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Grocery bills getting too big? Is there a reason for that? What can we do about it?

Lots of questions...Remember the little "guru" who ran around in shorts and a top inspecting peoples' shopping carts? Granted, he was looking for things that people shouldn't have in their diet if they wanted to lose weight. Strange thing about the whole idea is that it sort of followed that same trend.

If you've ever sat and waited by the grocery store exit and took a good look at what is in peoples' shopping carts you would understand what I mean. Granted, I guess it is their cart, and their money that they are spending...but it is surprising how much food may be in the cart and how much of it would come under the category of "stuff." Stuff that fills the cart and drains the billfold but does nothing to improve one’s health.

Sure, you know what I am talking about — those pop bottles hanging on the side of the cart — sugar water. And of course there are all the boxes of easy make items with processed ingredients, as well as all those sweet treats, like rolls and candy, as well as bags and bags of chips. Food items that have large cost, but no real value to our body. 

Tired of running to the doctor and taking pills? And what about all those doctor and dentist bills? It may be time to do something about it. Many unnecessary trips could be stopped if we would use some common sense and live a healthy life with good food and exercise. 

We know what is good for us. We can read the labels. Granted, labels can be deceiving. Did you know there are many ways to hide sugar or sweeteners in our food? For example, sugar. That is a big one with lots of allies. Those sugar substitutes are supposed to save you calories, but actually they make us develop a desire for more sweeteners instead.

What is that saying about your eyesight..."A moment on your lips, forever on your hips. "We need to get back to the basics and start eating more of those great fruits and vegetables.

I am impressed with the amount of gardens that people are putting in this year. There is nothing better or fresher than fruits and vegetables that you grow yourself. In my grandmother’s day everybody had a garden of fresh vegetables. They even canned the surplus in glass jars so they could enjoy them all winter. 

Gardens seemed to have vanished for a few years, but I am seeing more of them again. That is progress...people are getting the message and living sensibly. Sure, it is more work, but there is something about working in a garden. You meditate whether you realize it or not; your mind can take a break...time to think.

It looks like there are some master gardeners out there. There is a fantastic looking garden just outside of Geneva to the east. It is worth the drive to Geneva to see it. It will be interesting to see all the great food that will be harvested and enjoyed out of it.

Magazines and stores have suggestions use of foods we might seldom or never eat just because it wasn't a part of our early food introduction. Fast food tastes good and is relatively inexpensive so it has a tendency to take the place of wholesome home cooked food. Home cooked food takes a little bit of time to prepare but is well worth the effort.

Speaking of gardens, our recent rains may have put a damper on the holiday and graduation celebrations, but to the fields and gardens that had been planted they were slowly growing and the rain was a blessing. Just overnight the "green" turned more "green," so I think we can be thankful for the rain that came.

It is nice to go to the gathering of friends and neighbors that don't involve the sadness of a funeral. Graduations are such happy times for the students and for their parents. Judging from the size and style of parties this year it has been fabulous. I really don't know how they do it all.

In my day and age most families served a bun with a slice of ham on it or some macaroni salad, along with a piece of cake and a glass of lemonade and a cup of coffee. My daughter, Krista, took my mother to Nick’s graduation party this past weekend. He had a "candy store" that was a delight to the kids and some parents too...jars of "penny candy" with sacks to put them in, plus a meal fit for a king or queen.   So much creativity in the decorations. Someone had even used some of the designs of Nick’s sports uniforms in he cakes. Mom said they also served the most delicious potato salad and decorated cookies your could imagine.

It is hard to believe the excitement under the tent at Jade’s graduation. but more than spectacular were all the papers, awards and pictures her mother had saved in good order to remember those early and later days. Made me a little ashamed to think I didn't do that for my own children. I could have spent a day enjoying Jade’s travels through school. Burgers off the grill never tasted so good at a fast food place, plus there were all the goodies to put on them. The macaroni salad made you want more. Decorated cupcakes if you will but those cookies with the frosting also had fresh fruit on top. Did I say creative and so delicious? The day provided so much fun for the kids too who were having a circus playing on the jungle gym outside.

The breakfast at Dillon’s on Sunday morning was, flaky pancakes, fresh fruit, and out of this world, fresh cinnamon and caramel rolls. I could go on and on. It makes me hungry all over again thinking about iy, and of course I could go on about all the other great food that was served at all the other graduation parties.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of our graduates the very best as they begin the next phase of their lives.

Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, May 28th: Sara Beth Carlson, her 5th; Lily Lee Olson, her 5th; Madalyn Kehne, Madison Catherine Knudson, Susan Schmidt, Marie Fowler, Rick & Jenny Loberg, Gerritt & Kathy Molenaar

• Friday, May 29th: Brent Peterson, Deb Farr, Odean Otterson, Gene Pederson, Mark Butler, Ross Lein, Colin Quimby, Rod & Sandi Serdahl, John & Susan Oolman, Lily & Jerry Neitzel

• Saturday, May 30th: Payton Allen Misgen, Daniel Larson, Molly Hanson, Chuck Crabtree, Shirley Nelson, Julie & Toby Oquist

• Sunday, May 31st: Nathan Jensen, Jerry White, Pat Draayer, Ryan Sletten, Jim Hamor, Robert DuBois, Cierra Hanson

• Monday, June 1st: Carter Anthony Martens, Randy Hagen, Brandi Hagen, John Hanson, Bert Wiersma, Phyllis Benson, Joe Wallace, Julie Dulas, Kenny Toft, Maria Misgen, Tony Sommers, Bob Flim, Glenn Gerdes, Lindsey Lembke, Denise Evenson Wilson, Jeff & Sharon Lageson, Orville & Mavis Langlie

• Tuesday, June 2nd: David Lassahn, Maia Kathleen Peterson, Brent Dobberstein, Angie Goodnature Kath, Taylor Draayer, Sue Jensen Kuckenbecker, Steve Kasper, Cindy Olson, Barry Esplan, Krystle Lonning, Donald Haberman, Ahston Hareid, Trent Hanson, Brandon McLaughlin, Tammy & Garth Gonnering, Greg & Nicole Shultz, Eric & Snow Lee, their 7th

• Wednesday, June 3rd: Isabella Grace Kohn, her 5th; Devin Matthew Haddy, his 8th; Justin Stieglbauer, David Hall, Troy Vavra, Jason Jenkins, Michael Bartness, Angie Kasper Christenson, George Kasper, Chrisopher Conley, Max Miller, Esther Van Ravenhorst, Misty (Ebnet) & Jeremy Krueger, Eric & Christine Nelson

• Thursday, June 4th: Dale Miller, Becky Nordland, Jim Borchert, Judith Severson, Warren Nelson, Jamie & Tina Hagen, Art & Doris DeNeui, Jan & Andrew Bernau, their 8th

• Friday, June 5thMarcia Vermedahl, Shawn Johnson, Paul Krull, David Reistad, Mike Rossing, Lisa Jensen Nord, Jack Butler, Greg Oswald, Michael Schmidt, Ron & Jolee Johnson, Stacy (Osmundson) & Trevor Titus, Erica (Van Kampen) & Jacob McClaskay, Elzo & Joy Peterson

• Saturday, June 6th: Steve & Kari Vanden Heuvel, Stacy & Shannon Wobschall, Dean & Roberta Lembke, Hope Kilian, Eric Sorenson, Cheryl Louks, Steve Lonning, Todd Born, Owen James Wheeler, Blake Rolland Baudoin, Isiah DuBois

May you find joy and pleasure all around you on your special day.

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