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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Book Review: Decision Points

A couple months back the movie W was on TV, it had been a while but I did enjoy the movie the first time I saw it and since there was nothing else on decided to watch it again.  During the moving I was searching the Internet for various "facts" and read the below synopsis for George's book.  I bought the book on my Kindle the same night and dug into reading it once I finished my Harry Potter book!  It was so good and I feel like I have a whole different view point of George Bush's presidency.  He really conveys how hard these decisions are, how much intelligence and time go into the "evidence" of the decision that is being made, and also how much the public and news criticized not only the big decisions but down to the simplest misnomer in a speech addressed to school children.  I may not support or have voted for all the presidents that are elected but no matter the president the job is equally as hard.  I do believe that George Bush did the best he could have done with the information he was given and also with what he personally believes in morally and politically.  After reading the book I also won't be watching the movie W again.  The movie portrays George as a spoiled rich kid who coasted into the Oval Office on his Daddy's money and political connections.  Up until he was  president he was considered a failure and most criticize that his presidency was also...if you are watching the movie but I feel different and get a different point of view that is more authentic and has more explanation in the book.  If you haven't read this book you should try it out especially if you are around my age and probably didn't care that much when this sort of thing was happening on the news.  Democrats and Republicans alike could benefit.  (warning it is LONGGGGGGG)

Synopsis from Amazon

In this candid and gripping account, President George W. Bush describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.

George W. Bush served as president of the United States during eight of the most consequential years in American history. The decisions that reached his desk impacted people around the world and defined the times in which we live.

Decision Points
 brings readers inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the 2000 election, aboard Air Force One during the harrowing hours after the attacks of September 11, 2001, into the Situation Room moments before the start of the war in Iraq, and behind the scenes at the White House for many other historic presidential decisions.

For the first time, we learn President Bush's perspective and insights on:

  • His decision to quit drinking and the journey that led him to his Christian faith
  • The selection of the vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, Supreme Court justices, and other key officials
  • His relationships with his wife, daughters, and parents, including heartfelt letters between the president and his father on the eve of the Iraq War
  • His administration's counterterrorism programs, including the CIA's enhanced interrogations and the Terrorist Surveillance Program
  • Why the worst moment of the presidency was hearing accusations that race played a role in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and a critical assessment of what he would have done differently during the crisis
  • His deep concern that Iraq could turn into a defeat costlier than Vietnam, and how he decided to defy public opinion by ordering the troop surge
  • His legislative achievements, including tax cuts and reforming education and Medicare, as well as his setbacks, including Social Security and immigration reform
  • The relationships he forged with other world leaders, including an honest assessment of those he did and didn’t trust
  • Why the failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice ranks as his biggest disappointment and why his success in denying the terrorists their fondest wish—attacking America again—is among his proudest achievements 
A groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history—and on the man at the center of events.

Since leaving office, President George W. Bush has led the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The center includes an active policy institute working to advance initiatives in the fields of education reform, global health, economic growth, and human freedom, with a special emphasis on promoting social entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for women around the world. It will also house an official government archive and a state-of-the-art museum that will open in 2013.

Happy Reading!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Recipe: Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

I made this recipe a couple months back with grilled cheese sandwiches and it is the first tomato soup that Hendrik approved of and that didn't call for a ton of weird ingredients and also didn't take all day to make.  I love tomato soup so this recipe has been sitting in my notes and I thought DUHHHH I need to blog about this so I have it archived and can revisit it many times through the Fall and Winter months.  

I found THIS RECIPE after hunting a lot through Pinterest and decided on this one.  I didn't buy any extra ingredients so I adapted this recipe for what I had handy in my pantry.  

What you'll need:
  • 3 pounds of ripe tomatoes- I had beef steak tomatoes from a neighbor's garden
  • 1/4 cup plus a little extra olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups onions I had to mince mine and cook down to nothing for Hendrik
  • 6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 28 ounces of canned tomatoes- I had canned tomatoes in my pantry that had some roasted garlic or basil added in I went ahead and used those
  • Dried basil to taste
  • Dried thyme to taste
    • (on both of these herbs the recipe called for fresh but like I said above....I just used what I had on hand and the soup turned out GREAT)
  • 1 quart of chicken stock or water
What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Girls Trip to Galveston Part 2

If you missed Part 1 check it out HERE!

Saturday July 15, we slept in until around 8 and lounged around for a few hours planning our day, drinking coffee, and just relaxing.  We headed to the beach for a few hours with our donut floats for some sun and more photo ops. 

After some sun and swimming we headed back to the house around 4 for some really late lunch, a recharge nap, and to start getting ready to go out.  We decided on going to a Latin club in downtown Houston to celebrate Lesly's birthday.  It has literally been so long since I had been to a club/bar and it was really fun getting all dolled up.  We drove a little over an hour back into the city and found the club around 10.  We danced the night away and shut down the club at 2 am.  

After some much earned Whataburger I started the long drive back to our house as Lesly...slept it off!

Sunday July 16, was our last full day in Galveston before heading home on Monday so we decided to explore all the historic buildings and wonder aimlessly around downtown.  

Midday we passed by a taco truck and the light bulb went off.  Before we could turn around we saw another one so we decided to turn back and give each a try.  Best 3 bucks I think we spent.  

This truck above had the best tacos compared to the one below.  

After tacos we headed downtown and found a parking spot then just took off walking.  Took some great photos, browsed some shops, and then ate an early dinner before heading back to the house.  Our late night the night before started to catch up with us by around 6 so we cut the night short. 

We had a perfect weekend get-a-way!  It was so much fun and I hadn't had a girls get-a-way in a while.  We relaxed, explored, and had so much fun just not having too many plans!  I'm so glad we did this for Lesly's birthday!

Fun in the Sun!  Until next time!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Girls Trip to Galveston Part 1

Back in the middle of July me and my body building babes were group texting.  Amanda suggested that we get away for Lesly's birthday in July for a weekend at the beach in Galveston.  We all checked our calendars and were clear so I searched Airbnb and found a couple of options.   Once the group agreed I went to book and had the biggest problems with the site.  After going back and forth with support and not getting any results I said forget it....I have had the Airbnb app on my phone forever and love cruising the site and have had friends book through it but I personally never have and never will after such a horrible experience.  After a few fails the time to book was dwindling down we were wanting to go in less than a month so I wanted to get everything in order.  I immediately jumped over to VRBO  and found a cuter and cheaper beach house.  Booking was seamless.  Here is the listing that we chose https://www.vrbo.com/595953 I highly recommend using VRBO or also known as HomeAway and if you are in Galveston definitely check out this listing.  I will definitely be using this service again.  They even have an app that allows you to view your details, security codes to your house, speak with the owner, and view all other property details.  It was so simple and our rental exceeded our expectations.  It was 2 blocks or a very short walk from the beach and right down in the middle of all the sights of Galveston.

When it got down to going Amanda wasn't able to make the trip so Lesly and I loaded up our beach chairs, weekend bags and food and headed out Friday morning around 9.  We made it down to Galveston after stopping in Lufkin for a quick lunch around 3.  We made a Target run then checked into our house.  

The house was small but perfect for 2 or 3 people.  It was equipped with all the things we would need in a rental and was VERY clean!!  After unpacking we took no time getting into our swimsuits, packing our beach bags, and making the short walk to the beach. 

After several hours at the beach we headed back to the house to take a quick shower and put on some comfy clothes to head down to Pleasure Pier for some food and amusement park fun!

When on a girls trip you take a TON of pictures and everywhere is a photo-op!

I have a couple other pictures with this shark man from when I was little!  So fun recreating this picture as an adult. 

We rode a few rides but over did it with the first one right out of the gate.  We did one of those retro spin and twirl rides and made us both so sick!!!  We got to watch a beautiful sunset set over Galveston from the ferris wheel and even sat on a bench and drank a couple beers on our way back to the house. That night after a shower we headed downtown to get take-out pizza and some bread sticks.  After stuffing our faces and talking the night away we headed to bed to rest up for our next few days in Galveston celebrating the birthday girl!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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