Archive for January, 2018

My teenage daughter affectionately call me “Mom-ther”. My teenage son calls me “Momma”. When they were tiny humans, they called me “Mommy”. No matter your moniker or how you came to be raising another human, parenting can be both the most rewarding and joyous experience and also one of the hardest things you have ever done. Whether you are celebrating the joys or crying through the struggles, there are things as parents we can do each day to help ourselves (and our children).

There can be a lot of pressure as you raise another person to become an adult.  Each of us brings our own history (positive and negative) and our own strengths and weaknesses.  Please know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  Each of us has a different parenting style. Each of our families has a different set of norms and expectations, so please do not compare your parenting to another.


The United States Department of Education offers these tips for being an effective parent:

  • Show love. Say “I love you” in as many ways as you can: write notes, send a text, use one of their favorite communication apps.
  • Give support. Be present. Turn of the electronics. Talk and engage. Be a part of their lives.  Show interest in what they are interested in.
  • Set limits. Be clear and be consistent about your expectations. I have said many times “our house rules are not the same as others, but my job is to keep you safe and healthy.”
  • Be a role model. Be kind.   Don’t gossip.  Be strong.  Show empathy.  Our children are seeing how we interact with the world and will emulate whatever we do.
  • Teach responsibility. Give children the opportunity to learn this while they are still at home with you.
  • Provide new experiences. Step out of your comfort zone and try new activities, foods, and cultural events.
  • Show respect. Ask questions and listen for the answers. Valuing our children as humans with their own thought and desires can help them and us immensely.

Another important part of being an effective parent is for you to keep learning! The Center for Disease Control has compiled many resources to help you as you seek out information to be the best parent.

As you think about parenting for the win today, tomorrow, and as the years quickly fly by, remember to approach your parenting like you would anything else that you plan to succeed in.  Forgive yourself (and your children) when needed and celebrate the littlest of successes. This quote from Zig Ziglar sums it up, in parenting and for life: “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

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

Reviewed by:  Kathy Green, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Clark County


US Department of Education, “Being an Effective Parent — Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence”, 2003 https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/adolescence/part5.html

Mgbemere , B and , Telles, R. “Types of Parenting Styles and How to Identify Yours”, Developmental Psychology Department, Vanderbilt University https://my.vanderbilt.edu/developmentalpsychologyblog/2013/12/types-of-parenting-styles-and-how-to-identify-yours/

American Academy of Pediatrics, “A ‘Perfect’ Parent, 2015. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/Pages/A-Perfect-Parent.aspx

Center for Disease Control , “Positive Parenting Tips”, 2017  https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/index.html   

Zig Ziglar,  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/zig_ziglar_381983

Photo Credits




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blueberry muffin

We all know that there are many reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables. Baking a batch of muffins is a great way to add extra produce to your diet, especially if you have overripe fruit or vegetables that you want to use before they spoil. Apples, pears, carrots, zucchini, bananas, berries and citrus fruits make great additions to baked goods. To bake a healthy treat, search for or modify a favorite recipe with your favorite fruits or veggies and these tips:

  1. Substitute half the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour for extra fiber. Note that substituting more than half may yield muffins that are too dense.
  2. Substitute half the oil with applesauce or half the butter with plain, nonfat yogurt to reduce the fat content. This tip works well for muffins because they are baked in a tin, but it does not work well if you are baking without a mold; for example, if you are making cookies on a cookie sheet.
  3. Cut back on the sugar. The sugar content of most recipes can be cut by up to half without changing the flavor of the end product.
  4. Add small amounts of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cloves to sweeten your product without adding calories.

My favorite muffin recipes involve whole grains such as whole wheat flour or oats; applesauce; spices; and various fruits and vegetables. These recipes result in healthy treats that can be eaten right away OR frozen for quick, pre-portioned breakfasts or snacks. Here are a few that I have tried and enjoyed, or that I would like to try:

Do you have a favorite muffin recipe to share? If so, let us know by commenting below!


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

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu



Brinkman, P. (2015). Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier. OhioLine. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5543

Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Top 10 Reasons to Eat MORE Fruits and Vegetables. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-reasons-to-eat-more-fruits-and-vegetables

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marijuanaMy community was recently chosen to be one of 24 sites in Ohio permitted to cultivate medical marijuana. Whether you voted yes or no on this initiative, I think it’s important to distinguish the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, because compounds derived from the marijuana plant can be used to help treat a variety of chronic diseases and conditions, as well as offering an alternative to opioid use for pain relief.

A new multi-institutional study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine and led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, examined the rate of deaths caused by opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2010. Results revealed that on average, the 13 states allowing the use of medical marijuana had a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate after the laws were enacted than states without the laws, indicating that the alternative treatment may be safer for patients suffering from chronic pain related to cancer and other conditions.

Mother Nature has been providing medicine to treat our diseases and relieve our suffering for thousands of years. Despite tremendous advances in drug design, most prescribed medicines used today are still derived from natural compounds found in plants, animals, and microbes. This is particularly true for drugs that treat infections and cancers.

When was the last time you took medicine? Was it a prescription like penicillin (mold) or an over the counter medication such as aspirin (willow tree bark)?  Did you even bother to think about how or where it came from?  Medicine formulated from plants can come from many different parts of the plant including the leaves, roots, bark, fruit, seeds, and/or flowers.

In marijuana, the two primary active components in the plant providing health benefits are cannabidiol (CBD) — which seems to impact the brain without a high— and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain relieving (and other) properties. Marijuana has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. Research shows that its compounds may have positive effects on many diseases; listed below are just a few:

Alzheimer’s— Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. THC slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. The plaques are what kill brain cells.

Cancer— Studies have long shown that people who take marijuana extracts in clinical trials tend to need less pain medicine. More recently, scientists reported that THC and CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells.

Inflammatory bowel diseases—Diseases of the gut, such as Crohn’s and colitis, can benefit from marijuana use.  A recent study in Israel found that marijuana significantly reduced Crohn’s disease symptoms in 10 out of 11 patients, and caused a complete remission of the disease in five of those patients. The cannabinoids from marijuana seem to help regulate gut bacteria and intestinal function.

Multiple Sclerosis—Marijuana may ease the painful symptoms of MS. Research shows that patients with painful contractions in their muscles find relief from marijuana therapy.  THC binds to receptors in the nerves and muscles to relieve pain; other studies suggest that the chemical also helps control muscle spasms.

Parkinson’s Disease— Recent research from Israel shows that marijuana improves sleep for Parkinson’s disease patients. Particularly impressive was the improved fine motor skills among patients. Like Ohio, medical marijuana is legal in Israel, and a lot of research into the medical uses of cannabis is done there.

How will this work?

A person with a confirmed diagnosis of one of 21 qualifying conditions will need to register with the state, followed by a recommendation from a qualified physician in order to purchase medical marijuana (federal law prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana).

Ohio physicians will have to take two hours of continuing education courses and register with the state medical board in order to recommend marijuana to patients. Doctors are required to explain the benefits and risks of medical marijuana to patients before issuing a recommendation.

Patients will be allowed to buy marijuana in plant form, but will be required to eat it or inhale it with a vaporizer. Current law also allows oils, tinctures, edibles and patches.

Next month? More medicines made from plants.

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








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It’s flu and cold season.  Avoiding germs helps us avoid the flu and colds, so where are the germs lurking?  You might be surprised to find where you can encounter the most germs.


  • Home: Your kitchen is the germiest place. It has more bacteria than your bathrooms due to the germs on raw meat and produce.  Clean and disinfect or sanitize your kitchen sink often.  If you use a sponge, be sure to run it through the dishwasher after each use.  Also, make sure to disinfect your kitchen counter-tops.  Cold and flu germs can usually remain active on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces longer than on fabric or other types of soft surfaces. iphone-37856__340
  • Cellphone: Since we carry our cellphones everywhere, they are usually loaded with bacteria including viruses like the flu.  Frequently clean your smartphone with an alcohol-free antiseptic wipe. (Alcohol is not good for your screen.)
  • Purse: Do you hang your purse or set it on the floor?  Floors are really dirty places, especially restroom floors. Hang your purse on a hook or the back of a chair when possible, never put your purse on the kitchen counter, and regularly wipe your purse with a disinfectant wipe.
  • Workplace: You may think the worst place is the restroom, but the ground-floor elevator will probably beat it out for the germiest place.  Another place is the break room- especially the coffee pot handle and the water dispenser.  Wash your hand as soon as you can after touching either one of these items. menu
  • Restaurants: Guess what everyone touches?  The menu has the most bacteria.  Thus, after ordering your food, go to the restroom and wash your hands or take some hand sanitizer and use it before eating.
  • Grocery Stores: If you guessed the grocery cart, you are right.  Use a disinfecting wipe on the handles.  If you use reusable grocery bags, put them on the floor, not the kitchen counter, and wash them often in hot water and bleach.  Always wash your hands or sanitize them after shopping.

Washing your hands often with soap and water is the key to avoiding getting sick. hands-2238235__340 This is the best way to reduce the germs you are exposed to. Be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds and build up a lather before rinsing.

And remember, eating nutritious food and being physically active will also help you stay healthy and fight infections.

Hope you avoid the flu and colds this season!


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

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County



Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018).  Preventive Steps.  Available at  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm

Leamy, E. (2017). The Most Germ-Infested Places You Encounter Every Day – and How to Avoid Getting Sick. The Washington Post.  Available at https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/17/the-most-germ-infested-places-you-encounter-every-day-and-how-to-avoid-getting-sick/

Steckelberg, J. M. (2015).  Flu Germs:  How Long Can They Live Outside the Body?  Mayo Clinic.  Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/expert-answers/infectious-disease/faq-20057907.

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Did you decide to start out this year with the goal of building your savings? Or maybe a summer vacation to the beach, an amusement park, or camping are in your family’s future? Would you like your first or a new home, or maybe just a new (for you) car? Studies show that 54% of Ohio residents have less than $1,000 saved. While financial experts recommend a savings of up to six months’ salary (to cover the loss of salary for a job or medical crisis), but just having $2,000 to cover a small crisis would be a great goal. So what can you do to build your savings?

  • One of the best savings methods is to save automatically. With each pay check, or at least once a month, have money moved to a savings account. Another way to do this is signing up for a Chrputting money in bankistmas or Vacation Account at your lending institution.
  • To protect against “Impulse Buys” move to a 24 hour waiting period before purchasing anything except food and gas. If you have to think before buying the latest video game, clothing, shoes, purse, or home decorating item – you will likely decide you don’t really need it a large percentage of the time. Ask yourself “Do I want it or do I need it?” If you just want it, consider if you want the family vacation to Florida more.
  • Always think before you swipe your credit card. You may want to consider wrapping your card in a piece of paper that says “Think before using” or “Do I need this?”
  • Limit store trips, every additional time you shop you spend on impulse items. This is true of online shopping too, so try to avoid websites that you are tempted to purchase from frequently.
  • Collect loose change, but safely store it. An easily visible jar may be a temptation for some.
  • Unsubscribe from marketing emails for businesses that you don’t use any more or that may be very tempting. Think about the stores that sell items you like not items you need, and unsubscribe!
  • Have a “Do nothing week” or “cutting back week” where you avoid eating out, and going to movies or other entertainment that isn’t free. Look for free things that you can do at a local community center, your parks, or finally play the new games the kids got for Christmas or their last birthday. Put the money you would have spent eating out or at the movies in your savings account instead.
  • Teach your children to save by setting up a savings account at the bank. Strongly encourage them to deposit half of their allowance, gift money from family members, or the money they make from selling items at the family yard sale. You may choose to let them save for a larger item over several months or enforce that this savings is for the future – an education fund or for a car of their own.
  • Try one of those savings plans where you save $1 more each week, or even $10 or $20 per week. Every little bit helps.
  • Every time you get a lump sum payment like a bonus, tax refund, overtime at work, or even birthday money from your parents – save some of it. At least 50% would be great, but even saving $50 – $100 would help build your savings. Check out the “Save Your Refund” site to enter a contest to win one of 100 prizes for those who commit to save at least $50 of their 2018 tax refund (in 2018 this program starts on January 22 and ends April 17, 2018). Words - split and save

Let us know the tricks you have used to build your savings? By leaving a comment below this message.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County


America Saves, Save Your Refund, saveyourrefund.com/.

University of Illinois Extension, More for Your Money, web.extension.illinois.edu/money/saving_easy.cfm.

Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, Impulse Buying on the Internet, digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=5168&context=gradschool_theses.




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It’s 2018!

What is at the top of your New Year resolutions for 2018? Eat better? Increase your physical activity? Get better organized? While all of these are great resolutions, they can often become overwhelming.

Start the year off right with small, manageable changes to your lifestyle.

  • Park your car at the farthest point at work to increase your steps
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Eat a salad everyday!
  • Increase hydration
  • Stop salting your foods–use herbs, lemon juice and spices.

Small changes have big impacts. Remember to slow down. Set aside time for a night off and enjoy doing nothing! This helps us to maintain a sense of control over our busy lives.

At Live Healthy Live Well we are starting 2018 by offering a weekly text with reminders to help you stay healthy and reach your goals – LHLW365!

Sign up today! Share with your family and friends!

text mesage


These small changes will have a huge impact and will be easy to stick too! Let’s make this the best year ever!

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

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

Sources: Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County, dellifield.2@osu.edu


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blood-1968458_1280My husband was a firefighter for several years and during those years, he many times saw the need that existed for blood donors.  He started donating then and has regularly for over 40 years.  Have you ever thought about becoming a blood donor?   What are some reasons that you might consider donating?

People donate for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a friend or family member will ask you to donate for a specific person. About three years ago, my niece’s baby girl was diagnosed with a rare blood disease.  She needed constant transfusions for several weeks to combat the illness.  Family and friends from around the country offered to donate and many were able to help. Those who did not have the correct blood type or who lived to far away were encouraged to donate anyway to help someone else.

Some people just do it because they feel it is the right thing to do.  It is their way of giving back or paying forward.

Whatever the reason, the need is constant. It is important to help guarantee a safe, reliable source of blood for those needing a donation.  In order to donate, most states have the requirements that:

  • You are at least 17 years old
  • You weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • You are in good health.

For those who have never donated, here is a brief outline of the procedure.  It usually takes about one hour of your time.

  • Registration – you will be given the basic information about blood donating including the eligibility to do so, read some information and show your identification card.
  • Mini Physical – you will privately answer a few questions about your health and then they will check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level present in a sample of blood.
  • Donation – the actual donation time is about 10 minutes – you will be seated comfortably and staff/volunteers will be available for any questions.
  • Refreshments -after donating, you should have a snack and something to drink in the refreshments area. You can leave the site after 10-15 minutes and continue with your normal daily activities.

After your blood is collected, it is tested for safety and the correct blood type to make sure the person receiving it is getting the safe blood that they need.

January is National Blood Donor Month as celebrated by the American Red Cross.  This month was chosen specifically because of the challenges that the cold weather present to having successful blood donation events.

If  you meet the requirements, feel healthy and would like to help others, make an appointment to donate blood this month. The good feeling that this will give you may encourage you to donate more often.

Please share a comment below if you are a blood donor and indicate why you donate. arc2012_logo_off

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

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


The American Red Cross (2015). Celebrate National Blood Donor Month http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Celebrates-National-Blood-Donor-Month

Why Donate Blood (2018). https://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/why-donate-blood

Donating Blood – Topic Overview (2017). https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/donating-blood-topic-overview#1

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