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Archive for the ‘Healthy Relationships’ Category

Intentional Connections

Connecting with friends and family is essential for good health. We were made to connect with one another. In fact, we thrive on it, both mentally and physically. Researchers are exploring how social support and good relationships are converted into neurochemical signals that can boost one’s immune system. The quality of our social support and interpersonal connections can affect things like mood, motivation, coping skills, self-esteem and general well-being.

many hands together, friendship
hands, frienship

Recently I participated in a program where we learned to make a Vision Board and set goals for our own personal vision. The area I focused on was ‘heart.’ I wanted to be more intentional about connecting with family and friends. I do not want to look back later and have regrets about missed opportunities to connect with others, especially my kids who will soon both be grown and flown, leaving an empty nest. Having just sent one child to college this fall, and the other child to follow in two years, I’m keenly aware of how quickly the years roll by.

For each person on my goal list, I tried to think of specific ways we could connect. For my husband I made a goal to plan a monthly date. This could be something as simple as a walk in the woods, or a breakfast out. For my teenage son, I simply need to be available whenever he wants to talk or share about his day and take an interest in his thoughts. For my daughter who is now in college, I try to support her when she calls or needs help and send an occasional text of a cute picture or positive affirmation.

So how do we become more intentional about connecting? September 26, 2022 just happens to be National Family Day to remind us to reconnect and cherish family and loved ones. Here are a few tips to consider:

Go on an outing

Whether it is a day in the park, a picnic, or a movie, an outing with your family can provide an opportunity to reconnect and enjoy some quality time.

Eat together

Family meals are a wonderful way to learn about one another’s day and reconnect daily. There are so many benefits to eating together as a family.

Plan a game night

Games bring families together for fun. When families have fun together, lasting memories are created. Be intentional about spending time together and make family game night a regular part of the schedule.

Use technology to connect

Modern technology makes it easy to connect. This article on unexpected connections provides helpful tips on how to creatively connect with loved ones both near and far.

When we are intentional in connecting with loved ones, beautiful and meaningful moments await. Be intentional. Connect often.

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Sources:

Create Your Own Vision Board: Bring your goals to life with a vision board! National 4-H Council, All State Foundation and Ohio State University Extension. https://4-h.org/about/4-h-at-home/emotional-wellness/digital-vision-board/

Perissinotto CM, Stijacic Cenzer I, Covinsky KE. Loneliness in Older Persons: A Predictor of Functional Decline and Death. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(14):1078–1084. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1993

Uchino, B. N., & Way, B. M. (2017). Integrative pathways linking close family ties to health: A neurochemical perspective. American Psychologist, 72(6), 590–600. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000049

Live Healthy Live Well Blog from Ohio State University Extension, various posts:

  • College Send-Off: Are You Ready? By Shannon Carter
  • Empty Nest: Now What? by Misty Harmon
  • Take a Dine-In Day with Your Family by Lisa Barlage
  • The Case for Family Game Night by Shannon Carter
  • Unexpected Connections by Beth Stefura
  • Why We Need Connection by Jami Dellifield

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Senior woman sitting on carpet and touching forehead with hand

Falls are the leading cause of injury, even fatal injury, among older adults, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 1 in 4 Americans experience at least 1 fall every year, resulting in over 800,000 hospitalizations annually. Unfortunately, the numbers of people dying as a result of falling has been increasing, and researchers predict that by 2030, 168 deadly falls will occur each day in the U.S. 

The topic of falls is something to think and talk about. There are many commonly believed misconceptions about falls that may hinder someone from taking appropriate action that may reduce their risk of falling. For instance, some believe that loss of strength and accompanying falls are a normal part of aging and feel that limiting their activity and staying home will help prevent falls. However, the majority of falls (60%) occur in the home, while only 30% occur in public. Getting regular physical activity helps maintain strength and independence. Living spaces can be made safer by keeping floors free of clutter, making sure handrails and adequate lighting are present in all stairways, and securing rugs with double-sided tape or removing them altogether. Bathrooms can be made safer with the installation of grab bars in the tub/shower and toilet areas. 

Another misconception is that use of an assistive device, such as a cane or walker, will make a person more dependent, but these aids help many adults maintain or improve their mobility, allowing them to move about without assistance from others, even helping them to transport or carry items using a walker storage seat. For optimal benefit and safety, however, it is best for a physical or occupational therapist to provide proper fit and instruction on the use of such devices. 

While loss of balance and decreasing eyesight carry obvious risks for falls, there are other health concerns that require regular attention as well. Older adults should have their hearing and feet checked regularly;  according to John’s Hopkins Medicine, people with even mild hearing loss are 3 times more likely to fall than those with normal hearing. Certain disease states can affect the shape and sensitivity of our feet, possibly requiring special footwear for optimal safety and fit.

The National Council on Aging has set aside September 18th-24th as Falls Prevention Awareness Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of the devastating impact of falls and to increase knowledge of risk factors and actions which can be taken to prevent falls in the first place. They offer an online  “Falls Free CheckUp” tool to help individuals and family members assess fall risk and link them to other resources providing practical ways to help prevent a fall. The first step for most of us is to have a conversation, whether with a loved one we may be worried about or with our own care provider, about fall risks that should be addressed. 

Another practical way to improve mobility and decrease the risk of falling is to take part in Tai Chi for Beginners, a free online class offered Sept 19-Nov 4 through OSU Extension. Register at: https://go.osu.edu/tai-chi-autum2022

Written by Jennifer Little, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Hancock County

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

Sources:

Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls.  NCOA Falls Prevention Week Toolkit.  https://www.ncoa.org/article/falls-prevention-awareness-week-toolkit.  Accessed 8/31/2022. 

Get the Facts on Falls Prevention.  July 21, 2022.  NCOA Center for Healthy Aging.  https://www.ncoa.org/article/get-the-facts-on-falls-prevention.

Falls Prevention Conversation Guide For Caregivers.  June 29, 2021. https://www.ncoa.org/article/falls-prevention-conversation-guide-for-caregivers

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…make lemonade!

In other words, don’t throw it out just yet! Fruit during any season can quickly overripe and end up in the trash…but don’t throw out the lemon (or fruit) just yet (unless it is moldy of course)! With the high cost of food, this summer I challenged myself to throw out less food, especially fruit, to learn to be more sustainable. I learned that it only takes a few minutes to turn overripe fruit into usable, edible food.

Here are 5 of the easiest (less than 10 minutes) ideas for using up fruits that are past their prime.

  1. Freeze that fruit! Freezing will stop the fruit from ripening any further, so you don’t have to toss it in the trash! If you freeze overripe fruit it can be used at a later time in smoothies or other recipes. Just peel (if needed), chop and freeze!
  • Make fruit roll ups. This is the easiest idea after freezing! Making fruit leathers or “fruit rolls ups” is easier than you think and healthier without the added sugar. All you need to do is puree the overripe fruit (blender or bullet works great) until liquid, then pour onto a rectangle cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, bake at 225 degrees for 4-5 hours and wala…a fruit roll up! The cooking times will vary depending on thickness and your oven. To finish, use a pizza cutter to cut into strips and then store in a container.
  • Toss in a crock pot! Tossing overripe fruit into the crock pot instead of the trash can, which could easily turn into chunky applesauce, peach cobbler or a healthy dessert with very minimal time and effort.
  • Make jams or jellies. Did you now that it only takes four ingredients to make uncooked jam. These include fruit, sugar, pectin and water! No cooking necessary! I made jam this week using overripe strawberries and here is the recipe I used from Ohio State University Extension who provide evidenced based recipes, fact sheets and 30 minute webinars on food preservation.
  • And finally, bake a fruit crisp or crumble! This easy and delicious dessert can be made in a few minutes with only a few ingredients. There are many recipes available, yet basically you would just slice the overripe fruit, place on the bottom of a pan then add the “crumble” on top of fruit (a combination of oatmeal, flour, sugar, spices, and butter) and bake! This can also be easily made into a gluten free dessert by using almond or oat flour!

So, when life does give you lemons…now you’ll know exactly what to do … and see that something good can come from it 😊.

Be well,

Shari

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

Reviewed by, Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu

References:

Jams. Jellies and Other Fruit Spreads: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5350

Making Fruit Leathers: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5361

Selecting storing Serving Ohio Produce: https://fcs.osu.edu/sites/fcs/files/imce/PDFs/Selecting_Storing_Serving_series_published_2021.pdf

Sustainability. Family and Consumer Sciences Ohio State University Extension. https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/resources/sustainability

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Caregiving for a loved one can be rewarding and fulfilling. However, the positive feelings often coexist with feelings of stress and strain. Caregivers have reported higher levels of physical, emotional, and financial strains. These stresses can also be compounded for those who are providing long distance caregiving. In today’s world, many families are spread apart geographically. According to the “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020” study by AARP and the National Alliance of Caregiving, eleven percent of family caregivers live an hour or more away from their aging or ailing loved one.

Long-distance caregivers often incur more financial strain due to travel expenses, time off work, and the need to hire help. If loved ones are cared for primarily by a close relative, long-distance caregivers might feel additional emotional strain as feelings of guilt for not being more hands-on with the caregiving role.  

If you live an hour or more away from a loved one who needs care, you might wonder what you can do to help. Long-distance caregivers, however, can take steps to make their situation less burdensome and more fulfilling.

The first step is to develop open communication with all involved. Talking with the primary caregiver, neighbors, and healthcare professionals is the best place to start is to get a realistic view of what is going on with your loved one.

Once you understand your loved one’s condition, the next important step is to consider what skills you have to offer that can be done from a distance.

  • If you have strong financial skills, you can offer to help with money management, following up on insurance benefits and claims, or bill paying.
  • If you have strong people management skills, consider stepping in to locate local resources, coordinate calendars and schedule aides and other home care providers.
  • If you are good at communicating and researching, you could be become the information coordinator. Essentially being the conduit of information to all involved in the loved one’s life and care team. If this is the role that best fits you, be certain to get the permissions needed under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
  • If you have good organization skills, you can play the important role of getting all the paperwork in order. The National Institute on Aging recommends that things such as personal records, financial records, and legal documents should be up to date in case of an emergency.

Long-distance caregivers can contribute in various other ways. The National Institute of Aging provides additional ideas in Getting Started with Long-Distance Caregiving tool. Be thoughtful of what best fits you and your loved ones.

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

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Belmont County, dunfee.54@osu.edu

References:

Bevan,J.L., Vreeburg, S.K., Verdugo, S. & Sparks, L. (2012) Interpersonal Conflict and Health Perceptions in Long-Distance Caregiving Relationships, Journal of Health Communication, 17:7, 747-761, DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2011.650829

Harrigan, M. P., & Koerin, B. B. (2014). Long-Distance Caregiving: Personal Realities and Practice Implications. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping13(2), 5–16. Retrieved from https://reflectionsnarrativesofprofessionalhelping.org/index.php/Reflections/article/view/988

National Institute on Aging, Getting Started with Long-Distance Caregiving, retrieved from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/getting-started-long-distance-caregiving

National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Caregiving in the United States 2020. Washington, DC: AARP. May 2020. https://doi.org/10.26419/ppi.00103.001

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Ohio State University Campus

A couple months ago I wrote a blog about teaching our children to fly (from the nest). In three weeks, I will be moving my youngest child in to her college dorm. After surviving her senior year, I must now prepare for her departure and for the empty nest that will result.

As a parent, my life has not revolved solely around my children. I have tried to participate in things I enjoy for myself. I realize that to be the best parent I can be, I need to have things that bring me joy that are not dependent on my children. I want my kids to see that adults can have fun and do things that make them happy and still be good parents.

As my daughter prepares for this exciting new time, I am filled with mixed emotions. I am happy she’s doing well and that she wants to take care preparing herself for campus living. I try to avoid thinking about her leaving because I don’t want to dampen her excitement. I know I will likely experience some empty nest syndrome, though I don’t think it will be too severe.

The signs of empty nest syndrome include:

  • Feeling sad, anxious, and stressed about an empty house.
  • Unable to sleep or eat well due to being distracted by your thoughts.
  • Reverting to memories you shared with your kids when they were still living at home.
  • Reminiscing about their childhood and going through things they left behind.
  • Feeling useless or worthless since you no longer need to take care for your children.
  • Languishing—having less energy and motivation to do things you used to or want to do.
smiling couple

Empty nest syndrome can last for years, though most parents adjust to the new situation in about 2 months. Some parents look forward to the freedom from parenting daily, while others dread the thought of not having the kids around. Some, like me, have mixed feelings of excitement and sadness that my role as a parent of a child has ended. Regardless how parents feel, there are things they can do to help reduce empty nest syndrome:

  • Talk to your partner and your child about your feelings.
  • Reconnect with your partner or other significant people.
  • Respect your child’s new independence.
  • Focus on the future and the upsides of an empty nest, not the past.
  • Stay active and consider exercising regularly.
  • Stay disciplined with money.
  • Invest in yourself by doing things you enjoy and practicing self-care.
  • Don’t feel guilty for having fun and enjoying this new chapter.
  • Join a support group for empty nesters.
  • Seek professional help if feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depression persist.

As you navigate this new chapter, give yourself and your young adult some grace. Focus on getting to know your adult child, relish all you both have accomplished and look forward to all that is to come. Since the only constant in life is change, it is best to embrace it.

Author: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Sources:

Battles, D. M. (2020, November 26). How to cope with empty nest syndrome and be happy again. Lifehack. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://www.lifehack.org/809725/empty-nest-syndrome

Carter, S. (2021, June 14). From languishing to flourishing. Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/06/17/from-languishing-to-flourishing/

Carter, S. (2022, July 8). College send-off: Are you ready? Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2022/07/11/college-send-off-are-you-ready/

Educomics. (2021, November 15). Effective ways to combat empty nest syndrome. Educomics.org. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://www.educomics.org/watching-your-children-grow-up/

Harmon, M. (2021, December 14). The only constant is change. Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/12/14/the-only-constant-is-change/  

Harmon, M. (2022, May 24). They have wings, just teach them how to fly. Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2022/05/24/they-have-wings-just-teach-them-how-to-fly/

Rupp, M. (2022, April 6). Spring clean your finances! Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2022/03/14/spring-clean-your-finances/State of nevada employee handbook. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://hr.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/hrnvgov/Content/Resources/Publications/Employee_Handbook.pdf

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Summer is in full swing! Children are home from school and parents may be on the hunt to keep them engaged and involved this summer. A popular choice that many parents have selected is summer camps. There can be a variety of summer camps to choose from. Some opportunities may be day camps; while others are a week away from mom and dad and full of new adventures to enjoy. There are many benefits to youth attending summer camps. These benefits include meeting new friends, trying new activities, physical activity, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Studies show camps offering structured programs and physical activity may prevent weight gain in youth and help maintain physical fitness over the summer.

Along with the many memories made, summer camps also teach independence. During the week, participants get themselves up, get dressed, and brush their teeth all before the bell sounds to start breakfast and to begin the day. Summer camps also encourage well-being. Youth get to attend camp, see their friends, meet new ones, and come home with so many stories to share. Camps provide opportunities for practicing self-advocacy and other social skills. Youth may also have opportunities to increase self-esteem in these programs. Campers get to try activities and have experiences they can bring home for the rest of the family to enjoy. Various summer camps offer different activities for all to enjoy; there is something for everyone. I know when I was young, summer camps kept me busy and entertained all summer. My favorite memories as a kid came from the various camps I attended. I also made some of my very best friends at summer camp. I encourage parents to provide an opportunity for their youth to attend a summer camp of some variation. It will get children into the great outdoors and there the opportunities are endless. 

Written by: Kearsten Kirby, Student Intern, Ohio State University Extension Miami County kirby.305@osu.edu

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

Sources:

15 benefits of summer camp for your kids. GWRYMCA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://gwrymca.org/blog/15-benefits-summer-camp-your-kids

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health, and Safety; Hutton R, Sepúlveda MJ, editors.

Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2019 Sep 26.

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College is a time of transition and can be extremely challenging for the student and the parents. You may have been preparing your child for college since the day she was born, but how prepared are you as a parent, to let her go?

Here are some tips to ease the transition:

Adjust expectations… for yourself and your child. Don’t expect that everything will go smoothly. There may be a struggle in the classroom or dorm room… and that is all part of the process of growing up and figuring it out. Realizing ahead of time that there will be difficulties may help the parent and child form more realistic expectations. Remind your young adult how long it takes to form friendships. They may not find “their people” right away. Offer support but allow your child to work through the struggle.

Embrace your new parenting role. You’re not completely letting go, but your parenting role is shifting. Your child still needs you… for support and guidance, even though they are growing in independence and making many of their own decisions. You are now parenting an adult. A recent study found that three out of five of students reported that their relationship with their parents improved since starting college. The parent child relationship changes from dependence to interdependence.

My husband, my daughter and I at college orientation at the Ohio State University.
My husband, my daughter and I at college orientation for The Ohio State University

Make a plan for connecting. Discuss with your future college student about how frequently and in what ways they would like to connect… talk, text, video calls or visits. Whatever the format, plan to connect at regular intervals. You could even include the family pet in the video chat. It’s healthy to give them plenty of space, while still letting them know you’re interested and want to stay in touch.

Ask good questions. The most helpful session at my daughter’s college orientation was one for parents on how to best support their college student. The presenter shared “One of the best ways to love the people around you is to learn how to ask good questions.” Ask questions that get at deeper meaning than simple facts. Here are some great examples: What have you been thinking about this week? Where do you feel most yourself (your best self) on campus? How are you feeling about the friendships you’re making? Easier or harder than you expected? Who really seems to get you? When do you feel like you were really thriving this semester?

Encourage independence. Next time your child comes to you with a problem, ask what they think they should do. And then talk through some possible steps and outcomes. Refrain from giving advice and let experience be the teacher. Trust the roots you’ve given your child. Now help them stretch their wings.

Connect with other parents. Talking with other parents who are going through the same transition can help soothe emotions and concerns. If you’re a little anxious about sending your young adult off to college, you’re certainly not alone… I’m right there with you!

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Sources:

DeBusk, E. “School of Environment and Natural Resources: Orientation and Parent Supporter session.” June 2022. The Ohio State University.

Harmon, M. They Have Wings, Just Teach Them How to Fly. Live Healthy Live Well. The Ohio State University Extension. May 2022. https://livehealthyosu.com/2022/05/24/they-have-wings-just-teach-them-how-to-fly/

How to Emotionally Prepare as a Parent Before You Send Your Kid to College. Parents.com. March 2021. https://www.parents.com/parenting/how-to-emotionally-prepare-as-a-parent-before-you-send-your-kid-to-college/

Thurrott, S. 7 College Tips for Parents and Guardians: Adjusting to Parenting an Adult. Azusa Pacific University. November 2019. https://www.apu.edu/articles/7-college-tips-for-parents-adjusting-to-parenting-an-adult/

Wong, A. How College Changes the Parent-Child Relationship. The Atlantic. Sept 2019. https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/09/how-college-changes-parent-child-relationship/598630/

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We all love the weekends- it is the time for fun! What did you do this past weekend that was fun? Did it bring a smile to your face? Are you counting the days until next weekend? We need daily fun in our lives. Fun provides many health benefits and makes life interesting. Having daily fun has a huge positive impact on our health and overall well-being. The benefits of laughter and fun include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Improved coping abilities
  • Boosted energy and work performance
  • Improved memory and concentration
  • Improved relationships
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased creativity

Here are ideas to add fun everyday into your life:

  • Get outdoors-take a walk, have a picnic with friends or family
  • Plan a fun night out- mini golf, karaoke, bowling, or dancing
  • Implement a weekly game night with family or friends
  • Visit a park
  • Enjoy an outdoor concert
  • Star gaze

Having fun is important. Start today to reduce stress, boost your energy level, improve productivity, and increase overall happiness by adding more fun into your daily schedule!

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

Reviewed by:  Margaret Jenkins, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clermont County, jenkins.188@osu.edu

Sources:

Bekoff, M. (2014). The importance of play: having fun must be taken seriously. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/201405/the-importance-play-having-fun

Becker-Phelps, L. (2018). Why you need to have more fun. WebMD. https://blogs.webmd.com/relationships/20180620/why-you-need-to-have-more-fun

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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.

Sources:

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

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My daughter at graduation

Sunday marked a milestone as my youngest child graduated high school. While I knew this day would be filled with mixed emotions, I also knew I had done my best to prepare my daughter, and previously her two older brothers, for this new chapter. High school graduation marks a significant achievement, not only for the graduate, but also for those who have helped them to this point. When I became a parent nearly 25 years ago, I realized my responsibility was to help ensure my children had received the skills and guidance necessary to fly from my nest when the time came. I can proudly say that both my sons have done fairly well and I have no doubt my daughter will as well.

I have been fortunate to have children who did not struggle much, if at all, with school. In fact, my daughter was the valedictorian of her class and my older son graduated from college a few years ago with Summa Cum Laude distinction. My younger son has to work a little more in school. He is more hands on and mechanically inclined, so I don’t worry too much about him. He will be able to use these skills since he is pursuing an engineering degree. College certainly isn’t for everyone, there are other options for higher education besides a traditonal 4-year institution. There are lots of things to consider when determining what option is right for someone and just because someone may choose not to pursue higher education immediately out of high school, does not mean they cannot at a later time.

My daughter and two sons at her graduation

In order for children to grow in their confidence and competence, they must be given opportunities to use their current skills and knowledge, as well as to learn new ones. Stepping aside and allowing your children to make mistakes takes a lot of reserve and discipline. As parents, we want nothing more than for our children to succeed and to do so with minimal hardships. While this is a lofty notion, it is virtually impossible for children to develop many of the necessary skills and abilities to navigate the real world without stumbling along the way. Of course I am talking about small everyday stumbles, like being late to school due to oversleeping. Our children still need us for those bigger things. Letting them experience the consequences of their actions or decisions for those everyday things can teach them valuable “life” lessons and perhaps help them to avoid more serious issues later.

Here are a few tips from Dr. Bhargava to prepare your teens for the next step:

  1. Change your focus.
  2. Avoid quick fixes.
  3. Give your child the freedom to fail.
  4. Promote independence.
  5. Make college  or training decisions together.
  6. Ask about mental health support on campus or at their job.

As my daughter prepares to head off to college in August, like her brothers before her, I will continue to support her and encourage her as she makes those final decisions over the summer. I will make sure she knows that while she may be flying from the nest, no matter where in life her wings take her, I will always be here for her.

Author: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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

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