pen rainbow

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday's Cupboard—Chicken Tumeric

Summer Reruns!  An oldie, but a goodie.  One of our favorite suppers.

Chicken Tumeric 

serves 4 to 5 hungry people

Great as leftovers!

10"x 10" x 2" square casserole dish
Large ziploc plastic bag
Large nonstick skillet for browning chicken

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp. Mrs. Dash garlic & herb seasoning

  • kosher salt & cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c. olive or canola oil
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
  • 1 large onion (halved, then sliced)
  • 2-1/2 cups boiling water

Make it!
  1. Combine flour & herb seasoning in the plastic bag.
  2. Coat the chicken breasts in the flour mixture.  
  3. Brown the chicken in olive oil or canola oil until med brown.  Add a little salt & pepper as the chicken browns.
  4. Spray the casserole dish with olive oil PAM
  5. Add 1 cup of uncooked basmati rice + 1 tsp. tumeric + sliced onions + a dash of kosher salt & cracked black pepper to the casserole.  
  6. Pour 2-1/2 cups of boiling water into the casserole & stir to combine rice, onions & seasonings.
  7. Place browned chicken on top of rice.
  8. Bake covered for 60 minutes on 350°F

Remove from oven & serve with a nice green salad.

Bon App├ętit

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday—Tahoe August16

Pix from our weekend in beautiful Tahoe


20 aug 16

Sunset colored by california wildfires

View from the deck

blue canyon

21 aug 16

Thunderheads in the distance & rain over the summit coming home

Dramatic storm clouds over Blue Canyon

• keep • tahoe • blue •

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday Finances—The Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan

Some really great tips from Kevin Ruth, Head of Wealth Planning and Personal Trust at Fidelity Investments

10 Common Pitfalls of an Outdated 
Estate Plan

Update your estate plan every three years
(or whenever major life circumstances change)

If you have a trust or a will, good job!  You got that far in creating an estate plan.  Most of us don't get around to it until a major life event forces us into it.  For me, it was becoming a successor trustee after my dad passed away in 2013.

After I closed my dad's trust a year later, I was compelled to put my own house in order.  I found a good estate attorney in town, and the following year, our family trust was finished.

It really is a great feeling to have it done!

The following article by Kevin Ruth from Fidelity Investments caught my eye because now that we have a trust, it is important to keep it up to date.

Dust off your estate plan: 10 common pitfalls to avoidby Kevin Ruth, Fidelity Viewpoints
3 August 2016

Kevin's article is excellent!  He includes some helpful links at the end.  Make a copy & discuss any concerns with your estate attorney.

• estate planning • is • a gift •


Thursday, August 18, 2016

#TBT—Pearly & Her Cat 1916

I love how my gramma Pearle wrote on her pix.  One of my favorites taken at her home in Pioche, Nevada

Pearly & Her Cat

She originally wrote, "Pearly," then changed it to "Pearle Jones"

Love this cameo on the front of the cover

• Olinghouse • family • history •

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday—Good forYou, Good forTheDeck

Our gazebo & fence repair is finished!  Before & after pix 

March 5, 2016

During an extended rainstorm, our neighbor's oak crashed through our fence & landed on our gazebo.
Luckily, the rafters held, and our patio set was spared.  A couple of branches knocked the rim of the table loose.
Stay tuned for pix of the restored table & chairs.

The trunk of the oak is on the other side of the fence in our neighbor's yard.
The entire oak came up, roots & all!

Beginning the clean-up...

Roof lattices beginning to collapse

August 19, 2016

Our contractor rebuilt the fence and replaced the main posts & the lattice/roof in the gazebo.
Steve & I built the handrail, then I treated the wood. 

The new handrail after Thomson's water seal & the deck after it was cleaned & stripped.
I like the look of this stripped down redwood, but it needed a good overall stain to protect it from the rain.

Thomson's Water Seal on the structure_Behr Padre Brown Semi-Transparent Stain on the deck.
I treated the new planks along the edges of the deck with clear Thomson's to create a light & dark contrast.

How the insurance worked

Even though the tree belonged to our neighbors, the damage was covered by our homeowner's, not theirs.  

Wind damage is considered an "act of God" by insurance companies, and unless a neighbor can prove negligence on the part of the tree's owner, each homeowner is responsible for the damage on his/her own property.  

If your tree comes down on your neighbor's property, it is your neighbor's responsibility to make the repairs.

We had a $1,000 deductible.  Kemper's original estimate was $12,061.63 (after the deductible) to replace the gazebo and the fence and to fix the table.

Our actual incurred expenses were $16,534.77 (after the deductible).  We reduced the replacement costs by building the handrail ourselves and by replacing the electrical lighting with Mason jars & outdoor votives.  Kemper revised their original estimate and covered all of our costs!

Helpful tip:  The insurance adjuster will ask for all of your original receipts and canceled checks.  Keep careful track of your expenses.  The adjuster will appreciate a clean, organized, accurate report of your final costs.

• a • happy • ending •

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday's Cupboard—Best Banana Bread Ever!

From Martha Stewart online

This really is the best banana bread I've ever made.

Best Banana Bread

My nanner bread with cream cheese frosting in the middle.
Photo by dontstealmypen

Find the recipe & a video on Martha's website:

Crispy crust, light in the middle, plus a layer of delicious cream cheese frosting.

Look for the cream cheese recipe under "Variations" at the end of the banana bread recipe.
I used 3 ripe bananas & had enough to make a regular loaf and 2 minis

love • good • food •

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday Finances—2016 Sales Tax Findings

State & local sales taxes as of 1 January 2016

From the Tax Foundation Fiscal Facts, No. 504 (pdf)_March 2016_by economists, Scott Drenkard & Nicole Kaeding

2016 State & Local Sales Tax Rates

Source:  Tax Foundation Fiscal Facts, No. 504_March 2016

Interesting Findings


The Sales Tax Clearinghouse publishes quarterly sales tax data by zip code at the state, county & city levels.  These figures are then weighted by population according to the 2010 U.S. Census.  Some zip codes have no residents, so the findings in this study are based on populated areas known as Zip Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTA).

  • 45 states & the District of Columbia collect sales taxes
  • Local sales taxes are collected in 38 states
  • The highest average combined state & local sales taxes are collected in Tennessee (9.46%), Arkansas (9.30%), Louisiana (9.0%), Alabama (8.97%), and Washington (8.9%)
  • The lowest average combined state & local sales taxes are collected in Alaska (1.78%), Hawaii (4.35%), Wisconsin (5.41%), Wyoming (5.42%), and Maine (5.55%).  
  • Five states do not have statewide sales tax:  Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire & Oregon.  Alaska & Montana (Montana imposes resort taxes) charge local sales taxes.
  • California has the highest state-level sales tax rate at 7.5%.  Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island & Tennessee are tied for the second highest statewide tax rate at 7%.
  • No state increased their state-level sales tax at the beginning of 2016.  
  • The five states with the highest average local sales taxes are Louisiana (5.01%), Alabama (4.93%), Colorado (4.54%), New York (4.48%) & Oklahoma (4.28%).
  • County-wise, local sales tax in Clark County, Nevada, increased from 8.10% to 8.15% effective 1 January 2016.
  • Cook County, Illinois, (includes Chicago) raised its county-level sales tax by 1 percent, from 1.75% to 2.75% on 1 January 206.  
  • As a result of the increase in Cook County, the sales tax rate in the city of Chicago increased to 10.25%, giving Chicago the highest sales tax rate of any large city in the U.S. 

For more interesting findings in this report, click here 

Find more Tax Foundation publications here

• follow • the • money •