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Holiday meals are a wonderful way to re-connect with family and friends. We tend to spend more money and time preparing special holiday foods. USDA offers some tips on preparing a healthy, low-cost holiday meal:

Plan ahead. Deciding early on your menu can save both time and money. You can look for sales and coupons to help lower food costs. Check your cupboards and use what you have along with items you need to purchase. For more help in planning your meal, check out USDA’s Countdown to Thanksgiving.

Use canned and frozen produce. Because these foods can be stored longer, you can purchase them when they are on sale.

thanksgiving.jpgConsider frozen meat. Meat tends to be the most expensive part of the meal. In general, frozen meats tend to cost less. Make sure you have space in your freezer to store and your refrigerator later for thawing before cooking and also for storing leftovers.

Have a potluck. Invite family members to bring a dish with them. You can coordinate these dishes with your menu so there is a nice variety. This can save you both time and money.

Healthy and homemade. While store-bought dishes or desserts can save you time, they can be expensive. Making them yourself can help save money and you can adjust the amount of salt, sugar and fat as your prepare the food.

Try a new recipe. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service offers a variety of healthy, low-cost recipes. You can also read more on the MyPlate Holiday Makeover.

Use your leftovers. You want to make sure all leftovers are stored safely so they can become part of a tasty dish. Freeze what you cannot use within 7 days.

Our Live Healthy Live Well team wishes you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Sources:

Rowe, A. (2013). Stretching a Holiday Food Budget during the Busy Holiday Season. United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/12/3/stretching-holiday-food-budget-during-busy-holiday-season

Countdown to the Thanksgiving Holiday. (2013) United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/seasonal-food-safety/countdown-to-the-thanksgiving-holiday/CT_Index

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewed by:  Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County.

 

 

 

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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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Holidays seem like they should be a joyful time, but when you’ve experienced a loss, the grief can make you painfully aware of the sharp contrast between how you feel and what the holidays ‘should’ bring. These tips may help you get through a difficult time.

  1. Only do what is doable. Holiday time tends to be busier than usual and it’s easy to overload your calendar. This can leave you feeling tired and burned out. It’s up to you to decide which activities you will participate in. It’s okay to say no.
  2. Accept your feelings. The way we experience and express grief is different for everyone. There is no timeline or ‘normal’ path through grief. Holidays can intensify grief because we tend to make a lot of memories with our loved ones at celebrations. Some people feel guilty when they have period of joy. Whatever your feelings, accept them as they come with each up and down.
  3. Ask for help. Reach out to family or close friends who can lighten your load. Maybe they could run an errand for you, or maybe you just need someone to listen to you.
  4. Plan ahead. A little planning can save you time, money and hassle. Combine some errands. Save some time for yourself in all the planning. Create some comforting rituals that help you take care of yourself.
  5. Scale back. Simplify your giving. Cut your Christmas card list in half. Don’t bake quite as much. Put up fewer decorations. There are many ways to simplify at holiday time.
  6. Give. Consider giving to a charity in memory of your loved one. Volunteer to serve others for a cause that honors your loved one. Making a positive difference in someone else’s life can be brighten our spirits as well.memory
  7. Acknowledge those who have passed on. It can help with healing to honor the memory of loved ones in a special way during the holidays. Perhaps you can light a candle in their honor or share stories about them.
  8. Do something different. Sometimes traditions and rituals help us remember special times with loved ones. Other times it may be more painful to experience the tradition without a loved one. This might be just the year to start a new tradition. You could go to a different location to celebrate, maybe even a good time to get away for a bit. Do what seems right for you this year.

References:

Goyer, A. “Dealing with Grief During the Holiday Season: 10 things to help get you through this difficult time. AARP. Dec. 2012.

Alvord, M., Fu, M. & Palmiter, D. “Making the most of the holiday season.” American Psychological Association. Nov. 2016.

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

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

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My Christmas Tree

Did the holiday season arrive sooner than you expected? For many people this week will be a very busy time. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or another holiday this winter, take time to establish healthy holiday traditions.

Want some ideas to help you get started?

Think Fresh! Make fresh fruits and vegetables available for snacking. If they are readily available, your family may choose vegetables and fruits over calorie-rich snacks. Have the veggies ready to go to encourage healthy snacking. Take a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana for those last-minute shopping trips. If you have a healthy snack, you may avoid the temptation to eat a high calorie fast food or rich dessert.

Move more! If you are shopping don’t worry about finding the parking space that is closest to your store, park further away and get extra steps in.

Have fun! If it is snowy, get outside and play in the snow. Play active indoor games or dance to holiday music. Take a family walk after dinner. Get up and move – make it a family tradition to take a New Year’s Day walk or Christmas Eve walk around the neighborhood to see the lights.

Give back! Encourage your family members to donate food for the food pantry, help serve at a community meal site, or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter. Adopt a family, purchase mittens and hats for the local mitten and hat tree, or ask guests to bring a food donation instead of a hostess gift at your holiday party. Food pantries often experience a shortage with an increased need over the holidays. Include your family in the giving traditions so they can experience the joy of giving to others.

Thank others! Write an annual letter to your child or your parents. If you are a parent, take the time at the end of the year to reflect on the past year including the milestones and small activities that your family enjoyed over the past year. If you have elderly parents or grandparents, take time to ask for that favorite recipe or holiday tradition. Your family member will be happy to share their ideas and you will be able to capture important information about what makes your family special. Take time to write a short “thank you” to your parent, grandparent or significant person for something they did that touched your heart or enriched your life.

Let’s Cook! Cook or bake with your family or friends. Show children how to cook or bake those special foods your family enjoys. Talk about these foods or special baked goods as you prepare them and encourage everyone to taste them.

Explore cultures! Share customs from your own heritage or enrich their lives by exposing your children to other cultures. Share information about holidays, customs and foods that others may enjoy during this time including Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanza.

What ideas can you share for establishing healthy holiday traditions?

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

Reviewer: Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Hardy, Bethany, 5 Meaningful Holiday Traditions for Kids available from http://www.pbs.org/parents/holidays/5-meaningful-holiday-traditions-kids/

Enjoy Foods from Many cultures available from http://choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet31EnjoyFoodsFromManyCultures.pdf

Make Healthier Holiday Choices available from http://choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet32MakeHealthierHolidayChoices.pdf

 

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fourth july

Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate our independence with picnics, barbecues, parades, fireworks and family gatherings. Let’s celebrate safely this Fourth of July with the following safety tips.

Food Safety Practices

•Perishable foods are limited to 2 hours sitting at room temperature (just one hour if it is over 90 degrees). Keep cold foods on ice. Hot foods can be kept hot on the grill. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and discard any perishable food that has been out too long in the hot temperatures.
• Use a clean platter and grill spatula to take the cooked food off the grill. The juices left on the grill spatula during grilling and the platter used to hold the uncooked meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.
• Use a food thermometer to determine if the grilled meat is done. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to ensure it has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

o Poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
o Hamburgers (ground meats) cooked to 160 degrees F.
o Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees F.
o Hot dogs should be cooked to 165 degrees F.

Grilling Safety

• Never grill indoors, in the garage, carports, under awnings
• Always keep your grill away from house siding, railings, trees and anything else flammable
• Check gas grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks
• Keep children away from the grill

Be a Safe Swimmer

• Never swim alone
• Be sure children are supervised at all times

Parades

• Keep children away from floats and vehicles traveling on a parade route
• Be sure children know what to do if they become lost or separated from parents or supervisors
• Designate a meeting place as soon as you arrive in a public location
• Remember to keep your cell phone battery charged.
Leave fireworks to the professionals
• It is not worth the risk to end up injured playing with fireworks.
• Enjoy the fireworks display in your community!
Stay safe and celebrate this 4th of July!

Resources: fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education

Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewers: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, MFCS, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

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

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

Elizabeth Smith, RD,LD, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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