Archives for October 2011

YUCKIE! I’m not eating that! 6 Tips to better eating!

YUCKIE! I’m not eating that!  Are these familiar words at your dinner table?  Does your child hide their food or try to feed it to the family pet?  If so, you are not alone.  This is happening in many homes and is actually quite normal in the developmental process.  Because of these behaviors though, many parents worry that their children are not meeting their daily nutritional needs when they refuse to eat certain foods or refuse to eat at all.

When a child refuses to eat certain foods it may be because they are not familiar with the food.  As with all new things in life, they are programmed to be cautious.  Even with new foods.  In fact it could take as many as 20 different attempts for a child to accept a new food.  One way for your child to gain familiarity with a new food is to have the food in plain view around the house, whether it is fruit in a bowl on the counter, a basket of fresh vegetables on the table, or better yet, fresh fruits and vegetables picked from your own garden.  Once a child becomes more familiar with a food they are more willing to try it.

Texture might also play a role in refusing to eat certain foods.  This is important because the texture of food may determine how hard or easy a food is to eat.  (The other day my 3 year old stuck too much “chewy meat” in his mouth all at once and ended up spitting it out because it was too hard to chew.  Note to self:  cut it into smaller pieces next time).  But again just because your child does not like the texture of a new food the first time, do not give up hope!

Sometimes though there will be foods that your child will just flat out refuse to eat, no matter how hard you try.  For example they may not like cauliflower.  Not to worry though.  As long as they are not rejecting all vegetables, not eating cauliflower is fine.   If they like 10 other types of vegetables focus on those 10 and forget about the cauliflower.

The following are some tips that will keep your picky eater from becoming pickier:

  1. DO NOT make your child a separate dinner.  When your child realizes that you are willing to make them their own meal, they will never want to try new foods.  Whatever the grown-ups are eating, the kids should be eating.
  2. Sit down at mealtime and make it family time.  Foods that are eaten on the go tend to be less healthy and include less fruits and vegetables.  Let your children see you eating fruits and vegetables.  By sitting down as a family for meals, your child can see you eating the foods that you want them to eat.  Remember you have to model the behavior.
  3. Don’t hover over your kids while they are eating.  The bigger the deal you make of their eating behaviors, the more you will be met with resistance.
  4. Don’t let your child graze all day long on snacks.  Plan out snack time and have a beginning and end to it.  When dinner comes around, if they are full from all the snacks they have been eating, they are not going to want to try new foods.
  5. Get your child involved.  Have them go grocery shopping with you or accompany you to the famers market where they can help you pick out fresh fruits and vegetables.  Plant a garden.  Your child will love being able to pick fresh food from their own garden that they grew.  (There are lots of cool weather vegetables that can be grown during the fall and winter months.)
  6. Lastly, hang in there!  Your picky eater will not starve themselves and if you as a parent do not back down and keep introducing those new foods, your picker eater will come around.

Katie Valdes MS, RD, CSSD



Positive news in the equity markets



The stock market was up again this week and with that mortgage rates increased slightly as well. That being said, interest rates remain extremely low and if you are considering refinancing or purchasing a new home rates in the 3’s and 4’s won’t last forever. This is probably the last week to apply if you would like to refinance prior to the end of the year in order to take advantage of potential tax savings on your 2011 returns.  I am still offering no points/no closing cost loans as well as the $250 donation to the school or charity of your choice. Hope you have a great Halloween weekend!!!

Glendale Home Values Report for September 2011

Click HERE for a video version.

It is time to talk about how the Market- I think there are three basic questions you want answered:

  1. Should I buy now, or wait?
  2. Should I sell now or wait?
  3. Are home prices going up or down?

The problem with all of these questions is that they are asking for predictions into the future. All I can report, with accuracy is where we’ve been and make educated guess about where we are going.

So, last month I did a pretty through review of the concept of supply of inventory and how you can use it to make guesses about the near near future. As a short review- 0-4 months supply means a seller’s market, 4-6 months supply is a neutral market and more than 6 months supply is a buyer’s market.

I think everyone was a bit surprised to find that we are right in-between a seller’s market and a neutral market- the buyers are NOT in control as the mass media would lead you to believe.

This month I will update you on the general trends in Glendale, but I am also going to take a little time to discuss the different price categories in our town. High end and low end sellers and buyers can experience very different markets within the same town.

First of all,a general picture of Glendale. inventory continues it’s downward trend in number of homes on the market- this month saw nearly the lowest amount of inventory in the last 15 months. The number of homes sold also continues a gentle downward trend while the number of homes that enter escrow is experiencing a gentle UPWARD trend.

I believe the gap between homes entering escrow and homes successfully closing shows the complexities of obtaining loans as well as the skittish nature of today’s buyer.

Months supply of inventory is holding steady at 4.3 months (neutral) and the average price per square foot has fallen 12% from a high point in July.

Are prices going down?!!

That is exactly what I want to talk about. Because the answer is, “Depends”. It depends what end of the price spectrum you are interested in. The lower end, under $500,000 has a different dynamic than the mid range, $500,000- $750,000. And our upper end is- well, in a different world all together.

The Lower End

Inventory is super low -the lowest point of the year and nearly half of what is was a year a go. At the same time our rate of sales is more or less even. This results in the Months Supply of Inventory of 4- now, we all know that is a Neutral Market, right?

In fact, if you look at the average price per square foot and you smooth out the big sell off of May, 2011 and you see a mostly flat to slightly declining trend line.

However. Since March the number of homes entering escrow has been on a steep increase, but the number of closings has not. This means that closing a home in this price range is especially difficult.

Sellers, pick your buyers very carefully. All of the buyers I see look great on paper and should be able to get a loan. The problems are more complex and it takes tremendous people skill and technical skill to close a deal.

Buyers- you have serious competition from other buyers and very few homes to choose from.

The Mid Range

Now, you might think that the under $500,000 would be the most active category, but you would be wrong. The most active category is the mid range, between $500,000 and $750,000.

The most number of closed escrows and active listings are in this range, and the percentage of short sales is the lowest. It appears that these homes have a much higher chance of closing.

The months supply of inventory (MSI) is currently at 2.8- solid Seller’s Market and prices should be going up, right? In fact, since May, the average price per square foot has, indeed, been going in a mostly upward direction. However, that price has fallen 7% from last year.

The news is relatively rosy for sellers in this price range! Demand is strong, the transactions are closing (though not, sadly, drama free) and there are very few homes on the market to compete.

If you are a buyer, all is not lost. Focus on the historically low interest rates available to you right now. This, combined with the decline in value over the last two years, means this home is likely a super value that will serve your family for many years.

The Upper End

The rate of sales for the upper end ($750,000+) has been pretty steady all year- not a lot of sales, but steady. Inventory is similarly steady with a small trend upward in the last quarter.

Because the number of homes selling is fairly small (about 10 a month), The MSI shows huge fluctuation (too small of a sample). In general I read this chart as the high end of neutral trending toward a Buyer’s Market.

If you are a seller in this price range I urge caution! There are roughly 50 homes competing for just 10 buyers. In order to be “The Guy” that sells, as opposed to the one who doesn’t, it is extremely important that you are one of the top three values on the market!

Buyers- understand your leverage. This is the only segment where I think you have any real power with sellers. There are more homes to choose from and you have a better chance of finding a great home with a motivated seller.

Kendyl Young blogs daily at and she covers local real estate trends, hot properties and community happenings in Glendale, La Canada and La Crescenta. You call or text her at 818-396-7588 or email Amusing tweets; @kendyl

No News is Good News


I turn on the news with total trepidation, and more often lately, dread.  Typically the first five stories are about death, political unrest, the failing US economy, or terrorism. I seriously don’t know why I bother, yet I am literally aware of the latest breaking news throughout the day.  We no longer get our news only at 5:00 or 6:00.  We see it on TV throughout the day, hear it in our cars, and browse for it on our computers at will 24/7.

Unfortunately, mainstream news is morphing into tabloid sensationalism.  Breaking News – Lindsey Lohan is heading back to jail.  Really?!?  Taylor Armstrong’s husband commits suicide.  Taylor who?  Why does the news media think, no, insist we care?  Are hard news issues so depressing that we’re offered News Light as a friendly diversion or is good news simply not exciting enough?  Not to give the impression that I am totally down on what’s considered news, I have been riveted with the Conrad Murray/Michael Jackson trial, much as I was with the Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson trials. Allowing cameras in the courtroom incurs a level voyeurism that incites (and seduces) the public to form opinions, sometimes erroneous opinions; however; it doesn’t stop here.  There’s the recap programs.  Specifically, Headline News (HLN/Charter Channel 49) with Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and Dr. Drew asking a variety of talking-head experts who discuss and disseminate the day’s testimony, which further frustrates armchair jurors like myself.  The defense in the Michael Jackson trial will be resting soon, deliberations will begin, but as we’ve learned from the Anthony and Simpson cases, nothing is a slam-dunk.

Several years ago I made a concerted effort to avoid watching late night news based on the premise that I did not want to go to bed with sad thoughts and images freshly implanted in my brain.  Instead I’d watch reruns of Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, or The Daily Show.  At least I’d be laughing myself to sleep.  This experiment lasted a month.  I needed a reality fix – good, bad or otherwise.  I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

On the bright side, the best news I’ve heard in years is a clinical study that confirms dark chocolate is healthy to eat every day.  EVERY DAY!  That’s the kind of news we can all agree is a relevant breakthrough in medical science.  I’ll continue to monitor the news because one day the stock market will turn around, our troops will come home, Republicans will pick a candidate, and dammit, I want to be the first to know.

REVIEW: Last Man Standing (ABC Monday, 8:00pm)






Tim Allen returns to the small screen as Mike Baxter, an aging baby boomer, father of three daughters, and a relatively new grandfather .  He is married (never divorced – I feel compelled to qualify that) to Vanessa, played by Nancy Travis (3 Men and a Baby), who recently returns to the workplace after years as a stay-at-home mom.  Their eldest daughter Kristin is a 22 year old unmarried mother of little Boyd living at home with her sisters, 17 year old Mandy, and 14 year old Eve. The laughs are driven by Allen’s solo frustrated alpha-male surrounded by estrogen-overload.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much.

I decided to give this new sitcom a shot since I am also a former stay-at-home mom of daughters who recently returned to work, and I loved Tim Allen in Home Improvement.  Grandparenthood is still far off in my future, but I am increasingly surrounded by friends who have crossed over into that final frontier.  This show had promise.  I wanted to like it, I really did.  Sadly, the situations and dialogue come off forced, and good ol’ Mom and Dad act like buffoons.  Case in point, Vanessa, who is likely in her late 40s gets upset when another woman, clearly in her 60s, refers to her as, “women our age,” which flusters Vanessa and drives her to recapture her youth, if only through fashion.  Amid blasting techno-pop in a Forever 21ish boutique, Vanessa admires herself in colorful sweater only to be told by the teenage clerk that she’s wearing shorts.  Mike attends Grandparents Day at his grandson’s preschool and instantly clashes with the New Age, ultra-liberal, politically correct director.  When Mike/Tim notices a cute child with curly hair, dressed in a tutu then finds out his name is Doug, he blurts out something insulting to both parent and director, and is promptly asked to leave the preschool.  He thinks he’s prepared to take care of his grandson himself at his place of business, but after one too many poopy diapers returns to the preschool with his tail firmly between his legs and begs for forgiveness.

Last Man Standing may be able to limp through the season thanks to the strength of its star, Tim Allen, but this otherwise uninspired comedy needs to step up the writing and pull situations from real life if it expects to stroll into another season.

Fall is in the air!





Fall is in the air.  The leaves are turning colors, the air is getting crisp and the days are getting shorter. Every new season brings the opportunity to try new activities, start new traditions and to experience new foods with your family. One of the best ways to try new foods is to eat according to what is in season.  Eating seasonally and locally (buying foods at your local farmer’s markets) will not only save you money (seasonal fruits and veggies are less expensive) but will also give you the most nutritional value because once a fruit or vegetable is harvested their nutritional value begins to decrease.

To find out what is in season in your area and for your local farmer’s markets log onto  Here is a sampling of what is in season during the months of October and November:











Passion fruit






Winter squash


In Season: Apples   

A medium unpeeled apple contains approximately 4 grams of fiber.  Some of which is soluble fiber that plays a role in lowering cholesterol while the rest is insoluble fiber, which helps with digestion and weight control.  This month try a new apple recipe or take your child apple picking; this way your child gets involved and knows where the food is coming from.   Go to to find a place in your neighborhood to go apple picking.

Apple Cheddar Quesadillas

-Apples (sweet and crunchy works best: Fuji, Braeburn, Granny smith)

-Regular or whole-wheat tortillas

-Shredded cheddar cheese

Cut apple into thin slices.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over one half of the tortilla.  Place 4-5 apple slices on top of the cheese.  Then sprinkle 2 more tablespoons of cheese on top of the apple slices and fold in half.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (use cooking spray, if desired) and cook until the cheese is melted and quesadillas are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

In Season: Pumpkins

Teach your child that pumpkins are not just for carving, but for eating too.  The best type of baking pumpkin is a Sugar or Pie pumpkin.  A pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene that may prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer.  The good news is that fresh and canned pumpkin is equally nutritious.  So if you do not have the time to cut up a pumpkin and bake it, one cup of canned pumpkin contains 310% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A.


But don’t just stop at pumpkins though.  There are a wide variety of other winter squashes just waiting to be tried such as butternut, carnival, and acorn squash.

How to enjoy a winter squash:

Cut in half, scoop the seeds out, drizzle with olive oil (and brown sugar if you like), sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20- 25 minutes.

Remember if you want your family to try new things you need to provide the food and model the behavior.  Just because your child does not like it the first time does not mean he will never like it.  It may take up to seven tries before a child will accept a new food!

Happy Eating and Happy Fall!


Katie Valdes MS RD CSSD





The stock market rallied…

This week in the market:

during the week which resulted in a slight mortgage rate increase from last week’s all time lows as Investors grew more optimistic about US economic growth and less concerned about the European debt situation.

In addition, the FOMC Minutes from the September 21 Fed meeting revealed that Fed officials expect the economy to avoid recession. In recent weeks, investors have been gradually upgrading their economic outlook. Stronger growth is good for the economy, but it increases inflationary pressures, which is negative for mortgage rates.

All that being said, mortgage rates are unbelievably low right now. Please contact me for a free rate quote and don’t forget I will donate $250 to your charity of choice (Dad’s club and any of the local grade schools included) upon successful closing of a refinance or purchase money financing.

Until next week,

Loan Originator

Capital Mortgage Services

NMLS # 274423

DRE #01364801

(323) 864-7784 Direct

(323) 386-4300 Fax

It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television – but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.– Steve Jobs, 2003

It may not be PC to admit I love television.  I’ve always loved television.  Yes, I believe I could live without it if I had to, but I would miss it terribly.  That said, there are programs on TV whose premise is simple despicable to me.  First and foremost I hate reality show “faux-lebrities” (fake celebrities).  The reality is there is no reality. Honestly, who are these people?  They don’t possess any talent other than the ability to focus our attention on their dysfunctional lives.  The situations are planned, staged, arranged…call it what you will.  To say it’s dramatized is to suggest they can act.  Furthermore, they crossover into entertainment news media, i.e., Us Magazine, The Insider, and insist “everybody’s talking about them.”

Here are the shows on my PLEASE GO AWAY list

  • Teen Mom (MTV)
  • Sister Wives (TLC)
  • Toddlers & Tiaras (TLC)
  • 19 Kids and Counting (TLC)
  • Kardashian-anything (E)
  • Housewives of Orange County, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York City, and Beverly Hills (Bravo)
  • The Bachelor (ABC)

The top three shows on my list are simply disturbing and creepy.  Teen mothers, polygamists, and baby-women are not to be revered or envied, yet that’s exactly the message these shows are sending.

The “I Don’t Get It” Award has to go to Extreme Couponing.  I love to save money as much as the next person, but to frame a show about the ability to buy 50 tubes of toothpaste for $1.00 at the checkout is absurd.

Now that I got that out of my system, there is an abundance of programs I do like.  Based on genuine laughs, intelligent drama, educational, and irreverence, here are my Prime Time Top 10:


  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • The Soup (E)
  • Criminal Minds (CBS)
  • What Not to Wear (TLC)
  • Project Runway (Lifetime)
  • Whitney (new) (NBC)
  • Hoarders (TLC)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
  • Sex & the City – reruns (E)

I could go on and on singing the praises of shows about biographies, medical reality, history, mysteries, UFOs, and the paranormal, but suffice it to say there’s far more out there to love than hate.  The sheer abundance of information available is enough to develop just a little crush, no?  What shows are on your Hit List?

Sleep and Weight

Sleep.  Not many of us get enough.  Whether we work long hours, are taking care of family obligations or lay awake at night having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, we could all use some more.  But did you know that there is a correlation between your weight and your sleep patterns?

Think about the last time you were running on next to no sleep. What did you eat that day?  Did you care about what you were putting into your body?  Were you more hungry than usual?

Think about the new mom that is having trouble losing her baby weight.  Is she lazy?  More than likely, no.  She is in a losing battle.  She is taking care of her newborn, while trying to recover herself on little or no sleep.  Her body is unable to function normally because of the lack of sleep that she is getting.

When our bodies do not get enough sleep, the hormones that keep our appetites in check start working differently.  Leptin, which functions as an appetite suppressant is lowered and Ghrelin, which stimulates appetite is boosted.  This in turn can cause an increase in caloric intake far above what is needed, especially a craving for foods with high amounts of carbohydrates.  This would in turn support the findings by Emmanuel Mignot and his colleagues that people with short durations of sleep have higher Body Mass Indexes (BMI)*, which is directly related to one’s risk of disease.  A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that the average time Americans were sleeping had decreased from 8.0- 8.9 hours a night in the 1960’s to 6.9-7.0 hours in 2000.  Pair those statistics with the fact that obesity has been on the rise and a startling pattern can be made between lack of sleep, overeating and weight gain.

A study in the journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that people with sleep disorders tend to eat a diet that is higher in cholesterol, protein and total fat, including saturated fat.

Another interesting find is that according to the Archives of Internal Medicine, people that are getting five or fewer hours of sleep a night are more likely to be diabetic.

The moral of the story: sleep is a precious commodity and everyone needs to make time for it.  Whether it is working a little less, cutting back on television or not staying out as late, sleep needs to be in the forefront of everyone’s mind who is trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Leading a healthy lifestyle encompasses more than just eating right and getting exercise.  It is about one’s total health, which includes allowing the body the proper amount of sleep that it needs to recover and function properly. 

To find your BMI:

Underweight = <18.5

Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

Overweight = 25-29.9

Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater


Light’s Out! It’s time for Bed, Us News and World Report

Sleep duration Affects Appetite-Regulating Hormones, Public library of Science

The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Hormones and Metabolism, Medscape Neurology and Neurosurgery Insomnia and sleep Health Expert column



Can I Sell My Home Short and Then Buy?

The short answer is , “Not easily” .  In life we don’t often get to “eat our cake and have it, too”Can I Sell My Home Short and Buy?

To really understand the options, let’s take a quick review.  A short sale is when a homeowner owes more to the bank then the home is worth.  The bank most agree to take less, or be “shorted”,  on the loan in order for the home to be sold.  The banks will do this if they feel that a.) the homeowner will let the home foreclose and b.) the bank feels the short will net them more money.  The foreclosure process takes time and can be costly.

Allrighty, then.  Most people who enter into a short sale have severe financial hardship- lost jobs, lost spouse, bad loans.  These homeowners are not in a position to buy now or or in the near future.  They will likely rent, while they rebuild their lives and credit. In some cases they can buy a home  in as little as two years.

However, increasingly, we are seeing “strategic defaults”.   This is a new breed of homeowner that chooses a short sale, but not out of desperate financial need.  Many are struggling, but are still able to make their payments.  However, they need to move on with their lives and they can’t wait for the years it might take to “recover” thier homes value.

These are the people who wonder if they can sell short and buy, right away.  Frankly, the answer is , “No”.  The banks will want to see a two year track record of financial responsibility before they will lend money.  A homeowner who chooses to sell short must bear the consequences.

Here are the exceptions.

  1. Title is in one partner’s name and the other partner can qualify for a new loan.
  2. A hard money lender might lend, but it will be expensive
  3. A seller carries the loan
  4. The bank of Mom and Dad carries the loan
So, think carefully and choose wisely before selling your home short.  It will move your life forward, but it is not without downsides.

Kendyl Young blogs daily at Kendyl’s Open House and she covers local real estate trends, hot properties and community happenings in Glendale, La Canada and La Crescenta. You call or text her at 818-396-7588 or email Amusing tweets; @kendyl

Social Widgets powered by