June is National Camping Month and has been observed since the 1970s.  Growing up my family went tent camping as a part of our family vacations. Once in a while we’d be with my grandparents and were able to stay in their fifth-wheeler camper; a luxury compared to a tent. Regardless of how you camp, you must consider food safety as you plan, prepare, and pack your meals.

A campsite with tents, camping chairs and a campfire
Our Campsite in 2021

Every year over the July 4th weekend, a group of friends and family go camping in the woods on a friend’s property. On these trips we don’t have electricity so there is an extra level of caution needed to ensure we keep our food at the proper temperature. Depending on your style of camping you may have a water source, electricity or both. Our annual camping weekend is quickly approaching, and I am getting ready to set our menu. As I make my plan I wanted to share a few menu planning and food safety tips with you.


One year on our annual trip, no one remembered to pack a spatula or tongs; making cooking over a fire even more adventurous and creative. Your packing plan needs to include everything you will need to prepare, make, serve, and eat each meal.

  • Make a menu, choosing basic recipes with limited steps and a low number of pots and pans.
  • Utilize recipes with overlapping ingredients and bring only the required amounts.
  • Plan meal portions to reduce meal preparation, leftovers, and waste.
  • Consider preparing parts of the meal before leaving for camp.
  • Incorporate shelf stable foods into meals and snacks.

Cleaning and sanitizing

Potable water is water that is safe to drink and is also the water you should utilize to clean your hands and dishes. Be sure to include biodegradable soap on your packing list. Include enough water for each person to drink, prepare meals, and wash hands and dishes. Alternatively, you can boil clear water from a stream or clear lake for one minute to wash dishes. Consider bringing hand sanitizer or disposable sanitizing wipes both for hands and surfaces. Be sure to clean up your campsite after each meal to deter unwanted animal visitors.

Keeping cold food cold and hot food hot

Cold food, prepared food, and leftovers all must be kept under 41°F. We utilize ice with our coolers, and place a thermometer in each cooler so I can quickly check the temperature.

  • Use a separate cooler or place raw meat (double wrapped) at the bottom of the cooler to keep it away from all other food. You can also cook the meat prior to leaving for camp to reduce chances of cross contamination.
  • Consider a separate cooler for meal food and ingredients versus drinks and snacks. The kids are always in and out of the drink cooler a million times which causes the ice to melt faster; making it harder for the cooler to maintain temperature.
  • Pack a food thermometer to ensure you are cooking food to the proper internal temperature.
    • Ground meat should be cooked to 160° F
    • Raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks or chops to 145° F
    • Raw poultry to 165° F
    • Hot dogs, precooked meat, and leftovers to 165° F
a camp stove

Cooling and Storing Food: The two-hour rule

Food should only be left out for 2 hours, then cooled rapidly. If the temperature is over 90° F, then you should discard food after 1 hour. The temperature danger zone is the range of temperatures between 40° F – 140° F where bacteria multiply rapidly. Remember if you put a hot food item in the cooler to cool, you are heating the temperature of the cooler and melting ice more quickly. When in doubt, throw it out. Leftover food can be burned instead of thrown out.

Additional details to consider

  • How will you transport and store your cooking equipment?
  • Where will you store nonperishable food and cooking utensils?
  • Your plan should include how you will “Leave No Trace” (i.e., no lasting impact or effect on the environment and eco-system.)

Regardless of your camping or glamping style, make sure to make a plan for camp and food safety before you head out!

Written by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Greene County.
Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 1). Water treatment options when hiking, camping or traveling. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/

Garden-Robinson, J., & Totland, T. (2021, June). Keep Food Safe when Camping and Hiking. North Dakota State University- Publications. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/keep-food-safe-when-camping-and-hiking

Klemm, S. (2021, November 17). Hiking and camping with Food Safety in Mind. EatRight. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/outdoor-dining/hiking-and-camping-with-food-safety-in-mind

U.S. Department of the Interior. (n.d.). Leave No Trace Seven Principles. National Parks Service. Retrieved June 16, 2022, from https://www.nps.gov/articles/leave-no-trace-seven-principles.htm

A person in a park practicing Tai Chi

Have you ever been at the beach, a park, or another open space and been mesmerized by people moving and swaying their body in a meditative effortless flow and wondered what they were doing? Chances are they were practicing the art of tai chi. The use of tai chi originated in ancient China and is one of the most effective exercises for health of the mind and body. Tai chi was created based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine, martial arts, and the law of nature known as the “Tao”. It incorporates knowledge going back for thousands of years in Chinese history. 

Tai chi offers overall health benefits and is intrinsically enjoyable. It is believed people are more likely to exercise if they enjoy it. Numerous research supports the health benefits of tai chi. In fact, there are over five hundred medical studies documenting the benefits of tai chi.  

  • Scientist from the University of Florida and Fudan University conducted a study with non-demented older adults from Shanghai, China and found the participants who practiced tai chi three times a week showed significant increases in brain volume and improvements in their memory and thinking test scores.
  • Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine found patients with knee osteoarthritis, older than sixty-five showed a significant decrease in joint pain and stiffness, improved physical function and depression compared to those in the control group. 
  • A new study found people with elevated blood pressure significantly decreased it after practicing tai chi for just 3 months.
  • In a 1996 a study involving 126 post-heart attack patient’s researchers discovered improved cardiovascular fitness and lower blood pressure in the patients.
  • A study conducted at the Oregon Research Institute examined results of tai chi programs found a 49% reduction in the number of falls and improved performance.
  • According to Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School, in 82% of studies, tai chi improved mood and lowered anxiety.  It was also an effective treatment for depression.

In addition to the research information shared above, other benefits of tai chi include increased stamina, improved strength,  greater flexibility, enhanced immunity, pain relief, improved cardiorespiratory fitness, greater sense of self-control, feeling empowered, increased concentration, and tranquility.

There are other reasons tai chi is such an excellent choice when it comes to exercise. It is affordable, can practiced almost any place, no special equipment is needed, and it appeals to all ages and abilities. The Ohio State University Extension offers virtual tai chi classes throughout the year. If you would like to try a class or are interested in finding out more information, please contact your local extension office. A new sixteen class virtual series will begin again in September.

Written by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

Reviewed by: Kenneth Stewart, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Monroe County


Chen, Nina. “Health Benefits of Tai Chi Exercise.” University of Missouri Extension, 18 Jan. 2018, https://extension.missouri.edu/news/health-benefits-of-tai-chi-exercise-3475.

Tai Chi for Health Institute, 8 Feb. 2022, https://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/.

“Tai Chi Boosts Heart Health!” Cleveland HeartLab, Inc., 24 July 2020, https://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/tai-chi-boosts-heart-health/.

Leonardi, Monica. “Photo by Monica Leonardi on Unsplash.” Beautiful Free Images & Pictures, 19 Jan. 2020, https://unsplash.com/photos/Bp8rssVTi-o.

Picnic basket, flowers, and a book on a blanket in a field.

The days are getting warmer, and the nights are getting longer. Whether you are grilling out, enjoying lunch on the lake, or a picnic at your favorite place, it is important to keep your friends and family safe while having fun.

Food Safety:

Anytime you are working with or preparing food it is vital that you wash your hands. You want to be sure you are washing your hands before and after any task. You also want to wash your hands between handling different food items. Another key task is cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards and work areas to prevent cross contamination.

Temperature Danger Zone:

Another thing to be aware of when preparing food for gatherings is the temperature danger zone. The USDA classifies the temperature “Danger Zone” between 40 ° and 140 °F. The Meat and Poultry hotline states to never leave food out of refrigeration for over 2 hours.

When you are grilling out, remember to cook raw meat and poultry to the correct minimum internal temperatures.

Minimum Internal Temperatures:

  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source.
  • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Along with food safety, enjoy your summer by using these tips and tricks to have a great picnic with your friends and family.

 Tips for the Perfect Picnic:

Consider these tips for the perfect picnic.

  • Keep your cooler ready. If you are planning to make picnics a regular part of your summer, consider investing in a cooler-on-wheels for portability. To help keep foods cold, chill them in the refrigerator before packing and keep them in the cooler until serving time.
  • Fill empty drink bottles half full of water or juice and freeze. The frozen drinks will act as ice packs to keep the picnic cool in transit. At your destination, top off the bottles with water or a drink to enjoy with your meal.
  • Be mindful of your picnic location. When planning your food items, consider where you are going. Even if it is just to the park, it will help you prepare by considering the setting. Avoid anything that gets drippy, limp, or wimpy in warm weather. Gelatin salad is a perfect example of what not to take, and even tossed salads will wilt if left in the sun or warm weather for very long.
  • Make a menu. For an easy menu, have a fix-your-own sandwich bar. Fill plastic containers with pre-sliced sandwich fixings such as lettuce, tomatoes, cheeses, meats, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. Set out hearty breads, crusty rolls or tortilla wraps and condiments.
  • Simple finger food, like carrots, celery, sliced bell peppers are cool, crispy additions to any picnic plate and a great way to include vegetables. Add a vegetable dip, and you have a quick and easy side dish.
  • Keep supplies on hand. Create a supply list and Include the following items: napkins, plates, cups, garbage bags, plastic bags that seal, serving utensils and cutting knives, can opener, cutting board, salt and pepper, packets of condiments, blanket to sit on, hand sanitizer, wet wipes or a wet washcloth in a plastic bag, paper towels, insect repellent.

To include a healthy, fun recipe; check out this MyPlate recipe for Broccoli Salad:


Food Safety and Inspection Service. How Temperatures Affect Food | Food Safety and Inspection Service. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-            and-preparation/food-safety-basics/how-temperatures-affect-food

Lemly, K. (2021, May 24). Picnics, Cookouts, and Family Reunions! Live Healthy Live Well . Retrieved June 14, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/05/24/picnics-cookouts-and-family- reunions/

University, U. S. (2020, January 28). Ask an expert: Five tips for the Perfect Picnic. USU. Retrieved June      14, 2022, from https://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/perfect-picnic

Written by: Megan Zwick, Program Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

Reviewed by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Greene County.

There is a popular sitcom with an infamous scene about what does it mean to “fold in the cheese”? The dynamic mother-son duo dispute how to fold in cheese…with neither knowing how to fold, leaves me laughing with tears in my eyes every time!

When baking it is important to know the differences between common terms such as stir, fold, and whisk as each method produces different results.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Stir: Stirring is the basic mixing method used in baking and also the simplest. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, ingredients are mixed until uniformly blended. There is no vigorous motion, as you are not trying to preserve volume or add air to the mixture, just simply combine ingredients until evenly distributed.

Fold: Folding is done to ensure that the mixture maintains a light, fluffy texture. Air is the key to success here, you do not want to deflate your ingredients as you combine them. To fold, you typically use a rubber spatula or flat spoon. Before folding, gently whisk a quarter of the lighter mixture into the heavier mixture until it is almost fully incorporated. Then gradually add the remaining light mixture to the top of the heavy mixture. Folding is the process of cutting through the center of the mixture to the bottom of the bowl, sliding the spatula across the bottom and up the side of the bowl, lifting the ingredients up off the bottom and gently onto the top. Rotate your bowl a quarter of a turn and repeat.

Whisk: To add air (volume) into wet ingredients, whisking is the method to use. Typically, whisking is used to make whip cream, light fluffy omelets, or meringue. Using your wrist, use a handheld whisk to jolt the whisk in a side-to-side motion. This motion agitates the mixture back and forth against itself creating the shear force needed to create the desired volume. Whisking in a round motion only works on one item, egg whites, due to the protein structure.

Reading a recipe is a skill. Be sure to not just skim it, but to look and understand each step from start to finish. If you are trying out a skill for the first time, look up how-to videos before you start, so that you feel prepared and have the required tools on hand. Make notes and highlight any special instructions so that you are prepped and ready to go. Most importantly, have fun, create memories, learn new skills, and be creative. And if all doesn’t go according to plan, just laugh, and try again. Practice makes perfect and delicious.


Husted, E. (2006). Glossary of food terms, Oregon State University Extension. Retrieved from https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/4-h93111.pdf

KitchenAid. (N.D.) Mix, Fold, Whisk, and Cream. Retrieved from https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/countertop-appliances/difference-mix-fold-whisk-cream.html

Purdue University. (2002). Cooking techniques.  Retrieved from https://www.four-h.purdue.edu/foods/Cooking%20techniques.htm

Southern Living. (N.D.). How to fold in meringue for light and fluffy desserts. Retrieved from https://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/how-to-fold-in-meringue

The Accidental Scientist. (N.D.). Science of Eggs. Science of Cooking. Retrieved from https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/eggscience.html#:~:text=The%20proteins%20in%20an%20egg,the%20water%20that%20surrounds%20it.

Wikipedia. (N.D.). Shear force. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shear_force

Written by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Ph.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Melissa Rupp, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fulton County

Take steps to explore your financial well-being

The OSU Extension Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest was released July 7, 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic and updated April 1, 2022 to address emergent global economic upheaval.  What is a Hope Chest? Historically, the term hope chest symbolized hope in a marriage or union…key words include vessel and a symbol of hope. The update contains current research to “help people help themselves” by aligning spending and saving within our control.

The past 26 months have taxed individuals and family’s financial wellness. It makes sense to explore the status of our financial well-being.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau developed a tool to gauge individuals financial well-being.  The research was led by a team from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).  The research team suggests financial well-being is defined as a state of being where you:

§ Have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances
§ Have the capacity to absorb a financial shock
§ Are on track to meet your financial goals
§ Have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life

Because individuals and family’s value different things, traditional economic measures such as income or net worth do not capture the emergent aspects of financial well-being today. We must dive deeper, as the quality of our lives is largely determined by the choices we make.  By becoming aware of how to make choices that are best for you and others, you can become what is known as a self-forming person.

Self-forming people are those who take responsibility for their own lives.  They craft their futures by the actions they take and the choices they make.  Self-formation is a lifelong process of maturing and developing thinking skills. It develops as you interact with others, deciding what is most important to you, and taking action that is best for yourself and others.

Now click on the Financial Well-Being questionnaire tool, answer the 10 questions, and tally your score. Then use the information you learned about yourself to assist you when you take the first steps to prioritize your spending separating your needs from your wants. Click here to begin.

Below is the link for the Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest tool to help you develop and move forward with your state of self-formation and financial wellness. 

Click image to access the complete Hope Chest

Written by Margaret Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Clermont County

Reviewed by Mackenzie Mahon, Extension Educator, 4-H/FCS, OSU Extension Clermont County


  • A Sorgente, M Lanz – International Journal of Behavioral …, 2019 – journals.sagepub.com.  The multidimensional subjective financial well-being scale for emerging adults: Development and validation studies
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (2022) Your Money Your Goals. at consumerfinance.gov/practitioner-resources/your-money-your-goals
  • J.F Laster – Journal of the Japan Association of Home Economics …, 2008 – jstage.jst.go.jp… Journal of the Japan Association of Hemc Economics Educution50(4) (2008.t Nurturing critical literacy through practical problem solving

Farmers markets are in high gear and cucumbers will soon be multiplying right before our eyes! Cucumbers are a favorite during the summer months because they are so easy to eat! Just wash, slice, and eat!

Cucumbers are very versatile and pack a punch when it comes to good nutrition. They contain fiber, protein, and have only 8 calories in a half cup! That is less than a sip of sweetened coffee or a bite of a burger!

It is during the summer months that I use up my extra cukes and make a family favorite dip called Cucumber Dill Dip. It’s so easy and takes only 5 minutes to make. It is also low in fat and high in protein because I use Greek yogurt (high in protein, low in fat) instead of sour cream (high in fat, low in protein). And don’t worry…it doesn’t “taste” healthy, because the spices flavor the yogurt, and no one will know that it is healthier!

To learn how to prepare, watch a 3-minute video I made: Garden to Plate Garden to Plate: Cucumber Dill Dip and see how easy it is to make.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Then, combine the cucumbers to the yogurt, then add spices and chill for 2 hours so the flavors can absorb and come together for a great flavor! The ingredients of the dip are very simple and usually found in your refrigerator and home garden.

Finally, cucumbers can be enjoyed not only in the summer, but all year long as they have many benefits outside the body as well. You can use cucumbers on sunburn skin and let the high-water content in the cucumber help your skin to rehydrate. You can also use a few cold slices on your eyes at least once a week to help ease puffiness and increase hydration. They work great!

I hope you will drop a cucumber in your grocery cart this week! And let me know if you tried making my Cucumber Dill Dip at gallup.1@osu.edu

Happy Summertime!  

Written by Shari Gallup, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by Laura M. Stanton and Roseann Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educators, Ohio State University Extension, Warren and Darke County, stanton.60.osu.edu, scammahorn.5@osu.edu.


Gallup. S. L. (2015). Garden to Plate Cucumber Dill Dip. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ25TWEx6es&t=4s

DiLonardo, Mary Jo. (2020). Cucumber. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/cucumber-health-benefits

Ohio Proud. Find a Farmers Market. http://ohioproud.org/farm-markets-all/farmers-market-search/find-a-farmers-market/#!directory/map

Taking care of your brain health should be a priority throughout the year, but warmer weather brings many opportunities to show your brain some love.  The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation shares the four pillars of fitness that are crucial to promoting brain health.

The first pillar of nutritional fitness includes a good healthy Mediterranean diet filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and heart healthy fats. This type of diet promotes vascular health, reduces inflammation and is full of antioxidants. The abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables during the summer months, makes it a perfect time to inspire a brain friendly diet.

Regardless of age, we are all mentally fresher and sharper when we get regular, vigorous physical activity. This is where the second pillar of physical fitness becomes important. According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation regular exercise can reduce your risk of cognitive decline and memory loss by up to 50 percent. To see the best benefits of your exercise program, it is recommended that you get 150 minutes per week of a combination of cardio exercise and strength training. The opportunities to get outside and exercise are abundant during the summer months.

The third pillar is stress fitness. Chronic stress can result in inflammation, sleeplessness, and mental health concerns. Finding ways to reduce your stress and promote positive mental health is another important step in loving your brain.  Research has shown yoga, mindfulness, and meditation benefit stress fitness by reducing cognitive decline and perceived stress while increasing overall quality of life. Like physical fitness, warmer weather brings opportunities to connect with nature and reduce stress.

Developing and maintaining strong spiritual connections is the last pillar of brain health. Spiritual fitness by whatever means that works for you will promote a higher level of brain health throughout your entire life.

Building a better memory, preventing Alzheimer’s and memory loss all depend on your lifestyle. Now is the perfect time to jumpstart your brain health and show it the love it deserves.


Kathy Tutt, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, tutt.19@osu.edu


Roseanne Scammahorn, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County, scammahorn.5@osu.edu


     Khalsa, D., & Newberg, A. (2021). Spiritual Fitness: A new dimension in alzheimer’s disease prevention. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease: JAD80(2), 505–519. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201433

     Kivipelto, M., Palmer, K., Hoang, T., & Yaffe, K. (2022). Trials and treatments for vascular brain health: Risk factor modification and cognitive outcomes, Stroke, 53(2), 444-456

     Russell-Williams, J., Jaroudi, W., Perich, T., Hoscheidt, S., El Haj, M., & Moustafa, A. (2018). Mindfulness and meditation: treating cognitive impairment and reducing stress in dementia. Reviews in the Neurosciences29(7), 791–804. https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2017-0066


Juneteenth flag

What do you do to celebrate Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a holiday signifying the date June 19, 1865, when a Union general told the slaves in Galveston, Texas that slavery had been abolished ­– two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves. Last year Juneteenth became an official national holiday, after congress passed the Juneteenth Act and President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021.

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, “Juneteenth is a time to gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future”. You can celebrate this holiday in many ways, including music and food!

Juneteenth celebrations often include picnics or cookouts, customarily celebrated with foods red in color. The color red signifies ingenuity and resilience in bondage and it’s also a nod to drinks traditional to West Africa that were made with hibiscus flowers and red kola nuts, according to historian Adrian Miller.

Some red produce options for your Juneteenth celebration include:

water infused with strawberries and fresh herbs
  • Strawberries – in-season right now, you could celebrate Juneteenth by visiting a strawberry patch to pick and enjoy this fresh fruit. Strawberries can also be added to fresh squeezed lemonade, combined with basil to make a refreshing infused water, or used in desserts like strawberry shortcake.
  • Red cabbage – you could make a crunchy red cabbage slaw with a red wine vinaigrette.
  • Watermelon – eat as is, make it the centerpiece of a fantastic fruit salad, or create a fun fruit pizza.
  • Beets – roast and add to a salad, or puree into a colorful dip.
  • Red beans – try a traditional red beans and rice dish.
a plate of watermelon slices

Other traditional foods served at Juneteenth celebrations include collard greens, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, corn bread, red velvet cake, strawberry soda, and smoked or barbecued meats.

Whichever foods you choose to add to your Juneteenth celebration, I hope that you enjoy your holiday!

Writer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Ross County.


National Museum of African American History and Culture. Juneteenth. https://nmaahc.si.edu/events/juneteenth

Turner, T. (2021). Chow Line: Healthy red food options for Juneteenth. https://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/chow-line-healthy-red-food-options-for-juneteenth

a pile of to-do lists

Are you a list maker? It’s ok, I am too! There is something wonderfully satisfying about making a list. Even more fulfilling is checking, crossing, staring or otherwise denoting the completion of one of its tasks. I think post it notes are a perfect stocking stuffer (even though my kids don’t) and having a stash of them at home, work, and in my car is necessary for me to live a productive life. That’s normal, isn’t it? Well, even if you do not have Glazomania (the unrecognized term for the love of making lists), research shows that I am not alone in my obsession, and perhaps making lists is actually one of my healthier habits. Read on as I list the reasons why….

NPR suggests (or lists) 10 reasons why people like lists: 

1. Lists bring order to chaos. My husband dreads my lists, but agrees that they keep us on track.

2. Lists help us remember things, like when we need to buy more milk at the store.

3. Most lists are finite.

4. Lists can be meaningful – think of a bucket list.

5. Lists can be as long or as short as necessary. New Year’s resolutions could be considered a list!

6. Making lists could help make you famous! Famous list makers include Thomas Jefferson, Martha Stewart, and Benjamin Franklin.

7. The word “list” can be tracked back to William Shakespeare.

8. Lists relieve stress and focus the mind.

9. Lists can force people to say revealing things – think best and worst dresses lists.

10. Lists can keep us from procrastinating.

According to Psychologist Dr. David Cohen, “we love to-do lists for three reasons: they dampen anxiety about the chaos of life; they give us a structure, a plan that we can stick to; and they are proof of what we have achieved that day, week or month.” I will add sometimes they are just fun; think David Letterman’s Top 10 lists. Psychologists Claude Messner and Michaela Wänke state, “the more we know about something—including precisely how much time it will consume—the greater the chance we will commit to it.”

However, E.J. Masicampo, an associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University warns us about dangers associated with list making. He says they can become “mental graveyards”, meaning ideas go there to die. If we don’t accomplish the contents of out lists, they may become a source of anxiety, or worse, begin a cycle of unrealized ideas which can stunt our ambition.

For most of us, the physical reminder of a list can help manage the anxiety of a hectic week and bring order to our lives. In her book To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us author Sasha Cagen shares a compilation of her lists and discusses how she became known as a to-do list-ologist. I am going to stick with my post it notes, but for those who want to take their list making to the next level, there are apps for that. Check out these online favorites: Todoist, Evernote, and Monday.com. Feel free to list them in the order you like!

Written by Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Butler County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County


Cagen, S. (2007). To-do list: From buying milk to finding a soul mate, what our lists reveal about us. https://www.sashacagen.com/to-do-list-book/

Guardian News and Media. (2017, May 10). The psychology of the to-do list – why your brain loves ordered tasks. The Guardian. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/10/the-psychology-of-the-to-do-list-why-your-brain-loves-ordered-tasks

Kent, L. (2020, July 14). The psychology behind to-do lists and how they can make you feel less anxious. CNN. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/14/health/to-do-lists-psychology-coronavirus-wellness/index.html

Konnikova, M. (2013, December 2). A list of reasons why our brains love lists. The New Yorker. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/a-list-of-reasons-why-our-brains-love-lists

Weeks, L. (2009, February 24). 10 reasons why we love making lists. NPR. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2009/02/24/101056819/10-reasons-why-we-love-making-lists

You would have to live in a bubble to have missed that there is a national shortage of infant formula. Stock on formula moved below normal during the pandemic and is now even lower due to a manufacturing plant closure. With these shortages, many parents or caregivers are rightfully concerned about feeding their children.

Nutrition during the first year of an infant’s life is critical. Most will triple their weight during this time and need essential nutrients for optimum growth. Breast milk is considered the best source of nutrition for babies, as it naturally contains the nutrients that a baby needs for early growth and development. And, breastfeeding is good for moms, too! But, many families end up using formula at some point in the first year, often due to special needs of the infant. Thankfully, infant formula is fortified to contain nutrients found in breastmilk like essential fatty acids, vitamins, zinc, protein, and even probiotics. If the infant formula shortage is impacting those you love, what can you do?

  • First, talk to your physician to see if they have samples or can suggest a switch to a more available formula brand. Or, if you child is approaching their first birthday, see if they would advise an earlier move to whole milk.baby bottle
  • Connect with community agencies like WIC, Community Action, the United Way, or a Food Bank to see if they have formula available for you to use.
  • Contact the manufacturer directly to see if they can send you formula or direct you to a supplier.
  • Use social media sources like parent’s groups or notify your friends or family so they know the brand and type you are looking for.
  • Try sources like the new Find My Baby Formula online system created by a new father who was struggling to find the formula his son needed. Fortunately, he is a computer programmer who could create a program to monitor markets and notify parents when and where supplies are available.
  • Always make formula as directed by the manufacturer. Do not water it down or try to make your own.
  • Always prepare bottles with clean hands and feeding supplies.
  • Buy what you need, but do not hoard formula; by hoarding, you just contribute to the problem.

While researching this topic I reached out to several families with infants as well as friends in the child nutrition field. While most said they had not personally had problems finding what their child needed, they did know of others who had reported difficulties. Hopefully the formula airlifts by the government and industry changes will prevent future problems for families. We all want lots of happy, healthy babies.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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