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Archive for the ‘Healthy Relationships’ Category

Are you part of the over 90 million people who are hitting the roads in their cars to travel over the upcoming holiday? A little planning can help you to make this trip safe and even enjoyable for your family.

Before you go:

  • Have your car maintained – check or change oil, tires, wipers, and fluids.
  • Carry a disaster supply kit – flash light, extra medications, bottled water or juices, cereal bars, blankets, first aid kit, and a fully charged portable cell charger are must haves!
  • Check the weather on your route and let other people know the travel route you plan to travel.
  • Pack healthier for you snacks to avoid drive-thru stops. Try cheese sticks, pretzels, nuts, fresh or dried fruit, veggie sticks, whole grain crackers, squeezable applesauce pouches, yogurt tubes that are pre-frozen, and bottled water or ice tea (not the southern-style variety).

As you roll out:

  • Make sure everyone is properly buckled in car seats or seat belts.
  • Don’t drive distracted, put cell phones away. If you are using it as a navigator – have a helper or pull over if you need to make changes or check routes.
  • Keep fuel tanks at least 25 to 30% full – you never know when weather will turn bad or you will get stuck in a traffic jam. (I admit to having a day when I thought I would fill up on my way back from Columbus instead of before I left, and then I got stuck in traffic. I watched the “Miles left sensor” tick down to less than 10 miles and then I quickly exited as soon as I could! Never again will I do that, it caused me great stress.)
  • Take breaks to change drivers and to keep everyone alert.
  • When you make stops, park in well-lit areas and try to keep valuables out of sight if possible.

Now that you are safely on your travel way – think about how you spend that time in the car. (The average long distance traveler goes 275 miles at Christmas.) I know there are many electronics available to keep everyone entertained – but why not use part of that travel time maintaining your family relationships by talking, singing, or playing travel games. Here are a few ideas that are free:

  • Play the license plate game, “I Spy with My Little Eye”, or the popular “I’m going on a trip and taking (then list items adding them in alphabetical order – apples, boots, change, doll – each person adds a new item and everyone must remember the whole list).
  • As your family ages – change the games to see who can name the most states and capitals, songs by a certain artist, books by an author, soccer/baseball/Olympic athletes on a team or in the Hall of Fame. My family of three includes a college-aged daughter, we often challenge each other to come up with the most songs by an artist, movies with a certain performer in them, or knowing what sports teams our favorite players used to be with.

While admitting that I love to use part of my travel time to read my latest book, spending a portion of trip talking with my family keeps the lines of communication open and strengthens our ties. I realize that electronic devices can keep families from fighting about what they are going to listen to, but those families also miss out on all those fun times we have enjoyed and that captive audience time to just talk about what is going on in your community/school/or with friends. I can’t wait to hear what your favorite travel game is – be creative and comment below!

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

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

 

Sources:

American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/highway-safety#Prepare-for-Driving

University of Delaware Extension: http://extension.udel.edu/factsheets/building-strong-family-relationships/

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As we approach the height of the holiday season, you are likely to find many people seeking the perfect gifts for their friends, family members and loved ones. We all have that one person in our life who is tricky to gift. Maybe it’s a child who has too many toys to count, or maybe it’s a parent or grandparent who seems to have everything he or she could possibly need. While finding an appropriate gift for each of these individuals can be challenging and even stressful, it is still rewarding to give. After all, we have all heard the saying “It’s better to give than receive”, and research actually backs up that popular quip! Studies show that giving can boost the physical and mental health of the giver in a multitude of ways.

This year, as you consider how to gift the loved ones in your life, consider these three “out of the box” ideas:

  1. Donations – For my nephew’s first birthday, a coworker suggested I make a donation to our local zoo in his name. The zoo sent an “adoption” certificate for an animal of my choosing, along with a color photo and fun fact sheet on the animal. For a few extra dollars, a stuffed animal is also an option. In addition to local zoos, you could also donate to animal shelters, food pantries, international organizations or community non-profits, depending on what the recipient values.

    Flamingo

    A flamingo fact sheet provided by the Columbus Zoo as part of the “adopt-an-animal” donation I made in my nephew’s name.

  2. Homemade Gifts – Use your personal skills and talents to make crafts or DIY gifts that carry meaning to your recipients. If you don’t feel very creative or crafty, begin by searching the internet for inspiration. This year, my sister and I attended a wreath making class together. I paid her registration fee as a gift and then gave the wreath I made myself to my grandparents. Other handmade gift ideas may include flower arrangements, greeting cards, quilts or blankets, wall art or homemade food. However, if you choose to make food for others, keep in mind the personal health goals or concerns that recipients may have.

    wreath

    The wreath I made for my grandparents in a wreath-making class I attended with my sister.

  3. Experiential Gifts – Think about things that the gift recipient may enjoy doing. Perhaps you could purchase tickets to an upcoming concert or play, or buy a family membership to your local zoo or a museum. Some recipients may enjoy monthly wine or flower subscriptions, or a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership.

 

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

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

 

Sources:

Bea, S. (2016). Wanna Give? This is Your Brain on a “Helper’s High”. The Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/11/why-giving-is-good-for-your-health/

Marsh, J. and Suttie, J. (2013). 5 Ways Giving is Good For You. The Greater Good Magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you 

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dinnerTomorrow is Thanksgiving and many of us will be preparing traditional celebrations which usually include generous amounts of food.  I think that besides the time spent with family and friends, my favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast are the leftovers that can be enjoyed for the next day or two.

This is a good time to think about the potential leftovers you will have and how to handle them safely to prevent food borne illness.

The first step to ensuring safe leftovers is to make sure that you are handling the food safely from the time you purchase it until you have prepared it.  Keep the four basic food safety guidelines in mind:

  1. Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that counter-tops are clean by washing with hot soapy water after preparing food, and keep cutting boards and utensils bacteria free by washing with hot soapy water or running through the dishwasher. Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.
  2. Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.
  3. Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc. to a rolling boil when re-heating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.
  4. Chill. Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°, use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

When you have prepared your dinner and are ready to serve, keep the time and temperature in mind for keeping the food safe for everyone. If an item that should be refrigerated inadvertently gets left out over two hours, throw it out!  No one likes to waste food but it is better than getting ill or even worse, making someone else ill.

Another thing to consider is how long you can safely keep leftovers.  Our colleagues at Illinois State University Extension have put together a list of safe times for keeping many holiday leftovers safely.

You might also be interested in trying some new recipes using your leftovers. The Illinois site lists several including this one for Turkey Posole (stew) that sounds great!

So, enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your family and use good food safety practices to keep everyone healthy and happy!turkey-966496__480

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

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

Resources:

University of Illinois Extension. Turkey for the Holidays. Turkey Leftovers. http://extension.illinois.edu/turkey/leftovers.cfm

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service . Leftovers and food safety. (Rev. ed.). Washington, DC: Author. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/leftovers-and-food-safety/ct_index

Michigan State University Extension. There are Limits to Leftovers http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/there_are_limits_to_leftovers

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Check Your Steps: Food Safe Families   https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/teach-others/fsis-educational-campaigns/check-your-steps/check-your-steps

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During the upcoming holiday season, I encourage you to make time to enjoy an extra family meal together. Family meals can nourish your mind, body and soul. They provide a great opportunity to enjoy better conversations and strengthen your family ties by spending quality, focused mealtimes together.

You can also use family mealtime to encourage good manners and conversations. Not sure how to start a conversation with your children? Download these conversation starter cards provided from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. You will find a  variety of topics which are available for teens, families, and children.


Did you know that regular family meals create a routine that helps children feel more secure? According to Ruth Litchfield, Ph.D., R.D., Extension Nutritionist, Iowa State University, children who often eat dinner with their families do better in school and have lower levels of stress.

Still sound too hard to do? Check out these simple tips to make it easier to have a family mealtime available from USDA’s MyPlate MyWins.

Have you tried fixing a crock-pot or skillet meal? Using a crock-pot can help you have that meal ready when you get home. If you do not have a crock-pot, you can try one of these easy and tasty skillet recipes. Add a small salad, fresh fruit and low-fat milk for a quick meal that your family can enjoy together.

What tips can you share to make family mealtimes work? Send those tips via the comment section on this blog.

As we enter this special week of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take time to plan and enjoy an extra family meal with your family.

 

Sources:

Litchfield, R. (2015). Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Say “YES” to family meals. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/5414

Mealtime Conversation cards. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/ProductList?Keyword=conversation

MyPlate MyWins: Tips Making family meals. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-mywins-tips-making-family-meals

USDA What’s Cooking? Retrieved from https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

 

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

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

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This is a perfect time of year to teach our children aboutHappy Thanksgiving word cloud being thankful.  The Thanksgiving holiday has many opportunities to create new family traditions that will bring the real meaning of thankfulness and gratitude to a personal level for our children.  Even is the mist of extremely challenging circumstances, we can find something to be thankful for.  In addition to helping us cope with challenges, this kind of grateful attitude can be contagious and is a wonderful life lesson to share with our children.  Learning to be truly grateful can change your life. The Greater Good Science Center at University of California-Berkeley notes three key reasons to teach children to be grateful.

  • Grateful kids are more kind
  • Grateful teens are happier and get better grades
  • Grateful kids become stewards of the environment

Teaching children to be thankful helps them resist their natural urge to be self-centered and self-absorbed.  Thankfulness is an important character trait that allows young people to develop meaningful relationships with others, and is directly related to happiness.  Understanding the good things in our lives will go a long way during adversity.

Kids are never too young to start learning how to show thanks for the good things in their lives.  Although Thanksgiving, by its name alone, makes us think about giving thanks, we should teach our children by example, that being thankful and telling others how much they are appreciated should happen every day. Parents and caregivers are the main ingredient in teaching young children no matter how young or old about being grateful.  We teach with our actions more than words.  So, it will take some thoughtful planning to find time around our busy work schedules but many things can be incorporated in our day-to-day lives with very little effort.

Here are some ideas to try with your family:

A Thanksgiving Tree:  Get each child to trace their hand on a piece of paper.  Have each child write various things they are thankful for on the fingers.

The Thankful Paper Chain:  Cut strips of paper.  On each strip have the child write about something they are thankful for, such as “Grandma plays games with me” or “I have a nice teacher.”  Connect them into loops.  It would be fun to add to the chain as other holidays approach.

Giving Thanks Placemats:  The goal of this craft is to create a collage filled with pictures of all the things your children are grateful for.  Using magazine pictures or pictures from the computer, glue them on a placemat size piece of paper.  Older children could write captions.  You can even laminate it to use again and again.

A Thank You Note Project:  Teach your children to write thank you notes for presents they receive or kindnesses that are shown to them.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Resource:

Rothenberg, W. A., Hussong, A. M., Langley, H. A., Egerton, G. A., Halberstadt, A. G., Coffman, J. L., Mokrova, I., & Costanzo, P. R., Grateful parents raising grateful children: Niche selection and the socialization of child gratitude, Applied Developmental Science Vol. 21, Iss. 2, 2017

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

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

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Does your home fit you? It is the pivotal question asked when takitchenlking about the concept of Universal Design. So what is Universal Design? It is a worldwide movement based on the idea that all environments and products should be usable by all people, regardless of their ages, sizes, or abilities. Because this movement applies to everyone, the concept of Universal Design is known around the world as “design for all,” “inclusive design,” and “life-span design.”

An important component of Universal Design is the maintenance of aesthetics. In other words, to create something that is still “visually pleasing” to others despite being accessible to everyone. Function does NOT have to sacrifice beauty. As a result, universally designed homes and public buildings can be just as beautiful and welcoming as any other design approach. Increasingly, experts are referring to the concept of Universal Design as the “wave of the future.” It is the hope of Universal Design advocates that eventually all buildings, homes, and products will be designed to meet the needs of everyone.

WHY HOME MODIFICATION?

Whether you are building a new home, or repairing or renovating an existing home, you too can incorporate characteristics of Universal Design through home modification. These modifications can vary from building a new home with universally designed features, to simple installation of lever door knobs on an older home, to more complex structural changes in an existing home, such as installing a walk-in shower or an accessible ramp. The goal of home modification for existing homes is not to entirely redesign the home but to make a range of changes or repairs that result in your home being a comfortable, user-friendly, and safer place to live.

bathroomImplementing Universal Design home modifications can result in a home that you can remain in as you age. This concept is often referred to as “aging in place.” The idea behind “aging in place” is to enable individuals to live independently in their homes for as long as possible. The goal is to avoid having to relocate simply because one’s home is too difficult to get around in.

WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN?

A group of Universal Design advocates from the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University have developed seven principles of Universal Design. These principles can be applied to evaluate existing environments or products, serve as guidelines in the development or renovation of existing environments, and serve to educate consumers and professionals wanting to understand the characteristics of this design approach.

Principle 1: Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

Principle 2: Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.

Principle 4: Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions of the user’s sensory abilities.

Principle 5: Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

Principle 6: Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.

Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

The American Association of Retired Persons provides a Home Fit Quiz which gives suggestions on home modifications that can make your home safe and comfortable for years to come

Remember, a home that has universal design features is a home that fits everyone’s needs whether they are young or old, short or tall, with physical limitations or without.

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

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

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Last week, we wrapped up another successful county fair.  I am always so impressed with the way that so many people work together to make the county fair a success.  From crowning the royalty to recycling the recyclables, from  show choir  to  demolition derby, from  open class competitions to livestock shows from  food tents to 4-H projects,  volunteers and fair staff come together to insure that it all gets done.Group of youth at fairgrounds smiling

But what I really love most of all is the community that I witness as I walk through the buildings, barns, and on the midway.  It’s a time when people are engaging with others in face to face conversation, catching up with friends over some delicious food, and children are laughing and playing together.  It is truly a place where for a week we celebrate one another, jump in and assist as needed, and seem to go back in time to another era.

Building community is a vital part of our development.  A community can be defined as “emerged as a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.” Where is your community? Where do you find others who support you, help you, laugh with you, cry with you?

Girls standing in a line at a county fair with girls on their shoulders

GirlsHealth.gov offers some suggestions to become a better member of your community.

  • Treat others well.
  • Show other people respect even if you have beliefs that are different
  • Get to know people before making up your mind about them
  • Stand up for your beliefs
  • Be someone people can rely on to do a good job
  • Volunteer at places like a nursing home, homeless shelter, food pantry, or humane society
  • Help a neighbor or someone else who could use a hand

Each night as you go to sleep, can you look back on your day and be happy with your actions towards yourself and others? Being a part of a community, whether small or large, is a sign that you are never alone. I hope you have found a community that brings a smile to your face and fills your heart with laughter like I have.Male and Female youth smiling holding sticks

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

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator,Wood County

References:

MacQueen KM, McLellan E, Metzger DS, et al. What Is Community? An Evidence-Based Definition for Participatory Public Health. American Journal of Public Health. 2001;91(12):1929-1938. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446907/  

Girlshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.girlshealth.gov/relationships/community/

Photo Credits:

Kim Wooley Camper, Cheap $hots Photography, https://www.facebook.com/Cheap-hots-Photography-Kim-Woolley-Camper-138367259532875/ 

Kolt Buchenroth, https://www.facebook.com/hardincountyfair/

 

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