November 16, 2011

We've moved!

The Healthy, Wealthy, & Wise blog has a new home:

It's still the same great information, just in a new location. Come join us there!

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

August 3, 2011

Cool tips to beat the heat.

Hot enough for ya?

During the summer months, especially here in Florida, scorching temperatures and soaring humidity are just part of everyday life. But they can be hard to tolerate and can leave you feeling cranky, drained, and uncomfortable. It's important to remember that while sunny days can be great fun, too much exposure to sun and heat can be dangerous. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can burn your skin and increase your risk for skin cancer. Excessive sweating can lead to dehydration and overexposure to extreme heat can lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion, both of which can be harmful (or even fatal).

Follow these simple guidelines when going out in the sun this summer:

--Wear sunscreen. Applying sunscreen of at least SPF 30 can help reduce your risk of painful sunburn. Reapply often. Even though the bottle says it's waterproof, swimming and sweating can lower a sunscreen's effectiveness. For the best protection, be sure to look for sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB rays.

--Wear a hat and sunglasses. Keeping the sun off your head will help you stay cool. Look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB glasses. Glare from sand and water can be harmful to your eyes.

--Stay hydrated. Drink clear liquids, ideally plain water. Sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks can increase urination, causing your body to lose more fluids, which may lead to increased thirst.

--Listen to your body. Remember, your body sweats to keep itself from overheating. If you stop sweating, that may be a sign of dehydration and even more serious conditions. GET OUT OF THE SUN IMMEDIATELY AND SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.

Have fun in the sun, just don't overdo it. By following a few simple words of advice, you can make this summer the best one ever -- safely.

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

July 28, 2011

Linking Florida seniors with safe, reliable transportation.

Florida has the largest population of older adults in the United States. Many of them are unable to or choose not to drive. To address this issue, the University of Florida's Senior Safety Resource Center created an easy-to-use database containing over 700 transportation options to help seniors remain mobile within their own communities. To see what options are available in your area, visit:

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

July 13, 2011


Would you like to conserve energy? Lower your electricity bill? Decrease your carbon footprint? Then this is the class for you! The Manatee County Extension Service is offering FREE energy-efficiency classes beginning July 21. Topics include:

Energy & Money
The Home Envelope
Biggest Energy Wasters
How Can YOU Be More Efficient?
Energy Incentive Programs

Participants will receive a FREE Energy Conservation Kit - a $200 value - filled with a variety of energy-efficient products for use in your home: 12 CFL light bulbs, 2 LED night lights, 20 outlet & switch gaskets, 2 rolls of foam adhesive weather strip, 3 indoor window insulating kits, 2 refrigerator/freezer thermometers, 1 low-flow shower head, and 1 faucet aerator. (One kit per household, please.)

Five classes are currently available:

July 21 at 6:30pm
August 2 at 10:00am
August 24 at 2:30pm
September 10 at 10:00am
September 27 at 6:30pm

Space is limited. Click here to register online or call Sharon McClellan at (941) 722-4524.

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

July 12, 2011

Be a strategic saver!

1. Cut back on nickel-and-dime items. You might be surprised at how much you can save by reducing out-of-pocket expenses. DO buy a regular coffee instead of indulging on a "designer" cup of coffee; the amount saved adds up fast (and saves calories, too!).

2. Save on reading and listening materials. DON'T buy books and videos; instead visit your neighborhood library to check out their selection.

3. Brown bag meals. DO bring your breakfast or lunch instead of buying it. If you spend $5 per day on lunch, you could free up $100 per month for your long-term financial goals.

4. Reduce fitness spending. DON'T pay for a gym membership; instead look into purchasing used equipment or renting workout videos to do at home. Another alternative: Take brisk walks, which also are a great stress reducer.

5. Seek travel values. DO travel off-season or during the shoulder season - the time just before or after the peak of tourist season - you can receive discounted rates on lodging and reduced airfares, which can cut your vacation expenses substantially.

6. Resist buying retail. DON'T pay full price; instead shop during after-holiday and clearance sales. The key is to plan ahead for your needs and buy accordingly.

7. Practice energy efficiency. DO turn the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day (say, while you're at work or at night when you're sleeping), you can save up to 10% a year on your heating bill.

8. Maintain your car. DON'T put off that oil change. You can save about 15% on gas by keeping your engine tuned and your tires properly inflated. Check your tires on a monthly basis for optimal effect.

9. Raise your insurance deductible. The deductible on many homeowner's insurance policies is automatically set at $250. DO look into raising your deductible to $500; you could save up to 10% or more depending on your insurance company.

10. Be creative. Can't imagine skipping your daily trip to the vending machine? DON'T fret. The main point is to look for effective ways to cut back - and then DO it. Over time, you might find that a little savings can make a big difference when it comes to funding your retirement.

Whatever savings you accumulate by making these small lifestyle changes, make sure you actually put the money in a savings account or a retirement account. It won't really count as savings unless you actually save it!

Taken from the "Perspective" newsletter.

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

May 23, 2011

Kitchen grease fire? Follow these steps.

At Fire Fighting Training school they would demonstrate this with a deep fat fryer set on the fire field. An instructor would don a fire suit and using an 8 oz. cup at the end of a 10 foot pole, toss water onto the grease fire. The results got the attention of the students.

The water, being heavier than oil, sank to the bottom where it instantly became superheated. The explosive force of the steam blew the burning oil up and out. On the open field, it became a 30 foot high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast. Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball would hit the ceiling and fill the entire room in seconds. So remember, thoroughly wring out the dishtowel before putting it over the fire.

Also, DO NOT throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

May 19, 2011

Those missing z's may be hurting you.

Sure, we'd all like to get those 8 hours of quality sleep every night, but most of us don't. Why? High-demand lives that pull us in a million different directions can prohibit our brains and bodies from shutting off enough to let us relax.

But sleep deprivation can have serious consequences.

In the short term, sleep deprivation decreases performance and alertness, making concentration difficult. Quality of life is affected, limiting our ability to sustain and alertness and leading to moodiness. Drowsy driving poses a serious safety risk.

Chronic sleep deprivation may mean there is an underlying health issue. Excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, irritability, difficulty thinking, and snoring may be signs of a sleeping disorder. And a lack of sleep has also been linked to hypertension and as a contributing factor to obesity.

Adapted from AAA Going Places, May/June 2011.

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

May 12, 2011

Fruits & veggies: Squeaky clean without the green.

We've all seen them: those prepackaged vegetable washes in the fancy spray bottles strategically located in the produce department. They promise to rid your fruits and veggies of dirt, debris, pesticides, and illness-causing germs. But do you really need them?

Answer: NO WAY.

Research has shown that plain water straight from the tap is just as effective as bottled washes at removing pesticide residue. And a homemade solution of vinegar and water can remove up to 90% of bacteria and 95% of viruses.

How do you make this solution? Simple. Add one part white vinegar to three parts water. Scrub your fruits and veggies gently with this mixture, then rinse them for 30 seconds with clean water. Now your produce is ready to eat -- without the unnecessary cost.

Adapted from Health magazine, January/February 2011.

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |

April 21, 2011

Soggy salad? Try these tips.

Have you ever created a beautiful salad only to have it become a soggy mess by the time it's served? You are not alone. Remember: timing is everything. How and when you dress your greens makes all the difference.

Of course, the type of green matters too. Fragile greens like Boston lettuce and arugula are very delicate and require minimal handling to stay perky. But even heartier greens like romaine lettuce can lose their luster if not treated with care. When handling greens, keep these three factors in mind: time, volume, and temperature.

To prevent wilting, only dress your greens right before serving, especially when using a vinaigrette. Oils quickly cut through the leaves' waxy surfaces, making them dark and droopy. After washing your greens, use a salad spinner or blot them gently with paper towels to get rid of the excess water.

Once dry, put the greens in a salad bowl. Use less dressing than you think you need to prevent overdressing (which leads to soggy salad). Add the dressing by pouring it down the sides of the bowl and then gently toss to coat the greens evenly. If there's too much excess dressing, spin the salad a few times in the salad spinner to get rid of it.

Finally, serve your salad on chilled plated to keep those greens looking gorgeous.

Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2011.

For more information: Manatee County Extension Service | 1303 17th St. W | Palmetto, FL 34221 | (941) 722-4524 |