Friday, September 30, 2011

Waiting For The Parade

We're lucky to live in a school district that still has a homecoming parade. So many communities don't support their schools that way anymore, but I'd sure hate to miss the fun (and creative!) floats, snazzy sports cars carrying the Homecoming Royalty and the marching bands. Tonight is the big game, although I understand our senior quarterback is injured and we'll be starting a freshman. Could get ugly. I will be there, regardless, cheering on our Vikings and hoping the score isn't too ridiculous at the end of the night!

Lunch Wars and Jamie Oliver

I've caught Jamie Oliver here and there on the Food Network, but his television show on the food revolution he was trying to lead in public schools is - as far as I'm concerned - his best work ever. So when I had a chance to read Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children's Health by Amy Kalafa, I was definitely interested.

It's not that I spend too much time thinking about my kids' school lunches. When Jamie Oliver first started making a fuss, our parent/teacher group brought the district's food services director in to talk about menu design and balance. She's a nifty lady who is very aware of what she's feeding the kids, and hey - I grew up in an era when a balanced school lunch meant there was a canned peach on the tray. I went away from that meeting feeling like I had a handle on things, someone else was minding the store and all I needed to do was remind the little ones to choose white milk over chocolate at least two days a week.

Amy Kalafa, however, took a serious and well-researched look at what schools are feeding kids, where that food comes from and how parents can push for changes on a local and national level. There are real-life stories of school cafeterias that have modified menus, lists of alternate rewards for those classrooms that still celebrate student success with candy or other food items, ideas for implementing a school garden and most importantly, a wealth of information about why parents should be leading lunch wars within their own schools.

Since I've been involved with our school district's parent/teacher organization and site councils for several years, I understand the budgetary issues that schools face. And parents who dismiss the efforts of their school districts to provide healthy lunches are not giving the schools a fair shake. People who choose to spend their lives working for and around kids are not purposely trying to poison those children with processed foods. But I think there's always room for improvement, and I'm sure I will be the most popular mom in the room when I bring a few of the book's ideas to the table... so to speak... at the next site council meeting.

There are some great discussions about Lunch Wars going on over at BlogHer. Check them out and join in! More importantly, pick up this book and spend some time thinking about the lunches your kid is eating at school. You may not feel inspired to start a food revolution, but you'll definitely be more educated about school food.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rules Of Civility Book Review Is Up At BlogHer

I do love a good book. I love a book that can draw pictures and pull you in with clever writing. I love a book with great characters, even if they're not always likeable. Rules of Civility is a great book. It's full of quotable lines and people you wish you knew and parties you wish you'd been invited to... if you lived in 1930s NYC. You can check out my full review, but trust me - this is one of those books you'll want to read!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The One Where I Get Punched

Last weekend was Sister Weekend! Well, actually more like Sister 26 Hours, but we will take what we can get. My sis and I met in Lincoln for our annual Husker football/volleyball games and much sisterhoodness ensued.

Yes, I made that word up.

We like to stay at a hotel downtown that, frankly, isn't all that swanky. However, getting a hotel in downtown Lincoln on football weekends is 1) almost impossible and 2) incredibly pricey. All of the hotels jack up the prices to ridiculous levels and I simply do not have the funds to jump on that bandwagon. Still, by staying at the slightly less-exotic hotel option that is a mile from the stadium, we pay only semi-ridiculous prices and still avoid driving through football traffic. Plus, we have the opportunity to burn off a few calories by hoofing it to the stadium, thus justifying the adult beverages that we may or may not consume before the game. And after the game. But not during the game, because that little party trick is restricted to the guy sitting in front of us doing jello shots.

Huh. I don't think there's a point to any of that. But now you have valuable hotel information if you ever happen to be in Lincoln in the fall.

Anyway, let's get to the part where I get my bell rung.

The Nebraska defense - aka The Blackshirts - are the pride of all Nebraska. Actually, the band is always introduced as the pride of all Nebraska so maybe the Blackshirts are something else. And the first three games of the season haven't been all that impressive, defensively, so they're definitely something else...

Rats. Did it again. I have massive focus issues today, yes?

Blackshirts. Defense. That train of thought is leading to 'throwing the bones', a lovely tradition where an excited fan crosses his forearms into the skull and crossbones formation. This is typically a solo event, but on occasion and when alcohol is involved, a fan may throw a forearm in the air expecting another individual to slam his forearm into the air, thus 'throwing the bones' together. When in the confines of Memorial Stadium, where fans are packed in like sardines, this is not a good idea. When you've been doing jello shots, this is definitely not a good idea.

See where this is heading? The guy sitting in the row below me enthusiastically rammed his forearm into the air, expecting to throw the bones with the guy who sits next to me. As a side benefit, his fist connected with my ear. I saw something coming toward me, so I ducked. On the bright side, he didn't hit me in the face! On the not-so-bright-side, he bent my earring post in half and it HURT.

And then a little later, the guy sitting next to me threw his pop bottle to the ground in disgust and I ended up with a sticky ankle. It really wasn't my day.

Despite my aching ear and sticky ankle, the Huskers won the football game. We also had tickets to the volleyball game that night, which is a much more sedate crowd, and we scarfed down ice cream while watching the Huskers take a victory over Iowa State in straight sets. Go Big Red!

We gossipped and we ate food that was very bad for us and we shopped. We walked a minimum of five miles in downtown Lincoln. We bought cute Husker stocking hats that we didn't need. We texted our dad with important game updates like, "Update #1: The game hasn't started yet." and "This game is ugly." My sister gave me Advil so I would stop complaining about my ear. We enjoyed 26 hours without kids or husbands. And now we have to wait a whole year to do it again.

I don't like that part of Sister Weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte Season

Thank you, Starbucks, from the bottom of my pumpkin-loving heart =)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why Yes, My Lips Are Plumper

You may have noticed in this photo that my friend and I are rockin' absolutely gorgeous, plump lips. You might even say that they are buxom.

What... you wouldn't say that? Maybe you should look more closely :-)

Anywho, being girls, we were sharing make-up before the Train/Maroon 5 concert and one of the other members of our party had Buxom lip color in Roxanne. It has a tingly feel to it and a gorgeous color and I decided that I had to have it, despite the outrageous price.

My lips feel plumper already.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Lesson In Consequences

This morning, on my way into the office, I saw a fat earthworm making his way slowly across the sidewalk. We're having gorgeous fall weather here, but the sun was out and I didn't think Mr. Worm was going to make it before the sun fried him to a crisp. Since I was in a good mood and feeling kind to my fellow man... er... worm, I gave him a quick lift into the grass next to the sidewalk and went on my merry way. Four hours later, when I was on my way to a meeting, I stepped over a worm carcass in approximately the same spot.

Now, there are a couple of lessons here:

First, it's a lesson to me: I may be in the mood to help, but not everyone is in the mood to accept.
Second, there's a lesson for the now deceased worm: Persistence is not always an admirable trait.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Labor Day Weekend In Pictures

Start the weekend off right with a Husker game on a gorgeous fall afternoon.

Meet friends at an outdoor concert...
Lots of friends...

Start the concert with Matt Nathanson, who makes my heart beat 'Faster'!
Bring on Train!
Wonder how exactly he gets those tight white pants on before the concert...

Rock some Moves Like Jagger with Maroon 5!

Swoon over Adam Levine!