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Archive for the ‘Healthy Finances’ Category

There are times when I feel overwhelmed with my to-do list and the amount of time I have to do it. I have found that meal planning is extremely helpful. When I started living in the country I quickly learned that the grocery store was no longer ten minutes away and I would have to plan what I wanted to fix for meals. Delivery was no longer an option, nor was running into town last minute, to grab  buns or ketchup. I have found that if I put in the time of planning my meals I stay on budget and my evenings are less chaotic. Below are some tips that I have found helpful to stay time and money before going grocery shopping.

  1. Create a grocery game plan for your week. Plan your meals for the entire week including snacks. Planning for the whole week means one list and one shopping trip. You will spend less than if you were going to the store every day or several times a week. If planning for the whole week seems overwhelming, start with three or four days and then work up to a full week. Using MyPlate as a guide will help you achieve balance with your meals as you write a menu plan.  You can find a two week sample menu plan on the MyPlate website. On their menu, lunches are designed to be packed or use leftovers. Customize the menu to make it work for your family. Meals can be moved and switched to fit family schedules and preferences.
  2. Have your freezer and pantry stocked. Pantry staples are going to include condiments, spices, dry/canned goods and baking supplies. By doing so you can see what items you already have on hand that can be incorporated into your “game plan”. This will also help you know what ingredients you already have at home vs. what you need to buy at the store.
  3. Utilize grocery store sale ads/coupons. Pick items that are in season or have been marked down while making your “game plan”. Find grocery sale information at the store entrance, in the newspaper or website. Coupons can be found as inserts in the newspaper, downloaded from the internet or digital coupons to add to your store loyalty card. Signing-up for the store’s customer loyalty program will help you receive discounts and free rewards.
  4. Consider your schedule for the week. Plan easier meals on busier days when you know you won’t have a lot of time.
  5. Make a list and stick to it. You can use scrap paper, type it up on a computer, add to the notes on your smartphone, or use a grocery app. Don’t be tempted by convenience items that could be more processed and more expensive.
  6. Plan for leftovers in your menu. Leftovers can be eaten for lunch the next day, repurposed into something else later in the week or frozen for a quick meal at another time. Using a recipe with larger quantities can reduce the number of ingredients you need and can save time on prepping another meal. You could also double a recipe to freezer for later in the month to make dinner a breeze.

Jones, T. (2016, August 8). Grocery shopping game plans save you time and money. Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/08/08/grocery-shopping-game-plans-save-you-time-and-money/

Meehan, A. (2017, June 5). Meal Prepping, How to Plan for your Week Ahead. Retrieved from http://livesmartohio.osu.edu/food/meehan-89osu-edu/meal-prepping-how-to-plan-for-your-week-ahead/

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

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

 

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“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  – Audrey Hepburn

We’re moving into fall and eventually those long winter days and nights, so what better time to “Plan” a Vegetable Garden?”  According to Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Natural Resources, Wayne County Ohio State University Extension, “The potential benefits of home vegetable gardening are numerous.  Successful gardens are the result of good planning, management, and careful workmanship.”

Interested in learning more about the various activities required for a successful home vegetable garden?  If you said “yes,” then you’ve come to the right place!

Why Have A Garden?

  • A well planned and a properly cared for garden can provide considerable food for family use from a small plot of land.  planting garden
  • Most home gardeners agree that “home grown” vegetables, freshly harvested, prepared, and eaten are the ultimate in fine vegetable flavor.
  • Fresh or preserved homegrown vegetables can help reduce family expenditures for food and make a valuable contribution to family nutrition.
  • Vegetable gardening can be an educational and fun activity for all individuals, families, and communities.
  • You can create real-life experiences and connections between gardening, health, cooking, food preservation, local foods, grocery stores, farmers markets, and community kitchens.
  • Good gardening results can be shared with others through vegetable exhibits at local, county, and state fairs. Gardeners find these activities exciting, fun, and challenging.

The “Favorite Fives” for a Successful Home Vegetable Garden!

  • Location – A good location provides adequate plant exposure to sunlight, fertile and well-drained soil, a nearby source of water, is close to the house, and is appropriate to the service area of the home landscape.
  • Soils – Vegetable plants grow best in a fertile, well-drained soil of loamy texture. However, most gardeners do not have such soil. Don’t overlook the aspect of soil preparation as less desirable soils can be modified with soil conditioners such as peat moss, compost, sawdust, or other available organic materials.
  • Garden Size – The garden should not be so large that the crops fail to receive proper care. Often times more high quality vegetables are obtained from small, well cared for plots than from large, neglected gardens. Don’t have any available ground?  Don’t forget about container gardening and/or community/rent-a-garden space.
  • What to Grow – More than 40 different vegetable crops can be grown in Ohio. If you’re from another state or location, check with your local cooperative extension service and/or agencies to see what’s available to you. The choice of crops depends largely upon the needs and tastes of the family and the amount of available growing space. If space is limited, consider planting crops that will be more productive.
  • The Fall Garden – Late summer or early fall plantings of vegetables that make rapid growth and mature crops before extremely cold weather sets in will enable the home gardener to extend the gardening season and get best use of the garden area.

Please refer to an excellent publication titled “Planning for the Garden” by Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Natural Resources, Wayne County Ohio State University Extension.

Adapted by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Program Assistant, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

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

Sources:

Planning for the Garden.  Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Natural Resources, Wayne County Ohio State University Extension.
https://wayne.osu.edu/sites/wayne/files/imce/Program_Pages/ANR/Garden/Planning%20and%20Planting%20%20the%20Garden.pdf

Ohioline.  Ohioline is an information resource produced by Ohio State University Extension. Through Ohioline, you have access to hundreds of OSU Extension fact sheets covering a wide array of subjects such as agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community development, and 4-H youth development.
https://ohioline.osu.edu/about

Food Safety in Gardens.  Sanja Ilic, PhD, Assistant Professor and Food Safety State Specialist, Department of Human Sciences, Human Nutrition and Melanie Lewis Ivey, PhD, Assistant Professor, Fruit Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology.
https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1153

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Most parents need ways of staying organized that are tailored to the specific needs of their family. The Bullet Journal®, an analog system designed by Ryder Carroll “to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future” has gained much interest from people who seek a better way to log their schedules, tasks, and events. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, you can watch a short video that explains the idea here:

https://help.bulletjournal.com/article/37-start-here

This revolutionary (and yet, brilliantly simple) way of tracking life and to-do lists, has inspired some rather artistic approaches (Google it, you’ll see!) and has people creating systems with good old-fashioned pen and paper to manage their chores, goals, and schedules.Journal pages

Some users also implement the system to go beyond their schedules & to-do lists by creating logs of important reminders for themselves such as charting their daily water intake, physical activity tracking, and progress toward personal goals.  Examples are shown on this post about Self-Care and Bullet Journaling.

Research tells us that writing down our goals helps us achieve them, and we see in our Live Healthy Live Well challenges that tracking your progress keeps you motivated along the way.

Consider creating logs for yourself and your family to stay on-track with the things you want or need to accomplish.  Some ideas are:

  • Daily water intake
  • Exercise
  • Daily mindfulness practices or daily “unplugged” time
  • Minutes spent reading (especially great for children)
  • Weekly family meals, aiming for 3 per week
  • Daily fruit & vegetable intake, aiming for 5 servings per day
  • Meal planning
  • Scheduling annual checkups, dental cleanings, etc.Reading calendar log example

Some people are motivated and inspired by creating colorful and visually appealing logs, like the ones in the post linked above, but simple, clean ones work best for others.

Journals don’t have to be organized daily. You can create different logs for the frequency that is most appropriate. I have several tasks that are best tracked monthly, so for those, I have created a simple table for the whole year, organized by month. I found it made the most sense to combine my work and personal monthly tasks into one list. At the end of each month, or the start of a new one, I go down and make sure all of my monthly tasks are complete.

Water intake log exampleThe Bullet Journal® is an actual product that uses dots  instead of lines that you traditionally see on the pages of a journal. But the Bullet Journal creator says that the concept can be used with any journal of your choice – lines, dots, grids or blank pages.

What do you log or journal to keep you & your family healthy, organized, and happy?

Sources:

www.bulletjournal.com

https://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/dominican-research-cited-in-forbes-article

 

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

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ud freontAre you thinking of making some changes to your home to make it easier to live in as you age, but just don’t know where to start? Many changes associated with implementing Universal Design features are fairly minor, inexpensive, and require little effort (i.e., changing round door knobs to lever door handles). Other changes, however, are more significant, more expensive, and may require a professional contractor. For example, a colleague of mine shared a story about her sister converting a closet on the main floor into a bathroom with a walk in shower and a laundry room in her 100 year old home in order to be able to remain in her home due to a chronic illness. Regardless of the type of change your home requires, once you make a decision to make modifications to your home, the next two steps are to decide on the extent of change you will make and to identify specific ways in which to implement these changes.

DECIDING ON WHAT HOME MODIFICATIONS TO MAKE

Once you recognize that your home or the home of a loved one is in need of modifications, whether for safety concerns or to enable them to age in place, it is important to carefully consider both the personal abilities and limitations of the person who lives in this home as well as which features in the home require attention.

An “assessment” is a comprehensive review of an individual’s mobility, sensory, environmental, and financial condition. This type of tool can assist in identifying what areas need the most attention and what home modifications might improve someone’s quality of life or make their environment more accessible and comfortable.

An assessment conducted by a professional can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to conduct and usually involves a fee. Individuals can also conduct their own assessments using free downloadable worksheets from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) web site.

LOCATING HOME MODIFICATION OR ADAPTIVE EQUIPMENT PRODUCTS

Because working with adaptive equipment and universal design features may not be an area of expertise for the contractor you hire, you may have to find some of the UD shoppingproducts yourself. When shopping for supplies and equipment, make sure to ask for Universal Design products. They may require placing a special order, so be certain to give yourself and your contractor time for delivery. If you can’t find what you want at your local retail store, you can also look online for Universal Design catalogs.

PLAN AND CARRY OUT THE INSTALLATION

  • When you have decided exactly what you want to do, and the size of the job required, assess your own or a family member’s skill to accomplish the job. If you have a modest income, you may be eligible for a home assessment/home modification program in your community or county.
  • Check with your local Area Office on Aging, senior center, independent living center, or Community Action Agency for information on home modification programs available in your community.
  • Contact your Local Community Development Department. Many cities and towns use Community Development Block Grants to assist individuals in maintaining and upgrading their homes.
  • Ask local Lenders and Banks about loan options. Some lenders offer Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM’s) that allow homeowners to turn the value of their home into cash, without having to move or make regular loan payments.

Are there things that you can do to make your home more accessible? Remember to start by assessing your home, exploring your needs and developing a plan that will allow you to age in place.

SOURCES

Livable Lingo: Our Livability Glossary. Retrieved from: https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/tool-kits-resources/info-2015/planning-and-policies.html, July 16, 2018.

 

Written by: Kathy Goins, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, goins.115@osu.edu

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

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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

Sources:

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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When your pet ingests a toxin, time can be of the essence. Immediately contacting the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline (1-888-426-4435) will give you and your veterinarianpetsan potentially life-saving information regarding the treatment of your loved one.

 

 

To protect your pet, we recommend that you follow these simple guidelines:

  • Always follow instructions on the label of prescription medications.
  • Never give your pet any of your prescription or over-the-counter                            medications unless explicitly instructed to do so by a veterinarian.
  • Keep common household cleaning products safely stored away from pet access.
  • Prevent access to the garbage by keeping a tight lid on all cans or store out of reach of your pets.
  • Only have your home treated with chemicals that are nontoxic to pets.
  • Seek emergency care if your pet has ingested a toxin.

During the holidays, there are other things that should be of special concern to our pets, Here are some of the things that might be “eye-catching” to your pet during the holiday season?

  • Alcohol (including eggnog & punch)Bones (chicken & turkey)
  • Car enginesoutdoor cats seek warmth
  • Christmas treescats climb and like ornaments & tinsel, strands of lights,      stagnant or fertilized tree water, pine needles
  • Chocolate
  • Confetti
  • Electrical cords & wires
  • Grapes & raisins
  • Lighted candles
  • Outdoor hazardsantifreeze, frostbite, frozen water bowl (outdoors), rock salt, sub-zero temperatures
  • PlantsChristmas cactus, lilies, holly
  • Ribbons, bows & giftwrap
  • Rich foods
  • Sugar-free desserts/gum (with Xylitol)
  • Trash cans with discarded/moldy foods

Remember to always work in partnership with your family veterinarian.

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.  –George Eliot

 Adapted by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Program Assistant, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Sources:

Information is provided by The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center.  Contact The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center at:  http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/  (614) 292-3551, 24/7 Operating Center.

The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine at:  http://vet.osu.edu

Protect your Pet from Household Hazards at:  http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/owner-education/protect-your-pet-household-hazards

General Safety info pdf and HolidaySafetyHazards.pdf at the bottom of the page at:  http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/owner-education/protect-your-pet-household-hazards

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opioid picReaching a national emergency, the opioid crisis is affecting communities from the smallest burg to the largest urban setting. Approximately 90 people in the United States pass away daily from an opioid-related overdose, and the numbers are increasing.

There seems to be a story in the news every week showing addicts slumped over in their cars or a young child in the street seeking help for a parent that has overdosed in the home. Ohio estimates the state will see 10,000 overdoses by the end of 2017.

Opioids are medications used to relieve active or chronic pain. These prescription medications include oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and codeine. When abused, even a single large dose may cause an overdose or death.  Regular, long-term use of opioids can lead to physical dependence and/or addiction.

Prescription opioid addiction may then lead to heroin addiction, which is easier to obtain and cheaper to purchase. Heroin is a very addictive drug and is processed from morphine. Many heroin addicts turn to the narcotic drug after losing access to prescription pain medication.

Signs of opioid or heroin abuse include:

  • Constricted, pinpoint pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Nodding out
  • Itching and scratching
  • Use of laxatives
  • Weight loss
  • Track marks on arms
  • Unhealthy appearance
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Problems in school
  • Loss of interest
  • Time away from home
  • Finding Ziploc bags
  • Finding spoons with burn marks
  • Disappearance of spoons
  • Aluminum foil with burn marks
  • Purchases returned for refund
  • Bottles of vinegar and bleach
  • Cotton balls
  • Missing money
  • Theft of household valuables

What can you do?

Be proactive. Lock up your medications and take inventory to record the name and amount of medications you currently have in the house.  Check regularly to make sure none is missing.  Educate yourself and your child about the most common abused medications, sedatives, stimulants and tranquilizers.

Communicate with your child the dangers of abusing these medications. Set clear rules and monitor frequently.  Be sure your child understands they are not to take prescription medications without a prescription.  Lead by example!  Share your knowledge, experiences and support with friends and parents.  Work together to ensure the safety of your children.

Last, but not least, dispose of old, leftover medications correctly. Many police departments have disposal bins for those types of medications.  Don’t just throw medications in the trash, down the drain, or flush down the toilet. Water treatment plants can’t remove all traces of drug residue from your drinking water.  A 2008 Associated Press investigation found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans in 24 major metropolitan areas.

Dealing with the addicted person.

If you suspect your loved one may be using opioids, be open and non-judgmental in your conversation. Treat them as individuals, do not make assumptions, and do not move too fast.  Remind them you love them, are concerned, and are here to listen. Encourage them to seek treatment from professionals who are knowledgeable and skilled in treating drug abuse problems.

References:

https://whttp://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications#1ww.asam.org/advocacy/toolkits/opioids

https://web.extension.illinois.edu/unusedmeds/whatarethey/unwantedmedicine.cfm

Written by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Donna Green, OSU Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

 

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