CHILD LABOR

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.

Babysitting

Mow Lawns

Rake Leaves

Wash Cars

Shovel Snow

Pull Weeds

Photograph A Party

Walk Dogs

Tutor

Sell Lemonade

DID I FORGET ANYTHING????

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.

HOLIDAY MARKETING PROGRAM

With the Holiday’s here already, many sellers take their homes off the market, or decide not to put their homes on the market until after the first of the year.  Intero Real Estate Services allows you to take advantage of the Holiday Selling season without all the hassles of having your home up for sale.

BENEFITS OF SELLING DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON:

  • Holiday buyers are very serious, committed and focused.
  • Some people have extra days off work allowing them more time to shop for new homes
  • Over the holidays there are fewer homes available, therefore supply and demand works in your favor.
  • Homes are seasonally radiant during the decorative holiday period.
  • Interest rates are traditional the lowest during the holidays.

FEATURES OF THE HOLIDAY MARKETING PROGRAM

  • No “For Sale” signs in your yard.
  • No advertising that identifies the home or address.
  • No lock box.
  • No home phone number in the MLS for other Realtors to call.
  • No flyers in your home and no inside-the-home display information.
  • No open house for the public or Realtor tour.
  • All showings are by appointment and only to qualified buyers.

The Intero Holiday Marketing Program is designed to capitalize on selling to serious home buyers who are shopping over the holidays while at the same time preserving the privacy and dignity of home sellers.  Don’t be scared to have your home on the market during the holidays, just make sure you pick the right Real Estate Agent!

7 EASY STEPS TO MAKE CAKE POPS AT HOME

I have been experimenting with Cake Pops and they have been a huge hit around the neighborhood and at all the parties.  People are now requesting that I bring them to events.  You will not believe how easy they are to make……and they taste amazing.  Because they will be wrapped in chocolate they last for several weeks (we tested them to make sure and they don’t dry out at all.)  You can make them in advance or make a batch to take to several different events.  (I usually get about 24 in a batch but it depends on the size of the balls.)

If I can do it anyone can!

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix  (or chocolate)

1 Can of White Frosting (chocolate if using chocolate cake)

White melting chocolates or chocolate chips

Baking sticks

Decorating supplies  (extra frosting, sprinkles, nuts, etc.)

Step 1:  Bake a Yellow Cake as per directions and let cool.  You could even do this the day before.  (FYI I did Chocolate cake last week and it was even a bigger hit, it tasted like a truffle)

Step 2:  Crumble the cake into the mixer or a bowl to use a hand mixer.  Use the mixer until the cake becomes all crumbs.

Step 3:  For yellow cake add about 3/4 container of white frosting (For chocolate cake add about 3/4 container of chocolate frosting.)  Continue mixing until it becomes completely moist and all stuck together.

Step 4:  Scoop out little balls (I use a coffee scoop, it is the perfect size) and roll them in your hand until they are round.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  Continue until all the cake mixture is gone.

Step 5:  Once all the balls are on the cookie sheet.  Melt some white chocolate in a double boiler.  (if you don’t have one, use a large pot of boiling water and set your small pot of candies on top stirring until they melt….be careful with the steam.)  TIP:  Add a few spoonfuls of shortening to the melting candy it will make it less thick and easier to work with.

Step 6:  Dip the tip of the stick into the melted chocolate and push it into the ball of cake (the sticks will all be standing up and the cake pops are upside down).  The chocolate will help hold the stick in place.  Repeat for each ball.  I then put the cookie sheet in the fridge for five or ten minutes to make sure the candy hardens and the pops will be easy to work with.

Step 7:  Once the sticks are firm in place, re-heat the candy (if necessary)…. Pick up one and fix the bottom to make sure it looks nice and round because that will become the top.  Quickly roll the pop in the hot candy and gently roll to remove excess chocolate. (roll upside down to coat with chocolate then hold it flat….if you keep it upside down for long it will fall off the stick)  (If you added the shortening to your candy it will be nice and thin and should allow you to roll the ball in quickly and remove and the excess should roll right off.  Once it has stopped dripping you can add sprinkles, candies, or nuts before the chocolate dries or you can opt to decorate later with colored chocolate.  Place standing up (you can use and upside down collander or piece of styr0foam).

Tip:  If you are decorating with colored chocolate.  Add food coloring to the left over white chocolate and scoop it into a small zip lock bag.  Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze a design onto the pops.

ENJOY!

I wrote a message on some of them

I made some different shapes…. A baby, a star, a football, a lego, a teddy bear, etc   The balls are the perfect amount and look the best.

FUNNY MONDAY – VETERAN SALUTE

Today I thought I would combine funny monday with a little salute to the veterans.   This last week we celebrated Veterans Day and I found so many amazing stories, pictures, and tributes to our Veterans.  I wouldn’t think of trying to compete with all the amazing articles, so I offer a little Military humar…….which I think can always be used in light of all our Military go through day in and out.

Thank you to all the men and women currently serving our Country…….

and thank you to all of our Veterans!

MINI MONKEYS !

For those of you who don’t already know……I Love Monkey’s!  I don’t know why I am so fascinated with them, but they have always been my favorite animal.  My daughter sent me some pictures of Mini Monkeys/Pigmy Monkeys yesterday and I had to share them with everyone.

They are the world’s smallest monkeys with a body weight of adults in the wild averaging only 4 ounces.  They are often called finger monkeys and are about 5 inches tall, not including the tail.  They live in high trees on small branches and are able to jump more than 16 feet.  They are found in the rainforest of Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Columbia.  In the wild they live on a diet of fruit, leaves, insects, small reptiles and tree sap.

While I was doing my reasearch I found that people breed these monkeys and sell them…..If only I didn’t have three children, a dog, a cat, a chinchilla, and a job.  lol

ENJOY!

 

IPAD OR MENU AT YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT?

My kids will never know life without in-car DVD players, video games, and cell phones.  Over the years, technology has quickly evolved and continues to change the way we live our lives.  Todays cell phones are designed to make life easier by allowing us to have a complete computer at our finger tips.  Soon technology will make our lives easier at restaurants via the tablet.

No more going to a restaurant, waiting for a server to order food, having an empty drink, looking for a server to pay your bill, etc.

Imagine sitting at a restaurants without a paper menu.  Each table is equipped with an easy to use ipad that allows you to have everything you need at your fingertips.  Order your food and drinks whenever you are ready, even make special request such as “a salad with dressing on the side”.  When your drink gets low, click for a re-fill and a new drink will be brought right over.  If you would like desert, order what you want and it is on the way.  View and pay your bill whenever you are ready, enter your valet number and your car will be waiting for you, have your receipt emailed to you, etc.   No more struggling to figure out how to split the bill, the system allows you to have several individual bills at the same table.  Having the ipad at each table also allows patrons to use the internet access to work or play while they enjoy their meal.

You won’t have to worry about the waiter asking if you need anything just after you put a huge bite of food in your mouth, the MIA waiter that never refills your drinks, or having to ask someone walking by for your bill.

Unlike standard menus that say 14-ounce steak, customers can see pictures and detailed information including a large description and nutrition information.  Customers like the idea of ordering food that gets sent directly to the kitchen and will have a faster turnaround of food.

Most people see the ipads as a win-win creating happy customers and more profit for owners.  Using the ipads will allow restaurant owners to give customers the dining experience they want and will also have a faster turn around on the tables giving the ability to serve more customers each day.  Restaurant owners using this system hopes that diners will spend more with the ability to view a complete wine list, or build a milkshake from scratch.  Owners also anticipate that diners will come more often if the experience is fast and convenient.  However, some people do fear that the use of the ipad will reduce the need for the number of waiters the restaurant will need to employ.

Fast food chains are also looking forward to introduce electronic ordering kiosks in restaurants.  McDonald’s already uses the kiosks in 800 of its restaurants in Europe and a few other locations.

We already use touch computers to do our banking, pump gas, rent movies, and develop our pictures…

What is next?

Do you like all the advances in technology?

FUNNY MONDAY……

I thought I would start Monday off with something to make you laugh.

……And that’s how the fight started jokes…….just in good fun!

My wife walked into the den & asked “Whats on the TV?”
I replied “Dust”

……….And that’s how the fight started

——————————————-

One year, a husband decided to buy his mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift.
The next year, he didn’t buy her a gift.
When she asked him why, he replied, “Well, you still haven’t used the gift I bought you last year!”

……….And that’s how the fight started

———————————

A woman is  looking at her body in the bedroom mirror.
She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, ‘I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.’
‘The husband replies, ‘Your eyesight’s damn near perfect.’

……….And that’s how the fight started

——————————————-

My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, “Do you want to have sex?” “No,” she answered.
I then said, “Is that your final answer?” She didn’t even look at me this time, simply saying “Yes.”
So I said, “Then I’d like to phone a friend.”

……….And that’s when the fight started

———————————

My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, “I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 200 in about 3 seconds.”
I bought her a scale.

……….And that’s when the fight started

 

Let me know if you have any good jokes you would like to share……..Happy Monday!

SHOULD I LIST MY HOME FOR SALE DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON?

Before you know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will come and go and we will be celebrating the 2012 New Year…. time has been flying by!  Many sellers struggle when it comes to deciding to list their homes during the holiday season.

Contrary to what most people think, Thanksgiving to New Years is a very busy time for Real Estate Agents.

Many sellers take their homes off the market during the holiday season so their family will not be bothered.  Having fewer homes on the market is always a plus when selling a home – less competition for your home.  As a seller you can use the holiday to your advantage.  Decorations can be used to make your house look and feel very appealing to buyers.

Some buyers are very motivated and need to purchase a home before the end of the year.  This can be a huge advantage for the sellers.  Buyers looking for a home during the holidays are usually serious buyers.  Your more likely to have people looking to purchase sooner rather than someone who is just out checking the market.  Many buyer may have holiday time off work and use that time to find a new home.

Contact me for more information on listing your home for sale.

FUN FACTS ABOUT YOUR PETS

Our pets have a huge impact on our lives from how we socialize to when and where we go on vacations.  Pets give unconditional love and companionship to their owners and are viewed as part of the family.  Although most households have one pet, many have multiple pets.

Our dog Tobi.  We rescued her from a family that was loosing their home two years ago.  She is one of our children and she takes turn sleeping with each of the kids.

Our kitty Moto…..Yes his full name is MOTO CROSS.  We only got Moto a few months ago, but he has already became a big part of the family.  Tobi loves Moto and they play together.

Our third and FINAL pet is Hailey’s Chinchilla, Chester.  She got Chester for her birthday and it is now so fat.  All of our pets are friends and Moto has even taken a dust bath with Chester before…so funny.

Enjoy some fun facts about your family:

1.  DOGS

  • Dogs only sweat from the bottom of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting.
  • Dogs do not have an appendix.
  • There are more than 200 different breeds of dogs.
  • Dogs were the first animals domesticated by humans more than 10,000 years ago.

2.  CATS

  • Cats do not have sweat glands.
  • Cats have five toes on each front paw, but only four toes on each back paw.
  • A cat can jump as much as seven times its height.
  • The nose pad of each cat has ridges in a unique pattern like a person’s fingerprints.

3.  HAMSTERS & GUINEA PIGS

  • Hamsters are color blind and most only blink one eye at a time
  • Hamster’s babies are known as puppies
  • Guinea pigs love being petted and some will purr.
  • A guinea pig’s ears are very sensitive to loud noises.

4.  BIRDS

  • There are more than 9,000 species of birds
  • Americans own more than 60 million pet birds.
  • To survive birds must eat at least half its own weight in food each day.
  • A bird’s heart beats 400 times per minute while they are resting.
  • Larger parrots such as the macaws and cockatoos live more than 75 years.

5.  FISH & REPTILES

  • About 12 million households have an aquarium
  • Iguanas are able to hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.
  • A garter snake can give birth to 85 babies

Nearly 94% of pet owners say their animals makes them smile more than once a day.

ALL-HALLOWS EVE

Thousands of years ago, the Celts who lived in the area that is the present day United Kingdom, Ireland and Northern France celebrated the night of October 31st.  Their New Year was on November 1st which marked the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of winter.  The Celts associated the season with death and believed that on the night before their New Year the boundary between the living and the dead was distorted.

The Celts celebrated the night of October 31 when ghosts of the dead were believed to return to earth causing trouble and damaging the community’s food supply.  They observed the event by wearing costumes and lit sacred bonfires to protect them during the coming months.  People went “souling” which was begging for “soul cake” and in return the beggars would promise to pray for the dead of the household.

November 1st was later named All Saint’s Day and October 31st was later named All-Hallows Eve and eventually Halloween.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY LIBERTY

The Statue of Liberty National Monument officially celebrates her birthday today October 28, 1986.  The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States in recognition of the friendship established during the american Revolution.  Over the years, the Statue of Liberty’s symbolism has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as this international friendship.

Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.  Bartholdi required the assistance of an engineer to address structural issues associated with designing the colossal copper sculpture.  Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) was commissioned to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the Statue’s copper skin to move independently yet stand upright.

The Statue was a joint effort between America and France and it was agreed upon that the American people were to build the pedestal, and the French people were responsible for the Statue and its assembly here in the United States.

The pedestal construction was finished in April of 1886.  The Statue was completed in France in July 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor in June of 1885 on board the French frigate “Isere” which transpired the Statue of Liberty from France to the United States.  In transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates.  The Statue was re-assembled on her new pedestal in four months time.  On October 28th 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty took place in front of thousands of spectators.

FROM MY KITCHEN TO YOURS (PART 3)

I thought it might be time for some more kitchen and household tips.  See the previous tips at PART 1 and PART 2.

REHEAT PIZZA:  Use a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, heat on med-low until warm.  This keeps the crust crispy and not soggy like a microwave.

CHEESE:  Store open chunks of cheese in aluminum foil to keep it staying fresh longer and not mold.

GREASE:  Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.  It will help pull the grease away from the meat when cooking.

GARLIC:  Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic, and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

BANANAS:  Take your bananas apart at home to store them.  Leaving them connected at the stem makes them ripen faster.  Also keep them away from other items as they will ripen other food as well.

MEASURING CUP:  Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water.  Remove the hot water but don’t dry the measuring cup.  Add ingredient (such as peanut butter) and it will come out easily.

PEPPERS:  Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.  Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

STATIC CLING:  A small safety-pin to the seam of your slip, skirt, or slacks will eliminate static cling.

ANTS WITHOUT POISON:  Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants.  They eat it, take it home, and can’t digest it.  It takes a week or so, but you won’t have to worry about your children or pets.

LEG SHAVING:  Use hair conditioner to shave your legs.  It is cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth.

FOGGY WINDSHIELD:  Use a chalkboard eraser and rub it on a foggy window.  Works better than a cloth.

MOSQUITOES:  Try putting a dryer sheet in your pocket to help keep the mosquitoes away.

THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM – GRAND OPENING TODAY!

October 21, 1959, on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, thousands of people lined up outside awaiting the grand opening of the Guggenheim Museum.

ABOUT THE MAN

Solomon R. Guggenheim was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1861 and was the son of Meyer Guggenheim, a Swiss-born businessman who made his family fortune in mining and smelting.  Meyer and his wife Barbara had four sons.  In 1919 Solomon retired from the family mining business and from his Yukon Gold Company in Alaska (which he founded), and in 1937 started the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, a non-profit corporation dealing in philanthropy and the arts.  In 1949 Solomon passed away and was never able to see the completion of his new museum.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM

The museum originally called “The Museum of Non-Objective Paintings.” was founded to showcase avant-garde art by early modernists.  The museum first opened in 1939 in a former car showroom in New York.  Within a few years, the collection had outgrown the space and the museum had to move.

In 1943, Solomon Guggenheim contacted architect Frank Lloyd Wright and asked him to design not just a museum, but a “temple of spirit,” where people would learn to see art in a new way.  It took 16 years for the museum to be complete with delays from the war as well as the death of Solomon.  When Solomon passed away, the museum’s board of directors agreed to change the name of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.  Wright also passed away just six months before the museum opened.

To Wright’s fans, the museum was a work of art in itself.  Inside, a long ramp spiraled upwards for a total of a quarter-mile around a large central rotunda, topped by a domed glass ceiling.  Upon opening the building has some critics because it was such a sharp contrast to the more typically boxy Manhattan buildings that surround it, but over time it became accepted.

In 1992 Gwathmey Siegel & Associates added and extension to the museum, a ten story limestone tower behind the original spiral.  The new tower provided flat walls for paintings, complementing the display of sculpture around the spiral gallery.  With an ever-expanding art collection, the Guggenheim is home to over 900,000 visitors each year.

The Guggenheim Foundation has continued in recent years to expand its international scope by opening the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Germany in 1997, as well as a large museum the Frank Gehry-designed Abu Dhabi Guggenheim in the United Arab Emirates.  Also opening The Vilnius Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in Lithuania, and The Guggenheim Guadalajara in Mexico.

References in popular culture

  •  In the film L.A. Story, Steve Martin’s character has fun roller-skating through an art museum as a friend videotapes him. An acquaintance he meets in the art museum asks him, “Have you tried the Guggenheim?”
  •  In “The Race,” a 1994 episode of Seinfeld, George claims to have been the architect of the 1992 addition.
  •  In the episode “Art” of the Dilbert TV Series the Guggenheim is seen as being remodeled in accordance with a popular modern art fad.
  •  The exterior of the Guggenheim Museum can be seen in the opening sequence of The Critic.
  •  In the movie Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, it is destroyed by an earthquake.
  •  The movie Men In Black has Will Smith chasing an alien along the ramp (and up the side of the building).
  •  The movie “The Order – From Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle 3” was also filmed here.
  •  The Guggenheim Museum can be built as a landmark in Sim City 4 Rush Hour
  •  The Guggenheim can be seen in the film Downtown 81 starring the artist Jean Michel Basquiat

LETS GET TOGETHER

I might be having a social media melt down!  With all the different methods of staying connected with people on the internet it is so hard to keep up.  I have clients and friends that use different ways to stay in touch so I try to stay connected with them all.  If you are using any of these media portholes, feel free to follow me on:

 

FACEBOOK  –  KARI CROSS

Facebook is probably the largest social media site and a great way to share information to a large group of people.  Facebook was launched in February 2004 with over 600 million active users as of last year  That is about one person for every fourteen in the world.  WOW!  www.facebook.com

TWITTER @realtorcross

Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as “tweets”.  Twitter started in July 2006 and has over 200 million users.  www.twitter.com

PINTEREST  –  KARI CROSS

Pinterest is a great site that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes, save craft ideas for the kids, etc.  Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.  If you have not been on it…..it is a must!!  www.pinterest.com

LINKEDIN  –  KARI CROSS

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site.  The side began in May of 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking.  LinkedIn has more than 75 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. …  www.linkedin.com

BLOG  –  WWW.COUNTONCROSS.COM

A blog is a web site that an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.  My blog has a little bit of everything to keep you informed….  You can COUNT ON CROSS to keep you informed!

GOOGLE+   -KARI CROSS

Google+ is another social networking platform created by Google to challenge Facebook’s success.  Google+ allows you to share certain things with your “friends” group and other things with the “work” group.  It allows you to choose what information is sent out to what group of people.  www.google.com/+   (sorry I couldn’t get a picture of my page because it has been down a couple of days)

NO HAVE I FORGOTTEN ANYTHING?

WHAT IS YOUR PREFERED SOCIAL MEDIA SITES?

GO GREEN – CASH IS KING

I use my debit card for everything!  Using a debit or credit card is an easy way to spend money without being accountable for the things I am purchasing.  I am going to go retro and only use cash for purchases.  I want to challenge myself over the next few weeks to be more accountable for the money I am spending on a daily basis.  I will still use my debt/bank card for large purchases and to pay monthly bills, but for day-to-day items I will be able to track my spending and see what changes can be made in my habits.

I am also going to use this same process for my daughter who has just received her driver’s license and needs to learn how to save money for gas.  Cash leaves you with no chance to live beyond your means, when the money is gone it is gone.  This process will show her how to save for items she would like but can’t purchase right away.  Having to wait will also take care of impulse purchases and ensure she is really committed to the purchase.

MAKING A CHANGE:  I am going to start each monday morning and have a weekly cash budget for food, groceries, household supplies, entertainment, etc.  I will use paperclips to bundle the money in my wallet so I will be able to quickly see when the cash is getting low.  On the paperclip I am going to have a small piece of paper to track what I am spending.  This will also be a go place to track the money I am saving.  When I decide to take a drink from home instead of stopping at Starbucks that would be at least a $3.00 savings.

GROCERY SHOPPING:  At the grocery store I go through the aisles to find food I might want instead of buying only the food I need.  Having an unlimited” amount to spend, because I just swipe my card allows me to make unnecessary purchases.  If I have of chance of running out of money towards the end of the week I might think twice about purchasing some items.

DON’T BE WASTEFUL:  Many times when I go grocery shopping I might purchase a new bag of chips even though I have a half eaten bag at home.  I am always finding half used bottles of water causing me to have to purchase new ones more often.  Instead of buying new items, I want to make sure our family finishes what we have.  Clipping the chips closed will keep them fresh so my family will complete the bag and allow me to wait longer before I have to purchase a new bag  Leaving a marker next to the bottled water will let the kids decorate their bottles so we will know who they belong to so they can find and finish their drink. (note: the water bottles are from our weekends camping, when we are at home we do have a water jug and don’t use water bottles)

KEEP THE CHANGE:  Using cash will allow me to save money two ways.  I will only use bills to pay for the items I purchase.  At the end of each day I will put all of the coins I collected throughout the day into a savings jar.  Any money left over at the end of the week will also be put into a jar and saved for Christmas shopping.

SAVE ON PURCHASES:  In some cases, having cash can save you money.  Some retailers will give you a discount if you pay with cash.  Shopping around and finding a store that will negotiate with prices can save a great deal of money.  Don’t be afraid to ask everyone if they give a discount for cash and shop around to find the places that do.

LOOSE TRACK AND LOOSE MONEY:  When you use your debit card it is sometimes difficult to keep track of your spending.  Some transactions are removed from your bank account immediately while other items might not show up for days.  With the inconsistency of some purchases, if you are not careful you may over draw your account.  Don’t get stuck pay extortionate overdraft fees.

STEP AND REPEAT

This last weekend we had a baby shower for my daughter.  Since her last name is Bugnatto and everyone calls her husband “Bug” she is going with a Lady Bug theme because she is having a little girl bug!

I decided to try to get crafty for the shower and the first thing I wanted to make is a Step and Repeat for our picture wall.  You see we have a specific wall in our house that we always stand in front of to photograph every occasion.  For this occasion, I wanted to make a red carpet feel and have a lady bug Step and Repeat.  I started with a large bed sheet and letter stencils I bought as well as shape stencils I made.  I used fabric paint and created a Lady Bug wall.

As the guests came in they each took a picture with Elyssa in front of the step and repeat.  When she sent out her thank you cards each guest received their picture from that day.

Elyssa and Nick in front of the step and repeat

My two girls and I (Elyssa and Hailey) in front of the step and repeat

I also made a diaper cake center piece.  It turned out pretty good also, I used a ton of diapers and rubber bands and covered it in lady bug blankets.  I finished it off with pink ribbon with dots and some cute baby toys and gifts.

Not to bad for someone who is not very crafty.  My mother and my Aunts helped with all the food and the cake….thank you very much for all the help.  The party was great and she got a ton of great gifts to get her started.

RECYCLED ELECTRONICS

With the amount of electronics most people have in their homes, it is important to know about e-waste.  When I look around my home I see several televisions, DVD player, computers, printer, cell phones, gaming systems, clock radio, surge protectors, external hard drive, cordless phone, microwave, digital cameras, etc.  Most people know that electronic waste is bad for the environment, but what happens to our old computers, cell phones and televisions when they are recycled?

Unlike aluminum cans made of just one material, electronic devices are constructed with many different materials, so recycling e-waste is a more complex process.  The most important reason to recycle e-waste is to keep these devices from landfills, but the devices can also be used to save costs in manufacturing other materials.

In general, as much as 99 percent of all materials from electronics are reused in a different capacity or sold:

– Small amounts of copper and gold will be sold and then reused in alternative capacities.

– Some plastic, which is already the right grade for electronic devices will be re-used for such

– Materials can be used to manufacture other products such as lighters or wood composites.

– plastic housing is ground into smaller pieces and used as retaining blocks and pothole mix.

– Circuit boards and chips can be reused to repair or upgrade older electronics or recycled for scrap value.

NOT SO FUN FACTS

Some electronics may contain up to 8 pounds of lead

Electronics also contain lower levels of mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and other toxic chemicals.

300 million computers and one billion cell phones are produced every year, with each having an average lifespan of three to five years.

E-waste accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total amount of trash, but it contributes about 40 percent of the lead content in landfills.

E-waste accounts for about 70 percent of the heavy metal pollution in landfills

Make sure when you are upgrading your electronic devices you look for a local e-waste center to recycle your old devices. 

THE GREAT DEBATE

If ever a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is it for me…..  I am sure I could just post this picture and it would start a wide-spread debate, but of course I have to give my two cents along with it…..

A few months back my daughter stayed with us while her husband was in boot camp and I had this debate with her….

On two different occasions I sat down to find side A and quickly changed it to side B.  The third time I sat down to the side A roll I thought it was time to have the discussion.  “Now that you have a home of your own you have to know the correct way to put on a roll of TP….I can’t believe I never taught you the correct way!…….. don’t you know better?……”  She of course had no idea what I was talking about.

Her take was “You are out of toilet paper, you put on a new roll….Period!”

Having three children (4 if you count my husband…love you Honey!)  It is always a good thing just to have the roll on the wall and not sitting on the counter next to the toilet so I shouldn’t be picky about which way it rolls.  9 times out of 10 I can go into the bathroom to find only 1 square on the roll or an empty roll on the wall and a half used roll sitting on the counter.  How many times did the family pick up the roll from the counter to use it and put it back on the counter instead of putting it on the wall?  Really?

I think I like side B because it reminds me of when I was a little girl and my family would stay in a hotel.  I remember how the end of the toilet paper was always folded into a point and looked so fancy.  Although I don’t fold my toilet paper into a point, I do always make sure it is pointed the “Right Way”…… B

SO ARE YOU AN A OR B ?

DON’T QUOTE ME……

Just like in the game telephone, the more people repeat something the more it gets changed, just a little each time.  I was surprised to find out that some of those famous lines in our favorite movies are not exactly as we remember them.  I know that most of these quotes are really minor, but I thought it was fun to remember some of the great quotes and also see how they have been changed to the quotes we use.

Dirty Harry (1971)

What People Say: “Do you feel lucky, punk?”

What The Film Really Said: “Do I feel luck?, Well, do ya punk?

 ———————

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

What People Say: “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,  Toto.”

What The Film Really Said: ” Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not  in Kansas anymore.”

 ———————

The Silence Of The Lambs  (1991)

What People Say: “Hello, Clarice…”

What The Film Really Said: ” Good evening, Clarice.” Lecter  does in fact say “Hello, Clarice” in 2001’s Hannibal.

 ———————

Snow White And The Seven Dwarves (1937)

What People Say: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the  fairest of them all?”

What The Film Really Said: “Magic mirror on the wall, who is  the fairest one of all?”

 ———————

Lives Of A Bengal Lancer (1935)

What People Say: “We have ways of making you talk.”

What The Film Really Said: “We have ways of making men  talk.”

 ———————

Field Of Dreams (1989)

What People Say: “If you build it, they will come.”

What The Film Really Said: “If you build it he will  come.”

 ———————

The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948)

What People Say: “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

What The Film Really Said: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges.  We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”

 ———————

Star Trek: The Voyage Home (1987)

What People Say: “Beam me up, Scotty!”

What The Film Really Said: “Scotty, beam us up.”

 ———————

…And Justice For All (1979)

What People Say: “I’m out of order? You’re out of order!  This whole courtroom’s out of order!”

What The Film Really Said: ” You’re out of order! You’re out  of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order!”

 ———————

The Empire Strikes Back  (1980)

What People Say: “Luke, I am your father.”

What The Film Really Said: “No. I am your father.”

 ———————

Casablanca (1942)

What People Say: “Play it again, Sam.”

What The Film Really Said: “You played it for her, you can  play it for me. If she can stand it, I can. Play it!”

 ———————

Forrest Gump

What People Say: “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

What The Film Really Said: “Life was like a box of chocolates.”

 ———————

Apollo 13

What People Say: “Houston, we have a problem.”

What The Film Really Said: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

What is your favorite movie quote…..and make sure you get it right!

MY FIRST BLOG AWARD …..YA ME!

I was award the Versatile Blogger Award nomination last week!  I understand, like my fellow blogger from thefourrooms said, that this is a little of a Pyramid scheme, but it is also a great way to introduce new people to each of our blogs.

I’d like to acknowledge and thank thefourrooms for the nomination as well as the introduction to the new blogs that I really enjoy.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

  1. Thank the person(s) who gave you the Award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Pass this Award along to the top 10 (some said 15, but I like top 10 better) recently discovered blogs and let them know about their nomination.
OK, so seven things about myself are:  1. Wife to a wonderful husband and just celebrated our Anniversary last week, 2. Mother of three wonderful children, 3. Soon to be Grandmother (I know what you are thinking, I am too young. lol), 4.  Realtor for the past 11 years, 5. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, 6. I love to laugh, 7. I always try to look at the glass half full.
So Ladies and Gentlemen my 15 Blog nominations are…………….
  1. hunter71  – a little partial, my son
  2. ourbuglife – a little partial, my daughter
  3. thisitalianfamily
  4. cupcakesandcardigans
  5. youvebeenhooked
  6. serenitygame
  7. singlemaltmonkey
  8. ktbwood
  9. countoncross
  10. Sisterhood of the Travelling Military Pants
  11. thefourrooms
  12. play101
  13. mattposky
  14. cauchycomplete
  15. deltasuntimes
Hope you enjoy some of these sites :-)
I did use some of the same sites, but they are all sites I wanted to share with my friends.  Please fill free to forward any of these sites as well as adding your favorites.

SECRETS TO MAKING YOUR HOME WORK FOR YOU

With the way the Real Estate market is today, many of my clients that used to have large homes will save money buying a small home in the same neighborhood.  Also, many families are short selling their homes and finding themselves moving into a new rental home.  Whatever your situation is, it is important to make your home work for your families needs.

Buying a small home can have many advantages and benefits for your family and your pocketbook.

A small home has many advantages over larger homes.  They cost less to purchase and cost less to maintain, but making the transition to smaller square footage can be difficult unless you know how to make every inch count.

The first thing to remember is to be flexible.  Instead of defining every room with a single purpose, allow each are to adapt to your needs and be able to make changes as needed.  Just because your home has a master suite doesn’t mean you are bound to cram three kids into a second bedroom and keep the master for yourself and your spouse.  It could be hard to give up the large bedroom, but giving your children the extra space may mean they now have room for all their toys and they won’t have to have a play area in the living room.

Make things as multi-purpose as possible.  Downsize the amount of food you have in your kitchen pantry and repurpose that space into an intimate library or general utility closet.  A large walk-in closet can hold clothes and serve as your crafting corner.  A breakfast nook in the kitchen can double as an eating area and mini office.

Most homes today have multiple televisions, gaming systems and computer stations.  Scaling back to one TV/entertainment zone can inspire family togetherness and ignite more daily interaction  Another advantage to a smaller home is being able to easily keep an eye on kids, pets and guests.  Since everyone is in close proximity, it is easier to hear what’s going on throughout the house.

Always take advantage of outdoor space.  Even the tiniest patio or private deck can provide extra room for the family to spread out.  Install all-weather curtains or shades to create privacy and lay down a waterproof rug to give it a cozy feel.  A small cafe table is perfect for dining, doing homework, reading or relaxing.

Financially a small home will save you money each month.  A more modest living space equals less energy consumption which equals lower utility bills.

Learning to work with your individual space is a fun challenge.  The more you embrace the livability of your small home, the easier it becomes to see opportunities around every corner.

FACEBOOK SUBSCRIBE BUTTON

Did you hear about Facebook’s new Subscribe button for personal profile pages.  This gives users the same sort of one-sided following experience they get on Twitter and Google+.  This new feature is not automatically placed on everyone’s page, but is really easy to get.

People can now have followers without having to become friends with a stranger and see all of their posts.

In my line of work, as a real estate agent, I am my business….. and it allows followers to gain access to my page without having to become a friend.  Some people might not want to be friends with someone, but would love to see their updates and feeds.

To get your Facebook “Subscribe” button, go to https://www.facebook.com/about/subscribe and click on the “Allow Subscribers” button in the top right corner of the page. That’s it!

Don’t forget to either add me as a friend on Facebook, or subscribe to my page…..Kari Cross

BENEDICT ARNOLD

231 years ago today Benedict Arnold let his anger and desperation make him do the unthinkable.  In today’s hard times, many people are looking to get out of bad situations and it is sometimes a struggle to know how to do that.  Keep your head up, try to look at the glass half full, surround yourself with helpful people, and always stay true to yourself…. These are things that Benedict Arnold did not do.

During the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold was an American hero.  On September 21, 1780 Arnold created a plan to work with British forces.   Benedict Arnold became synonymous with the word “traitor.”

Arnold was born January 14, 1741 into a well-respected family in Norwich, Connecticut.  He joined the Continental Army when the Revolutionary War broke out between Great Britain and its 13 American colonies in 1775.  Arnold helped in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, distinguished himself in campaigns at Lake Champlain, Ridgefield and Saratoga and was making a great name for himself.  In 1777 five men of lesser rank were promoted over Arnold and over the next few years he married for the second time.  Arnold and his wife lived a very lavish lifestyle and accumulated substantial debt.

The debt and the resentment of being overlooked in a promotion where motivating factors in Arnold’s choice to become a traitor.

In 1780 Arnold was given command of West Point in New York.  Arnold contacted the head of the British forces, and proposed handing over West Point and his men in exchange for a large sum of money and a high position in the British Army.  When he met with Major John Andre to finalize the pact, his plan was foiled.  Arnold fled to the enemy side and went on to lead British troops in Virginia and Connecticut.

 

ARE YOU SAFE IN YOUR HOME?

When your family is home, it is important to have peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones are as safe as they can be.   It is easy to be comfortable in our home and forget some simple things that can help keep your family safe.

1.  Make sure your exterior house numbers are easy to read from the street so emergency crews can find your home.

2. With everyone using cell phones for 99% of calls, it is important to make sure that children know calling 991 from a home phone will provide a faster response than calling from a cell phone.

3.  Check smoke alarms every month and replace batteries once a year.  I know this is really easy and everyone knows to do this, but it is also very easy to forget.

4.  Make sure you also have a Carbon Monoxide detector outside all sleeping areas.  Where I live, this is now a law but it is a good idea for everyone.  Carbon Monoxide is hard to detect until it is too late.

5.  Clean out the dryer vent regularly.  Many home fires are a result of dirty dryer vents.

6.  Make sure you block inappropriate content on the internet to protect your children.  This includes the computer, cable television, Xbox, Playstation, etc. Remind your kids not to talk to strangers online.

7.  Be discreet on your facebook, twitter, etc.  Don’t give out personal information such as your home address, when you will be out-of-town, etc.  This is important to remind your children when they are telling their friends what they are doing.  Teach your children to only post things that they have already done so people don’t always know were they are.

8.  Also remember to lock all doors and windows and to keep some lights on a timer to detour unwanted guests.

OLD GLORY

Another name for the American Flag is Old Glory.  Old Glory is actually a specific flag made in 1824 for Captain William Driver.  Old Glory was made with 24 stars and 13 red and white stripes representing the original 13 colonies.  Old Glory traveled with Captain Driver on his ship and circled the globe twice before retiring with him to Nashville.  When the Civil War began in Tennessee, Old Glory was sewn inside a quilt and it stayed hidden until 1862.  Old Glory never flew again, but it now lives in the Smithsonian.

The current version of the US flag was designed by an 18 year old high school student, who only received a “B-“ for his efforts.  Robert Heft, challenged her teacher that a design proposal accepted by Congress would deserve an “A”.  The teacher did change Heft’s grade to an “A”, and by presidential proclamation his design was officially adopted as the nation’s flag in 1958.

6 US flags are currently stationed on the moon.  They were put there by Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17.  Other countries who have/had flags on the moon include, the Soviet Union, EU and India.

When folded properly, the US flag is shaped like a triangle with only the stars showing. If you have exacting standards, it usually takes 13 folds: the same number of original colonies.

WHAT MOVIES ARE “THEATER WORTHY” TO YOU?

I used to see previews of up coming movies and try to decided….to see, or not to see?  Today, instead of asking if I am going to see the movie or not I ask myself if the movie is “theater worthy” or not?

MY DEFINITION OF THEATER WORTHY:

A movie that is worth spending $69.00 to see it now

$42.00 for 4 regular tickets at $10.50ea + $27.00 for popcorn and drinks

* ($14.00ea for 3D movies)  ($15.50ea for Imax 3D movies)

-versus-

Waiting a month to watch the movie at home for $4.50

$1.00 to rent the movie from redbox + $3.50 for microwave popcorn and sodas

Since our family does a lot of camping, most of the time we opt for the less expensive, wait a month approach.  It is a win, win to save money and have great movies to watch while camping.

I know that some movies are “not the same” unless you watch them on the big screen.  Watching movies like Avatar and Transformers on the big screen does allow you to experience and enjoy the movie differently than watching it at home.  Although today’s home televisions are amazing, the movie theater experience is like nothing at home, unless you are sitting next to the baby that won’t stop crying.

What movies are Theater Worthy to you? 

DO YOU KNOW WHY THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS CALLED “UNCLE SAM”?

On September 7 1813, the United States officially gets its nickname, “UNCLE SAM”….. Do you know were the name comes from?

Samuel Wilson was a meat packer from Troy, New York and he supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812.  Wilson would stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States.  The soldiers began to refer to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.”  The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today. The German-born Nast was also credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as well as coming up with the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party and the elephant as a symbol for the Republicans.

Today’s, more famous image of Uncle Sam was created by artist James Montgomery Flagg.  In Flagg’s version, Uncle Sam wears a tall top hat and blue jacket and is pointing straight ahead at the viewer. During World War I, this portrait of Sam with the words “I Want You For The U.S. Army” was used as a recruiting poster.

In September 1961, the U.S. Congress recognized Samuel Wilson as “the progenitor of America’s national symbol of Uncle Sam.” Wilson died at age 88 in 1854, and was buried next to his wife Betsey Mann in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York, the town that calls itself “The Home of Uncle Sam.”

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR REALTOR

I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have lived in Discovery Bay since 1993.  My husband Ernie and I have three children span over several years.  Ernie is my best friend and a great husband and father.

Our oldest daughter Elyssa (22 years old) has recently graduated from Sacramento college.  She fell in love with and married Nick, who is currently in the Army.   Nick and Elyssa are now expecting a baby girl.  Their daughter is due January of 2012 and we are all excited about her arrival.

Our middle daughter Hailey (16 years old) is a Junior in high school and is excited about getting her driver’s license next month.   Hailey is a very smart, beautiful and strong girl.  She was born with a back disorder that gives her chronic pain and she misses a lot of school because of doctors appointments and pain.  She works very hard to take college prep classes in school and maintain her grades even with her lack of attendance.

Our youngest child is Hunter (8 years old) and he is in the third grade.  He does very well in school and receives good marks for his behavior.  Hunter is a dirt bike racer and spends all his free time at the race track.  Hunter has a website (www.hcrproducts.com) that follows his life as a dirt bike rider.

I love my family and value the time my husband and I have spent together and the amazing memories we have shared over the years.  I am so proud of all my children and excited to see what is to come.

TODAY’S REAL ESTATE MARKET

People have many questions about today’s real estate market…..and how it will affect their personal situation.  If you are behind on your house payments, looking for an investment property, looking for a rental, currently renting, or buying your first home, I have something for everyone.

SHORT SALE / FORECLOSURE:   If you are currently behind on your house payment, or thinking of letting your home go, make sure you call me asap to review your options.  I can help you short sale your home for FREE and I can explain your personal benefits.  It is important to know all your options in this crazy real estate market.

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS:  With all the short sales and bank owned homes on the market, it is the perfect time to purchase a great deal.  Interest rates are the lowest in history so it is important to take advantage of all the buyer benefits.

RENTERS:  If you are loosing your home and looking for a rental, I can help you at no charge.  If you have been renting, now may be the time to buy.  Call me to find out if you qualify to purchase a home.

INVESTORS:  Why invest your money in the stock market when you can purchase a home at a rock bottom price.  Many investors are buying great real estate deals.  You can purchase a home and use the rent to cover the monthly mortgage payment, find out if it can work for you.

BUYING / SELLERS:  The real estate market is always changing and it is important to have all your information before you decide to buy or sell.  Call or email so I can help you understand what is happening today.

If you know someone who could benefit from my real estate knowledge or needs a little guidance, please forward my information to them or let me know.

THE MEXICAN WALKING FISH

My daughter came across this cute looking fish and of course she said “Mom, I want one..”  I had not seen these fish before so I did some research to see what this fish was and found that it is not really a fish.  The Mexican walking fish, also known as the axolotl (pronounced ACk-suh-LAH-tuhl) is a very unusual animal.  The axolotl is not even a fish, it is an amphibian aquatic salamander.

It has a rare trait of retaining its larval features throughout its adult life.  It will keep its tadpole-like dorsal fin, which runs almost the length of its body, and its feathery external gills, which protrude from the back of its wide head.  The axolotls differs from most other salamanders because they live permanently in water.  In extremely rare cases, an azolotl will progress to maturity and emerge from the water, but most are content to stay on the bottom of lakes and canals.

The most unusual thing about this animal is that if it looses a limb, it can reproduce another one in about 8 weeks.

They pray on small fish, worms and insects, they have a life span of 10 to 15 years.  The female Axolotl can lay up to 1000 eggs at a time.  They contain poison glands so their pray must think twice before eating the little salamander.

The axolotl is nearing extinction. The axolotl mainly was native from Lake  Xochimilco and Lake Chalco, but, unfortunately, these lakes have already  disappeared or diminished, and most of these species are kept in hatcherys.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL

Next week is the kickoff of the 2011 NFL Football Season.  After the “Lock-out”, little training and a shortened pre-season, how will the first regular season games play out.  With no teams on a bye the first week, Thursday September 8th will be the kickoff of the first game of a week of great football.  Check your local listings and don’t miss your local team.

Thursday, Sept 8

  • Saints at Packers

Sunday, Sept 11

  • Lions at Buccaneers
  • Falcons at Bears
  • Steelers at Ravens
  • Bengals at Browns
  • Titans at Jaguars
  • Giants at Redskins
  • Cowboys at Jets
  • Bills at Chiefs
  • Colts at Texans
  • Eagles at Rams
  • Seahawks at 49ers
  • Panters at Cardinals
  • Vikings at Chargers

Monday, Sept 12

  • Raiders at Broncos
  • Patriots at Dolphines

The American Professional Football Association was founded in 1920 at a car dealership in Canton, Ohio.  Jim Thorpe was elected as the first president.

In 1948, the Rams became the first team to have a helmet insignia. The distinctive Ram horns were hand-painted onto the helmets by the team’s halfback, Fred Gehrke.

Willie Thrower was the first African-American quarterback in the NFL.  He played for the Chicago Bears in 1953.

1960 the Baltimore Colts had the first cheerleading squad in the NFL.

Monday Night Football first aired in 1970

In 1979, John elway was drafted out of high school to play professional baseball for the Kansas City Royals.

“All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night” by Hank Williams Jr. debuted as the Monday Night Football theme in 1989.

Before his 2003 rookie season, tight end Antonia Gates had not played football since his senior year in high school.

Receiver Wes Welker, who tied the league record for most receptions in 2007 (112), went undrafted in the 2004 NFL Draft.

In 2007, LaDainian Tomlinson was offered the spot on the cover of the Madden NFL 08 video game.  He turned it down, and Vince Young was selected instead.

With almost $1 billion in yearly revenues, the NFL is the world’s richest professional sports league.

The Oakland Raiders were originally named the Oakland Senors thanks to fan voting. After being ridiculed by the media for several weeks, the team changed its name to the Raiders (which finished third in the voting).

Dan Reeves, Tony Dungy and Mike Ditka have all appeared in Super Bowls as players, assistant coaches and head coaches.

Emmitt Smith had the same number of rushing yards in his last season as he did in his rookie season (937).

Ronnie Lott received All-Pro honors at three different positions (cornerback, strong safety and free safety).

Eli and Payton Manning are the only set of brothers to play quarterback in a Super Bowl. They are also the only brothers to both win the Super Bowl MVP award.

For a year’s supply of footballs for the NFL, it takes 3,000 cows to supply the leather.

The Vikings Defensive Lineman Jim Marshall once picked up a fumble and ran it all the way back the wrong way to score a Safety for the 49’ers.

GET WELL SOON STEVE JOBS

I take for granted the changes in my life that has come at the had of Steve Jobs.  I can do my work from any office or home that has a computer.  I can sit on the coach with my laptop and connect with people.  While standing in line at the grocery store I can surf the web.  Waiting for my number to be called at DMV I can play games and download new apps.  I am able to look for places around me, get directions to my destination, and order things online as I travel.  I can now work from anywhere at anytime thanks to Steve Jobs and his idea to create personal computers.

Today Jobs has stepped down as CEO with an undisclosed medical illness.  I am sure I am not alone in wanting to wish him a speedy recovery and thank him for his efforts in expanding our technology through the years.

 

Steven Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California, and in 1961 his family moved to Mountain View, California.  He loved electronics and spent a lot of time working in the garage workshop of a neighbor who worked at Hewlett-Packard as an electronics manufacturer.  Jobs enrolled in the Hewlett-Packard Explorer Club at the age of twelve and was introduced to his first computer.  While in high school Jobs attended lectures at the Hewlett-Packard plant. On one occasion he boldly asked William Hewlett , the president, for some parts he needed to complete a class project.  Hewlett was so impressed he gave Jobs the parts, and offered him a summer internship at Hewlett-Packard.

1972 Graduated from high school and enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon

1974 Dropped out of college to visit India and study eastern religions

1975 Joined a group known as the Homebrew Computer Club

1976 Joined club member Steve Wozniak to form a company designed to make personal home computers called The Apple Computer Company

1976 Sold circuit boards (the boards that hold the internal components of a computer) while they worked on the computer prototype

1977 The Apple II had first year sales of $2.7 million.

1980 The company’s sales grew to $200 million within three years.

1984 Apple introduced the Macintosh with small pictures called icons.  It did not sell well because it didn’t provide high quality printing.

1985 Jobs resigned from his company, though he retained his title as chairman of its board of directors.

1986 He purchased Pixar from filmmaker George Lucas and created Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, etc.

1988 He hired some former employers to create a company called NeXt.

1988 The NeXT computer was introduced that everyone loved but it was too costly and could not link to other computers

1996 Apple purchased NeXT Software for over $400 million and Jobs returned to Apple as a part-time consultant to the CEO

1997 Apple entered into a partnership with its competitor Microsoft.

1998 The IMac was introduced which featured a powerful computer at an affordable price.

1999 The IBook was unveiled.

2000 Jobs became the permanent CEO of Apple with the IPod, IPhone and IPads following.

2004 Jobs was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his pancreas. 

2009  Jobs underwent a liver transplant.

2011  January, Jobs went on a medical leave and operations were handed over to Tim Cook

August 25, 2011 Steve Jobs steps down as CEO but says he will remain a presence in the company.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF DEBT

In today’s tough economic credit market, it’s harder than ever for someone starting out on the road to financial responsibility to establish strong credit.  Knowing how to increase your credit score as well as avoid debt as an adult.  A few key credit facts can go a long way toward helping teens and young adults establish a positive credit history that works in their favor when it’s time to start making big decisions. 

1.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE CREDIT CARDS TO START A CREDIT HISTORY:  Most people open a credit card account and vow not to only make a few small purchases to begin a credit history.  In most cases the charges on the card become more frequent and payments are less often and before you know it the card is maxed out.  It is advised to start a credit history with accounts other than credit cards to show your responsible financial behavior.  collaborating with a responsible adult to put another account in a teen’s name, such as a telephone, cable, garbage, or other bills can show a positive credit history.

2.  GO GREEN AND CARRY CASH:  It is really easy to swipe a card every time you make a purchase, but in most cases it is difficult to really know how much money is being spent each day.  When you carry cash, it is easy to see how much money is available until your next payday.  Seeing the cash can help you decide if the purchase is really important and ensure you have the funds available and avoid debt.   

3.  KEEP YOUR CHANGE:  When you are using cash, you have an opportunity to receive change that can be used as a savings.  Decide what works best for you whether it is having a change jar at home that you fill up every night, or it is removing all the dollar bills from your wallet each day and saving them.  Having an extra savings set aside is great for buying something extra or for unforseen expenses. 

4.  AVOID DEPARTMENT STORE CREDIT:  Never sign up for a department store credit card.  They catch you when you are reaching for your wallet, stressed about spending money and offer you a great deal.  They offer you a discount on your purchase just for opening an account.  They do this because they know they will make a lot more on fees and finance charges when you charge your purchase.  In most cases the department store finance charges are way higher than a regular Visa or MasterCard.

5.  GROW INTO A CREDIT CARD:  If you would like to get your child ready for a credit card, think baby steps.  Start with a pre-paid card that allows them to spend only the money that has been put on the card in advance.  Next open a checking account that allows them to use a debit card.  Make sure to remind them to only spend money that has been deposited in advance and avoid overdraft fees.  When they are ready for a credit card, start with a low limit low fee card to be used for small purchases and paid each month.

It is very smart to have the credit talk with your kids often.  More than 80% of graduating college seniors have credit card debt before they even have a job.  With the job market as tight as it is today, they may not have a way to repay their debts after graduation.  Make sure your children start early and have the knowledge they need to avoid credit pitfalls.

 

WHAT DOES THE TITLE COMPANY DO?

Real Estate Transactions are lengthy and very detailed.  It is important when buying or selling a home that everyone does their job correctly to make the sale go smoothly.  The Real Estate Agent, Mortgage Lender, home inspection, appraiser and the Title Company all have to work together and have a specific job to do.  The title company does many things during the purchase/sale of a home, most importantly they ensure a “clean title” and disburse all funds.

A title company’s primary duty is to conduct an abstract search on title from many agencies including County Recorder, Federal and State Agencies, and County and City Offices.  Before a buyer can take possession of a piece of property, you have to make sure that the seller has the legal right to sell the home.  A title insurance policy protects from various defects such as another person claiming an ownership interest, improperly recorded, fraud, forgery, liens, encroachments, easements, unpaid taxes, and other items that are specified in the actual policy.

The title company works as a third party so neither the buyer or seller can claim the money was mismanaged or used for the wrong purposes when closing on a home.  All funds are deposited into an escrow account and held until both the buyer and seller have complete all requirements in the purchase and sale of the home and agree to all terms, at which point the title company disburse all funds as agreed upon.

In short, the primary job of the title company is to protect both the buyer and seller equally as a neutral party in the transfer of Real Estate.

 

GENTELMEN START YOUR ENGINES!

Since my family are very big race fans, I thought I would share some interesting facts about The Brickyard.  On August 19, 1909, the first race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.  

Built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana, the speedway was started by local businessmen as a testing facility for Indiana’s growing automobile industry. The idea was that occasional races at the track would pit cars from different manufacturers against each other. After seeing what these cars could do, spectators would presumably head down to the showroom of their choice to get a closer look.

The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.

The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway reopened in December 1909.  In 1911, low attendance led the track’s owners to make a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500–a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Since 1911, the Indianapolis 500 has been held every year, with the exception of 1917-18 and 1942-45, when the United States was involved in the two world wars. With an average crowd of 400,000, the Indy 500 is the best-attended event in U.S. sports. In 1936, asphalt was used for the first time to cover the rougher parts of the track, and by 1941 most of the track was paved. The last of the speedway’s original bricks were covered in 1961, except for a three-foot line of bricks left exposed at the start-finish line as a nostalgic reminder of the track’s history.

*  Today race cars travel around the track at an average speed of 230mph.

*  Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Roman Colosseum and Vatican City all can fit inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, which covers 253 acres.

*  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility, with more than 250,000 permanent seats. If the seat boards from the grandstands at IMS were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 99.5 miles.

*  Indy cars accelerate from 0 mph to 100 mph in 4 seconds.

TOP 5 SIGNS OF A BAD REAL ESTATE AGENT

If your home is listed for sale and it just won’t sell, it may not be your real estate agent’s fault–after all, home sales were down more than 40% in August over the same time last year.  However, there are many ways to gauge if your agent is doing a good job.  

1. Lack of Communication:  If you haven’t heard from your real estate agent in a few weeks, it’s time to find a new one.  Even if no one has called for a showing of your home, or your agent hasn’t found any homes that meet your requirements as a buyer, he or she should be touching base with you regularly to keep you up to date on the work being done on your behalf.  After all, there’s no doubt you’re thinking about your home transaction almost daily–as an agent acting on your behalf, shouldn’t your real estate agent be keeping you in mind?

2. Lack of Leadership:  If your real estate agent agrees with you on every point, this is the sign of someone who’s eager to please–not someone who’s committed to doing the best possible job at representing your interests in the real estate market.  When it comes to pricing a home for sale, insist that your agent produce the research that was used to arrive at that price.  

3. Unable to Listen:  In contrast to #2, your real estate agent should also be able to listen to your wants and needs.  The agent and the buyer/seller don’t always have to agree, but in the end they are someone that is acting on your behalf.  Your real estate agent is the expert and should be able to take the lead, but they will have to be someone willing to allow you to have the final word in the end.

4. Too Much Pressure:  While you should seek out a real estate agent who is knowledgeable enough to have an educated opinion and confident enough to (respectfully) voice it, if you feel your agent pushing you in any particular direction, this should send up a red flag.  Especially when you’re buying a home, there is no real reason an agent should want you to buy any particular home over another.  If you get the feeling you are being steered toward certain homes, make sure you address this and in the end are purchasing what you want.

5. Lack of Follow-Up:  Whether you’re buying or selling, many real estate agents think their job ends on the home’s possession date.  This is the day upon which the transaction is considered complete, and the real estate agent is paid.  An agent who calls beyond this date to address any follow-up questions you might have and to ensure that you’re happy with his or her work is going above and beyond what is required and showing a commitment to customer service.  After all, at this point your agent’s commission check has already been signed, so this level of care is a great sign of an agent who is willing to do what it takes to make you happy and keep your business in the future.

The Bottom Line:  As in every line of work, there are great real estate agents and there are terrible ones. However, in a tough real estate market like this one, you might have to gauge their performance on more than just a speedy transaction.

THIS WEEKS GROOVY HISTORY

This week marks the anniversary of Woodstock, the most famous music festival in rock ‘n’ roll history, which took place August 15-18, 1969.  The grooviest event in music history, The Woodstock Music Festival was full of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll in upstate New York.

Conceived as “Three Days of Peace and Music,” Woodstock was a product of a partnership between John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfield and Michael Lang. Their idea was to make enough money from the event to build a recording studio near the arty New York town of Woodstock. When they couldn’t find an appropriate venue in the town itself, the promoters decided to hold the festival on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York–some 50 miles from Woodstock–owned by Max Yasgur.

By the time the weekend of the festival arrived, the group had sold a total of 186,000 tickets and expected no more than 200,000 people to show up. By Friday night, however, thousands of eager early arrivals were pushing against the entrance gates. Fearing they could not control the crowds, the promoters made the decision to open the concert to everyone, free of charge. Close to half a million people attended Woodstock, jamming the roads around Bethel with eight miles of traffic.

Soaked by rain and wallowing in the muddy mess of Yasgur’s fields, young fans best described as “hippies” euphorically took in the performances of acts like Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  The most memorable moment of the concert for many fans was the closing performance by Jimi Hendrix, who gave a rambling, rocking solo guitar performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

With not enough bathroom facilities and first-aid tents to accommodate such a huge crowd, many described the atmosphere at the festival as chaotic. There were surprisingly few episodes of violence, though one teenager was accidentally run over and killed by a tractor and another died from a drug overdose.  A number of musicians performed songs expressing their opposition to the Vietnam War, a sentiment that was enthusiastically shared by the vast majority of the audience. Later, the term “Woodstock Nation” would be used as a general term to describe the youth counterculture of the 1960s.

Max Yasgur was paid $75,000 for the use of his alfalfa field for the venue.  32 bands performed and as an unknown and unproven business concern, the organisers, Woodstock Ventures, had to pay inflated sums to get the top rockers to sign up.  Jefferson Airplane were the first, paid $12,000, double their usual fee. Even hippy band The Grateful Dead demanded cash in hand before they would play, as did Janis Joplin and The Who. 

About two dozen ticket booths should have been in place to charge $24 admission, but they were never installed because of a the crush of festival-goers.  Attempts to get people to pay were abandoned on day one, the fences were torn down and Woodstock was declared a free event.  Organisers at Woodstock Ventures were at least $1.3m in debt afterwards.  It took more than a decade for backers to recoup money, through audio and recording rights.

Several acts that were scheduled to perform did not make it to the stage.

  • Jeff Beck Group (The band broke up in July, forcing cancellation)
  • Iron Butterfly (Stuck at the airport)
  • Joni Mitchell (Joni’s agent put her on “the Dick Cavett Show” instead)
  • Lighthouse (Feared that it would be a “bad scene”)
  • The Moody Blues (took a gig in Paris at the last minute)
  • Ethan Brown (Arrested for LSD three days before the event)

Some declined the invitation to attend

  • The Beatles (John Lennon said he couldn’t get them together)
  • Led Zeppelin (Got a higher paying gig)
  • Bob Dylan (Turned it down because of his disgust for hippies hanging around his house)
  • The Byrds (Turned it down because of a melee during their performance at an earlier Pop Festival)
  • Tommy James & the Shondells (they said they were misinformed about the size and scope of the event)
  • Jethro Tull (thought it wouldn’t be a big deal)
  • Spirit (They had other shows and wanted to keep their commitment)
  • Mind Garage (Figured it wouldn’t be a big deal so they took a different gig)

BUYING IS CHEAPER THAN RENTING IN MOST U.S. CITIES

Home prices have taken such a beating and demand for rental units has increased so much that it’s now cheaper to buy than to rent in most major U.S. cities.

According to real estate web site Trulia, buying was cheaper than renting in 88% of the country’s 50 largest cities in July.  In just 12% of the cities renting was cheaper.  In addition to a decline in home prices, rock-bottom interest rates have added a lot of weight to the buy side of the scale.  With the addition of all the factors as well as the tax perks of home ownership, it certainly is a buyer’s market.

In most cases if you plan on staying a while, and have some cash for a down payment, you’re better off buying in most places.

It is important to consult a Realtor to go over your specific information…

the factors that will be evaluated are:

  • How long you plan to stay:  If you’re not keeping the home for several years, transactional costs of buying and selling can wipe out any buying edge.
  • Do you have cash for closing:  Some fees can be paid by the selling end of the transaction, but you need to have enough money to pay your down payment and some purchasing fees.  Your Realtor and Lender will help determine how much money you will need to purchase a home.
  • Can you cover all the homeownership costs:  It’s not just the mortgage:  Don’t forget about property taxes, insurance, heat, utilities and regular maintenance.
  • Can you claim the tax advantage of homeownership:  Mortgage interest is deductible and can shave a lot off tax bills.  It is important to check with your tax advisor to determine how much benefit you may gain.

You may not know if you are ready to purchase a home…..Is your credit score high enough? Do you make enough money to qualify? Do you have enough money for a down payment? etc…  FREE advice on what you can do to purchase a home is available at your local Real Estate Office.  Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services 925-584-1640  kcross@interodb.com

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED….. destroy all evidence you ever tried

Many of my clients are frustrated and discouraged about the state of our economy and their personal situations.  My family laughs that I am always a “glass half full person” and try to always find the light at the end of the tunnel.  So I thought today I would share some evidence of successful people throughout history that hit bottom just before soaring to the top.  It is always important to learn from your mistakes and failures only to use it to your advantage.  Instead of saying NEVER TRY, NEVER FAIL….. think about the success you might find after you fail…..

HENRY FORD (FORD MOTOR COMPANY):  Fords early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

SOICHIRO HONDA (HONDA):  Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.

AKIO MORITA (SONY):  Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn’t cook rice, just burnt it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn’t stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company.

BILL GATES (MICROSOFT):  Gates dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.

MICHAEL JORDAN:  Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

BABE RUTH:  You probably know Babe Ruth because of his home run record (714 during his career), but along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

HARLAND DAVID SANDERS (COLENEL SANDERS):  Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.

WALT DISNEY:  Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.

ALBERT EINSTEIN:  Most of us take Einstein’s name as synonymous with genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. It might have taken him a bit longer, but he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.

THOMAS EDISON:  In his early years, teachers told Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in a design that worked.

FRED ASTAIRE:  In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire went on to become an incredibly successful actor, singer and dancer and kept that note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.

SIDNEY POITIER:  After his first audition, Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” Poitier vowed to show him that he could make it, going on to win an Oscar and become one of the most well-regarded actors in the business.

THEODOR SEUSS GIESEL:  Today nearly every child has read The Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, yet 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

STEPHEN KING:  The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it, and the rest is history.

ELVIS PRESLEY:   But back in 1954, Elvis was still a nobody, and Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

THE BEATLES:  When the Beatles were just starting out, a recording company told them no. They were told “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out,” two things the rest of the world couldn’t have disagreed with more.

FROM MY KITCHEN TO YOURS (SAVE TIME AND MONEY)

If you are looking for easy cooking ideas, single pot cleanup, and cutting your food and energy costs with low heat cooking, then IT IS TIME TO DUST OFF YOUR RETRO 1970’s SLOW COOKER and save yourself time and money.  As advertised…..this Rival Crock-Pot is “The Working Woman’s Dream!”  Although you probably can’t purchase one for $14.77 anymore, if used right it is well worth the expense.

Save Time:

Using a slow cooker is very easy to do….just layer your food and forget it.  It is not only hands free cooking, it is eyes free cooking.  You don’t have to stand around and monitor the food because there is no boiling over or burning.  You can spend more time with your family and friends and several hours later the food is done and  ready to eat.

Slow cookers allow you to make a meal for the entire family in one dish.  You will not be in the kitchen all night cleaning several pots and pans, one pot and your done.  Remove the slow cook insert, give it a good soak and it will clean right up.

Save Money:

When you use a slow cooker for 7 hours you will use over 50% less energy than using your stove for 1 hour.  This will translate to a lower energy bill and more money in your pocket.

When using a slow cooker, you can buy a cheaper cut of meat.  Because you will be cooking the meat over a low heat for a longer time, the meat tenderizes and will make great stews and soups.

Buy a larger cut of meat and make several meals in one.  (chicken breast for dinner, chicken noodle soup for lunch, chicken tacos the next day) or (pork roast dinner, pulled pork sandwiches for lunch, and soup the next day) etc.

I love getting up in the morning, and putting all of my ingredients into the slow cooker and heading out for my day.  When I return home in the evening, the house smells fabulous, and dinner is ready to put on the table.  Using a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker is a smart choice for many different reasons.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CROCK-POT RECIPE?

My families favorite recipe is: Roast

  • Place 1/2 (large can) cream of mushroom soup in bottom of slow cooker
  • Salt and pepper large roast and place in pan
  • Cut 1 onion into strips and spread over roast
  • Peal and cut carrots and place in slow cooker
  • Peel and chop potatoes into quarters
  • Add the remaining cream of mushroom soup and a little water
  • Cook all day and enjoy!

THIS IS BULL

My son and I went to the County Fair this weekend and I found myself very concerned about the cows.  It started off very fun when we saw the biggest cow I had ever seen, I wasn’t even sure if it was a cow.  I asked the girl grooming him if it was a cow and she said it was a STEER (a castrated male cow).  It was so big because it had been raised since birth for meat and it was up for auction later at the fair.

We continued inside the fair and looked at the pigs, sheep, and goats.  We pet the animals and walked down until we got to more cows, but these cows looked completely different from the ones we had just seen.  They were soooo skinny I couldn’t believe it.  I think we were able to see every bone and I had to ask the girl “why are these cows so skinny?”  She told me that they were dairy cows and all of their vitamins go directly into the milk and that they were also going to be up for auction.

What a difference in the two cows, the way they are raised, and the food they eat.  I know that cows are used for dairy and meat, but I never know that they are cared for differently depending on what they will be used for.  I always thought that cows eat hay and grass and you get what you get, but it looks like a lot more is put into the art of breeding the perfect cow.

It takes around 3,000 cows to supply the 22,000 footballs, the NFL uses every season.

A boy cow is a BULL, and “altered” boy cow is a STEER.

A cow can’t vomit.

Cows give 60 lb. of milk a day.

There are more than 800,000 cows producing milk in California.

Cattle outnumber humans in 9 states: Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

It takes a cow 283 days to give birth once it is bred.

Beef is the number one source of zinc in the human diet in the United States.

No two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots.

The cow must be a mother before she will produce milk.

A cow that weighs 1000 pound can produce an average 10 tons of manure every year.

An average cow produces 30 lbs of urine and 65 lbs pounds of feces daily.

A newborn Holstein calf weighs about 100 pounds and can walk within one hour after birth!

Cows live to on average 6 to 7 years.

The oldest cow till date was Big Bertha, which died just 3 months shy of her 49th birthday.

A cow spends 13 hours a day lying down and up to 8 hours a day eating.

A cow gives in her lifetime enough milk to fill 200,000 glasses, and gives 18,000 lb. of milk every year.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs, because a cows’ knees can’t bend properly to walk back down.

 

IF YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT…….

If you are what you eat…. than what does that say about the clothes you wear?  Below are some mug shot photos of people who probably should have thought twice before getting dressed that day.

So a little lesson……Think about what you are planning to do before you get dressed in the morning.  If you are going to be breaking the law, make sure you look good for your mug shot.   Enjoy!

CELL PHONE 411

This last week my son had a dirt bike race in Washington and we traveled 12 hours to get to the event and camped for the week with friends.  (see more about the trip at www.hcrproducts.com on my son’s racing blog)

While camping we got into a conversation about my daughter’s new cell phone.  A friend of ours was giving me a hard time for making my daughter put an otter box cover on her iphone.  He told me that it was borderline abuse to have my teenage daughter have such a large phone.  Since my daughter and I just had a huge disagreement the day before over the use of the case, he was not helping me at all.  Having purchased my iphone three years ago and dropped it many times, I am convinced that the otter box is necessary for my daughter so she won’t break her phone.  Lets face it…..it’s not like I bought her a huge Motorola brick phone….it’s an iphone in a cute pink case.  Is that so bad?

He kept insisting that I had “ruined the iphone” by putting such a large case on it and that her friends will make fun of her when she goes back to school.  He thought I should just wrap the phone in bubble wrap to make sure it stays safe.  Of course my daughter was thrilled that he would maybe talk me out of making her use the phone case, but no such luck.  I am thinking when she can afford to replace it, then she can take care of it as she wishes.

I started thinking about all the different phones I have had over the years and how far our cell phone technology has come.  Remember Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street using his Motorola DynaTAC.  Since 1983 many different phone styles have come out and new functions were continually being added…what will they think of next?

The original Motorola cell phone was a little to big to fit into a pocket and over the years the sizes have gotten smaller and smaller.  The technology and ability of the phones has also changed over the years.  The phones began to flip close and slide open.  You were able to not only call someone, but send them a message via text.  The screen went from black and white to full color and touch screens.  You could use your phone to take a picture or to surf the web.  You could listen to music while checking your email or talk on the phone while you watch a movie.  Instead of calling someone, now you can see them with the video phones.

FUN FACTS

200,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo (two hundred trillion) text messages are received in America every day……that is more than an entire years worth of regular mail received in America.

The average teen sends 3339 text messages each month

42% of teens can text message blindfolded

Texting is the #2 use of cellphones….#1 is checking the time

In 2010 Americans spent $42.8 million on cell phones

In 2009 300 million mobile apps were downloaded…In 2010 5 billion mobile apps were downloaded.

There is more than 3.3 billion active mobile phones in the world.  (equal to half of the entire world population)

People throw away more than 125 million cell phones each year.

Two thirds of mobile phone users use the backlight of their phone as a flash light.

AND DON’T FORGET TO GET A CASE FOR YOUR IPHONE BEFORE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU….

COOL APPS

My son has my phone over loaded with apps that he keeps finding.  He is allowed to only get the free apps of course.  He recently found one that was fun for us both and kinda goes along with my blog.  The app basically gives random fun facts, which I love!

JUDY SCHEINDLIN (Judge Judy) HAS A $25,000,000 SALARY, WHILE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBERG HAS A $190,100 SALARY.

-Wow… forget about hoping my kids become a doctor…

CHEWING ON GUM WHILE CUTTING ONIONS CAN HELP A PERSON FROM PRODUCING TEARS.

-Can’t wait to try this one!

A GIRAFFE CAN CLEAN ITS EARS WITH ITS 21 INCH TONGUE

-Yuk

PEARLS MELT IN VINEGAR

-Very good to know right?

MOSCOW WEATHERMEN CAN BE FINED FOR INACCURATE WEATHER FORECASTING

-I love this one.  Because I do so much outside, I hate when the weather is wrong.  The other day the weather man said “Mostly sunny with some clouds and a chance of rain.”  What?  I think he covered everything….maybe just say “we have no idea!”

THE FIRST COUPLE TO BE SHOWN IN BED TOGETHER ON PRIME TIME TELEVISION WAS FRED AND WILMA FLINSTONE

-Television shows have come a long way since then

To be continued…..

FUNNY/BAD MLS PHOTOS

As a Realtor we work many hours, but only get paid if we actually sell a home.  With this in mind, you would think that we would do everything we could to show potential buyers the best features of a home and make a quick sell.  When looking at some of the MLS ad’s people write, we can find typo’s which you could say is an honest mistake.  How do you explain why an agent would use a bad picture to represent the home they are selling?

I am not saying that I don’t take many bad pictures, but I hope that I am not including them in my MLS listings.

MAKE SURE THE ROOM IS IN FOCUS

I THINK I WOULD HAVE SKIPPED THIS ROOM.

A CANDLE DOESN’T MAKE EVERYTHING LOOK BETTER.

IS THAT AN EXTRA LARGE PAIR OF UNDERWARE IN THE WINDOW?

SOMEWHERE BEHIND THIS OVERGROWN SHRUB IS A HOME FOR SALE.

IT IS A GOOD IDEA NOT TO TAKE PHOTOS AT NIGHT.

A PICTURE OF AN ASHTRAY, FEBREEZE, CLEANING SUPPLIES, AND INSECT SPRAY IS NOT THE BEST SELLING IDEA

THIS PICTURE SHOWS EXACTLY HOW DANGEROUS THE STAIRS ARE.

IS THE HORSE FOR SALE OR THE HOUSE.

 

THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 Commander, Neil Armstrong made history as the 1st man on the moon.

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin blasted off on July 16, 1969.  Four days later the three-man crew reached the moon.  Collins stayed in orbit around the moon and took pictures while Armstrong and Aldrin entered the lunar Module called the Eagle.  The Eagle landed down on the moon and Neil Armstrong was the first to exit onto the moon’s surface.

As Neil Armstrong stept onto the moon he said:

“THAT’S ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN….ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND”

Armstong and Aldrin walked around the surface of the mon for three hours doing experiments, and collecting drilling samples, moon dirt and rocks.

They put a U.S. flag on the moon and also left a sign.

HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON

JULY 1969, A.D.

WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND”

The astronauts completed their mission and returned to Earth atmosphere on July 24th.  A parachute opened to safely lower the Columbia into the Pacific Ocean.  After landing in the Ocean, the crew were retrieved by a helicopter and taken to the recovery ship, the USS Hornet.

With no more manned moon visits planned it is nice to remember the great accomplishment made by those three men all those years ago.

THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH – IS 56 YEARS OLD

Walt Disney wanted to build a place where children and parents could have fun together.  The original plans for the park were on 8 acres next to the Burbank studios where his employees and families could go to relax. Although, World War II put those plans on hold. During the war, Walt had time to come up with new ideas, and creations for his magical park. It was soon clear that 8 acres wouldn’t be enough.

Walt found a rural 160 acre spot in Anaheim, California.  On July 21, 1954 construction began with clearing acres of citrus trees and moving horses to make room for the park.  Walt looked to his movie studio staff for help in making realistic castles, mountains, ships, etc.  They created 20 attractions in five uniquely different lands.  (Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, an Main Street USA)  Opening day was 12 months later on Jul 17, 1955 and after a total investment of $17 million and it was time to open the gate.


The highly anticipated opening day festivities, including the dedication and a parade, were covered by ABC with a 90 minute live special, ‘Dateline Disneyland’, was hosted by television personalities Art Linkletter, Ronald Regan and Bob Cummings.  Ninety million viewers witnessed the fantastic results of one man’s dream come true.

The grand opening did not go so smoothly.  11,000 invitations had been mailed to the studio workers, construction workers, the press and officials.  Counterfeit tickets were used and by mid-afternoon, over 28,000 ticket holders were heading for Disneyland causing unprecedented traffic jams.

although everything appeared to be magical, many things did not go as planned.  A 15 day heat wave raised temperatures up to 110 degrees and due to a plumbers strike, few water fountains were operating.  When the gates opened workers were still planting trees and in some areas paint was still wet.  The asphalt had been poured just that morning and some ares were very soft.  Rides broke down shortly after opening and restaurants and refreshment stands ran out of food and drink.  A gas leak in Fantasyland caused Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland to close for the afternoon.

During the event, Walt Disney was unaware of the chaotic situation. He was being shuttled from one part of the Park to another for the ‘Dateline Disneyland’ broadcast. It wasn’t until later that he became aware of the negative reaction to Disneyland.  Walt immediately summoned his staff, and measures were taken to deal with the problems of low ride capacity, congested walkways, traffic jams and slow food service. The press was invited back for a private “second day” to experience the true Disneyland.


Disneyland Park was then opened to the public and crowds started to gather in line as early as 2 a.m.  The first person to buy a ticket and enter the park was David MacPherson with admission ticket number two, as Roy O. Disney arranged to pre-purchase ticket number one.  Ten years after opening over 50 Million visitors had come through the gates.  Today, more than four decades later Disneyland’s success is world-renowned.

The park was turning a profit by its second year of operation, and new rides were planned.

All of Disneyland is constructed at 4/8 scale.

Disneyland is home to more than 40 rides and attractions.

More than 400 items are collected by Lost and Found each day.

On an average day, park guests generate more than 30 tons of trash.

Disneyland recycles 4 million pounds of cardboard, paper, and other materials annually.

Over 4 million burgers, 3 million fry orders, 1 million gallons of soda are served each year.

Sleeping Beauty Castle stands only 77 feet tall but looks larger due to forced perspective scaling architecture.

The castle is trimmed in 22 karat gold leaf to ensure it glitters even on cloudy days.

Steve Martin used to work in the Magic Shop in Disneyland.

Disneyland’s address is 1313 Harbor Boulevard.

  • M is the 13th letter of the alphabet, making the address MM for Mickey Mouse.
  • If you turn the address sideways it looks like 2 sets of mouse ears.

IT’S ALL IN THE SPELLING – PART 1

As a Realtor, and someone who writes on the internet, I am sure I am guilty of mixing words…..

but some of these are pretty funny!

When we enter home descriptions into the MLS, maybe we need to slow down.  We need to make sure we are writing exactly what we want to say.

“Six burner Woof range” (Woof, Woof –Wolf range)

“New central meat” (don’t we all want central meat? – central Heat)

“Huge d___ in the backyard” (well lets just say it is supposed to be Deck)

“Marble inset good fur chopping” (glad to know we can chop fur –good For chopping)

“Wine slerved at open” (Served)

“Beautiful, wine covered walls” (who doesn’t want wine running down the walls? –wine Colored)

“EZ Fleeway Access” (Just what the buyer was looking for Flee’s – Freeway)

“Notice of constellation” (Really….stars?)

“Unique desin” (design)

“Wine seller in basement” (Does anyone know he’s missing? –Cellar)

“Must submit proof of funs” (How ‘bout a photo of me on a ferris wheel? –Funds)

“Dank hardwood floors thrugout” (Something smells funny -Dark)

“Full frontal and back landscaping” (I don’t know…it’s just not right)

“Gracias living space” (For Spanish-speaking clients –Gracious)

“244 hr notice required – Hurry – will go fast!” (That’s a lot of notice)

“Stunning hurse ranch” (We wrangle the dead –horse)

“Canceled – seller says small gas problem” (Again…just not right)

SILENCE YOUR CELL PHONES PLEASE

When I went to the movies this weekend to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I was wondering how much they must have spent to make the movie.  Between paying the actors and all the special effects, it is amazing how much money must be spent.  I thought I might look at some of the successful movies made over the years:  (numbers are based on box office sales only)

THE MOST EXPENSIVE MOVIES EVER MADE

05-25-2007  Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End  Budget  with a budget of $300,000,000 this movie grossed $960,996,492

11-24-2010 Tangled Budget  with a budget of $260,000,000 it grossed $586,581,936

05-04-2007  Spiderman 3  with a budget of $258,000,000 it grossed $890,875,303

07-15-2009 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince  with a budget of $250,000,000 it grossed $933,959,197

12-18-2009  Avatar  with a budget of $237,000,000 it grossed $2,783,918,982

06-28-2006  Superman Returns  with a budget of $232,000,000 it grossed $390,874,000

TOP BOX OFFICE HITS

12-18-2009  Avatar  Budget $237,000,000 – Gross $2,783,918,982 – Profit $1,154,959,491

12-19-1997  Titanic Budget $200,000,000 – Gross $1,842,879,955 – Profit $721,439,978

12-17-2003  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Budget $94,000,000 – Gross $1,119,027,325 – Profit $465,523,663

06-11-1993  Jurassic Park Budget $63,000,000 – Gross $923,067,947 – Profit $398,533,974

05-19-2004  Shrek 2 Budget $70,000,000 – Gross $919,838,758 – Profit $389,919,379

SMALLER BIG PROFIT MOVIES

Movies that didn’t see huge gross sales, but the return on investment was huge.

09-25-2009  Paranormal Activity  Budget $15,000  Gross $196,681,656

03-21-1980  Mad Max  Budget $200,000  Gross $99,750,000

05-07-2004  Super Size Me  $65,000  $29,529,368

07-14-1999  The Blair Witch Project  $600,000  Gross $248,300,000

10-01-1968  Night of the Living Dead  Budget $114,000  Gross $30,000,000

WHAT ABOUT THE LOOSERS…..

03-11-2011  Mars Needs Moms  Budget $150,000,000  Gross $39,549,758  Loss -$130,225,121

06-17-2011  Green Lantern  Budget $200,000,000  Gross $139,883,956  Loss -$130,058,022

04-27-2001  Town & Country  Budget $105,000,000  Gross $10,364,769  Loss -$99,817,616

12-17-2010  How Do you Know?  Budget $120,000,000  Gross $48,668,307  Loss -$95,665,847

06-24-2011  Cars 2  Budget $200,000,000  Gross $215,829,515  Loss -$92,090,243

06-22-2007  Evan Almighty  Budget $175,000,000  Gross $173,219,280  Loss -$88,390,360

As you can see….making movies is very big business, when the movie is a hit there is a lot of money to be made.  It is amazing that Paranormal Activity was filmed with a $15,000 budget after seeing the budget of the rest of the movies.  Next time you go to a movie, I wonder what the movies budget will be and what kind of profit it will make????

HOW MUCH CAN I BORROW?

In today’s market it is important to have good preparation of all aspects of buying a home.  Understanding some simple terms and what they mean to you, and the seller when you are purchasing a home is very important.

You need to know the difference in being pre-qualified for a mortgage and being pre-approved for a home loan.  Misusing these terms can mean acceptance or denial of an offer.

Pre-Qualified
Getting pre-qualified is the initial step  in the mortgage process, and it’s generally fairly simple. You supply a bank or  lender with your overall financial picture, including your debt, income and assets.   After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of the mortgage  amount for which you qualify. Pre-qualification can be done over the phone or on  the internet, and there is usually no cost involved. Loan pre-qualification does not include an analysis of your credit report or an in-depth look at your ability to purchase a  home.

The initial pre-qualification step allows you to  discuss any goals or needs you may have regarding your mortgage with your  lender. At this point, a lender can explain your various mortgage options and  recommend the type that might be best suited to your situation.

Because it’s a quick  procedure, and based only on the information you provide to the lender, your  pre-qualified amount is not a sure thing; it’s just the amount for which you  might expect to be approved. For this reason, a pre-qualified buyer doesn’t  carry the same weight as a pre-approved buyer who has been more thoroughly  investigated.

Pre-Approved
Getting pre-approved is the next step, and  it tends to be much more involved. You’ll complete an official mortgage  application, and then supply the lender  with the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating.  From this,  the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved.  You’ll also have a better idea of the  interest rate you will be charged on the loan and, in some cases, you might be  able to lock-in a specific rate.  With  pre-approval, you will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact  loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level.  Obviously, this puts you at an advantage when dealing with a potential seller,  as he or she will know you’re one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage.

The other advantage of completing both of these steps –  pre-qualification and pre-approval – before you start to look for a  home is that you’ll know in advance how much you can afford. This way, you don’t  waste time with guessing or looking at properties that are beyond your means.  Getting pre-approved for a mortgage also enables you to move quickly when you  find the perfect place. When you make an offer, it won’t be contingent on  obtaining financing, which can save you valuable time. In a competitive market,  this lets the seller know that your offer is serious – and could prevent you  from losing out to another potential buyer who already has financing arranged.

Last Word

If you are interested in purchasing a new home, I can help you find a mortgage lender to help you get Pre-qualified and Pre-approved so you know exactly how much you can borrow!

IS THERE REALLY MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A CAT?

When my children help me load the dishwasher I always find myself re-arranging the dishes they put in…..Did they see where the cups go when they took the clean dishes out?  Do they put them in the “wrong” spot so I won’t ask them to load it again?  Is there way right or is my way right?

Every time I go to someones home for dinner, I see a different way to load the dishes…..Is there a wrong way and a right way, or is there really more than one way to skin a cat?

I decided to do a little reasearch and I found that as long as you follow a few simple rules, it is OK if the arrangement varies.

  1. Everything loaded in the dishwasher should always face the middle because most dishwashers have the water spray from the center out.
  2. Never cover the soap dispenser door… avoid blocking this area to ensure the soap will be dispersed correctly.
  3. Load large items at the sides and back of the dishwasher.
  4. The top rack is best for glasses, mugs, cups, small bowls, plastic and delicate items that are more fragile but dishwasher safe.  Glasses should be placed upside down in between the tines, not over them.  (They’re less secure when placed over the tines, increasing the risk of damage….plus, the tines can cause food and water to get trapped inside.  Place any utensils that will not fit properly in the silverware basket on the floor of the top rack.
  5. The bottom rack is best for pans, baking dishes, oversize bowls, and plates.  All items should face down and toward the center sprayer.
  6. Load silverware with handles down (sharp knives can be loaded with handles to avoid injury)  Be sure to mix spoons, forks, and knives to prevent them from sticking together.

10 WAYS TO GUARANTEE A MOSQUITO BITE

It has been around 100 degrees lately and the nights have been beautiful.  I was outside one night this last week and now I am itching like crazy from all the mosquito bites.  I’m sure I am not alone when I say “I hate mosquitoes!”

Ever wonder why Mosquitoes bite?  Only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals, males feed on flower nectar.  Female mosquitoes need protein for their eggs, and must have blood in order to reproduce.  Since males don’t bear children, they prefer nectar.

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?  First mosquitoes don’t bite at all….The mosquito pierces the upper layer of the skin with her proboscis, a straw-like mouthpart that allows her to drink fluids.  Once the proboscis breaks through the epidermis, the mosquito uses it to search for a blood vessel in the dermal layer underneath.  When she locates a vessel, the mosquito releases some of her saliva into the wound.  Mosquito saliva contains an anti-coagulant that keeps your blood flowing until she is finished with her meal.

Your immune system realizes something is going on, and histamine is produced to combat the foreign substance. The histamine reaches the area under attack, causing blood vessels there to swell.  It’s the action of the histamine that causes the red bump, called a wheal.  When the blood vessels expand, nerves in the area become irritated by the swelling.  This irritation is the itchy sensation that annoys us.

WHY AM I A MOSQUITO MAGNET?

Why do some people get bite while others can sit outside all evening without a single bite?

Some people give off the right combination of sight and smell….

10 things you can do to guarantee a mosquito bite:

1. Keep breathing: Mosquitoes detect carbon dioxide in the air, so the more you breathe, the more likely you are to become a blood meal. Carbon dioxide clues the mosquitoes in to the presence of a living, breathing, blood-pumping animal nearby. Once they sense it, mosquitoes usually fly in a  zigzag pattern through the CO2 plume until they locate the source.

2. Run around: Mosquitoes first locate potential victims using their sight, and anything moving will be deemed worthy of a second look. Go outside and flag them down by taking a job, moving around or jumping up and down.

3. Skip the shower:  That’s right, the more you stink, the easier it is for a blood-seeking mosquito to find you.  Drop the deodorant and skip the soap because mosquitoes love B.O.

4. Wear perfume or cologne:  In contrast to B.O, mosquitoes also like strong floral sense.  Bathe yourself in the strongest perfume money can buy.

5. Sweat a lot:  Perspiration is the perfect combination of mosquito attractants – moisture and odors. Head outdoors on a hot, sticky summer evening, and work up a sweat. The mosquitoes will thank you.

6. Stay warm:  Think of mosquitoes as heat-seeking missiles. The warmer you are, the quicker they’ll find you. Though mosquitoes can’t sense your body heat from a distance, once they get within a few yards, your warmth will lure them in.

7. Dress in dark colors:  Research shows that mosquitoes respond best to dark colors, especially blue. Put away your light color shorts and white shirt; instead, try your jeans and a black t-shirt.

8. Use alpha hydroxy products on your skin:  Lactic acid, which our bodies produce naturally, is a big draw for mosquitoes. It just so happens that many skin care products contain lactic acid, too, and so might help boost your chemistry with these blood-seeking bugs. Look for lotions and creams labeled “alpha hydroxy,” which provide the most lactic acid.

9. Don’t change your socks:  Yes, this is based on scientific research, mosquitoes love smelly feet.  The smell of a 3-day old sock was irresistible to mosquitoes.

10. Drink beer:  Studies show people who’ve had a few beers score the most mosquito bites at the barbecue.

-Mosquitoes fly at speeds between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour…slower than butterflies, bees and other insects.

-A mosquito’s wings beat 300-600 times per second.

-Mosquito mates synchronize their wing beats to perform a lover’s duet.

-Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on Earth, because they carry many deadly diseases.

-All mosquitoes require water to breed.  Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in the smallest amount of water.

-An adult mosquito may live 5-6 months.

-Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from 75 feet away.

-Mosquito repellant does not repel….. it hides your sent from mosquitoes.

YOU THINK YOU KNOW SOMEONE?

As a little girl I had my collection of Barbie dolls, her closet full of clothes, and her awesome pink car.  Barbie had everything a little kid could think of… a dream house, a motor home, beauty salon, a mini mart, horse stables, etc.  I only recently found out that Barbie has a real name, parents, and a story.  It made me wonder, after all these years what else didn’t I know about my friend Barbie?

HER STORY

In 1959 George and Margaret Roberts gave birth the Barbara Mllicent Roberts who was later nick named Barbie.  They were from a fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin and Barbie went to Willow High School.  Barbie has five sister and a brother Skipper (1964), Twins Totti & Todd (1965), Stacie (1992), Kelly (1995) and Krissy (1995).  Altlhough through the years Barbie had many pets, her first pet was a horse named Dancer.  Barbie’s fell in love with Ken Carson who was born in 1961.  Barbie and Ken split in February of 2004, but the couple decided to reunite in February 2006.

HER HISTORY

Barbie was created by Ruth Handler and her husband Elliot Handler co-founder of Mattel Toys.  Ruth named her after her daughter Barbara Handler.  Barbie’s middle and last names were added later after sales skyrocketed and the doll’s history was questions.  Ken was named after Ruth and Elliot’s son.

Barbie was first introduced at a New York Toy Fair in 1959.  The first ever Barbie had a blond ponytail, eye-popping black and white bathing suit, stylish open toed shoes, dark eye makeup, and golden hoop earings.  During this time a gallon of gas was 25 cents, the average annual wage was $5,000 and the first Barbie sold for $3.00.  In the first year over 300,000 Barbie dolls were sold.

THROUGH THE YEARS

Over the years Barbie has changed with the times.  Her fashion, occupations, and ethnicity has been very obvious over the years but even her face and body has changed.

The original Barbie had high arch eyebrows and eyes that looked to the side.  The doll wore a swim suit and came as a blonde or brunette.

Throughout the 60’s Barbie’s eye makeup became softer and she had less of an eyebrow arch.   She had many different hairstyles from a bouffant bubble cut, to a bob.  In 1967 Barbie became a little mobile and was given a new Twist ‘N Turn body.

In the 70’s Barbie’s received a new face sculpt including the addition of forward facing eyes and an open smile with pearly white teeth.  Her hair became more long and loose and she was given a suntan.

In the 80’s the first African-American and Hispanic Barbie’s were introduced.  Instead of changing her face, the biggest change with Barbie was her bold and excessive wardrobe.  With shoulder pads, scrunchies, big belts and leggings with many neon colors.

In the 90’s it was all about the hair, teased bangs and perms.  Totally Hair Barbie was the best-selling Barbie doll to date.

In 2000 Barbie got another new body makeover featuring a more athletic physique, and her first belly button.  She toned down the glam with a more natural looking makeup and now has two-toned blonde hair.

FUN FACTS

Barbie has had over 43 pets including 21 dogs, 12 horses, 3 ponies, 6 cats, a parrot, a chimpanzee, a panda, a lion cub, a giraffe, and a zebra.

Barbie has over 1 billion paris of shoes.

Each year Barbie receives over a hundred new additions to her wardrobe.

Barbie’s first job was a fashion designer, she has since had over 100 different careers.

Barbie has modeled many wedding dresses but has never been married, she has also never been pregnant.

Barbie’s BFF since 1963 is Midge.  Barbie was the made of honor in Midge’s wedding to Alan in 1991

 

HOW MUCH IS A PINCH AND WHAT IS A DASH ?

My Grandmother was an amazing cook and it was always fun to watch her in the kitchen.  She never used a recipe, she would just through ingredients in and the results would be delicious.  I, on the other hand, can follow directions to the letter and it would never come out as good.

I would often call her for cooking advice, and I can remember how frustrated I would get trying to figure out what she was saying.  She should tell me to “put in some sugar,” or “add some salt.”  I would always say “how much should I put in” and her response would be “you will know……just a pinch.”  BUT I NEVER KNEW!

I found a conversion chart saw that a pinch and a dash is an actual measurement…..who knew?

UNUSUAL CONVERSIONS

  • a Hint = 1/2 drop
  • a Drop = 1/64 tsp (1/2 smidgen)
  • a Smidgen = 1/32 tsp (1/2 pinch)
  • a Pinch = 1/16 tsp (1/2 dash)
  • a Dash = 1/8 tsp (1/2 tad)
  • a Tad = 1/4 tsp
  • Juice of an orange = 1/2 cup
  • juice of a lemon = 3 Tbls

STANDARD CONVERSIONS

  • 3 tsp. = 1 Tbsp.
  • 4 Tbsp. = 1/4 cup
  • 16 Tbsp. = 1 cup
  • 1 cup = 8 fl oz
  • 2 cups = 1 pint
  • 2 pints = 1 quart
  • 4 quarts = 1 gallon

ABBREVIATIONS

  • tsp = teaspoon
  • Tbsp = tablespoon
  • c = cup
  • pt = pint
  • qt = quart
  • gal = gallon
  • lb = pound
  • oz = ounce
  • fl = fluid
  • lg = large
  • sm = small
  • pkg = package

SUBSTITUTIONS

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch = 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter = 7/8 cup oil + 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar = 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar = 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 clove garlic = 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice = 1/2 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 cup oil = 1/2 lb butter

HAPPY COOKING

WHAT’S IN A WORD – FUNNY TRANSLATIONS

After my last post I decided to look a little deeper into the meaning of some real estate terms often used.  Sometimes things are very accurate, but sometimes things are not always what they seem…….

  • Corner lot – noisy intersection of two busy streets
  • Will help finance – owner knows they’re asking too much
  • Cathedral ceilings – a bear to heat
  • Well below market – nobody else wants it
  • Great starter home – standing room only
  • Easy freeway access – noisy freeway traffic day and night
  • Low maintenance lot – no yard; the kids will have to play in the street
  • Meticulously maintained in the original condition – the appliances are 50 years old
  • Ready to remodel – the house is about to collapse; you will have to invest twice the asking price in remodel before you can move in
  • Newly remodeled kitchen – 50-year old cabinetry and faucets have been replaced with cheap modern equivalents
  • Ready to move in – the interior has been painted with one coat of cheap paint
  • Desirable neighborhood – this little house is extravagantly overpriced because the neighborhood has a snobbish reputation
  • 1 car garage – you can drive your Ford Escort into the garage but there is no room to open the door
  • Partial mountain view – you can see the tip of Mt. Diablo if you climb on the roof
  • Territorial view – good view of your neighbor’s bedroom window
  • Build sweat equity – the house is not inhabitable
  • Efficiently designed kitchen – the kitchen is too small to fit two people at the same time
  • Doll-house – tiny place filled with ugly knick-knacks.
  • Secure location – the neighbors dog barks all night
  • Country living – too far from anywhere to drive to work
  • Cozy – not a single room could fit a full size bed
  • Close to all amenities – the backyard is a shopping mall parking lot
  • Must see inside – the outside is ugly
  • Motivated sellers – subtract 15% from the asking price
  • Near transportation – Amtrak train goes through the backyard, every 15 minutes, day and night
  • Just available – previous owner just died on the premises, hope you don’t believe in ghosts

How will you find a creative way to describe the flaws in your home when you plan to sell?

FOUND YOUR DREAM HOME…..OR NOT ? ? ?

When you bought or sold your home what did the Realtor description say about the house????  I love that every home ever sold always has a positive description, only to find out that the home is nothing like advertised.  I know that most homes have something good at one time or can be good, but most of the time that is not what is reflected in the description:

Custom designed 3 bedroom 2 bath home in a great location.  Many unique features that are one of a kind.  You won’t find another home like this, so act fast before it is gone.  Priced to sell this home is a must see and is move in ready.

Sounds like it might be the home for you right?…..Well maybe it is.  Or maybe it might be one of the homes below….they are totally fun but I don’t know if they are my dream homes.  OK I will admit it I would totally live in one of these homes.  lol

IS REFINANCING A GOOD OPTION FOR ME?

Despite all the doom-and-gloom reporting, not every homeowner in the U.S. has negative equity right now. And with interest rates still hovering near record lows, those with equity are likely asking themselves whether it’s a good time to refinance. Well, is it? Let’s take a look:

Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.51% a week ago (according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest survey), the lowest level since last fall.

The average outstanding home loan carries an interest rate of about 6% (Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft told The New York Times last week).

So if you took advantage of low rates last fall or in 2009, you probably won’t see much savings by refinancing now. But if you haven’t yet refinanced since 2008, you might want to check in and see what kind of savings refinancing might afford you.

Cashing out: What’s enough equity?

Refinancing used to almost always mean the owner was taking some cash out in the process. That’s because values had climbed pretty steadily (and steeply in many areas) for several years in a row – so most homeowners could afford to cash out to maybe send their kid to college, work on a new addition to the house or remodel. But today, the story is much different.

Even if you have equity, it may not have climbed enough for cashing out to make sense. In fact, the NYT reports that some owners are even putting cash in to up the equity on their homes.

So what’s enough equity by today’s standards? Times have changed and 20% is once again a magic number. Many lenders aren’t even going to allow you to cash out if it means dipping below that.

Refinance options for the equity starved….. OK, but what if  you have less than that? Can you still refinance to take advantage of low rates?

The good news is that there are some programs out there that may make this possible. If you have little or no equity, you can ask your lender about the Home Affordable Refinance Program. If you have an FHA loan, you can check out FHA Streamline Finance, which may make sense for you.

So even if your equity is pretty low, there are options. Point is, with rates this low, it’s a good time to sit down and discuss whether refinancing would improve your loan situation. We all know that rates are fleeting and what’s here today may be gone tomorrow.

As a Realtor we can help you find a lender that can help you make the best decision for you!

A HOME WITH A MYSTERY

The Winchester Mystery House covers 6 acres with 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms,  13 bathrooms,47 fireplaces, 6 kitchens, 40 staircases, 3 elevators, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 52 skylights, 2 basements, and 1 shower.  This home has many things, but it has no reason for the way it was built.  It has been assembled, disassembled, and reassembled numerous times with no master plan or design.  Stairs lead to nowhere, floors have doors and windows in them, doors open into solid walls, and some doors open to nothing.  All of this because of Sarah Winchester’s obsession to keep the building continuously under construction for 38 years.

WHO IS SARA WINCHESTER:  Oliver Winchester was the co-owner of a successful shirt manufacturing business. In 1857, just before the U.S. Civil War broke out, Winchester took over the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. The company, which would later be renamed Winchester Repeating Arms Company, was responsible for revolutionary advances in rifle design. With repeating rifles, a soldier could fire several times without reloading, and sales of the weapons soon made Winchester both wealthy and famous. His son and heir, William Wirt Winchester, married Sarah Pardee in 1862.

Sarah gave birth in 1866 to the couple’s first and only child, Annie, who died before she was two weeks old. Annie’s death affected Sarah deeply, and for years she withdrew from the public and her family alike. In 1880 Oliver Winchester died, leaving his fortune to his son William. But the following year, William died of tuberculosis. This left Sarah the only heir to the Winchester fortune, an inheritance of US $20 million, plus nearly 50 percent ownership in the company, which paid her $1,000 per day.

The distraught Sarah visited a Boston psychic (a common practice at the time) who told her the deaths were revenge from the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles, and that Sarah could escape the spirits’ wrath by moving west and building a house that would never be finished.

THE HOUSE:  In 1884 Sara moved from New Haven, Connecticut to San Jose, California. She bought an unfinished, eight-room farmhouse near San Jose which is now known as the Winchester Mystery House. She soon started building 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 38 years – and she never stopped.

Sarah spent over $5 million building and rebuilding the bizarre Winchester House, but it didn’t ensure her immortality. She died in her sleep on September 5, 1922 at the age of 82. Upon her death, construction stopped abruptly.

SUPERSTITIONS:  From moving because the psychic told her to, to her repeated use of the number 13, it is certain the Sara was superstitious.  There are 13 bathrooms; 13 palm trees line the driveway; most of the windows have 13 panes; a sink drain has 13 holes; a chandelier that originally had 12 lights was modified to have 13; and so on. It is also frequently said that she slept in a different bedroom every night.

In 1906, the Winchester house rose seven stories high.  When the great earthquake struck San Francisco, part of the Winchester house was damaged, including the bedroom in which Mrs. Winchester was sleeping that night. Although she was unharmed, she believed the spirits were trying to tell her something. As a result she had the front portion of the house blocked off, and continued construction elsewhere.

CONFUSE EVIL SPIRITS:  Sarah worked hard to discourage the ghost from following her around the house.  She made a labyrinth of rooms and hallways, suddenly she would push a button, a panel would fly back and she would step quickly from one apartment into another…unless the ghost was extra watchful and quick, it would loose her.  She would open a window an apartment, not to get fresh air, she would climb out onto the top of a flight of steps that took her down one story only to meet another flight that brought her right back up to the same level again….all inside the house.

Columns were installed upside down, stairs that lead to the ceiling, doors that go nowhere and that open onto walls, chimneys that stop just short of the roof, etc.

BEAUTIFUL HOME AND GROUNDS

DOOR THAT OPENS TO NOWHERESTAIRS THAT GO TO A WALL

TODAY:  After her death the house was turned into a  tourist attraction and was later declared a California Historical Landmark.  Today the home is still open daily for tours.