QuickTip Tuesday: Turkey Thaw

If you’ve got a frozen bird for Thanksgiving, it really is time to starting thinking about how you will safely thaw that big boy in your refrigerator. Use this infographic to help:

If you have questions about your turkey, you can always call the OSU Extension office near you or call the Butterball Turkey Talkline at 1-800-BUTTERBALL.

QuickTip Tuesday: Runner’s Safety

runner

With the onset of fall and the end of Daylight Savings Time, it is getting dark much earlier. This can mean more risk to people who walk or run in the evening (or early morning if you’re a morning person). Here are my best tips to stay safe while you are walking or running, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t have sidewalks:

  • Wear bright colors. White works great! And/or wear reflective clothing. It can be difficult for drivers to see a person wearing all black when it is dark or getting dark outside.
  • Run or walk on the left side of the road. When you are on the left, you can see cars coming toward you in the same lane. If you are on the right side, the cars driving in your lane will be coming up behind you. You won’t see them coming and you might not hear them either if you listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks while you walk or run.
  • If you do wear headphones, keep the volume low. This will protect your ears and allow you to hear vehicles or other runners as they approach. It’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

That’s it! Those are my best safety tips for walking or running at dusk or after dark.

QuickTip Tuesday: Cyber Security

This week’s tip is brought to you by Agriculture Communication Services at OSU.

cyber security tips

Whether you want to admit it or not, social media is a growing part of our daily lives. Most of us use these tools in our personal life, scrolling and double-tapping to keep up with friends and family. In more recent years, we have shifted our focus from personal use to professional use. Many of you manage pages to promote your programming.
I am sure you are aware October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). The DASNR IT has done an excellent job with sharing tips and tricks to keep us safe. Today I am going to share five tips on how to stay safe while using social media.
#1) Passwords
Change your password at least every six months and make sure you follow the best security practices when choosing one. Mike Lane had some great tips in a recent blog post. Consider choosing different passwords for your various social media platforms.
#2) Two-Step Authentication
Facebook and Instagram have a great tool called two-step authentication. This is a safeguard and an extra layer to keep your accounts safe. I would highly encourage this to be turned on. Read more about this tool here.
#3) Consider A Password Keeper
A password manager, such as LastPass, can help generate strong passwords and also keep them secure. Even strong passwords, however, should be changed frequently. If you do not want to go this route, you can keep an excel sheet or a hard copy. Be sure to keep the excel sheet or hard copy in a safe place.
#4) Think Before You Click
Before clicking a link in your timeline, take a moment to review the site. Ask yourself a few questions: Is this a trusted source, is this story true or false, do I need to take this quiz, does this add value, or is it clickbait? There are so many third-party apps that pop up. Before you grant access, take a moment to review what information you are giving away.
#5) Friend Requests
Don’t accept friend requests from unknown individuals. Keep your friends list limited to those you know in real life. Once a year, take a moment to review connections; it is okay to unfriend/block/report. Remember, anyone can see the information you post, including your activities, location, and personal and professional life.

Foodie Friday: November Menu

We still have a few days of October left, but it’s the last Friday of the month so it’s “new menu” time! The temperatures have finally cooled down in central Oklahoma and I am so happy to not be in a constant puddle. I’m really looking forward to my November menu. Yes, I realize I say that every month, but I promise it’s always true. 

For November 2019, I have given you (me) a new calendar layout. Going forward, my menu calendar will start on Sunday instead of Monday.  I’m pretty pumped about that! And absolutely nothing on this menu is a new recipe for my family. I usually love trying out new dishes and new recipes, but sometimes it is good to know that everything on the menu has been tested out by my cooking skills and my family.

November 2019

You can print this one: November 2019

And you can find recipes on the November 2019 Menu Pinterest board.

Family Style Meals

blog cover photo 2

I recently went to a training for work and one of the main topics of discussion was “family-style meals.” Family-style meals are meals in which children are allowed to serve themselves. The parents (or other adults in charge) do not portion out the food onto individual plates, but the children (yes even pre-school children) put their own food onto their own plates. This allows children to have some autonomy and control over their own meals.

After the discussions on family-style meals, I decided it was time for my own house to have some family-style meals. I started letting my two daughters (ages 8 and 5) serve themselves at the table. Want to know what happened? They ate better! I told them to take what they thought they would eat and if they wanted more, they could get more food later. They have both done really well! My five-year-old has to be reminded to only take the amount of food she wants to eat because scooping is fun, but they both tend to eat the food they put on their plates! AND we haven’t had any big messes yet!

If you’ve got finicky eaters, try this. It’s been a great change.

QuickTip Tuesday: Holiday Budget Tips

Holiday budget tips

With the holidays coming up soon, many people may be thinking about how the family’s finances can stretch the cover the extra needs that the holidays demand.  The best strategy for budgeting for the holidays is to start in January!  But many people don’t think of that or are not able to do it.  If you are just starting to think about the holiday season, use these tips to help make your money go a little further.

1)  Attend free or inexpensive holiday events hosted in your community.  Some suggestions are school band or vocal concerts, holiday plays, church events, community meals, Christmas caroling, volunteering, and holiday light displays.  These are great free ways to make holiday memories for your family.

2)  Buy practical gifts and don’t splurge on little things.  Give the recipient a gift he or she really needs. It will be more appreciated than something trendy.  Also, let the kids decorate plain paper to use for wrapping paper, and make your own gift tags from last year’s Christmas cards or card stock.  Or re-use gift bags from last year.

3)  Spend time with those you love.  Have a family game night, or a movie night at home.  Make memories with your family.  That is what they will remember, not the gifts.

4) Draw names for a family gift exchange.  In large families, it may be difficult for everyone to buy a gift for all family members, so a gift exchange can be a fun way to save money.  To save even more, put a dollar limit on the gift.

5)  Borrow.  If you need an outfit for a special event, see if a friend or relative has a dress, shoes or jewelry you can borrow.  If not, at least try to buy only one item to go with what you already have.

6)  Simplify meal plans.  Host a potluck at your home instead of meals out.  Ask guests to bring the side dishes and desserts.  It will be a fun tradition to start that will be looked forward to all year.

7)  Shop Smart.  Take time to look for deals.  If you purchase online, look for free shipping and free returns.  Check out several sites to compare prices.  Also, consider giving homemade gifts.  Food gifts are always appreciated.  It could be a gift of your help, such as coupons for babysitting or mowing the lawn.

Remember…Everyday help can be found in your community.  There are food banks that give help to families in need and are especially aware that there is a greater need in and around holiday season.  Second hand stores can be a great place to get sturdy and only slightly-worn clothing for children and adults.  If you are having trouble with your utilities, you can get subsidies from the LIHEAP program and some utilities have assistance programs for certain low-income groups.  Check with your utility company.

Most communities have an “Angel Tree” or similar program. Check your local churches, Salvation Army, Lion’s Club, and other organizations to see if they have a program that can help out.  Some local businesses support needy families with toy drives, food baskets and other programs such as a turkey giveaway.  If you are in financial need, contact as many of these resources as you can to get help.  With some planning and some help, you family can have a wonderful holiday season.