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Another Graduate…

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Elenor Roosevelt

Just a few weeks ago, my daughter ask me to send her several options of baby photos for the year book. The year book that will be her final year book as a child. As I sat at my desk with the several photo albums, I just cried. My baby is almost an adult. She will be off to college next year.

She was such a beautiful little baby too…

All these years of watching my beautiful baby become her own person. I will never forget when she was told by the dentist that she had to have braces. She said “I like the way I look, the gap in my teeth make me, me. I don’t understand why I have to adapt to what society considers beautiful.” Oh, wow, I had to dig deep to find a damn good explanation for braces.

She also was so brave to just be herself. She has never needed approval from her friends, and I always commended her for being Sabrina. Through the years she was often the friend of the newest kids in the class. She knows that her family is with her on her journey whatever it is she decides to do, we know that she will do it unequivocally her way! I love my gown up baby, and having her in our lives has been a blessing. I love the times we have spent together over the years in the Lexus talking, coming and going to volleyball games, French, cooking classes, art classes, horse backing riding, learning to drive, and picking up new animals for the farm. Every moment is special with her!

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Musical Craft…

“Music education opens doors that help children pass from school to the world around them – a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.” Gerald R. Ford

During our days at home with preschool at home we did so many crafts. One of the ones the kids liked were the ones that were super simple.

What are you going to need?

Paper plates (the deeper ones are the best)

Elmers glue (might want to cover the table before you begin)

Crayons and/or markers

Beans or seeds, or it could be a sound experiment. Do several of them, and fill them with different items. You will want to make it age appropriate and child appropriate. If Johnny has a tendency to put items in his mouth, you’re not going to want to do lots of little bells…we don’t want anyone to choke!

We did this one a variety of times, the bean and seeds are pretty simple, but if you’re going to the grocery store make it an opportunity to ask the kids what they think would sound neat in a rattle.

After both sides are decorated, you’re going to glue the rims together. The glue will need to set all night, so have another project ready for them so the rattle has time to dry.

The next day, you have a homemade rattle.

Other items you can use to make a rattle is an oatmeal container, plastic milk jugs, water bottles. Just glue the lid down so the children won’t be tempted to eat the items inside the  containers! Also, be prepared to listen to the rattle for a couple of weeks. Sometimes their little works of art are such a joy they don’t want to part with them.

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Alphabet Fun

“New friends may be poems, but old friends are alphabets. Don’t forget the alphabets because you will need them to read the poems.” William Shakespeare

When my children were young every week we worked on a different letter of the week. The letter would be the focus for all our subjects. Cooking, Crafts, Botany, Zoology, Arts, Language and Fun were all center around one letter for each week. I started making plans for 3 years, so this would give us flexibility and would allow each week to be different.

Here is the alphabet cookie cutters we used…   These are stainless steel, and can be used for cooking and crafts. A great pleasure is they come in a canister, and then you can put them away! I love that!

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Raising Montessori Kids

“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world” Maria Montessori

My children are grown up now, but I stayed home with them when they were young. We had Homeschool Preschool, and I had lesson plans for everyday of the month. We had art classes, botany, science, zoology, art history, cooking, and we went on outings.

I joined a group on line with other moms and we would meet at a different park each week and take the kids on hikes or let them play. My son would often clean the slide before he would go down the slide, he was never keen on sliding.

Some of my favorite memories of the kids being young were the times we were doing projects. I know the kids feel the same way. Making their own version of play dough, doing science experiments, making crafts, making our own ice cream. They had their own stools and aprons for cooking, and cleaned up after they were done. Oh, how I love those memories. I used to even make little movies I would send from my “Logitech” camera to my family members that lived on the other side of the country.

I am grateful that my husband and I made the decision to keep our kids home during their preschool years. Giving them a treasure chest of memories of us doing and learning together. My belief is the children have strong family ties because of raising them with a family first ethics. We have always taught them family, friends, community, country, world. They were taught to give back to their community, and they are still givers.

Here is my recent graduate…IMG_9565

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College Bound

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C. S. Lewis

My baby is now a senior in high school. We recently went on a search for a college for what she wants to do. She loves playing polo, and has scored several goals. They won state, and went to nationals.

Here are some photos of her playing…

The team recently made the polo magazine…

We went to visit serval campuses, but my favorite was Stanford. What a beautiful place. Here are a few photos from our weekend of searching.

We are looking forward to visiting southern California campuses.

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If man owns land,

If man owns land, the land owns him. Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is resounding to me! Owning property is work, and owning rental property is even more work and responsibility. My husband and I have owned and sold many pieces of property. It is a big job.

When you have renters you are responsible for the safety and comfort of your tenant. When they call at 3AM, and the air conditioner isn’t working, you have to answer the phone. It’s not easy, plus you are going to have to pay bills, repairs, and property taxes. As much as people want the rent to be cheap, you are going to have to figure out a profit margin that makes you happy. You’ll have to have money for an emergency, like a leaky roof, heater, or goddess forbid anything more serious.

Flipping each apartment complex was something that I never really imagined doing. I really enjoyed refurbishing the units. Finding the right tiles, carpet, appliances, light fixtures, and paint for each room was fun for me. I also liked interviewing the possible tenants.

One time, when we owned our complex in Oakland, a guy came in right before I had to pick up the kids. I was happy that he showed up for his appointment, but he was bananas. He told me that he was an ambassador of another country, and he even showed me his identification. He told me he loved the place and wanted to offer me cash above the asking rent. Are you kidding me? No, I told him, I have to check your references. He proceeded to get down on the carpet, and started making carpet angels. I asked him, What are you doing? He said…I love this place, I am not leaving. I told him…Sir, I am going to have to ask you to leave. I have an appointment that I need to get to really soon. If you don’t get up off the carpet, I am going to have to call the police. He finally got his butt up off the carpet, and headed out the door.

I have so many stories of from my property rental days. My advice to anyone that is wanting to start buying rental property is “Do your research, and understand that you are not operating a charity, there is a small profit margin if you do it right.”

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Honey Healing

One of the first weekends we were living in the country, this happened…

I was taking both of the dogs (Cane Corso females) for a walk. Since we were new to the country I did not want to trust to just let them out in the yard. Now, our yard is 42 acres. There are coyotes and other animals around here. I was gazing at the stars when all the sudden Sadie pulled really hard, and I did not let go. I was pulled across the rocks like I was a rag doll. I screamed, and Sheba stopped. Sheba stayed right by my side, and Sadie was running after what ever it was that was near our house. I limped back into the house with Sheba.

I went upstairs and washed my legs with soap and water. I had to take a wash cloth to get all the debris that was embedded in my legs. My left leg looked a lot worse than my right leg. It burned like hell…it was really painful. I took some honey, and put it all over the wounds, and took another wash cloth that was damp and kept it over the wound.

I kept the wound clean every day, and also added honey to it every day. By the third day it was really looking so much better. By two weeks it was healed. I believe I was in less pain, and it healed faster with the honey.

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Mark Pettit

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Images of Venice stir my soul. There is something so seductive about that place. It may be the mystery that lurks in the shadows of my mind. It may be my romantic heart that pounds with desire. It may be that this was the place that women explored their intellent only if they were a courtesan or a nun. Such drastic divisions…either a sinner, or a savior or souls were allowed books.

The first time I saw a painting by Mark Pettit I had to have one. His painting almost come to life right in front of your eyes. There is a dream like quality about them, one could almost step inside the painting and join. I have only two of his paintings. The one below caught my eye, and I had to grab it fast. His shows sell out very quickly, so a decisive mind is a must. One does not have the luxury of waiting a day to decide. I did that once with his painting, and the painting was gone the next day.

Upon gazing at the painting the viewer becomes immersed in the bouncing waves. Smelling the flowers, and hearing the sounds of the cloth of the blind billowing in the wind. The sound of the waves continually lapping the building, and the sound of the gondolas hitting on another in a rhythm that one does not forget.

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Meadow Gist

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Welcome to another week of Museum Monday. This is one of the  are pieces that I have in my collection. Every week bringing an awareness to the many different artists out there in the world. There are so many, with a variety of specialties.

Several years ago Meadow was one artist that became an obsession. Her work goes beyond just painting, but she also makes the costumes that are used in her paintings. I am the proud owner of many of her paintings. The detail of this painting is of the harp player. It hangs in my living room. All the paintings that are in my home are period pieces Meadow painted of the Revolutionary period of United States. I just love the authentic look of the characters in her art. She knows how to capture the people, and place them in an intimate moment. The viewer feels like they have just walked in on a moment that was a private one. The fabrics and colors of the materials that are used are so spot on with the depiction. The dress of the harp player looks soft and has so much volume. The look of the  gentleman’s cotton shirt looks like it has been line dried. Soft after wearing, but just a little stiff when donning the shirt. The light coming in through the window is diffused just enough to cast an aura around the harp player. Love your work Meadow!

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Homemade Play Dough

After my husband and I were married we decided that when we had children that I would stay home with the children. I obtained my Montessori Certification, and we had preschool homeschool. At least once a week we made homemade play dough. I thought maybe there would be some people out there that would like the recipe.

My kids loved this project. Cooking and doing fun crafts should be a part of every childhood.

Here is the recipe…

1 cup of all purpose flour

2 teaspoons of cream of tartar (find it in the spice section of a local grocery store)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla, lavender, peppermint, or any essence oil you like

Add about 20 drops of food color. Count out loud as adding. We used to do one color a week. We would do one week red, next week blue, then the next week make purple. It’s neat to add the color with the fragrance. Purple as lavender, green and add apple scent, etc.

Cook all the ingredients in a 2 quart pot. Stir over the heat until it becomes a ball.

Remove from the heat, and cut in half…let it sit because it is very hot!!!  I used to roll it on the granite, since it will cool very nicely.  It will keep for more than a week in a freezer bag.

Make sure the kids don’t eat it!