Monday, January 28, 2013

The Tax System explained in Beer

I consider myself fairly conservative when it comes to politics - I don't share stuff like this often but I think this story provides an excellent illustration of how unfair our tax system is for the wealthy.  I believe everyone who expects to benefit from any type of government program (driving on roadways, receiving fire protection from local fire houses, has children attending public school, et cetera) should contribute to the government piggy bank through taxes.  In other words I believe every citizen (and non-citizen for that matter who still receives "free" benefits) should pay taxes.  No pay, no play.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing

The fifth would pay $1

The sixth would pay $3

The seventh would pay $7

The eighth would pay $12

The ninth would pay $18

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

The bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a h higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).

The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too.  It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. – Professor of Economics.

Thanks for sharing Kami!

Friday, January 25, 2013

HB at 9 months

HB was 9 months old this week!  Time has flown by and I can't believe that he is already three quarters of the way to being one year old!  Reflecting back on my life instead of his for a moment, I never imagined children of my own in my future.  Although I have always loved kids, they were something I never expected from God.  I am so grateful for the chance to be a mama, and a stay at home one at that.  I am surprised daily by the joy HB brings me even in the smallest things he does.  Praise God for His good gifts.

HB's classic 9 month photo taken in his great, great, great grandfather's rocking chair. He's working on growing into his first straw hat!
In an effort to be remembered as a part of my son's childhood, I make an effort to be in one photo per month.  This was January's "momma and HB" photo.  Baby sister is still baking, quite happily, at 23 weeks.
Hubby has had Kolby, one of our guardian dogs, for close to 16 years now.  He's passed his working days of guarding our flock of 50 ewes but is really great with Brandy and HB.  I wanted to make sure we got some pictures with them together before we don't have the chance anymore.
Our daily lives are not complete and certainly not as joyful without big sister Brandy.  Momma and Daddy seem more like chopped liver when she is around.  HB lights up as soon as she walks in a room.
My firstborn son,

I am so grateful for you.  I love playing with you at this age; you love turning the pages on your books over, and over, and over.  You have started nodding your head "no" although you don't really associate the word with the action.  It is quite cute though, especially when you do it as we are strapping you into your carseat.  You love being outdoors especially because it allows you to stare up at the Cottonwood trees and look at the leaves as they rustle in the wind.  The chickens, especially our white rooster, captivate you whether you are up close or looking through the windows.

Eating has become even more fun at mealtimes now that you participate.  Although you'd rather stand in your high chair, you sure enjoy apple slices, tomatoes, bananas and avocados.  Eating from a spoon isn't quite as fun but you tolerate it.  You love your sippy cup too and often raise it over your head in victory, like you just won an eating tournament.  You are absolutely adorable too as you chew your food; I have loved watching you learn to chew.

You are proficient at crawling and I love the independence this has brought you.  You crawl really fast after your sister and anytime you see the door open up to the outside.  When you get really excited as you crawl you grunt and huff and puff.  You are making all kinds of new sounds, the most exciting of which is "da" - when you say enough "da's" together it sounds like you are calling your Dad.

I love you son.  I look forward to the awesome ways that God will continue to grow and develop you both physically and mentally.  I am already amazed.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Whatcha Making Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Buffalo sauce
• shredded chicken (I use one can – it’s easy!)
• 2 tb butter
• 1/2 cup franks hot sauce (adjust amount based on amount of heat you like)
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Melt butter in pan...then stir in sauce, sugar, vinegar and heat through...add your shredded chicken.

White sauce
• 2 tb greek plain yogurt or sour cream
• 2 tb mayo
• salt and garlic powder

Stir all together and set aside.

1. Preheat oven to 400. Pre-bake crust if needed.
2. Spread a layer of the white sauce on the pizza crust of your choice.
3. Top with buffalo chicken mixture.
4. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and chopped red onion.
5. Bake about 10 minutes.

Brandy and I actually had this for dinner earlier this week while Hubby was on shift.  He's more of a ham and sausage kind of pizza guy so we made this for our girls night (plus HB)!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Of Masquerades and Home Improvement

Brandy attended Winter Formal this past weekend and she looked beautiful!  I can't believe how grown up she has become in the almost three years that I've known her.  Our sweet neighbor gave her the dress (she wore it to a dance at a different high school last year) and she made the mask. 

After marrying almost two years ago, we excitedly spent our Home Depot and Lowe's gift cards. We purchased items for numerous projects including new bathroom hardware, door knobs, drawer pulls, paint and more paint, and new electrical outlets and light switches. We looked forward to putting a few finishing touches on Kelly's home after I moved in. We started several of the projects right away - "we" meaning Kelly did the work and I observed and took pictures. One project though was started but needed finishing, especially now that Lil Man is on the move and crawling around our home.

Kelly was kindly updating our light switches and outlets last week, with HB's help of course!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Whatcha having for leftovers Wednesday?

It's only the second Wednesday of 2013 that I've attempted to post a recipe for "Whatcha having for dinner Wednesday" and I have already switched things up by asking what you're having for leftovers!  I love leftovers.  I can't help it.  In part it's my frugal nature that draws me to eating the same thing over and over until there are no more leftovers to be had.  I'm grateful that my hubby tolerates my creative meal mixing as I attempt to utilize leftovers in a variety of ways.  I also love a meal that gets better as leftovers.  You know, when the seasonings really have a chance to meld and harmonize?

In an attempt to clean out our fridge and stretch our grocery budget a bit we had leftovers tonight.  My sweet friend Licia kept HB on Monday so I could rest, run errands, etc. and made us dinner as well.  In fact, she made so much that we had her yummy meal on Monday and tonight - it was a shredded pork mix with black beans and kidney beans.  Yummy!  We made our own version of Chipotle's burrito bowl tonight complete with rice, the shredded pork mix and an array of salsas and toppings.

I'd love to hear your tips and tricks on stretching your grocery budget or how you creatively incorporate leftovers into a second meal or three.  Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and spice
and everything nice
that's what little girls are made of

Sunshine and rainbows
and ribbons for hairbows
that's what little girls are made of

Tea  parties, laces
and baby doll faces
that's what little girls are made of

Come May 24 we will welcome our DAUGHTER!  We are having a girl y'all! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mini Diner Meatloaf

I've perused a few new blogs and enjoyed their various posts - I really liked one who posted "Whatcha Making" for dinner Wednesdays.  I thought I'd see if I could actually blog a few of my recipes weekly especially after the craziness of the holidays has subsided.  Today's recipes come from Cowboy Boot and Baby Booties.

My mom made an awesome meatloaf which I loved as a kid, both on the night it was originally served and cold the next day on a sandwich with mayo and onions.  The same holds true for my family - we love meatloaf!  I am excited about trying a new recipe and hope to cut down on some of the chaos that tends to happen around 5pm by making these during HB's afternoon nap and then popping them in the fridge until it is time to bake them later tonight.

Whatcha Making Wednesdays: Mini Diner Meatloaf
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots (I've never tried meatloaf with carrots, but I'm thinking this is a great way to include another veggie in my family's diet!)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup, divided
1.5 pounds ground beef
1 cup finely crushed fat free saltine crackers (about 20)
2 T mustard
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12 cup muffin pan and set aside.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add chopped onion, carrot, oregano, and garlic.  Saute 2-3 minutes.
3.  Combine onion mixture with 1/2 cup ketchup and remaining ingredients.
4.  Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups.  (I am going to pop this into the fridge at this point.)
5.  Top each meatloaf "muffin" with 2 tsp of ketchup and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Grandma Lucy's Corn Fritters
4 ears sweet corn, cooked (or 3 cups frozen)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 T bacon drippings or veggie oil

Cut kernels from corn and place in medium bowl; stir in eggs and milk.  Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in small bowl.  Stir into corn mixture and mix gently.

Heat bacon drippings or oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls and cook until lightly browned turning to other side.  Serve with butter.  Makes about 1 dozen.

So, whatcha making for dinner tonight?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Prayer Requests

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."
James 5:16
That's right friends, this isn't a blog post about my New Year's resolutions, instead its about my prayer requests. I've been thinking about a different approach to the resolutions that get made, and then get broken, and thought "why am I not approaching a New Year with prayer requests instead?" I covet your prayers as I enter 2013 - for my spiritual growth and for relationships in my life.
-For protection upon my marriage. This request isn't made out of desperation just in hope that we will be protected from the devil as he attacks and tries to weaken us. I think marriages are always under attack especially when God's direction is sought. Please pray that we would work on communication between us, that we would be proactive instead of retroactive in talking. Please pray that we would be able to make a daily time of prayer between us a priority and that we would also make time for regular dates so we can continue to invest in our relationship with each other and not just make it through the day as we take care of our growing family and our small sheep business.
-An unspoken prayer request for two important relationships. 
-For my stepdaughter and our relationship. I need guidance balancing the differing needs of an infant and a teenager and tend to be more focused on my infant. I pray that I am more mindful of her needs and desires, and am more purposeful in investing time in our conversations beyond what is happening academically. I also pray for guidance in talking to her about growing the attributes of a godly young woman and guarding her heart as she goes through the awkward stage that the teenage years can be. Also, pray for her to have a healthy attitude about her body (What young girl/woman doesn't struggle with this?)
-For my husband and his relationship with his mother. They have had a falling out this year and have not yet reconciled. Through the recent miscommunications and disagreements, some past hurts have been brought up again making their reconciliation all the more difficult. Pray for humble, soft hearts and that I can encourage and honor my husband as we go through this together.
-And for me, as a wife and mom, not to mention friend and sister to you all. Pray that I may endure the growing pains as our family dynamics change this next year (praise God for a healthy pregnancy and baby #2). Pray for my endurance as I work to get HB to sleep through the night. Please pray that my pregnancy would continue to progress healthily and that the third trimester would be free of the terrible hip-back pain I had in my first pregnancy. Please pray that I would be gracious in expectations towards myself as I continue to grow and adapt to being a momma. Pray I would thirst for quiet time with God and work to protect the little time I have each day to have this. Pray that I would learn to love my husband and children in way's that help them know they are loved.
I hopefully approach this New Year, praying that I would humbly yield to the direction, guidance and shaping of God's hand, the Holy Spirit, in my life. Thank you in advance for coming alongside me in prayer, whether you are near or far geographically, and encouraging me in my walk.