Monday, June 25, 2012

Iowa Food Banks in Need

According to this Sioux City Journal article, Governor Terry Branstad vetoed the funding of $500,000 to Iowa food banks.  This affects many of our local food banks including the Food Bank of Siouxland.  The Food Bank of Siouxland anticipated receiving $37,500 of these funds.  The governor states that the local food banks should be able to make up the money through private donations that are publicly endorsed.  I'm sure there was sound logic behind the veto.  But my heart aches for the agencies that were counting on this funding and now have to make up for it in other ways or even worse, decrease their services to the people they serve. $37,500 is a lot of money.  I will not argue that fact.  For some, it is their total household income.  For others, it is an amount much larger than their household income that they can not comprehend.  According to the Food Bank of Siouxland's most recent newsletter, $1 buys 13 pounds of food for food banks.  I can't even imagine the amount of food that $37,500 would have bought for the food bank.  But I do know that it is a lot.  This veto comes at an unfortunate time for food banks because summer is the busiest time of year.  This is due to school being out for the summer.  Families need to feed their children 3 meals a day rather than 1 because the child does not receive the school breakfast and lunch.  The amount of requests for food at the local food pantries increases as a result.  I've mentioned before that as a child, I never had to go hungry.  Our family was very fortunate.  I can't imagine the feeling of not being able to feed my family or having to go to bed without supper because there wasn't food in the pantry.  I'm asking you all to think about this the next time you're out grocery shopping or opening your cupboards to make supper. Please consider donating to your local food bank in any way you can.  This may be picking up an extra box of cereal or pasta while at the grocery store.  Or it maybe writing a check for as little as $5.  Together we can help the food banks and Iowa's hungry.

Update: I took the issue to our Employee Committee at work and we decided to do a fundraiser for the Food Bank.  Siouxland Community Health Center employees donated a total of $300!  We still need to deliver the money but I know it will help.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Excuse me while I drool...

...over the plum Fiesta Ware collection.  I was looking on the Kohl's website just now at the Fiesta Ware.  Our Kohl's does not carry the plum Fiesta Ware in their store (our Younkers does so it all evens out... I guess!).  Earlier this week I thought "we need a covered butter dish.  I wonder if Fiesta makes one in purple?"  They do!  That's the positive side.  The negative side is that the regular price is $32.  I will be waiting for an online sale and one of the handy coupons they love to email me before ordering it for myself.  It will be hard to wait.  The covered butter dish would go so well with the salt and pepper shaker and the spoon rest that Nancy gave me for a Christmas/birthday/housewarming present.  But I am determined that I will find the Fiesta Ware on sale and have a coupon for it at the same time.

My kitchen is various shades of purple because I'm obsessed with the color.  Fiesta Ware did make other shades of purple in the past but the plum collection is the only purple they are currently manufacturing.  Lilac was one of the previous purples and I would love to get my hands on some Fiesta Ware in that shade too.

I did a quick check at  The butter dish is on sale for $23.80!  The bad part: they don't carry it in plum.  Jerks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Odds and Ends with Energy

I'm in the second trimester of my pregnancy which means the sheer exhaustion has passed!  I'm definitely enjoying having a normal energy level again.  I do realize this will probably go away when I get in the end stage of the pregnancy but for now, I'm enjoying it.  The return of my energy also means I'm back in the kitchen.  In the past week, I've made cherry layer dessert and carrot cake.  The cherry layer dessert I made for us last weekend.  The carrot cake was for Steve's team.  Remember how I'm bribing them with a homemade dessert when they win on quality? I'm about 3-4 desserts behind due to 1st trimester exhaustion.  Thankfully they understand and are happy to get their treats when I'm able to make them.  Right now, I have 2 loaves of banana bread in the oven.  Last week Fareway had bananas on sale for 35 cents a pound.  I picked some up for Steve.  I always plan to make banana bread or muffins when I buy bananas since I won't eat them raw and Steve can only eat so many.  Steve is visiting Nathan tomorrow so I plan to send a loaf with him.  Nathan's a bachelor so I doubt he gets banana bread that often.  He does make some fantastic cookies, though.  I'm serious.  If you ever have a chance to have some of his cookies, don't pass it up!

With my renewed energy, I'm also revisiting the idea of gardening and canning.  We tried to have a fruit and vegetable garden this year but failed.  Our first strike was not having any clue as to what we're doing.  Our second strike was the unseasonably warm weather we experienced in March.  The third strike was my pregnancy-related exhaustion.  All of the work fell to Steve and the garden slipped by the wayside.  However, I'm determined to have a garden next year and plan to spend the rest of this summer and all winter learning about gardening.  This means checking books out from the library and talking to successful gardeners.  My aunt Colleen suggested a book called Square Foot Gardening.  Aunt Colleen has a pretty successful garden so I plan on checking out this book.  She also suggested The Ball Blue Book of Canning.  My mom also has this book so I plan on checking it out as well.  And I'm also officially asking for your advice.  If you're a gardener or a canner, give me your best tips!