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 There was an Editorial Note in its place, stating, “This document was withdrawn by the Office of the Federal Register because it was inadvertently placed on public inspection.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 #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 🙂

Getting Personal #195: December Goals Recap

Image Credit: The Trends 24

Happy New Year!

Here’s the link to my December Goals post: Getting Personal #192: December Goals.

  1. Donate blood. — Did not accomplish.
  2. Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged. — Did not accomplish.
  3. Make at least one thrift store run. — Accomplished!
  4. Write at least two Book Reviews. — Accomplished!
  5. Clear more clutter. — Accomplished!
  6. Work in my office for an hour each weekend. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Sponsor Christmas gifts for two local children. — Accomplished!
  9. Start my spreadsheet for cataloging all my American Girl items to sell. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Celebrate Phineas and Ferb’s Gotcha Day! — Accomplished!
  11. Enjoy Al’s company holiday party. — Accomplished!
  12. Participate in my P.E.O. chapter’s gift wrapping fundraiser. — Accomplished!
  13. Enjoy Christmas! — Accomplished!
  14. Enjoy New Year’s! — Accomplished!

December was far busier and a bit more stressful than I would have liked. I didn’t write here on the blog very much, but I’m grateful for what I did accomplish. I had several meltdowns, but it was all because of my need to control and acting like I could handle everything. The truth is – I can only handle so much. Thankfully, Al was off work for most of the month, and I eased a lot of my anxiety (after the meltdowns happened) by asking him to help with the dishes and laundry when I was at work. In turn, I was less stressed going into Christmas.

Not to say that Christmas wasn’t stressful! We found ourselves at the emergency vet with Ferb on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, he’s okay. He gave us a good scare. He got overly nervous and stressed with all the activity and home improvement project noise in the house for the several days leading up to Christmas Eve. We had some medication left over when Phineas experienced similar symptoms last May, and one dose helped get things back to normal. Our vet is also wonderful – He called us the day after Christmas, after the office closed, and offered to get us the medication to the pharmacy closest to our house if we truly needed it. That one bottle cost us $13.50 on December 27th, and it’s like gold to us. We will always keep some on hand!

We hosted Christmas breakfast and opened gifts. We went to my parents for Christmas dinner, and had a wonderful time with family and friends. I was grateful to have a few days off during Christmas week, and then a day and a half off this week for New Year’s.

I read and reviewed three books this month: Janesville: An American Story, The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery, and Paper Girls Volume 1.

I also started reviewing the first draft of my novel in PDF form – I’m almost done. I’m looking forward to printing it out this weekend, and starting to edit by hand. I also received incredible feedback from my friend and fellow writer, Mike H., and can’t wait to dive into his comments.


Did you have any goals for the month of December?

Come back later today to see my January Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #193: NaNoWriMo 2019 Recap

Image Credit: The NaNoWriMo Blog

It’s high time for me to announce my NaNoWriMo 2019 results!


This was a brand-new novel. I came up with the idea while listening to the StoryCorps podcast from NPR this summer.

The tentative title is “The Transformation House.”


Day 1: 30 = 30 total

Day 2: 0 = 30 total

Day 3: 2,044 = 2,074 total

Day 4: 0 = 2,074 total

Day 5: 505 + 810 + 320 = 3,709 total

Day 6: 8 + 569 = 4,286 total

Day 7: 944 = 5,230 total

Day 8: 282 = 5,512 total

Day 9: 541 + 333 = 6,386 total

Day 10: 645 = 7,031 total

Day 11: 1,054 = 8,805 total

Day 12: 186 + 406 = 8,677 total

Day 13: 672 = 9,349 total

Day 14: 698 = 10,047 total

Day 15: 274 + 988 = 11,309 total

Day 16: 226 + 703 + 773 = 13,011 total

Day 17: 0 = 13,011 total

Day 18: 107 + 669 + 375 = 14,162 total

Day 19: 1,063 = 15,225 total

Day 20: 166 + 1,056 = 16,447 total

Day 21: 566 = 17,013 total

Day 22: 0 – 17,013 total

Day 23: 409 = 17,422 total

Day 24: 723 = 17,485 total

Day 25: 0 = 17,485 total

Day 26: 398 = 18,543 total

Day 27: 0 = 18,543 total

Day 28: 667 + 923 = 20,133 total

Day 29: 563 + 776 = 21,472 total

Day 30: 675 + 657 + 212 + 596 + 1,489 = 25,101 total


Final Thoughts

I was so happy with what I accomplished in roughly 30 days. This was, by far, my best NaNoWriMo ever.

I went back and looked. My first NaNo was in 2012, and I wrote a little over 10,000 words that November. I’m pleased as punch that I surpassed 25,000 words!

For now, I’ve set this one aside. I’ve started to review the first draft of “Camp,” the novel I started in 2012.

I’m hoping to pick this one back up in either April or July during one of the Camp NaNo sessions!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #192: December Goals

Image Credit: Love This Pic

Hello, December! It’s the last month of 2019. Wow!!

Here are my goals for the month of December:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged.
  3. Make at least one thrift store run.
  4. Write at least two Book Reviews.
  5. Clear more clutter.
  6. Work in my office for an hour each weekend.
  7. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  8. Sponsor Christmas gifts for two local children.
  9. Start my spreadsheet for cataloging all my American Girl items to sell.
  10. Celebrate Phineas and Ferb’s Gotcha Day!
  11. Enjoy Al’s company holiday party.
  12. Participate in my P.E.O. chapter’s gift wrapping fundraiser.
  13. Enjoy Christmas!
  14. Enjoy New Year’s!

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


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂