Home Insteading With Cooperative Extension (Week 49)

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March is Living Well Month

Family and Consumer Sciences at Home

Submitted by: Mary Morris, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences declares March Living Well month. During this month these professionals (FCS) share tips to help individuals and families gain knowledge and skills to help them lead full and productive lives.

Topics of the Living Well Campaign include: Finances, Healthy Eating, Healthy Homes ,Mental Health, and Physical Activity. Each week during the month of March we will cover one of these topics with helpful tips for families.


Youth Tips: Creating a checking and savings account while in high school is just one way to start learning about budgeting! Do you know what it really costs to travel to and from school, practice, work, and your friends’ homes? How much does your cell phone bill or car insurance actually cost? Talk to your family about setting up a bank account and your local Extension agent for learning the basics of money management!

Family Tips: Do you struggle with overpaying at the grocery store? Shopping your pantry first and creating meal plans from that list is a great option to reduce your  grocery bills. Using the ingredients you already have on hand, create a shopping list of additional items needed. Be sure to stick to your list! Online ordering is a helpful tool to stick to just your list. If you shop in-store, wait until after you’ve eaten, so you aren’t tempted to buy food that looks appetizing at that moment.

Did you Know? Did you know it often takes three months of budgeting before you really get the hang of it? Try to stick with it the first couple months and make adjustments as you go. You will find some items are often more or less expensive than you thought. Talk to your local Extension agent for specific budgeting tips!

For more information about Living Well Month go to the NC State FCS website or contact Mary Morris at 252-482-6585 email: mary_morris@ncsu.edu.

How to Reduce the Impact of Fertilizer on Water Quality

Horticulture at Home

Submitted by: Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent

From: A Gardener’s Guide to Protecting Water Quality

Each year we gardeners plant and fertilize vegetable and flower gardens, trees, shrubs, and lawns. We see the rewards of our efforts in the enhanced beauty of our landscapes and the fresh fruits and vegetables on our dinner table. But in the process of growing plants, we change the environment by moving and adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Careless or unnecessary use of lawn and garden fertilizers can contribute to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters.

Below are suggestions for gardeners to help reduce the impact of fertilizers on water quality:

  • Soil test to determine fertilizer needs.
  • Calibrate fertilizer spreaders.
  • Test the nutrient content of manures and other organic materials.
  • Use a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Avoid applying fertilizer to hard surfaces, such as sidewalks, driveways, and patios.
  • Avoid getting fertilizer into natural drainage areas or ditches.
  • Incorporate fertilizer into the soil where possible.
  • Apply 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch of water after making a fertilizer application.
  • Fill and wash spreaders over grassy areas instead of over hard surfaces.
  • Sweep up and reuse fertilizer that falls on hard surfaces.
  • Refrain from using fertilizer to melt ice on sidewalks or steps.
  • Prevent irrigation runoff.

For more information on reducing the impact of fertilizers on water quality, contact the Ask A Master Gardener Helpline at (252) 482-6585.

fertilizer on water quality

Keep fertilizers and other inputs on the lawn.

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint

4-H at Home

Camaryn Byrum, 4-H Agent

Spring and summer are just around the corner. And do you know what that means? Spending more time outside with family and friends! This DIY sidewalk chalk paint is an easy project that will keep young children entertained for hours.

What You’ll Need (per paint color):

  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • Food coloring
  • Paintbrushes

Directions: Mix equal parts of cornstarch with water. Add your food coloring. Stir/mix. Paint will be thick. Repeat this same process to have multiple colors of sidewalk chalk paint. Use paintbrushes to paint your driveway or sidewalk. Store excess paint in small, airtight containers.

diy chalk paint