Fall Bucket List


Cooler temperatures and colorful leaves are on their way. We’re welcoming fall with more than 50 fall things to do around Utah. Pick and choose your favorites to create your own custom fall bucket list. 

The weather is starting to cool off, the leaves are changing and there is so much fun to be had.  Utah is full of great experiences, whether you want to spend time out in the crisp fall air or stay home working on simple projects.  Whatever mood you are, in it is nice to have a list of exciting ideas to choose from, and we have more than 50 suggestions for you to build your own fall bucket list.


  • Drive the Alpine Loop or other local canyons to see the leaves
  • Explore a corn maze
  • Visit the local farmer’s market
  • Go on a hike to see the fall colors
  • Go camping in the colors
  • Go apple, pumpkin, squash, pepper or tomato picking at a local “pick your own” farm
  • Go pick your own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch
  • Practice recreational shooting
  • Go hunting
  • Go Trick-or-Treating
  • Tell scary stories around a campfire
  • Go on a hay ride
  • Join in a family and friend turkey bowl football game



  • Do fall cleaning
  • Decorate the house
  • Host a football watching party
  • Host a Halloween party
  • Gather family for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Rake up and play in the autumn leaves
  • Clean out garden beds to prepare for next year
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant a tree — Autumn is a great time to plant a tree, but be sure to water well if it is a dry autumn.


  • Do a chili cook-off
  • Make apple cider
  • Harvest fall produce and preserve it by freezing, drying or canning (jams, jellies, whole fruit, etc.)
  • Throw a homemade doughnut party – invite friends and family over for fun and doughnuts everyone can enjoy. Try them  baked or fried.
  • Make caramel apples
  • Try a new recipe for Thanksgiving (pie, stuffing, etc.)
  • Throw a party where everyone brings a different kind of pie
  • Host a crock pot party
  • Try a new homemade soup, like  Apple & Butternut Squash Soup (page 7) to help keep you warm as the days get colder.


  • Pumpkin carving – A tradition that never gets old. Find your favorite printable template or draw freehand to make your pumpkin carving creation.
  • Decorate/paint pumpkins to look like a favorite book character – Painting and decorating pumpkins is just as fun. They also last longer without wilting.
  • Boo” ding dong ditch the neighbors – Leave a bag of goodies on someone’s front porch and run away – once you have been “boo-ed” you hang an image of a ghost near your front door so others know you have been “boo-ed.”
  • Start a fall gratitude journal
  • Create a new autumn decoration
  • Make a new Halloween costume
  • Sew homemade hand warmers


This is a way to transport yourself and your little ones into another world of fun, adventure and fantasy. Cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy some of these favorites this autumn.

  • Scary chapter books:
    • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Halloween picture books:
    • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
    • Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michal Rex
    • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
    • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
    • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
    • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
    • Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
    • Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson and Samuel Thaler
    • A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss
    • One Witch by Laura Leuck

    • Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Margaret Rey
    • Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz
  • Thanksgiving picture books:
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
    • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
    • The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
    • A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 

Dear Future Me,

dear future me.jpgHave you ever wondered what you will be like and what you will have accomplished 10 years from now? Are there lessons you’ve learned you never want to forget? How about writing a letter to your future self and connecting yourself to the future?

Dear Future Me:


How are things going?  Have I been following my dreams? Have I made it?

I understand if I’m not where I thought I would be.  Sometimes things work out differently than expected, but have I made the most of what I’ve been given?


Right now, my goals include buying a house within five years and getting settled in my career.  I would like to be married and start a family, but I also understand those things don’t always go according to plan.  After some time, I would like to start a small business, maybe even sell products at the local farmers markets.  Currently I’m not sure what product I want to sell, but I know inspiration will come as I continue to explore new ideas.


Future me, I hope I am still a saver when it comes to money.  There are so many things I want to do and see, and it won’t happen if I spend more than I make.  But I’m trying to set good habits now so I can be more successful.


Future me, have my dreams changed? Have I myself changed and grown?  I hope I have, and I hope I am a better person than I am today.  I hope I continue to help those less fortunate and become a friend to all.


Keep moving forward despite the hard and discouraging times; success is always within reach.  Smile, it will help me feel better and brighten the day of those around me.

I believe in me!



Writing a letter to your future self is something that can be truly beneficial.  Do you ever look back on your recent past or distant past and think, “I’ve changed so much,” or “I haven’t quite accomplished what I hoped to at this point in my life?” Have you forgotten what your dreams were five or 10 years ago?

I want to invite you to write a letter to your future self. Pick a date — five, 10, 20, or however many years in the future you’d like.  Include things that are meaningful to you, hopes, dreams, passions, apprehensions, fears, etc.  For example, you could write about a weakness you are trying to overcome and in the years to come, you may find that though it was challenging, you were able to change.

Other things you may include as you write your letter:

  •       Things you’ve learned in life and want to keep close
  •       Things you’d like to improve
  •       Things you think you are already good at
  •       Motivational thoughts
  •       Dreams and goals
  •       Financial, career, and family goals and plans
  •       What motivates you to work hard
  •       Dates you are planning to have some specific things accomplished
  •       Ask yourself things you truly wonder about your future self
  •       Talk about what you are already doing to accomplish your goals


Ask, “What am I doing now to be the person I’d like to become?  That is where it all starts.

Writing to yourself gives you the opportunity to check in on progress and reassess where in your life needs more work and effort.  Maybe you find in 10 years you have drifted far from your goals, but the goal still remains.  What are you willing to change now to reach that goal? Reading this letter to yourself can help you realign and re-evaluate how you will reach further than you ever have before.

You can write a handwritten letter and store it in an envelope labeled with the date you would like to open it.  Another option is provided at www.futureme.org where you can write a letter and it will be emailed to you on the date you request.

Make It a Back –To- School Family Activity

You could even make this a family affair and invite your children to write a letter to themselves about what they want to accomplish in the coming school year. Let them set personal goals for themselves, acknowledge their strengths, and identify things they want to work on.  Then it could be fun for the whole family to read their own letters at the end of the school year and see what has happened in all of your lives the past nine months.

This article was written by KJ Lamplugh, USU Extension Finance & FCS Program Assistant, Salt Lake County




School’s Out: Expand Your Child’s Possibilities this Summer

School's OutThis summer, take your family out to explore where you live.

We live in a great big world full of cultures, places, and people to see and meet.  Are we taking advantage of all that is around us?  The Multigrade Teacher’s Handbook, published by the United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) organization and other collaborators, states, “Children learn by doing, using their senses, exploring their environment of people, things, places and events.”

The more they experience the more they will understand the world.  As they experience new cultures and foods, they become accustomed to things different than they are used to.  They adjust and become more accepting.

Parents and guardians have an opportunity to lead and guide children to become all they are capable of — to help expand their knowledge by introducing new experiences and to nurture social awareness and open mindedness.  How can this be done?  Consider what is in your neighborhood, local communities and other distant places.

Try these ideas for a kick start to your summer:

  • Go puddle jumping.
  • Read a book as a family.
  • Make “thinking of you” cards for a neighbor.
  • Have a new culture-themed family dinner.
  • Garden and weed together.
  • Find a service project and participate in it.
  • Go through old photo albums and talk about relatives and experiences.
  • Try a new restaurant.
  • Visit local parks, especially those you haven’t been to.
  • Visit your local museums, zoos and art galleries.
  • Plan a road trip and make stops at different landmarks or national sites.
  • Plan a trip to a nursing home; share a talent, provide a manicure or just take time to talk with the residents.
  • Take pictures throughout the day of family members’ activities. Put them into an activities picture journal,
  • Take a trip to the state capitol and explore and discuss what happens there. If possible, take a moment to watch a legislative meeting. (They often have the calendar online.)
  • Attend plays, musicals and concerts. You can go to local school productions or professional events. There are often free concerts in the park during the summer. You can even make your own play at home with the family. Children can take turns performing, or you can get together with neighbors and close friends to allow children and their friends to put on a production for the parents and vice versa.

Children given many different experiences not only learn and grow, but become more competent and capable as well. The children’s book The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin is great to read with children and helps open the door to knowing what they can accomplish. (The following is an excerpt from the book.)

“This is the first time
There’s ever been you,
So I wonder what wonderful things
You will do.
Will you stand up for good
By saving the day?
Or play a song only you
Know how to play?
Will you tell a story
That only you know?
Will you learn what it means
To help things to grow?
Will you learn how to fly
To find the best view?
Or take care of things
Much smaller than you?
I know you’ll be kind and clever and bold.
And the bigger your heart,
The more it will hold…
Then you will discover
All there is to see
And become anybody
That you’d like to be.”

What will you do today to learn something new with your child?

This article was written by KJ Lamplugh, USU Extension FCS Program Assistant, Salt Lake County


Emily Winfield Martin (2015). The Wonderful Things You Will Be. United States: Random House Children’s Books

Teachers Talking about Learning – https://www.unicef.org/teachers/learner/exp.htm


Graduation: Creating a Roadmap for Your Future

Grad Road MapYou’ve walked in your cap and gown, now what? Whether you are a recent graduate or parent of a graduate, here are some tips to help you or your child look to the future with greater confidence.

Graduation is as much an opportunity to celebrate the end of a chapter of your life as it is to celebrate the start of a new chapter.  Depending on your personality, you may have the rest of your life planned out or you may not know what to expect even in the next week.  Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but without any plans or goals you may never move forward.  Where do you see yourself one year or even five years from now?

The book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss is a great metaphor of what choices a graduate has before them and what the future may hold.  The following quotations are taken from the book.

Make a Plan, Narrow Your Choices

“Congratulations! Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!  You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

So what direction will you choose?  Will you get more schooling? Will you travel? Will you start your career? Will you start a family? There are so many options, but which is right for you?

It is wise to make plans because they help you succeed and reach your goals. Start by making a list of the options you want to consider, then write down the pros and cons to each.  Where do you see yourself in five years?  Having a bigger picture will help in narrowing down choices.  What will help you reach your goals?

Sometimes it comes down to just making a decision and seeing if it works out.  If it does, and things line up in your favor, that could mean you are exactly where you need to be.  

Dead Ends

“…Except when you don’t.

Because, sometimes, you won’t

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true

That Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you…

But on you will go though the weather be foul.

On you will go though your enemies prowl…

On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far

And face up to your problems whatever they are.”

Let’s be honest, sometimes you reach a dead end, and things don’t work out. It is very likely you will face some of the greatest trials in the next couple years.  You may reach some deep lows emotionally or physically.  What do you do when it seems like everything is going against you?  This isn’t a cure all, but it’s worth a shot.  Refocus your life on the things that bring you joy.  Trying these 5 Positivity Power-Ups might help. Furthermore, when facing serious challenges you can almost always count on the counsel of those wiser and more experienced.

Success is In Your Future

“So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact

And remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act…

And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)”

Don’t let distractions pull you from you goal of success.  Creating a road map or vision board can help you stay on track.  The intention of a vision board is to help you visualize where you are going—the key is you need to take action along with it.  Keep in mind that visions can’t become reality without doing.

Create your own visual road map:

Step 1: Find a base/background – This can be a poster board, picture of a road, etc.

Step 2: Decide how you will organize it – Will you organize it into a timeline of your life?  Will you group things into different aspects of your life? Do you want to include a place that allows you to record your progress?  You don’t just want the goal, you want to include how you will get there.

Step 3: Fill your vision board – You can find magazine pictures or draw your own.  It may be beneficial to write out specific goals or milestones you want to reach.  What are your strengths, what are weaknesses you are striving to overcome?

Step 4: View it – You can either put it in a prominent place in your home where you can see it every day or you may want to keep it somewhere private and pull it out on occasion to check in on where you are at.

“Kid, You’ll Move Mountains! …

Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting.

So… get on your way!”

-Dr. Suess’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

By KJ Lamplugh USU Extension FCS Program Assistant, Salt Lake County.  Bachelor in Family and Consumer Sciences


Dr. Suess, (1990). Oh the Places You’ll Go!. United States: Random House Children’s Books.

Ask an Expert // Graduation Gift Ideas and Ways to Say Thank You

GraduationWondering what to get that graduating guy or gal in your life? We’ve got some great ideas for you.

16 Gift Ideas for your Grad

It’s graduation time, and announcements will soon be arriving in mailboxes. Graduation often brings the question of what you can do for or give to graduates to help them take steps toward their future. Here are some gift ideas to get you started:

  • A toaster, blender, waffle iron or panini maker.
  • Wireless headphones or speakers.
  • A bean bag or banana chair.
  • A label maker.
  • A new journal to document all the experiences ahead.
  • A recipe book of favorite family recipes.
  • A gas card or car wash punch card near where they will live.
  • Car supplies, including oil, washer fluid, filters, air fresheners, window shields or an emergency car kit.
  • A new printer, since they are continually changing and becoming better.
  • Gift cards to favorite stores and restaurants where they will live.
  • An office supply kit for college or a future job.
  • A college survival kit, which can include things such as cleaning, kitchen or bathroom supplies, towels, bed linens or necessary treats and food items.
  • Work out equipment based on what they like to do, such as a yoga mat, pull up bar, adjustable dumbbells, free weights, etc.
  • Creative money crafts. One idea is to put money in place of chocolates in a chocolate box with a note that says “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Thecraftyblogstalker.com is full of many ideas for crafty money gifts.
  • Games are great for social events and stress relief. Board or card games such as Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Ultimate Werewolf, Uno and Phase 10 are good options. You can also check out Google’s top 10 best-selling games.
  • Books. One idea is to have friends and family sign the book with encouragement or advice. Great books for graduates include:
    • Be Happy! A Little Book for a Happy You and a Better World by Monica Sheehan
    • Reach for the Start: and Other Advice for Life’s Journey by Serge Bloch
    • What Do you Do with an Idea? By Kobi Yamada
    • How Big is the World? By Britta Teckentrup
    • Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Suess
    • Yay, You! Moving up and Moving on by Sandra Boynton
    • The North Star: Ask Yourself Where It Is You Want to Go… by Peter H. Reynolds
    • The Treasure by Uri Shulevits
    • Only One You by Linda Kranz
    • Little Tree by Loren Long
    • The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Say Thank You

Now advice for the graduate: Don’t forget to say thanks! Ideas include:

  • The traditional hand-written letter, which is a classic way to thank others. This may be the most appropriate for grandparents and those who appreciate the tradition.
  • An e-mail. This is a very informal option but is still a great way to share feelings of gratitude.
  • A visit. For those living near enough, you can make a trip to say thank you in person. This is a great option for staying connected.
  • An e-card. ThankView is one that allows you to make personalized videos to send a thank you message to friends and family. Many other options are available.


By: KJ Lamplugh, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences program assistant, kirsten.lamplugh@usu.edu


The Crafty Blog Stalker: 20 Ideas on How to Give Cash for Graduation Gift – http://thecraftyblogstalker.com/20-ideas-on-how-to-give-cash-for-graduation-gift/

ThankView – https://thankview.com/

Winter Bucket List


What’s on your list of must-do winter activities? Get some inspiration from our winter bucket list. 

Each season has its own excitement and beauty to enjoy. Here is a list of fun things to do this winter to get you started. These are great for family, friends or date nights!


  • Go sledding.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Drive or walk around to see local Christmas lights at night, visit Holiday Lights at Thanksgiving Point November 21 to December 31 (closed Sundays) or Ogden’s Christmas Village (Saturday after Thanksgiving through January 1).
  • Go caroling.
  • Go for a sleigh ride.
  • Have a fun and safe snowball fight.
  • Try cross country skiing or snowshoeing at such places as  Soldier Hollow, Millcreek, Donut Falls, or a place near you!
  • Go tubing at Soldier Hollow.
  • Go skiing or snowboarding. Local resorts include Alta, Brighton, Deer Valley, Snowbird and more.
  • Visit the Macy’s 2016 Holiday-themed Candy Window Display at City Creek Center November 17 to January 1.
  • Go window shopping at the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo.  Enjoy shopping, lights, music, entertainment and outdoor firepits to warm you up. From 6 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays in November and December. The lighting of Riverwoods is November 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.


  • Go ice skating. The Gallivan Center rink’s opening day is November 13 at 6 p.m.
  • Plan a weekend away at the Snowbird Cliff Lodge and Spa.
  • Visit the Festival of Trees located at the Sandy South Towne Expo Center from November 30 to December 3  from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Have a Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park December 9-23, Monday through Saturday evenings from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Spend Christmas at the Grand America Hotel. They host Santa and Mrs. Claus with photo opportunities.  A great buffet is provided to complete the experience. There are select days throughout December with seating between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit their website to make a reservation.
  • Take a stroll through the Annual Holiday Window display at the Grand America Hotel from November 22 to December 31.
  • Go see the Hogle Zoo lights December 1 to 31 from 5:30 to 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the day.  Closed Christmas Day.
  • Attend the Messiah sing-in with the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall on Saturday, November 26, and Sunday, the 27, at 7:30 p.m.   
  • Attend the Nutcracker with Ballet West at the Capitol Theatre on December 2 to 26, times vary.
  • Visit the lights at Temple Square. They are first lit the day after Thanksgiving and stay on through December 31. Free concerts and performances daily at six venues November 25 to December 23.
  • Eve Winter Fest December 29 to 31. Salt Lake City’s three-day celebration with concerts, DJs, grown-up drinks and engaging activities for kids and families. Discover everything that downtown has to offer with one all-access pass. 
  • Watch sporting events  – cheer for your favorite basketball, wrestling, ice hockey or gymnastics teams.
  • Attend a local play.
  • Visit a museum, local landmarks and local art galleries.


  • Play a favorite board game or try a new one.
  • Make warm hot cider or cocoa and watch a holiday movie.
  • Build a fort with all the blankets and pillows you can find in the house.
  • Snuggle up to a fire or a sofa and read a holiday classic with someone.
  • Put together a giant puzzle.
  • Have a gingerbread house construction party where everyone brings their old candy, boxes, glue guns, crackers and more. This is fun for the little ones up to the hard-core construction engineer designers.
  • Make indoor s’mores in the oven. Lay the crackers on a cookie sheet, and then place your desired chocolate on the cracker along with marshmallows. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for  3 to 5 minutes until the marshmallows and chocolate are soft and gooey.  
  • Plan a progressive dinner with your friends when January gets boring. Pick your favorite theme and have everyone prepare a different course.
  • Host a murder mystery dinner.
  • Have a cookie exchange party where everyone brings their favorite cookies to trade, then everyone has a variety to take home.


  • Winter themed books for youth:
    • The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
    • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
    • The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
    • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
    • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
    • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  • Christmas-themed books for all:
    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
    • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
    • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
    • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
    • Little Women by Louisa May Alcot


  • Make a memory book with pictures taken throughout the year.
  • Make snow paint to paint the snow and add some color to winter.
  • Make someone you love a homemade gift for the season.
  • Create homemade ornaments with your children or friends.
  • Cut out paper snowflakes and decorate the house.
  • Make a holiday wreath for the season.
  • Make your own Valentine’s Day cards and decorations.


Here are some foods to warm you up during those cold winter days.

This article was written by Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County, and Kirsten Lamplugh, Utah State University Extension Intern, Salt Lake County

Preparing Your Home for Winter


It’s time to start preparing for the winter months. Preparation now will help prevent damage to your home later and will save energy and money. You can spread these home projects out over several weeks to make it easier.


  1. Check seals around doors and windows: You may be surprised by the little cracks and spaces that heat can escape through during the winter.  Look around window frames for any cracks on the outside and apply caulk.  Check on air leakage around electrical outlets and switch plates. You can install insulation or outlet gaskets very easily.
  2. Inspect furnace and filters: Have the furnace checked for efficiency and clean or replace filters. If a furnace has a dirty filter, it will not function as efficiently.  Air vents also fall into this category; be sure to vacuum them and check for possible leaks that decrease efficiency in the home.
  3. Reverse ceiling fan blades. Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse the direction of the blades. The clockwise rotation forces warm air down where people can enjoy it rather than allowing it to escape to the ceiling area.
  4. Clean chimneys: Since ash and creosote can build up in a chimney, it is important to have a professional clean it at least every other year, or more if you use it frequently. You can use a flashlight to check for bird nests or other items that may be blocking any part of the chimney.
  5. Drain outdoor hoses and faucets: Water expands when it freezes and can ruin faucets and hoses if they aren’t properly taken care of. After draining pipes, store hoses indoors. Cover outdoor faucets with insulated frost-free hose bib covers.
  6. Wrap indoor pipes: Pipes may be exposed to the cold in the basement, inside cabinets or in the attic.  To avoid them bursting from freezing, wrap them in heat tape or tubular pipe insulation sleeves.
  7. Winterize evaporative cooler: Turn off the power and water to the cooler. Turn off water pump and fan, remove them and store indoors. Drain water out of lines and out of the swamp cooler pan. Disconnect the water supply line to the cooler and drain or blow it out to keep any residual water from being trapped in lines and freezing. Place cover or tarp over the cooler and tie it down securely. To prevent warm air from escaping through the ceiling inside the home, close the air diffuser vents and place a diffuser cover over the vent or place an evaporative cooler pillow plug inside the diffuser.
  8. Make necessary repairs on roof: Take a look at your roof and look for any possible places for leaking, missing shingles or weak corners, especially on older homes.
  9. Clean out rain gutters and make repairs: This is especially important for preventing unnecessary damage.  After all the leaves have fallen, you can clean out your gutter and check for possible broken parts.  This helps prevent gutter damming, which happens when draining water gets backed up and leaks into the home.
  10. Mow leaves into the lawn: This will act as mulch and help nourish your lawn during the winter. There is a helpful tutorial at USU Extension’s Live Well Utah blog here.
  11. Prepare the lawn mower for rest: Use all the gas in the lawn mower or add stabilizer to keep it from decomposing over the winter and causing problems when it’s time to use it again.
  12. Pull out the snow removal equipment: Gather snow blower, fuel, snow shovels and chemical ice melt, and place in a readily accessible location.
  13. Check or replace emergency supplies: Inspect fire extinguishers, batteries, candles, flashlights and propane lanterns or heaters.
  14. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Make sure they are working properly.  Carbon monoxide is a dangerous, odorless gas produced by gas furnaces and ranges.
  15. Replace light bulbs in exterior light fixtures: This will provide safety in lighting up walkways and steps during the dark winter nights.


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, USU Extension Intern, Salt Lake County and Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County


energy.gov   Cozy Up to Colder Weather: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall and Winter (parts 1 and 2)

Style at Home How to Prepare Your Home for Winter.

https://extension.usu.edu/htm/news-multimedia/articleID=2129  Ask a specialist: Do you have tips for winterizing my home?  Richard Beard, Utah State University Extension Agricultural Engineering Specialist,  2006

Don’t Let Aging Get You Down // Healthy Connections


This is the last installment in our aging series. Read part one on mobility and part two on healthy eating. Whether you are aging yourself, or caring for an aging loved-one, this series offers some great tips to help you.

Attitude is the one thing that can change any situation for better or worse.  As you age, you may find the things that came easily before are now difficult.  You may have habits that can be hard to quit, though you want to change.  Aging can bring discouragement and great joy just like every other stage of life, but whatever happens, we control our outlook.

Much of success and positive health is how you choose to view your circumstances.  Ask yourself, “How will I react the next time I receive bad news?”  Making the best out of what you are given can be the difference between joy and depression.

Sometimes it doesn’t work to just tell yourself to think positive. What else can you do to improve your attitude toward life?  Consider being more grateful, serving others, and being social.

  1. Be grateful: Look for the good in your life. You may be surprised there is more than you realized when you actually start paying attention. As you recognize the good in your life your attitude will naturally improve.  The Utah State University Extension website has some great advice on how to increase personal gratitude.  You can check it out here.
  2. Serve others: You can serve your own family or serve members in your community.  try cooking for a neighbor in need, make blankets for humanitarian kits, or help someone with yard work.  You can also volunteer at your local extension office, more information can be found here. There are many opportunities to serve and they all help keep your mind off your own troubles as you share joy with those you serve.
  3. Find a hobby: If you already live an active lifestyle you may be doing regular activities like tennis, jogging, swimming, fishing etc.; but for some it may hard to transition from taking care of children to being an empty-nester.  If possible, continue personal hobbies through all stages of life.  If you are just getting back into the groove of things, try looking up local classes and events you can attend.  For example, community education classes, lectures, college courses, certifications, concerts, theatrical productions, sports events.  Local senior centers may have social dancing, crafts, line dancing, ceramics, golf, and more.  Learning something new and meeting new people is a great way to improve your attitude.

Moving into your 50’s and 60’s opens up the opportunity to participate in your local Senior Center Activities.  Most activities provided are free; all you need to do is show up.  If you don’t have transportation, find someone willing to drive you.

My grandmother is taking care of my grandfather and has much weighing on her shoulders, but she has continued a positive attitude through her struggles by keeping fun hobbies and habits.  She goes out to get her nails and hair done which also allows her to socialize with her stylist.  She has weekly bridge games she attends with other community friends.  She is a perfect example of how socializing and keeping a good attitude helps you have great quality of life as you age.



This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 


USU Extension – http://extension.usu.edu/htm/news-multimedia/articleID=4002

Live Well Utah Blog – https://livewellutah.org/2015/02/14/spread-the-love-by-volunteering/

Don’t Let Aging Get You Down //  Healthy Eating


This is the second installment in a three-part series on aging. Read part one on mobility, and stay tuned for a post on socializing. Whether you are aging yourself, or caring for an aging loved-one, this series offers some great tips to help you.

The phrase, “You are what you eat,” seems to have greater meaning as we get older.  The foods we eat in youth may not affect us immediately, but we start seeing the long-term effects of our regular diet in time.  If we are not careful or wait too long to make necessary changes, aging gracefully may not be an option.

Staying healthy as we age involves not only increasing mobility and strength, but also what we take into our bodies.  Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand to get the best results.  As mentioned in Part 1 of the aging series, aging can lead to limited mobility and other health issues.  Many diseases are associated with aging, but they can be prevented or delayed with consistent healthy habits.  Remember, the choices made in youth will influence how we age, but it is also never too late to take steps toward better health.

Have you ever set out to have a good habit that stuck? Once we master proper nutrition, it is so much easier to carry it into our older years. The Strong Women: Lifting Women to Better Health website suggests focusing on whole foods, especially those directly from the earth.  It is important to have regular meals and portions, and keep healthy snacks on hand for when you get the afternoon munchies.  Smaller portions eaten throughout the day sustain energy better than three large meals.

I don’t know about you, but I notice a big difference between eating one large meal and eating smaller portions throughout the day.  The large meal always leaves me feeling sluggish and tired.  I feel better throughout the day when I keep the healthy snacks with me, and it keeps me from overeating during meals.

Be aware of the calorie intake you need, because consuming more than your body needs can lead to weight gain, which leads to health concerns such as diabetes and high blood pressure.  Are you aware of how your body reacts to the foods you eat?  The NIH Senior Health website has some great information on how the food we eat affects our bodies. It addresses energy, weight and digestion.  Below are some great recipes provided by Utah State University’s Food$ense Nutrition Program.  More simple recipes can be found at care.com.


Main Dishes



Stir Fry






This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 


NIH Senior Health website- https://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/benefitsofeatingwell/01.html

Don’t Let Aging Get You Down // Mobility

Aging Mobility.jpg

This is the first installment in a three-part series on aging. Stay tuned for posts on nutrition and socializing. Whether you are aging yourself, or caring for an aging loved-one, this series offers some great tips to help you.

How can we prevent losing critical muscle strength as we age?  Habits shape our future and we need to decide what habits we want defining who we are.  It is easy to get into the rut of not exercising, and with that comes quick atrophy of muscle and bone strength.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout life is essential in preventing chronic illness and other issues while aging.  The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has published a book titled, The State of Aging & Health in America 2013.  It says, “More than a quarter of all Americans and two out of every three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions.”  Some of the factors they studied to attribute to America’s health include physical activity during the month, obesity, smoking, and regular medical checkups.

The book suggests,  “Mobility is fundamental to everyday life.” Decreased mobility is related to multiple health problems like depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer, injuries from falls and automobile crashes.  If you could live longer and healthier by exercising 20 minutes a day, would you do it?  It is easy to say yes, but I know for myself it can be hard if you don’t schedule it into your daily routine.  It is never too late to improve personal mobility; all that is required is gradual daily changes.


There are great success stories on the Strong Women: Lifting Women to Better Health website of women regaining strength they lost over the years.  These women show what is possible for not only women, but men also.

As adults transition into their 50s and 60s, they may change their regular exercise activities.  To maintain health, older adults need both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises. For example:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week (i.e., brisk walking).
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).


  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week (i.e., jogging or running).
  • Muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).


Balance Exercises

  • Tai Chi
  • Stand on one foot holding onto a sturdy chair; hold for 10-15 seconds
  • Walking heal to toe; take 20 steps

Stretching Exercises

  • Yoga
  • Shoulder rolls

Endurance Exercises

  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Raking leaves
  • Mowing the lawn

Strength Exercises

  • Weight lifting
  • Back leg raises while holding onto a sturdy chair
  • Side leg raises while holding onto a sturdy chair

Many more examples along with a virtual trainer can be found on the “Strong Women” website.  Also be aware of resources at your local recreation or senior center.  For example, the  Murray City Heritage Center has classes that provide different opportunities to keep an active lifestyle as you enter the 50s and 60s.

One thing to remember is that if you have been maintaining a healthy lifestyle by consistently exercising, it should be fine to continue as long as you follow guidelines from health care providers and professionals.


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences