NDSU Extension Service - Sargent County


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Powdered Milk to the Rescue

Powdered Milk to the Rescue 10/13/17After breakfast at my house last Wednesday morning, the milk jug was empty.  When I came home after work that day, I forgot to stop at the grocery store to get milk, so my husband and I had supper that night without any milk.  I made a mental note to be sure to stop at the grocery store to get some milk on my way home on Thursday.

Thursday morning before I left for work I was preparing a slow cooker recipe for chicken and dressing.  Guess what ingredient I didn’t have.  Right.  Milk.

No need to panic.  I just grabbed the nonfat dry milk that was in my pantry, reconstituted the amount I needed, and went on with the recipe.  The chicken and dressing was ready and waiting in the slow cooker when supper-time rolled around at the end of the day.  Nonfat dry milk had come to the rescue!

Nonfat dry milk has the same nutrient value as skim milk. Dry milk is versatile and has a long shelf life. It is a good source of protein, vitamins A and D, calcium and essential fats. It is easy to store; just keep it in a cool place in an airtight container. Unsealed nonfat dry milk keeps for a few months.  Dry whole milk, however, can be stored for only a few weeks because of its fat content. 

Common, everyday uses for nonfat dry milk include:
                -  Reconstituting it to use as fluid skim milk,
                -  Using it as is in recipes, and
                -  Taking it along on trips and outings when you won’t have refrigeration

The secret to good flavor when using reconstituted nonfat dry milk as fluid milk is to serve it thoroughly chilled, and to add a small amount of sugar and vanilla to it. 

Using nonfat dry milk in recipes boosts the protein and calcium content of those recipes.  For hamburgers and meatloaf, add ¼ to ½ cup of nonfat dry milk to each pound of meat. When making mashed potatoes, cook and mash the potatoes, then add ¼ cup dry milk for each cup of potatoes, plus some of the cooking water from the potatoes to reach the desired consistency.

Adding nonfat dry milk to hot cocoa, hot cereal, milk shakes, and white sauces makes them extra creamy, as well as higher in protein and calcium.  

For more ideas and a Dry Milk Master Mix recipe that can be used to make homemade cream of tomato soup as well as vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch pudding, go online to https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1713.pdf or contact the NDSU Extension office in your county to request a copy of the publication, “4 Everyday Uses of Dry Milk.  “

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/milk-glass-frisch-healthy-drink-518067/ (downloaded 10/17/17)

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What About the Kids?

What About the Kids?  10/6/17When a child’s parents separate or divorce, the child can experience a challenging and painful transition.  The distress of the adults involved in a divorce can interfere with their ability to respond to their children and their children’s needs.  Yet the children continue to need safety, care, and freedom from parental conflict, as well as love and limits from both parents.

Keeping in mind that even after the divorce or separation most children will have relationships with their parents forever, parents can take a proactive approach to minimize stress for themselves and their children. 

The skills and tools parents need to help themselves and their children can be gained through the Parents Forever™ course.  The course can be taken online or in-person.

The course is designed to benefit parents who are:
  -  experiencing a family transition such as separation or divorce
  -  considering separation/ divorce and wanting to learn more about the impacts on their family
  -  divorced and experiencing challenges with co-parenting
  -  never-married parents who do not live together but want to be stronger as co-parents

By participating in the course, parents will learn:
  -  What affects children’s adjustment
  -  How age and stage of development impact stages of grief
  -  What the transition looks like through your child’s eyes
  -  Strategies for co-parenting
  -  Games parents play and why they are hurtful
  -  How to manage anger, conflict and stress
  -  Best practices for communication skills

For information about opportunities to participate in the Parents Forever™ course in-person or online, contact the NDSU Extension office in your county.  In Sargent County, call 724-3355, ext. 5.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/en/divorce-child-custody-custody-2321087/ (downloaded 10/10/17)

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Journey Through Grief

Journey Through Grief  9/29/17



Monday night I was visiting with a friend of mine.  Her husband died about eighteen months ago, and her young adult daughter died just 3 months ago.  In losing a child, she and I have something in common.  My own son, my oldest child, died of cancer at age 22.  As the seasons change and the anniversary of my son’s death approaches, I become restless.

On Monday night, my friend said what I have said many times, “Everything is changed forever.”

The loss of someone or something we love causes intense feelings.  The journey to healing requires going through grief.  Going around grief won’t work.  Neither does ignoring it or turning to alcohol or drugs to avoid it.  Healing requires going through grief, and it also requires mourning. 

Grief and mourning are two distinctly different things.  Grief is the way we think and feel on the inside when someone we love dies.  It just happens, and it just “is.”  Mourning, however, is how we show or express the thoughts and feelings we experience as we grieve. 

We need to let mourning happen, if we are to heal. Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt has identified needs that mourners must satisfy if they are to heal.  These needs are:

-  Acknowledging the reality of the death
-  Embracing the pain of the loss
-  Remembering the person who died
-  Developing a new self-identity
-  Searching for meaning
-  Receiving ongoing support from others

Each of the six needs is complex, and each person’s journey through grief will be a very personal and unique experience.  Detailed descriptions of each of the six needs can be found online at https://www.centerforloss.com/2016/12/journey-grief-six-needs-mourning/.

More information about grief and loss, and links to other trusted sources of information, can be found at https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/en/mourning-woman-sculpture-360500/ (downloaded 10/4/17)




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What If I Fall?

What If I Fall?  9/22/17Listening to the radio, I heard Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood singing a love song together.  In that song, one of Carrie’s lyrics is, “What if I fall?”

Keith sings back to her, “I won’t let you fall.” 

Being a love song, those lyrics aren’t literally about “falling down,” but they did bring to mind a friend of mine who has recently had a couple of falls in her own home. 

Falls in one’s own home are not uncommon.  In fact, one of every four people 65 and older falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people 65-plus.

In North Dakota, 559 fall-related deaths occurred among adults 65 and older from 2009 through 2014, with an average of 93 deaths per year.

Falls threaten older adults’ safety and independence.  They also generate enormous economic and personal costs.

The good news is that falls are largely preventable.  Six to-do items that help us reduce falls are:

  1. Find a good balance and exercise program that builds balance, strength and flexibility.
  2. Talk to your health-care provider and ask for an assessment of your risk of falling.
  3. Review your medications with your pharmacist or doctor. Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling.
  4. Get your vision checked annually and update your eyeglasses as needed.
  5. Keep your home safe. Increase lighting, remove tripping hazards, install grab bars and make stairs safe.
  6. Assess your footwear for safety. Look for supportive shoes, a good fit, a sole that grips, and a heel that is stable and grips.

NDSU Extension offers “Stepping On” as a fall-prevention program.  It is a seven-week program designed for older adults who have fallen or who have a fear of falling.  Meeting once per week, the workshop empowers the participants to adopt healthy behaviors that reduce the risk of falls.

Contact your county office of NDSU Extension if you have questions about this article or want more information about fall prevention or the Stepping On program.

Source:  https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging/posts/take-steps-to-stay-on-your-feet

Photo Source:  https://pixabay.com/en/walking-old-people-coat-age-park-69708/  (downloaded 9/26/17)


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Getting Along and Working Together

Getting Along and Working TogetherWhether we are at work, at home with family members, participating in a civic, social, or religious gathering, or hanging out with friends, there is usually an opportunity or need to communicate. 

“Getting along and working together” is helpful whenever there is something to be accomplished, no matter what setting we find ourselves in.

Asking, rather than telling, can be effective for achieving win-win results.  Sincerity is always a necessity, and tone is a huge part of any message. 

Wolf Rinke, PhD and author of “Winning Management,” suggests different questions or statements to be used in different situations.  A few examples are given below.  In some cases, stringing
                                                                                                       two or more together can be very effective. 

A question that begins, “Are you willing to…” can be useful when your goal is to increase cooperation.

“Can I count on you to….” is a question to ask when you want to increase someone’s accountability. It is a question that can work in many settings, including perhaps for parents when talking with their children.

In heated or hostile situations, put yourself in the other person’s place by saying, “I understand your point of view.”  This shows empathy and helps deflect hostility.

When there is a conflict, an “I” message can help diffuse it.  So instead of saying, “You’re wrong,” or something else that starts with the word “you,” try using “I” language.  For example, say, “I disagree, and I’d like to explain why.”

When we need to make sure we understand not only what the other person said, but more importantly, what they meant, we can do a reality check by saying, “What I heard you say is...”

Sometimes the shoe is on the other foot and we sense that the other person isn’t understanding what we are saying.  In those cases, we can do a reality check by asking, “What is it specifically that you don’t understand?” 

When getting things done is the objective, focus on the outcome, not the process, by asking, “What stands in your way to...?”

Lastly, if you are committed to achieving a win-win, ask, “What can I do for you?”

Source:  Work and Family Life Newsletter, September 2017, www.workandfamilylife.com

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/cohesion-silhouettes-human-humanity-454881/  (downloaded 9/20/17)


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Bumper Crop of Apples

Bumper Crop of Apples 9/8/17Another year, another bumper crop of big, beautiful apples on my apple tree. The apples are growing in clusters and weighing down the branches so much that some of them break. Uffda! 

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?  Can’t say for sure, but apples do give us fiber, vitamins and minerals for a very low calorie cost.  Because of the nutritional value in apples, eating them regularly can decrease our risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.  Additionally, they may promote weight management, help prevent asthma, and perhaps even lessen the risk for developing dementia.

As for the bountiful harvest, there are lots of ways to make use of the apples and preserve them to enjoy later this fall and through the winter.  Preservation methods include freezing, canning, and drying. By preserving them now, we can enjoy a taste of summer later when the cold winter winds blow!

Last week I made “Slow Cooker Applesauce.”  I more than tripled the recipe, so I ended up using lots of apples, which was my goal.  And oh yes, most importantly, the applesauce was delicious! 

NDSU Extension has a variety of recipes and resources to help you make good use of the apples.  “From Orchard to Table: Apples” (FN-1847) addresses growing, selecting, storing and preserving apples and provides several recipes for making apples jams, jellies and relishes. You can find it on the web at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/from-orchard-to-table-apples/fn1847.pdf

A second publication is “Field to Fork Apples.” It provides similar information in a condensed and less comprehensive way.  Other publications are topic specific for using apples to make fruit pie filling, applesauce, apple juice, and other recipes for canning, freezing and drying apples.

Publications from NDSU Extension Service are available to download and print from our website, www.ag.ndsu.edu/food.  From there, go to the left margin and click on “Food Preservation” or use the search field and type in “apples.”   

As always, be sure to call me if you have questions, or if you or your friends, family, co-workers or employees have a topic you would like to learn more about through a presentation, lesson, program, activity or workshop.  NDSU Extension has a lot to offer, and we are here to serve you!

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/apple-tree-orchard-apfelernte-360083/ (downloaded 9/12/17)




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Maxed Out? Use the F.A.C.T.S.

Maxed Out?  Use the F.A.C.T.S.The stress in our lives can build up as tension in our bodies.  Sometimes it shows up as a headache.  Sometimes it shows up as a frown.  Sometimes it shows up as clenched teeth or clenched fists, or a tight jaw.

Before reading any further do this:  Tighten and hold tight for a few seconds all the muscles in your face.  Then relax your facial muscles.   Now squeeze your shoulders together and hold the squeeze for a few seconds, then relax your shoulders.

Next, flex your arm muscles, then relax and let your arms hang at your sides. Finally, wiggle your fingers, and scrunch them up tight and hold them tight for a few seconds.  Then shake your hands and then let your hands relax.

Now breathe in a deep breath (count slowly 1, 2, 3, 4.)  Then exhale slowly to the count of 4.  Ahhhh.

Wherever you are, garden, office, field, kitchen, barn, feedlot, factory, plant, or anywhere else, and whatever you are doing there, take a break to breathe.  Having to be reminded to breathe, stretch or relax seems unnecessary, but we all need to hear it from time to time.

Volunteering (doing something to serve or help others), even when “we don’t have time,” has been shown to be mood enhancer.  Also worth checking into is the five minute video, “Drought and Stress: Staying Resilient” that was posted on NDResponse.gov website.  Dr. Andy McLean shares numerous helpful tips, including the F.A.C.T.S. to remember when we find ourselves feeling stressed:

  • Foster hope - Challenge your negative thoughts, surround yourself with positive people and reach out to trusted individuals. Put your problems in perspective.
  • Act with purpose - Make a list of realistic things you can accomplish. Advocate for yourself and reach out for resources.
  • Connect with others - Social connections are most important during trying times. Maintain relationships, and give and receive help.
  • Take care of yourself - Taking care of yourself emotionally and physically allows you to help yourself and others. 
  • Search for meaning - Find opportunity in the difficult times. Consider change when change is needed.

The link to McLean’s video, NDResponse.gov, and many other helpful behavioral health resources can be found on the NDSU Extension webpage at www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff/resources-for-emotional-and-mental-health

Source: Kim Bushaw, NDSU family science specialist, 701-231-7450, kim.bushaw@ndsu.edu

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/stress-worry-stressed-worried-494222/ (downloaded 9/6/17)

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Fit at 50 and Beyond

Fit at 50 and Beyond  8/25/17It is common to hear, “summer is pretty much over,” as soon as we pass the Fourth of July each year.  I prefer to think, “Not so!”

However, as we approach a change in the seasons, perhaps it would be wise to consider ways to continue or increase our physical activity and exercise through the coming fall and winter months.

Research has shown two things for sure about exercise and physical activity:
  -  it can help people stay healthy and independent,
  -  it can help prevent some of the chronic         
      conditions associated with aging.

Despite the growing list of benefits of exercise for people of all ages, adults in the U.S. tend to become less active as they age.  CDC recently reported that 80% of Americans do not get the recommended amount of physical activity and exercise to experience the health and wellness benefits that are associated with it.

A couple of websites to check into for resources to help us stay healthy in the second half of life are:
    -  NDSU Aging Well (www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging)
    -  Go4Life (www.nia.nih.gov/Go4Life)

Go4Life is a national exercise and physical activity campaign for people 50 and older.  It is from the National Institute on Aging. Go4Life has an interactive website that offers exercises, success stories, videos, and other free materials to motivate the growing numbers of baby boomers and their parents to achieve a better quality of life through exercise and improved health

During September, the Go4Life website will focus on different form of exercise each week:
    -  Endurance
    -  Strength
    -  Balance
    -  Flexibility

Let’s get going, and let’s encourage others to do the same!

Adapted from:  “Stay Active All Year Round,” by Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension gerontology specialist.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/push-ups-exercise-fitness-workout-888024/ (downloaded 8/29/17)

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Ask For What You Need

NDSU Extension

Life is full of challenges.  And, as the saying goes, “knowledge is power.”

What might happen if we put those two statements together while thinking through things we are concerned about, or things that consume us?  Perhaps we would come to the conclusion that “knowing more” would help us solve or successfully navigate through life’s challenges. Just a call or a click is all it takes to get started!  

NDSU Extension offers reliable, research-based and evidence-based resources, and agents serving as educators, to help North Dakotans gain the information, knowledge, understanding and skills that are needed to successfully navigate life’s challenges.  Some of the challenges might be related to:

-  Managing time, stress, money or credit

-  Making consumer purchasing decisions

-  Feeding ourselves and our family healthy, nutritious, economical meals,

-  Communicating effectively with our families, friends, employers and employees

-  Resolving conflicts with the kids and adults in our lives,

-  Developing healthy relationships and ending or avoiding unhealthy relationships

-  Parenting our children

-  Growing, preserving or preparing food

-  Setting personal, family, work, and organizational goals

-  Making decisions about long-term care and the future of the family farm

NDSU Extension has a lot to offer, and is here to serve all citizens!  Be sure to ask for what you need!




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Dessert from the Grill

Dessert from the Grill 8/11/17Sizzling burgers, steaks, chops, and fish fillets are popular fare from outdoor grills, and grilled veggies seem to be becoming increasingly common, also.  But fruit, maybe not so much.  However, it certainly can be!

While you probably don’t think a lot about grilling fruit, here’s a recipe for a tasty little grill packet to make a delicious, “just peachy,” dessert you might like to start with.  The recipe only takes about 10 minutes to prepare, and 15-18 minutes to cook. Let me know how this goes over with you and your family!

Start by washing and halving 4 large peaches.  Remove the pits.  Place the peach halves cut side up on a piece of foil that will be large enough to be folded up and sealed to make a pouch.  Fill the hollow of each peach half with about 2 tablespoons of frozen blueberries, then sprinkle each one with about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.  If desired, sprinkle on a little ground cinnamon.  Fold the edges up to meet, fold, and seal to make a pouch.  Place on a hot grill and cook for about 15-18 minutes, turning just once.  Open the pouch, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and serve right out of the foil pouch.

For more recipes for entrees, side dishes and desserts from your grill, check out “Grill Something Different” (FN 1420) at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/quick-facts-grill-something-different/fn1420.pdf.

Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mccun934/5891465574 (downloaded 8/15/17)


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