• 81°

Today is March 8

Save Your Vision Week

Routine eye exams should be a vital component of everyone’s healthcare routine. Such examinations can help people learn if they need prescription eyeglasses and if their existing prescriptions need to be updated, and they also can uncover other serious health issues.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology®, a comprehensive eye exam can uncover such problems as aneurysms, brain tumors, diabetes, high blood pressure, and assorted cancers, including those of the blood, tissue or skin. That means routine eye exams can be as effective at safeguarding your overall health as they can at protecting your vision.

The recommended frequency with which people should receive eye exams is based largely on age, though no one should hesitate to schedule an exam if their eyes are bothering them or if they are experiencing any abnormalities with their eyes. In addition, some people may need more frequent eye exams depending on their medical histories, which should be discussed at length with a physician.

Children and adults without preexisting conditions and those not experiencing any abnormal vision problems can adhere to this eye examination schedule, courtesy of the American Optometric Association.

· Birth to two years: Children in this age group should receive eye exams between six to 12 months of age.

· Age three to five: Children in this age group should receive at least one eye exam between their third and fifth birthdays.

· Age six to 17 years: Children in this age group should receive one eye exam prior to beginning first grade and then an annual exam thereafter.

· Age 18 to 64: Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should receive an eye exam at least once every two years.

· Age 65 and older: Annual eye exams are recommended for men and women age 65 and older.

Eye examinations help people preserve and improve their vision while also promoting long-term overall health. These vital components of healthy lifestyles should not be overlooked

***

National Peanut Cluster Day

  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbsp shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
  • 1 cup peanuts or raisins unsalted, roasted
    Place chocolate chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at medium an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Stir in peanuts.

    Drop by teaspoons into 1-inch diameter candy or petit four papers. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

    For more recipes visit www.hersheyland.com/.

    ***

    March is Nation Craft Month

    Crafting can help people fill their time, reduce stress, inspire new relationships, and serve as a source of pride when an item is handmade from start to finish.

    In an online study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy that surveyed 3,500 knitters, respondents felt there was a relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm. Experts surmise that the rhythmic, repetitive movements and focused attention of certain crafts might produce a calming effect not unlike meditation. Crafting helps exercise several areas of the brain, including those responsible for problem solving, creativity and concentration, states Craft Courses, an online crafting course company.

    The following are some unique crafts for those looking for something new.

    · Quilling: This craft also goes by the name paper filigree. It involves twisting, rolling or looping thin strips of paper and then gluing them together to make designs. They can adorn the outside of homemade cards, or be attached to stock and then framed.

    · Decoupage: Another paper craft, this one involves sticking small pieces of paper of any kind to another item and then coating the object with varnish. Just about anything can be improved and customized with decoupage.

    · Marquetry: Marquetry involves applying pieces of wood veneer to a structure to form a decorative pattern or picture. Think of it as paint-by-number but with wood veneer. The technique often is applied to small objects or furniture.

    · Bead crochet: Crochet artists may want to take their crafting up a notch with bead crochet, which incorporates beaded string or yarn into a crocheted item.

    · Water marbling: Water marbling is a unique craft that produces a different result each time it is done. The crafter fills a tub roughly two-thirds full of water, adds a special chemical to allow oils to float on the water’s surface, then drops different colors of oil-based paint onto the water. The colors can be swirled and manipulated. A paper or piece of canvas is then placed on the surface of the water so that the design can transfer onto the material.

    · Pyrography: Pyrography involves using a heating source and burning designs into a piece of wood. The term literally means “writing with fire.”

    These lesser-known crafts can be good diversions and help individuals learn new skills

    **

    March is Broccoli Month

    Broccoli comes from the Italian word brocco. Brocco means sprout, bud, or shoot and that comes from the Latin word brachium meaning an arm or branch.

    Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family. One pound of broccoli equals about six cups of raw, trimmed florets and stems and 3 cups when cooked.Broccoli is high in fiber, vitamins A and D.

    Broccoli grows and produces the best during cool seasons of the year. After the larger central head is cut off side heads develop. These side heads can produce quite a lot of broccoli. Two crops, one grown in the spring and the other in the fall, can be grown in most parts of the country. There are also now some new heat tolerant varieties that can grow in all but the hottest parts of the summer.

    To store fresh broccoli keep it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with holes and use it within about three days. The longer you store it the lower the vitamin content will be. When you are ready to use it rinse it with cool running water to clean it.

    If you want to preserve some broccoli Michigan State University Extension has the following tips for you.

    • The best way to preserve broccoli is to freeze it
    • Two to three pounds of fresh broccoli yields two pints of frozen broccoli.
    • Frozen broccoli may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in grocery stores since those products will degrade over time.
    • Canning broccoli is not recommended. It usually discolors and grows stronger in flavor when canned.
    • Drying isn’t recommended because of broccoli’s strong flavor, it ends up being of low quality and undesirable for use.

    Just because something isn’t recommended doesn’t mean you can’t try it. If you want to try drying it this is what you can do:

    1. cut it up as for serving
    2. rinse it thoroughly
    3. water or steam blanch it for 4-5 minutes
    4. dry it in a dehydrator for 12- 15 hours or until it is brittle or crisp. Then you can determine if the quality and flavor is fine with you in your soups and casseroles.

    For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu.