QuickTip Tuesday: Celebrate Small Victories

This last week, I had some setbacks in my fitness goals. I had set a goal to get up and run on the 5 weekdays, and follow up my runs with a short strength training workout. Well, as per usual, things didn’t go as planned. I got pink eye and couldn’t wear my contacts. My glasses don’t fit right so I cannot workout in them. This week, I don’t feel great either. I am dragging during my runs, but I am going to celebrate and be proud of the fact that I simply got up and got started. When your own plans/goals do not go the way you had hoped, instead of being down on yourself just celebrate what you DID accomplish. Don’t dwell on what you didn’t.


Foodie Friday: Squash Season

My dad loves to garden. He grows a pretty big garden every year and it seems like squash is something that grows really well. It is always the first vegetable to be ready to eat, and one that keeps producing all summer long. They are already harvesting more squash than they can eat, and giving me more squash than my family can eat. I love squash, but I know I’ll be sick of it by the end of Summer.

One of my favorite ways to cook squash is fried in a spicy cornmeal mixture, but that’s not really healthy. Another great way to cook it is on the grill. I slice it into rounds about 1/4 inch thick and wrap it up in foil with a little butter and a seasoned salt. I put the whole packet on a hot grill for about 15 minutes and it is steamed to perfection! Here are some other interesting squash recipes I found on the internet:

Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Squash

Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Zucchini, Squash and Tomatoes | Cooking Classy

Taco Stuffed Summer Squash

Taco Stuffed Summer Squash Boats

Grilled Summer Squash with Yum Yum Sauce


I fully plan to try out these squash recipes to help prevent my family from getting tired of eating our most plentiful summer veggie. I love squash! What’s your favorite way to prepare it?


Thinking Outside the Box

thinking outside the box

It’s time to start thinking outside the box! 

We’re accustomed to seeing and responding to things in a certain way.  Most people do what they have always done or what seems normal and natural. However, this is not always what should be done to be successful or even to survive. For example, scientists who work with sharks discovered the best thing to do when a shark is nearby is to swim toward it. This is because in the ocean, things that run away are prey and things that attack are predators. When your swim toward the shark, it thinks you are a predator and will swim away to escape you. This kind of outside-the-box thinking will require learning some new strategies that won’t always seem normal or natural, but are necessary for success. It will take hard work to change old ways of seeing and responding to situations. By thinking outside of the box, you can create new ways to successfully co-parent and provide the best possible environment for your child.

Sometimes we get stuck in the box with no acceptable solution in sight. We keep going over and over the same ground, but nothing changes. There is a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time. Divorcing parents frequently find themselves in a situation in which a co-parent consistently does something they don’t like. The crazy part is that they keep responding the same way to the behavior always hoping that he or she will stop. This rarely works. Instead of repeating the same, do something different. But what can you do?

First, consider you might be doing something that is annoying to your co-parent and they are responding to you. Is your behavior focused on the well-being of your child, or are you trying to make your co-parent pay for what they did to you? If your honest answer is the latter, then get focused on what is best for your child. If you change, your co-parent will most likely respond differently to you.

Second, ask yourself: Are you sincerely trying to work out a “win-win” relationship with your co-parent or are you trying to get what you want? What does your co-parent really want and how can you help him or her get that without sacrificing your own needs and desires? In other words, what would be a workable compromise that allows everyone to win?  If you sincerely work to help your co-parent, sooner or later, they will begin to change their behavior toward you.

Finally, if you can’t see your own behavior clearly, find someone who will give you some honest feedback and ask them to brainstorm some possible solutions with you. Two or three heads are almost always better than one. This person might even be able to serve as a mediator who talks to your co-parent to get some new insight into the reasons for their seemingly annoying behavior. Then they might be in an even better situation to help you think outside the box.

Remember that almost all solutions come when one person is able to find a new path. Fighting fire with fire only ends up with both people and the children getting burned.

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: Safe Insecticides

This week’s tip is brought to you by Cody Linker, our very own Lincoln County Agriculture Educator.

Bugs bringing down your garden? Don’t want to use conventional insecticides? Try this:

Mix up 2.5 tbsp liquid dish soap (the blue Dawn works great), 2.5 tbsp vegetable oil, and one gallon water. Put this mixture into a spray bottle and you’re good to go! Spray those plants down with your insecticidal soap, taking care to spray the undersides of the leave and the stem. Be sure to do a sensitivity test first, because a few plants are susceptible to leaf damage with this treatment.

Foodie Friday: June Menu

I am back with my monthly menus! I like to think you all missed me and my hyper-organization while I was out doing my internship…. but that’s probably just my imagination. Either way, summer is here and that means it’s pretty hot in my house! We have a high ceiling in our living room which is great. We also have a triple sized window. that means efficiency in the largest room in our house is not so great. We bought a window shade a couple years ago that was designed to insulate better than our old blinds and it has helped, but it still gets really hot. For this reason, I avoid turning on the oven in my house during the summer months.

I love my grill! It’s a fun American past time and it doesn’t make my house any hotter. It’s also really easy clean-up. So needless to say, the June menu is chock-full of grilling recipes and no-bake desserts. There are a couple dinners that will utilize the oven, but not many. I hope you enjoy this menu as much as I plan to enjoy it! You can find the recipes on the June 2018 Menu board.

June 2018 Menu

June 2018 Menu

QuickTip Tuesday: Keep Breakfast Simple

Mornings are hectic, am I right? Even now that Amelia is out of school for the summer and I have graduated, I still find myself chronically late to work unless I bring my breakfast with me. To reduce the amount of morning chaos, keep breakfast simple. Simple breakfasts can still be delicious and healthy! Try a smoothie made with non-fat Greek yogurt and your favorite fruit. Try a sandwich or wrap made with onions, bell peppers, feta cheese and eggs any way you like ’em. My go-to breakfast is low-fat cottage cheese with peaches (canned in juice) or pineapple and a piece of whole wheat toast. Sometimes instead of the fruit, I mix in avocado and cherry tomatoes. Simple, satisfying, and tasty!

Shared Parenting Time: Quantity equals Quality

coparenting shared parenting time

Children deserve the opportunity to be loved by both of their parents and should not be caught in between parents who do not know how to get along. Research shows children who have healthy relationships with both parents do better later in life. Shared parenting time provides children with more opportunities to develop deep, lasting bonds with both parents.

Have you and your co-parent thought about shared parenting time? In shared-parenting arrangements, also known as joint custody, children spend 30 percent to 50 percent of their time with each parent, which creates more opportunities for the child to have meaningful experiences with both of their parents. The good news is that shared parenting is not only possible, it actually works! 

Quality time between children and parents is often spontaneous and cannot always be planned. Consequently, increasing the quantity of time a child spends with both parents will increase the amount of quality time in the relationship. Quality time includes opportunities for teaching and sharing values with our children. For example, helping with homework or teaching your children through discipline helps create a strong parent-child relationship, which is what every child longs for and needs for healthy adjustment following divorce.

Research shows that except in extreme cases where it is unsafe to do so, shared parenting benefits the child and the parents. However, shared parenting may not be an option for everyone. For example, in situations where one parent is deployed in the military or is gone for long periods of time due to work responsibilities, other custody arrangements may be a better fit for the circumstances. The safety of your child is the most important aspect to consider when creating a parenting plan. In situations when your child’s safety is a concern, it may be best to seek legal help in determining the right parenting plan for your child.

To learn more about shared parenting, click here to access a fact sheet: Shared Parental Responsibility Before and After Divorce


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.