Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Menu Plans

I know that having a menu planned out can save a ton of time, energy, and money, but I still rarely do it. I regret this, because without the plan made out ahead of time, I tend to let things in the fridge pass their expiration date and have to throw things out. Such a waste, and I really hate waste. So since I have a few things that are going to expire soon, I'm writing out a list of dinners for the rest of the week.

Thursday (10/18) - Southern style biscuits and gravy (to use up the buttermilk)
Friday (10/19) - Mexican lasagna (we have about three dozen tortillas that need to be used up)
Saturday (10/20) - Chicken and White Bean Chili in homemade bread bowls (to use up salsa)
Sunday (10/21) - Homemade pizza (half a jar of pizza sauce needs to be used)

I'll try to post an upcoming menu plan every Sunday for the upcoming week, as well as listing any snacky-type foods I'm making to go with packed lunches and after-school snacks. For example, tonight I'm whipping up a quick batch of rice crispy bars. I substitute the butter called for in the recipe with peanut butter, and it's a great hit with the kiddos.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Supporting Sesame Street

At this point we've all heard the debate between Obama and Romney. I was hoping that there would be some fantastic talking points bandied around the internet in the days after the debate, and in truth there were several sites that did that. But more than any other statement, this quote from Romney has gotten the biggest response.

“I’m sorry Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS,” Romney told debate moderator Jim Lehrer, who is executive editor for PBS NewsHour. “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

Within an hour of that statement, Big Bird memes started popping up on my facebook news feed (and I agree that several of them are hilarious, and I'll share some at the end of my post). At first it seemed weird to me that this is the biggest talking point of the debate. But once I actually looked into the figures for Sesame Street, as well as the socio-economical impact, I started to understand why this has become the most talked-about quote:

  • Our government does indeed pay a subsidy to support PBS, it is a very tiny amount - 0.00014% of the federal budget. This works out to about 12% of PBS's revenue. Ending the subsidy to PBS is not going to save our government any huge amount of income, and will not make much of an impact on the national debt.
  • Ironically, that subsidy to PBS doesn't fund Sesame Street itself - Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces the show "Sesame Street," is a separate organization from PBS with its own revenue streams.
  • 33% of students arriving at kindergarten without basic skills. Trying to shut down preschool shows that teach learning as a fun activity seems almost criminal when held against our nation's falling academic standing in the world-wide scene.
  • A huge percentage of our nation's families are living at or below poverty level (including my own family). Many of those parents cannot afford basic cable, and PBS is the only channel with children's programing that is still accessible without cable. Our lower-income students are already at a huge disadvantage academically, I don't see any other reason to make it worse!
  • A 2011 poll found that 69% of voters are opposed to defunding PBS. 
  • Sesame Street is a job creator! Sesame Workshop made $46.9 million in revenue from licensing Big Bird, Elmo, the Cookie Monster and other characters in 2011, according to financial statements. This money helped pay the salaries of 1,320 employees...not to mention the salaries of those toy companies, DVD producers, and other countless companies that make the Sesame Street products!
 Anyone who has watched PBS programming will remember the constant short commercials "Such-and-such show was made possible by viewers like you." That's because 60% of the funding for public television comes from private donors. So here is where I post a link, because if you truly want to support PBS, don't just share memes. Donate. Send $5 to PBS to help keep shows like Sesame Street on the air. As fun as these memes are, they don't help pay for the continued existence of public television. Here is the link to donate: