Summer 2017 marks several milestones in our Family. Ernesto and I celebrate 14 years of marriage, our eldest daughter Sofia turns 13 and our Company which has grown right along with her also turns 13!

Teenagers are now ruling our household with summer sleepovers, slime making sessions and late-night dance parties. Childhood is relived again and again with them and as they begin to find their wings, Ernesto and I have gone back to sleeping with one eye open and one ear to the ground

In June, we celebrated the last day of school and our 14th anniversary with a trip to the island of Maui. Trade winds, mild temperatures and the ocean blue gave us time to reconnect as a family. Running a successful business can take its toll on quality time together. Our kids spend long days away from us and when is there never something to do?

Thankfully we took the time because we got a very stark reminder while we were there of why it is so important to connect daily with the ones you love.

Sofia and Alexi (our youngest son) both are avid swimmers and love the Ocean. We found Koki Beach off of Hana Highway. It had some brisk waves and a few warning signs of strong undertow, but upon testing the waters I felt they could handle it so I let them swim on with their boogey boards.

They were doing fine, but sure enough as soon as we looked away they began screaming “Mamma! Mamma!”.  In no time, the Ocean had swept them to the far right where the water was deeper and where they were now being pulled back and forth over rocks.

I of course jumped into Mama Bear mode and made a beeline in their direction. My family spent many summers swimming in Oceanside and Huntington Beach so I’m a strong Ocean swimmer. Fortunately, a few kind individuals also jumped to our aid and we pulled them to safety with only a few cuts and bruises. Of course, we were all shaken up and we held each other just a little tighter while we processed what happened.

The very next day we jumped right back into the Ocean and snorkeled with fish, spotted sea turtles and a few eels and toured around the island of Molokini with the Pacific Whale Foundation.

Rough times and a little rough Ocean won’t stop us from living life. Most importantly they remind us to focus on the people we love and to not get to caught up in all we’re doing.

Cheers to the best time of the year – Summer!

Tips for Summer Curb Appeal

Do you want to have the best curb appeal on the block? Follow these easy steps!

Mow to the right height. Set your mower to cut about three inches off the ground. Longer turf will retain more moisture and better shade the soil so the roots won’t get dry. The shade helps to keep out crabgrass.

Tall grass is greener and more attractive, but in unused parts of the yard, try drought resistant or California native plants. They are low maintenance and beautiful.

Upgrade your house numbers. Get some that are not only attractive but that can be easily read from a distance. Avoid frilly numbers. Refresh your painted numbers on your curb.

More expensive but very effective, replace cracked or outdated walkways while it’s still summer. Interlocking pavers make it easy to do the job yourself.

Update your flower boxes. When spring bulbs and flowers have finished, replace them with fall bloomers like mums or autumn sage.

Consult with a professional Landscape Architect for a more comprehensive plan. ARCA Design Group based in Albany is the leader in Landscape Design. Visit the Arca Design Group website.

Home Safety Tips to Kick off Summer

Happy National Home Safety month! (Exciting, right?) Well, it’s as good a time as any to just refresh your memory on some basic home safety tips.

The AARP has 30 home safety tips that are surprising and worth knowing. For example, did you know that each year 65,000 barbecue grill fires cause as much as $27 million in property damage each year? Lesson: move your grill a little farther from the home.

  • Did you know that most falls in homes happen in the bathroom, not on the stairs? Put a non-slip mat in the shower and bath mats over tile.
  • Did you know that cooking-related fires are the leading cause of injuries among people 65 years of age and older? Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing while cooking and use a timer to remind yourself to check food you have in the oven.
  • Did you know that more people are injured using hand tools than power tools? Always use high quality tools and avoid tools with frayed power cords or dull cutting surfaces.
  • Did you know that each year approximately 3,800 injuries and 34 deaths occur in U.S. homes due to scalding from excessively hot tap water? Adjust the temperature setting of your home hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, or consider installing temperature limiting faucets on bathtubs, showers, and sinks.
  • Did you know that each year an average of 20,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with garage doors? Don’t try and outrun your door!
  • Did you know that many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains high lead levels and lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not take care of properly? Call an EPA Certified Painting Contractor to remove loose and failing paint.