Jennifer Pearce

Hi there! My name is Jennifer and I am one of the newest members to MomTalk and JustKiddin'. I am a 40-year-old mother who works outside the home. I live with my husband of eleven years and our two young daughters. After being a stay-at-home-mother for six years, I re-entered the workforce when my husband was briefly unemployed. When he returned to work, I chose to keep working due to economics and the age of my daughters at the time. I now work as the advertising manager of a community newspaper and appreciate how working has gotten me much more involved in my community. However, I often miss the opportunity to spend more time with my daughters, or to volunteer more time with their school and activities. My older daughter is a 10-year-old fourth grader, and my younger daughter is a 6-year-old kindergartener. Their many activities and my husband’s complicated work schedule make scheduling our number one family challenge. He works a rotating shift in a retail store that includes many nights and weekends. We struggle to preserve our time together as a family and make the most of it, while still finding time to accomplish our individual goals and pursue our favorite interests. My interests include reading, writing and photography. I love taking family photos and completed a Project 365 in 2010, taking a photo a day for the year. It was a wonderful experience to document our life for a year and appreciate all the little pieces of it. I am currently working to put the 365 pictures into a scrapbook…if I can just find the time. I look forward to sharing our journey with you here on JustKiddin'!

jennifer-pearce

Forced Fruit & Veggies at School Lunch a Waste?

There was much discussion last week about the new federal standards requiring school systems to make sure every student receives a fruit or vegetable, whether the student wants it or not.

“So much waste!” say the skeptics, but I don’t necessarily agree.

When I went to elementary school, we were given little if any choice. While I’m sure the quality of the food was better back then, school lunches were not highly regarded by classmates or myself. I remember fruits and vegetables being put on my plate that I would never have chosen, and might not have eaten at home.

For example, I don’t think my mother ever bought canned pears, but I remember them as a staple of school lunches. I liked them and ate them every time.

There were other items that went in the trash, not just vegetables. There were meats I didn’t like. Some of my food was wasted. I don’t mean to imply that wasted food is good, just that when you’re dealing with kids eating cafeteria food, there is going to be wasted food. It’s nothing new.

So the new plan takes a risk, putting some different foods onto a kid’s plate, where it MIGHT be eaten. “Might” is a step in the right direction, but far from solving the problem.

The problem of school lunches is not going to be solved until a) the junk food disappears and b) healthy, appealing food is offered. That second requirement can get a little complicated, but how complicated is it to cut the junk?

When my older daughter attended kindergarten, I remember something called “breakfast pizza.” It was a piece of sausage pizza! How is that a proper breakfast to offer to a kindergartener?

My solution is to pack my kids’ lunches. Our family decided that the school system is simply not getting the job done. Our solution costs our family more, a lot more. But it is healthy and the kids are eating it, not throwing it in the garbage.

Do you think giving every child a fruit or veggie is a good solution or just a waste?

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