Commentary #102: “More Pizza And Fries? USDA Proposes To ‘Simplify’ Obama-Era School Lunch Rules”

Image Credit: Politico

NPR is one of my go-to sources. I’ve written several posts on articles from them. When I read this headline a while ago, I knew I needed to write about it: More Pizza And Fries? USDA Proposes To ‘Simplify’ Obama-Era School Lunch Rules


I also saw this article as a challenge to myself.

I’m not a parent.

I grew up with eating some school lunches, but most of the time I brought food from home, since my mom made big meals that turned into leftovers.

In elementary school, we learned about the food pyramid and how junk food was “bad.”

Since I graduated from high school in 2007, the rules and guidelines around school nutrition have changed. In addition, the United States weathered the worst economic downturn, among other things.

So, I wanted to dive in, do my research, and educate myself. And then share that education with you!


I’m not going to go into the entire history of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), but know that the USDA is the government agency that sets the rules for school nutrition. These rules apply to breakfast and lunch served in U.S. schools.

One of most landmark pieces of legislation on nutrition and schools has been the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It became Public Law on December 13, 2010. It has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on August 5, 2010.

However, at the end of 2018, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced changes. The idea was to give schools “more flexibility in serving meals that kids will eat,” according to another article from NPR published on December 7, 2018.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

USDA FNS – Nutrition Standards for School Meals

One of the biggest issues that people have with the new proposal is allowing any entree at any school could be served as an a la carte item for students. This means, if the proposal is made into a final rule, schools can offer pizza and burgers as an option every single day, if they choose. It’s a potential loophole to the previous rules that have mandated balanced school meals.

NOTE: While starting to write this post, I clicked on the link to the proposal from the Food and Nutrition Service on the Federal Register. I couldn’t access the Proposed Rule. There was an Editorial Note in its place, stating, “This document was withdrawn by the Office of the Federal Register because it was inadvertently placed on public inspection. The record will remain on public inspection through the close of business on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.”

This post is nowhere near finished. My research continues!

Getting Personal #200: March Goals

Image Credit: East Willow Grove

Here are my goals for the month of March!


  1. Print out the first draft of my novel, and begin editing it by hand.
  2. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  3. Go through at least three boxes in my office.
  4. Make at least one thrift store run with donations.
  5. Purchase new glasses.
  6. Help my parents get ready for Grandpa’s arrival.
  7. Publish at least one Book Review.
  8. Finish out my term as P.E.O. Treasurer.
  9. Prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020.

What about you?

Do you have any goals for the month of March? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #199: January Goals Recap

Image Credit: Orange Blogs

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for January:

  1. Finish the first read-through of my novel in PDF form. — Accomplished!
  2. Print out the first draft, and begin editing it by hand.
  3. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  4. Start my spreadsheet for cataloging my American Girl items to sell.
  5. Deep clean the living room. — Accomplished!
  6. Go through at least three boxes in my office.
  7. Make an appointment with a new eye doctor. — Accomplished!
  8. Read my Daily Guideposts 2020 book every day.
  9. Celebrate P.E.O. Founders Day 2020. — Accomplished!
  10. Celebrate Al’s birthday! — Accomplished!
  11. Celebrate Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary. — Accomplished!
  12. Publish at least two blog posts every week.
  13. Purchase photo canvases for the living room.
  14. Get back to a regular cleaning schedule. — Accomplished!
  15. Make at least one thrift store run with donations.

I was able to accomplish several things in January. A lot was left unfinished, but that’s okay. I’m looking forward to being more productive in March. I think I’ve finally emerged from my slump!

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for the month of March!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #198: Exhaustion

Image Credit: “The Exhaustion Is Real” – The New York Times

I’ve been struggling this month, big time.


Maybe it’s the weather? Here in Virginia, it’s been very mild for January. There have been several days where it’s been above 65 degrees. Now, in the middle of the month, it’s settling back down to chilly and cold. It’s been hovering around 40-45 degrees in the last few days.


I feel like a big failure. I set so many goals at the beginning of the month, and I feel like I’ve already failed all of them.

I mean, how hard is it to write two blog posts a week? But, every night since January 2nd, especially work nights, I’ve come home and not wanted to look at another computer screen. But, at the same time, I’ve watched hours of TV with Al, and buried my nose in Facebook on my phone or games on my iPad. It’s like my brain went into default decompression every night.

I didn’t look at my emails for at least a week, and there were more than 1,000 by the weekend after New Year’s.

And I feel really bad even writing this out – I have NOTHING to complain about. I have my husband and my dogs. I’m not running on fragmented sleep like many I know – Parents, caregivers, those with chronic illnesses, and others. I have it easy.


I know this is part of my anxiety lying to me, but I feel a bit better now getting it out on “paper.”


Writing this short post has actually helped a lot, believe it or not. This is part of the reason why I write. I “brain dump” – I talk it out, I use Post-It Notes at work, and I have my phone close by to use the Notes app. I think getting back into journaling – Actual handwriting – is a good goal for February. I’m involved with enough screens as it is.

In fact, after I finish this post, I’m shutting off all the screens and going to dive back into Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #197: Thirteenth TBR Recap

Image Credit: Good Housekeeping

Welcome back!


Here’s what I’ve read since my last TBR update:

  1. Buckey, Sarah Masters, The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery
  2. Goldstein, Amy, Janesville: An American Story
  3. Hupfield, Stanley F., Political Malpractice: How the Politicians Made a Mess of Health Reform (DNF)
  4. Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban *Re-Read* (In Progress)
  5. Vaughan, Brian K., Paper Girls Volume 1
  6. Welteroth, Elaine, More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR

  1. Conley, Garrard, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
  2. King, Stephen, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft *Re-Read*
  3. MacNeal, Elizabeth, The Doll Factory
  4. Oviatt, Didi, Search for Maylee
  5. Reid, Taylor Jenkins, Daisy Jones & The Six
  6. Ware, Ruth, In A Dark, Dark Wood

Removal Rate: 6/9 = 67%


Keep & Re-Classify – Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Brunt, Carol Rifka, Tell The Wolves I’m Home
  2. Polacco, Patricia, Thank You, Mr. Falker
  3. Sanchez, Alex, Rainbow High

Keep Rate: 3/9 = 33%


Adding to the TBR

  1. Betz-Hamilton, Axton, The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity
  2. Elliott, T.E., Loved by the Beast: A Historical Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
  3. Jennings, Ken, Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs
  4. Westover, Tara, Educated
  5. Wilkinson, Lauren, American Spy

So, my current TBR is 8 books.

Do you have a TBR?

What book are you looking forward to reading next?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #28: The Sunshine Blogger Award – Number Seven!

sba

Thanks, Kristian, for nominating me!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post, where I was nominated: The Sunshine Blogger Award from Rob

The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules

  • Thank the blogger (s) who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  • List the rules and display an award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger (s) asked you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  • Ask the nominees 11 new questions.

Kristian’s Questions

  1. What fictional world would you like to explore if you could?
  2. What is your idea of a perfect day?
  3. If you could be a professional athlete in any sport, what sport would you play?
  4. What is your favorite joke?
  5. What movie(s) can you watch over & over again?
  6. What are your New Year resolutions, and if you don’t have any, what are some long term goals you hope to achieve?
  7. Is there a meaning behind your name? If so, what is it?
  8. If you could master one skill, what would that skill be?
  9. What is your favorite Disney movie?
  10. In your opinion, what movie has the best soundtrack?
  11. What snack(s) can’t you live without?

Laura Beth’s Answers

  • Hogwarts!
  • A perfect day starts with a cup of coffee, cuddle time with Al, carve out time for writing (fiction and blogging), an hour or more for reading, a comfy blanket, and at least one episode of Law and Order: SVU.
  • I would love to play softball!
  • My favorite joke is: Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar. “Get out of here!” The bartender shouts. “We don’t serve your type!”
  • I can watch Ghostbusters (1984), Dirty Dancing (1987), Forrest Gump, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and pretty much any movie with Tom Hanks over and over.
  • Here are some of my 2020 Goals: Complete the first round of editing of my first novel, pay off all credit card debt, de-clutter the entire house, and go on vacation with Al for our five-year wedding anniversary!
  • I was named Laura Beth after my great-grandmother, Laura Bethany Powers. She lived to be 102!
  • I would love to master flight.
  • My favorite Disney movie is Mulan.
  • The movie that has the best soundtrack is Star Wars IV: A New Hope.
  • I love popcorn, tortilla chips with white sauce, and Reese’s!

My Questions

  • If you’ve been to a Disney theme park, which one is your favorite?
  • What song is your favorite earworm?
  • If you could go to any school, real or fictional, which one would you pick?
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world for a week, where would you go? You can pick multiple destinations.
  • What is your favorite quote?
  • What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
  • If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
  • Do you see yourself living somewhere else?
  • Where is your dream vacation destination?
  • Which three authors would you like to have dinner with?
  • If you could interview anyone, who would you pick?

Tag – You’re It!

I’m not tagging anyone for this particular award. If you want to do it, then go for it!

Thanks again, Kristian!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #196: January Goals

Image Credit: Pinterest

Welcome back! Happy New Year, friends! Welcome to 2020 – A new year, and a new decade!


Here are my goals for the month of January:

  1. Finish the first read-through of my novel in PDF form.
  2. Print out the first draft, and begin editing it by hand.
  3. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  4. Start my spreadsheet for cataloging my American Girl items to sell.
  5. Deep clean the living room.
  6. Go through at least three boxes in my office.
  7. Make an appointment with a new eye doctor.
  8. Read my Daily Guideposts 2020 book every day.
  9. Celebrate P.E.O. Founders Day 2020.
  10. Celebrate Al’s birthday!
  11. Celebrate Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary.
  12. Publish at least two blog posts every week.
  13. Purchase photo canvases for the living room.
  14. Get back to a regular cleaning schedule.
  15. Make at least one thrift store run with donations.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of January?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂