Archive for July, 2013

Family reunions . . . some individuals and families love them; some hate them and avoid them like the plague. Regardless of your thoughts, family reunions play a vital role in strengthening families. They are designed to establish healthy family relationships by providing opportunities for family members to connect/reconnect, reminisce, share family history stories, create new memories, and add meaning to life all while having fun.Family Portrait

Whether you come from a large or a small family, planning a family reunion can be a daunting task. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Solicit help from family members. Identify a contact person from each nuclear family to assist in the planning process. Not only does this alleviate one person from doing it all, but this person serves as the communication contact person for their respective family. By soliciting help from others, you’ll gather more input, thus increasing your chances of planning a reunion that has something of interest for everyone.

Thing to consider when planning a family reunion:

• Location – personal residence or a rented facility. If using a rented facility, consider ways to generate dollars to help support rental fee – white elephant auction, pass the hat, develop and sell a family cookbook, or offer a 50/50 drawing.
• Date & Time – keep consistent from year to year (first Sunday after Labor Day – lunch at 12:00 noon)
• Invitations – informal or formal
• Menu – potluck or assign dishes for families to bring – i.e. main dish, side dish, salads, finger foods, desserts, etc. Rotate on an annual basis.
• Activities/Entertainment – plan activities that are age appropriate, of personal interest, and appeal to everyone. (Search the Internet for endless possibilities.)
• Travel/Accommodations – travel is a major consideration especially if you have family members from coast to coast. Be cognizant of this when selecting a location and date.

As you begin planning your next family reunion, consider creating a fun family party that will deepen relationships, make memories and add meaning to life. Remember, family reunions are designed to be fun, while creating lasting memories for the whole family. Relax, let go and enjoy.


Chenault, Jerry A. Fun Ideas for Family Gatherings, Metro News, Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Traywick, LaVona, Dr., Family Reunions, University of Arkansas System.

Planning a family reunion that will add meaning and make memories. Retrieved from http://www.family-reunion-success.com, June 27, 2013.

Family Reunion Ideas for the Perfect Reunion. Retrieved from http://myfamilyreunionideas.org, June 27, 2013.

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross County, Ohio Valley EERA; and Elizabeth Smith, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA.


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fourth july

Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate our independence with picnics, barbecues, parades, fireworks and family gatherings. Let’s celebrate safely this Fourth of July with the following safety tips.

Food Safety Practices

•Perishable foods are limited to 2 hours sitting at room temperature (just one hour if it is over 90 degrees). Keep cold foods on ice. Hot foods can be kept hot on the grill. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and discard any perishable food that has been out too long in the hot temperatures.
• Use a clean platter and grill spatula to take the cooked food off the grill. The juices left on the grill spatula during grilling and the platter used to hold the uncooked meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.
• Use a food thermometer to determine if the grilled meat is done. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to ensure it has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

o Poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
o Hamburgers (ground meats) cooked to 160 degrees F.
o Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees F.
o Hot dogs should be cooked to 165 degrees F.

Grilling Safety

• Never grill indoors, in the garage, carports, under awnings
• Always keep your grill away from house siding, railings, trees and anything else flammable
• Check gas grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks
• Keep children away from the grill

Be a Safe Swimmer

• Never swim alone
• Be sure children are supervised at all times


• Keep children away from floats and vehicles traveling on a parade route
• Be sure children know what to do if they become lost or separated from parents or supervisors
• Designate a meeting place as soon as you arrive in a public location
• Remember to keep your cell phone battery charged.
Leave fireworks to the professionals
• It is not worth the risk to end up injured playing with fireworks.
• Enjoy the fireworks display in your community!
Stay safe and celebrate this 4th of July!

Resources: fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education

Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewers: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, MFCS, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

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

Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Elizabeth Smith, RD,LD, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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