Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Facebook | Twitter | Home RSS

What’s going on at Emmet County Extension?

December 12, 2014
by Britney Rosburg - ISU Extension Program Educator , Estherville News

This month's column was written in collaboration by Brenda Schmitt, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach Family Finance Specialist and by Nancy Clark, ISU Extension Nutrition and Health Specialist.

A little advanced planning goes a long way towards adding cheer instead of stress to the holidays, according to two human sciences specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. "Every day we answer the 'what's for dinner' question and during the holidays, with extra guests and more complicated menus, serving up the answer can be very stressful. But it doesn't need to be," said Nancy Clark, human sciences specialist in nutrition and health.

Clark recommends planning and writing down menus for the next several weeks, making a shopping list and buying items when they are on sale. Planning and shopping ahead makes it possible to prepare nutritious meals at home and save the cost of eating out.

"Many soups, stews, casseroles and meat entrees can be prepared, conveniently packaged for freezer storage and later reheated," said Clark. "Spending time with family becomes more important than spending time in the kitchen during the holidays and a nice variety of foods prepared ahead of time and ready to eat makes that possible."

Healthy Meals in a Hurry publications from ISU Extension and Outreach are filled with tips and recipes for stocking the freezer with ready-to-eat main dishes. For additional tips on managing holiday meals follow the ISU Extension and Outreach blogs Spend Smart. Eat Smart. and Answerline, written by ISU Extension and Outreach specialists. Blogs are listed at

Easing the financial strain of the holidays

Goals, lists and reinforcement should all be part of advanced planning when it comes to spending during the holiday season, according to Brenda Schmitt, human sciences specialist in family finance with ISU Extension and Outreach. Schmitt recommends setting shopping goals and making lists. This not only helps the shopper manage spending, but family members better understand priorities of the season.

"Time and money are valuable resources during the holiday season," said Schmitt. "If finances are tight this year, don't try to hold yourself to expectations from previous years allow yourself to make changes. Instead of spending beyond your means, make memories by spending time together and starting new holiday traditions. Be happy with what you do have, not focused on what is missing."

Human science specialists in family finance offer these tips for managing time and money during the holidays:

n Plan ahead and don't wait until the last minutes to do shopping and decorating.

n Make a to-do list. When things are written down they become important. Cross them off the list once they are done, and find a sense of accomplishment.

n Try "chunking" by breaking down the big task into smaller ones.

n Set goals, prioritize and do what is most important on your list.

n Set up for success if using credit cards is a weakness, tape shopping goals to the card as a reminder; if the shopping network is a weakness, tape goals to the TV remote; or use the buddy system if there is someone in the family that is less tempted to overspend, and put him or her in control of the dollars.

n Involve family members put them in charge of sending out holiday notes, decorating, cooking prep work and cleaning.

n Eliminate trivial tasks make sure the tasks count.

n Gift wrapping: when you purchase the gift, have the store wrap the gift.

For additional holiday spending tips follow the family finance specialists in their blog MoneyTip$ at:

Managing post-holiday stressors

Some people may feel it's too late to "plan ahead" this holiday season and find that shopping and food preparation are already out of hand. Clark and Schmitt say it's never too late to make positive changes.

"Small steps taken today lead to big rewards down the road," said Schmitt. "The future you enjoy in later life is built on the decisions you make today." Schmitt and Clark are offering the online educational series "New Year New You" in January as part of the Retirement: Secure Your Future effort. For more details about this program visit: .



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web