Sending my oldest Daughter to College

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hailey collegeWe just got back from orientation for college for my oldest daughter Hailey.  I thought I would feel all kinds of things mostly anxious because she will be away from us but oddly I feel relieved 🙂  After living through a year of emotional turmoil on where to go to college, will she get into college etc I am happy she is at a good institution that doesn’t cost us a fortune.  The orientation was kind of funny listening to parents and students alike with all the crazy questions that go along with sending your first child to college 🙂  Now looking back I can worry a little less about my second daughter and youngest son.  I understand the process and can look at it differently now.  The book that really helped us with college information was this one  It helped Hailey figure out which colleges in California were best for her major and which ones had a doctorate program in PT.  We also hired a college adviser which was pricey and I don’t know if we would do it again.  They did however assist Hailey in writing essays for the UC’s and all her prompt essay questions for the common application.  The other really valuable thing you should do when your student is starting junior year is have them take the ACT and SAT tests to see which one they score higher on.  Then put some money into a tutor that will help them score higher on the test.  Hailey did tutoring for about a year and raised her score over 100 points which sounds small but is really quite good.  She also took the ACT twice and got to super score it which made it even better.  She also took a few AP course each year and passed all of her tests so she started college with 21 units and tested completely out of math, English and some science courses which also was beneficial.  I am just hoping all of this helps some of you with younger students.  Definitely email me if you have specific questions.  I would be happy to help 🙂  Now we just need to make sure she stays in the program and doesn’t have too much fun in college.  Happy Wednesday!



Trip to Southern California-La Jolla

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So we have been making our way down the coast south as we often do in the summer. We have family in North LA and some more further South. But this year is different because we are here for Hailey (my oldest daughter) orientation at SDSU. We are halfway through our trip and have met so many nice people. I have been walking on the beach every morning with my friend Denise to Black’s a local surf spot on the La Jolla cliffs. The other morning we stopped to try to find our teenagers and husbands in the surf lineup and there was a young photographer there filming some pro surfers. I asked if he happened to see my daughter since often there are not many girls in the water and he knew where she was. We thanked him and said if he had time to take some shots of her to text us. We didn’t really think he would have time to get any shots of her and left to go back to the hotel. Yesterday he texted me and said he had some shots 🙂 I think the most remarkable thing about this photo is the background of the shot. My daughter doesn’t think it’s a great shot because she is not doing any tricks or catching air. But I love this shot for the cliffs in the background and the color of the water. So I thought I would share a little of the beauty of Black’s beach with you today and thank Will for the photo. Today we are off to orientation so I will let you know how that goes. Happy Summer 🙂


Painting on Wood Doors

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You could say I have been having some fun this week 🙂  My two younger teens are at their Auntie and Uncles house in LA so I have had some time to paint.  Remember last week I tried this crackle glaze on the below peace painting well it did not work and I ended up power washing it and sanding it and starting over.  But the result I think is still good.  I am going to put the metal door hanger on it (at the bottom) OK so I am going to ask my fabulous husband to put the door handle back on it and see how it looks.

The second picture is a vintage door I painted with Annie Sloan chalkboard paint I talked about last week.  I did get a shipment of the Annie Sloan paint with crackle and love it!  The below door is a vintage pocket one and I painted it with florence color.  I am debating on selling this as a headboard or an art piece with some shelving.  Still need to seal it but wanted to show you all the fabulous color. There are loads of places that sell the Annie Sloan line online but I got mine from a gal in New York and her site is  My box came complete with a cute note from the packer and a free sanding bar…bonus!  Also some fun fourth of July artwork on the outside of the box.   Really nice and it had directions on how to use the crackle which was helpful.

I am coming up on my 100th post and wanted to ask all of you what I should do?  Is there some project you wish to learn about?  Or something you want me to expand on?  Let me know I want to have some fun with it.  Will be in San Diego this week doing college orientation with my oldest daughter.  Cannot believe she is going to college.  Hopefully will have some fun San Diego stuff to share with you guys.  Happy Thursday!

Gluten-Free Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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gluten free stuffed mushroomsgluten free stuffed portobella mushroom recipeSo I have been having trouble with some of my paintings and have been cooking more 🙂  We were supposed to meet friends for dinner and drinks last night but they got held up so I had to cook something for dinner quickly.  I had a few things in the fridge to use so I came up with the below and it was so yummy.  I am sure you can add more to this recipe.  I really wanted some spinach in it but I was out.  I am sure that would taste good too.  Happy Fourth!


  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 lb Italian turkey sausage
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and some for drizzle on top of mushrooms after cooked
  • 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms your choice (I used mini Portobello)
  • 1/4 cup of gluten-free panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of sheep’s milk feta cheese (or whatever you like)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded goat gouda cheese for topping

First wash and de-stem the large portabello mushrooms and place on baking sheet.  Next in a saucepan add olive oil and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Then add the turkey sausage by squeezing out of casing into garlic and olive oil cooking pan.  Cook thoroughly and then add parsley and mushrooms until softened.  Mix the remaining ingredients (except the shredded gouda cheese, save that for the top)  in a bowl then once the sausage mixture is cool add to bowl and mix together.  Stuff mushrooms with mixture adding the shredded gouda on top.  Cook at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes then drizzle with olive oil and you are ready to eat.

Gluten Free Chicken Adobo in a Crock Pot


gluten free chicken adobo in a crockpotOk I know I need to work on my photography…but this was so easy and so yummy I had to share.  I of course adapted this from a recipe I found on pinterest.  I added gluten free tamari (instead of soy sauce) and some red potatoes.  Then for a garnish I added sheep’s milk feta from Trader Joe’s.  Very easy and gluten free.


  • Cut up whole organic chicken from Trader Joes
  • 2-organic chicken breasts (boneless skinless are fine)
  • 4-6 medium-sized red potatoes cubed
  • 2 onions (any kind is fine)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1/4 rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Items:

  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper (optional my kids like it)
  • Sheep’s milk feta from trader joe’s (optional)
  • white or brown rice to serve with it (optional)
  • Tuscan baby kale (trader joes has an organic bag pre-cut)

Place the onions on bottom of crock pot then lay the chicken in on top.  Mix the soy, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper together and pour over chicken.  Place bay leaf in with sauce and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4.  Then when you have about 1.5 hours left to cook layer in the potatoes to cook till the end.  The chicken falls off the bones so you have to spend a little time getting all the bones out of the pot.  I add in some baby Tuscan kale in my bowl with sauce and microwave for 45 seconds to add some greens to my meal and its delicious.  Add some of the sheep milk feta for a little saltier taste.  Yum 🙂


Giving Back to the Community Where you Live

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This week my youngest son and I had time to go do some fun work for a local thrift shop that gives back directly to the community 🙂  It is called Caroline’s named after my friends daughter that passed away from several health problems at the young age of 16.  Christy opened the store a few years ago in her name and basically gives everything she sells and repurposes back to local non-profits.  To say the least she is an amazing woman.  Jesse and I went in to try and catch her up on some of the artsy/beachy stuff she sells in the shop.  Jesse also learned how to fold clothes 🙂  A good skill for an eighth grade boy.  Anyways my point here is that life makes us all busy and we all have a ton to do but it was so good for me to stop the list of summer chores I was doing and spend some time giving back.  Even if it was only a few hours.  Jesse and I had so much fun and I got to spend time with my friend Christy who is so busy I don’t get to see her as often.  So my advice to you is to find a place in your community and go give back.  Share your talents, skills etc and do some good.  It will come back to tenfold.

heart chalk board christy and jesse at carolines

I wish I was better at taking more pictures.  We did a lot of painting and a few driftwood peace signs.  Two brands of chalk paint that I highly recommend are Hudson (tons of colors and ships anywhere).  The other is Annie Sloan.  We put the Annie Sloan on old metal candlesticks in the florence color and it was amazing.  There are a few places that ship online for her brand and some local retailers.  The wood cutouts I get from a shop on Etsy called Mrwoodycrafts-  He makes some wonderful peace signs, hearts almost anything.

Getting Back To Gratitude

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Wow summer is flying by with all the fun activities. Graduation, my nephew coming, water skiing with family. I realized I was having so much fun I forgot to keep up with my gratitude journal 🙂

I got smart and looked in my iPhone App Store and found a really cool, easy app to use called Gratitude365 Essentially has a photo window and area to type. Perfect! Just got caught up today. God is constantly reminding me to be thankful for what I have and this little app helps me :). Below is a snapshot of last month. Go get this it’s free and you have no excuse.

Happy Fathers Day!