UK Cooperative Extension Service KSU Cooperative Extension Programs
at the Henry County Web

The Cooperative Extension Service   
of Henry County, Kentucky


Make Convenience Foods Healthier
Building Strong Families
Five Ways To Dig Out of Budget Problems:
Prevent Salmonella in Eggs w/ Safe Practices
Use Caution When Backing Up Your Vehicle
Wood vs. Metal:(Stitchery)
Small Steps to Health and Wealth™

Holiday Mail for Heroes:
MONEYWI$E – Holiday Spending
Savings: Your Key to Financial Security:
Dogs and Homeowner’s Insurance:
Food Tattoos
Save Time W/ Social Security Bus. Online
Steps to Bone Health:
Trick, Treat or Toy?
Plan for Holiday Expenses:
Take Care if Borrowing from Retirement Accounts:
Vitamin C and the Common Cold:
Protecting Your Home from Bed Bugs
What's eating you?
Give Your Kitchen a Fresh Start
Washing Produce:
Q & A by Extension Food Specialists:
New Credit Card Laws Take Effect
Physical Activity Is Beneficial

Don't Miss Page 1

4 Tips to Make Convenience Foods Healthier

Are you trying to eat healthy AND use packaged foods because your time is limited? If so, here are a few tips to make convenience foods healthier:

1. for boxed mixes of rice, pasta, stuffing or macaroni and cheese, use half (or omit) the butter or margarine called for in the instructions;
2. to spaghetti sauce or creamed soups, add canned, frozen or cooked vegetables;
3. to frozen pizza, top with raw or cooked vegetables before baking; and,
4. for seasoned rice mixes, use only half the seasoning packet–the remaining seasoning may be added when cooking plain rice or to flavor slow cooked meat.

April 2009



April 2010


Five ways to dig out of budget problems:

Step 1. Break your debt into small pieces. Paying off the highest interest rate first saves you the most money. If you feel overwhelmed, focus on your smallest debt first. You will feel good when you have one less debt to pay.

Step 2. Keep track of every penny you spend. Write down everything you spend. Over time, you will see those spending leaks or extras that you can do without to help you have enough money to pay your necessary expenses.

Step 3. Make your payments on time. Lenders raise interest rates and charge large fees for late payments. If your payment date does not work for you, call the creditor and ask to change the payment due date to one the works for you.

Step 4. Increase your income. Find a part-time job to give you some extra cash to pay off your debts and be debt free. You might end up with a whole new career.

Step 5. Seek help. There are several trustworthy credit counseling agencies that can help you enroll in a debt management program if you are in over your head in debt. You can try to do it on your own first.

Extension publication FCS 5-104 Money Management-How To Get Out of Debt, explains how to do it. If you use a debt management program, it will lower your credit rating for seven years, but it can set you on the road to good money management. You can find a credit counseling agency at

Reference: “Live Debt Free,” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, November 2008, page 86.
Source: Suzanne Badenhop, Extension Specialist for Family Resource Management,
University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

August 09


Prevent salmonella in eggs with safe practices:

More than 550,000 eggs were recently recalled due to an outbreak of salmonella. Although Kentucky has not yet been affected by the most recent salmonella outbreak, following safe handling and cooking practices are your best methods to keep your family safe. Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause intestinal illnesses in humans. The infections can be life-threatening especially for infants and young children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and transplant patients).

Here are some tips about safely handling and cooking eggs, which can help prevent salmonella.

• Wash your hands. The best method is to wash your hands for 30 seconds before and after handling food, using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.

• Wash the surfaces you use for cooking such as utensils, cutting boards, dishes and countertops with hot, soapy water. Do this after preparing a food item and before you move to the next item.

• Paper towels are best to use. However, if you use cloth towels, wash them often using the hot water cycle in your washer.

• Salmonella is destroyed by cooking the egg, or egg-containing dish, to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature. Promptly place eggs in the refrigerator when you get home from the store.

• Don’t eat raw eggs. This includes beverages made with raw eggs and sauces such as Caesar salad, hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, eggnog, and cookie dough, unless the dish was made with a pasteurized liquid egg product or pasteurized in-shell eggs. Cook yolks until they are firm.

August 2010


Use Caution When Backing Up Your Vehicle

Did you know that “More accidents occur per mile driven when people are backing up than in any other situation”? People don’t back up as often as they drive forward and, when driving in reverse, they are facing forward. We have to learn to look over our shoulder and then back around to keep an eye on everything around us, which doesn’t come naturally.

The consequences of not looking where you’re going when you back up your vehicle can include running into other cars, fences, telephone poles, pets, and maybe even children playing in your driveway. This is why it is so important to be aware of what is going on in all directions. The Blue Grass Auto Club Safety Foundation recommends that drivers always walk around their vehicle to spot potential hazards before getting in and starting up. It is even possible to miss something or someone directly in front of the vehicle if you don’t look.

Once in the vehicle, back up slowly and look frequently over your right shoulder, as well as in front of you and to both sides. Your mirrors are helpful, but they can’t show you everything. If you aren’t sure you have room to turn or back up, get out and look. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone outside the vehicle. A car or truck can be very dangerous—and accidents can be financially costly—so it’s better safe than sorry when you’re behind the wheel.

Reference: “Reversing the Trend,” Blue Grass Auto Club Safety Foundation, in Journeys (American Automobile Association), Jan. / Feb., 2008.

Source: Robert H. Flashman, Extension Specialist for Family Resource Management, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.

August 2008


Wood vs. Metal:

For crocheters and knitters, who suffer discomfort due to arthritis pain while doing their favorite pass time, their knitting needles or crochet hook could be part of the problem? Many crocheters and knitters say that metal crochet hooks and knitting needles can aggravate the pain in their fingers over extended periods of handwork. Why? It seems that metal, being a conductor of heat, naturally zaps the heat from your hand, leaving the fingers feeling colder and achier, especially on chilly days.

However, using a wood crochet hook or knitting needles tend to generate warmth to the hands for a more soothing experience. This is likely because wood is a nonconductor of heat, and therefore, the hand naturally stays warmer when working with a wood instrument. And speaking of wood hooks and needles, a good way to clean them is to use either a good wood furniture cleaner or gently buff them with bee's wax. But one of the best treatments for your wood hooks is simply to use them. The natural oils in your skin provide continual nourishment and polishing of your wood instruments. Even running them through your hair can be good for them! In this instance, having oily hair, is a good thing!

Source: Marjorie M. Baker, Extension Associate for Clothing and Textiles, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

August 2008


Small Steps to Health and Wealth™
Track Your Current Behavior

"The refusal to choose is a form of choice; disbelief is a form of belief."
Frank Barren

People often "disconnect" themselves from their personal health habits and financial practices. However, it's hard to change behavior, to improve your health or increase your wealth, when you don't fully acknowledge the problems with your current situation. Trying to make changes without an identified starting point is like making a plane reservation and not indicating the airport that you 're leaving from. You have to admit that you have a problem before you can take steps to address it.

Denial is common with both health and personal finance issues, even when there's ample visible evidence (e.g., a bulging waistline and increasing credit card balance) to the contrary. Several recent studies, for example, have found that many people said they were "healthy" even though they were overweight, smoked, drank too much alcohol, and/or never exercised. Examples of financial denial (e.g., "other people will need long-term care, but I won't" and "I'll be OK in retirement even though I haven't saved any, monev yet") have also been well documented.

Awareness of one's current behaviors and shortfalls is the first of the 5 As of successful behavior change. The other four are ability (being able to make a change), ambition (a strong desire to change), attitude (a positive state of mind about changing), and action (taking steps to actually change).

Most people don't have a clue how may calories they consume daily or how many dollars they spend monthly on incidental expenses such as food and entertainment. One of the best ways to increase awareness is to keep a Food and Activity Log to record everything you eat each day and every time you are physically active for 10 minutes or more. A financial counterpart is an Income and Expense Log to write down what you earned and spent daily for a typical month or two. Keeping written records, although tedious, has been shown to be an effective way to track current practices and make behavioral changes in eating, exercise, and spending.

Ready to get started on the Path to health and wealth?

Use the Food Activity Log and Income Expense Log to keep track of your current health and financial practices. Be as specific as possible. Each work sheet has some example entries to get you going.


• Ask yourself truthfully if you are in denial about one or more aspects of your health.
• Record everything that you eat and drink for several days, including the quantity of food and beverages consumed and their estimated number of calories.
• Record each time that you are physically active for 10 minutes or more (e.g..walking). Total the number of calories consumed daily and the total time spent on physical activity.

• Ask yourself truthfully if you are in denial about one or more aspects of your personal finances.
• Record everything that you earn and spend for a typical month or two.
• Total monthly income and expenses to determine whether cash flow is positive (income greater than expenses) or negative (expenses greater than income)
Download this Document and Work Sheet at:

December 2008


Holiday Mail for Heroes:

Wanda Atha, KEHA Family & Individual Development Chairman is encouraging members to send holiday cards to recovering soldiers. Please be sure to affix adequate postage. Cards must be received no later than December 7. Cards received after this date will be returned to senders. For reasons of processing and safety, participants are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary gifts, using glitter or including any inserts with the cards.

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456


 MONEYWI$E – Holiday Spending

With the holiday season around the corner, you can reduce holiday stress and the after-holiday bills by developing a budget for gift-giving, food, and entertainment expenses. According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper spends $832.36 on holiday gifts, food, and decorations. Start by planning your gift-giving in advance. Planning in advance gives you time to shop for the perfect gift at the right price, maybe even on sale. Make a list of all friends and family members for whom you normally purchase gifts, talk with family members and set a spending limit for gifts, this helps everyone budget and shop effectively. Prior to heading out to do your holiday shopping, estimate a dollar amount that you will spend on each individual, exert self-control while shopping to stay within you spending limits. You may also want to consider developing a new tradition with friends and family, instead of giving gifts, such as a dinner out where each individual is responsible for their bill. Or, instead of the traditional gift giving, consider a “Santa Swap,” which usually includes small gifts. Consider having a pot-luck dinner with family, instead of one family member being responsible for all the food.

With the holiday season around the corner, you can reduce holiday stress and the after-holiday bills by developing a budget for gift-giving, food, and entertainment expenses. According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper spends $832.36 on holiday gifts, food, and decorations. Start by planning your gift-giving in advance. Planning in advance gives you time to shop for the perfect gift at the right price, maybe even on sale. Make a list of all friends and family members for whom you normally purchase gifts, talk with family members and set a spending limit for gifts, this helps everyone budget and shop effectively. Prior to heading out to do your holiday shopping, estimate a dollar amount that you will spend on each individual, exert self-control while shopping to stay within you spending limits. You may also want to consider developing a new tradition with friends and family, instead of giving gifts, such as a dinner out where each individual is responsible for their bill. Or, instead of the traditional gift giving, consider a “Santa Swap,” which usually includes small gifts. Consider having a pot-luck dinner with family, instead of one family member being responsible for all the food.

While you are doing your holiday shopping you are less likely to overspend if you pay with cash, as opposed to using your credit card. Shopping with a credit card is very convenient, but since there are no immediate consequences for using your credit card, you are more likely to overspend. If you are using cash, once all of your cash is gone, you are finished with your holiday shopping. Spending cash makes you mush less likely to overspend if you cannot afford it. Another option to consider, many stores are now offering layaway plans. If you decide to use a store layaway options, be certain to check their return policy and keep track of all payments.

Finally it is never too early to start planning for next year’s holiday season. Take advantage of after-holiday sales and discounts to do some early holiday shopping for next season. Also, consider opening a Holiday Savings Club account at your local bank. You can contribute a small amount every month to the account and then you will have the cash ready to shop with next year.

December 2009


Savings: Your Key to Financial Security:

One of the most powerful ways to increase your financial security and grow wealth over time is to develop a “savings habit.” Media reports and advertisements by financial firms provide lots of advice about how to become financially secure, but the simplest and most basic strategy is to “pay yourself first” and save a portion of your income on a regular basis. In other words, treat savings like an important “bill” that has to get paid. It is more important today than ever that Americans adopt this simple idea. The U.S. savings rate is the lowest it has been since the Great Depression. In addition, household debt levels and foreclosure and bankruptcy filing rates are high and housing values have declined in many areas of the country. All of these factors support the need for savings. In other words, “saving for a rainy day” means starting to save now! So, why should you save? There are many reasons for saving money:

-Purchase “big ticket” items
-Pay for high cost goals (e.g., house down payment, college education)
-A comfortable retirement
-Accumulate money to invest
-For security and peace of mind

Let’s talk some more about emergency funds. You may think you can’t afford to have an emergency fund, but you can’t afford to be without one! Why? Stuff happens! And most of the time, it costs money!! By setting up an emergency fund, you protect yourself from the unknowns. Think of this fund as your “safety net” just in case something happens (lose your job, car breaks down, broken arm, etc.). Without this reserve, you may be tempted, or forced, to go into debt—debt that may take you years to pay off and cost you much more in the long run! Having an emergency fund gives you more options to handle the unexpected.

How much savings is enough for an emergency fund? Most financial experts recommend having three to six months living expenses set aside. The amount will depend on your personal situation (job security, income level, needs). Some of this money should be kept in liquid accounts, such as a money market fund, while other funds could be tapped from a low-interest source such as a home equity loan.

Your emergency account should be easily accessible, just not too accessible! Financial institutions offer a variety of savings accounts, such as passbook savings, money market funds, and short-term CDs, which work well for emergency savings. How do you get started? One of the easiest ways is to make your savings automatic. Check with your employer and bank or credit union about direct deposits or transfers from checking to savings. You could also try saving each week and make deposits into your savings.

The most important thing is to get started now. If you are already saving, try increasing the amount that you save. The results, over time, will be amazing. For additional information about the benefits of saving, visit the America Saves Web site at There, you can enroll as an American Saver at no cost and receive periodic motivational newsletters. The week of February 24 to March 2, 2008 has been designated as America Saves Week and will be marked with events promoting savings for both children and adults.

February 2008


Dogs and Homeowner’s Insurance:

According to Insurance Journal, “Man's best friend is sinking its teeth into homeowner’s insurance costs. Dog bites account for one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims, costing $387.20 million in 2008, up 8.7 percent from 2007, according to the Insurance Information Institute....”. It is important to check with your insurance agent before you buy a dog. Certain breeds of dogs will increase your insurance premiums significantly and might not be the best pet for young children. Like older siblings, even otherwise good dogs can exhibit jealousy at the arrival of a new baby. Dogs could also pose a threat to service personnel and houseguests. Be sure you know what you’re getting into before a mishap occurs. Also check to see what your insurance policy says about property damage, as pets have been known to foul carpets and tear up furniture and fabrics. You should be ready to pay small damages yourself and depend on your insurance only for larger damages. Set your deductible accordingly so you don’t have to file many claims. This also will lower your premiums.

Reference: Insurance Journal, September 21, 2009
Source: Robert H. Flashman, Extension Specialist for Family Resource Management, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

January 2010


Food Tattoos

Research reported in the scientific journal HortTechnology suggests that there is a better way to label produce, than the use of the present sticky labels. The present labels sometimes mar the fruit or stick to one another in storage. Without the labels it becomes more difficult to trace produce back to its original source if the need arises. With approval by the Food and Drug Administration, commercially approved laser tattoo technology may provide a safe and more convenient alternative in the future. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service and University of Florida continue to explore this new technology.

Known as laser etching, the new technology puts a tattoo on the first few outer cells of the fruit peel. Using a carbon dioxide laser beam, the mark can’t be removed. Because the laser doesn’t penetrate the skin entirely, there is no entrance for food pathogens. An edible food wax, while not necessary for the laser etching to be effective, is still recommended on many produce to reduce moisture loss. Testing is being conducted on tomatoes, avocados, and citrus fruits.

Reference: USDA, ARS (2009) Food Tattoos an Alternative to Labels for Identifying Fruit, accessed October 7, 2009 at
Source: Sandra Bastin, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, University of Kentucky College of Ag

January 2010


By Dwight Moberly Social Security District Manager in Danville

Many people have found a new way to deal with the many chores of their busy lives — by going online. Some shoppers have eliminated the need to go to crowded shopping malls by taking care of it all online. Other people pay their bills right over the Internet to save the time of writing checks or withdrawing cash for their purchases.

You’ll find convenient, secure transactions can also be found in places you may not ordinarily think to look — for example, at Social Security!

You can apply for benefits, obtain information, plan for retirement, and request a replacement Medicare card, even apply for extra help with your prescription drug costs all at

According to a recent survey, Social Security’s online retirement benefit application once again ranked at the top of all Federal government websites in customer satisfaction. Our “Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs” finished second, with several other Social Security website services making the top 10 of the survey.

Much of your Social Security business can be handled quickly and securely from your own home or office computer. If you just visit our website at you will find that you can —

• file for retirement, disability and spouse’s benefits;
• check the status of your benefit application;
• change your address and/or phone number, if you receive monthly benefits;
• sign-up for direct deposit of Social Security benefits;
• use agency benefit planners to help you better understand your Social Security protection as you plan for your financial future…and then use convenient benefit calculators to figure your monthly benefit amounts;
• find the Social Security office closest to your home; and
• request a replacement Medicare card.

Looking for more Social Security information? You can go online to find out almost anything you need to know about the Social Security program. Information is available on subjects ranging from how to get a Social Security number for a newborn to how to go back to work while receiving disability benefits. Check us out at

March 2008


Steps to Bone Health:

Calcium and vitamin D work together to ensure the body has enough calcium. Calcium combines with phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth. It also helps muscles contract, blood clot normally, regulate blood pressure, nerves send messages to the brain, and reduces the risk of some cancers. Calcium is also needed to prevent osteoporosis, a disease that occurs mostly in older adults as a result of loss of bone density. Adults under age 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, and adults age 50 and over need 1,200 milligrams of calcium. The best sources of calcium are rnilk and dairy products. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium in the body. Vitamin D can be obtained through the skin during exposure to direct sunlight and from the diet. Fortified milk, egg yolks, liver, and saltwater fish are the best sources. Adults under age 50 need 400 to 800 International units of vitamin D3 and adults age 50 and over need 800 to 1,000 international units. Vitamin D3 is the best form of vitamin D to promote bone health.

Along with regular weight-bearing exercise and the avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol, the risks of osteoporosis can be reduced. So make sure your diet includes enough Calcium and Vitamin D.

Source Sandra Bastin, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture


Trick, Treat or Toy?

Researchers from Yale University's Center for Eating and Weight Disorders investigated whether children would choose toys over candy when offered both on Halloween. They observed 284 kids between the ages of 3 and 14. Guess what? Children were just as likely to choose toys as candy, regardless of gender. (J Nutr Educ Behav. 2003 Jul-Aug; 35 (4):207-9)

Non-Candy Ideas:

• Fun fruits - use stickers and gummy worms to decorate fruit for Halloween
• Healthy muffins
• Party favors - Look in the party aisle of your favorite discount store for bulk packs of toys.
• Stickers
• Pencils, crayons, markers
• Stamps
• Notepads
• Erasers
• Balloons
• Balls
• Small games
• Services - Face painting or balloon making

Candy Tips:

• Purchase only what you will use; avoid jumbo bags.
• Buy at the last minute.
• Choose non-fat candies such as Smarties, Tootsie Rolls and small pops.


Plan for Holiday Expenses:

As the holiday season approaches, make a written spending plan for your extra holiday expenses. Calculate how much “extra” money is available for gift buying, decorations, extra entertaining, etc. Once you know how much money is available for extra holiday expenses, decide how much you want to spend on each category of your holiday spending plan. Making plans early will save you financial stress later when the after-the-holiday credit card bills arrive. Remember to only spend what you can afford. Over spending on the holidays can leave you paying twice as much for these items. Overspending will also keep your future income tied up with holiday debt.

Try to make your holidays as financially stress free as possible with before-the-event planning.


Take Care if Borrowing from Retirement Accounts:

Many employers allow consumers to borrow from their retirement plan accounts. Before you consider taking this step, consider the long term consequences. There is a loss of compound interest and dividends because your account balance is lower. The interest you are paying back is usually less than the interest you would have earned in the retirement investment account.

Here is an example; a 35-year old worker with a $60,000 balance borrows $30,000 at an interest rate of 6.25 percent. He pays back $1,333 a month. If the growth rate on the account is 10 percent, the consumer will have $307,000 less at retirement. This is just one example. While borrowing looks good at first glance, borrowers should be wary of it. It may be better to borrow money from another lending source.

If you default on the loan, then the amount you borrowed becomes taxable income to you and your must pay taxes on the amount borrowed.

Source: Suzanne Badenhop, Extension Specialist for Family Resource Management, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

October 2008


Vitamin C and the Common Cold:

It seems like everything from water to cold remedies are being fortified with vitamin C. Although vitamin C has been touted for the common cold since the 1970s, there is little proof that vitamin C actually has any effect on the common cold. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress in our cells. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Acting as an enzyme, it is involved in many pathways that keep the body healthy. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of iron.

Vitamin C is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. A 6 ounce glass of orange juice can provide the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C for women at 75 milligrams (mg). Men require slightly more (90 mg). It is suggested that smokers and breast feeding women may need more. Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables should give you about 200 mg of vitamin C in the diet. Since there are possible problems with large doses (over 2,000 mg) of vitamin C, supplements besides the recommended amounts are not recommended. Studies show that increases of vitamin C may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, from cardiovascular disease to cataracts. However, the common cold research has provided conflicting results. Under extreme conditions, such as marathon runners, vitamin C may reduce the risk of catching a cold. But the general consensus is that there is little or no benefit in vitamin C preventing or treating the common cold.

Source: Sandra Bastin, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

October 2008


Protecting Your Home from Bed Bugs

Remember the nursery rhyme- Good Night, Sleep Tight, and Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite? No longer is this just a nursery rhyme. Bedbugs are considered to be public health pests by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Recent complaints about bed bugs are increasing and have prompted a joint statement on bed bug control by the CDC and the EPA.


The common bed bug (Cimex Lectularius) is a parasite with a preference for feeding on humans. Bed bugs are straw-colored, flat, oval-shaped, and wingless. Adult bed bugs are to 3/8 inches long, but become bloated and dark red after feeding. They feed for about three to five minutes at night while the host sleeps. After feeding, they crawl to a sheltered crevice where they’ll remain for several days while digesting the meal. They can survive for weeks to months without feeding. The typical life span is 10 months.


Bed bugs tend to bite all over the body, especially on the areas that are more exposed while we sleep (such as arms, hands, neck and face). A small, hard swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite. The bite is accompanied by severe itching that lasts for several hours to days. Scratching may cause the welts to become infected. Sometimes their bites are mistaken for flea or mosquito bites. Although these bites are irritating, bedbugs are not known to transmit diseases.


Bedbugs usually come out at night or in darkened areas. During the day they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. They can hide in a variety of places including around the bed, near the piping, seams, and tags of the mattresses and box springs and in cracks on the bed frame and head board. Bedbugs often crawl upward to hide in pictures, wall hangings, drapery, pleats, loosened wallpaper, cracks in plaster and ceiling moldings.


They can be transported from infested areas to non-infested areas on clothing, furniture, luggage, and bedding, so if bedbugs are suspected thoroughly examine the room and/or items. Use a flashlight to look behind and underneath furniture and woodwork. Look under all items that are attached to the wall. Check seams, creases, tufts, and folds of mattresses and box springs. Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in narrow spaces, under folds of cloth and cushions.

Control and Prevention:

Bedbugs can be difficult to get rid of and challenging to control because they hide so well, but there are some measures that can be taken. In general, it is a good idea to consult a qualified pest management professional or licensed pest controller, especially for large infestations; however, non-chemical approaches can also be taken for smaller bedbug concerns.

The use of hot air can kill bedbugs with the heat generated. Wash clothes and bed linens in hot water and dry on high temperatures to kill bedbugs. Infested items that are too large for a washer or dryer can be wrapped up in black plastic and placed directly in the sun (113 degrees for 1 hour). Delicate materials can also be placed into the freezer (0 degrees for four days). EPA reports that the higher or the cooler the temperature, the less time needed to kill bedbugs.

Although vacuuming will not get rid of bed bugs, a good vacuum job may remove particles from cracks and crevices to encourage greater insecticide penetration. You can vacuum furniture, bed frame, floor, baseboards, etc. Be sure to discard bag in a sealed plastic bag when finished.

Use encasements on mattresses, box springs and pillows to help detect infestations and eliminate hiding spots. Make your bed an island- this involves moving your bed from the wall and making sure that linen/bedding doesn’t touch the floor. You should also seal crevices that might serve as hiding spots for bed bugs.

Dr. Michael Potter, Professor and Urban Entomologist, states that while the aforementioned efforts are helpful, insecticides are important for bed bug elimination. Bed bugs are treated using a variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosols. Baits designed to control for ants and cockroaches are ineffective. Application entails treating all areas where the bugs are discovered or tend to crawl and hide. This may take several hours of effort and follow up visits are usually required.

There may be some items that may need to be discarded if the infestation is extensive and/or if preventive measures aren’t working. When infested items are discarded, be sure to bag or wrap them to prevent dislodgement of bugs en route to the dumpster.

Common Bed bug Myths (Environmental Protection Agency):

- You can’t see a bed bug
     *You should be able to see an adult bed bug, nymphs (metamorphosis stage) and eggs with your naked eye

- Bed bugs live in dirty places
     *Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.

- Bed bugs transmit diseases
     *There are no cases that indicate bed bugs pass diseases from one host to another. Lab tests have shown that it is unlikely that the insect is capable of infecting its host.

- Bed bugs won’t come out is the room is brightly lit
     *While bed bugs prefer darkness, keeping the light on at night won’t deter these pests from biting you.

- Pesticide applications alone will easily eliminate bed bug infestations
     *Bed bug control can only be maintained through a comprehensive treatment strategy that incorporates a variety of techniques and vigilant monitoring. Proper use of pesticides may be one component of the strategy, but will not eliminate bed bugs alone. In addition, bed bug populations in different geographic areas of the country have developed resistance to many pesticidal modes of action. If you’re dealing with a resistant population, some products and application methods may only serve to make the problem worse.

October 2010


What's eating you?

Many people have a fair working knowledge of what they should eat for better health, but will also confess that knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. Healthy people tend to go grocery shopping regularly and to prepare food at home. They have found physical activities - like walking, biking, or gardening - that they enjoy doing and therefore will do on a regular basis. In today's world of information overload, most people have heard plenty of advice about eating and exercise. The tricky part is finding what works for you. Begin by examining why you eat or you don't exercise. Try to identify another coping mechanism besides eating and sitting on the couch. This is the first step toward successfully moving to a new way of doing things, because the best place to start is where you are now.

Source: Janet Tietyen, Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture


Physical Activity During Winter Months

It is not easy during the winter months which will be here before we know it. When it is cold and gets dark early, it is harder to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Here are some ways you could continue to be active without having to go outside your home:

• Dancing to music is a fun and easy way to be active. It also helps to reduce stress, strengthens the bones of your legs and hips, and improves your energy and strength. If you have kids or other family members have them join you. Everyone can benefit.
• If you have children or a pet, playing actively with them can also be a means of getting in some of your minutes for physical activity.
• Walking around your home can add minutes of physical activity time. Map out a clear path in which you can walk. Carrying a can in each hand as you walk can help burn extra calories.
• If there are stairs in your home, go up and down the stairs more often. Holding the rails as you take the steps provides an added measure of safety.
• Ride a stationary bike while watching television or do some stretches while sitting. Do not stretch until it hurts but stretch until you feel a mild tension and hold that position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Keep thinking of other ways around the house to increase your physical activity.

Source: Ingrid Adams, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture


Washing Produce:

Eating fruits and vegetables has many health advantages. For the most part, people assume that there are few food safety issues when dealing with fruits and vegetables. However, recent history tells us differently. Though relatively rare, there have been cases when fresh melons, pre-washed spinach, raspberries, herb mixes and green onions have been contaminated with germs usually found only in the intestinal tracks of animals. So be sure to wash your produce carefully. Before eating or preparing, wash fresh produce under cold running tap water to remove any lingering dirt. This reduces bacteria that may be present. If there is a firm surface, such as on apples or potatoes, the surface can be scrubbed with a brush. Consumers should not wash fruits and vegetables with detergent or soap. These products are not approved or labeled by the Food and Drug Administration for use on foods. You could ingest residues from soap or detergent absorbed on the produce. There are some products on the market that claim to further clean vegetables; however, research has not shown this to be true. Washing under cold running water may be best until more is known. When preparing fruits and vegetables, cut away any damaged or bruised areas because bacteria that cause illness thrive in those places. Immediately refrigerate any fresh-cut items such as salad or fruit for best quality and food safety.

September 2008


Give Your Kitchen a Fresh Start

The start of a new season is a great time to take stock of your kitchen. Remove everything from your refrigerator and clean the shelves with soap and warm water. As you return each item to the refrigerator check the expiration date and wipe clean. Make room for fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, salad dressings, and marinades. Start a grocery list of foods you plan to serve over the next two weeks. Next, move to your pantry and food cabinets. Dispose of any items unused for the last two years. Check cereals and grains to see if they contain at least three grams of fiber per serving. Add staples like canned tomato products, tuna, canned beans, olives, red peppers, or pimentos, pesto, salsa, and pasta sauce to your grocery list. Straighten the foods so you can easily find like items. Organize your spices and baking supplies. Finally, remove any extra plastic containers or infrequently used pots and pans. Straighten your bowls, saucers, plates, flatware, and glasses. Now you are ready for a fresh start. Go buy some groceries. Source: Janet Tietyen, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.

September 2008


If you have access to extra garden produce, Extension is an excellent source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation and processing information give us a call at 845-2811 or The National Center for Home Food Preservation provides on-line information about canning, freezing, drying, curing, pickling, making jams and jellies, as well as storing foods, their website is:

And don’t forget to stop by the Henry County Farmers Market at the Courthouse on Saturday mornings or Wednesday afternoons or on Friday at Browning Pontiac. If you have either WIC or Senior Farmers Market Coupons don’t forget to be spending them while the produce is fresh and plentiful!

August 24, 2010


Common Questions Answered by Extension Food Specialists:

What would you say are the most common mistakes consumers make when food shopping that can put a strain on one’s budget?
Not planning meals ahead or making a shopping list. This leads to additional trips to get food, more time spent in the grocery store, and more money spent on extras.

Does optimal food budgeting depend on where one purchases their food items?

It can have a big impact and checking ads can help. However, all stores have specials which are on a rotation and all stores have seasonal specials. I don’t think the store is as important as your shopping habits in saving money.

Many families have fallen into a habit of take-outs and ready-made fast food. How does one get out of the habit and back into the kitchen?

The key is planning ahead so that you know what’s for supper. Don’t wait until you are on the way home and tired to figure out what you have to put on the table.

Develop a “go to” list of easy, quick, meals your family likes and have the ingredients on hand. Write menus for the week, or at least figure out what you will have the next day as you clean up.

When you do have some time, make double amounts of main dishes, soups, stews, etc., that you can pull out of the freezer in the morning to start thawing and then heat after work. Adding milk, fruit, vegetables and whole wheat bread make it a meal.
What are your five favorite healthy meal ideas for dinner?

These are favorites for summer:
• Grilled meat, vegetables (grilled with the meat, steamed or raw), fresh fruit, milk
• Big Salads with all kinds of toppings such as: grilled meat (freeze individual portions of grilled meat for this) vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, onion, cucumber, tomato, celery, peppers, and extras such as nuts, seeds and cheese.
• Stir Fry-mostly vegetables with a little meat and beans thrown in. Use fresh veggies or thaw frozen vegetable medleys out. Instant brown rice.


Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a tough issue to tackle and more widespread than many of us may realize. Studies show that nationwide, 32 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese. In Kentucky that number climbs to 37 percent giving us the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the United States.

A number of factors complicate the problem. Lack of physical activity and poor eating habits are two principal causes.

Here are some guidelines to help your child achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

1. Offer fruits and vegetables every day. Prepare them so they are tender but still crisp or offer raw vegetables as an alternative. Ask children to help prepare vegetable recipes. They are more likely to try new foods when they are involved in cooking them.

2. Invest in family mealtimes. Regular mealtimes promote better nutrition. For families that sit down together to eat, this means more fruits and vegetables, fewer fried foods and fewer high-sugar soft drinks. When children get the nutrition they need, it helps cut down on the desire for “empty” calorie foods.

3. Physical Activity Suggestions: Encourage noncompetitive family sports such as jumping rope, Frisbee disc, tag, or hide-and-seek. After a family meal, take the family outside. Go for a 10-minute walk or bike ride. It will help keep the family from settling in front of a screen for the rest of the evening. Even if you cannot go outdoors, you can still do a little physical activity. Put on music and dance or check out an exercise video from your local library. Perhaps most importantly, make sure that your children see you participate in some physical activity. If you do not take physical activity seriously, how can you expect them to?

Children with excessive body weight are more likely to be overweight as adults which can lead to higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses. One way to find out if your child is at risk for excessive weight is to determine his or her Body Mass Index (BMI). This formula is a measure of weight for height taking into account total body makeup. Ask your pediatrician to assess your child’s BMI, discuss the results and any additional steps that need to be taken.


New Credit Card Laws Take Effect

The new credit card law will implement the following changes:

  • The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on existing balances cannot be increased for one year after opening the account. The APR may be increased sooner if the credit issuer informed you at the time the account was opened, the card is a variable rate card, meaning the APR is linked to a specific published index, if the minimum payment on the card is not made within 60 days, and if the card holder had a debt reduction or concession agreement (meaning the card holder had a special circumstance agreement with the credit issuers) and did not meet the requirements of the agreement.
  • At the end of the first year, the credit issuer can increase the card holder’s APR, but only on new purchases and must be within the potential rate increase information already provided to the card holder.
  • The credit issuer must now provide 45 days notice to changes that will be made to the card holder account. The credit card holder will also be allowed to cancel their credit card prior to new changes taking effect, without having to immediately repay the outstanding balance. The outstanding balance would be repaid at the old rate.
  • Credit card companies will still be allowed to offer teaser rates or low introductory offers, but the rate cannot increase until after the advertised period which must be at least six months. Credit card companies must be clear in disclosing information about the teaser rate.
  • Credit card holder will now receive their monthly statement 21 days prior to the due date. This is an increase from 14 days.
  • If you have a credit card with multiple interest rates, for example a specific interest rate for balance transfers and a different rate for new purchases, any payment over the minimum monthly payment must be applied to the highest interest rate balances first.
  • Two-cycle billing will be prohibited. Double cycle billing is when the credit issuer uses both the current balance on the credit and the average daily balance from the previous period (even if a portion was paid) to calculate interest charges.
  • You must now opt-in or tell your credit card company if you want to allow over-the-limit transactions. If you allow over-the-limit transactions the credit issuer can only charge one fee per billing cycle.

Perhaps the most notably change to many consumers, will be the change in their monthly credit card statement. The monthly credit card statement will now include information on how much the credit holder has paid in interest and fees during the current year. Furthermore, the credit card company must now provide the consumer with how long it will take to pay off the card, making the minimum monthly payment. Additionally, the card issuer must provide the minimum monthly payment required to pay off the credit card within 36 months. This information should help cardholders budget to be able to pay their card off more quickly. The credit card company must also provide the due date for the current statement, as well as the amount of late fees or penalties charged if the payment is late. Additional information on the new credit card laws, as credit card information in general is available from the FDIC at, and the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Guide to Credit Cards. If you are looking for additional money tips, educational materials may be found on Moneywise. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

February 20, 2010


Physical Activity Is Beneficial

Recent reports in the media question the effectiveness of exercise for weight loss and weight management. However, physical activity and exercise do provide many benefits for individuals including lower disease risks, mental health improvements and weight control.
Numerous studies show exercise and physical activity help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes. Also, people who exercise generally feel better mentally. This is because during exercise your brain releases endorphins, hormone-like substances that are the body’s own “natural pain-killers.” This release can help prevent and treat mild cases of anxiety and depression. In fact, research shows regular moderate exercise to be as effective in treating moderate depression as antidepressant medication.

The problem is most of us don’t get enough exercise and physical activity every day. In 1973, Americans could eat around 2000 calories per day and still maintain their weight. However, from 1973 to 2003, Americans decreased their daily amount of physical activity by 25 percent, which would mean it takes 500 calories less to maintain weight! During the same time, the amount of calories we consumed rose by 300 calories a day. Those two numbers combined show many Americans consume an excess of 800 calories a day. Consuming this many excess calories can cause weight gain of at least one pound per week.

It’s easy to incorporate more physical activity in your day. Here are some ways you can become more physically active:

1. Incorporate more physical activity while at home and work. Household duties such as climbing stairs, carrying laundry, running the vacuum, cleaning closets and moving boxes can help you stay in shape. When at work, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther away and walk to your building. Get up and move from your desk at least once every 30 minutes even if it’s only to make a copy or go to the restroom.

2. Find ways to incorporate more walking into your day. Walking can provide you with physical activity, as well as help you clear your head, listen to music or spend time with friends and family.

3. Build and maintain strong muscles. You can do this without purchasing expensive exercise equipment or weights. Utilize your available resources. For example, canned goods make good hand weights. Stretches and muscle toning are also things you can do while watching television.

While physical activity and exercise do have benefits, it may not lead to weight loss on its own for everyone. If you want to lose weight, it’s important for you to make healthy changes to your diet in addition to more physical activity. Once you reach your weight loss goal, physical activity and exercise can help you keep the weight off.

October 1, 2009


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