Parents Empowered: Underaged Drinking

Author – Nikki Capener


Parents often believe that school policies or church teachings will keep their kids away from alcohol use, but too often that is not the case. New, disturbing research indicates that the developing adolescent brain may be susceptible to long-term, negative consequences of alcohol use. Adolescent alcohol use is a serious threat to adolescent development and health. Parents are the most powerful influence on their children. It is important to stay connected, monitor and create lasting bonds with your child.

Did you know?

  • In Utah, underage drinking now begins as early as elementary school.
  • The brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s.
  • Negative effects of alcohol last far longer in a teen’s brain than in an adult’s.
  • Underage drinking can keep the good judgment and impulse-control part of the brain from properly developing.
  • More teens die from the results of alcohol use than all other illegal drugs combined.

But, did you also know?

  • Parents are the most powerful influence on their children’s behavior.
  • Children usually listen to their parents more than anybody else, including their friends.
  • Children who feel close to their parents are less likely to drink.
  • Knowing where your children are, who they’re with and what they’re doing helps prevent underage drinking.

Parents are often unaware of their child’s alcohol use. In a recent national survey, 31 percent of kids who had been drunk in the past year said they had parents who believed their children were nondrinkers. Take action! Start talking to your child about underage drinking before age eight.

Parentsempowered.org gives 3 research-proven skills to help prevent underage drinking.

  1. Bond with your children.
  • Create a positive, loving home environment.
  • Have daily positive interaction.
  1. Set boundaries for your children.
  • Set clear rules and expectations.
  • Help your children choose friends wisely.
  1. Monitor your children.
  • Know your child’s environment.

For additional tips and more information, visit Parentsempowered.org.

Resource:   Parentsempowered.org

Nikki Capener is a student at Utah State University studying family and consumer science education. She is the family and consumer sciences intern in Box Elder County and has loved working with the Extension faculty and 4-H youth. Her experience working with Extension has been incredibly beneficial and she has learned much while working with Ann Henderson. Her hobbies include running, cooking, sewing and making crafts.

Holidays with the Diabetic in Mind

Author – Carolyn Washburn

Holidays with the Diabetic in Mind

Take Control of Your Diabetes

Those with diabetes can enjoy holiday eating and maintain a strong and healthy lifestyle by understanding and taking control of diet and exercise.

Diabetes is a complex disease that requires daily self-management, including making healthy food choices, staying physically active, monitoring blood sugars and taking medications as prescribed by the doctor. More than 8 percent of the American population have diabetes.

Our bodies need daily nutrients. We consume carbohydrates for energy, proteins for strength and fats for nerves and body functions. How much we consume of each is critical to understand. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose during digestion and raise blood glucose.

As you take control of your diet, you will need to understand portion size, the ingredients in products and to watch for added ingredients. Fiber is also an important component for diabetics. Fiber can help control blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption. Fiber makes you feel “fuller” and helps move foods through the digestive tract. With bright colors and flavorful textures, vegetables are an excellent way to add fiber, vitamins and minerals to your daily plan. Fill your plate half full of vegetables at meal time. Aim for 30 grams of fiber every day.

Finding out that you have diabetes can be discouraging and frustrating. It is a serious disease with many possible complications. However, research has shown that people with diabetes can live long and healthy lives. The way to do this is by managing glucose levels with diet, exercise and proper medications.

Proper eating habits are are extremely important for those with diabetes. It is critical to find ways to eat foods with lower sugars, salts and fats. We all know how good sugar, salt and fats taste. These three items greatly flavor most of our foods. When we minimize these three substances, we must make modifications, finding new ways to flavor foods. Learning to use herbs, spices, sugar substitutes, low fat and low-sodium products will make a difference to blood sugar levels.

During this holiday season, take the opportunity to eat high fiber foods, lower intake of fats, sugars and salts and enjoy smaller portion sizes of some old favorite foods. Try this salad as  a tart and tangy option.

No Sugar Added Sweet Fruit Salad

3 or 4 large apples, diced with peels left on

4 or 5 bananas, sliced

Other fruits as desired: peaches, pears and grapes work well

1 regular can crushed pineapple

1 tub of Crystal Light lemonade

1 package of gelatin-brand sugar-free vanilla pudding

Mix fruits in a large mixing bowl. Mix lemonade powder and gelatin together and blend over fruit. Chill and serve.

carolyn-washburnCarolyn Washburn is a family and consumer sciences agent for Utah State University Extension. Her responsibilities include financial management education, food safety and nutrition, healthy family relations, emergency preparedness and working with youth. Her goal is to help individuals and families become self-sustaining and resilient by being financially prepared and healthy for any emergency. She serves on the National Disaster Education Network and has just completed the new food storage manual for USDA. Her most cherished award is America’s Promise, awarded by Colin Powell.

Helpful Tips to Help Children Make Wise Choices

By Naomi Brower & Kyle Barth (WSU Intern)

Helpful Tips to Help Children Make Wise Choices

Parenting can be very difficult at times, especially when children make decisions that parents disagree with. If a child makes an unwise choice, it doesn’t mean the parent is a failure or the child will continue making unhealthy choices. The following are tips for parents on how to successfully help their children make smart decisions.

  •        The center of effective parenting is love. Fathers and mothers both have what it takes to be effective parents.
  •        Make the time you spend with your children count. For example, read books with them. This can also provide a way to talk about difficult topics.
  •        Allow your children to learn from their mistakes when the “prices” are affordable. Provide opportunities for them to make choices. Avoid protecting your children from natural consequences; allow them to learn from their choices.
  •        Teach your children how to set goals and solve problems instead of doing it for them. Set limits on behavior while helping them find solutions.
  •        Be honest and specific when praising and encouraging your child.
  •        Be aware of your children’s emotions, and help them label their emotions. Avoid telling your child how he or she should feel.
  •        Keep calm if your child comes to you with a serious problem. Be supportive, empathetic and let them learn from their choices.
  •        Be aware of your own emotions and recognize when you need to take a time out. Remember, it is okay to take time for yourself.
  •        Model the actions and behaviors you expect from your child.
  •        Responsibility cannot be taught; it must be “caught” by providing opportunities for children to be responsible.
  •        Use thinking words instead of fighting words. Fighting words: “Don’t talk to me like that.” Thinking words: “You sound upset. I will happily listen to you when your voice is calm.”
  •        Avoid “siding with the enemy” and communicate understanding.
  •        Offer your child choices. For example: “Bob would you rather sit in your chair, or would you like me to help you sit in your chair?” Don’t offer a choice to your child you are not willing to follow through on.
  •        Mean what you say and say what you mean.
  •        Discipline does not always need to occur in the moment. It’s okay to tell your child why the choice they made was wrong and let him or her know you need time to think about the best consequence.
  •        It takes a village along with parents to raise a child. Remember to utilize trusted resources such as community organizations or members, religious organizations or members, as well as family and friends.
  •        Remember, no parent is perfect, even those who appear to be perfect.


Cline, F. & Faye, J. (2006). Parenting teens with love and logic:  Preparing adolescents for responsible adulthood. United States of America: Piñon Press.

Gottman, J. (1997). Raising an emotionally intelligent child: The heart of parenting. New York,

NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc.  

brower, naomiNaomi Brower is an Extension associate professor for Utah State University. She has a master’s degree in family and human development from Utah State University. Often called the relationship guru by friends, Naomi is passionate about helping others improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships with others.


7 Tips for Tailgate Fun

Author – Susan Haws


With a chill in the air and the football season in full swing, it is a prefect time to have a tailgate party.  Remember to include these essential things.

  1.      Invite a group of friends, including some who are party starters mixed with those who are less outgoing. This will get you off to a good start.
  2.      Plan for any type of weather. If the weather is great, enjoy the sunshine. If the weather is bad or stormy, be prepared by having an awning or tarp for protection. A portable heater could come in handy on a really cold day.
  3.      Have enough food to feed your guests. Portable food that can be prepared in advance works best. Food can have a theme. Serve Kickoff Chili or Hammering Hot Dogs.
  4.      Don’t forget the little things that are essential, like plates, utensils, cups and napkins. Focus on keeping cold items cold and hot things hot. Have large garbage bags to help make clean up easy. If garbage cans are available, use them, but if not, be considerate and carry your garbage out, like when you camp or backpack.
  5.      Have some games, music or decorations to celebrate the occasion. Banners or team flags work great.
  6.      Chairs are a must. If people forget to bring their own, have some on hand. Be sure to tell people how to find you. Have a prearranged meeting place or you can tell them where you hope to set up and be early enough to get your spot.
  7.      Have fun!

Here’s a great tailgate recipe:

Kickoff Chicken Chili
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 garlic clove minced finely
1 tsp. onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder
2 cans kidney beans rinsed and drained
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, celery seed, pepper
2 cans pinto beans or black beans rinsed and drained
½ tsp. salt
1 can of diced tomatoes un-drained
⅛ tsp. ground turmeric
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 ⅔ cups whole milk
1 cup of chicken broth
2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon granules

Cook onions until tender. Add garlic, and cook one minute more. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Serve with cheese or better yet serve your chili over a small bag of Fritos that serve as a garnish and a bowl. What a deal!


How to Make Homemade Applesauce

Author – Amanda Christensen

How to Make Homemade Applesauce | Live Well Utah

I have great memories of my grandmother’s tasty, home-canned applesauce. I even credit her tart, crisp apples for my love of sour candy! Over the years I’ve tried many store-bought varieties but nothing compares. I now have two apple trees in my backyard and guess what…they produce the most delicious, tart apples!

This time of year apples are ripe and ready for picking and preserving. Here’s a step-by-step guide for the safe home canning of applesauce.

First things first — make sure you have all the right equipment, including ingredients, BEFORE you start. Trust me, this can save you lots of pain and anguish.

Wash, core and quarter apples. Peeling apples is optional, as many of the nutrients are in the peel. I used an apple peeler for this batch because I wanted my applesauce to be as tart as possible.

How to Make Homemade Apple Sauce | Live Well UtahHow to Make Homemade Apple Sauce | Live Well Utah

Cook apples with a tiny bit of water in a saucepot until they are soft.

How to Make Homemade Apple Sauce | Live Well Utah

Puree apples using a food processer, food mill or blender. Add sugar (optional) and return the sauce to a large pot. Bring applesauce to a boil.

How to Make Homemade Apple Sauce | Live Well Utah

Fill hot jars with hot applesauce leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by sliding a spatula down each side of the jar. Place the lid on the jar and secure the rim.

How to Make Homemade Apple Sauce | Live Well Utah

Place jars in your boiling water bath canner. Be sure water is rapidly boiling before you start your timer. Water should cover the tops of the jars at least 1 inch. Process pints and quarts for 20 minutes.

How to Make Homemade Apple Sauce | Live Well Utah

Remove jars from canner after the 20-minute process time. Allow them to cool and seal on the countertop. Note: if some of your jars do not seal in a 24-hour time period, you can reprocess them but must do so immediately. Otherwise, refrigerate the jars that did not seal and use them first or freeze applesauce in freezer-safe containers. Label your jars and don’t forget the date. Store in a cool, dry place. Correctly canned foods are best if used within one year from the time you canned them. Flavor, color, texture and nutritional value will decline after this time period.

How to Make Homemade Apple Sauce | Live Well Utah

TIP: Remove the rims before storing to prevent rust and corrosion from moisture that may be trapped between the rim and the jar.


Amanda is an Extension assistant professor for Utah State University. She has a master’s degree in consumer sciences from USU and is proud to call herself an Aggie! Amanda loves teaching and enabling individuals and families to make smart money decisions.

Follow Me:
Twitter: @FamFinPro
Facebook: Fam Fin Pro
Instagram: @FamFinPro

5 Fun Fall Family Ideas

Author – Nikki Capener

5 Fun Fall Family Ideas | Live Well Utah

The cooling weather and changing seasons brings many opportunities to create family traditions. Family traditions strengthen families and create lasting memories. Here are five inexpensive and fun fall family traditions:

  1.  Head out for a scenic drive and enjoy the beautiful changing leaves. Better yet, take a hike or have a picnic while enjoying the scenery.
  2. Pumpkin bowling! Pick up a few small pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch or grocery store, set up some bottles or anything that might work for “pins” and start bowling.
  3. Create a Halloween candy house. Purchase graham crackers, frosting, and Halloween candy; assemble your house anyway you would like.
  4. Build a scarecrow. Scarecrows can be silly or scary. Build a scarecrow using household items and set it out in the yard.
  5. Rent or purchase a Halloween movie and watch it as a family.  For a yummy treat to sip on while you watch, make a batch of orange hot chocolate.

Orange Hot Chocolate: 10 Servings


12 oz. white chocolate
8 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Orange food coloring
Peeps ghost marshmallows (optional)


  1. Coarsely chop the white chocolate, transfer to a medium-sized heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat milk in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until bubbles begin to form at edge of surface (about 4 minutes).
  3. Immediately pour heated milk over chocolate; when chocolate begins to melt, stir until combined.
  4. Whisk in vanilla and orange food coloring to desired shade. Whisk until a light foam forms on the surface.
  5. Pour and serve immediately.

Recipe from: Matthew Mead

Nikki Capener is a student at Utah State University studying family and consumer science education. She is the family consumer science intern in Box Elder County and has loved working with the Extension faculty and 4-H youth. Her experience working with Extension has been incredibly beneficial; she has learned so much while working with Ann Henderson. Her hobbies include running, cooking, sewing and making crafts.

Utah Prepare Conference and Expo Recap

Utah Prepare Conference and ExpoWere you able to attend the Utah Prepare Conference and Expo last weekend? It was a full Saturday of learning everything about being prepared. While I am a strong supporter of being prepared for a disaster, I also really appreciated that fact that they also had preparedness tips and equipment to handle the small emergencies of life. The conference and expo really had something for everyone.
Utah Prepare Conference and ExpoThe classes were amazing. I had no idea all the resources locally available during a disaster. The conference provided classes ranging everywhere from how to cook without power, health care without traditional medicine, and preparing for extremes such as terrorism.

The equipment found there was also top notch. It was so inspiring to get myself as well as my family prepared for the small to big disasters of life.

Utah Prepare Conference and Expo
Even though National Preparedness Month is over, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to prepare! To get started, I am going to put together multiple first-aid kits for cars and home as well as gather 72 hour emergency kits. Where are you going to start?

Are You Prepared? An Emergency Checklist to Help You Prepare

Author – Christine E. Jensen

Are You Prepared? An emergency checklist to help you prepare for the worst | Live Well Utah

Have you ever wondered how to prepare for an emergency? Do you know what is important to store and what isn’t? Here is a checklist of basic emergency preparedness questions that need answers if you are to be safe in an emergency. If you answer NO to any of them, take time to work on getting them completed. This is only a brief questionnaire to help you get started.


If you are to evacuate your home, do you and your family have an identified common meeting place?

Have you established an out-of-state contact? Does each family member know the name, phone number and address of this contact?

Do you have a working emergency radio to receive emergency instructions?

Do you have a functional flashlight in every occupied bedroom? (Candles are not recommended unless you are sure there is not a natural gas leak nearby.)

Do you have a first-aid kit in your home and each vehicle? If you have a motor home, be sure to put one in there too.

Do you have work gloves and basic tools for minor rescue and clean up?

Do you have emergency cash on hand? (Small bills and coins. During emergencies or loss of power, banks and ATM machines are closed.)

Have you stored/rotated a month’s supply of needed medications?

If you wear glasses/contacts, do you have an extra pair in case of breakage?


Do you keep shoes (not sandals) near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass and other objects that may be on the floor?

Does your family know what to do before, during and after an earthquake or other emergency situation?

Do you have heavy unsecured objects hanging over beds that can fall during  an earthquake?


If water lines are ruptured, do you know how to shut off the main water line?

Can the main water valve be turned off by hand without using a special tool?

If a special tool is needed to shut off the water main, do you have one near the turn off or know where to find one in an emergency?

Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located?

Natural gas valves need a special tool to turn off. Do you have one nearby?

Without electricity and gas, do you have the means to heat at least part of the house?

Do you have means to cover broken windows and doors?

Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage?


Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?

In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher? Do you know how to operate it? Is it charged?

Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper locations in your home?


Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important documents stored outside of your home or in your evacuation kit?

Do you have a copy of your will, trust and insurance papers that can be taken with you?

Do you have a copy of your household inventory (CD or photos with serial numbers, etc.) for insurance purposes?


Do you have a supply of food, clothing and fuel (where appropriate) for 1 month, 6 months or 1 year?

Do you have sufficient food?

Do you have means to cook food without gas or electricity?

Do you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking and sanitary needs?

Do you have a 72-hour evacuation kit? Could you or someone in your family carry it?

christine-jensenChristine Jensen has been employed by Utah State University Extension in Emery County for 15 years.

Oh Deer! How Do You Preserve Wild Game?

Author – Margie Memmott

Oh Deer! How Do You Preserve Wild Game? | Live Well Utah

So you’ve just had a successful hunt with enough meat to feed your family for the entire year.  Now make sure all your hard work pays off and that your meat is safe to use later. Whether you want to freeze, can or dry and jerky your hunt, follow these steps and do it right.

Click here to download the USU Extension Pamphlet: How to Properly Preserve Venison. We will teach you the methods of selecting and preparing, freezing, canning, making sausage, drying and storing venison.
margie-memmottMargie Memmott has been serving families and communities for more than 20 years with USU Extension in Juab County. Margie earned degrees in family and consumer sciences from BYU and USU and loves to teach youth and adults valuable life skills. “What a great reward when others adopt these principles and apply the tools to improve their everyday lives.”  Margie and her husband Sam have four sons, three daughters-in-law and two grandsons. In her spare time she enjoys creative textiles/sewing, crocheting, music, technology, four wheeling in the ‘RZR’ and most of all, being with her family.

Top 10 Ways to Help Your Child Eat More Vegetables

Author – Carrie M. Durward PhD, RD

10 Ways to Help Your Child Eat More Vegetables | Live Well Utah

As a registered dietitian, one of the most common questions I get from parents is how to get their child to eat vegetables. Luckily for me, nutrition research has given us a lot of great information about how to do this.

First and most important: if you want your child to like and eat vegetables, offer them early and often! Feed your child a variety of fruit and vegetable purees as soon as you introduce solid food (5 to 7 months). This is a time period when children are more open to trying new foods, so it is a great time to have them learn the flavors of many different vegetables.

However, if you missed this window, it isn’t too late! We like and eat the foods we are familiar with. The best way to get your children to like vegetables is to keep offering them. In one study, children had to taste a new vegetable up to 15 times before it was accepted.

It is normal for young children to be wary of new foods. If your child rejects a new vegetable or refuses to try it, don’t give up! Just try again another day.

Try to avoid showing a negative reaction like frustration if you child refuses vegetables. Never pressure your children to finish food or force them to clean their plate. Encourage them to try a bite, but don’t force it!

Instead, try one of these 10 positive ways to help your child try new vegetables.

Top 10 Ways to Help your Child Eat More Vegetables

  1. Be a good example. Keep vegetables in the house, serve them at every meal and let your child see you eating and enjoying them.
  2. Offer vegetables first, when children are hungry. Try vegetables as an after school snack or have a salad or soup at the beginning of dinner.
  3. Take your child shopping and let him or her pick out the vegetables, or let your child choose between two different vegetables to have with dinner.
  4. Get your children involved in the cooking. If children help prepare a vegetable, they will be more likely to try it.
  5. Grow a vegetable garden or visit a farmers market or local farm. These can be fun ways to help your child explore new foods.
  6. Make eating vegetables fun by playing with your food. Try ants on a log, rainbow salad or pizza faces.
  7. Try preparing vegetables in different ways: raw, steamed, roasted, etc. The flavor and texture can be very different, depending on how you cook them. If your child doesn’t like vegetables one way, he or she might like them another way!
  8. Try a small reward, like a sticker or praise to help convince your child to taste vegetables. Don’t use food as a reward or punishment.
  9. Use marketing in your favor. Put stickers of your child’s favorite book or TV characters on containers of vegetables to encourage intake.
  10. Offer vegetables with a low-calorie dip, or use a small amount of sugar when cooking to help your child be more willing to taste and eat vegetables. This will help your children become more familiar with the taste of vegetables, and they will learn to like the flavor more, even without the dip or sugar!

carrie-durwardCarrie Durward PhD, RD is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Extension Nutrition Specialist at Utah State University. Carrie is a Registered Dietitian and holds her doctorate in Nutritional Sciences from the Pennsylvania State University and her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from Arizona State University. Carrie has expertise in obesity and health, weight loss, and nutrition behavior change. Her research interests include promotion of vegetable intake and weight bias prevention. When she isn’t working, Carrie loves to garden, spend time outdoors, and cook and eat delicious food.