Monday, November 14, 2016

Technology Talks




A 2015 Pew Research Poll found 68% of Americans own a smartphone (a 33% increase from 2011) and 45% own a tablet.  How many of you feel left behind in technology or are uncomfortable using your own device?  As quickly as technology changes, we all feel that way sometimes.  Getting your first laptop or smart device can be overwhelming and there is a learning curve.  It takes time to play around and get a feel for any new product.  Often times, we do not want to mess something up or do something that we are not able to fix.  If this is you, we are here to help!  Hunt County AgriLife Extension is hosting an introductory series on understanding technology, specifically Internet, email, and smart device apps.

This series will be geared toward individuals who are new to smart devices (or laptops/computers) and need assistance understanding and using their devices.  Set-up as four, one-hour sessions, we will cover introductory basics, Internet and email use, popular apps, social media, and online safety.  Sessions will be held each Wednesday in December from 1:30 – 2:30 pm at the Hunt County Extension Office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, TX.  Attendees will need to bring their own Wi-Fi capable device (laptop, smart phone, or tablet).  The first session will be Wednesday, December 7th.  This will be a welcoming and fun learning environment where no question is too basic.  This series is free of charge and everyone is welcome to come and learn. Sessions will focus on specific (but flexible) topics, independent of each other.  

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to come by the Hunt County AgriLife Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401, call (903) 455-9885, or email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu.  Follow my blog by visiting http://agentsarah.blogspot.com/.




Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Favorite Time of Year



I think autumn is my favorite time of year.  After a hot summer, almost nothing beats a crisp cool day.  It is especially difficult to work a desk job when I know what is waiting for me outside.  I love watching college football on a Saturday morning, the changing colors of the leaves, the first smell of wood burning in a fireplace, Halloween, Thanksgiving, pulling my sweatshirts out from storage, I could go on forever.  I just love fall.  I even think people are nicer this time of year.  Leora (our office administrator) and I try to go for short downtown walks throughout the day and I have noticed lately that people genuinely seem happier.  If you are having a bad day, go for a walk downtown, it is good for the soul.  It may seem as if I am rambling without a true direction, and I will admit, when I started writing that was the case.  However, after I started listing all of the things that make me happy about this time of year I noticed that I was sitting in my office feeling relaxed with a smile on my face.  It is important to stop and appreciate the things that bring you joy every now and then.  Try to take five minutes and let yourself enjoy the moment.  So often we are in a hurry we end up missing the little things that make us happy, they get lost in the everyday bustle.  With all of this being said, I challenge you to take some time to sit down and relax.  Reflect on a happy memory and let yourself absorb the little things.  Is autumn your favorite season? I would love to hear your favorite things, send me an email or picture, sarah.latham@ag.tamu.edu and I will add it to my Fall Favorites blog post. 
In addition to my morning reflection, I would like to mention two upcoming events of the Extension office, our annual pecan sale and annual holiday program.  Please read below for additional information.  

PECAN SALE! The 2016 Pecan Sale has begun.  Place your order today!  All orders must be received by the Extension office by October 14th and orders will be available for pick up before Thanksgiving.  Halves and pieces are available in one, three and five pound boxes.  To order, please call (903) 455-9885 or stop by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, TX 75401. 

MAKING MEMORIES, the annual holiday program, is scheduled for Friday, November 4th at the Ben E. Keith Community Room in Commerce.  Doors will open at 9:30 a.m.  FCS agents from area counties will demonstrate a variety of different ideas to help make your holidays joyful.  Holiday craft and gift ideas will be presented and you will receive a booklet including information on each item.  Tickets are available for purchase at the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, TX 75401. Tickets are $5.00 each and tickets are limited.  Registration fee includes morning refreshments and the holiday idea booklet.  If you are interested in paying over the phone using an electronic payment, please call (903) 455-9885.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to come by the Hunt County AgriLife Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401, call (903) 455-9885, or email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu.  


Fall Favorites

Here are a few of my fall favorites...

Holly at the Pumpkin Patch 2010

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Improving My Diet - Part 5 (Increasing Activity)



This article is the fifth and final installment of my series on various steps I am taking to improve my diet.  If you missed the earlier topics (Meal Planning, Eating a Rainbow, Water Intake, and Food Logging), you may read them here on my blog. This week I will address increasing your daily activity level.  My generation (and the ones on either side of me) are no longer working outside in manual labor jobs the way they did in earlier generations.  We sit at desk jobs, work on computers, own vacuums that go on their own, and heck, some of us even have cars that drive without us.  We are no longer the active society of our great grandparents. 

Growing up I was active, I was involved in sports and spent a lot of time outdoors, but after college my life changed.  I sit at a desk for eight hours, go home, and eventually find myself doing more sitting.  I realized how truly inactive I had become when I purchased my first fitness tracker.  I was shocked at how few steps was actually taking during the day.  I assumed I was getting somewhat close to the recommended 10,000 steps each day.  I was wrong. I will not recommend a particular brand or type of fitness tracker, because I have actually tried several and found that they all work very well.  Finding the one with the community that can hold me accountable is what I have found to be the key component.  For people looking to improve their overall well being and increasing their activity level, I do recommend getting some sort of device that monitors your movement.  If you have questions about which to get, I will be happy to give my opinion (if you really want it) just give me a call or shoot me a quick email. 


The first thing I tell people after they get an activity tracker is to wear it for a week or so without doing more than normal and find out your current activity level.  After you have a good idea of your normal daily average you can start to increase your daily goal.  If you currently take 4,000 steps in your normal daily activities, set a goal to take 5,000 steps.  Keep in mind that one mile is roughly 2,000 steps.  So that recommendation of 10,000 per day is equivalent to approximately five miles.  Take small increases over a decent period of time.  If you jump in with too much of an increase you will burn yourself out and then you are back to where you started.  Go slow, do not try be an Olympic athlete overnight, you will end up hurt or burnt out.  Set a reminder on your phone to go off every hour that tells you to stand up and go walk around the block.  Do little things that will eventually add up to big things. 

It is always a good idea to check with your physician to make sure you are able to increase your activity level.  Annual wellness exams really are a good thing.  Please do not wake up one morning and go jog a 10k after sitting at the computer for 10 years. I promise, it will not turn out well!  Listen to your body.  Push yourself in small increments, but listen to what your body tells you.  If something hurts, stop doing it.  Get familiar with the language your body speaks and create an open line of communication.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to come by the Hunt County AgriLife Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401, call (903) 455-9885, or email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu.