News Filed Under Family
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When families get together for the holidays, it's easy to forget the furry members of the group.
Dr. Richard Hopper, extension veterinarian at Mississippi State University, said the holidays can be traumatic for house pets. Decorations offer a wide range of potential dangers.
"Be prepared for odd behavior because sometimes guests in the house upset the pet," Hopper said. "Pets can become jealous and aggressive towards children, quit eating or have bad behavior such as soiling the carpet."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Sometimes Old Man Winter doesn't just knock at your door. When he barges right in, some extra efforts can help people stay warmer in cold houses.
Whether your home is without electricity following a winter storm or simply a cold house, several steps can make it more bearable during the winter.
Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said clothing, nutrition and special insulation can help people stay warmer in cold houses.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- On winter evenings, few things can top the warmth of a wood heater, but these can turn dangerous if not installed and maintained properly.
Andy Sharp, a Starkville fire fighter and chimney sweeper, works both with preventing and putting out chimney fires. On average, Starkville has five to 10 chimney fires a year, he said.
"Very rarely does the house catch on fire, but nine times out of 10, the chimney is damaged by a chimney fire," Sharp said. "The chimney is not designed to have a fire, and a fire inside it can crack the inside and outside."
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most everyone strives for a slim figure, and some people have enough discipline to maintain good nutrition, but eating concerns can go too far.
Dieting can lose its value as a tool for maintaining health, and it can even be destructive if people continues to lose weight beyond their healthy weight range.
Dr. Barbara McLaurin, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said people should consider overall nutrition when starting a weight-loss diet.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Eating junk foods and forgetting to exercise can cause health problems much more serious than simply being overweight.
Americans are aware of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity, but many don't realize that neglecting those habits can lead to health risks, such as type 2 diabetes.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Once upon a time, people could get away with excuses like not having enough time to shop or too many people at stores, but the Internet has removed those excuses.
Consumer use of the Internet has gone way beyond sending virtual postcards and buying computer parts. With few exceptions, any service or product available in stores or by mail order can now be purchased in cyberspace.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Everyone loves to see a child's face light up over a special gift on Christmas morning, but adults need to think beyond Dec. 25 as they shop for children's toys.
"Many adults buy gifts with the goal of seeing an excited reaction to the newly opened present," said Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University. "But the real test of success will be the amount of and quality of play with the toys. How long will the child play with it? How will the toy benefit the child's development?"
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As holiday excitement builds, so do the stress levels for many shoppers faced with the hassles of finding Christmas gifts.
The Christmas frenzy doesn't have to make shopping a burden. Organization and creativity are keys for handling the holiday season.
Dr. Beverly Howell, extension family economics specialist at Mississippi State University, said starting early is the ideal way to handle Christmas shopping.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The holiday season often presents a series of delicious meals and special treats, but the goodies aren't so great for those watching what they eat.
Dieters face temptation after temptation in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and struggling to avoid calories can cause extra holiday stress.
Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said the festive atmosphere of the holiday season does not have to be detrimental to a healthy diet.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When holiday shopping and decorating are top priorities, neglecting to give enough time and attention to food preparation can result in unsafe food.
Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, pointed to several mistakes that often lead to food contamination.
Time and Temperature
"Abuse of time and food temperature is probably the most common mistake," she said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- While it looks great in a movie, real homes should never be decorated like the set of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said there is one overriding safety issue concerning holiday decorations.
"Think before you act," Graham said.
Never place flammable materials such as curtains and Christmas trees near heat sources. Put lights on an automatic timer so they don't stay on too long.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The holiday season brings joy to most families, but every year the spirits of some are dampened when a burglar strikes the home.
Dr. Frances Graham, extension housing specialist at Mississippi State University, said creating a "lived-in look" is the best way to deter burglars from an empty home.
"If you leave your house looking as if someone is home, you have taken a big step in protecting against burglary," she said.
The specialist offered tips to make the home look occupied.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Capture those cherished holiday memories with a familiar camera, as first-time or once-a-year attempts can have disastrous results.
Jim Lytle, senior photographer with Mississippi State University's Office of Agricultural Communications, said many holiday photographers have disappointing results. Many common mistakes result from not knowing the camera well.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The idea of teaching youth good ethics rather than just insisting they "be good" is often a novel concept, but some people are out to change that.
Several 4-H programs around the state are teaching basic ethical values to build character in today's youth. These programs include livestock ethics training, Lee County horse camp and the 1996 junior and senior leadership conferences.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Individuals and families can answer the recent national call to reduce the amount of food wasted.
Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension food safety specialist at Mississippi State University, said Americans have many reasons for throwing away a significant amount of food.
"We throw some food away because of an increased concern for food safety, and if there's the least doubt about a food's safety, people should throw it out," Mixon said.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children with special needs will have the opportunity to participate in 4-H horse shows, after the Mississippi 4-H Horse Club board of directors voted recently to add a new class to its program.
The state board accepted a suggestion from a district meeting to have a class for children with special needs, said Dr. Joe Baker, extension animal science specialist.
"We want to give kids with special needs a chance to participate in organized competition," Baker said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Although never thought of as an adult beverage, one drink Americans of all ages need to consume more of is milk.
Dr. Barbara McLaurin, Mississippi State University extension nutrition specialist, said most Americans need more calcium than they are getting. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, provide 75 percent of the calcium in the U.S. food supply.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Children can treat adults to an enjoyable Halloween evening by using good manners and following some simple safety rules.
Parents carry the bulk of the responsibility for communities having safe, enjoyable Halloweens.
Dr. Louise Davis, extension child and family development specialist at Mississippi State University, said parents need to carefully supervise their children on this fall night, often dedicated to juvenile antics.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- With the arrival of football season comes another popular activity -- tailgate parties. Don't let these special times with family and friends turn into an experience with food poisoning.
Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University, said too much sun and heat can make perishable foods unsafe to eat. Mishandled food can become contaminated with bacteria and cause food poisoning.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- People are becoming more cautious when they read the want ads, but they should not let their guard down when surfing for opportunities on the Internet.
The increase of computers at home and the increasing desire to work at home is driving many opportunity seekers to the Internet.
Dr. Beth Duncan, extension home-based and entrepreneurial business specialist at Mississippi State University, said the Internet is one more avenue scam artists use to hook people.