Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Boy, we've been here before as a country so I know we can get through it. There will be difficult times ahead for our leaders and I hope this group of legislators can help the American people to prosperity. We have philosophical differences but Americans must see we have more that binds than separate. We are seeking the same high ground we only have a different views on how to get there. There are many paths to success neighbors, families and friends will bring us to the best options for growth and productivity.

The Tea Parties desires to cut the budget is right. Obama's campaign to give businesses incentives to bring jobs home is correct. Incentives like tax breaks should be tied to jobs and growth. Consumer can help this incentive by placing their dollars on products that create jobs, display a interest in the environment and safety. Working together is how we will succeed.

Trickle down theory helped to inflate the stock market in the 80's and 90's because if you give extra income to those on the top they will utilize the easiest option. It would be easy to practice isolationism and move away from green technologies. However, this will create trade wars and push American further dependence on an oil/coal based economy. Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to bring us a balance budget and prosperity; I'm sure Obama can do it too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I have a dream...

Years ago sitting in a field with my best friends in Alief, Texas we looked into the future and said we wanted our children to be raise there. It's not the same place anymore; the Norman Rockwell picture of my youth has disappeared. But last night I realized though I am not in Alief I have capture the idealized feeling of Austin, Texas. Last night we went to our regular haunts, pun intended, and had a really fun Halloween. My oldest (13) went out with a few friends, some of his last trick-o-treat fun, maybe. My youngest arranged to meet a friend. The crowd was familiar and the streets safe as the homes welcomed the children and adults alike. My husband I escorted from a safe distance and made sure the kids were polite. They got a respectably haul of treats with no tricks. And I am happy to say though miles away I have lived up to that childhood dream after all.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Days

I have had an eventful weekend. I helped my son make a solar oven it is beautiful. He proceeded to make a few cookies in our oven and he assumed that it would take three times longer to cook one cookie in his solar oven. Well, it was about 88 degrees and an hour later the cookie was just melted batter.

He had a better go at cutting out a jack-o-lantern. I was very proud of his cutting skills. We watched horror films and went for a long bike ride too. What a great day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Moving on.

It is fall in Austin and it is beautiful. We've got the Halloween decorations up and are cheering for the Texans.
After year we are finalizing plans for Thanksgiving and holidays without my sister. I am moving slowly through the grieving process; it is getting better with a little help. I have made changes that are helping me with my entire life.
I have started a large pot garden. We have peppers, spinach and I planted some pomegranate seeds. I have a huge plot of land I need to clean up so we can put in a skate board ramp...yea I know Crazy. But awesome.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

We have been working to renovate my kitchen the past few months. Like most families we do not have a huge budget and we do not work with credit in any way. Because of this we have broken down the project into small manageable areas of work.

A few years ago with the help of my father and brother we knocked out a pass through to up date the living room and kitchen area. The galley kitchen is open and has a more contemporary look thus updating the entire house.

Next we moved to the upper cabinets because they were in good shape. This also allowed us to add a splash of color. We decided on a vibrant green and stainless steal accents with the knobs and a stainless steel exhaust hood.
The job was relatively cheap compared to the cost of new cabinets. I removed cabinet doors, sanded and painted. I added new hardware. The color and hardware made a perfect first fix.

Our main goal was to find structurally sound cabinets that would last future remodels. We approached Home Depot to get a base line quote and did not find the quality or price we liked. We looked into custom however the cost was out side our budget. We decided on a Whole sale supplier which has excellent quality. We went with cherry wood doors, the sides and back are all plywood normally an upgrade was standard. Because of budget constraints’ we went with a butch block and a laminate mix all from Ikea for the counter tops. Because we have quality cabinets we can upgrade the counters at a later date.

We bought many products at the wholesale supply warehouse where we purchased the cabinets. The cost was excellent. The exhaust hood, sink, and faucet were bought here. We went to Home Depot for the garbage disposal and additional parts for installation. We also saved by shopping at a scratch and dent shop for our dish washer. We got the top of the line model Frigidaire and will purchase a stove to match at a later date. The receipts are attached if you would like to see prices. We are in the final stages with the backslash and some finishing work. However, we have spent $2100.00 so far .

I expect to spend $600 on stove and up to $300 on the tiles for the backsplash which we will install. My brother is donating a fridge because he is purchasing stainless steel.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tipping Debate

Severs in Texas make 2.13 per hour by law. Their income is supplemented by tips paid for services given to guest. Restaurants are prepared to service a variable number of guest on any given day because of this arrangement. Servers are given the opportunity to make an above average wage if the restaurant is busy and the patrons tip adequately. They are gambling that they will make above minimum wage; many will make far less than minimum wage some much more. If restaurants were forced to pay minimum wage to all servers the average cost of a meal would increase. Also, restaurants could not afford to be staffed adequately to give the best service. Further, servers pay income taxes on 8% of their sales. The restaurant and the wait staff rely on patrons tipping minimum of 15%.

I say the restaurant is reliant on the patrons tipping 15% or more because the restaurant can fail due to poor service. A restaurant will not retain good servers if they are not paid well. If a patron is given poor service they can immediately let the sever know by giving a poor tip. If the patron should also tell management; good management will ascertain if this was a bad day due to circumstances or if the server does not meet the restaurant’s standards of on a regular basis. Either way the server will suffer. These are a few of the reasons to tip at least 15%. There are times when patrons should tip more than 15%.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring in Austin

If you've been aout an about you've come across the drones of badge wearing flolks here for SXSW. The city is a buzz. I love the energy, music venues, movies and we're getting lots of national exposure. As much as I love it I hope the festival attracts only visitors. To big as it is in Austin. Check out the SXSW web site so you don't get stuck in the maddening loop of visitors. South Congress has been crazy. Have a great time hanging out.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Health Care Reform

We have allowed politicians to incorporate the extremist view on health care as American’s view point. I don’t know about you but I’m mad as hell. Our families insurance rates have gone up every year so has our deductible. Thank God we are healthy.

Texas implemented Tort reform years ago. The politicians said it would help the cost of health care. What, help the doctors, the insurance companies. Who did it help. Texas still has the least insured people in the nation. I think we pay so much because we have to supplement so many people with no insurance.

I switch careers when Bush was gung ho about helping Americans with health care. He pushed
Health Savings accounts. Well, for everybody I spoke with the burden was too high. It sounds good, usually to people with lots of money, because you pay health care bills with untaxed money. The problems is you must pay your regular premium and pay into the savings account simultaneously. I sat with single mothers and wealthy executives who could not pull this out of their budget. Than Bush decide to give Seniors confusing pharmacy plans. How’s your Grandparents coping with that small print.

I lived in the Netherlands and found their system to be exceptional. Yes, they pay lots in taxes however the system is streamlined for optimal care. Everyone is insured and pays a minimal rate for quality care. As Americans, we’ve got to face facts, we already pay for the uninsured to get care. With changes we can slow down the rising cost, take poor general care out of the Emergency room and stabilize the system. Our system is in triage at this point ready to fall from it’s own weight.

Moderates need to talk to the government and take the reins out of extremist hands. I want care for my family and others. Hospital and insurance cost will level off and start to come down it more people pay into the system. Mandatory insurance is the way they do it in Holland. It works there. I don’t want a Politian with a knee jerk response to any question left or right. I say that as an independent. Tell your elected official to stop playing politics with our lives and look at real families in need. Maybe families would be better off with a new system. We deserve legislators who will consider all points not just their election points.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stocking the Pantry

The secret to saving on your grocery bill is a well stocked pantry. Essential, spices, rice, potatos, couscous, pasta can be bought in bulk and on sale. If one remains stocked there is always a meal on hand. I buy at specialty stores like Sprouts, Sun Harvest and New Flower becaue they are all close to my home and are having price wars. Their marketing gives me great deals. I look at sales fliers, which are online too, and see which one has the most of what I want on sale. That being said I don't make all my purchses there. HEB is my main stay for houshold items and they have the best prices overall. We shopped at bulk stores for a while but decide that the items there were mostly processed and lead to too much waste.

The biggest mistake I make is to shop without a list. My list consist of meals, necesary items and household items.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Potato Soup

I'm so disapointed with the world right now I'm going to concentrate on food. Healthcare has been high jacked by those with the biggest mouths, Toyota is highjacked by politicians and Tiger Wood, frankly who give a rats....
I'm happy with the Olympics; I only wished we were better sports all the way around. Media is making me crazy just focusing on raw meat.

I chopped peppers, onions to sauted in butter for broth. I diced potatoes, about 6 cups. I topped off my veggie mix with water and added my potatoes, the water to cover them. Salt to taste and add a boullion cube if you like more flavor. Because my boys are sooo hungry I added some Jimmy Dean Sausages however the soup is fine without meat too. I'll make grille chees sandwiches with montery jack but a loaf of crusty, or french bread would be fine.
We'll watche the Olympics and eat our soup tonight!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's for Dinner

I'm making Black-eyed-peas with okra, pork sirlon roast and cornbread for dinner tomorrow. I started my beans this morning. I've cleaned and cooked them under a low fire for several hours adding a boulion cube, onions, peppers and salt to taste. I'll prepair the roast in the morning, I'll cook the okara and corn brean just before I serve dinner so they are fresh.

We had hamburger patties with brown gravy, mash potatoes and salad tonight.