Getting Through Tough Times: Making the Most of What You Have

While opening my household bills last night, I received a notice from my mortgage company telling me my escrow was short for the year due to rising insurance premiums. I seem to get an escrow shortage notice every July so not totally unexpected, just a bit frustrating. I’m going to have to change my household budget to adapt to the new mortgage payment.

We’ve all had those times when your family income drops suddenly or expenses unexpectedly increase, your first concern may be to pay your bills and meet your day-to-day expenses. Instead, look at your total financial picture and determine which assets you might use to meet family obligations.

daddaughterbacx210Whenever there is a change in your financial circumstances that impacts your family’s budget, it is a good time to revisit where you are at with your family finances. You don’t need to have a change in circumstances to give your budget a “check up”. Need help?

Visit: Making the Most of What You Have from Minnesota University Extension. You’ll find a downloadable worksheet to help you determine your net worth. There are also questions to ask yourself to help figure out how to meet your new budget demands.

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit here.

Have a great day!!


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –

Lawn Mower Safety


Whether you are mowing a small lawn in the city, or using a mower on the farm – here are some important safety tips for the entire family.

Originally posted on The Next Generation: Farm Safety and Health:

Although smaller in size than most farm equipment, lawn mowers can be just as dangerous. The moving blades, operating engine, and potential for flying debris make lawn mowers dangerous if not used cautiously and with respect.

Before assigning the task of mowing the yard, consider the youth’s physical and cognitive ability. The youth should:

  • Be able to reach the controls without moving from the seat of a riding mower
  • Have the strength to use a push mower
  • Be trained in the safe operation of the mower, including observing an adult

Help make lawn mowing a rewarding and safe chore for children:

  • Explain the dangers of flying objects: Encourage them to pick up debris before mowing
  • Provide and encourage the use of personal protective equipment: eye and ear protection, long pants, sturdy shoes
  • Teach youth to mow across slopes when using a push mower
  • Mow up and down slopes when on…

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Tick Check!

Tick_sidex680xVJWhile swatting at mosquitoes and trying not to scratch chigger bites, I’m reminded we also need to be checking for ticks. Tick checks were part of our daily routine when I was growing up – just how life is on the farm or if you like to fish and hunt, garden or just enjoy being outside.

If you’ve been outdoors, make sure you check the entire family (and your pets) for ticks. It isn’t hard to do and it should be routine.

Now, let’s get after those ticks!

Dress for Ticks & Wear an Insect Repellent: If you are heading out into potentially tick-infested areas, make sure you prepare! There’s no need to worry about making a fashion statement when tick bite prevention is important. Wear light colored clothing – ticks are easier to see. Wear long pants, sturdy shoes and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck the bottom of your pants into white socks can make it easier to see ticks and this will help keep ticks from crawling up your pants. Now of course, it isn’t always desirable to wear so much clothing on a hot, summer day, but if you are working outdoors or heading out to go fishing it makes sense to protect yourself.

Spray your clothing with an Insect Repellent containing DEET. Be sure to read all label directions especially if you want to use a repellent on a young child – take all precautions. For information on using insect repellents on young children, visit The American Academy of Pediatrics Web page on Insect Repellents or contact your physician. (Note: spraying your clothing with DEET will also give you some protection from chigger bites and mosquitoes).

Once you’ve come indoors:

Check your clothing: Ticks can grab or crawl onto our clothing and be carried into the house. If you find a tick, remove it and kill it (we just used pliers to crush them or a stone). Immediately wash your clothing. Running clothes through a dryer set on high heat for at least an hour effectively kills ticks.
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Is My Child Ready to Stay Home Alone?

When are your children ready to stay home aloneAs parents, we’re legally responsible for our children’s welfare until they reach adulthood. Under some circumstances, a parent can be charged with neglect for leaving children unattended or left with under-aged children, including siblings. Check your state law!

Unfortunately, there’s no magical age when our kids develop the maturity and good sense needed to stay alone. However, there are some signs that can help you decide if your child is ready or not.

  • …indicates a willingness to stay home alone.
  • …shows signs he or she can be responsible.
  • …is aware of the needs of others.
  • …is able to get ready for school on time.
  • …can solve problems on his or her own.
  • …completes homework and household chores with minimal supervision.
  • …remembers to tell you where they are going and tells you when they arrive home.

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The July Issue of the NEBLINE is on-line!

The NEBLINE Newsletter

Check it out! The July issue of The NEBLINE newsletter is now on-line. Read it free! Here are some of the articles featured in this issue – – – – Visit and click on the link to the July 2015 NEBLINE!

  • Reduce Bullying and Cyberbullying Through Social and Emotional Learning
  • Fireworks Safety
  • Laundry Stain Removal
  • The Weather Challenges for Haying
  • Protecting Trees from Borer Damage
  • There is Still Time to Control Bagworms in Early July
  • Cleaning Up After Raccoons is Serious Business
  • Avoiding Chiggers
  • 4-H News, Resources
  • …. and much more

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!


Responsive. Innovative. Trusted.
Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere –


Insect repellent label

For casual use, a product containing 10-30% DEET should be adequate. DEET repellents can damage some plants, plastics, leather and some fabrics so use caution when applying.

May was a record-breaking month for rain in many areas of the United States including our own Lincoln, Nebraska area. With all of the rain (and more rain in the forecast), it is no surprise mosquitoes and ticks are out in record numbers. We’re getting many calls on both of these pests here in the office. Today, I’m going to focus on mosquitoes and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Around your property:

Dump, dump, dump! Walk around your property and dump any standing water. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Even small amounts of water trapped in children’s toys, knotholes of trees, tin cans in your recycling containers, gutters and more can be a potential breeding site for mosquitoes.

Rinse and clean birdbaths on a weekly basis. Cover wading pools.

Keep your lawns mowed and your ornamental plantings like shrubs well-manicured, especially by your home. Mosquitoes rest in these areas.

Repair torn screens and seal any other openings around your home. You don’t want mosquitoes slipping indoors looking for a blood meal.

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Damp Basement? Using a dehumidifier

Many basements are damp after all the moisture we have had the last few weeks. Reducing the moisture level in the damp areas is very important. Depending on where you live, summers bring high humidity and extra rain does not help for those trying to keep living areas dry. One method to use is a dehumidifier.

It is recommended to keep the humidity level between 30 and 50 percent in the summer and 30 to 40 percent in the winter.

There are two forms of humidity: absolute humidity and relative humidity. Absolute humidity refers to the mass of water vapor divided by the mass of dry air in a volume of air at a given temperature. As such, the hotter the air, the more water it contains.

Some facts to consider when purchasing a dehumidifier: Continue reading