campus organizer,  who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is  the VETERAN,  not the lawyer,  who has given us the right to a fair trial.

 It is  the VETERAN,  not the politician,  Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the  VETERAN who  salutes the Flag,

It is  the VETERAN  who serves  under the Flag,




It is that time of year again….the sun is out and it is time for summer fun.  Don’t forget about all the fun the County Fair brings to town.  Most fair’s have hours of fun at little to no charge.  You can enjoy a day in the sun and depending on which fair you attend you can see live animals, carnival rides, booths, music, and entertainment.

I found the dates for some of the local fair’s you might be interested in.  Check on line for your local fair information.

ALAMEDA COUNTY FAIR –  June 20 – July 8


MARIN COUNTY FAIR – San Rafael, CA – June 30 – July 4

NAPA COUNTY FAIR – Calistoga, CA – June 29 – July 4

SACRAMENTO COUNTY FAIR – Sacramento, CA – May 24 – May 28

See you at the Fair!

SOLD FOR $7,750,000

A penthouse owned by Oprah Winfrey at 207 East 57th Street that sold for $7.75 million was the biggest sale of the week, according to city records in New York.

Current listing information shows the 36th floor spread has 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, 2,530 square feet of glass-wrapped interior space, and an additional 750-ish square foot wrap-around terrace with beautiful city views. twelve-foot high ceiling, opens into an unforgivably slender, chute-like entrance hall that explodes in to a scalene triangle-shaped dining and living space where two long walls of floor-to-ceiling glass with birds-eye views that stretches from the George Washington Bridge, over Central Park, west towards New Jersey and south to the glittering towers of Midtown.

A swinging door in the dining area swings open to a light, bright, modern kitchen finished with flat-fronted cabinetry, charcoal-colored counter tops, and chunky center island.  Two guest/family bedrooms, one with private bathroom the other with access to a hall bath as per the floor plan below, occupy the northeast wing of the airy. A short corridor behind the kitchen and off the entrance hall has a stacked washer/dryer closet and connects to the relatively petite master suite occupies that the southeast wing and includes three walk-in closets (two with windows), a spa-style pooper with jetted tub, separate shower and cubby for the toilet and bee-day.

The Tower provides its residents white glove services that include 24-7 doorman and concierge services, a fully equipped fitness center, thematically designed children’s playrooms, residents only conference rooms, and a beautiful garden area.



Later this week you can own a piece of Facebook.  A document has just been published with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Form 8-A, which confirms that Facebook’s stock has been registered and approved for listing on the Nasdaq.

Facebook is offering 180 million shares of its Class A common stock and the selling stockholders are offering 157.42 million shares of Class A common stock.  Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will personally sell 30.2 million shares for the IPO.  despite this, he will still control the majority of the company: 57.3 percent of voting shares after the IPO.  The company has set a $28 to $35 IPO price range, but many expect Facebook will raise it as the final date draws closer.

Facebook is expected to start trading this week under the “FB” ticker.  Many believe this Friday is the big day….shares will be priced on May 17, with trading beginning on May 18.  Whenever FB makes its way to the Nasdaq….will you be in line to own a share?

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

Facebook, Inc. (the “Registrant”) hereby incorporates by reference the description of its Class A common stock, par value $0.000006 per share, to be registered hereunder contained under the heading “Description of Capital Stock” in the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-179287), as originally filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) on February 1, 2012, as subsequently amended (the “Registration Statement”), and in the prospectus included in the Registration Statement to be filed separately by the Registrant with the Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, which prospectus shall be deemed to be incorporated by reference herein.

The Registrant’s Class A common stock to be registered hereunder has been approved for listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market of The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC under the symbol “FB.”

Whenever FB makes its way to the Nasdaq….will you be in line to own a share?


Prices in many real estate markets may be close to bottoming out….we hope.  So the old adage about buying low may be something to consider if you have a kid who will soon be heading off to college.  The idea is to buy a condo or small home for the kid to live in while attending school.  That way, you’ll avoid paying huge dorm room or apartment prices with no hope of any profit.  And….if you buy a small home with some extra space, you can rent it out to your kid’s friends and offset some of the ownership costs.

Lots of parents have made good money by following this strategy for the four or five years their kids spent in college and then selling the home after graduation.  Of course, the longer you can hold onto the property, the better the odds of cashing out for a profit.  The other key factor to consider is the tax benefits.  Here’s what you need to know…..


The tax rules generally prevent you from deducting losses incurred from owning and renting out a residence that’s used more than a little bit by you or a member of your immediate family.  However, a favorable exception applies when you rent at market rates to a family member who uses the property as his or her principal home.  In this case, you can deduct tax losses from the rental activity (subject to the passive loss rules, which I’ll explain later).  This beneficial loophole is open for you if you buy a condo and rent it out to your college-going child (and roomies, if any) at market rates.

You can deduct the mortgage interest and real-estate taxes.  If you pay mortgage points, you can amortize them over the term of the loan.  You can also write off all the other operating expenses -like utilities, insurance, association fees, repairs and maintenance, and so forth.  As a bonus, you can depreciate the cost of the building (not the land) over 27.5 years, even while it is (we hope) increasing in value.

So where will your poverty-stricken son or daughter get the money to pay you market rent for the home?  The same place he or she would get the cash to pay for a dorm room.  In other words, from you!  You can give your kid up to $13,000 annually without any adverse federal tax consequences.  If you’re married, you and your spouse can together give up to $26,000.  Your child can use that money to write you monthly rent checks.  Just make sure he or she actually sends the checks and make sure they say they are for rent.  Also, it’s best if you open up a separate checking account to handle the rental income and expenses.  Taking these simple steps will help keep the IRS off your back if you ever get audited.


If the home throws off annual tax losses (which it probably will after counting depreciation deductions), the passive activity loss (PAL) rules generally apply.  The fundamental PAL concept goes like this:  you can only deduct passive losses to the extent you have passive income from other sources -like positive taxable income from other rental properties you own or gains from selling them.  fortunately, a special exception says you can deduct up to $25,000 of annual passive losses from rental real estate provided (1) your annual adjusted gross income (before the real estate loss) is under $100,000 and (2)you “actively participate” in the rental activity.  Active participation means being energetic enough to at least make management decisions like approving tenants, signing leases, and authorizing repairs.  You don’t have top mop the floor or snake out the drains.

If you qualify for this exception, you won’t need any passive income from other sources to claim a deductible rental loss of up to $25,000 annually (your loss probably won’t be that big). Unfortunately, however, if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is between $100,000 and $150,000, the special exception gets proportionately phased out.  So at AGI of $125,000, you can deduct no more than $12,500 of passive rental real estate losses each year (half the normal $25,000 maximum).  If your AGI exceeds $150,000 and you have no passive income, you can’t currently deduct any rental real estate losses.  However, any disallowed losses are carried forward to future tax years, and you’ll be able to deduct them when you sell the home.  All in all, this is not a bad tax outcome.


When you sell rental real estate that you’ve owned for over a year, the profit (the difference between sales proceeds and the tax basis of the property after subtracting depreciation) is long-term capital gain.  However, part of the gain (the amount equal to your cumulative depreciation write-offs) can be taxed at a maximum federal rate of 25%.  The rest of the gain will be taxed at a maximum federal rate of no more that 15% under the current rules (which I hope will be extended to post 2012 years)

Remember those carryover passive losses that we talked about earlier? You get to use them to offset any gain from selling the home.

*Information provided is for reference only, consult your tax advisor for information on your person situation, different states and counties have different rules.


If ever there was a fantastic time to buy a home, it’s right now. Let the statistics show you why now is your best bet to get into the housing market:

1. HOME VALUES ARE RECOVERING…..  U.S. home values rose 0.5% from February to March, the largest monthly increase since May 2006, before values at the national level peaked, according to a recent report from Zillow this month. In addition, the company said in its home value forecast that it expects 19 of the 30 markets it covers will reach a bottom in values this year.

2. INTEREST RATES ARE STILL EXTRAORDINARY LOW……  The cost of borrowing is still extremely attractive for buyers who qualify and are ready for the financial responsibility of a home mortgage. Saying mortgage rates have hit a new “record low” has become a bit of a broken record. While there’s no sign from the Federal Reserve that rates will increase significantly anytime soon, it’s definitely a great condition for buyers right now.

3. MULTIPLE OFFERS ARE BACK…….  Demand for housing is starting to outweigh supply in some markets across the country. Even despite the presence of “war” like situations, multiple offers are once again a fact of life in markets with strong economies and job prospects.

4. RENTS ARE RISING WITH NO END IN SIGHT…….  In many areas, rental income has increased in the past year.  In addition to rising rent, the supply of units is the tightest in more than 10 years, with 8.8% of units vacant in the first quarter. This at a time when the demand for rental units is at the highest in 15 years. This means more buyers likely will continue to jump from that tight market into owning while the numbers make sense.

As you can see, the buyer market is about to get more crowded than it’s been the last few years. These are each solid market forces that could push more and more buyers off the fence, creating more transactions and helping to lift home values this year and next. If you think you want to buy – or know buyers who are testing the waters – now is your chance to take advantage of prime home-buying conditions.


Last year I wrote about the “Real” story of St. Patrick’s day, which I love!  I am a big fan of history and how things change over the years.  With St. Patrick’s day this Saturday I thought I would remind everyone about the unusual day of wearing green and drinking beer.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Did you know that St. Patrick was not Irish… was Patrick’s favorite color, not green…..bacon and cabbage was served in Ireland not corned beef….and bars are closed on St. Patrick’s Day.        How did we get the traditions we have today?

ST. PATRICK:  St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century.   At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate.  They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity.  During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian.  After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped and traveled to Britain.  After a fifteen year religious training course he was ordained as a priest and sent to Ireland with a mission to convert Irish to Christianity.

Patrick was very successful at establishing monasteries and converting the Irish country to Christianity, but this upset the Celtic Druids.  Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time and continued his quest.  His mission continued in Ireland for thirty years until he retired, and then died on March 17 in AD 461.  For thousands of years, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick’s death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon.

St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737  and was celebrated in Boston.  Today people celebrate with parades, wearing green, and drinking beer.  St. Patrick’s Day is popular also because it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring.  People say it has become the first green of spring.

BEING PINCHED:  People wear green to avoid being pinched.  It is thought that wearing green made you invisible to leprechaun’s and fairy creatures who would pinch anyone who they could see.  People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechaun’s would sneak up and pinch them.

GREEN:  The color of St. Patrick was not green… was blue.  In the 19th century green became used as a symbol of Ireland.  Ireland’s flag has green, the beautiful green landscape, and because the day is so close to spring, and the color of the shamrock, all contributed to the color changing to green.  People wear green to pay tribute to Ireland, bring in good luck, and avoid being pinched.

CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE:  Back in the day the Irish had lots of cheap pigs around and bacon and cabbage was the staple dish for most Irish rather than beef.  New York bars started offering a “free lunch” to the Irish construction workers who were building NYC (it was the cheapest meat, and cabbage was the cheapest vegetable.)  They would offer this “free lunch” with the purchase of a couple beers or shots of whiskey.  The corned beef soon became known as the “irish’ food.”

SHAMROCK:  Three is Ireland’s magic number for several reasons.  The shamrock was used by Patrick to explain the Trinity (How the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements in the same entity.)  The shamrock was also the symbol for Past, Present & Future.  Followers would wear shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day to represent how Patrick used the shamrock in his teaching as well as the Irish’ luck of the number 3.  The  three leaves today mostly symbolize Hope, Faith & Love…If you find a fourth leaf on your shamrock it would stand for luck.

LEPRECHAUN:  The Leprechaun is an Irish fairy that looks like a 2 foot tall old man who dresses like a shoemaker.  According to legend, leprechaun’s are unfriendly, live alone, pass the time making shoes, and possess a hidden pot of gold.  Leprechaun’s had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, until 1959.  Walt Disney released a film called Darby O’Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland.

It is so interesting how traditions get started, changed, and carried out.  Don’t forget to wear green, pinch those not wearing green, eat some corned beef and cabbage, and have a green beer. 


Below is a property tax guide for you along with this friendly reminder that the delinquent deadline is approaching on April 10th.  We all put off paying those property tax bills as long as we can….but the deadline is quickly approaching.

  • February 1st – 2nd installment due
  • April 10th – 2nd Installment Delinquent
  • Last week of October – Tax Bill Mailed
  • November 1st – 1st Installment Due
  • December 10th – 1st installment Delinquent

Sorry to be the one to deliver the bad news!

I know I have people reading this that are not on our property tax schedule, make sure you know what your deadlines are as well.



High profile criminals are very interesting to me.  Why they do the crime, how they do the crime, and how they get caught……because they eventually get caught!    I took Administration of Justice classes in college and loved when we studied the criminal mind and criminal forensics. I saw that today was the anniversary of the FBI’s release to the public the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

March 14, 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation institutes the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives.

The creation of the program came from a wire service news story in 1949 about the “toughest guys” the FBI wanted to capture.  The story drew so much public attention that the “Ten Most Wanted” list was given the okay by J. Edgar Hoover the following year.

As of 2011, 465 of the criminals included on the list have been apprehended or located, 153 as a result of tips from the public.

The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of the FBI asks all fifty-six field offices to submit candidates for inclusion on the list.  The CID in association with the Office of Public and congressional Affairs then proposes finalists for approval by the FBI’s Deputy Director.   Generally, the only way to get off the list is to die or to be captured. There have only been a handful of cases where a fugitive has been removed from the list because they no longer were a particularly dangerous menace to society. Only eight women have appeared on the Ten Most Wanted list.

The FBI also works closely with the Fox television show America’s Most Wanted to further publicize the effort to capture dangerous felons.

America’s Most Wanted was launched from the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list…..a television show that ran for twenty-three years that profiled wanted criminals.  As of February 2012 1,175 people have been captured because of the television series.



Most people have 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 emails in their inbox….like you are ever going to go back to email number 7,113 and deal with it.  You may have the best of intentions to go back and deal with it, but once it is out of sight it is over.  If you do happen to get back to it, most likely it is too late or the person feels like you have blown them off.

I am working on currently cleaning out my email box so that when I go to bed each night it will be empty and I will be ready for the next day of incoming emails.  With the amount of information we have coming at us each and every day we need to be able to evaluate information quickly and act on it…..not procrastinate on it.  We are in the information age, and information is coming at us like a rushing river and it is not going to slow down anytime soon.  The reality of it is of all the emails I get a day probably on 30 require some kind of a response.

I will be focused on deleting the not so important emails and spam throughout the day.  I will try to whittle down my inbox so that when I do sit down to work on replying and dealing with my emails I can focus on the things that really need my attention and not the junk emails.

Many items I am cc’d on and do not require a reply….I can simply scan through those and either delete or file into the appropriate folder.

Information is power, but only if we use it correctly……DO IT,    DELEGATE IT    OR    DELETE IT !


I always hear people say:




2012 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days


The Earth does not travel around the Sun in 365 days……it actually takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds.  Therefore, as the hours accumulated over the centures, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official.

The Romans first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four – 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.

To make sure the calander stays in tune, another stipulation ruled that no year divisible by 100 would have a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1700, 1800, and 1900 was not a leap year … but 1600 and 2000 were.

The longest time between two leap years is eight years. The last time this  happened was between 1896 and 1904 and it won’t happen again until 2096 to 2104.

Famous people born on Leap Day – Ja Rule, Anthonio Sabato Jr, Dinah Shore and Jimmy Dorsey

In Greece, people believe it is bad luck to get married in a leap year

St. Patrick of Ireland set February 29th as the day allowing women the right to ask for a man’s hand in marriage.

The Pirates of Penzance opera plays in the leap year birthday by binding Frederic into an apprenticeship until his 21st birthday.  Since Frederic’s birthday falls on February 29th, it means that technically he is only a young boy and won’t reach his 21st birthday until he is in his eighties.

The US Presidential elections are held every four years and occur in the Leap Year

The Summer Olympic Games are held every four years and occur in the Leap Year

Norway’s Henriksen siblings are recognized by the Guinness Book of World  Records. The three siblings were born on three consecutive leap days. Heidi  Henriksen, 1960; Olav Henriksen, 1964; and Leif-Martin Henriksen, 1968.

The Keogh family has three consecutive generations born on Feb. 29. Peter  Anthony was born in Ireland in 1940; his son Peter Eric was born in the U.K. in  1964; and his granddaughter Bethany Wealth was born in the U.K. in 1996.

Being born on leap day isn’t always fun and games. In non-leap years certain  countries legally recognize Feb. 29 birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1, resulting  in hassles with birth certificates, driver’s licenses and entry fields on  websites.

A person born on February 29 is called a leapling or leaper. A leapling only celebrates one quarter of birthdays than his true age. About 4 million people in the world have been born February 29




The story of Fat Tuesday refers to the practice of letting yourself eat tons of fatty foods on the night before the start of Lent.  Then, during the religious season of Lent you are asked to fast for 40 days without eating most fatty foods, meats, eggs and pancakes.  If you remember we had a very funny encounter last year with our first ever King Cake……read more at OUR NEW KING CAKE TRADITION

The King Cake comes with the idea from the Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child.  The Kings searched for the baby and waited to find him, much like those searching for the baby in the King Cake.

The King Cake is a rich Danish dough braided and baked in a ring or oval shape and topped with traditional Mardi Gras colors.  Inside every cake is one tiny baby (generally plastic now, but sometimes this baby might be made of porcelain or even gold).  The person who finds the baby in their slice of King Cake will be rewarded with good luck.  That person is also traditionally responsible for providing the King Cake at next years party……..

I have to go now……I need to make our King Cake



During peak months, my energy bill is so high!  I am looking for some easy ways to cut my energy costs and thought I would share some findings…….

TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER AT NIGHT (Save up to $105 a year)

Why?   Turning your computer off at night could save you up to a third of its energy costs, depending on your use and power management settings. Save even more by plugging your computer, monitor, and printer into one power strip and turning the strip off when you go to bed.

Is it okay to frequently shut down my computer? The U.S. Department of Energy assures that switching a computer on and off multiple times does not negatively affect its life because advances in technology, typically computers are replacement before equipment failure occurs. In fact, giving your computer a rest can be good for it. Certain software updates require computers to shut down, and the fan is more likely to wear out on a machine that run constantly. Good to know: Some computers have settings that can automatically turn a computer on or off at certain times of day. You are most likely to find these options in the Control Panel folder on a computer running Windows® or in System Preferences on a Mac®. Check your owner’s manual for more specific information.
  • Shut your computer down during the day when you will not use it for the next two hours.
  • Unplug the computer or switch off its power strip after it powers down.
  • Turn off your monitor too for greater savings.


Why?    The edges of doors and windows are often not sealed well, allowing cold air to seep into your home or air conditioning to escape. Windows and doors can be responsible for up to 25% of heat loss in a typical home and 33% of summer heat gain. Weatherstripping your windows and doors will help reduce this leakage.

Step-by-step: Do it yourself:Using affordable supplies from a local home improvement retailer, you may be able to seal your windows and doors yourself. You can usually complete the work within a day, making this an easy weekend project.
  • Doors
    1. Reduce air leakage at the bottom of exterior doors. For a no-cost solution, use rolled-up towels. Or:
    2. Install sweeps at the bottom of exterior doors. Available at most hardware and home supply stores, sweeps are generally plastic or metal strips that you apply to the bottom of the door.
    3. Install low-cost compressible foam. This creates a tight seal around the door. Don’t forget to seal doors into unheated areas of your home, such as the garage.
  • Windows
    1. Seal windows. Rope caulk and compressible foam are very inexpensive. Or,
    2. Install weatherstripping. The cost for this is slightly higher, but still reasonable. Plus, this is a more permanent solution.

SEAL AIR LEAKS (Save up to $100 a year)

Why?    Air leaks can be a large source of air loss in your home. This raises your heating and cooling costs and can make your home less comfortable.

  1. Purchase caulk and/or polyurethane foam appropriate for the surfaces you plan to seal. Check the label for its best uses and whether it is appropriate for indoor or outdoor use. Some caulks are specially designed for small leaks along the edges of walls. Foams are more appropriate for larger gaps and holes.
  2. Find leaks. To find leaks, try to follow drafts of air to their source on the wall, floor, ceiling, and around ductwork. Watching how the smoke of a smoke pen or burning incense flows is one way to check for leaks and drafts.
  3. Check where different materials meet. Look where brick meets wood siding, between the foundation and walls, between the chimney and siding, where gas and electricity lines exit your house, and where there are any penetrations through the floor from unheated crawlspaces and basements.
  4. Seal any cracks you find. Use the right sealant for each leak.

USE DIMMERS (Save up to $35 a year)

Why?   A standard light switch gives you two lighting options – full brightness or none at all.  Dimmers give you more control over the level of light in a room, which opens up stylistic possibilities and saves electricity.  By using only as much light as you need, you can save up to 40% on your lighting bill while extending the life of your bulbs.standard masonry fireplace can add charm to a home, but is also an inefficient way to produce heat. You can make a few easy changes to your fireplace to improve its efficiency.

Even a small reduction makes a difference. The human eye can barely tell the difference between full and 90% brightness, but setting a dimmer at this level can still save you 10% on the room’s lighting costs.


Why?      Though you’re rarely awake to see them, outdoor lamps left on all night can consume more electricity than most of your other light fixtures. However, motion sensors can reduce their energy use by 80% without compromising security or style.

How it works: Motion sensors turn lights on when they detect movement in their vicinity. After a certain amount of time elapses, the lights switch off. You can adjust the time delay.
  • Lights with motion sensors can also contain photocells, which sense sunlight and switch on your lights only when it’s dark outside. ENERGY STAR® fixtures with photocells are available.
  • You can buy new lights that include motion sensors or retrofit your current lights with their own sensors. Either purchase should include installation instructions. The installation itself should take about 30 minutes.
  • If you are using compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs), be sure to look for a motion sensor that is compatible with these types of bulbs.

TURN OFF LIGHTS WHEN NOT NEEDED (Save up to $45 a year)

Why?    An average home’s lighting bill can account for 15% of electricity costs. Turning lights off when you’re not in the room is a simple way for you to make a dent in your utility bill.

How it works:
  • You save energy whenever you turn off a light, unless you plan to turn it on again immediately. Light bulbs use a little bit of extra energy to “start up” — for a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), only a few seconds of operating power.
  • Turn off incandescent bulbs every time they are not needed.
  • Turning a CFL on and off many times per day can reduce its operating life. If you turn your CFLs on and off very often, you may need to replace them sooner. Generally, it is cost effective to turn off a CFL when you won’t need it for 15 minutes or more.
  • Make it a habit to turn lights off each time you leave a room.
  • Before you go to sleep, walk through your home and shut off any forgotten lights.
  • Encourage other family members to turn off their lights, as well. This is a great way for young children to do their part in saving energy.

USE AND SWITCH OFF POWER STRIPS (Save up to $85 a year)

Why?    Many computers, televisions, and other devices draw power even when they are turned off. Since plugs to these devices can be tough to remove from the outlet and reconnect, use a power strip. With a flip of the switch, you can easily cut off power to multiple devices at once, saving time, energy, and money.

What to look for:
  • Surge protection strips with their own circuit breakers or surge protectors. Protect connected devices in the event of a short-circuit or power surge.
  • Programmable strips with timers. Power down connected appliances according to a schedule you set.
  • Smart” strips that link electronics together. Shutting down one “master” device, such as a computer, automatically turns off peripheral devices, like speakers or printers, on the same strip.
  • Remote controls. Turn off hard-to-reach power strips with the push of a button as you leave the room.
  • More spacing between sockets. This ensures that the strip can fit multiple large power adaptors. This is an especially important feature if you are buying a power strip for a home office.
The energy that some electronics draw while they are off is called a “phantom load.” Products that waste electricity this way are often called “vampire devices.” Which of my electronics are likely to be vampire devices?

  • Televisions
  • Digital video recorders (DVRs)
  • Computers
  • Entertainment systems
  • Video game systems
  • Printers, scanners, and fax machines
  • DVD players
  • Coffee-makers
  • Microwaves
  • Cell phone and battery chargers
  • Any device with a remote control or LED indicator light


Why?    Setting your thermostat for energy savings can decrease your cooling and heating bills significantly.

  • Set your “home occupied” temperature. When you are awake and at home, the U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat no higher than 68°F for heating and no lower than 78°F for cooling.
  • Set your “away from home” temperature. When you are away from home, set the thermostat to an energy-saving level. Setting the temperature at least 10°F higher in the summer and 10°F lower in the winter is a good rule of thumb.
  • Go the extra mile: To save even more energy, set your thermostat at least 10°F lower in the winter or 4°F higher in the summer when you’re asleep.


Why?   A standard masonry fireplace can add charm to a home, but is also an inefficient way to produce heat. You can make a few easy changes to your fireplace to improve its efficiency.

  • Seal the top. Install a removable chimney cap or a permanent one if you do not plan to use the fireplace.
  • Keep the damper closed. The damper should be closed tightly whenever you are not using the fireplace.
  • Seal the front. Install a glass door to control the draft when you have a fire.
  • Go the extra mile: A professionally installed fireplace insert is the best option. Fireplace inserts can be cost-effective depending on the age and nature of your fireplace.

OPEN YOUR SHADES ON WINTER DAYS (Save up to $5 a year)

Why?   Taking advantage of winter sunlight can help make a dent in your heating costs. Open blinds during the day to provide natural lighting and capture free heat.

  • When you let the sun in, remember to lower the thermostat by a few degrees. These two steps combined are what save money and energy.
  • South-facing windows have the most potential for heat gain. Keep the drapes up and windows clear in order to let in the most light.
  • The sun is most intense from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so make sure windows are uncovered during these hours. Close window coverings at night to insulate windows.


Why?   Heating and cooling consume the most energy in the average home — up to 50% of total home energy use. Dirty air filters make your furnace, central air conditioner, or room air conditioner work harder to circulate air. By cleaning or replacing your filters monthly, you can improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

WASH CLOTHES WITH COLD WATER (Save up to $20 a year)

Why?   Washing your clothes uses a sizable amount of energy, especially if you use warm or hot water. About 90% of the energy consumed for washing clothes is used to heat the water. Unless your clothes have oily stains, washing with cold or warm water will clean your clothes just as effectively.

SHAVE A MINUTE OFF SHOWER TIME (Save up to $60 a year)

Why?    The average American spends about 8 minutes taking a shower roughly once a day.  Reducing average shower time by 1 minute can result in a 13% decrease in shower water use, which reduces the money you spend on water heating. 

  1. Time yourself and others. See how long you and your fellow household members take to shower and compare your shower times to the national average. Use a water-proof timer in the shower or a kitchen timer out of the shower.
  2. Set a goal for showering a bit faster.
  3. Added benefits: In addition to saving money on energy, you’ll also save on water costs.


I am starting a dress exchange! Between homecoming, valentines, prom, graduation, etc, I am tired of buying expensive dresses for my daughter that are only worn once. With dances around the corner, I will again find myself at the mall again with my daughter wanting the most expensive dress in the entire state. Oh and of course the dress will be worn only for this one dance (which is in the dark) and never come out of the closet again. The sad thing is that I know all her friends also have 15 dresses in their closets that have only been worn once. Why are we not sharing these dresses?

I am asking everyone who has older children that will not be in need of another dress to donate their old ones so we can get a supply started. Then I am wanting to start an exchange between the girls that are looking for a new dress. If you bring four old dresses you can take home a new dress to keep. Or you can rent a dress for a small fee of only $25.00 to cover the cost of having the dress cleaned upon return. This will save room in your closet, add money to your wallet and still make your kids happy because they can have a new dress.

If you might be interested in donating or exchanging dresses for the upcoming events, please let me know. I am interested to hear your thoughts and help to make our girls and our wallets happy.  Maybe you would like to save some money-getting your daughters next prom dress, or you might be able to help another family save money…..

I know it is a little early to think about prom dresses but to make it work correctly so the girls are happy and you save money we need to start early to get donations so we will have a large selection of styles, colors, and sizes when the time comes.


Baby shower number two was a few weeks ago……you can see my daughter’s baby shower at Elyssa’s Step and Repeat.  This baby shower was for my girlfriend LeeAnn and her baby McKenna that is due the beginning of March.

After spending some time on Pinterest we came up with some great ideas for her shower.  McKenna’s babies room is going to be done in pink and damask black and white.  We decided to start with the damask invitations that we printed and the stamped with McKenna’s initials.

For the favors LeeAnn wanted to do McKenna’s cookies, and they turned out so cute….and taste even better!

Because many of the mom’s coming to the shower had young daughters, we wanted to have a huge candy bar.  We used several pink candies, suckers, mints, M&M’s, Mike &Ikes, pink heart marshmallows, pink Tootsie P0ps, pink malt balls, etc.  We needed something big on either side of the candy bar an my daughter Elyssa and I decided to try to make pink popcorn…….Oh wow it was soooooooo good!

HOW WE MADE PINK POPCORN…..It was a big hit!

  1. We made some old school popcorn so it wouldn’t have any flavor.
  2. We melted some white chocolate and colored it pink.
  3. We put the popcorn in a large paper bag added a little salt and poured on the hot chocolate.
  4. We then had to shake the bag like crazy people forever.
  5. We laid the popcorn flat on cookie sheets and put it in the frig for the chocolate to harden.
  6. When we took it out of the frig we broke it apart and put it in large containers.

Our friend Heather made an awesome cake.  She did a beautiful cake on top along with red velvet cupcakes… Yummy!  and of course in the same pattern.

I made a diaper cake that also went with the theme.

We served pink champagne and ice cream punch along with great food.  She had a ton of great gifts and everyone had so much fun!

I can’t wait for Baby McKenna to arrive….we are so excited to meet her!


January 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-ever world championship game of American football.

In the mid-1960’s, an intense competition between players and fans of the National Football League (NFL) and the upstart American Football League (AFL) led to talks of a possible merger.  It was decided that the winners of each league’s championship would meet each year in a single game to determine the “world champion of football.”

In that historic first game–played before a non-sell-out crowd of 61,946 people–Green Bay scored three touchdowns in the second half to defeat Kansas City 35-10. Led by MVP quarterback Bart Starr, the Packers benefited from Max McGee’s stellar receiving and a key interception by safety Willie Wood. For their win, each member of the Packers collected $15,000: the largest single-game share in the history of team sports.

AFL founder Lamar Hunt suggested that the new pro championship be called the “Super Bowl,” and in 1969 the term was officially introduced.  The coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy is named after the legendary Packers coach who guided his team to victory in the first two Super Bowls.

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial American holiday, complete with parties, betting pools and excessive consumption of food and drink. On average, 80 to 90 million people are tuned into the game on TV at any given moment, while some 130-140 million watch at least some part of the game. The commercials shown during the game have become an attraction in themselves, with TV networks charging as much as $2.5 million for a 30-second spot and companies making more expensive, high-concept ads each year. The game itself has more than once been upstaged by its elaborate pre-game and halftime entertainment as well as the commercials.



Over the years some commercials have made such a huge impact one sentence, a jingle, or a picture can instantly remind you of a product.  Sometimes the commercial is fabulous and sometimes it is a huge joke, but either way we remember the product…which is the idea.


January 10, 1984 Wendy’s launched a series of adorable elderly ladies, dressed in their Sunday best wondering why the burger is so small.


Proctor & Gamble had Mr. Whipple squeezing toilet paper in 1964.  Whipple scolds customers who “squeeze the Charmin,” while hypocritically entertaining such actions himself when he thinks no one will notice.


The Taco Bell chihuahua was introduced in September 1997.  The dog (sometimes depicted as a Mexican revolutionary wearing a beret or a sombrero) was made to speak through special effects.  Her advertising catchphrase was “Yo Quiero Taco Bell!” (I want Taco Bell!)


Grey Poupon is a brand of Dijon mustard.  In the 1980s a commercial in which a Rolls Royce pulls up alongside another Rolls Royce, and a passenger in one asks a passenger in the other, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?”  The other responds, “But of course!”


A company called LifeCall is behind the 1989 commercial containing a scene wherein an elderly woman, identified by a dispatcher as “Mrs. Fletcher”, uses the medical alert pendant after having fallen in the bathroom.  After falling, Mrs. Fletcher speaks the phrase “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”, after which the dispatcher informs her that he is sending help.


Doublemint gum was launched in the U.S. in 1914.  The Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum twins commercials featured frolicking sets of twins and peppy background singers that used every “double” pun in existence.


A 1974 commercial features a four year old boy holding a fishing rod and a sandwich while singing, “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R..”  It became one of the longest running TV commercial in the country.


During the 1970s the television commercials featured a string of visitors to a children’s clubhouse called the Honeycomb Hideout.  The visitors would arrive, initially hostile, and exclaim a need for a “big” taste.  The kids in the clubhouse would introduce the visitor to the cereal examining the size of the cereal bits with a tape measure and singing the jingle.    Honeycomb’s big…yeah yeah yeah!    It’s not small…no no no!


Most people forget what a valuable tool your local Real Estate Agent can be…..not just when you are looking to buy or sell a home.

Realtors have a huge amount of community knowledge.  If you need to know about the local schools, community events, plumbers, inspectors, landscapers, florists, cleaning services, etc.   During the process of helping buyers and sellers a Realtor has to wear many hats and are sometimes considered neighborhood specialists.

When you are thinking of buying or selling a home, you are looking for someone with an impeccable track record and a master negotiator that is well-respected.  But you also want to look for someone who cares about your well-being that will continue to help you after the sale is completed.  A great Realtor is someone who will assist you with the little things when they are no longer being paid for the service.  I have clients that call me months or years after a transaction to ask for help with local questions.  I love being able to assist my clients and friends with continued parts of their lives.

As a Realtor we use several different contractors during a real estate transaction and we know who has the best deals, who gets the job done quickly, or who is reliable….we also know which ones are not.  We speak with many clients and know what community areas and events they like and dislike.  Realtors share information with each other which can prove to be a valuable tool for you.

So the next time you want to find a cheap roofer or a great preschool…. don’t forget to ask your Realtor.


On January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond was discovered during a routine inspection by the mine’s superintendent. Weighing 11.33 pounds, and christened the “Cullinan,” it was the largest diamond ever found.

Frederick Wells was 18 feet below the earth’s surface when he spotted a flash of starlight embedded in the wall just above him. His discovery was presented that same afternoon to Sir Thomas Cullinan, who owned the mine. Cullinan then sold the diamond to the Transvaal provincial government, which presented the stone to Britain’s King Edward VII as a birthday gift.

The stone was later cut into nine large stones and about 100 smaller stones.  The largest stone is called the Cullinan I at 530 carats, the largest-cut-fine-quality colorless diamond in the world.  The second largest stone, the Cullinan II is 317 carats.  The stones are on display in the Tower of London with Britain’s other crown jewels; the Cullinan I is mounted in the British Sovereign’s Royal Scepter, while the Cullinan II sits in the Imperial State Crown.

1.  CULLINAN DIAMOND 3,106-carats

This picture shows the Cullinan diamond after it was cut into several pieces.  The largest cut is 530-carats.   Estimated value of the diamond is over $400 million dollars.

2. THE GOLDEN JUBILEE 545.67 Carats

  Golden Jubilee DiamondThe Golden Jubilee, with the weight of 545.67 carats, is the largest faceted diamond in the world. Rough stone weighed 755 carats and was discovered in Premier mine, South Africa in 1985. The Golden Jubilee was presented to the King of Thailand in 1997 for his Golden Jubilee – the 50th anniversary of his coronation. Prior to this event, the stone was simply known as the Unnamed Brown. Estimated value of the Golden Jubilee is $4-$12 million.

3.  THE INCOMPARABLE 407.48 Carats

Incomparable DiamondThe Incomparable, in its rough state weighing 890 carats, was found in the town of Mbuji Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in the 1980s. Four years were spent studying and then cutting the stone, the biggest piece of rough ultimately yielded a gem weighing 407.48 carats; it is the third largest diamond ever cut. Internally flawless clarity and fancy brownish-yellow in color, it measures 53.90 × 35.19 × 28.18 mm.

4.  THE CULLINAN II  317.40 Carats

Cullinan II DiamondThe Cullinan II is the massive 317.40 carat cushion shaped diamond in the center-front of the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain.


Spirit of de Grisogono DiamondThe Spirit of de Grisogono, at 312.24 carats, is the world’s largest cut black diamond. In a white gold mounting, it is set with 702 white diamonds totaling 36.69 carats. This diamond originally had a rough weight of 587 carats and was mined several decades ago in west Central Africa before being imported into Switzerland.

6.  THE CENTENARY 273.85 Carats

Centenary Diamond

The Centenary was found in Premier mine in 1986, in its rough form it weighed 599 carats. When cutting was completed the Centenary weighed 273.85 carats and measured 39.90 × 50.50 × 24.55 mm, and had 247 facets – 164 on the stone and 83 around its girdle. Never before had such a high number of facets been polished onto a diamond. The true value of the Centenary diamond is unknown, but the diamond was insured for around $100 million in 1991.

7.  THE JUBILEE 245.35 Carats

 Jubilee Diamond

The Jubilee is a colorless cushion-shaped diamond with a weight of 245.35 carats. The original rough stone, an irregular octahedron without definite faces or shape weighed 650.80 carats and was found in the Jagersfontein Mine towards the end of 1895. When during the cutting it became evident that a superb diamond of exceptional purity and size was being produced, it was planned to present it to Queen Victoria. In the end this did not happen and the diamond remained with its owners. The following year marked the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (the 75th anniversary of her coronation) so the gem was renamed the Jubilee to commemorate the occasion.

8.  THE DE BEERS  234.65 Carats

 De Beers DiamondPatiala Nacklace

The De Beers diamond was found in Kimberly mines in 1888, the rough stone weighed 428.50 carats.  After its display in Paris the Maharaja of Patiala bought the De Beers. In 1928 Cartier of Paris set it as the centerpiece of a ceremonial necklace that came to be known as the Patiala Necklace. The necklace originally contained about 2,930 diamonds weighing about 962.25 carats. Today’s whereabouts of the De Beers diamond and the Patiala necklace is unknown.

9.  THE RED CROSS 205.07 Carats

 Red Cross Diamond

The Red Cross is canary yellow cushion-shaped diamond with weight of 205.07 carats. The rough stone weighed 375 carats and was found in Kimberly mines (South Africa) in 1901. The diamond was presented as a gift to the art sale held in London by Christies in 1918, on behalf of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John.

10.  THE MILLENNIUM STAR  203.04 Carats

 Millennium Star Diamond

The Millennium Star is internally and externally a flawless pear-shaped diamond.  Originally a rough stone of 777 carats.


I have always been a glass half full person….I am the person in my family that is always looking at the bright side of things and insisting that everything will get better.  I think this is a good thing because in my family I am the only one that thinks this way.  I usually get an eye roll or a laugh when I am being a cheerleader for the positive, but I think I make a good balance in our family. (again me being glass half full, right?)

I don’t understand the glass half empty attitude (I am sure just as they don’t understand mine)!  Why do you want to focus on the negative when things are what they are…..Shouldn’t we find the positive and move forward the best we can with the situation?

I have come across some interesting arguments that proves both sides may be wrong……

maybe the glass is not half full or half empty!

What do you think?

Optimist says: The glass is half full

Pessimist says: The glass is half empty

Project Manager says: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

Realist says: The glass contains half the required amount of liquid for it to overflow

Cynic says:  Wonder who drank the other half

Homemaker says:  The glass is dirty and washes it, dries it and puts it away

Inquisitive child says: What’s in the glass anyhow…

Entrepreneur says: The glass is undervalued by half its potential

Grammarian says: Since full and empty are absolute states they are both incapable of being halved or modified in any way

The student says: The question is just another dirty trick played by the teacher to prove that students are dumb

The psychiatrist says:  Is it really that important? Let’s try to think about what is really bothering you.

The sales person says: Either way you are getting more than your money’s worth compared to buying a full glass

I love the idea that the glass is always full….wait tell I tell my kids this



55 years ago today the Wham-O toy company rolled out their first batch of the aerodynamic plastic discs known as the Frisbee.

William Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1871.  Students from the nearby universities would throw the empty pie tins to each other, yelling “Frisbie.”

In 1948 Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner Warren Fransciioni invented a plastic version of the disc called the “Flying Saucer” that could fly further and more accurately than the tin pie plates.  After the two split, Morrison made an improved model in 1955 and sold it to the new toy company Wham-O as the “Pluto Platter.”

In 1958, a year after the toy’s first release, Wham-O–the company changed its name to the “Frisbee disc,” misspelling the name of the historic pie company. A company designer, Ed Headrick, patented the design for the modern Frisbee in December 1967, adding a band of raised ridges on the disc’s surface–called the Rings–to stabilize flight.  By aggressively marketing Frisbee-playing as a new sport, Wham-O sold over 100 million units of its famous toy by 1977.

Since it’s release games such as Ultimate Frisbee and Frisbee Golf has added to the demand of the toy.

*  The U.S. Navy spent nearly $400,000 studying the use of FRISBEE–like discs molded into battlefield flares to be launched from low flying airplanes. The Navy also developed a mechanical FRISBEE launcher.

*  The world group marathon record for Frisbee play is 1,198 hours – nearly 45 days.  The record for continual play with two people is 126 hours.

*  The game of “Ultimate” has been demonstrated to require a higher cardiovascular fitness level than any other field game.

*  There are more than 1,000 teams now competing at the college and club level in Ultimate; in 1972, there were two.

*  There are over 30 different periodicals published on flying disc sports. In the last 20 years, 13 books have been published on the subject.

*  There are more than 700 Disc Golf courses in the U.S. These courses are permanent installations, usually located in a public park, where players actually “drive” and “putt” with specially styled discs.

*  The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) is located in Sweden. There are 26 member countries.

*  The men’s outdoor flying disc world record distance toss is 211.32 meters (693.3 feet), made by Scott Stokely of Ft. Collins, Colo., in 1998. The women’s long distal record of 136.31 meters was established by Anni Kreml of San Francisco during 1994 U.S. Open Flying Disc Championships on Aug. 20,1994, in Fort Collins, Colo.

*  The first school for FRISBEE–catching dog training was called the Monterey of FRISBEE Dog Studies in Monterey, Calif. The first all–dog FRISBEE competition was held on Nov. 13, 1974 at California State University, Fullerton.

*  Rare and flying discs have been known to sell for up to $500.

*  The official Frisbee is owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers, who bought the toy from Wham-O in 1994.



JANUARY 22, 2012

With the increase of Internet mail along with the current recession, the post office has been taking a huge hit financially.  The post office lost $8 billion in fiscal 2010 and it is expected that 2011 will be even worse when the final figures are released next month.  Proposals to cut the losses have included reduction of mail delivery from six to five days a week and closing thousands of offices across the country.  This putting more people out of work and adding to the vicious cycle of money loss.

“The overall average price increase is small and is needed to help address  our current financial crisis,’’ Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a  statement. “We continue to take actions within our control to increase revenue  in other ways and to aggressively cut costs. To return to sound financial  footing we urgently need enactment of comprehensive, long-term legislation to provide the Postal Service with a more flexible business model.’’

A major financial problem for the post office has been the requirement,  imposed in 2006, that it pay $5.5 billion annually into a fund designed to cover  the medical benefits for retired employees in the future. No other agency has  such a requirement.  But while the post office is not part of the federal budget, the fund  receiving the payment is, so it counts as income to the government, making the  federal deficit appear $5.5 billion smaller.  Because eliminating the payment  would make the deficit seem bigger, there has been reluctance to drop it.

As of January 22, 2012 the rate increases will be as follows:

Because most stamps being issued are “Forever’’ stamps, they will remain good  for first-class postage. But buying new Forever stamps will cost more when the  prices go up.

—First class letter up to 1 ounce up 1 cent, to 45 cents.

—Each additional ounce add 20 cents.

—Postcards up 3 cents, to 32 cents.

—Letters to Canada and Mexico up 5 cents, to 85 cents.

—International letters up 7 cents, to $1.05.

New domestic retail pricing for Priority Mail Flat Rate products include:

—Small Box – $5.35

—Medium Box – $11.35

—Large Box – $15.45

—Large APO/FPO/DPO Box – $13.45

—Regular Envelope – $5.15

—Large-Size and Padded Envelope – $5.30


Many times I write about things or places that I have learned about but never experienced.  Last week was the anniversary of a landmark that is located only an hour from my home.

On January 5, 1933, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge….connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County.  A suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet was nearly twice the length of any in existence.  and was supposed to cost 100 million dollars.

Eventually, O’Shaughnessy and Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the great depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project. However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.

The Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The first public crossing had taken place the day before, when 200,000 people walked, ran and even roller skated over the new bridge.

With its tall towers and famous red paint job, the bridge quickly became a famous American landmark, and a symbol of San Francisco.


This post might only be for my close readers, but you will all love this story…..

First a little background.  My middle daughter Hailey is a stray animal magnet.  She is always bringing home animals she “finds.”  We have had pretty good luck finding the owners, or new homes for all of her finds.  My family jokes around about how much of an animal lover she is and now I know where she got it from.

My husband called me on Friday from his work (he works at one of our city dump sites) and said….”I found a dog, if I leave it he will probably die…what should I do?”  Can you hear the sadness in his voice???  of course I said bring him home and we will find him someplace to live.

The problem is that I didn’t fully understand the dogs situation……

He is about a 3-year-old Pomeranian male dog.  He had been caught in a cat trap at the facility and was freezing cold.  He has fur on his head and his legs, but all the hair on his body has fallen out.  And the best part, he has been sprayed by a SKUNK.  So he looks bad and he smells even worse!

Because we have other animals we took him to the local vet before we brought him in the house to make sure he was not sick.  The vet thinks he lost his fur because he had fleas and was probably allergic to them.  So $100 later the fleas are gone, he had a bath to get all the dirt off him and he got a clean bill of health….but he still smells like a skunk.

He has been playing well with our dog and cat and loves to sleep with the kids.  He is very friendly and loves to follow everyone around.  The smell is starting to go away, but the fur has not yet grown back.

He is not the cutest dog, but he has a great face and a great personality…. 🙂

Do you know anyone that would like to give this little doggie some love?


It is now January 2nd……how are your New Year’s Resolutions going?  Did you plan on eating healthy and watching less TV…. then woke up tired after a fun filled New Year’s, curled up on the couch and ate a bag of chips while watching Cup Cake Wars.  This year I decided to make resolutions I “should” be able to keep, but first I want to help you with your resolutions.

It’s not to late to make your resolutions and I have some tips that might help you keep them throughout the year.  The most popular resolutions for 2012 are…… Get Healthy – Eat Better – Lose Weight – Save Money – Pay Down Debt – Stop Smoking – Get Organized – More Family Time – Finish Projects – Volunteer – Read More – Better Work Life Balance – Have More Fun – Etc.


GET IN SHAPE:  Going to the gym every day is a common new year’s resolution, but while gym membership enrollments rise in January, many of them are never used. Be realistic about your exercise goals and try to start small.  Try incorporating more physical activity into your every day. For example: Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk or bike instead of driving.

EAT BETTER:  Busy people often reach for the take-out menus or head to the restaurant for almost every meal.  Why not set a goal of eating in more than you eat out?  If you are the type of person that always eats out, never eating out will be very hard…. Try to make a few extra meals at home each week, and when you do have to eat out….. make sure you try to order the best thing you can find on the menu.

DON’T FORGET BREAKFAST:  In our busy lives, we often forget to eat the most important meal of the day. Breakfast can set the tone for your entire day — providing you with the nutrients you need to have a productive day.  Try giving yourself and extra 10 minutes each morning to have a small breakfast, it can make all the difference.

TURN OFF ELECTRONICS:  In this day and age we’re all wired all the time. Why not try to live in the moment a little more?  Turn your cell phone and computers off at home and during social occasions.  That phone call or text can probably wait until you’re done; it will also make your face-to-face time more valuable and productive. But don’t stop there:   Why not turn it off even when you’re alone? You’ll probably notice more on your walk if you’re not stopping to tweet about it!

BE MORE PERSONAL:  Yes, texts are a really efficient way of reaching somebody — it’s also arguably better because you are not interrupting the person you’re trying to get in touch with.  But when was the last time you had a long phone conversation?  Next time you want to contact someone, try to call them instead of texting. It’s more personal, less prone to miscommunication, and a great way to catch up with someone who is far away.

FACE TIME:  An easy to way to show people around you that you’re engaged and interested is simply to make more eye contact during conversations. In this age of communicating through all kinds of at-a-distance contact, making the most of face-time with other people is a rare and highly appreciated skill.

READ MORE BOOKS:  Continuing on the theme of “unplugging,” consider turning off the Internet at 8 pm every night and getting your content fix out of a book instead!

DON’T BE LATE:  Being on-time is a fine resolution, but if you really want to learn time-management skills, be better than punctual!   My Son-In-Law and I joke that if you are not 10 minutes early……you are late.  Really work to be early to everything, when you try to be “on-time” it is easy to fall short and arrive late.  Being early will give you a little more room for error.

STOP IMPULSE BUYS:  How much of what you spend do you really need? What if you gave yourself more time to consider what you spend? An easy way of forcing this considerate financial behavior is to leave your credit cards at home. This way you can only spend whatever cash you have. If you still want it a few days later, maybe it’s a good choice after all. This is a simple way to cut down on impulse buys.

WRITE A LETTER:  Writing letters used to be an art. What happened? A special way to thank people and remind others you care and are thinking about them is to write handwritten letters, postcards, and thank-you notes for friends, family, and co-workers. It’s an easy sentiment that goes a very long way, particularly because it’s so rare these days.

DON’T GOSSIP:  Many people resolve to not gossip, but why not go a step further? Don’t let other people gossip to you. You’ll be seen as a trustworthy person, and you’ll probably be engaged much more productive conversations in general.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT:  Do something every day that takes you out of your comfort zone! This, of course, will be different for everyone. It can be as simple as speaking or smiling to a stranger, signing up for a dance class, running an extra mile, going to dinner by yourself or reading a book you’ve always meant to cross off your list. You may surprise yourself.

SO NOW THAT I HAVE HELPED YOU WITH SOME OF YOUR RESOLUTIONS…..I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED TO READ SOME FROM MY 2012 LIST.  I decided to make my list more obtainable this year…wish me luck!

  1. Stop exercising…Big waste of time
  2. Gain weight, 10-15 pound goal
  3. Read less. Makes me think too much
  4. Get further in debt..the kids will probably help with this.
  5. Watch more TV…I have been missing some really good stuff.
  6. Wait around for opportunity…..
  7. Procrastinate more….Will start tomorrow.
  8. Stop eating at home…I should eat out more often.
  9. Get more toys..Another one for the kids to get behind.
  10. Spend vacation in Cyberspace




December 7, 1941 at 7:55 am Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appeared out of the clouds above the island of Oahu.  A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault.  The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an eminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.

Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.

The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.

The aftermath of World War II left a lasting impression on the world.  At Pearl Harbor, the damage from December 7, 1941 has been repaired but there are memorials to the brave men and women who fought the Japanese sneak attach.  The design of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, with the depression in the center rising upward toward the ends of the structure, depicts the nation’s low morale at the onset of hostilities but gradually climbing higher and higher as America moved toward victory against her enemies.  Japan would be defeated and representatives of Japan would sign the Instrument of Surrender on board the U.S.S. Missouri.  The symbolism of the war’s beginning with the attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor and the sinking of the Battleship Arizona, and the war’s end where Japan signed the instruments of surrender on board the Battleship Missouri, is very poignant.

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the U.S.S Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The memorial, dedicated in 1962, is visited by more than one million people annually.  Accessible only by boat, it straddles the sunken hull of the battleship without touching it.  Today the U.S.S. Arizona leaks 2-9 quarts of oil each day.  The vessel held approximately 1.5 million gallons of “Bunker-C” oil.  The ship burned for 2 1/2 days leaving an unspecified amount of oil onboard.

From the over 180 ships and vessels in Pearl Harbor when the attack began, twelve of these ships were sunk or severely damaged and many other needed extensive repairs.  All but three returned to services, U.S.S. Arizona and the U.S.S. Utah both lay where they fell on the north side of Ford Island.  The U.S.S. Oklahoma, which capsized 20 minutes after nine torpedo hits rested in the main channel of the harbor.  The ship was rolled into an upright position the remains of the over 400 sailors and Marines were removed and the ship was entered into dry dock on December 28, 1943.



Thought you might like some “pick up” lines for todays funny monday:
  • If I could rearrange the alphabet I would put U and I together
  • Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only ten I see.
  • I lost my phone number, can i have yours??
  • Your legs must be tired, because you’ve been running through my mind all day long.
  • You look a bit down. Mind if I pick you up?
  • Here I am. Now what are your other two wishes?
  • If I follow you home will you keep me?
  • Are you a Parking ticket because you got Fine written all over you!
  • Does your dad work at Snapple? Cuz you’re made from the best stuff on earth!
  • Someone hand me a map! I’m lost in the sparkle of your eyes.
  • Can you direct me to the nearest phone box, because I have got to call God to tell him I’ve found his missing angel.
  • I hope you know CPR, because you take my breath away!
  • Damn, girl, was your dad a boxer? Because you’re a knockout.
  • If you were a booger, I’d pick you first.
  • Am I dead, Angel? Cause this must be heaven!
  • Damn girl, you have more curves than a race track.
  • Do you know karate? Cos honey, your body is really kickin.
  • I hope you know CPR, cos you take my breath away!
  • I’ve just moved you to the top of my ‘to do’ list.
  • Were you arrested earlier? It’s gotta be illegal to look that good.

This list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea!

I am soooooo glad I am married….these are horrible and I hope people really don’t use any of these.  lol


Today is the first day of december and Christmas is right around the corner.  I have not yet done my shopping and have been wondering what I should buy for everyone.  Some years it is easier than others to know what to buy…..usually everyone wants the same “must have” item.  throughout the years we have had many hot, fly off the shelves, every kid has to have toys.

1920’s was the start of the Christmas giving craze with the boom of the Yo-Yo

1930’s Monopoly, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Comic Books

1940’s Slinky, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Silly Putty, Tonka Trucks

1950’s Barbie dolls, car racing sets, Hula Hoop, Mr. Potato Head

  • Mr. Potato Head was the very first toy ever advertised on television and over a million toys were sold in 1952.  The next year Mrs. Potato head was introduced.

1960’s Easy Bake Ovens, Etch-a-Sketch, Operation, twister, Sesame street

1970’s The pet rock, rubiks cube, green slime, hungry hungry hippos, Atari

  • In 1975 over 5 million pet rocks sold which was a 15 million dollar profit in only six months
  • The late 70’s Atari Video Computer System was the hottest toy for several Christmas seasons.  The first two years sales were disappointing due to the market crash, however by 1979 they had several games to choose and the Atari CVS was renamed the Atari 2600.  It quickly became the best selling Christmas present with a million sold that year and cartridge sales at a hundred million dollars.

1980’s Cabbage Patch Dolls, Smurfs, BMX Bikes, Transformer toys, Gameboy

  • Almost 3 million Cabbage Patch dolls were sold in 1983.  The dolls were in short supply and high demand which brought out desperate and crazy shoppers.  Dolls were being delivered to stores  by armored car and TV commercials wer pulled in an attempt to tame the madness.

1990’s Game Boy, Power Rangers, Beanie Babies, Firby, Pokemon, Roller Blades

  • Over 1 million Game Boy systems were sold when it was released during the 1991 Christmas season.  The system came with the game Tetris which was a hit for all ages.
  • Tyco was not expecting the expensive Tickle Me Elmo doll to do so well.  After it was featured on the Rosie O’Donnell show and with the low supply, it was more desirable than ever.  People were going to great lengths to find the doll with some being re-sold in newspapers for as much as $2000 per doll…….You can now find an original doll online for less than $20.00
  • 1998 it was all about Furby.  The Furby was introduced at the Toy Industry Association’s annual Toy Fair in February, months before it’s planned release in October.  With all of the premature media coverage the toys were the new hot item.  It was difficult to keep up with product demand and in 1998 only 1.8 million were sold, however in 1999 the number grew to 14 million.

2000’s  Razor scooters, Bratz dolls, Zhu Zhu Pets, Video Games, iPod, iTouch, Ipad

  • 2006 Playstation 3 allowed gamers to play online and offered multimedia storage as well as the ability to play music, and movies. PS3 had thousands of dollars of pre-sold units and people began camping outside stores to find a system.
  • 10 million Zhu Zhu Pets were sold in 2009.  The robotic hamsters were flying off the shelves.  Kids loved the toys and the parents enjoyed the under $10 price tag and unlike actual hamsters they didn’t poop.

Looking back at our once modest, Yo-Yo filled stockings, we can see how gift giving has changed.  What happened to the joy of family bonding with a small surprise gift?  I can hear todays kids when they are adults…..“When I was little, all we got for Christmas was a lousy Ipad.”

What will be the next big seller?


Thanksgiving has many meanings to many different people.  Maybe it is about being out of school for a long weekend, eating a great dinner, the start to the Christmas holiday season, or spending time with family.

Like the Pilgrims who celebrated their successful crops throughout the year, most people use the day to reflect on all that they are thankful for.  I love that it gives us a chance to come together for no other reason but to share food, stories, love and appreciation.  although it is a wonderful thing to do, it is only 1 day of 365 throughout the year.  I would like to use this one day to kick off my Thanksgiving year and start a season of Thanks-Living!

I want to remind my children throughout the year how special they are to me.  I want my husband to remember all he does each day of the year for our family.  I want to make sure I continually remind my parents and extended family how much they have influenced my life and the lives of my children.  My friends, neighbors, co-workers, and clients should be appreciated throughout the year as well.

While driving down the street I sometimes yell out in the car “I LOVE MY FAMILY”,  I send my husband an email or text that says “THINKING OF YOU”,  take a minute to call a friend and say “HI”, or bake a neighbor some cookies.  I like to call my friends and family with a quick “JUST WANTED TO SAY HI” phone call to let them know I care.

I want to wish all of you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING YEAR and……

365 days of THANKS-LIVING!

My daughter Hailey, me, husband Ernie, daughter Elyssa (and baby in her tummy), her husband Nick, and son Hunter


Make this 1 of 365 days of Thanksgiving


I was recently reminded of a vacation my husband and I took about a year ago, and the “bathroom incident”.  We were out to dinner with friends and enjoying a nice afternoon.  On our way out we all decided to use the restroom because we had a long drive ahead.  My girlfriend and I waiting in the entry for the boys to join us and we heard them calling us from around the corner.  The were waiving us to join them in the mensroom…..What?

Not only was I unsure of what they were up to, I make it a point to stay away from pee smelling rooms as much as possible…..sorry guys but the men’s restroom is usually pretty gross compared to the “ladies” restroom.

The boys proceeded to tell us that we had to see the wall paper in the bathroom.



What a funny idea.  Or maybe because I am not a guy I think it is funny.  🙂


My teenage daughter recently received her driver’s license and a new truck.  She has been in need of gas money and has been looking for some extra cash, but finding a job has been hard.  With most adults out of work, it has been difficult to find a part-time job that works with her schedule.  She has began to think “Old School” child labor.

She has asked me to put the word out to family and friends that she will do babysitting or other odd jobs to make some extra cash.  I was thinking back to when we were kids and all the “Odd” jobs we used to have as kids.


Mow Lawns

Rake Leaves

Wash Cars

Shovel Snow

Pull Weeds

Photograph A Party

Walk Dogs


Sell Lemonade


The problem is that most people are now doing these chores themselves and looking to save money any way they can.  How do we teach our children the value of working hard and saving money when it is so difficult to find money……I guess that is the lesson, when you find it you better treasure it.