DIY block/Lego puzzle photo – Montessori activities 

This activity was on my mind ever since I saw it on one of the blog. It’s very simple DIY activity. Take a printout of the photo you want and glue it on Legos or blocks. Below are the photos.


I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for visiting.

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Diy Protesting property values(taxes)

Money SAVED is money EARNED! My mom taught me that. First of all to my introduction, I am a wife who does not even know how much electricity bill and  other bills are paid monthly. Anything house related is being taken care by my husband. I know that this is probably the last thing I will say to introduce myself, but I want to give you this background as it can boost your confidence to try protesting yourself. I want to brief you with some myths:

  1. You are going to protest property value and not tax value.For ex: Appraisal district send you your property evaluation for Year 2016 to be paid taxes in Jan 2017 per property value evaluation.
  2. You are protesting for this year not last year.
  3. If you spend enough time to learn, you can do this successfully.
  4. In Texas, you can protest your property values.
  5. Even if it doesn’t lower your taxes, you should still protest your property values.
  6. Its not a rocket science and can be done with little research.
  7. Tell story about condition issue, but do not complain that you cant afford your home.
  8. There is a deadline to do this (usually end of May), so be on look out for that. Keep yourself up to date.
  9. Make sure, while you go to formal hearing they don’t remove your Homestead exemption as you protesting your personal residential property. (Thanks for this Tip Stephen Sheridan. )
  10. Some photos to help with process attached below.

I went to seminar by Michelle Ellen (realtor) in our area, which helped me a lot to give it a try for first time.

Step 1: We got our property evaluation from Appraisal district and they evaluated our home $20,000 more than last year. So if we paid $11,000 for taxes based on previous year evaluation, we pay $800 more based on new evaluation ($11,800). I am using different number for the privacy purpose. To make the picture clear, I am going to protest my property value to bring down to same as last year so I can pay same tax as last year which will save me $800.

Step 2: If you live in Texas, there will be a website for your county’s appraisal district to protest the property value online. We did that and online system offered us $10,000 less. That means I save $400 in taxes. But I decided to decline and go in person to bring it down more. Please know that once you decline online evaluation, you start from scratch at your formal hearing.

Step 3: It gave us a link to book formal hearing with appraisal district. Once you book the appointment, you can go for informal hearing in case you settle for what they offer you based on their research.

Step 4: This one is crucial step. What you need from your side? Comparable from your realtor. Its called CMA and know that any realtor should be able to provide it for you FREE. You need to really study in detail. Basically what you are trying to achieve here is, find the same house plans as yours in your community and make sure you are the most lowest priced compared to them. It is important to find out such property because that way you can tell appraiser that you house is not as much customized as these other houses on CMA. Take photos of all the maintenance items through out the year or recent ones, which are not fixed yet. I took photos of broken shingles, replaces standing shower pan, dents and holes in patio ceiling, etc. Photos help, take as many as possible. Research well. For example: your sqft are mentioned wrong, you have triangle shaped lot(hard to resale), only 2 car garage, No customization or upgrades like neighborhood houses, etc…

Step 5:  I did not go to informal hearing. But if you decide to, you can request a copy of House Bill 201 which is their side of comparable (CMA). I went directly to formal hearing and present my side of story. The appraiser found that all comparable on my CMA are actually priced correct and that is why I should not be allowed to lower my property value. Which means I am loosing my battle here and also turned down the $10,000 benefit , the online system offered me. I asked him to pull up other properties on his system. He was kind and did that for me. He offered me to match what online system offered even though he proved to me that his evaluation is correct considering all factors; which is $10,000 less the existing property evaluation.

Step 6: Before I accept, I tried pulling out all the photos. And he genuinely felt that this kind of issues should have been fixed. So, he lowered $5000 more. So, basically if my house was priced at $425000 for year of 2016, going in to formal hearing I was able to lower it to $410,000. Which will save me around $700 for property taxes to be paid in 2017.

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I hope that helps. I also took photos of power point from seminar where I went to learn this process. Please find it here, it might help you understand little better. My special thanks to my realtor Stephen Sheridan, who provided me with CMA and also Michelle ellen who arranged  the seminar for people like us.  It would not have been possible without you guys. Thank you for visiting here. I hope this helps you and feel free to let me know how did it go for you to protest your property values. Good luck.

Montessori at home by MOM~May 2016

Heylo, heylo! Month of May is here and here you go with toddler poem for month of May:

May I say, That I like MAY?

I wish everyday was MAY kind of day;

With growing grass and buzzing bees,

With blowing breezes and flowering trees! (By Helen Moore)

Below activities are new to MAY shelves.

Language Shelves: Month of May mingles great with alphabet “M” activity. We are learning Months, Mom’s day activity this month. Below are some language activity. I have sugar in plate and blocks. First I had my little one write letters and then words with her fingers. “MOM”, “WOW”, “COW”. I am also enrolling her for all free summer reading programs for her age in the area library.

Math Shelves: Currently we still work around recognizing numbers and sometimes counting. I created below activity from cardboard. (source: The imagination tree website.) I cut my daughter’s hand prints and have her glue it to other cardboard paper. We focus on number 10. She is too young to do addition but she had fun folding the cardboard finger and count. As she knows 1-20, I tried to introduce 1-100 for the first time. This one still needs lot of work.

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Cultural Shelves: We have 2 children’s maps at home from costco. One is children’s map of USA and another is children’s map of World. These maps are loaded with fun facts. We focus on Indian, Mexican and USA culture the most with activities and But, I do see the need for other cultures to be introduced soon. You can see Cultural activity here. Also, we ate Mexican food on Cinco de mayo.

Sensory Shelves: Lots of activities with Sensory this month. For mother’s day my daughter gave me this nice flower vase; she painted and did henna art on it. She also writes alphabets in plate with sugar. Then I gave her small bowl and spoon from playdoh kit to transfer sugar from plate to bowl with spoon. She did lot of painting and henna art this month with me. We play a lot with playdoh. We also had DIY photo Puzzle activity here.

Practical Life Shelves: She likes to help me with chores. She insists that she wants to wash the dishes, use mop. I let her do it for 15 minutes or so. She also got toddler size electric car for birthday that she is still getting comfortable with. We baked peach cobbler and also made home made chocolate candy. She helped me stir  the batter. We are having lot of pretend play these days. We are also learning swimming and going to water park for this month.

 

I hope you enjoy this month’s activities. Thank you for visiting today!

Peach Cobbler Recipe

How many times you get to say “Thank you” to your neighbor in a year? Well, in this robotic life, we rarely come across to such instances. I did get to say “Thank you” last night to sweet neighbor Rima, who kindly give away peaches on her tree to many neighbors. How sweet of her! Anyway, so I get to make peach cobbler for the first time. I went through bunch of recipes online and kind of made it with below techniques. I realized it was not that hard.  Plus the whole family liked it and appreciated it. I kind of started to turn my blog into food blog, even though I intended it to be more of Montessori at home by MOM blog. 🤔🙄 Excuse me for twist and turns. May shelves coming soon, back to the recipe now.


Ingredients: 2 Cups Sugar, 1 cup milk, 1 cup  self rising flour, 1 tablespoon lime juice , 1 cup water, pinch of salt, 1/2 tablespoon Baking soda, 6 Small peaches, half cup unsalted butter.

How To-

Peeled the peach skin and cut them in big pieces.(go through tips at the end)

Mix 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and add 1 cup milk to moisture the mixer well.

On the stove, bring 1 cup of water, 1 cup sugar, line juice to boil and add peach slices.

Melt  butter in baking tray, pour the mix of flour on the melted butter but DO NO mix them. At end, add the peach mix on the very top.

Bake it on 375 for 40 Mins.

Ta-DA… It was yummy with icecream.


I have always been fascinated by the combination of eating  hot and cold stuff at the same time. Have you ever tried Hot ragada Pani Puri with ice cold spicy chutney? Its one of a kind experience and so is Peach cobbler. Thanks a bunch once again, Rima!

Notes: To easily peel the skin, make and X cut at the top of peach. bring water to boil. Then turn off the flame. Add all the peaches and leave  them in water for 10 minutes. Remove it, peel the skin at ease like a chef.