I love everything about fall… bright blue skies, the return to school and routine, crisp temperatures, apples, pumpkins, cinnamon spice candles, and the changing color of trees. I get so much joy from seeing the beautiful array of fall foliage. I actually feel more energetic during the fall. I tend to do more “fall cleaning” at home instead of “spring cleaning.” Sometimes, I even have enough energy to start some home renovation or painting projects.


So in the spring while many are doing their spring cleaning, I tend to feel more stressed by the busy schedule with my children’s school and mounting yardwork. I need to remind myself that spring is not my season to tackle cleaning or extra projects, and not feel guilty about my lack of motivation.

Maybe you’re one who struggles with the shortened daylight hours and lack energy in the fall. There are many who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The degree to which people are affected can be minimal to severe. If you find that your normal functioning is impaired or you experience significant depression, you might consider seeking help from a doctor or mental health professional.

It’s important to know yourself and what season best suits you, in order to plan your projects and activities to match your energy level. So how do you know what your season is? There is actually a self-assessment you can take to determine your seasonality. But the main question to consider is: in which seasons do you tend to feel the best, or feel the worst? Do you have significant changes on your sleeping and eating patterns from season to season? Do you tend to be more social or energetic in certain seasons?

Knowing your season can help you adjust your activities and schedule accordingly when possible. For more ideas on how to find out how seasonal you are, check out this article by Norman Rosenthal.

No matter your season, you can follow these tips to help yourself during the less energetic times:

Eat healthy. Resist the urge to default to comfort foods, as the extra fat and sugar make us feel worse. Look for heart-healthy, low-calorie foods to help you feel your best.

Stay active. Try to find ways to enjoy the season, whatever it is. Exercise can boost your mood and your immune system.

Stay connected. Spending time with family and friends is critical to fighting isolation.

Seek help. A mental health professional can help you identify problem areas and develop a plan to work through them. Maybe you need to adjust your goals.


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

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


American Psychological Association. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved Sep 20, 2017 from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/seasonal-affective-disorder.aspx.

Norman Rosenthal, N. How Seasonal Are You? Assessing and treating seasonality. Posted Dec 22, 2008 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-mind-your-body/200812/how-seasonal-are-you?collection=106209.

Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved Sep 20, 2017 from http://www.ubcmood.ca/sad/spaq-sad.pdf.





A Time for Community

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


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/


Our National Anthem

Star_Spangled_Banner_Flag_on_display_at_the_Smithsonian's_National_Museum_of_History_and_Technology,_around_1964One evening, while walking down the midway at our recent county fair, I stopped when I heard the start of  “The Star Spangled Banner”.  People around me also stopped and stood quietly, some with their hands over their heart.  Another night, when I happened to be in our OSU Extension booth talking with two FFA members, it started to play, and without saying a word we put our hands over our hearts and listened.  The gentleman in in the booth next to me, after realizing what was happening, stood quickly and took his hat off.

As this nightly occurrence of hearing the national anthem continued on throughout the week, I started to realize how much of an impact it was having on me, and what was going through my mind while it played.  The germination of an idea about writing a blog article on the topic started to form, and I decided to ask other fair-goers if they stopped during the playing of our national anthem.  If so, why, and what were they thinking (if anything), while it played?

Everyone I interviewed at the fair that week reported they stopped what they were doing and listened to the national anthem.  Below are some of their responses:

  • One of the Farm Bureau Ambassadors stated she is too young to vote or serve in the military, but this was one thing she could do to show her respect for her country.
  • One lady stated she was thinking about “the United States Daughters of 1812” an organization for descendants of patriots who aided the American cause during the War of 1812.
  • One gentleman stated what many others also shared – that he was thinking about unity, recent events in America, and those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

We celebrate many occasions in this country, such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day.  We also celebrate our country/patriotism on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Patriot’s Day (9/11), and Independence Day.  Nationally, we may not be in agreement about whether, or how, we celebrate those holidays, but the main takeaway here is that we have the freedom to choose without censure.

One constant, however, we’ve always pretty much shared is that when we hear “The Star Spangled Banner”, we Americans halt what we are doing and become united.  That response factors in to why there has been so much discord over the last year about respect (or perceived lack of) for the national anthem.

Defence_of_Fort_McHenry_(Broadside_1814)A recent study conducted by faculty at Princeton found that banding together as a nation is often lauded for getting through challenging times, but that both harmony and conflict unify nations’ identities.

“In the United States, a nation of immigrants, we have a much more complex national story to tell,” senior author Susan Fiske, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public International Affairs, says.  “Because we are pluralistic, our society requires a balancing act.  We can’t achieve unity through homogeneity, because we aren’t.”  “We can however view multi-ethnic intergroup relations in our unequal society as complicated and sometimes ambivalent.”

The Takeaway
Whether or not you agree with that assessment as it relates to the national anthem, it is important to recognize that this is a complicated issue because not everyone expresses social connectedness in the same way.  However, if you treat everyone with courtesy and respect, the only commitment you will have to make to them is behaving well (which is the Golden Rule).

View these well-known renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_lCmBvYMRs Whitney Houston
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0GFqrCcwes National youth Orchestra of the USA/NY02
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPKp29Luryc Themes & Variations


Photo Resources:
Defence of Fort McHenry, By Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) [Public domain, Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

Written by:  Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County
Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

A Great Way to Start your Day

Many people forget how important it is to start your day with a fueling breakfast. We often forget to include this meal due to lack of time and planning around hectic schedules. One versatile breakfast item that my family and I enjoy is a veggie egg muffin. This simple dish has fresh ingredients, is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is packed with protein from the eggs and fiber from its veggies. One large egg has 6 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and only 70 calories. Eggs also provide a rich source of vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Additionally, eggs are very economical to make; one egg has an average cost of approximately 8.5 cents in today’s market.    .

Vegetable Egg Muffin on a Plate

Veggie Egg Muffins

I like to make many versions of this recipe, depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. I always start with 10-12 eggs, and add milk and various veggies on hand. I also add additional spices to enhance the flavor. Spices include fresh garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, parsley flakes, and sometimes fresh or dried basil.

Here is an egg muffin recipe that I would to share to get started. This can be modified based on your veggie preferences and items you have on hand.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins


  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milkEggs in a bowl. Peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms on cutting board
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3 medium-size mushrooms
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cooking Spray

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, nonfat milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, diced peppers and onions. After vegetables are mixed together, add your cheese to the bowl.Egg mixture with veggies in a bowl

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan cups and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan then use a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.
*Adapted from Just a Taste

These healthy egg muffins taste good by themselves, but I often will make it into an egg sandwich to add more fiber. I start with a whole grain sandwich thin, and then add guacamole, taco sauce, 1 slice of cheese, and sometimes a thin slice of deli turkey. After I’ve assembled my sandwich, I warm it up in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. This is a great sandwich to start the day. They can be made the night before and put in a sandwich bag for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. My husband likes to have it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack.

If they will not be used in 5 days, plan to put them in the freezer for a later date.

Why not give it a try this week, and leave a reply in the comment box below to share other ideas for a healthy breakfast egg muffin.





Written by:  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Shannon Smith, RD, LD, Program Coordinator IGNITE Grant, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, smith.11604@osu.edu

Reviewed by:   Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,   remley.4@osu.edu

It’s a Wrap!

a tortilla spread with hummus and filled with chopped olives, chopped red bell pepper, feta cheese and spinach

Greek Veggie Wrap

Every day, millions of people pack lunches to take to work or send to school with their kids. Maybe you are one of them!

There are many benefits to packing lunch. When you pack your own lunch or prepare lunch for a child, you are able to control portion sizes, maximize nutrition and save money.

I pack my lunch almost every day of the work week, but sometimes I find myself in a “lunch rut”. Have you found yourself there, too? If you find yourself preparing the same sandwiches to take for lunch day after day, one simple way to change things up is to make wraps instead. For example, if you make lunchmeat sandwiches, try rolling lunchmeat and cheese in a whole grain tortilla, instead. No fancy tortillas are needed- I typically buy the store brand which come in a pack of 10 for less than $2. You can add lettuce for volume and your favorite condiments (mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressing, hummus, guacamole, etc.) for flavor.

If you’re someone who makes peanut butter and jelly on the regular, try spreading peanut butter on a whole grain tortilla and filling it with slices of fruit like bananas or apples.

Other tasty wraps that I have made include:

  • Italian Tuna salad – a tortilla filled with tuna, white beans, lettuce and Italian dressing
  • Tuna or Chicken salad – a tortilla filled with a mixture of tuna or chicken, plain nonfat yogurt, chopped celery and sliced apples or grapes, topped with lettuce
  • Chickpea “Chicken” salad – the above description using a can of chickpeas, run through the food processor, in place of chicken
  • Greek Vegetarian (pictured above) – a tortilla spread with hummus and filled with chopped olives, chopped red bell pepper, feta cheese and spinach (you could add chicken if you like)
  • Mexican Cabbage Salad – a tortilla filled with chopped cabbage and other chopped or shredded veggies (corn, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, carrots, etc.), pinto beans and a cilantro-lime dressing

If you’re in search of something you can mix up quickly, look for salad kits in the produce section of your grocery store. Kale and broccoli slaw or Southwest salad mix can serve as an easy “dump and mix” base for lunch wraps. You may consider adding a can of beans or sliced chicken to these mixes for added protein.

Which wrap ideas do you plan to try? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below!


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

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu



Hunter, J.G. & Cason, K.L. (2011). Packing Lunches for Work or School. Clemson Cooperative Extension. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/food_shop_prep/food_prep/hgic4246.html

UC Davis Health (2013). Packing the perfect school lunch. http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/2013-2014/08/20130828_school_lunch.html

Intermittent Fasting


I read an article about Audrey Hepburn recently and it stated that the reason she was so thin throughout her lifetime was due to extreme starvation as a child during World War II. Unfortunately, we still have areas in the world where residents are starving to death because there is nothing to eat. And in this country, we see people dying because they have TOO much to eat.

Most of us try very hard to find a balance between eating too much or too little food. We go on calorie restricting diets, sometimes with great success. But research indicates that most of those types of diets do not generate long term success.

One of the newer recommendations for improving health and facilitating weight loss is to practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting (IF) is a term used to describe an eating pattern that is not starvation, but does rotate between periods of fasting and eating.

While this may seem like a foreign concept, humans have actually been fasting throughout history. Sometimes it was done because food was not available. Other times it was (and still is) used to celebrate religious holidays. You are actually doing it for a period of time every day when you are sleeping.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

There are three primary types of intermittent fasting (IF) diets:

  • Time-restricted feeding: This method restricts your daily eating period to a set number of hours, for example from 10 am to 6 pm. Then you “fast” for 16 hours in between.
  • Whole day fasting: This method requires you to fast for 24 hours, once or twice a week, by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  • The 5:2 Diet: On two non-consecutive days of the week, you can eat, but only 500-600 calories for the whole day. The other 5 days you eat normally.

Most people find the time-restricted method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. It is also the most popular. The fasting period is flexible–it doesn’t have to be 16 hours. Not eating from the end of dinner until breakfast the next morning yields me a 14 hour fasting period every day.

All of these methods may help you lose weight as long as you don’t compensate by eating more on your eating days or feeding periods. But keep in mind that current research is showing that the success rate of an IF diet is about the same as traditional caloric restriction diets — which is to say “not good.” In a review of 12 independent studies comparing the effectiveness of intermittent fasting to continuous restricted eating, nine of the 12 studies concluded no significant differences between the groups.

If not intermittent fasting, then what?

There is still a lot of research needed on intermittent fasting to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of this type of diet. For now, the evidence does not support using this type of method for weight loss.

Dietary approaches such as mindfulness and/or intuitive eating are more effective long term and easier to implement on a daily basis.





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


No time for grocery shopping but the refrigerator is empty?   Maybe it’s time to trgrocery-store-2619380__340y online ordering with pickup or delivery.  Many grocery chains are offering this option, which can be helpful in our busy lifestyle.  So, what are the pros and cons?


  • Online ordering can be done anytime of the day. Most grocery websites store your last shopping list.  This can make it easier to reorder items and make adjustments.  You can build a shopping list throughout the week when you realize you will need to buy something.
  • Most people spend less as they are not tempted with impulse buying.
  • Pick-up or delivery saves you time. Leaving you more time for family, work, or activities.
  • Less stress can be an advantage, if you have small children you don’t have to worry about them while grocery shopping. If you have to shop at peak times you can avoid the crowds.
  • Most stores will select the best quality produce, meats or other items forWest Region DWD Project 015 you.
  • Some stores link manufacture’s coupons to items making it easy to click to save on the items in your online cart.
  • Delivery or pick up can be convenient for people who are ill or have problems with mobility.
  • If you have groceries delivered you can save on your gasoline bill.


  • Depending on the store it may be more expensive especially if you have groceries delivered. Some delivery time-slots cost more than others, due to high demand.
  • You may not get the quality of produce or other items that you would pick for yourself. It is hard to know what the produce at the store looks like, as you might have changed your mind on what to buy.
  • You miss out on reduced price or manager’s specials.
  • You miss out on social interaction with other customers and the grocery staff.
  • Some websites are difficult to maneuver.
  • Can’t use paper coupons.

My daughter has been ordering her groceries online and using the pick-up option.  She likes that it takes less time, and she doesn’t have to get her children in and out of the car seats.   She says she is spending less and has the same amount of food in the house.    I live in a smaller city where the option is not available to us yet.  I am very picky on my produce, so I am not sure I would use it, even if it was available.

Please let us know what your experience has been with online grocery shopping using pickup or delivery?

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

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


Eaglescliffe, B. (2017). Pros and Cons of Online Grocery Shopping.   Tough Nickel.  Available at https://toughnickel.com/industries/Pros-and-Cons-of-Online-Grocery-Shopping

Freedman, D. (2017).  How Grocery Delivery Can Save You Money, Money Talks News.  Available at https://www.moneytalksnews.com/how-grocery-delivery-can-save-you-money/2/

Utah State Extension.  (2016). Pros & Cons of Online Grocery Shopping, Utah State Extension.  Available at http://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/pros-cons-online-grocery-shopping