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It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end.  The family day trips to the amusement park or zoo, and our time lazing around the pool will soon be over until next year. Do you find the transition from summer into the routines of the school year school-1549880_1920difficult? I find that I sometimes struggle with the back-to-school schedule more than my two children (who are now a freshman and a sophomore in high school). Because of my struggles, I want to share some tips from Kids.gov  and USA.gov. Both sites create and organize timely, needed government information and services that is accessible anytime, anywhere, via your channel of choice.

  • Ease into the School Routine
    • Start going to bed and waking up on a schedule similar to the school year. Remember that teens need 9-10 hours of sleep per night, school age children need 10 hours and preschoolers need 11-12 hours.
    • Make a family docking station in the living room or kitchen for mobile phones and electronics.  By not allowing these in the bedrooms, teens and pre-teens will get a better night’s sleep.  You can also set a house rule that phones may not be checked until the morning routine is complete. Purchase a cheap alarm clock if you hear,  “I need to have my phone/tablet/etc. in my room because it has my alarm on it.”
  • Teach Time Management
    • Routine is very important. Talk to your children and set a daily schedule together and follow it.  Don’t forget to include wake-up, showering, teeth brushing, homework, (outdoor) play time/physical activity, screen-time, reading together, family meals, and bed time. If something unscheduled comes up, see if other things can be adjusted to accommodate it.
    • Use pictures for your preschoolers and early readers and a checklist for the pre-teens and teens. Don’t forget to agree upon the outcomes if the schedule is followed (a special privilege) or if it is not (a consequence). Your weekend schedule will most likely be different so map that out too.
  • Pack a Nutritious Lunch
    • A well-balanced meal will help provide the nutrients to get through the long days.
    • It helps to allow your children choices when packing their lunch.  Allow them to pack their lunch (and even yours), so that together your family is making the choice to eat healthier.
  • Listen
    • Talk to your children about what’s coming up in the next few weeks.  Talk through the schedule and the changes that will be happening as school starts. Listen to their excitement and their fears. Make a plan together for having the best school year yet.
    • Don’t forget to check in with them each day and listen for what they say (and what they don’t say, especially with the pre-teens and teens).
  • Shop Smart
    • Pick up the school supply list now and take advantage of the many sales and coupons that are available.  Use your mobile device to download coupons and always ask if a store has any coupons available.  Check the closets before you head out shopping and only purchase what you need.  
    • Take advantage of  Ohio’s tax free weekend for more savings: August 4-6.

Good luck getting back into the swing of the school year. May your school year be blessed with many wonderful memories! Enjoy every teachable moment and find something fabulous in each day!

Written By: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County

Reviewed By: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

Sources:

https://kids.usa.gov/parents/health-and-safety/back-to-school/index.shtml

https://www.usa.gov/features/get-ready-for-school-8-tips-for-parents-from-kid

s-gov

https://www.freetaxweekend.com/ohio-tax-free-weekend/

http://health.uncc.edu/news/electronic-devices-may-hamper-teens%E2%80%99-sleep

https://www.cps-k12.org/families-students/health-wellness/healthy-lunches/teens/lunches

Photo:

https://pixabay.com/en/school-holidays-recovery-leisure-1549880/

The hot days of summer are ahead and the kids are enthusiastically playing, jumping and running around the yard.  You want to have them be active, but are they drinkinchildren-433165__340g enough fluid?

Children, especially infants and preschoolers, become dehydrated faster than adults.   They often get busy playing and don’t recognize the signs of dehydration.  Signs of dehydration include:

  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Lethargy or irritability
  • Fatigue or dizziness
  • Lack of urine or only a small amount that is very dark yellow in color
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Sunken eyes

Many times thirst is not the first sign or an early sign of dehydration. A child may be dehydrated before they feel thirsty.   If a child drinks when thirsty it may not completely replace all the necessary body fluids.   Thus, it’s important to drink before thirst develops and continue to drink.

What to drink?

Water is the best choice for re-hydration.  Sports drinks are usually not needed unless the child has participated in prolonged (more than an hour) vigorous physical activity.  Examples of vigorous physical activity are long-distance running or biking, soccer, basketball, or hockey.  Water is the best option for re-hydrating, and it has no calories.  Milk can also be a good option for re-hydration.  Children should not be given energy drinks or drinks with caffeine.

How much bottles-774466__340do they need to drink?

There is no magic number but children should drink before the activity and then at regular intervals (every 20-30 minutes) during the activity and after it is over.   The higher the temperature outside the more they need to drink.  Eating foods with high water content can help hydrate too.  These include soup, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach and broccoli.

Make Water fun to Drink

  1. Purchase some ice cube trays in fun shapes and use them.
  2. Freeze fruit pieces and then add to the water to drink. You can cut them in interesting shapes before freezing. water-2232732__340
  3. Add fruit to the water, such as lemon, limes, oranges, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
  4. Purchase an infuser bottle and add the fruit or cucumbers to provide more taste. Be sure to wash the bottle each day after use.
  5. Let the child pick out a new water bottle or special cup.
  6. Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles to use when needed.
  7. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator so you can pour them a cool drink, or have small bottles of water in the refrigerator they can easily grab.
  8. Try some sparkling waters without added sugar or sugar substitutes if you want the carbonation. Read labels carefully.

Be A Good Example Yourself! Drink Water!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Washington County

References:

Barron, S. A. (2016).  Dehydration.  Kids Health from Nemours.  Available at http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/dehydration.html#

Martin, L. J. (2017). Dehydration.  Medline Plus, U. S. National Library of Medicine.  Available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000982.htm

Mayo Clinic Staff, (2017).  Dehydration Symptoms and Causes.  Mayo Clinic.  Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/dxc-2026

How WELL are You?

all-is-wellWhat comes to mind when you hear the terms well or wellness? For most people, these words bring thoughts of physical health. Some of you will think about mental health. Most people, when given time, realize that there is more to being well than just physical and mental health. Some may even be able to name several areas of wellness. Many people may not realize that there are actually eight dimensions of wellness, though.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the eight dimensions of wellness are:

  1. Emotional—Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
  2. Environmental—Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
  3. Financial—Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
  4. Intellectual—Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
  5. Occupational—Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
  6. Physical—Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep
  7. Social—Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
  8. Spiritual—Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life

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For about a month, I have been participating in a program offered through my employer/health insurance to help increase my emotional well-being. There are up to five areas that anyone who participates can choose to complete. Each area has suggestions for things you can do. For example, one challenge is to find. Some things listed include: going to the library to check out a book or DVD, attending a live event or stopping by a new coffee shop. It is fun trying to complete each challenge. It also helps remind me that even on those hectic days, I need to take some time to take care of myself.

There are small and simple things you can do to help become more well in each area. Here are some examples:

  • Emotional—unplug from phone, social media and your computer for 10 minutes each day, light your favorite candle and make time for friends and family
  • Environmental—keep your office and home clean and organized, find a favorite place or spot to visit and get involved in cleaning up your community or neighborhood
  • Financial—shop at thrift stores, limit unnecessary spending and develop a budget
  • Intellectual—read for pleasure, choose creative hobbies and participate in local/community events
  • Occupational—attend conferences to stay current in your profession and explore opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Physical—participate in regular exercise/physical activity that you enjoy, eat balanced, nutritious meals and snacks and get adequate sleep
  • Social—be genuine with others, join a club or organization and use good communication skills
  • Spiritual—volunteer, pray, meditate or find a quiet place for self-reflection

You may be wondering how well you really are. Take this assessment to get a better idea. After completing it, you can figure out which areas you need to work on and in which ones you are already strong. Click here for additional information and resources on how to strengthen your dimensions of wellness.

Author:  Misty Harmon, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County

References:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016). The Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Available at https://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness

http://umatter.princeton.edu/sites/umatter/files/media/wellness-self-assessment.pdf

Roddick, M. (2016). The 8 Dimensions of Wellness:  Where Do You Fit In? Available at https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/8-dimensions-of-wellness-where-do-you-fit-in-0527164

While on a recent family vacation in another state, my sister ended up in the Emergency Department at a hospital. She had multiple fractures in her foot and ended up in a cast up to her knee. This injury was the result of her long term Type 1 Diabetes. She recently had a heart stent put in and had been walking about a mile a day – for her heart health. Little did she know that she had multiple fractures in her foot. Now it made sense that her foot swelled so much each evening.

This experience showed us the kindness of strangers that I want to share. We experienced several random acts of kindness during this time. Research shows that random acts of kindness and generosity increase happiness in the giver. The medical staff fit her with crutches and instructed her to keep weight off her foot. This sounds like an easy task but it can be challenging to maneuver crutches. She was able to get around but still struggled with the crutches.

Kindness

The next day she wanted to sit at the pool by the beach to watch family members parasail. If you are mobile, this is easy, just walk in and sit by the pool. It isn’t so easy if you are on crutches. But…. we experienced another act of kindness – a little boy (approximately 10 years old) stood there holding the gate until my sister could get in. A puddle of dirty pool water was inside the gate; his sister saw it, took her towel, and dried the cement so that Debbie didn’t get her cast wet. I looked at the mother and said she doesn’t have to do that with her towel – their mother said, “that’s ok” and let her do it. I was so touched that they knew the importance of being kind to a stranger. Someone in their family taught them to think of others.

Another instance we experienced included having a Physical Therapist Assistant ask if we needed help with the crutches as my sister made her way to the restroom on our drive home. She said the crutches are not the right height for her and asked if we wanted her to adjust them so that they fit. We said, “of course, we need all the help we can get” and she sat down on a bench, took the crutches and adjusted them on the spot. This made it so much easier to maneuver. We told the PT Assistant thanks for asking and she said sometimes she isn’t sure if she should interfere – we told her, yes! Her act of kindness helped us and we were grateful.

Another act of kindness included people holding the doors open as we struggled to move around with the crutches. This happened many times over our last few days of vacation.

Why is it important to share these experiences? As parents or grandparents, you can foster kindness in children. This short YouTube video featuring Dr. Christine Carter, “Raising Kind Kids” from Greater Good Science Center UC Berkeley shares a few key suggestions to encourage kids to be kind.

Are you ready to experience happiness by giving to others? Take this “Random Acts of Kindness” Challenge by doing 5 random acts in one day. Record how you feel and comment on their page. Another fun option is to pass out these Smile Cards. Complete an act of kindness, leave the Smile Card and keep the spirit going!

What are you waiting for? Try kindness today!

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Sources:

Breines, J., Three Strategies for Bringing More Kindness into Your Life, retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_strategies_for_bringing_more_kindness_into_your_life

Carter, C., Raising Kind Kids, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley, YouTube retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/video/item/raising_kind_kids

Random Acts of Kindness Challenge, Greater Good in Action, University of California – Berkeley’s Greater Good Center, retrieved from: UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.  http://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/random_acts_of_kindness

Smile Cards, KindSpring.org retrieved from: http://www.kindspring.org/smilecards/

 

 

 

Watermelon… it is almost synonymous with summer. Juicy, sweet, colorful and versatile, this nutrition-packed fruit is the perfect treat on a hot day. Read on to learn more facts about watermelon…

NationalWatermelonDayHeader

Nutrition

Red watermelon is a good source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that gives watermelon its color. Lycopene may reduce the risk of heart disease and a growing list of cancers.

Watermelon is also rich in vitamin C. In fact, just 1 cup of watermelon provides about 20 percent of our daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C may reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

To get the maximum amount of nutrients:

  • Pick melons when they are fully ripe. This prevents losses of vitamin C and carotenoids while waiting to ripen.
  • Consume melons within 5‐7 days of bringing them home.
  • Store melons whole and slightly below room temperature.
    • Once cut, leftover melon needs to be stored in the refrigerator, although storing melons cut‐up decreases vitamin C and carotenoids. Freezing melons preserves vitamin C but causes losses of other vitamins and phytonutrients.

Selection: How do you pick a good one?

Ohio State University Extension offers these tips for Selecting Ohio Melons:

  • “Examine the spot where the melon has been resting on the ground. A yellow-white spot indicates ripeness—white or pale green suggests immaturity.
  • Scratch the surface of the rind with your thumbnail. If the outer layer slips back with little resistance showing the green-white under the rind, the watermelon is ripe. Scratching unripe melons only leaves a darker depressed line.
  • Choose a melon with a smooth surface, dull sheen, and well-rounded ends.
  • Some experts recommend a “hollow” sound when tapped indicates ripeness. Others feel that “thumping” will not necessarily get you a ripe melon.
  • White seeds usually indicate the melon was picked too early.”

Fun Facts from the Watermelon Board:

  • Watermelon is 92% water.
  • Watermelon’s scientific name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is a cousin to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  • According to Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest watermelon was grown by Chris Kent of Sevierville, Tennessee in 2013, weighing in at 350.5 lbs.
  • The United States currently ranks 6th in worldwide production of watermelon.
  • By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

For more information and tasty recipes using watermelon, check out these websites:

The Watermelon Board

USDA Mixing Bowl

Sources:

Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Melons (PDF|342KB). Ohio State University Extension.

Recipes with Watermelon. USDA Mixing Bowl.

The Watermelon Board

 

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Embrace Solitude

Picture1

Have you ever had a great idea come to you while in the shower? Why is it that the best thoughts seem to occur when we’re not prepared to write them down? For me, my mind seems to be most creative when I’m driving, walking my dog, riding my bike, or doing housework – not when I’m at work or sitting in front of a computer. I have noticed a common theme in these activities: solitude.

The word solitude tends to have a negative connotation, but it is not the same as loneliness or boredom. Loneliness is described as the pain of being alone when companionship is desired. It is something imposed on you by others. Solitude, on the other hand, is something you choose. It is a constructive state, a time of self-reflection and engagement with oneself that often results in innovation and creative thinking. Solitude renews the mind; loneliness depletes it.

Although walking the dog, doing chores and driving are not things I always enjoy doing, these activities do provide me with the opportunity to disconnect from technology and let my mind wander. Taking time to be alone can seem like a waste in the busy, fast-paced world we live in today, but it is more valuable than one might think! Solitude was named one of the ten habits of highly creative people by the authors of the book “Wired To Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind”. Daydreaming is another habit, which often occurs during simple activities done in solitude such as walking and cleaning.

How might you embrace solitude and provide your mind with space to wander in the midst of your daily life? Maybe you could try:

Going into work early. If you can work an early arrival into your schedule, you may be able to get some quiet work done before your co-workers arrive and new emails start to come in.

Taking short “mental breaks” throughout the day. Step away from your computer every couple of hours to stretch or take a walk, if possible, or to practice mindfulness.

Minimizing distractions. Consider turning off phone and email notifications when you’re working on an important project to stay focused without unnecessary interruptions.

Taking a technology break. Set limits on technology use to enjoy quality time with family or in nature.

Do you have another suggestion for embracing solitude? Share your suggestions in the comment box below!

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Sources:

Kaufman, S.B. & Gregoire, C. (2016). Ten Habits of Highly Creative People. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/ten_habits_of_highly_creative_people

Marano, H.E. (2016). What is Solitude? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200307/what-is-solitude.

arguing-1296392_960_720

Have you ever had an argument with a friend (boy or girl), sibling, classmate, or spouse who was trying to tell you what to do and you countered with the response “You’re not the boss of me?” I think most of us have thrown that phrase out to someone at some point in time (hopefully you weren’t under 18 and saying it to your parents). But (and this is a big but) have you ever used that phrase on yourself?

As part of a new work-related project, I’ve been thinking about how mathematics can be used to promote health and wellness. I decided to compare the square footage of my mouth to the whole of my body (I know this is a weird segue, but stick with me here).

To figure out the square footage of my body, I used the same formula you use to calculate the square footage of a rectangle (width x length). Our bodies look similar to a rectangle, so I multiplied my height (66 inches) x my width (for most people the widest point is going to be across their hips).  Since my hips measure 39 inches around, and you only need to go across, the final equation was 66 x 19.5.  Using one of the square footage calculators on the internet (remember, these numbers are in inches—you will need to click on inches in the calculation box) generated the information that the square footage of my body is 8.94 square feet.

Repeating the same calculation with my mouth (I went with a 2 x 1 measurement), the result was .01 square foot. So do you see where I’m going with this? In essence, you’re letting a miniscule part of your body tell the rest of it what kind of fuel, and in what quantity, is going to come down the pike. The 99% of your body that doesn’t get to decide what gets eaten should be irate.  It should be yelling at your mouth saying “You’re not the boss of me!”

Let’s be real. When you have a craving for pizza or a hot fudge sundae, it’s not your arms and legs asking for those two items.  It’s your MOUTH!  Now when my mouth wants donuts or a third piece of pizza, I yell at it (mentally) and tell it “you are NOT the boss of me.”  It’s ludicrous that such a small unit of our body has such a huge influence on our weight, our risk for chronic disease, and on psychological issues such as self-perception and self-esteem.eating

 

Rebel with a Cause

This defiant attitude towards my mouth (I call it the Pie Hole Rebellion) has enabled me to lose 10 pounds over the last six weeks. I realize we are hard-wired to crave certain foods by other entities in our bodies besides our mouth (brain, eyes, nose, hormones, blood sugar, etc). But for most of us, the mouth is the driver, the “big Kahuna,” the “head honcho” of our food choices. It is the gateway for fuel to gain access to the rest of the body.

I’ve put mine on notice. “My mouth is not the boss of me” is my new mantra. It will occasionally (probably) still try to take charge, but I’m bigger (and meaner). Vive la révolte!

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Resource:

https://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/construction/square-footage-calculator.php

 

 

Want some muscles or to reduce your body fat?  Working out but still not seeing much difference?  Would taking supplements like a steroid or a nutritional supplement help?

With football practices starting up your son might want an advantage to be the best on the team.  It seems like many athletes are taking steroids or supplements thinking that “bigger is better,” and “being the best is more important than how you get there.”   Since they do it, it must be alright.  But wait! 

Some athletes take anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass and strength.  These drugs appear to make muscles bigger and may help athletes recover from a workout more quickly, which means they can work out more frequently and harder.  However, the use of these drugs is not recommended for improving athletic performance and many cause some serious side effects or risks. These drugs are dangerous and when used may cause some severe, long-lasting and irreversible negative health consequences.   This can be especially serious for youth, whose bodies are still growing and developing.  The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse has an online letter warning about the use of anabolic steroids and encouraging young people and adults not to take unnecessary health risks by using steroids.  Some of the serious adverse effects may not be recognized for many years.

Risks of anabolic steroids include:

  • Short Stature (if taken by adolescents)
  • Increased tendinitis and tendon rupture
  • Severe acne and cysts
  • Liver abnormalities and tumors
  • Liver cancer
  • Increased LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol)
  • Decreased HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Depression
  • Drug dependence
  • kidney damage

The FDA warns that many bodybuilding products sold online as well as in retail stores are labeled as “dietary supplements.”  However, these are not dietary supplements but are illegally marketed and unapproved new drugs.  They have not been reviewed by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or quality.  A study done by Consumer Reports some years ago highlighted problems with many bodybuilding substances as many of them had substances not on the label and not approved by the FDA.

The FDA recommends you do not take bodybuilding products.  If you are taking them they recommend you stop taking them immediately.  They encourage you to talk to your health care professional about the products you were taking.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Federal Drug Administration. (2017). Caution: Bodybuilding Products Can Be Risky. FDA Consumer Updates.  Available at https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm173739.htm

National Institute on Drug Abuse, (2006). What are the Health Consequences of Steroid Abuse? National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Health.  Available at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/anabolic-steroid-abuse/what-are-health-consequences-steroid-abuse

Volkow, N.D. (2006). Letter From the Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health.  Available at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/anabolic-steroid-abuse/letter-director