Monday, February 4, 2019

Recipe: Fresh Strawberry Upside Down Cake

From Christine Schlittenhart’s Kitchen

2 ½ cups crushed FRESH strawberries
1 (6 oz) strawberry flavored Jello gelatin
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 (18 oz) package yellow cake mix
    (batter prepared as directed on cake mix)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread crushed strawberries on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
3. Evenly sprinkle dry Jello gelatin onto strawberries.
4. Evenly top with mini marshmallows.
5. Prepare cake mix as directed on package.
6. Pour cake mix evenly over marshmallows
7. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the sides to loosen, turn upside down onto serving plate.
Store cake in refrigerator.  Serves 12.

3 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

By Allison Harvey, Attorney, A. L. Harvey Law, Professional Law Corporation

1. Assessing and Documenting Your Plan. Everyone has an estate plan, whether you have created it or not.  If you don't create your own estate plan the state will do it for you.  If you haven't documented your wishes property passes at death based on intestacy.  You may not be happy with the plan the state has for you or the cost to have your assets transferred (see #2 below).  A common misconception is that if you are married all of your property will automatically pass to your spouse.  This is not so.  In California if you have any separate property (in most cases property acquired prior to marriage, by gift or inheritance) that separate property will not go 100% to your spouse.  In a married couple separate property is split between your spouse and your children or other heirs.  The division is based on the number of children, or other heirs, you have.  For example if you have one child the property is split 50/50 but if you have 2 or more children it is split to your spouse and the remaining 1/3 to your spose and to your children.

2.  Not figuring out the most advantageous plan. If property passes based on intestacy or a will the process that the property passes through is called probate. Probate has three main disadvantages. It is costly, it is time consuming and it is public.  In California if your property is valued at $150,000 or more, if you don't have a trust, and instead have a will or nothing, your family must open probate with the county court before property can be distributed.  Most probate cases take approximately 8 months to a year to distribute property, although it can take even longer.  The process is public and anyone can pull the court paperwork. Additionally probate is costly.  The cost of probate under California statutory code is based on the gross value of the property in the estate (not the net) which means outstanding balances on your largest assets aren't taken into consideration.  In contrast, a revocable trust can alleviate probate process. There is no public record of who receives what in a trust and the process can be streamlined.  In most probate situations that we see the estate spends tens of thousands more in the probate process versus creating and maintaining a revocable trust.

3. Improperly documenting your wishes. Do it yourself wills and trusts set individuals and families up for disaster.  Whenever I see a hand drafted will, or a do it yourself (google search/fill in the blank) document I know that almost invariably there are quite a few issues and sorting those issues out will cost a great deal of money.  Whether it is a question of the true intent of the deceased's wishes (many wills seem like they make sense to the drafter but when the family, attorney or court go to interpret there are conflicting provisions and ambiguity), gifting large sums of money to minor children or failing to consider tax savings I have yet to see a hand drafted will that didn't have major issues.  When there are questions those questions are resolved in a courtroom which costs the estate a great sum of money.
Everyone has an estate plan but it is up to you to make it what you want and have it done in manner that allows your family to follow your wishes.
This article should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions about which is best for you contact an attorney that can assist you to make that decision.

Monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery Visit Meadow Vista

Upcoming Event - Friday, February 15th @ 7pm

The Monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery are visiting Meadow Vista with an evening, community talk entitled: "Practicing Off the Cushion—How to carry your meditation (spiritual) practice into everyday life".

Where: Ayama Yoga and Movement Arts, 17020 Placer Hills Rd, Meadow Vista, Suite 2B. For more info or to RSVP email, or call: 530-559-7554. Suggested donation : $20. All donations go to directly support the monastery and the monks educational tour. Elevator service is available and there will be a fluent interpreter.

Meadow Vista Hardware Ace Red Hot Buys

Welcome New MVMA Members!

62 or older? More Info About Reverse Mortgages

By Toni Ryan, Synergy One Lending

A reverse mortgage is an increasingly popular loan for senior homeowners age 62 and over. It allows senior homeowners to tap into their current home equity or purchase a home without using all their cash. There is no monthly mortgage payment but homeowners are still responsible for paying property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. The repayment of the loan is deferred until the homeowner dies, sells or moves out of the home.
To qualify for a reverse mortgage loan you must own a home, be at least 62 years old and have enough home equity. The loan works in two ways. First, payments are made to the borrower based upon a percentage of the equity that has been built up in the home. Second, any current mortgage is paid off thus eliminating the monthly mortgage payment. The loan is repaid when the borrower sells the home, moves out of the home or dies. The factors that impact the amount you are eligible for include your age, the value of your home, interest rate and loan limits.
As with any large decision, it's important to understand the pros and cons.


•  You continue to live in your home and retain title to your home, as long as you continue to pay your property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.

•  You generally receive the proceeds of the loan as tax-free cash in which you can use the money as you see fit. It is recommended though to speak with your financial advisor to verify your specific situation.

•  You no longer make monthly mortgage payments, during the course of the loan. You do have to follow the constructs of the loan guidelines and are responsible for paying your property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

•  A reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan. Neither you nor your heirs are liable for any amount of the mortgage that transcends the value of your home.

•  There are several ways in which you can receive the proceeds of the loan.

•  Many lenders offer a free reverse mortgage loan calculator which allows you to get an estimate as to how much you may qualify for.


•  Fees associated with the loan are generally higher than with other financial products. You should ask your lender about options available.

•  The balance of the loan increases over time as does the interest on the loan and the fees associated.
Contact a mortgage professional to learn how you can use this valuable tool to enjoy your retirement.

Sing to Your Baby

By Ashlei Jackson, Ever After Baby

Do you sing to your baby? If you do, it’s likely that you are among a smaller and smaller number of parents who sing lullabies to their little ones. There have been several studies over the past few years in both Europe and the U.S. that show that the younger a parent is, the less likely they are to sing to their child. One study of 2,000 households revealed that only 38 % of parents sing to their kids who are 5 years old and younger and mothers are twice as likely to sing to kids over fathers. (source: The Bump Magazine)
While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why the decline in singing has occurred, there is a consensus between hospitals and parenting groups in regards to the benefits of singing to babies and young children. Not only do studies site emotional well-being and better sleep patterns as benefits but one study even found that infants born with respiratory distress did physically better when listening to their parents sing a lullaby.

• Pick a Song You Like. Want to incorporate singing into your baby’s routine? You don’t have to be Beyonce or Josh Groban to get started. Pick a song that you know. Can it be a classic like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or “Rock-a-Bye Baby?” - sure but don’t feel like you have to use the standard “lullaby” from generations before. You are more likely to sing, and sing often, if you enjoy the song and know it well.  Think Frank Sinatra, Bruno Mars or Carrie Underwood.

• Don’t Try to Sing a Whole Song. There are no rules and you’re baby will pass no judgement if you only sing the chorus of a song on repeat or make up words for sections you forget. The point is to sing! Your baby will like to hear the same tune over and over anyway because it establishes a predictable rhythm which lowers stress levels. It doesn’t matter if you can hit the high notes either.

• Turn Down the Lights. Most of us have a small amount of stage fright so to make it easier, sing in a darkened room with just you and baby - this is why nap & bed time is perfect! Feel free to use your body to establish a rhythm (a slight rock from side to side or front to back) and start with a light humming.
We all want to give our children the best “ingredients” for success in life - consider adding singing to your ongoing parenting “recipe.”

Free Instrumental Band Program in Meadow Vista

By Janine Dexter, Faith Lutheran Church

Would you like to help the children in your life thrive? Children that thrive are supported in every area of their lives. What if there was a way to incorporate all four of these areas into one activity? Music is often dismissed as unnecessary or an “extra” activity that is fun but not really missed if it doesn’t make the cut of after-school activities. The reality is that music participation is one of the ways that a child is positively impacted in every one of these four crucial areas: physical,  emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
• Intellectual:  Music impacts language development, increases spatial-temporal skills, and is known to raise IQ points. It is the only activity that lights up every area of the brain simultaneously.
• Emotional:  Music provides an outlet for a wide-range of emotions. Children can learn to be aware of and express how they feel through the language of sound. 
• Spiritual:  Music impacts every journey in life including one’s chosen spiritual path.
• Physical:  Music helps children develop both small and large motor skills through movement, singing, and instrumental practice.

In Meadow Vista there is a unique opportunity  for children to begin a journey in music that will enhance their brain development and help them thrive throughout their lives. Faith Lutheran Church hosts a free music program for children ages TK-8th grade. Preschool through third grade youth are invited to join an Exploring Music class—levels I, II and III—that incorporates rhythm instruments, music reading, Orff, singing and ukulele. Grades 4-8 have an opportunity to be in a band program that meets each week after school; families are asked to provide an instrument and purchase a lesson book. Classes are taught in a friendly and safe atmosphere by professional musicians and are funded by the Lutheran Development Society of Sacramento, the Meadow Vista Friendly Neighbors and by community donations. New classes begin in January and children can join classes at anytime through the end of February. Contact Ms Janine Dexter for more information: 530-389-8889,

3 Repairs That Add Home Value When Selling

Submitted by Katherine Katches, Sierra Pacific Real Estate

Considering selling in 2019? Here are 3 repairs you can start making now to help enhance the sale of your home! With a combinations of these 3 repairs, good staging, a top-notch Realtor and appropriate pricing your home is sure to sell quickly!

1. Fix flooring flaws. “Scratched-up wood flooring, ratty, outdated carpeting, and tired linoleum make your home feel sad,” the HouseLogic article notes. “Buyers might take one step inside and scratch the property from their list.” Most buyers don’t want the hassle of replacing carpet and may not accept a credit to cover the cost after the sale, Haynie says. When refinishing hardwood floors, for example, homeowners can expect to spend an average of $3,000 but recoup 100 percent of that cost at resale, according to NAR’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report.

2. Repair water stains. The home’s plumbing issues may have long been resolved, but leftover water stains will mislead buyers into thinking the problems still exist. First, double-check that the problem truly is fixed, and then make any needed repairs to the walls or floors. Water-stained ceilings can cost about $670, on average, to fix. Drywall costs about $1.50 per square foot to repair.

3. Touch up the grout. Yellow or cracked grout can be a turnoff to buyers. New grout can make old floors look revived. “The best return-on-investment projects before selling a home involve making a home look like new,” Shelton Wilder, a sales associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Los Angeles, told HouseLogic. Bathroom re-grouting costs an average of $1 to $2 per square foot, increasing to $10 for more complex jobs. A cheaper alternative is to have them professional steamed clean.

Sourced from:

Meadow Vista Community Center Update February 2019