Tag: Southern California


I want to tell you a story about how we tried to do the right thing and were told it wasn’t possible. We moved into our California home ten years ago this Halloween. For eight of those years, we have been upside down. For a while, in 2009 and 2010, we were more than $200,000 upside down. The money we spent on the house—every … Read More Shorting


I hate the summers Inland California. Hate is a strong word, I know, but I mean it with every fiber of my being. Sometime in early June, the thermometer hits 97 and it doesn’t dip below that number for the next four months. In other places, summer lasts 75-90 days. Here: 120. Our summer is like winter in Wisconsin or Maine. The kids cannot … Read More Roasting

Cookie Monster ~ Jen

I was a Campfire girl. We didn’t sell cookies. We sold almond roca and mints. And it wasn’t a very big deal. We walked the neighborhood, called grandma and sold at the local grocery store. To be fair, I don’t think Girl Scout cookies were a great big thing in the 80s either. Teresa is a Gold Award Scout. That’s the Girl Scout equivalent of … Read More Cookie Monster ~ Jen

Meet Taylor K, Photographer Extraordinaire! Special Offer for Full of Graces Readers! ~ Jen

It’s that time of year: family pictures. Thank goodness we have moved beyond the studio portrait, where everyone looks still and plastic. But it’s hard to find a good candid photographer. Which is why I want to introduce you to ours: Taylor. She is a lovely, energetic and accommodating lady from Long Beach. Fear not, Inland Empire and points South: she came to Temecula … Read More Meet Taylor K, Photographer Extraordinaire! Special Offer for Full of Graces Readers! ~ Jen

Fall Canning ~ Jen

In Southern California, one of the harbingers of Fall is the Santa Ana winds. These winds blow strong and unbelievably dry for days at a time, sometimes cold, but mostly hot, hot, hot.  If you are not from So Cal, you may have heard this term related to some huge, catastrophic brush fire that occurred near Los Angeles. Every Southern Californian knows to scan … Read More Fall Canning ~ Jen

Life Will Out ~ Jen

I don’t like to be hot. I have never liked to be hot. God knows this about me and gave me parents who lived near the ocean and who listened to their children when we begged them to buy a house with a pool. Many a day growing up, I washed the sand from the beach out of my hair and bathing suit by … Read More Life Will Out ~ Jen

For You and For Pam and For Me ~ Jen

Dana’s dad, Allen Builteman, passed away on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Dana might tell the story someday. It’s beautiful. He died peacefully surrounded by the ones who loved him most. Dana and I had big plans for Mother’s Day on this blog. We have amazing moms. We were going to talk about them. But then Allen got so sick. And my mom, God bless … Read More For You and For Pam and For Me ~ Jen

How meeting your friend from high school turns into strawberry cream pie ~ Jen

I was Facebook resistant for years. Years. Then my niece convinced me I could lock a Facebook page down so tight that my name wouldn’t even appear in a search. I was ok with that. I have 42 friends. That’s all. Thankfully, one of them is my friend Jeannette from high school. We reconnected last summer through our other friend, Kristen. Jeannette lives an … Read More How meeting your friend from high school turns into strawberry cream pie ~ Jen

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