Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going Out of Business

I was planning on taking one of my kiddos for to get ice cream from a small local ice cream shop, only to discover they had gone out of business. Fortunately, one of the businesses a few doors down had purchased their small ice cream freezer and we were able to get an ice cream cone there. At least half of the shops are now empty in that shopping center, which led to the inevitable discussion of why stores go out of business. It was pretty challenging to give a brief, simple explanation to the under 10 crowd!

As the conversation came to a close, I expressed gratitude that we still have our family's income and have only needed to make comparatively few cutbacks to our spending habits. I encouraged my children to reach out to their friends whose families are having a hard time.

It's amazing how many lessons are ready to be taught from spending a little one-on-one time with our children!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I know I have a lot of room for improvement in the area of my diet, but I figured I was doing OK. As part of my nutrition homework, I had to figure out what percent of my daily calories come from sugar. I was shocked to learn that I average about 27% of my daily calories from sugar, some days it was over 32%! The nutrition guideline is to limit calories from sugar to less than 10% of total calories. What an eye opener!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Watching the Cars Go By

Last month, during a "date" with one of my kiddos, we treated ourselves to an ice cream cone from a local fast food establishment. We sat by a big window next to the drive-thru. During a lull in the conversation, I noticed that all three cars in line were all different makes and I pointed that out. Now, my little one has never shown much of an interest in cars, but started taking notice. We compared how there were more expensive cars going through the line and how many different car manufacturers there are, even one I didn't recognize.

It was most interesting to hear my child's opinions about cars, which ones were cool or "funny looking". We talked about the value of having an expensive car, compared to one that falls apart, or one somewhere in the middle. We talked about why there were more people going through the drive-thru with expensive cars, and were people with less expensive cars at other restaurants or not buying fast food at all? And finally we wondered about what was the most popular kind of car.

Who knew there was so much to think about while eating an ice cream cone, watching the cars go by!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I love all that I'm learning in my nutrition class! It's a rare occasion that I drink soda, even then it's the low octane stuff like Sprite. I'll be reading the label before I even do that now. The body digests High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) differently than conventional sugars, even corn syrup. This alternate way of digesting HFCS has two undesirable side effects.

1. It doesn't trigger the body to send insulin into the bloodstream, which balances glucose levels in the bloodstream.

2. It triggers the production of triglycerides, a form of fat, which at that point triggers the body to kick out too much insulin.

These "side effects" are suspected to be leading causes of the drastic increases in diabetes and obesity. The soda industry has voluntarily agreed to stop selling sodas in school. They must think these studies are going to continue to be confirmed. It's not just sodas to watch out for, cookies, crackers and other pre-packaged baked foods are using HFCS too.

This is another reminder to read those food labels and understand what we are putting into our bodies! Here's to your good health.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


For me, time has been a two edged sword lately. I struggle to slow down enough to enjoy my family and our activities. While at the same time, I can't ever seem to get everything to fit into the week. Maybe that's just two cuts from the same edge. I've known for a long time that life (and time management) is all about balance - it's the application that eludes me. But the most important things usually get done, I just might not be the most pleasant person at the time :)

I had a friend that needed some help, so we traded a responsibility until she was able to get back on her feet. When the time came for her turn, she would tell me how hard it was to meet that responsibility - repeatedly. I vividly remember the challenges I faced when I was helping her out. We all have the same 24 hours in the same 7 days in the same week. But how we use it, and the attitude about how we use it, is where the challenge lays.

I think I've learned the greatest lessons from the different ways people handle the same challenges, good and bad. I'm so grateful for friends that help me out and show me how to be the person I'm slowly becoming. Today's lesson is a reminder in balancing time and not using it as an excuse.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I finished my first test in my nutrition class yesterday - I did pretty good. One of the things we've been studying is the importance of fiber in our diets. I knew that fiber kept things "flowing", but there are also many other benefits. Studies show that fiber will attach itself to cholesterol and escort it out of your body! It also reduces the risk of diabetes and obesity.

The other thing I noticed, is that a diet high in fiber is also low in many of those things that aren't so good for you. Just remember all things in moderation (women should be shooting for at least 25 grams per day) and increase your water intake.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Step Two

I finished the second step of my food storage project. I took an inventory of what food I have in my home matched up with what I need for a year's supply of dinners. I now have a list of what I need to buy (hopefully on sale) and how much I need. My goal is to add to my food storage every week. Now I have a better focus on what to buy and what sales to look out for!

I also realized I need to get canning! I've got a freezer full of chicken waiting to be canned. And according to my list I need a bunch of chicken, hamburger, beef chunks and ham canned!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Photography Club Field Trip

OK, it was a field trip around the neighborhood, but we thought we'd get out and see if we could put anything we have learned into use. We learned two things:

1. We need to learn more.
2. We need cooler cameras!

Nevertheless, we had a good time. Here's a couple of pictures we took on our field trip.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Library Additions

Author Shannon Hale, on her blog squeetus, talked about being on the library committee for her child's new school. She was asking for reader's submissions of their top five books to be included in the library's collection. I was thinking how much fun it would be to fill a library. Then I realized it would be hard to have fiction for all the different grade levels, plus meet the non-fiction needs, and stay in budget.

But still the idea of buying what you wanted to with someone else's money... Just for fun, if you had a $100 gift card to Amazon for books only, what would you add to your library?

Here's my list:
Dear Pen Pal by Heather Vogel Frederick $10.87
Three Cups of Tea by Sarah Thompson $8.09
The Actor & the Housewife $16.32
Gethsemane by Andrew Skinner $18.95
1776 by David McCullough $12.96
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini $18.97
Another Green World by Richard Grant $12.44
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser $8.00

OK, so I went a few dollars over. But, I wouldn't want to have money left on the gift card :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

August Review

I know we are a few days into September, but I always like to see how I did the previous month and set goals for the current month. I've listed many accomplishments here already. In addition to those, I wrote a few more articles for the Homemaking Cottage, did some personal writing and I've been plugging on with my piano practice. I got a little sidetracked with family history, but now I'm back on coarse :)

This month I'm planning on doing another 11 scrapbook layouts, at least 3 more articles, more personal writing, and more family history. All this is in addition to my nutrition homework, choir practice and cub scout training.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Step One

I've completed the first step of my food storage plan. I have a list of 17 "food storage friendly" dinners (ones that can be made from items in my food storage). I made a tally of all the ingredients that I needed to make those dinners 22 times throughout a year, then figured out the quantity in purchasing amounts. I needed to know how many containers of shortening to buy for my 681 tablespoons needed. The answer is three if case you were wondering.

Now I am ready to proceed to step two, taking an inventory of what I already have on hand and making a list of what I still need to buy. I should probably add breakfasts and possibly lunches to the list at some point too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mission Accomplished

After much time, work and some manual labor I've finally finished rearranging and reorganizing our books! If I stacked all the books and magazines we're letting go, the stack would be taller than me. In the process, I saw something I hadn't since moving, empty shelves. It is so nice to have dusted shelves with no stuffed animals or other small toys lurking on the shelves. I can even see all the books on the shelves now that there aren't other books stacked in front of them. I still have a few areas I can go through and find things no one will use anymore, but for the most part everything just fits. Next time, I'll have to break down and find another book shelf and somewhere to put it.


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