Archive for August, 2014

Fall Challenge 2014

Join Ohio State University Extension for a six-week personal wellness challenge. This fall the Live Healthy Live Well challenge for better health will run from September 8-October 19. This is an online challenge designed to help adults get fit by encouraging regular physical activity, healthy eating and wellness tips. This is a free event. Participants will receive e-communications twice weekly sent directly to you from your local OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Professional. This challenge focuses on:

• Organic/natural foods
• Calcium and fiber in your diet
• Superfoods
• Gluten-free and whole grains
• Incorporating fitness into your day
Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/Mahoningfall14
Once you register, you will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of September 8, 2014.
We look forward to taking this fall challenge journey together!

Written by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, MA, LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu



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bmiWeight is a topic that gets discussed from the moment we are born. “You just had a baby girl? How much did she weigh?” While we are young, we happily get on the scales and announce that we have gained a couple more pounds. Weight determines which car seat an infant or toddler or young child needs to be safe while riding in a vehicle. Weight is documented on a chart each time we visit the Dr.’s office.

It seems though, that as we grow older, we feel more insecure about our weight. Most likely we are comparing ourselves to all of our friends and acquaintances thinking more about our body size, shape, and overall appearance rather than our weight. I find that looking in a mirror, I feel pretty good, but when I see myself in pictures I am very self-conscious that I am “bigger” than I thought.

Weight seems to creep up slowly for many over the years, and as we age it is more difficult to lose. Our metabolism slows down. We sit more than we did as youth and young adults. We are eating on the run and indulging in treats more often. So, what should we, as adults, do to equip ourselves with the best plan for living a healthy life?

Knowledge is power.

  1. We should not avoid the scales, but we should not overdo either. It is best to weigh yourself once a week at the same time. This will give you the best comparison. Once you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index). To calculate your BMI the formula is: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703. You may also use this BMI Calculator from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
  2. We need to also evaluate our Waist Circumference. A BMI alone may not give us a full picture. For example, persons with high muscle mass will often have a high BMI when they are actually very fit and healthy. While standing, use a flexible tape measure to find your waist circumference just above your hip bones. For women, a waist above 35 inches may indicate additional health risks. For men, a waist circumference above 40 inches may be of concern.
  3. Finally, we want to think about other risks such as family history, tobacco use, an inactive lifestyle, men over the age of 45 and women who have gone through menopause, and having already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, or some other chronic disease.

Weight is just one indicator of our health and it is one many of us struggle with maintaining in a healthy range, but it is one worth tracking. Decreasing our body weight by just 5 – 10% can greatly reduce our risk of health problems. My husband has been working hard to lose some weight and eat healthier. I am consuming more vegetables and increasing my activity. When we support one another in our healthful adventures, it is more fun and the results are greater. What are you doing to reach and maintain a healthy weight? Let’s get started!

Author: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D. SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu

Reviewer: Liz Smith, R.D.N., L.D. SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! 16 July 2014. Web.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.” 2010. http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov. Web.

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This time of year many home gardens are filled with those last few tomatoes, peppers, or onions. If you are looking for a quick idea try salsa to make a tasty treat that is good for you and easy to prepare. Tomatoes – the main ingredient in many salsa recipes contain:

  • only 32 calories per cup
  • lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant with cancer preventing properties
  • potassium and Vitamin B, known for improving blood pressure and cardio-vascular disease
  • Vitamin A, known for building healthy eyes

Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Shari Gallup has created a “Garden to Plate” video series which demonstrates the ease of preparing your own salsa, rather than purchasing it. Follow this link to view “Garden to Plate – Salsa” http://youtu.be/Diu1s-jnEyo.

salsa recipe

If you want to make a canned salsa to use later in the year check out our Ohio State University Extension link to food preservation resources. We even have a video to guide you through the steps with water bath canning of salsa.    To see salsa recipes and our OSU Extension Salsa Factsheet go to http://ohioline.osu.edu/ To be creative with your salsa recipe – freeze your salsa in food safe containers for up to 12 months (home canned salsas should only follow tested recipes and food preservation methods).

Take your garden to your plate with salsa!

Writers: Lisa Barlage and Shari Gallup, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educators, barlage.7@osu.edu and gallup.1@osu.edu.


Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/tomatoes_provide_many_health_benefits.

Linnette Goard, Ohio State University Extension, Associate Professor, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, goard.1@osu.edu.

Kansas State University Extension, http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/sty/2007/homemade_salsa090507.htm.

Garden to Plate Series, Ohio State University Extension, Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Licking County, http://licking.osu.edu/news/new-our-garden-to-plate-videos.


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The Centers for Disease Control (2011) estimates that there are about 48 million cases of food borne illnesses every year. Fortunately, most of us can experience a foodborne illness with little or no symptoms. For others, severe cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and even death can occur. Certain groups are more at risk for severe illness: the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who have weakened immune systems due to illness.

A recent Center for Science in the Public Interest report suggests that although restaurants are the number one location for reported foodborne illnesses, private homes are second. Restaurants serve a high volume of people making them susceptable to food borne illness, so are held to extremely high safety standards which we don’t always adhere to at home. Practicing poor personal hygiene, contaminating ready-to-eat food with raw meat juices, not cooking foods to proper temperatures, and not storing foods properly are all culprits when people get sick from their very own kitchens.

One critical food safety practice that restaurants adhere to but we as consumers often neglect is cleaning AND then sanitizing all food contact surfaces. Cleaning involves removing dirt from surfaces using soap and water. Sanitizing involves reducing germs to safe levels on a food contact surface by applying chemicals or heat. Both cleaning and sanitizing are important steps to keep food safe. If you don’t clean, your sanitizer won’t work well and you’ll still have germs. If you don’t sanitize, you’ll have a clean surface full of germs.

According to a new Ohio State University Extension factsheet entitled “Cleaning and Sanitizing in the Kitchen: Using inexpensive household food-safe products” there are several points to consider when cleaning and sanitizing:

  • Cleaning and Sanitizing should be considered BEFORE and AFTER food preparation on a daily bases if you live with those who are at risk for foodborne illness and/or if you have a pet that climbs on counters. Otherwise, you’ll need to think about what is best given your situation.
  • When cleaning with soap and water, make sure to rinse with clean water and air dry or dry with a paper towel. Soap residue can reduce the effectiveness of a sanitizer.
  • When sanitizing, leave the sanitizer on the surface for the recommended amount of time. Allow it to air dry or dry with a paper towel.

Unfortunately, commercial sanitizers are often expensive and not always eco-friendly. Consider using the following inexpensive household products as sanitizers:

  •  Diluted Chlorine Bleach (6.1%) Solution – Mix 1 scant teaspoon with a 1 quart of room temperature water and apply to food contact surface for 1 minute. This solution can be kept in a spray bottle for one week. Chlorine bleach will kill Listeria, E.coli, and Salmonella.
  • Undiluted Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) – Apply warm (130 degrees) for 1 minute or apply at room temperature for 10 minutes. The warm method is more effective against Listeria and so should be considered if preparing food for pregnant women.
  • Undiluted White Distilled Vinegar (5%) – Apply warm (130 degrees) for 1 minute or apply at room temperature for 10 minutes. The warm method is more effective against Listeria and E. Coli but both methods are effective at preventing Salmonella.
  • Baking Soda has not been proven to be an effective sanitizer.






Dan Remley, Assistant Professor

Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

OSU Extension


Marilyn Rabe

Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Franklin County rabe.9@osu.edu

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“The more committed a child is to learning, the more likely it is that he or she will grow up healthy.” – Peter L. Benson, Ph.D.

14 August blog

Believe it or not, summer break is nearly over and school will officially be back in session soon. Going back to school can be an exciting time for many students; and for others, a source of added stress. However, there are things parents can do to help make the transition from summer vacation into the school routine less stressful.

The good news is children are born learners. They are curious about the world around them. They are motivated learners who accept some responsibility for their own education. They understand that success comes as a result of their own efforts. They pay attention and concentrate on school-related tasks. Successful students can ignore or reduce distractions in the environment or from their own thoughts which can interfere with learning.

Here are a few tips parents can use to encourage success in school.

1. Develop a study plan/routine.

Involve your child in establishing a specific time every day for homework and general reading. Check with the teachers to see how much homework to expect for your child. Some elementary school students have 20‐30 minutes a day set aside for this purpose. Junior and senior high school students may need at least 30‐45 minutes for daily study time. Some schools expect students to spend at least 15 minutes per subject each day on homework.

2. Create an environment conducive to learning.

Make your home a place where it is easy for your child to learn. Keep books, magazines, catalogs and writing materials within easy reach. Make sure that your child has a place to study. This could be in the child’s room, in the kitchen, or in another place where the lighting is good, and it’s quiet. Be near enough to answer questions that your child has.

3. Become a mentor/coach for your child.

Be enthusiastic! It can be contagious. Don’t give the message that homework is a boring chore; children who do well, enjoy learning. If your child does not seem motivated to do well in school, try to find ways to make the learning fun.

4. Listen.

Listen carefully when your child talks about having difficulty with her homework. Encourage her to break down problems into small steps.

5. Get to know your child’s teachers.

Get to know your child’s teachers and what they expect. Compare your goals for your child to those of the teachers. Make sure your child knows of your interest in his/her school. This will send the message that what they are doing is important.

Talk with your child and find out their concerns. If you learn your child feels ignored or “picked on” in the classroom, talk with the appropriate school official. If you can’t find the time to visit in person, call the teachers or attach notes to your child’s homework they are taking back to school.

One of the most difficult challenges facing parents and teachers today is that of encouraging youth to value learning and make a personal commitment to education. Youth who develop a love of learning will not only increase their chances of academic and career success as adults, but will also be more likely to avoid problem behaviors and negative peer pressure.


How Parents Can Help Their Kids Be Successful in School, August 9, 2012 in Families Matter http://extension.udel.edu/factsheet/how-parents-can-help-their-kids-be-successful-in-school/

Back to School Success, by Bill Stone, http://lee.ces.ncsu.edu/2013/10/back-to-school-success-2/

SCHOOL SUCCESS, (2005) by Peter L. Benson, Ph.D., What Kids Need to Succeed http://cte.ed.gov/nationalinitiatives/gandctools_viewfile.cfm?d=600051

Encouraging Success in School, by Beth D. Gaydos, Faculty Emeritus, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Written by: Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Polly Loy , Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Bridgett Kidd, Extension Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, Human Ecology Extension Administration

Reviewed by: Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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MP900439398[1]We’ve all see the back-to-school commercials with joyous parents clicking their heels and dancing around with the mere thought of the start of the new school year. The reality is that August can be a very stressful time for both children and those responsible for getting their children back to school. Parents already have a lot on their plate and as families get ready for a new school year, they can be overwhelmed with the additional financial stressors — paying for back-to-school supplies, clothes and possibly tuition. In a recent consumer survey, 65% of parents cited back to school shopping as their number one stressor related to the new school year.

While there is financial stress associated with heading back to school, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune every year. Here a few great ideas for saving money while getting them everything they need.

  • Prepare a budget with your child. He’ll learn a lesson in responsibility and be less likely to get upset if you can’t afford something he wants.
  • Make a list. Use the recommended or required supplies from your child’s school and stick to it. Extra supplies, while they may be cute, will probably never get used and just leave your pockets empty.
  • Take inventory. Sort through last year’s supplies to see what is left over or can be reused.
  • Hold off buying trendier gear. Kids love the latest superhero or princess lunch box or pencil cases in July, but once they start school and see that their friends are all using another kind, they’ll want an upgrade. The result is wasted cash.
  • Shop end-of-summer sales.  Many children wear short sleeved shirts throughout the year as layers. You will get good use of the deep discounts on short sleeved shirts and shorts well into the fall.
  • Check your closets. Let the kids pick out something new to wear on the first day of school, so I just buy one outfit (or shirt). Their summer clothes will last them well into September most of the time, so I wait to buy clothes for cooler weather.
  • Shop the supermarket and discount stores for basic supplies. Check weekly circulars for great deals on pens and loose-leaf paper, and get your weekly grocery shopping done at the same time. Buying everything in one place saves time and money.


Finally, to reduce stress and save on back-to-school shopping, it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. Let your child help you,  With proper planning, you can prepare your children for another school year without breaking the bank and your family’s budget.



Dealing With Back to School Blues., APA Help Center, American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/school-rush.aspx

Peterson, N.&  Shoup Olsen, C. Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, Tips for Parents: Trim Back-To-School Stress, http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/Families/doc13642.ashx



Written by: Kathy Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, Miami Valley EERA

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, Heart of Ohio EERA



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Why do you listen to music? Take a moment to think about where you are at, what you are doing or how you are feeling when you choose to play music.
People listen to music:
• for a boost and to relieve stress
• to keep them awake during a long car journey
• to help them relax or fall asleep
• to soothe their baby
• to dance with their children or family
• to break up the work day
• to run faster
• to deal with a break up
• to influence their creativity

While we know music helps us daily to accomplish tasks, change our moods, deal with problems, relax, exercise and even celebrate – it can also be a therapy.

Music and rhythmic sounds have been used as healing powers for centuries throughout the world. It is only recently that modern physicians have rediscovered how music can help emotional and physical health and wellness through music therapy. Through music’s rhythm, order and predictability, it can help people express themselves and improve speech, walk, and move better, and improve memory. Music therapy can also help relieve pain, anxiety and long term illnesses (cancer, stroke, heart disease, respiratory conditions) or help with a progressive disease such as Parkinson’s.

Research has also shown that:

  • Music helps the brain produce a calming substance and slow down your body when it’s overactive.
  • Listening to music can have a real effect on various parts of the brain such as memory and vision.
  • Music really can change our mood and even help us concentrate.
  • While listening to music, patients’ blood pressures and heart rates became more stable.
  • Listening to pleasurable music is good for your heart because it can produce ‘musical chills’ which trigger the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Even though the science of music therapy is still in the early stages it has shown to have a significant positive impact on our health and well being.

Ah, the healing power of music – that’s music to my health – and your health too!

Graceland gate

Writer: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, Heart of Ohio EERA, heer.7@osu.edu

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






Photo credits:

Stocking around – http:///www.freeimages.com/photo/522119

graceland memphis tennessee gates musical notes –


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