September 25, 2018

Back in a couple of weeks!

I'm taking a short break ... I will be away from posting new posts here on Thoughts from Mary Rae Fouts for a few weeks.  I will moderate and post comments during this time.  See you in a few weeks!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 24, 2018

Comments: Comments are encouraged, but they are moderated before posting.

Howdy Visitors!  A reminder when posting comments ... 

Comments on this blog are both welcomed and encouraged, submitted with your name or anonymously.  However, given all the spam in today's Internet World, all comments are currently moderated before they appear on the blog.  Comments that contain advertising or spam (which I've gotten a lot of lately) will not be posted.

Thank you!  Mary Rae Fouts   
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 22, 2018

Sourdough Bread Baking: How to Make the Perfect Sourdough Starter

My husband Jim says that every item in the kitchen has Sourdough Starter or Sourdough Bread Dough on it.

My response?  "No comment!"  😉

But truly, I am an admitted Sourdough Baking Fanatic:  breads, buns, cinnamon rolls, flat breads, cakes.  My Sourdough Starter contains only unbleached bread flour and bottled spring water.  The yeast in the starter is Wild Yeast, captured from the air.  And yes, wild yeast is present in the air around us all.  It's not just a 'San Francisco Sourdough' thing!

My very vigorous Sourdough Starter, more than doubled in
volume.  Getting ready for a large Sourdough Bread bake.

My sourdough recipes contain only Sourdough Starter as the rising agent, no active or dried yeast.  Ready to begin Sourdough Baking?  Here is my Sourdough Starter recipe, with tips for growing and using your water.  Click on this link to download the recipe.

Most importantly:  follow the water tip, and only use bottled spring water with your Sourdough Starter and Sourdough Baking.  Municipal tap water typically contains disinfectants that kill the wild yeast in the starter.  You'll just end up with a water-flour mixture and a bunch of mold!

Let me know if you have questions as you work with your Sourdough Starter.  Once you go sourdough, you won't want to go back to regular yeast bread!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 20, 2018

Business Insurance: Does your business carry adequate insurance?

As  a business owner, I can attest that business ownership brings its rewards.  Right along with struggles and stress.

And don't forget risk, including those risks that can be minimized with adequate insurance.

Do you have adequate liability-related business insurance?  If you have employees, is your worker's compensation insurance adequate?  Do you have sufficient insurance coverage to address employee disputes and complaints, including workplace harassment?  How about insurance for your property, its contents, and financial loss due to interruption of your business activities?  And what about insurance for your business vehicles?

When is the last time you reviewed your business insurance policies for adequate coverage?

I provide Insurance Consulting Services for business owners, including review and recommendations for insurance coverage, and ongoing annual business insurance policy reviews.  I welcome your call at (510) 421-5457 or email to mary@foutsfinancialgroup.com to discuss your concerns and schedule an insurance consultation.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 18, 2018

Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Try this version to take grilled cheese to the next level!

Grilled Sandwiches.  Endless variations.  Delicious, nutritious comfort food.

Like Grilled Cheese Sandwiches?  I sure do!  Each one I make is a bit different from the grilled sandwich before.  The one consistent must?  The sandwiches are always ... always ... made on my homemade sourdough sandwich bread!

Photo Credit:  California Avocados
To take you next grilled cheese sandwich to a whole new level, here is a delicious sounding recipe from California Avocados:  Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Avocado and Creamy Sunflower Romesco Sauce.  Click on the link below for a short video of the recipe and preparation:


The Romesco Sauce itself is one reason to keep the recipe.  Romesco Sauce is a roasted sweet red pepper, nut, and garlic-based sauce that originated a long time ago in Europe.  Fishermen initially used it to flavor fish, but the sauce truly is adaptable to so many uses!  Easy to make, too!

Happy Grilled Cheese!
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 16, 2018

Estimated Tax Day: 3rd payment for estimated individual income taxes is due tomorrow!

Do you pay quarterly estimated tax payments for your individual income taxes?  If so, your 3rd quarterly payment for your 2018 individual income taxes is due tomorrow, Monday, September 17.

Generally the payment would be due on September 15, but since the 15th falls on a non-business weekend day, the payment is due on the next business day.

Tax Concerns?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  Mary provides tax return preparation and planning, tax consulting, and audit representation to clients throughout the United States.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 14, 2018

Hurricane Florence: Relentless storm slams North Carolina coast.

Hugely powerful and massive Hurricane Florence is battering North Carolina.  The Category 1 hurricane is slowly moving further inland into North Carolina and part of South Carolina, then will likely head northwest into Kentucky and West Virginia.  The storm is expected to cause catastrophic flash flooding and storm surge flooding, followed by possibly weeks of river flooding.  The river flooding will be exacerbated by the storm surge at the coast, which acts to prohibit water from draining out rivers and into the ocean.  This phenomena was the cause of much devastation during Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas area.

Hurricane Florence is moving at a crawl, currently at about 5 miles per hour.  This turtle-like-pace creates an exponential amount of rain for the affected areas.  Hurricane Florence is expected to drop 40 inches of rain in some areas, possibly in just a 3 day span.   As of late this morning eastern time today, some parts of North Carolina had already received 15 inches of rain. 3 million people are estimated to eventually be without power (electricity), with no timetable for restoration of power.  Pure devastation.

Here is what Hurricane Florence looked like about 7:15 eastern time this morning when the center of the hurricane reached landfall along the North Carolina coast:


As an admitted weather buff, it is hard for me to fathom how massive this storm is.   I'll post about insurance coverage for hurricane damage in the future.  (And yes, it gets complicated what damage is covered in insurance policies, and what damage is not.)  But in the meantime I hope people are adequately prepared, and hope for no loss of life.

Stay safe everyone!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 12, 2018

San Francisco Giants: Another Soap Opera of a Season

Ugh, the San Francisco Giants' dismal 2018 season.  Yet another Soap Opera like, injury filled, and illness filled season for my favorite baseball team.

I looked at the Giants' season stats earlier this week on Monday morning.  Talk about Tommy-has-drowned-in-the-well dismal.  Record last 10 games?  1 win, 9 losses.  4th place in the National League West division, 11 games out of first.  And with a current .472 winning records, it appears the team will yet again end the season under .500.

And the Giants' misery has only continued.

During the Giants' Monday game against the Braves, the last 20 Giants' batters were all retired .. all ... with little effort from the Braves' pitcher.  Oh, ad the Giants lost again yesterday (Tuesday), giving them a 10 game losing streak, tying the worst losing streak since playing in San Francisco.   If the Giants lose to the Braves again today, the' team will have a new San Francisco franchise string of losses record:  11 in a row.

Before Tuesday's Game, manager Bruce Bochy went as far as speaking to the team, reminding them they needed to meet the playing obligations of a major league baseball team.

Ouch.

And more Giants players injured.  More going into surgery for various 'repairs'.

Double Ouch.

I personally think Bruce Bochy needs to go, and have since before the 2017 season.   Something's just not right with the Giants' dynamics throughout the entire organization.  I think the team needs a new skipper to bring a fresh start and outlook to the ball club.  In addition, with the conflagration of injuries to Giants' players this year, the Giants' training staff needs an urgent and extensive overhaul.   Just my opinions.

But heck, there are a couple somewhat rosy items on the horizon.  At least the Giants won't loose 100 games or have the worst, or 2nd worse, record in Major League Baseball this year.

Onward to next season.  Go Giants!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 10, 2018

One A Day Vitamins: Is it truly a One A Day if it is not ... well ... one a day?

Bayer's One A Day Vitamins brand has earned the Bonehead of the Month Award.

Why so?  Glad you asked!  One A Day Vitamins have been around since the 1940s.  During this time ... nearly 80 years ... their key selling point was (duh!) that a person took one vitamin a day.  Yep, just like the label boldly says.  One A Day, as the label states on this One A Day Kids Gummies Vitamin:

Photo credit:  oneaday.com


But wait, there's a big problem!  Can this Gummies chewable vitamin be a One A Day when it is actually a Two A Day?

I personally don't think so.

You see, One A Day vitamins came out with this chewable Gummies vitamin last year.  It's marketed as a children's chewable Gummies vitamin, and comes in kid-friendly shapes like the Batman Gummies in the photo.  One A Day's website broadcasts the Gummies with its One A Day label.

But it's only until you look at the fine print on the back of the label that you discover kids age 4 and older, as well as adults, need to take 2 Gummies a day to get the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals.  Heck, One A Day so obscures this fact that they do not make it easily available on their website.  I had to download a separate .pdf label document about the One A Day Gummies Chewable Vitamin to learn it's actually a Two A Day Gummies Chewable Vitamin:


Oops!  Looks like One A Day needs a new Two A Day brand and label for their Gummies Vitamins.  Because clearly the Gummies are a Two A Day vitamin!

And a California appellate court appears to agree with my opinion.  The court has reinstated a class action lawsuit against Bayer and their One A Day Vitamin brand over just that fact:  the One A Day Gummies Vitamin label is misleading.

Did Bayer actually think they would get away with this misleading marketing and sales scheme?  Crazy!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

September 3, 2018

Insurance: When is the last time you reviewed your Homeowners Insurance or Renters Insurance coverage?

Insurance.  Not the most exciting of topics, for sure.  But an important one nonetheless.

If you carry homeowners insurance or renters insurance, when is the last time you reviewed your coverage?  Are you certain you have adequate coverage for the value of your home and contents.  Do you know basic coverage is limited for certain contents, including jewelry?

I recommend reviewing homeowners insurance and renters insurance coverage each year; more often if you've made improvements to your home, or have acquired significant new household contents.  I do not sell commissioned-based insurance policies.  All of my insurance services are provided on a consulting basis.  My professional compensation is based on my hourly rates and reimbursable expense.

I welcome your call at (510) 421-5457 or email to Mary@FoutsFinancialGroup.com to schedule your  insurance policy review, or to address other insurance concerns you may have.

Insurance Concerns?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts