Summer Sun Safety

Sun Safety

I know the sun hasn’t been out in much of Texas lately. However, when it finally does come out and shines for a while, everyone will be running outdoors to enjoy the weather. While you are enjoying your fun in the sun don’t forget these Sun Safety Guidelines:

1. Direct Sunlight – Avoid Direct Sunlight form the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM. when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.

2. Use Sunscreen – Apply sunscreen to skin 20 to 30 minutes before going outside allowing it to absorb in your skin. You need to make sure that you reapply at least every 2 hours or more often when you are swimming or doing activities where you may sweat.

3. Wear Sun glasses – You need to make sure that you wear sunglasses with UV protection. The best kind of sunglasses block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. Also, large-framed wrap around sunglasses protect your eyes from all angles.

4. Cover Skin – Cover your skin with long sleeves, long pants, or long skirts. Wearing darker colors or tightly woven fabrics also helps prevent light from coming through. If you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can get through as well.

5. Big hats – If you are going to wear a hat to help shade you and your body away from the UV rays, make sure that it is a BIG hat. Hats that have a 2 to 3 inch brim are good at protecting your face, ears, and the back of your neck from UV rays. Shade caps are also good to use because they have the appearance of a baseball cap with a 7 inch piece of fabric that hangs down the back and sides.

If you are going to be out in the sun please make sure that you take the necessary precautions to help protect your skin from skin cancer.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact your Local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Agent.  You can also visit http://coolshade.tamu.edu

 

Amy Griffin

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Ochiltree County

County Extension Agent -Family and Consumer Science

Maroon & Gray TX A&M AGRI

 

 

Advertisements

Tips for the High School Graduate

high school graduation College Graduation

For many high schools around the state of Texas, High School graduation is about to happen. Kids you have watched grow up are about to walk across the stage. This will be the biggest day of their life so far. It will be a time of remembrance for all the times that they and their classmates shared along their journey. They can look back and laugh at the crazy outfits they wore and bad hair cuts they had, along with crazy times on school field trips. As they go off to college they will start a brand new journey with different people and all they will have is the memory of what happened in high school. So for all of you high school seniors, here are some life tips to carry with you on your journey!

1. Cherish the next few months at home.  – For those of you going off to college, the next few months are the last time you are going to be with your friends and family in the same area for a while. Cherish every moment you have with them. No matter where you go,  your family will always be proud of you and your accomplishments and they are in your corner no matter what you feel at that moment.

2. Take time to grow up. – When I was in High School I couldn’t wait to be 18. That meant I was grown. I was an adult. When I got to college, I couldn’t wait to be 21. Just remember to take your time growing up. Enjoy your youth while you can. You won’t be able to get those years back, so take your time and age when you are supposed to.

3. Have a path for your future. – This is one thing that it took me a while to find. If you are unsure what you want to do in college, that is ok. Find something you are passionate about and pursue that career. It is okay to be undecided when you first go into college. Take a year to find your niche. Don’t worry, YOU WILL FIND IT!

4. Don’t be afraid to push your limits and Fail. – Failure is okay. You don’t always have to succeed in everything you do as long as you do your best. Many of your greatest accomplishments come from risk that you take. Failing at something makes you work harder to succeed at it the next time. Risks, hard work and determination pay off for the most part. In the slight chance that they don’t at least your learned new things along the way.

wayne_gretzky_quote

5. Ignore the Critics – People around you will always find something negative to say about what you are doing. If you are truly passionate about what you are doing and you believe that you going to make a difference in the world, don’t worry about the critics. If anything, they will help you strive harder to achieve your goal.

oh the places you'll go

 

So for all of you graduates, CONGRATULATIONS! Good luck in all of your adventures!

Resources:

http://successify.net/2013/05/20/7-tips-for-high-school-graduates/

 

 

Amy Griffin

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Ochiltree County

County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Science

Maroon & Gray TX A&M AGRI

Do you have your Disaster Kit?

 

disaster Supply kit

In the past week Texas has endured many different natural disasters such as heavy rain, flooding, tornadoes, and hail. With it being the middle of Tornado Season for my area of Texas, I figured a post on Emergency Preparedness would be appropriate.

In case of any natural disaster you always want to be prepared. One way to prepare for these types of storms is to have a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit. There should be a supply kit stored in your house, your vehicle, and your workplace since you don’t know where you will be when a disaster may strike.

Your Disaster Supply Kit should be specific to where you are whether it be your house, your vehicle or your workplace.

Today I will only be talking to you about your Disaster Supply Kit in your home. You need to keep this kit somewhere where it is easily accessible. You also need to make sure that everyone in your family knows where your kit is in case your are not there when the disaster strikes. Your home Disaster Supplies Kit should have enough food, water, and supplies to last your family 3 days.

The following items should be in your Disaster Supplies Kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Other items that you may want to consider in your Disaster Supplies Kit are:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit – EFFAK (PDF – 977Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

References:

http://www.ready.gov/

 

You always want to make sure that you are prepared for any type of natural disaster that your area may face. If you have any questions or for more information, please call your Local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Agent.

Amy Griffin

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Ochiltree County

County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Science

Maroon & Gray TX A&M AGRI

 

What is your phone keeping up with?

In this day in age, phones are all a part of our life. They can help us stay organized, they can help us stay active, but have you ever thought of the other things that your phone may be keeping up with?

After going through Facebook on another one of my nightly routines, I stopped when it came to a video a friend of mine posted of a news report. It is always crazy to think that your phone is keeping track of where you have been and how long you were there. My first question was, “why would the need to keep up with any of that information?” According to the news clip they said that Google and Apple were keeping up with the information to make sure that your phone is personalized.

This is very scary to know that you or your child’s phone is storing information. If the phone is hacked the person will know where you were or are and if you left and what time you were there. The good thing about these features is that you can also turn them off.

There are videos online that can help you disable this feature on your phone.

Since I have a Galaxy S5 I will give you step by step instructions on how to disable this on your Android Phone.

On your phone:

  • Go to settings
  • Under network Connections
    • Go to location
    • Scroll all the way day to Location Services
    • Click on Google Location History
    • At the bottom Click Delete Location History
      • Click “I understand and want to Delete”
    • Click Delete
    • At the top you need to slide the toggle to “off”

Once this is done your phone will quit storing your location information and you will still be able to use your location services for your Google maps and your weather services.

Making sure that you and your children are safe while using their/your phone is important.  Make sure that you sit down and talk to your children about how to use their phone safely.

If you have any other questions, please contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Agent.

 

Amy Griffin

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Ochiltree County

County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Science

Maroon & Gray TX A&M AGRI

 

 

 

Cleaning your Clutter

Spring CleaningSpring time is here and that is normally the time every one decides to clean their clutter around the house. You have gotten through most of the major holidays and gifts have been given. School is almost over so all the sports bags, drama costumes and band instruments can be put away for a while. It is time to rid your house of the unwanted things that you have collected through the year. Seems like a lot when you start to think about it. There are so many rooms and not enough time for you. Don’t let spring cleaning get you stressed.

Here are some ways to help you clean your clutter:

  • Do one room at a time. – If you start in multiple rooms you may get too overwhelmed. You won’t remember where you left off in each room and you are more likely to not reach your goal. Baby steps. As soon as one room in your house is complete you will feel accomplished and want to keep going.
  • Place your Items in 4 categories – While you are cleaning make 4 different piles. This will help you figure out what you want to keep or what you can get rid of.
    •  Essential – These are items that you can not live without. If you have items that are part of your every day life, make sure you keep them and put them in a place where they are easily accessible.
    • Donate/Garage Sale– These are items that you don’t use or don’t want anymore. If you are going to donate them or sell them at a Garage Sale, make sure that they are gently use or something that other people would want.
    • Throw away – There are items that are around your house that are either broken or very well used that you haven’t used in a long time. If your son’s shoes have holes in them and he can’t fit in them anymore, don’t donate them. I think it is time you just throw them away.
    • Favorites – These are items that you wear or have used for a long time. They are your favorite items that are not really essential in your life, but important to you.
  • Make sure everything has a place – Many times we are at the store, we buy things thinking – ” This is soo cute! I have to have it” , you buy it, and when you come home you realize there is no place to put it in your house. While you are clearing all the clutter in your house, make sure that everything you keep has a place for you to put it. This will allow you to keep everything organized
  • Clean up regularly – Staying on top of your cleaning will help you not only stay organized, but make the spring cleaning process easier. If you stay on top of your clutter, the next time you clear it out won’t be as much of a chore.

Spring is always a busy time of year, with your clutter out of the way and your house spick and span, you can enjoy the rest of the summer in the sun!

If you have any questions or concerns on any issue, please contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent.

Amy Griffin

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Ochiltree County

County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Science

Maroon & Gray TX A&M AGRI

6 Ways to Stay Active with your Phone

running

When I wake up every morning the first thing I do is check my phone. See who may have texted me while I was asleep and catch up on all of my friends exciting night life. Everywhere I go my phone is either in my pocket, in my purse or in my hand. However, even though I have a free gym membership with my job, the only place I never go….is the gym. I always feel like I don’t have time or I get pumped up to go and something happens where I have to postpone it to another day.  There is only one thing that remains constant in my life. My phone is ALWAYS with me.

If you are someone like me whose phone is glued to their body, let your smart phone help you stay fit. Utilize all that your phone can offer, it can help you stay on track for your time at the gym or during your daily work out. Here are some tips to use your smart phone to help you start a new routine or stay motivated with the one you already have.

  1. Set a time – Block off a time on your phone for exercise. Put this block during a time you know is normally free and when you won’t postpone it or easily book something over it. Maybe this time is when you wake up or after you put the kids to sleep. Try out different times of the day to find the right fit for you. You can even put an alarm or reminder on your phone that this time is coming up so that you won’t forget.
  2. Find your Tunes – I think the worst thing you can do is go to the gym without music. I hate when I get all the way there and realize I left my headphones. It is like my exercise world has just ended. If you ever have a problem trying to find the right music to run to or exercise to, try making premade playlists so you aren’t listening to heavy metal during yoga. Here are a few apps that can also help you out:
    • Rockmyrun or Songza offer premade mixes for your different kinds of exercise.
    • Fit Radio – lets you choose a genre that you like and then allows you to select a target pace to exercise to. This app will offer you a playlist of songs that will help you keep your target pace throughout your entire exercise period.
  3. Use Social Media – If you can’t always take your gym buddy with you. Post status updates on your Facebook, Instagram or twitter to help get the motivation you need to keep going. Research has shown that we work out better with a partner. Use your social media contacts to help you stay motivated on your goal of getting and staying fit.
  4. Time yourself – Use your phones stop watch feature or your timer to determine what your current pace is. Each time you go running, time yourself and see how far you went so that you can determine if you are moving towards your goal.
  5. Change it up – If you thinking your usual regimen is getting old or that you aren’t benefitting from it anymore. Change it up. Free apps like Fitstar Personal Trainer for iphone and Workout Trainer by Skimble have different programs that you can select for different goals suck as toning, losing fat , or building muscle.
  6. Use your built in apps – Some phones now come with built in health trackers. Check and see if your phone has one. Some are Google Fit, Apple Health and Samsung S Health. They can log your workouts, file all of your health statistics, and track your steps. You can even have them sync with other health apps so all the information from the other apps you may use is all available to you in one place.

Staying motivated or starting a new routine is not always easy for a busy person. You don’t always have to pay for a personal trainer or even get a gym membership. Let your phone help you out and keep you on the right track with staying active.

Resources:

Tahnk, Jeana. (2015, May ). Stay Fit with your Smartphone! . All you, 78-79.

For more information on programs that are offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, contact your local Extension Agent.

 

Amy Griffin

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Ochiltree County

County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Science

Maroon & Gray TX A&M AGRI

 

5 ways to save money on your summer vacation

familyVacation_650x305Summer is right around the corner. We have college graduations happening in the next few weeks, and high school graduations soon to follow.  Every child wants to know where they are going for summer vacation. They have been looking forward to this since they got home from their last summer vacation.  Summer vacations can bring a lot of stress when trying to figure out where to go. You want somewhere that everyone in the family will enjoy, add a little education, and that is not overrun by mobs of people.

Another problem is that most summer vacations are expensive and take preparation to put together. You can spend thousands of dollars just on plane tickets and hotel rooms for your family to enjoy the week in a new location.

Here are 5 ways to save money while you still have fun on your summer vacation.

1. Stay local – Many times children don’t have a clue what their surroundings offer. There may be a cool museum or an awesome lake that the family could go to that is only a few hours away. Find a festival or outdoor event near you and go on a road trip for a week. These will be times for family bonding that no one will forget when they are older. Some of the most amazing vacations that my family and I had growing up were not even out of the great state of Texas.

2. Pack your own food – Most of the expenses you have are food and lodging when you are going on vacation. I know eating bologna sandwiches at a roadside park on the way to Disney World isn’t the coolest thing to do, but it will cut down on your travel expenses.  Once you get to your destination, see if there are any type of suite or rooms that have a full kitchen in your hotel. This will allow you to cook your own dinners instead of dining out.

3. All inclusive trips – Sometimes if you book one of their all-inclusive packages it will be cheaper for you in the long run. Many times they give a discount on meals and entertainment packages if you do an all-inclusive trip. Check the different prices on the packages and make sure that you are getting the best deal for your money.

4. Travel when it is not peak season – Now I know that summer is definitely a peak season, however, if there is any way that you can push back your summer vacation or vacation early, it will help your pocketbook.  I am not telling you to go to a water park in the middle of the winter either, but look at when your destination is the cheapest and if you can, try to book your vacation then. Sometimes schools in certain areas start later than others. If your school starts later than those surrounding it, use these extra few weeks to your advantage.

5. Book your flights when they are cheap. – It has been said that flights are the cheapest at 3 PM on Tuesday 6 weeks before you need to fly. If you are needing to fly to your destination, make sure to book your flight early and not wait till the last minute. You can also go on sites suck as hotwire.com, expedia.com, priceline.com, and kayak.com to find some of the best rates.  If you happen to have frequent flyer miles, using these will keep a few extra dollars in your pocket.

While you are looking for vacations for the summer, or start planning trips in the near future remember these 5 tips that will help you save money. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service  also has many different resources on their website that can help when finding out how to manage your money and save up for that special trip.

http://fcs.tamu.edu/money/your_money/money_management.php

Amy Griffin

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Ochiltree County

County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Science

Maroon & Gray TX A&M AGRI