10 Things You Should Do Before Saying “I Do”

I Do 2

Consider these tips to help you have a successful relationship and marriage!

Creating a Happily Ever After

Being in love is exciting and wonderful, and for some people it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of romance. Many people spend more time planning for a wedding than they spend planning for a marriage. Before deciding to tie the knot, consider these tips to help create a more happily ever after.

1. Ask: Am I ready? The happiest relationships are built on a foundation of two happy and healthy people who are ready to take on the challenges of a new life together. Those who are ready to be in a long-term relationship have dealt with their own personal challenges and issues and are not looking for someone to make them happy or to “fix” them in some way (or vice versa).

2. Take time. In order to really get to know someone, it takes talking (mutual self-disclosure) + being together (in a variety of situations) + time (at least 90 days) (Van Epp, 2007). Because we are usually on our best behavior when we first meet and it takes time for patterns of behavior to emerge, this is a process that can’t be rushed, even if you spend a lot of time together.

3. Be extra cautious in long-distance relationships. While online dating is a common way to meet people, steer clear of commitment without spending a lot of time in person in many different situations. It is easier to show only our best selves in long-distance relationships.

4. Play detective. Ask deep and meaningful questions that will help you know if you are compatible with the person you are dating. For example, check out these 10 Questions to Ask Before Saying I Do. To make sure we aren’t biased about how we are viewing the person we are dating, it may also be helpful to think about how others might view him or her, or even ask others about their opinions and listen for warning signs you may have missed.

5. Start to become part of the family. Much of who we are was learned from growing up in our family, so we can learn a lot about what someone will be like as a partner and parent from observing, asking questions and spending time with their family. If there are concerns about a partner’s family or negative traits that a partner has learned from his or her family, you may want to think twice before getting too serious. While change is possible, it takes time and effort, and it is much easier to change before getting into a serious relationship.

6. Watch for personality compatibility. While we probably won’t have everything in common with our partner, happy relationships often have many of these traits in common: emotional temperament, sense of humor, intelligence, energy levels, similar recreation interests and how affection is expressed.

7. Be aware of each other’s values. Some of the biggest arguments in relationships relate to those things we value most because we have strong feelings and opinions about them. Having similarities in how religious/spiritual you are, having common financial views and goals and having similar views about family life are all major factors in lasting relationship satisfaction.

8. Watch for daily life compatibility. While it may not be romantic, the truth is that most of the time we spend with someone in a long-term relationship will be in the everyday routine of life. Consider such things as: Who will earn and manage the money? How will household responsibilities be divided? How will free time be spent? The answers to these questions can be crucial to the happiness of relationships.

9. Learn conflict resolution skills. Because we are all different, conflict is inevitable in even the happiest of relationships. When handled in a positive manner, overcoming conflict can strengthen relationships. Having a conflict plan in place can be helpful. Begin by setting the ground rules, such as choosing when and where to deal with conflict and remember to practice good listening and communication skills.

10. Plan now to keep your relationship strong. Just like cars, relationships need regular preventative maintenance in order to run smoothly and prevent problems. Research suggests that relationship education (such as attending a class or reading a relationship book together, etc.) can help relationships stay strong. Consider what you will do as a couple to keep your relationship strong.

For more information and class schedules on relationships, visit HealthyRelationshipsUtah.org.

This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor

Top 10 // Tips for Winterizing Your Garden

Fall Garden

Follow these tips to winterize your garden!

Turn Down for What?

It has most definitely been a long and rewarding gardening season. Many delicious crops have been harvested and enjoyed.

However, this time of year gardeners are ready to be done pulling weeds, dealing with snails and other creepy crawlers and being heartbroken by crops that didn’t turn out as expected.

Before you take a break from your garden however, make sure you leave it in a good place for the winter season. Although it seems like spring is in the extremely distant future, it will come faster than expected! You will be grateful that you took these extra steps to properly turn-down your garden before the chill of winter takes over your yard.

Here are two tips for proper garden turn-down:

Tip #5. Mulch tree leaves and add to compost pile along with a couple cups of nitrogen fertilizer to speed up the composting rate.

Tip #7. Plant perennials! Visit your local nursery and save big on hardy perennial plants like thyme, sage and oregano. If you’re feeling adventurous, try planting a rhubarb plant too!

For eight other wonderful, garden-saving tips, click here.


The Organic Forecast

Fall Garden Checklist- Top 10

How to Turn Daily Life Into Exercise

Physical Activity

Quick tips to help you fit exercise into your crazy life!

Getting Trim Without the Gym

Finding time to workout can be harder than the workout itself! However, exercise is extremely important and should be done each day. Daily exercise has the power to:

1. Boost daily energy
2. Improve one’s mood
2. Control weight
4. Promote better sleep
5. Combat health conditions and diseases

Here is list of some helpful ways to sneak physical activity into your life:

Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy — such as taking a brisk 10 minute walk to and from the parking lot, bus stop, or subway station. Or, join an exercise class. Keep it interesting by trying something different on alternate days. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing.

Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time, shorter bursts of activity will not have the same health benefits. For example, walking the dog for 10 minutes before and after work or adding a 10 minute walk at lunchtime can add to your weekly goal. Mix it up. Swim, take a yoga class, garden or lift weights. To be ready anytime, keep some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking or running shoes in the car and at the office.

More ways to increase physical activity

At home:

Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.

Push the baby in a stroller.

Get the whole family involved — enjoy an afternoon bike ride with your kids.

Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.

Walk the dog — don’t just watch the dog walk.

Clean the house or wash the car.

Walk, skate, or cycle more, and drive less.

Do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.

Mow the lawn with a push mower.

Plant and care for a vegetable or flower garden.

Play with the kids — tumble in the leaves, build a snowman, splash in a puddle, or dance to favorite music.

Exercise to a workout video.

At work:

Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk or skate the rest of the way.

Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend to go with you.

Take part in an exercise program at work or a nearby gym.

Join the office softball team or walking group.

At play:

Walk, jog, skate, or cycle.

Swim or do water aerobics.

Take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga.

Golf (pull cart or carry clubs).

Canoe, row, or kayak.

Play racquetball, tennis, or squash.

Ski cross-country or downhill.

Play basketball, softball, or soccer.

Hand cycle or play wheelchair sports.

Take a nature walk.

Most important — have fun while being active!
– See more at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity-tips#sthash.hgO0VDRk.dpuf



Top 10 // Ways to Practice Money Management with Kids

Teach Kids Money

It’s never too early to start educating your kids about money!

10 Ways to Practice Money Management Skills

If you teach them, they will learn. One of the most important things that parents can do to help their children develop positive money attitudes and behaviors is to get them involved with the real life, day-to-day financial workings of the family. Additionally, children need opportunities to earn, spend, and save money.

1. Hold regular family discussions about money with specific details about the family’s income and expenses.

2. Keep a family income and spending log/diary for 30 days (individual family members can also do this for their personal income and spending).

3. Solicit ideas (and commitments), especially from older children, on how to reduce spending – allow children to keep a % of the savings resulting from any of their cost-cutting efforts.

4. Have older children participate in monthly bill paying and grocery shopping. Teach them about sales and coupons.

5. Have an older child teach a younger child an important money concept.

6. Have family members get together and make short, medium and long term savings goals. Have each family member sign the agreement, and then post it in a prominent location of the home to remind everyone of the things they are working towards.

7. Have children develop a specific family spending goal (vacation, big screen TV, etc.). Allow them to contribute some of their allowance or earnings toward the goal.

8. Have each child set personal earning and spending goals. Regularly discuss progress and setbacks. Teach them to avoid compulsive buying.

9. Given a certain amount of money, regularly have children plan a meal, purchase the ingredients, and prepare the meal.

10. Regularly have a “no -frills” entertainment night (“old fashioned” board games, $1 video rental, talent shows, sandwiches in the park, storytelling, etc.). Fun activities don’t have to be expensive.

This article was written by Margie P. Memmott, M.S., C.F.C.S., Juab County.

Cooking In Season // Summer Squash

Summer Squash Blog

Learn how to prepare and enjoy summer squash this fall!

Don’t Just Squish Your Summer Squash

This time of year is filled with crisp air, golden leaves and an abundance of summer squash floating throughout almost every kitchen.

With so many ways that it can be prepared, summer squash is one of the most versatile and nutritious foods you can get a hold of. These varieties of squash are a great addition to any soup or casserole as well as any sort of sweet bread.

Don’t let your squash harvest go to waste! To help you get started, below is a recipe for a savory entree as well as a delicious sweet treat. For six other delicious recipes and even more info about how to enjoy your summer squash, click here. Happy squashing!



*Click on each recipe for a printable version.


Eat Well Utah
Cooking in Season // Summer Squash

Get Creative! // Storage in a Small Space

Storing Food

Here are some fun and creative ways to store food and emergency supplies when space is tight!

Becoming the Master of Disguise

September is National Preparedness Month, and for many people that means stocking up at the case lot sale, storing water and updating 72-hour kits. However, not everyone has the luxury of ample storage space. For those who live in a small house, apartment or dorm, finding a place to store extra food and emergency preparedness items can be a challenge.

Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Extension associate professor, said it might require a little creativity to find storage space, but it can usually be done.

“Closets are great places to start since there is often unused space,” she said. “Food can be stored in the very top back shelves that you can’t use or on the floor in the back of the closet. Also consider the back of cupboards where access is difficult. For instance if you have number 10 cans, you can store them in the back of the cupboard and leave them, then place the foods you use regularly in front of the cans.”

In addition, the space under beds can be used for storing food and water, she said. Short-term storing of water in the garage is an option, but be aware of temperatures. Heat will not hurt or crack the plastic but the cold will.

“You can also get creative by filling two 5-gallon buckets or totes with food storage items and making a TV stand with a 5 foot, 2X12 piece of wood across the buckets and a tablecloth over the top,” she said. “Or make a coffee table by using three or four buckets or large totes with a cloth on top. A bedside table can be made using one bucket or tote. There are many furniture/storage possibilities if you look at your space and come up with a plan.”

Washburn said to store food in a cool, dark location when possible, and to keep it out of direct sunlight and moisture.

She said the top 10 foods to include in food storage are wheat; beans, legumes and lentils; white rice; pasta; dehydrated fruits and vegetables such as raisins, apples or tomatoes; nonfat powdered milk; sugar including honey or jam; oil and/or olive oil; salt, soda and baking powder; and nuts or peanut butter.

The top 10 foods for students to store include wheat; beans (chick peas, lentils that are easy to reconstitute); pasta; rice; canned meats including tuna, sardines and chicken; jam or honey; peanut butter; dehydrated fruits and vegetables such as raisins, apples or tomatoes; nonfat dehydrated milk; and beef jerky and cheese, which only have a 6-months shelf life, but provide good nutrition and are easy to grab.

Washburn said to be sure to have a 72-hour kit for each person and to include a solar cell phone and flashlight charger in case the power goes out.

“Besides the food and emergency kit, also be sure to store as much water as you have storage space for,” she said. “Recommendations are 1 gallon per person per day.”

When we become prepared for an emergency, we can reduce fear, anxiety and loses, Washburn said. Food storage preparedness can provide security and alleviate fear. Becoming better prepared strengthens families and communities.



This article was written by Julene Reese

Storing Fall Produce

Fall Produce

Don’t let your beautiful fall produce go to waste!

Carrots, and Apples, and Onions! Oh, My!

Fall is a fabulous time to glean from the summer growing season some of the best produce, apples, pears, winter squash, root vegetables, and more.

Once harvested it is important to store these wonderful foods properly in order to maximize length of storage, nutrition, and freshness.

There are two important considerations for storage: humidity and temperature. Each food has its own ‘best temperature and humidity’ zone for optimum storage. These conditions may be controlled in a number of different storage spaces, but each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Cool Basements
While most basements average around 60°F it may not be the most ideal conditions for some types of food storage.

This option is a great way to store small amounts of produce that require cold or cold and moist conditions.

Root Cellars
Root cellars are nice in areas that have cold winters where there is moisture as well, but are subject to rodents and inconvenient access during storms or lots of snow.

Mock Root Cellars
Mock root cellars are storage conditions designed or built specifically to take advantage of cold weather, but are safe from rodents and possible freezing. These can be old coolers buried in the ground, under a porch, or next to the house. Some have built specially designed boxes in breezeways, sheds, or in the garage.

Along with each of these options, it will be important to choose the packing options best suited for the produce and form of storage used. Packing options include straw, newspaper, clean sawdust, peat moss, or even clean dirt or sand.

Whether you are harvesting your own garden produce, or buying it locally in season, these few tips will be valuable to keep in mind:

1. Harvest produce as close to peak maturity as possible.
2. Use only the best produce for storage…free from bruises and blemishes.
3. Avoid any produce that has severe insect damage.
4. Leave as much of the stem on as possible…at least an inch or more on most veggies is best to reduce water loss and avoid infection.
5. Choose ‘late maturing’ varieties for storage.

The following chart may be helpful in determining the storage environment best for these foods.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.39.16 PM

*One last note: Store fruits separate from vegetables. Fruits pick up the taste of other veggies and veggies will age faster from the ethylene gas produced from fruit.*


Isenberg, F. M. R. Storage of Home Grown Vegetables. Cornell University Department of Vegetable Crops, Master Gardener Reference.
Olsen, S., Drost, D., Hunsaker, T. Harvest and Storage of Vegetables and Fruits. Utah State University Extension, FN/FoodPreparation/2015-02.
Storage Guidelines For Fruits & Vegetables. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Chemung County. http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/vegetables/storage.pdf

This article was written by Teresa Hunsaker, Extension Finance and Consumer Sciences Agent, Weber County.

What’s for Dinner? // Mashed Potatoes and Happy Families

Family Mealtime

Make the most of family mealtime!

Bonding Over Brisket

With the average husband and wife both having to work full-time, or a single mother or father juggling the children and work, sitting down to have dinner together is probably one of the most difficult but important things a family can do.

Sitting down together at the family table and talking to each other about the events of the day without interruptions from the TV or other electronic devices has proven to be very beneficial.

Families should ensure spending time together is built into their weekly schedule. And since we all have to eat, why not make it a point for family time to be spent sharing a meal together?

Here’s how family mealtime will benefit your family beyond the dinner table:

• Encourages better nutrition. According to the FDA, Americans now consume about one-third of their total calories on foods prepared outside the home. The Center for Disease Control has linked obesity to the propensity of Americans to eat in restaurants where portions are large. Home cooking allows a family to select healthy ingredients, tailor meals to suit its own particular nutritional needs and tastes, serve portions appropriate to age and activity level and monitor methods of preparation.

• Saves money. According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend 45 percent of their food budget dining out. A family that eats most meals cooked at home saves substantial food dollars.

• Promotes long-term health care savings. Consistently eating high-calorie, high-fat foods can lead to obesity and heart disease, among other chronic issues. Eating healthier, home-cooked meals and adopting a healthier lifestyle will leave a person less likely to develop these health conditions. This practice will save money in the future on costs related to health care and prescriptions.

• Builds life skills. Manners and etiquette help build character and self-esteem, and help build a positive environment. Eating together provides the opportunity to test drive etiquette and manners. Family mealtime is a perfect occasion for everyone in the family to learn how to set the table, prepare food and clean the dishes. Parents are able to role model healthy eating habits and table manners during family meals.

• Strengthens communication skills. The number one source of conflict in a family is lack of or mis-communication. Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the family to bond, plan, connect, and learn from one another. In a series of focus groups conducted with low-income program participants by the Nutrition Education Network of Washington, participants said they believed that the primary benefit to eating together was strengthening relationships by providing opportunities for communication. Other studies report similar perceptions on the part of parents.

Other things happen during mealtimes as well, including: socialization of children; establishment of family unity, safety, and security for children; and increased literacy and language development.

Data suggests that eating dinner as a family can provide positive life-improving benefits. These benefits for children, especially adolescents, have been shown to cross racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines, but some glaring distinctions exist between families who share meals and those who don’t.


Campbell, C. Bond with your Family: Eat Together. http://powertochange.com/family/bonddinner/.
Jan 13, 2012
Forthun, L.F. (2008a). Family Nutrition: The Truth About Family Meals. Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication number: FCS8871. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1061
Hand, B. The Benefits of Eating Together, The Family Who Eats Together Stays Together. Retrieved April 10, from http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=439.

This article was written by Paula Scott, Utah EFNEP State Director, Heidi LeBlanc, Food $ense State Director and Debra Christofferson, Utah Food $ense Assist. Director.

Utah Prepare // Emergency Preparedness Made Easy

Utah Prepare

Saturday, September 12, 2015
South Towne Expo Center, Sandy, Utah
Utah’s Largest One Day
Preparedness Conference and Expo
50+ Exhibitors  |  30+ Preparedness Classes

Utahns interested in learning about emergency preparedness can visit the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for workshops, speakers, emergency preparedness vendors, door prizes and giveaways.

“We began this Utah State University Extension-sponsored conference in 2009 to help people understand that there are things they can do to be in charge, even when there is much out of their control during an emergency,” said Teresa Hunsaker, USU Extension family and consumer sciences agent. “By thinking ahead and having necessary items on hand, they can better ride out the storm, so to speak.”

Workshop topics include mock root cellars, meals in minutes with food storage, sheltering in place, emergency fuel storage, emergency communications, emergency childbirth, powerless cooking, special needs preparation, survival tips from the experts, water purification, preparedness and terrorism, water and emergency first aid.

Keynote speaker is Lori Prichard, morning anchor for KSL TV, who will share her first-hand experience with preparedness while in Joplin, Missouri.

“We really try to have this be a one-stop shop where Utahns can become educated and learn what they can do to help themselves, their families and their pets in the event of a barrage of emergency scenarios,” said Hunsaker. “Our goal is to help keep damage and casualties to a minimum should one of these events take place.”

Cost of conference is $5. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Find more information at utahprepare.com

You Can Can, But Can you Can Safely?

Can you Can?

Make sure you’re canning your food safely!

Three Simple Steps to Safe Canning

Preserving your own foods can save you money and is a great way to know what is in the foods you eat. It is important to follow the safest canning guidelines and use up-to-date equipment to ensure your product is safe.

1. Be sure to check the source of your recipe. Extensive research and testing have resulted in scientific-based guidelines, which are the safest. To ensure you are using a science-based resource, your recipe and guidelines should come from Utah State University Extension, The National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia or The Ball Blue Book. Information should have been released after 2009. No other sources, including recipes on the Internet, can be presumed safe.

2. Pressure canner gauges should be tested once a year. Low-acid foods should be canned using a pressure canner. Watch for pressure canner gauge testing by your local Extension office in your area.

3. Attend a class to ensure you are current on your canning techniques. Look for a MASTER FOOD PRESERVER Course in your area. This class is an in-depth series on food preservation for optimum food safety in all areas of food preservation including pressure canning, water bath canning, dehydrating, and freezing.

For more current information on canning and food preservation, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation online at nchfp.uga.edu or extension.usu.edu/canning.

This article was written by SuzAnne Jorgensen, FCS Extension Agent, Garfield County