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Showing posts from January, 2011

Menu Planner

So I have a confession...I usually always pick our meals for the week but I don't always cook them. Thankfully Michael likes to cook and is good at it so from time to time he helps out. This week he planned  our menu and right now he is preparing our burgers. Here goes....

Sunday - Rachel Ray's Welsh Rarebit Burgers & Ranch French Fries (Been craving a good burger so hope this one is good)
Monday - Pork Chops with Gouda & Bacon, Sauteed Spinach and Roasted Tomato Half with Parmesan & Breadcrumbs
Tuesday - Kickin Chicken with Crunch, Sauteed Zucchini with Corn
Wednesday - Italian Sausage Soup with Grilled  Cheese
Thursday - Chicken Rollatini
Friday - Flank Steak with Mashed Red Potatoes

Oh FFS

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One of my favourite weekend pass times is a visit to the website of the Gold Coast Bulletin. It's cheap (in every sense of the word), you don't have to cram into a Jetstar plane and unlike a visit to the Gold Coast, you don't have to wash the sleaze off as you depart. Post website requires only a brief wipe with refresher towel.  

And it's the virtual Matterhorn of newspaper led real estate spruiking. It's why I was so pleased to see The Bulletin was covering Ray White Surfers Paradise's "The Event" auction weekend. To me "The Event" is an extravagant term, especially for something that's so far been as memorable as a wet fart.

The GC Bulletin pushed on regardless...
THERE has been a strong start to the residential section of Ray White Surfers Paradise's The Event auction weekend. Almost 150 people gathered in Tedder Avenue, Main Beach, this morning for the chance to pick up one of seven apartments for sale. Three sold under the hamme…

Trapped

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Smithton is the type of place where formal attire is considered to be shirt with a prominent Ford or HSV logo, so yeah, it's kind of rural and kind of working class and if you're not from there it's likely you've referred to it more than once by the pejorative name of 'miffton.
I'm not here to empty my bladder on Smithton and the wider Circular Head Municipal region, just giving some background and stating some facts. The region has been hit hard over the past year; 200 employees were scalped when McCain's pulled the pin on a processing plant, a forestry agreement has skewered local contractors and this was topped off by the local sawmill, owned by Tasmanian arch super villain, forestry giant Gunns, apparently processing its last shipment of logs in December.
This is hugely significant within a town of around 3500 and a wider Municipality over 7500. The trashing of those jobs and the flow on effect probably still hasn't taken full effect - they're pro…

Office Update!

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Things are getting busy on the real estate front and my desk was a mess! I was starting to feel very unorganized. Check out these befores....yikes!




And here are the afters....much better!






Meeja

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As David Bartlett facebooked himself out of the premiership yesterday, I suspect there must have been a hint of frustration in real estate circles. Their latest spruik attempt had been overshadowed by the emergence of our new Premier, La La Giggles and her deputy, Bryan 'two hung juries' Green.

It's a comforting thought the state is now being led by an arts/law graduate, with a history of being an ex Labor staffer, portfolio bungler and blame shifter - Tanya Plibersek eat your heart out. And the deputy? Well he returned two hung juries in a criminal conspiracy case; accused of giving a building accreditation company, run by a former Labor minister, a state-wide monopoly worth a million dollars a year.

What this fiasco overshadowed was the revelation the east coast of Tasmania is heading for boom times.
YOU ain't seen nothing yet - that's the message from a Tasmanian real estate expert who says the East Coast is buzzing and on the cusp of a property boom.The Mercury, m…

Menu Planner

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Sunday - Savory Chicken Taco (We didn't end up trying these a few weeks ago)
Monday - Cashew-Pesto Pasta from Everyday with Rachel Ray
Tuesday - Zatarain's Jambalaya with Smoked  Sausage and Chicken
Wednesday - Grilled  Chicken-and-Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese from Everyday with Rachel Ray
Thursday - Wine  Club

I couldn't find the recipes for the Pesto Pasta and Mac 'n' Cheese on-line but scanned them in below.


Hopefully you can click on the files and they will be large enough to read (I was able to zoom in using the view then zoom feature).

Shoe Deals!

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I bought 3 pairs of shoes yesterday  for Camille and spent right under $25. Here is what I found....

Cute shoes from the Gap for $5.03!

Two pair of Tennis Shoes from Saxon Shoes for $19.61!

Richmonders...check out Saxons...shoes are 50% off with an additional 10% off.

Southside Child Development Center Service Project

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Last weekend, I coordinated a service project at the Southside Child Development Center. In conjunction with Target Stores and HandsOn Greater Richmond, we organized, sanitized and redesigned the center. We created 90 cold weather kits that included hats, gloves, hot chocolate mix, crayons and winter themed color pages. There was lots of hard work by 60 Target volunteers. The center shined when we left. Here are some before and after pics!











Sale Pending!

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It is a great time to buy or sell a house. This one is gone but I can help you find something great. Call me if you are interested in buying or selling a home. Rates are still low!

Swing

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While I was attempting to decipher James Montier's, "In Defence of Old Ways", (not a knock on Montier, just a comment on my stupidity) it struck me - there's usually two ways brick pushers respond to figures showing Oprah's favourite country is in a real estate bubble.

Either they acknowledge them, then fiddle them, to suit their own ends - hello Commonwealth Bank. Or they dismiss them entirely, as being outdated methods of measurement, to suit their own ends - hello ANZ.

So, it's either dubious fudging, or we're in a new paradigm. And if we're in a new paradigm, are we really in a new paradigm? As Montier points out:
It is also worth noting that in order for mean-reversion-based strategies to work, it is not required that the mean be realized for long periods of time, but that markets continue to behave as they always have, swinging pendulum like between the depths of despair and irrational exuberance, or, from risk-on to risk-off.  Kind of like this swi…

Menu Planner

Happy Monday! I will list last night's meal just as another idea....

Sunday - Chicken Fajita's (always good and simple to make)
Monday - Loaded Baked Potato Soup (saved from an earlier week and frozen) and Mozzarella & Prosciutto Panini
Tuesday - Homemade White Pizza
Wednesday - Store bought refrigerated Tortellini, Salad and French Bread
Thursday - Cinebistro! My sister gave us a gift certificate for Christmas and said she would babysit! Yea!
Friday - Flank steak, risotto, asparagus

Busto?

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You have to hand it to CommSec, while they might have deals in place to keep their logo, heads and voices, on TV and radio throughout the day, they never stop thinking of shameless ways to find free publicity and talk up the economy.

I spent a few minutes pursuing CommSec's "State of the States" report this morning, authored by, yes, Craig James. I'll save you hunting this rubbish down, thus lessening the need to pour acid into your eyeballs, but a quick summation would be this: it's one of those reports designed to make everything look amazing and works exceedingly well if you're at, or just coming off, the peaks of a boom decade.

Basically CommSec takes the decade average for economic indicators and compares them against where those indicators currently are. Whatever floats your boat, but it makes for the situation where even if your wheels are currently falling off, if you manage to have some economic indicators currently parked higher than the past decade a…

Ebates

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I signed up for Ebates right before Christmas since I would be purchasing a bunch of items on-line. If you haven't heard of it, it is a great way to get cash back on your online purchases. It is pretty easy, if you can remember to go to the Ebates website and login before making an online purchase. Then search for your store and Ebates will link you to that website and you will get a percentage of your sale at that website in cash back. Easy money! They send you a check or deposit in your paypal account. Click here to sign up.

Class

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In the midst of an ungodly amount of media fuelled disaster porn, it's tough to find any urge to post. Despite some of the ham-fisted, cliché-ridden, one eye on an award, reporting seen this week, I still managed to get a sense of the devastation, mainly through turning the TV's sound down. And what I took in really didn't put me in the mood to have any concern for the property market, nor its ups and downs.

Yet doing a quick whip around of property investment forums, and other classless hives of legislated looters this morning, I noticed more than a couple of people had one eye on the TV and the other on their wallet. Wondering if they will be winners or losers out of this. The possibility of jacking rents being the question ever so subtly eased out following a variant of the lead in disclaimer, "first let me send my thoughts out to those affected..." As if in-between wiping mud off their walls, people in Brisbane would be checking in and might be miffed at the d…

Deal found! Crocs!

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Even though it is so cold we can't go outside and play for more than 5 minutes at a time and we may or may not be going stir crazy!  I am starting to think about spring. I found this post about 70% off at Crocs.com from athriftymom.com.



After browsing, I decided to get these cute Crocs for Camille. They were on sale for $12.49. I searched here for coupon codes and ended up getting them for $9.99 after using a free shipping and 20% off coupon. What a steal!

Menu Planner

Here's goes....

Monday - Dinner out for my niece's birthday
Tuesday - Whole Crockpot Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Wednesday - Easy Chicken and Tortellini Soup ( I got this out of a BJ's Magazine. If it is tasty, I will post the recipe).
Thursday - Stuffed Pork Chops with Stovetop (my husband likes this so I have to add it to the rotation).
Friday - Savory Chicken Tacos

Happy Monday!

Back

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I looked down at the snowstorm of crumbs stuck to my tray-table, then up at the two gossiping slobs adorned in Alaska Airlines uniforms. Mid plane, they were slouched over opposite seats, ignoring the passengers who were jamming check-in sized luggage into the overhead compartments. Heck, they even ignored my handsome smiling arse as I walked by.

It was going to be a rough trip home.

About 30 hours later I rolled back into Tas, with a rotten case of tonsillitis ravaging my throat. Apportioning blame was going to be tough; the cabbage fart smelling air of the most gangsta city in Canada; the filthy state of the Alaska Airlines plane; or overloading on episodes of Two & a Half Men on the way home.

Whatever the culprit, I've been wallowing in self pity and penicillin for the past week and suspected if I didn't get back bloggerizing the real estate industry with self indulgent vitriol, I may never get back to it at all.

While away, I marvelled at the invention Josef Fritzl gave a…

Would like to have....

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Next time I get a little spending money, I have a small wishlist for my dining room...

1. New and fun fabric for my chair bottoms
2. More wall decor for the wall shown below


I love the Bellesol Mirror from Ballard Designs and I am considering getting four and stacking them on either side of the picture.


Oh and a third item is a new rug...maybe if I win the $355 Million Dollars tonight. Who am I kidding? If I win...I will be getting lots of new things like a new house!

Cheesecake Bites

I was tasked with dessert for New Year's Eve. I considered making a cheesecake but all the recipes called for a springform pan which I don't have and wasn't going to purchase. Instead I made Cheesecake Bites and they were a hit! See recipe below....

BLACK AND WHITE CHEESECAKE BITES

1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. butter
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

TO PREPARE CRUST:

In medium saucepan over low heat melt chocolate chips and butter. Stirring until smooth. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Remove 1/4 cup of this mixture for later use. Press remaining mixture evenly in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

TO PREPARE FILLING:

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in condensed milk, then egg and vanilla. Pour over the prepared crust. Sprinkle with the reserved crust. Bake until set, about 25 - 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool in refrigerator unt…

Menu Planner

Back into a routine...here is this week's menu planner.

Monday - Loaded Baked Potato Soup & Grilled Cheese
Tuesday - Nacho Bread Pizza
Wednesday - Cajun Snapper with Red Beans & Rice, Corn
Thursday - Double Delicious Chicken & Biscuits, Green Beans
Friday - Taco's with Hard Shells

Rise in signed contracts....

Good news on the home buying and selling front.

NEW YORK --

People are starting to buy homes again, lifting a battered industry that is bracing for its worst sales year in more than a decade.

Signed contracts to purchase homes rose in November, the fourth increase in five months. That should give the housing market a boost in the first few months of the new year because there's usually a one- to two-month lag between a sales contract and a completed deal.

Economists cautioned that a major reason for the jump is that people are buying foreclosed homes, which sell at steep discounts and weigh on the broader market. Another obstacle is the sudden spike in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, which only weeks ago had fallen to a 40-year low

Still, many economists expect sales to gradually rise next year as the economy adds more jobs and home prices stabilize.

"Sales appear to be picking up and we expect better sales in the next several months," said Patrick Newport, a housing eco…

New Year! New Look! New Web Address!

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Happy New Year! It has almost been a year since I first created this blog. Click here to read the post. I decided to do a little updating and expanding. Now you will find a seperate page with current listings as well as a page with home staging tips that I will be adding in the next few weeks. For Christmas, Michael gave me http://www.alysonstoakley.com/....yes, you can call us nerds!  So now just refer to that web address when checking in. Oh and if you liking reading my blog, I hope you will become a follower. It is simple to do, scroll down on the right hand side of this page and click Follow.

I had a great New Year's Eve. My sweet mom had Camille and Clyde for a sleepover. Michael and  I went to my sister & brother-in-law's house. It was tons of fun and she pulled together a seated dinner for 14 of shrimp & grits and caesar salad. It was delicious and her house looked great. Check out the pictures below. I forgot to menition this is even more amazing because she has…