Tanana District News
HEALTH, HOME & FAMILY DEVELOPMENT
Cooperative Extension Service l Tanana District Office l P.O. Box 758155 l Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-8155 l 907-474-2420
Making Financial New Year’s Resolutions
Many of us half heartedly make a few resolutions, but too often we
corner ... don’t follow through with action. Here are six new year’s resolutions
that will improve your financial well-being in 2012.
#1. Pay off debt. The cost of Christmas causes many families to reach
for that credit card. When January rolls around, many realize that they
can’t pay it off in one month. Whatever doesn’t get paid now will draw
interest in the following months, until it is paid off.
The new year is here and winter
Pay at least the minimum amount due on each credit card before the
has certainly set in. Don’t let the
due date so no late charges will add to the balance. Check the interest
cold weather and the darkness get
rate on the card and dedicate any money you have left in the budget to
you down. This is the time we look
paying off the card with the highest interest rate.
forward to changing our fortunes
Credit cards have a huge impact on your financial fitness. For each
during the new year. So if you are
dollar charged on a credit card, the average consumer pays back 112
out to fix your financial health,
percent. That means for each $100, they end up paying $212 for prin-
now is the time to do it.
ciple, interest and fees. Getting rid of these debts will make a long-term
difference in your finances.
#2. Put aside an emergency fund. The average emergency that causes
Sneak peek inside ... consumers to reach for their credit cards costs $2,000. By having this
Bedbugs Are Coming.......................2
much money in a savings account, you may save that added interest.
Leftover Care....................................3 Dedicate whatever money you can squeeze out of your expenses to be-
Upcoming Classes.............................3 gin to save this much money. Save $150 per month for thirteen months
Personal Safety: Fall Prevention......4 or $75 for 27 months to get close to that $2,000 target.
Is It Done Yet?.................................5 #3. Make a spending plan or a budget. Knowing where your money
Gift Card Dos and Donts................5 goes is the first step to good money management. No matter how much
Strong Woman...................................6 you earn, you can always benefit from a spending plan
Note to self ... (Continued on page 2)
Office will be closed the following days:
Christmas Break..........................Jan. 1-3
Watch this space for upcoming food
preservation classes and other exciting
Published by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with the United States Department
of Agriculture. The University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institu-
tion. UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution. Or UAF is an AA/EO employer and
Editor: Roxie Rodgers Dinstel Layout/Graphics: Kathy McDougall
January 2012 Tanana District News HHFD
(Continued from page 1)
Keep track for a couple of months of where your Bedbugs Are Coming
money is being spent. Use your checkbook register, Over the last couple of years we have heard a
bills and bank records to organize expenditures. Then lot on the news about the increase in bedbugs in
make sure this is how you want to spend your money. hotels and people’s homes. In an effort to answer
There are computer programs to help you create questions on bedbugs here in Alaska, CES has a
your budget, or call the office at 474-2420 and we’ll brand new publication, available for free in the of-
provide you with materials to help you organize a fice or online. Here are some of the basics.
budget. On the Internet, check out http://smartlifeblog. What is a bedbug? A bedbug is a small, non-flying,
com/100-plus-sites-to-help-you-manage-your-person- rust-colored insect about the size of an apple seed.
al-finances-online/. Bedbugs feed on human blood and produce small
red, itchy welts. Because of their size and ability to
#4. Reduce your spending. After you have created hide in crevices, mattresses and cushions, bedbugs
your budget, take a look at how much you are spend- are difficult to see. Use a flashlight to look for small
ing and see if you can reduce it. You may find that you black blood stains or molted skins in or around
are spending lots of money on eating out, movies or seams or tags of mattresses or cloth furniture. Use
even hobbies. Look for ways to reduce your spending a hot hair dryer to force them out of hiding spaces
and you’ll have more to add to your emergency fund. behind the headboard or along baseboards.
How can I keep bedbugs out of my home?
#5. Improve your credit score. As money has tight- • When traveling, inspect the bed frame and mat-
ened up in our current economy, your credit score has tress in your room.
become extremely important. Your credit score ranges • When returning, inspect your luggage in the
from 300 to 850 with a minimum of 700 to apply for garage first and wash all clothing.
a credit a card or to get a favorable interest rate on a • Avoid purchasing used furniture.
mortgage. Your credit score can also determine what • In laundromats, don’t fold clean laundry on
you pay for insurance, your cable bill, even your rent. tables also used to sort dirty laundry.
Your credit score reflects whether you pay your bills • In theaters keep your handbag on your lap, not
on time, how much you owe, your credit history, the on the floor or empty seat.
type of credit you have, and the amount of credit you How do I get rid of bedbugs? (No one method is
are using. effective.)
There are three major credit agencies that maintain • Wash bedding and clothing with a strong deter-
credit records: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. gent and dry at a high temperature (130ºF).
You can request a free report of your credit record one • Steam clean mattresses and box springs and en-
time per year from each of these companies at annu- close in a bedbug-proof mattress encasement.
alcreditreport.com. I tell people to get one company’s • Hire a pest management professional.
report now and work on improving your report. In four Pesticides can be extremely harmful to people
months, request a report from the second company and and pets when used incorrectly. Seek the help of a
continue to work on your scores. In four more months, reputable pest management company for ridding
request a report from the final company. Continuing your home of this problem.
this cycle will give you an accurate look at how your Bedbugs “hitchhike” from place to place on lug-
score is improving. gage, furniture and clothes. A clean house is no
guarantee against bedbugs, although clutter makes
#6. Review your income taxes. If you have a change it more difficult to identify and get rid of them.
in income or in the number of people in your family, For further information, check out the Extension
take a look at your tax withholding. If you take out too publication PMC-00201, Bedbugs, available at www.
much, you are giving the government a tax-free loan. uaf.edu/ces.
If you take out too little, you’ll be faced with a whop-
ping tax bill and might even have to pay penalties and
Take a moment to make some financial resolutions this
Tanana District News HHFD January 2012
Leftover Care • Place items in your refrigerator with care. To chill
food properly, cold air must be able to circulate.
Letting foods cool at room temperature is risky. • Consider freezing leftovers you won’t be able to
But so is putting a large, bulky container of hot consume within a few days to a week.
food into the refrigerator. • Don’t rely on the “smell test” to determine if old
The trick is to make sure the food cools as fast as leftovers are safe. Generally, bacteria that cause
possible, so it quickly passes through the “danger illness do not leave any overt telltale signs.
zone” (between 40° and 140°F). That’s the tem-
perature range in which any microorganisms that Source: Food and Drug Administration
might be lurking in your culinary creations can
The time limit for food to be in the danger zone
is two hours. But a large container of hot food can
take eight hours to cool below 40°F, even when you
put it in the refrigerator. That’s much, much too
Your best bet, food safety experts say, is to put
hot cooked food into shallow containers. Make sure
the food isn’t more than 2 inches deep. Then refrig-
erate at once. (Put potholders beneath hot contain-
ers to prevent the heat from cracking a glass shelf.)
Similarly, a whole roast, ham or turkey should be
sliced or cut into small pieces before refrigerating.
Many food safety guidelines say to store leftovers
no more than three to four days in the refrigerator.
That builds in a margin of safety for at-risk popu-
lations, including children, the elderly, pregnant
women or anyone with a chronic illness. For the
general population, the Food and Drug Administra-
tion’s Food Code, designed for retail and food-ser-
vice establishments, allows seven days for leftovers
to be safely refrigerated at 41°F or below.
Master Food Preservation
6 to 9 p.m. at the Fairbanks Food Bank, $15 a class or
$90 for the seven classes of the Master Food Pre-
• Reheat leftovers to 165°F for at least 15 sec-
February 1—Basics of Food Preservation
• Reheating in a microwave oven can allow
March 7—Jams and Jellies
cool pockets to form. Be sure the food rotates
for more even heating. Or, stir the food after
it heats, and let it sit covered for two minutes Dairy Workshops
before serving. 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fairbanks Food Bank, $15 a class or
• Put a date on leftovers. Don’t assume you’ll $40 for all three classes.
remember how long they’ve been in the refrig-
erator. March 1—Making Yogurt
• Bring leftover gravy and sauce to a rolling boil March 8—Making Queso Fresco
before serving. March15—Making Mozarella
January 2012 Tanana District News HHFD
8. Use adequate lighting in your home, for in-
Personal Safety: Fall Prevention stance light switches at the top and bottom of the
With ice, snow and subfreezing temperatures in the stairwell. Consider motion detector lighting that
daily forecast, accidental falls are a major concern for will turn on automatically as you move around
most of us. According to Senior Care of Alaska, Inc., your house.
elders list falls as a primary fear, and it’s no wonder 9. Use nightlights freely around the home. You
as falls account for over 40 percent of all nursing can purchase inexpensive nightlights with built-in
home admissions. Further: sensors that turn the light on when it’s dark.
• 70 percent of accidental deaths in people over 10. Keep a telephone close at hand and call 911 if
the age of 75 result from falls. you have a fall.
• Only 25 percent of hip fracture patients will
make a full recovery; 40 percent require nursing Source: Sheila Wright, M.Ed.
home care, 50 percent will need a cane or walker
and over 24 percent will die within 12 months.
• Previous falls, combined with general fear of
falling, lead to loss of confidence, isolation and
immobility, which then can increase the chance of
actually having a fall. Decoration Dismantle
Slick spots on the walk or driveway are obvious Taking down holiday decorations is a good start-
dangers; however, falls can occur anywhere, both in- ing place for your post-holiday cleanup. That’s right,
side and outside the home. Practice these tips to help even though these festive frills looked beautiful
prevent falls that could endanger your health or the before the holidays arrived, it’s time to perform a
health of those you love: decoration dismantle. Here’s a checklist for packing
1. Skipping meals can make you dizzy, so eat up the holiday trimming.
meals each and every day! • Carefully remove any outside lights without
2. Use a cane or walker all the time if you are tangling the strings. Think this is easier said that
unsteady. Watch yourself around small pets; they done? Try wrapping each individual strand around
can be a tripping hazard. a piece of cardboard. Lights will be much easier
3. Use shower chairs and grab bars in the bath- to unravel next year.
room. Never lock the bathroom door. This can • Store ornaments in a box filled with shredded
delay help reaching you quickly. newspaper to avoid wrapping each item individu-
4. Always keep one hand on the stairway hand- ally, or take advantage of post-holiday sales and
rail, and refrain from carrying packages or objects purchase a storage container for your ornaments.
that obstruct your view of the next step. • Place leftover wrapping paper in plastic tubs
5. Arrange your clothes closet to make everyday to avoid ripping. Store your tubs in the basement
items easier to reach. Avoid step stools as much as (or other storage area), and you’ll know exactly
possible, especially if you are prone to dizziness. where to find your wrapping paper next year.
6. Move slowly and concentrate. Sudden moves Some storage containers are even specifically
can affect your balance. Wear clothes that fit prop- tailored to house wrapping paper.
erly. Shorten the hem on pants that fall below the • Break down leftover gift boxes and stow until
top of your shoes, watch out for long bathrobes needed. That way, if the stores run out before
and coats that can get caught up in your feet. you’re finished shopping next year, you’ll have
7. Modify your house to allow adequate space replacement boxes on hand.
among furniture to move safely. Place sturdy • Go from room to room removing holiday-
pieces of furniture where you can use them to specific accent pieces, such as decorative bath
guide yourself through a room. Avoid piles of towels and holiday pot holders. Store these items
items on the floor, throw rugs and mats that do together and clearly label the container to elimi-
not secure to the floor and thresholds that are not nate confusion next year.
Tanana District News HHFD January 2012
Is It Done Yet?
One of the dilemmas that first-time and even veteran * Quick breads: A quick bread relies on baking soda,
bakers encounter is determining when a baked product baking powder or both, depending on ingredients and
is done. eggs, rather than yeast, for leavening. When done,
quick breads are typically nicely browned, but often
Recipe directions generally provide estimated cook- will have a break or crack down the center. The break
ing or baking times, but such times can vary with oven in the dough allows steam to escape during baking
temperature or the number of times the oven door is and is normal for a quick bread. To test doneness with
opened. a food thermometer, insert the probe of an instant-
read food thermometer in the center of the loaf (but
To take a peek, switching on an oven light (which not touching the bottom of the baking pan). When the
doesn’t affect baking temperature) is preferable to quick bread is done, the thermometer should register
opening the oven door, which can cause a drop in bak- 210°F.
ing temperature. Here are some general recommenda-
tions for doneness: *Cookies: Baking times for cookies can vary with
the diameter and thickness of the cookie, density of
* Yeast breads: When fully baked, yeast breads will the dough and the type (shiny or dark) of pan. When
typically sound hollow when tapped. The type of flour making drop cookies use a cookie scoop or two
and other recipe ingredients (molasses, for example) spoons and position the dropped dough 2 inches apart
will affect the color of the finished loaf. For example, (unless the recipe directs otherwise) to ensure that the
a baked Swedish tea ring will be golden brown, a cookies will bake evenly.
honey-wheat bread will be more golden brown and
Swedish rye bread a darker brown. To check doneness, Follow recipe directions for transferring cookies to a
insert the probe of an instant-read food thermometer cooling rack. Bar cookies are usually cooled before
in the center of the loaf (but not touching the bottom cutting.
of the baking pan). When the yeast bread is done, the
thermometer should register 195° to 210°F. Source: Kansas State Extension
Gift Card Dos and Don’ts
Did you get a gift card for Christmas? Many of us have resorted to these cards for our presents. There’s
no worry about getting the right size, color or style. The good news is that federal rules governing the
cards have eliminated some of the drawbacks, such as fees, for not using the card (at least for the first
year) and cards can’t expire for five years after they are issued. But there are some challenges.
If you got a gift card for Christmas, be sure to follow these hints:
• Check out the terms. Fees can be imposed after the card is bought, such as inactivity charges if you
don’t spend it by a certain date and replacement fees if you lose it. So check out any restrictions,
fees or expiration dates.
• Spend it now. Not only do you avoid any inactivity charges that kick in after time, but businesses
come and go. Make sure your card is used as soon as possible.
• Stick the card in your wallet. You are more likely to remember to use it quickly if it is handy.
• Register it. Read your card terms. Some cards may need to be registered in case they are lost or sto-
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
PERMIT No. 2
PO BOX 756180
FAIRBANKS AK 99775-6180
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
January 2012 Tanana District News HHFD
I’ll be starting a new type of Strong Woman classes this spring. We will
be introducing the new cardiovascular class that will start in March and
run for 12 weeks. Classes will be held at the CES office on Monday and
Wednesday afternoons. The original Strong Woman classes were weight-
lifting classes. This series will have walking as the exercise and will have a
short nutrition lesson each time. I’m looking for 20 people for each of the
classes. The class for those who are currently exercising (Strong Woman or
other type of exercise) will be held at 4 pm. The second class will be held
at 5:30 and will be for those who are not currently doing any kind of exer-
I’m putting together the classes, so if you’d like to be enrolled, give me
a call at 474-2426. Roxie