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Messages from Mandi Volume 3, Issue 1 Winter 2006

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Messages from Mandi

Volume 3, Issue 1 Winter 2006

Simple Ways to Brighten

Someone’s Day

Knowing what makes your family and friends laugh or smile can go a long way when you’re trying to brighten their day. Some people light up when they see a photo of a special child or pet, so you know that an attached digital photo in an email or print in a card is certain to warm their hearts.

It’s easy to show them you care if you know their favorite foods. When you’re baking or preparing a meal, make a little extra to share with a friend or family member. Share the bounty of your garden in the summer, as well.

Grow starts of your favorite plants and flowers and share them with those special people in your lives. They’ll think of you every time they walk by the plants.

When you’re outside sweeping your sidewalk, spend a few extra moments to take care of your neighbor’s sidewalks. They will thank you and probably return the favor.

Sometimes the best way to reach out to someone is the simplest. Pick up the phone and call that special someone or take time to stop by and say hello in person.

Look for easy ways to be thoughtful, and then watch how it comes back to you in so many wondrous ways.

Source: Home Made Simple

Get the Whole Story on Whole Grains

Recent research has linked the consumption of whole grains with notable health benefits including risk reduction of several chronic diseases and help weight maintenance. As a result, nutrition experts are advising individuals to choose whole grain foods over refined grain foods. “Unfortunately, research shows that many people are confused about the difference between a whole grain food and a refined grain food,” says Dr. Sharon Robinson, Nutrition Specialist with Texas Cooperative Extension.

Grain foods are made from seed kernels such as wheat, corn, oats, and rice. Kernels, such as corn, contain an outer bran layer that is rich in dietary fiber and minerals; a germ layer rich in healthful oils and vitamins as well as the starchy inner portion called the endosperm. Foods made from whole grains contain all the nutrients found in the original kernel. Examples of whole grain foods are whole wheat bread, corn tortillas, shredded wheat breakfast cereal, popped corn, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Sometimes, as with refined grains, the kernel’s bran and germ are removed during milling. This results in a loss of dietary fiver and some of the vitamins and minerals from the original kernel. Manufacturers add some vitamins and minerals to the milled product. Enriched grains are refined grains with added nutrients. Examples of enriched grain foods are white bread, biscuits, corn bread, and white rice.

How many grain foods should you eat each day? Most people should eat about 3 ounces of whole grain foods each day and about three ounces of enriched grain foods each day. To determine how much you should eat based on your age, gender, and physical activity level, visit

When shopping for grain foods, look for ‘whole grain’ on the packaging. The Food and Drug Administration requires that a product contain at least 51% whole grain in order for that product to be marketed as whole grain.

Source: Texas Cooperative Extension
Everyday Driving: Minimize the Risks by Managing the Distractions

Have you ever talked on a cell phone while driving? Changed the radio station or put in a new CD? Had something to eat or drink while you were driving? Reached into the backseat or leaned over to pick up something that had dropped on the floor? Read a map or directions? How about just talked to friends in the car with you? If you’re like most people, you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of those questions.

Distracted driving is defined as the failure to pay attention while driving. It occurs anytime motorists take their concentration away from the road or oncoming traffic hazards. As Peter Kissinger, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, points out, “Distraction has been a problem ever since we started driving. It continues to grow because there is more traffic, more congestion, and more things to distract us.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted drivers are a factor in 25 to 50 percent of all vehicle crashes. Of the more than 6 million motor vehicle crashes reported to law enforcement agencies each year in the United States, between 4,000 and 8,000 crashes related to distracted driving occur each day.

In general, a distraction is anything that takes your eyes, hands, or mind away from the task at hand—driving. According to studies by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (2003), there are a great number of distracting activities that drivers engage in. Some of the most common are:

  • reaching, leaning, etc.;

  • manipulating music/audio controls;

  • eating, drinking etc.;

  • conversing;

  • grooming;

  • reading or writing;

  • using cell phone; and

  • smoking.

According to Terri Miller, Extension Associate, Texas Cooperative Extension,

the best advice is to keep your eyes on the road; keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your mind on the ride. The following tips can help manage distractions:

  • Review maps before hitting the road.

  • Do your personal grooming at home, not in the car.

  • Don’t take notes or look up a phone number while driving.

  • Before you get behind the wheel, familiarize yourself with the features of your vehicle’s equipment.

  • Preset radio and climate controls.

  • Secure items that may move around when the car is in motion.

  • Don’t try to retrieve items that fall to the floor while driving. Wait until your vehicle is parked.

  • Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, and reading while driving.

  • Teach your children the importance of good behavior while riding in the car. Pull safely off the road and out of traffic to tend to them.

  • Recognize that driving requires your full attention. If you find your mind wandering while you are driving, remind yourself to stay focused on the road. If necessary, stop and take a break from driving.

  • Ask a passenger to serve as copilot and help you with activities that may be distracting, such as maps, direction, or unfamiliar navigation systems.

  • Monitor traffic conditions before engaging in activities that could divert attention away from driving.

  • Don’t use a cell phone while driving. But if you must, use memory dialing or have a passenger dial for you; don’t engage in emotional conversations; keep the conversation short, and don’t combine distracting activities. Always access the current traffic situation before making or receiving calls. Do not answer or dial the phone when driving in hazardous conditions.

Terri Miller stresses that driving is a common activity – one that we often take for granted. But, it is a serious responsibility, and it deserves your full, undivided attention. The bottom line: stay focused; pay attention, and expect the unexpected.

For more information on distracted driving, visit, and check out the Distracted Driving Toolkit in the Resources section.

Valentine Symbol

There are many symbols associated with Valentine’s Day. The rose has been the traditional choice for a Valentine’s gift around the world. The color red is associated with strong emotions. Different hues of roses express different sentiments.

  • Lavender – Enchantment and Uniqueness

  • Orange – Fascination

  • Pink (Dark) – Thankfulness, Friendship and Admiration

  • Red – Love, Respect, Courage

  • Peach – Modesty, Gratitude, Admiration, and Sympathy

  • Pink (Pale) – Grace, Joy, and Happiness

  • Deep Red – Beauty and Passion

  • White – Innocence, Purity, Secrecy, Silence, Reverence, Humility, and (according to some sources) True Love

  • Yellow – Joy, Friendship, Jealousy, Hope, and Freedom

  • Black – Farewell

  • Red/White – Unity or Engagement

  • Yellow/Orange – Passionate Thoughts

  • Yellow/Red – Congratulations

  • Rosebud – Beauty, Youth and a Heart Innocent of Love

  • Red Rosebud – Purity and Loveliness

  • White Rosebud – Girlhood

  • One Dozen Red Roses – “I Love You”

  • Single Red Rose in Full Bloom – “I Love You”

  • Tea Roses – “I’ll Remember Always.


Messages from Mandi is a publication of the Bailey County Extension Service

Bailey County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Sciences

The information given herein is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products or tradenames is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Cooperative Extension is implied.


February: Valentine’s Day 14

Nutrition Programming

Senior Center 14

President’s Day 20

Diabetes Support Group 20

Extension Club 21

March: Nutrition Programming

Senior Center 14

Extension Club 21

Do Well, Be Well with

Diabetes begins this


April: Nutrition Programming

Senior Center 11

Easter 16

Extension Club 18

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