Thursday, August 26, 2010

School Lunches

What is school lunch like at your school or your child’s school?

I was inspired by the "Fed Up With School Lunch" to deviate a little from my normal scrapping or cardmaking posts today because this is something I feel passionately about. Illnesses related to how we eat are simply unnecessary, and school lunches can do a lot to prevent these illnesses from happening. As a product of the public school system who went on to become a teacher, I've had plenty of experiences with school lunches.

As a child, I rarely ate any of my lunch other than my dessert or the fruit on the side. The entrees were less than appetizing, to say the least. I remember rubbery ham, too-thick chocolate milk, fried chimichangas that only tasted good because I slathered them in sour cream, and angry lunch room staff who didn't understand why I wasn't eating the food.

Middle school and high school brought slightly more flavorful, though less healthy, lunches. Super nachos were the favorite meal at our school - tortilla chips slathered in taco meat and that awful, processed cheese topping. We also had a lot of pizza that felt like wet cardboard with cheese and pepperoni on top. We made it palatable by dipping it in ranch dressing. We also had an option to order a salad, but only 30 students and staff could order a salad each day. The problem was, it alternated between chef salad and taco salad, and you could never, ever request "no meat" or a meat alternative. This was a problem during Lent, when most of us were Catholics and couldn't eat meat on Fridays.

In college, I was stunned by the choices, especially the salad bar. The food was amazing, and the salad bar made a great addition to every meal. I did gain weight, mostly from the desserts and the Coca-Cola I was drinking in college. Switching to Diet Coke did a lot to help me lose some of that weight, though. I think my college did an excellent job of providing healthy, vegetable-based options for students.

When I student taught, the school lunches were delicious, but terribly unhealthy. There were nearly as many choices as in my college cafeteria, but no salad bar. The lunches were often pasta, pizza, or burgers, and often, we would have several variations upon these themes within a week. The carbs alone would have made me gain weight, but add on the cheese, oils, and everything else, and the weight gain would have been immense had I eaten lunch at school every day that semester. However, I had a huge issue with the beverages. There was a requirement that I drink milk or juice for lunch -- water was not accepted. I had a tough time with that because sugary drinks, even juice, cause weight gain for me, and I'm lactose intolerant. More than once, I threw away my drink once I got through the line. Eventually, I started bringing in my own salads everyday, which were not filling, but were better than the school lunches were.

In my first year of teaching, the school lunches were probably the worst I experienced anywhere. The usual meal was chicken nuggets with barbecue sauce, butter-laden rolls, and a sugary dessert. We also had baked potatoes covered in chicken tortilla stew, and a lot of "lunch in a bag" -- a sandwich, a juice box, a bag of chips, and a piece of candy for dessert! I had planned to bring my own lunches that year, but eventually, I got lazy and a colleague told me it was poor for my work relationship to always eat lunch in my room. I gained 10 pounds between September and May. My wedding dress I bought in August was tight in the spring, and so I ended up being the bride who was obsessing over what she ate for the time leading up to my wedding.

Subbing this past year at a catered, private school disgusted me. Stevi B's Pizza and Chik-fil-a were brought in on alternating Mondays because the caterers were closed on Mondays. The caterer often brought pasta and hot dogs for the children, which were supplemented by bags of chips, processed puddings, and bottled juices from BJ's Wholesale (like Sam's Club, but on the East Coast). To their credit, the juices were organic, but the portions made me sad. I often ordered a child portion, and ended up tossing half my plate anyway. The kids never finished their meals, often digging right into the cupcakes or pudding, just as I did as a child. What goes around comes around...

I know people say that the reason school lunches are what they are is because children want to eat these things. However, I think if we presented healthy, fresh foods in a way that made them appeal to children, they would eat them and maybe even enjoy them. My mother-in-law works for the school lunch program in Apple Valley, Minnesota, where they are integrating locally grown foods into the menu. As part of this program, they educate students on where the vegetables come from. Some even come from a greenhouse nearby that also supplies vegetables to the area Chipotle restaurants. She said the kids actually get a kick out of eating something locally grown, and they will at least try it, even if they don't think they will like it. The district won an award this spring for the changes they've made to their school lunch menus, and it definitely sounds like they deserved it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

365 Cards: #43 - Trevor's 28th Birthday

{Supplies: American Crafts papers, rub-on, stickers, airplane Thicker, rounded out with some miscellaneous cardstock scraps}

(I counted the four cards I made for Card for Kids in the total, bringing us now to #43).

My wonderful, darling, pilot husband turned 28 today. He's in the middle of work trip tonight, so I hope his crew is kind enough to take him out tonight when they get to the hotel. I had hoped to join him there, but it doesn't look good for coming back tomorrow. :(

Just an FYI: By September 1, I plan to have my Etsy up again, with several "De-stash items" like Studio G glitter glue, ribbons, and possibly some punches and Thickers. Keep an eye out -- I'll post here when I'm ready to go live again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lawn Fawn Cards for Kids Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to the Lawn Fawn Hearts Cards for Kids Blog Hop! We have all come together today to make cards for a wonderful cause, Cards for Kids! We hope to encourage you to also make cards for this great cause and have fun along the way, too! So please hop along with us, and make sure to leave comments as there will be prizes for commenters and participants! So let's get going! Also, if you are lost in the hop, you can always start at the beginning at the Lawn Fawn blog. Thank you so much for hopping along with us today!

Here are my cards:

{Supplies: Patterned papers - KI Memories, Cardstock - Recollections (colors) and Wausau Paper (white), Ink - Stampabilities, Embossing Powder - American Crafts, Stamps - Inkadinkado (unicorn) and Studio G (Hello), Dies - Spellbinders, Gems - Studio 18, Marker - Copic Honey Y18}

I started out by choosing my most fun, brightest patterns for these cards - KI Memories Paisley Parade. You can find it at Reverie Creations. I then used my Spellbinders and Cuttlebug to cut the large pieces out. I positioned the smaller nesting die within the larger pieces. Because this is double-sided paper and the dies are symmetrical, I was able to just flip over the piece I cut out to create the contrast in the middle. It saved me a little bit of time, and a little bit of paper. Plus, I always love it when I can use both sides of my double-sided papers!

Next Stop: Ashley's blog, Heart Hugs

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I made this card with the scraps from the one I posted yesterday, sort of. I punched the stars from the white paper, and tried to finish the card with just pieces from my scrap drawer (which is basically overflowing). I think it worked out quite nicely. There's no intended recipient for this card yet, but I like that it could be a birthday card or other achievement, too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

365 Cards: #38 - Welcoming Baby Jenna

I won't even begin to try to explain where all the product came from. It's mostly Autumn Leaves stamps. The argyle paper is from Making Memories, the cardstock is Recollections from Michael's, and the big stamp with the star in the middle of a circle is from Elle's Studio. I was just playing and having fun when I made this card for my friends Carrie and Braden, who had their first daughter, Jenna, back in January. I had intended to visit them in Minnesota over the spring or summer to meet Jenna in person, but alas, our lives have been so busy and our non-revenue benefits so reduced thanks to the Northwest-Delta merger that we haven't been home to either set of parents much at all in 2010.

Friday Fun!

Sharing a few things I'm enjoying right now:

1. The Paperclipping Roundtable - A weekly podcast about scrapbooking, presented by Noell Hyman, her husband Izzy, Nancy Nally, and a panel of guests. I just listened for the first time and found it was far more inspiring than I had expected. It's so interesting to consider what audio podcasts are doing these days, when talk radio is bringing us Dr. Laura's repeated use of the n-word and pundits twisting the facts beyond recognition.

2. The Foolish Adventure - Izzy Hyman recently started a new podcast about going on the foolish adventure of starting your own internet business. I listened to the first podcast shortly after I finished listening to The Paperclipping Roundtable. It was also very inspiring. Something they talked about was the fact that it's not always a bad thing to say that someone is unemployable. It just means their skill set doesn't match the way the job market is going, which is to me a very important attribute of an innovator: possessing different skills that result in a different process and different results than the status quo is producing. It's so interesting to consider the process Izzy Hyman and Tim Conley used to start their respective internet businesses.

3. Jody Wenke's Blog - Jody Wenke has a very clean, beautiful style of scrapbooking that has been inspiring me this week. She doesn't use a ton of product, doesn't cram too many photos on a page, and uses the 8.5x11 size you don't see very much of (though that is my preferred size).

4. Joy Taylor's Blog - An Australian cardmaker who makes adorable cards, often quite simply, with stunning results.

5. This card by Kristina Werner - This card makes me think of some of the clothes I had as a little girl, quilts my mom has made, and some of the first clothes I bought in college, without my mom's approving eye. The nostalgia, I think, is that makes me love this card so much.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Old Product, Old Photos

Supplies: Patterned & colored papers, title card, and journaling card - Wild Asparagus by Mind Mind's Eye; border punch - Fiskars; Chocolate cardstock - Bazzill

About once every two years, I sort through all my scrapbook products and try to whittle my stash down so that it fits into the current containment options (or will require very little investment to make it fit). This year, I'm going a little further and trying to ask myself why I bought these older products, what projects I had planned, and if those photos are still around somewhere.

That's where this layout sprang from. The sweet older couple in the middle of the photo are my grandparents on my father's side of the family. They were celebrating their 50th anniversary in June 2007 when the photo was taken. I'm the one in bright green, my sister is the one in the palest pink top on the other end, and the other four girls are my only biological cousins (I have some step-cousins on my mom's side of the family).

I found these products at the local scrapbook store in Grand Forks shortly after the photo was taken. They were a perfect fit with the photo, like most purchases I made at the LSS tended to be. I loved Scrapbooking 4 Fun and was sad to learn it closed permanently around 2008-2009, after I moved away from Grand Forks. For an independent store, they had a good balance of products, a good assortment, and a fairly quick turnover, too. I could always find what I was looking for, and Carrie, the original owners, was so wonderful and helpful. Being a college student, I couldn't afford to shop there often, but when I did, I loved going in. I could have spent hours there!

The older photos and older product I've been digging out over the past week have really jogged my memory and inspired me to try to scrap some of those older photos before I've forgotten what was happening.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

365 Cards: #37 - Sarah G's 30th Birthday

Paper: Making Memories, Chipboard: Paper Studio, Ink: Target dollar rack, Cardstock: Bazzil

Sarah G was the first native Georgian I met. My husband and her boyfriend lived together when they first got their jobs in Atlanta. They had worked together in Grand Forks previously, so they decided to live together in Atlanta. On my first visit to Atlanta, I ended up spending a night without Trevor at their apartment. It turned out to be one of the most fun nights of the trip because Craig wasn't working, and he had brought Sarah over to hang out. They were so much fun and made me feel at home.

Sarah turned 30 on Saturday, but the real celebration is happening this week, while her pilot friends are home from their trips. So here's the card I made for her. It might be one of the largest cards I've ever made -- it's a full letter size sheet of cardstock, folded in half. I inked the chipboard numbers with cheap green ink I never use to get that fun color. It might get more use for this kind of project now that I know how nice it looks on chipboard.

Quick and simple, but fun. I think I still have a lot of numbers left in the set, so there might be more cards like this in the future.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reverie Creations Design Team - Part 2

Card One: Celebrate stamp by KI Memories, Dies by Spellbinders, ink by Stampabilities
Card Two: Pink cardstock by Bazzill, Kraft by Paper Studio
Card Three: Thinking of you stamp by Studio G, Ink by Martha Stewart
All other products from American Crafts.

Just a quick post today sharing the last of my Reverie Creations Design Team projects. I really likes this line by AC -- reminded me of jordan almonds or those little wedding mints. The pastel candy colors worked really well with everything I did!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reverie Creations Design Team

This is the first layout I did for Reverie Creations. All the products are American Crafts except for the pink cardstock (Bazzil), bling (various), and the letter rub-ons (Chatterbox). The yellow pieces are punched or cut from the reverse side of the Botanique line of American Crafts papers I used, and the large roses are cut out of a larger pattern of roses on one of the papers.

I was trying to get a whimsical look from this page because the day felt like a fairy tale. Obviously, there's a Taylor Swift song that would have gone better, but I like this song by Bright Eyes, so that's where the title and journaling came from.

(I'll be posting the matching cards another post because I'm going to talk about them more in depth, too)