Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin season is here! Soon we will be carving Jack-O-Lanterns and Trick- or- Treating. You may be wondering what to do with the pumpkins that were used to decorate for the holiday. Consider roasting the seeds before freezing temperatures destroys the pumpkin fruit. Cut open the pumpkin and remove the seeds and stringy material. Seeds should be washed and dried and the “strings” discarded. Toss the seeds with a little oil before roasting.

Flavor can be enhanced by adding a sprinkling of salt to the oiled seeds. Seeds can then be spread on a cookie sheet and roasted for about 25 minutes at 325 degrees F. Times may vary depending on the size and moisture content of the seed. Seeds are done when they turn a golden brown. If seeds are not eaten immediately, store in a zip closure bag in the refrigerator.

By: Cassie Homan

Managing Medications

Managing medications can be a difficult task. It is important that you take the initiative with your doctor and pharmacist to ask why you are taking a certain medication and that you are taking it appropriately.  You should also be certain that a new medication will not interact with something you are currently taking. It’s up to the patient to ask the necessary questions and be proactive in your own health care.

It’s a good idea to have a family member be well versed in what medications you are currently taking. It is often times very helpful if you have someone you trust, such as spouse or adult child, have access to your medication list.  Your medication list is especially important to keep track of if you have multiple doctors or use multiple pharmacies. Be sure to share your list of medications each time you see a new provider or pharmacist. By consistently using the same pharmacy, they have your medication history.

Be sure to dispose of your unused medications properly. Some Kansas counties host Take Back Drug Day. This year the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day October 24th. When discarding empty medication bottles be sure to peel off the label or mark it out so that your name and type of medication cannot be read by another person. To dispose of medications in your trash at home, mix medications into an unappealing substance such as kitty litter, or used coffee grounds and place in a sealed plastic bag. Many pharmacies also sell medication disposal bags that inactivate medications placed in the bag.

Many K-State Research and Extension Agents are trained to provide advice through the Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansans (SHICK) program.  Local agents provide help for individuals enrolling in Medicare and in deciding which prescription plan is right for you.  You can contact your local Post Rock District Extension office to schedule an appointment to go over your medications and determine what prescription plan is right for you.

Medicare beneficiaries can add, change, or drop their Medicare Part D plan, during the enrollment period which begins October 15 and continues through December 7th with plan changes taking effect January 1.

By: Brenda Langdon

Kansas Radon Fall Outreach Campaign

With all of us spending more time at home, now is a good time to test your home for radon.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert radioactive gas. It is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium in the rock, soil and water. Testing for it is the only way of telling how much is present.

Radon enters our homes through cracks in the concrete floors and walls, floor drains and sump pits.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. The EPA recommends any house that tests 4.0 or over be mitigated to reduce radon levels.

Quick facts about radon:

  • Radon induced lung cancer is the #1 cause of death in homes. 1 in 4 Kansas homes has high levels of radon.
  • If you are buying or selling a home, Kansas law requires that all radon testing be conducted by state-certified radon professionals.
  • The only way to know the radon level anywhere is to test. Radon test kits can be purchased at the Post Rock District extension offices, or through K-State online at sosradon.org. Radon test kits can cost anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on where you purchase them.
  • If your home has elevated radon levels you can have a radon mitigation system installed which will reduce radon to below 4.0.

By: Brenda Langdon

Read Together and Build Relationships!

The most important aspect of the reading process is to remember to read with your child, as opposed to reading to your child. The Post Rock Extension District’s latest  Building Strong Families resource will help you identify active reading strategies to support literacy development, enhance discussion, and make reading time a wonderful shared experience!

By: Nora Rhoades

DIY Oatmeal Packets

Oatmeal is a budget friendly, versatile and healthy whole grain that can be eaten anytime! Oatmeal is full of fiber which keeps you full and satisfied longer. The fiber is also great for the digestive track and helps with regularity.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quick or rolled oats
  • 1 cup water or milk

Flavor options:

  • Apple Cinnamon: Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, & 2 tablespoons chopped apples
  • Cinnamon Raisin: Add 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, & 2 tablespoons raisins
  • Cinnamon Spice: Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, & 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Cocoa: Add 1 teaspoon baking cocoa

Directions:

*Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds*

  1. Put oats and optional ingredients into a plastic snack or sandwich bag.
  2. Seal bag and store for future use.

Stovetop Method:

  1. Boil water or milk.
  2. Stir in oats.
  3. Cook about 5 minutes over medium heat.

Microwave Method:

  1. Mix water or milk and oats in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir before serving.

By: Ashley Svaty

Fall Mums

Nature always gives us signals as seasons change. When summer starts to shift toward fall, leaves will begin to turn beautiful colors. Another sure sign that fall is right around the corner is the arrival of colorful and beautiful fall mums in garden centers.

Now is the time to plan and decide where to use these plants effectively around your home and landscape. A newer trend for growers is to mix colors in containers, so be ready for even more decisions!

Watch this video for information on how to get your mums to last through the winter:

By: Cassie Homan