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MissouriFamilies eNewsletter

January 23, 2017



“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

~Edith Wharton



Man watering tree with dollar sign on itHow to improve financial health

Michael Ravenscraft, MS, CPA, Financial Education Specialist, Jefferson County, University of Missouri Extension

Many consider the new year as a chance for renewal, giving us a fresh outlook. Often we are conscious of our physical health and changes we can make physically. In much the same way, we can use this time to focus more on our financial health to determine where our family money is going and why.

It was not that long ago when we faced one of the deepest recessions in recent history and, as a result, many of us have a greater appreciation for the value of a dollar...

For the steps needed to make powerful positive changes in our financial lives, see the full version of this article at

Plate and fork with the word dietBe wary of fad diets: How to spot diet fraud and quackery

Written by Linda Rellergert, Nutrition Specialist; Adapted by Molly Vetter-Smith, former State Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension

Beware of diets that...

  • Claim drastic, rapid weight loss and/or “easy, guaranteed and lasting” weight loss. To prevent re-gaining, weight loss should not exceed one or two pounds per week.
  • Encourage you to eat/drink their product a couple times per day in place of your normal meals. This diet technique often lacks variety and will quickly leave you craving other foods which may cause you to binge. Additionally, these diets can end up costing you a lot of money...

For the complete list of diet warning signs, as well as tips for making healthy changes, see the full version of this article at

Slow cookerMake quick, tasty meals with a slow cooker

Susan Mills-Gray, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Cass County, University of Missouri Extension

Something about cold weather makes us long for a warm meal waiting for us as we come in the door at night. A slow cooker, also known as a crockpot, can be an economical, timesaving way to feed your family.

Here are some helpful tips to make your slow cooker easier to use and clean:

  • Have an older slow cooker with a nonremovable crock? Use a removable cooking bag to line the pot for quick and easy cleanup.
  • To make cleanup easier, use a nonstick cooking spray before adding food and liquid.
  • Slow cookers work best when they are 1/2 to 3/4 full. If you fill the pot to the brim, the slow cooker can’t correctly regulate the heating of the food. If it is less than half full, foods will overcook...

For the lengthy list of helpful tips, including a chart for converting a conventional oven recipe for the slow cooker, see the full version of this article at

Toddler cryingWhy is “NO” your toddler’s favorite word?

Nina Chen, Ph.D., CFLE, former Human Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension

Does your two-year-old child say “no” to almost everything you ask, even to things she wants to do? Does your child only want to do things his way? Toddlers in this stage are learning to think for themselves and seeing how it feels to make decisions of their own. They try to assert themselves by saying “no.” This is a normal part of child development and it begins the transition from babyhood to childhood...

As children learn more verbal and motor skills, their “no’s” will decrease. It is important for parents to be firm but patient, and look for safe and reasonable opportunities to help their child grow to independence...

For a list of tips to help parents during the terrible and terrific toddler years, see the full version of this article at

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