August Menu

I did not get this menu completed or posted on the last Friday of July because, well…. I was busy. But it is finished and here for your viewing pleasure now.

People ask me every month: “Jessica, where do you share your recipes?” My answer is always the same and can always be found within the body of my monthly menu posts. They are not all my recipes, but I have collected them on the August 2019 Menu Pinterest Board…. (or insert appropriate month here)

Enjoy this menu!

August MenuAugust 2019 Menu

QuickTip Tuesday: Libby


I love to read but I hardly ever have the time or energy to go to the public library and I don’t want to always be spending money on books or ebooks. Recently my husband introduced me to Libby. It’s an app that links to your public library using your library card number and allows you to borrow ebooks, magazines and audiobooks. You can read the books using your Kindle or smartphone. It’s really pretty awesome. I’ve been reading like crazy since our vacation back in February when he introduced me to the app. If you like to read, you should definitely try it! Best part? It’s free.

Co-Parenting: Children Caught in the Middle

kids in the middle

Have you ever been in a tug of war and you were the rope? Ouch! If you and your co-parent are putting your child in the middle of your divorce, that is exactly how your child feels. Most parents are so overwhelmed by their own stress and hurt that they do not even realize how their behavior affects their children.

Children are caught in the middle of divorce in many ways.  In fact, research shows nearly 9 out of 10 parents engage in one of the following behaviors that put their child in the middle of the divorce and these actions put children in no-win situations:

  • Asking your child to keep secrets from their other parent.
    • “Don’t tell dad I let you have ice cream for breakfast.”
  • Making your child feel guilty for not being with you.
    • “I am lonely when I don’t get to see you all weekend.”
  • Complaining about your co-parent in front of the child.
    • “If only your father paid child support, then we could go to the movies.”
  • Having your child deliver messages to their other parent.
    • “Will you tell your mother I won’t be able to pick you up from school tomorrow?”
  • Quizzing your child about their other parent.
    • “Has dad started dating yet?”
  • Engaging in conflict with your co-parent in front of your child.
    •  This can be in person, over the phone or via media devices.
  • Sharing too much information with your child about the divorce.
    • “If mom had not gone off with that guy, we would still be together.”
  • Setting your child up to choose sides.
    • “Do you want to spend time with dad or with mom this weekend?”

To learn more about what NOT to do, check out this fact sheet: 10 Things You Should NOT Do. 

Fortunately, there are many things parents can do to put their children first. Here are some ideas research has shown to be effective:

  • Create a vision for your child and stick to it despite what the other parent does. In other words, know what you want for your child, so you can help them achieve it.
  • Be proactive through being strategic, loyal to yourself and in control. Do not let intense emotions cloud your judgment. Focus on the things you can control, instead of trying to control your co-parent.
  • Create win-win situations for both parents, because in order for the child to win, both parents must win. Parents generally know what is best for their children, thus finding the win-win compromise ultimately allows your child to win.
  • Keep trying even when it is difficult. You do not have to be a perfect parent, just a good enough parent for your child.
  • Have a support group that can help you achieve your goals. This may not always include your closest friends or family because they likely have strong feelings about the divorce. Find people will you can trust to give you objective advice and tell you the truth.

Children deserve the opportunity to love and be loved by both their parents. Creating win-win opportunities between co-parents allows your child to flourish! You can choose to put your children first by creating situations where the parent-child relationship can be strengthened with both their parents. Healthy parent-child relationships result in better child outcomes.

To learn more about thing you should do following divorce check out this fact sheet: Tips for Working with an Uncooperative EX!: 10 Things You Should Do.  


Need more help? Co-Parenting is hard. We are here to help! Learn more about the Co-Parenting for Resilience Program, part of the Extension mission of Oklahoma State University’s College of Human Sciences.



QuickTip Tuesday: Ripening Avocados

Image result for avocado

I love avocados and I could absolutely eat them daily. But, sometimes it is hard to find good ones in our local grocery stores. There are days when every avocado is bruised and mushy and there are days when every avocado is extremely under-ripe (a.k.a. hard as a rock). While there’s not much to be done for those sad specimens that have been squeezed to oblivion by shoppers who are not wise to the ways of the avocado, there is something you can do for the immature avocado. If all you can get your hands on is an avocado that’s not quite ready, place it in a paper bag and set the bag on your windowsill for a day or two. This will hasten the ripening of your avocado. If it gets ripe and you aren’t ready to use it, put it in the refrigerator to help hold it a little longer.

Why Milk Matters

milk kids

Milk is full of calcium and other nutrients needed to grow strong bones. When you don’t drink enough milk or eat foods made from milk, your bones get soft and brittle. Every time you drink milk, your bones get what they need to become and stay strong. Your body builds nearly half of its’ bones between the ages of 11 and 19 years! Be sure children get enough milk while they are young to help their bodies grow strong bones. As a parent, don’t stop drinking milk because you have stopped growing. It is important for parents to drink milk and eat calcium-rich foods to help bones stay strong and healthy.

What kind of milk and how much?
Babies should drink breast milk or iron-fortified formula until their first birthday. Children 1 to 2 years of age need whole milk. Their stomachs are small, and they need the fat in whole milk to grow properly.

After their 2nd birthday, children can drink low-fat milk. It is a good habit for your whole family to drink low-fat milk.

Children 1 to 3 years of age, should have two servings of dairy foods each day. Serve milk in small amounts – about ¼ cup at a time. Remember that yogurt and cheese also count as servings of milk.

for life long
healthy bones,
milk matters!

Easy ways to get more calcium
• Eat yogurt for a snack.
• Drink milk instead of soda or juice at meals.
• Choose orange juice with added calcium.
• Put cheese on your sandwich or pack a cheese stick with lunch.
• Eat dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens.

Lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance is a food sensitivity, not a milk allergy or sickness. It is not common during childhood. Even if you are lactose intolerant, your child probably is not.

Diarrhea, stomachache, gas or feeling bloated are symptoms of lactose intolerance. These same symptoms can point to a more serious health problem.

Talking with your child’s health care provider is the only way to know what the symptoms really mean. Skip the urge to diagnose lactose intolerance yourself. If you stop serving milk, your child will miss nutrients needed to grow and stay healthy.

If your child’s health care provider diagnoses your child with lactose intolerance
Your child can still enjoy milk products and get the nutrition that milk provides. If your child goes to a day care, give them a note from your child’s health care provider requesting lactose-free milk and milk products.

Together, plan ways to fit calcium-rich foods into the snacks and meals your child eats. Here are some ideas to use at home and share with your day care provider to help your child get enough dairy foods without the symptoms.
• Reduce it. Consider buying and serving lactose-free milk to yourself and children.
• Sip it. Serve milk and dairy foods to your children with other foods. Try it with cereal, in smoothies or with meals.
• Stir it. Mix milk with your other foods. Prepare oatmeal or soups with milk instead of water.
• Slice it. Choose cheeses that are naturally lower in lactose such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Swiss.
• Shred it. Sprinkle salads, vegetables and casseroles with shredded cheese to add more dairy foods to your child.
• Spoon it. Try yogurts in your favorite flavors. Read the label to be sure they have live and active cultures.


Reviewed by: Jenni Kinsey, MS, RD, LD & Hasina Rakotomanana, MS.

USDA.(2017) Nibbles for Health. Retrieved from:
National Dairy Council. (2018). What is Lactose Intolerance? Retrieved from:


Deana Hildebrand, PhD., RD,LD, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist
Christine Walters, RDN, LD, MS, Extension Program Assistant
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Nutritional Sciences Department, Oklahoma State University

QuickTip Tuesday: Fireworks Safety

Image result for fireworks

Before you light fireworks

  • Use legal fireworks, available at licensed outlets.
  • Store fireworks out of children’s reach.
  • Keep pets safe indoors.
  • Have water handy.

When lighting fireworks

  • An adult should light all fireworks.
  • Use outdoors only.
  • Light one firework at a time and move away.
  • Do not throw fireworks or hold in your hand.
  • Never relight a “dud”.

After you finish

  • Soak used fireworks in water.
  • Be considerate — clean up used fireworks.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children