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Summer Memories

Nancy Schneider, PHEc, M.Sc., C.I.M.

Summer is a great time for kids and families to create memories. If you have been fortunate enough to get to a beach, you probably have a selection of “souvenirs”; pebbles, shells, twigs, sand, all things children love to collect. Now the question is what to do with these treasures!

One way to keep the memories without having a sandy mess is to find a clear container. The size will depend on the number of treasures you have. Place some of the sand in the bottom of the container. Next add the treasures. These could be shells, twigs, stones, whatever your child has collected. You may want to add a note or a photo as well. Check if you want more sand, or move any of the treasures. Then, place the lid on and secure. If this will be in a younger child’s room, you may want to tape or glue the lid so that the treasures don’t get dumped. Display on a shelf or other area in the child’s room.

If your child was a stone collector, you may have ended up with many shapes and sizes of stones. Painting them is a great way to re-use and still maintain the memory of the beach. Larger stones could be painted and used as paperweights or perhaps even a doorstop; great gifts for the child to give.


Or you can look at the shape of the stone and imagine what it looks like. Once you have determined what the stone is, you can paint it to bring it to life. This is a great activity to do, especially if you try to relate the shape back to the vacation.

PaintedRock2 FootprintRocks

For older children, memories are often made at camp. A shirt from camp or purchased for camp can hold wonderful memories of the camp experience. Unfortunately, children grow so quickly that the shirt will probably not fit next year. What do you do with the shirt to help the child remember the fun times? You make a pillow that can go with them on other adventures.

Step 1: Short sleeves work best, but if there are long sleeves, cut along the shoulder seams (leaving the seams attached to the shirt). Then, sew the arm holes closed. If the shirt has short sleeves, you can just sew them closed.

Step 2: Next, sew along the bottom of the shirt, closing it off completely.

Step 3: Now sew about half of the neck opening. Leave enough space to fit your hand.

Step 4: Stuff the “pillow” with fibre fill or other stuffing of your choice. Fill it as full as is comfortable for your child.

Step 5: Once it feels right, stitch the rest of the neck opening closed.

You now have a pillow that will be great for traveling and have fantastic memories. If you know you will be doing this ahead of time, you may even want to send a marker to camp so your child can get autographs on the shirt.


Activities like these help to keep the memories of fun, summer and family close the whole year through.

Nancy is a Professional Home Economist and has been employed by the University of Manitoba for over 27 years.  She has held management, administrative, and instructional appointments.  Her educational background includes child development, communication, human resources, and management.  She has experience working with pre-schoolers and their families, university students, as well as adult learners.

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Are You Rhubarb Savvy?

By: Getty Stewart, PHEc, B.Ed., Author of Prairie Fruit Cookbook and

Rhubarb heralds the arrival of spring. For many of us Northern gardeners, it is the first produce we can pick from the garden. This hardy plant, often referred to as the pie plant, produces lovely edible stalks that range in color from lime green to cherry red.

Here’s a little True and False quiz to test your rhubarb knowledge.Rhubarb

  1. Rhubarb is a fruit. T or F?

While we use it like a fruit in pies and crisps, rhubarb is actually not a fruit. A fruit is the fleshy part of a plant that comes from a flower and surrounds a seed. We use the stalks of the rhubarb plant, much like the stalks of celery. Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable. False.

  1. Rhubarb leaves should never be eaten. T or F?

Rhubarb leaves are toxic and should never be eaten. The US National Library of Medicine lists oxalic acid and anthraquinone glycosides as the most likely toxic ingredients. Eating rhubarb leaves may cause a burning sensation in your mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, eye pain, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and weakness. More seriously, you may develop kidney stones, seizures, go into a coma or even die. Deaths rarely occur as you would have to ingest a considerable amount of leaves. True.

  1. Because the leaves are poisonous you should not compost rhubarb leaves. T or F?

It is safe to compost rhubarb leaves. Iowa State University’s Horticulture News states rhubarb leaves are safe to compost despite their poisonous content. False

  1. Color of the stalk is the best way to determine if rhubarb is ready to harvest. T or F?RhubarbLeaves

Color is simply an indication of the variety of rhubarb, not whether it is ready to harvest. Some rhubarb never turns red, so don’t wait! Use size as the best indicator. When stalks are about 7-15 inches (20-40 cm) long they’re ready to harvest. The width of the stems will vary. False

  1. The best time to harvest rhubarb is spring time. T or F?

Spring is the best time to harvest rhubarb. To harvest, slide your hand to the bottom of the stalk, twist slightly and pull. The stalk should come out quite easily. Be sure to leave 1/3 of the leaves so the plant can nourish itself throughout the season. Seed stalks will form in the summer, these can be cut to extend the harvesting season. You may pick a few stalks in summer and fall – leave 2/3 of the leaves on. True

  1. Rhubarb is so tart, nobody would want it. T or F?

People adore the tart, refreshing taste of rhubarb. If you or a neighbour have rhubarb that you’re not using, consider sharing it with a Fruit Rescuing organization like Fruit Share. Volunteers will pick your rhubarb and share it with community organizations who will put your surplus produce to good use. Or, offer your rhubarb to a friend – you might get a tasty surprise in return. False

  1. Rhubarb is only good for rhubarb pie and rhubarb crisp. T or F?

While rhubarb pie and rhubarb crisp are among the favorite ways to eat rhubarb, there are hundreds of recipes and many different ways to use rhubarb. Here are just a few recipes to get you started! Find more recipes in the Prairie Fruit Cookbook and at False

Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer JamRhubarbBars

Rhubarb Fruit Leather

Rhubarb Honey Bran Muffins

Honey Rhubarb Sesame Chicken

Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb Oat Bars


Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener. For more articles, recipes and tips on Making Home Cooking Easy and Enjoyable visit her blog at

Funding for this article provided by the Canadian Home Economics Foundation.



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Eat, Play, Love

by Christine Houde, PHEc, Heart and Stroke Foundation

Spring has finally come to the prairies. The threat of snow is waning, the crocuses are blooming, the garden is beckoning and it’s time to get out there and get active with our families.

But shaking off the winter hibernation habit can be tough. Really tough.

Not to worry, the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s (HSF) got your back. May is physical activity month, and to help families get motivated, HSF is offering a chance to win a specially selected prize, worth $200, and all your family has to do is participate in a physical activity together, and submit a form to HSF explaining what you did (entries must be received during May, 2014). You can get rewarded for something you would do anyway.

And don’t stop there, PLAY IT FORWARD. Over the long term, you’re much more likely to stay active if you have a physical activity buddy to help keep you motivated and having fun. Encourage everyone in your family to participate in physical activities with their friends and colleagues for even more opportunities to submit and win. For more information about the month long challenge, go to

With Play covered, let’s get back to the Eat. Spring is a great time to plant the seed – or re-visit the roots – of investing in family meal time.

Children who eat with their families are more likely to

  • eat more fruits and vegetables
  • eat less saturated and trans fat
  • get more key nutrients such as calcium and fibre
  • accept new foods more readily

Families are more likely to eat together if they eat at home. Families who eat at home are more likely to eat healthy, home-cooked meals.   So what’s holding everyone back? For many people it’s time. Meals from scratch take time to plan, time to shop, and time to prepare. The good news is there are many online tools to help the busy family make heart-healthy choices. Visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s meal planning resources for weekly meal plan templates, grocery lists, and time saving tips.

Another great way to save time in the kitchen is to have the kids help. Cooking with children is like having an extra tutoring session while assembling a meal. They can strengthen their math skills, reading comprehension, and manual dexterity. Home cooking with the kids also reinforces messages about healthy eating, encourages independence, and it can be great fun too.

Download the free PDF of kid friendly recipes at Quick and Healthy, recipes the whole family can enjoy, Kids’ Edition, Volume 1.

Wishing you a happy, heart-healthy spring.

Christine Houde is a professional home economist working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation as nutrition and research manager.  With a background in Foods  & Nutrition, she has promoted heart health, healthy eating and family mealtimes to kids and adults across Manitoba for over 12 years; one of her favourite projects is the Quick and Healthy cookbook and media segments initiative produced in partnership with HSF and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.  Christine also works with the prevention research initiative of HSF, with a focus on reducing chronic disease risk factors for Manitobans. She loves Friday night homemade pizza night with her busy family.

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Food Revolution Day – May 16, 2014


It’s a Cook Cook Revolution – or is it? The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation created an annual global day of food action to get people cooking in the kitchen with real food – a message that Canadian home economists have been sharing with people and teaching families for over 100 years.

Sobeys Inc. recently teamed up with Jamie Oliver and is inviting Canadians to take part in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day On May 16, 2014, you can join Canada’s biggest potluck party at Better Food For All and share a post or photo of your potluck on Twitter at #PotluckChallenge.

It is encouraging to know that Sobeys sees the importance of getting more Canadians cooking in their kitchens. They also support home economics education by employing registered dietitians, as indicated in their national food study. In Canada, we know how to get people cooking in the kitchen, and it’s through home economics education and professionals in the field.

As for marketing, a young, passionate, well-known British chef seems to be required to get the message across. So be it. It’s great to see a forward thinking movement encouraging families to shop smart, cook healthy and support local. But let’s face it – we have a Home Economics Revolution going on.


Diana Mager is a professional home economist employed by Manitoba Hydro. Starting out as a Winnipeg Hydro Home Economist, she developed practical, budget friendly recipes for families, provided expert advice on food preservation safety and promoted energy efficient appliances. This led her into a career in Corporate Communications. With a background in Food and Nutrition, Diana has promoted Manitoba foods and farm families for over 15 years. She also appeared on Great Tastes of Manitoba, the longest running local cooking show, for six seasons. With the help of her family, Diana grows her own fruit, vegetables and herbs, and somehow finds time to jam, pickle and preserve summers’ best!

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