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We’re a granola-eating family. When the tall jar in our pantry reads almost empty, it’s time to stir up and bake a new batch. It’s never a chore, because the fresh homemade taste of heart-healthy oats with nuts and dried fruit always satisfies, whether combined with yogurt and berries at breakfast, or sprinkled over a scoop of ice cream for an evening dessert.

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Gardeners often ask, “When is the best time to cut back the dead tops of herbaceous perennials? Should we cut them in fall as the tops fade? Or, wait until spring, just before new growth begins?” The answers depend, in part, on the specific plant and whether disease or insect pests are a factor.

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Extend the lives of holiday plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area that is free from warm or cold drafts.

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Honeyvine is in the milkweed family and is native to much of the eastern United States. It can have a weedy habit due to the aggressive twining stems and ability to spread by seed.

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It certainly is a good idea to periodically review with your doctor all the medications you take, to decide whether they are still necessary. It is very often the case that people are taking medications for unclear reasons, and the person who is prescribing it has been doing so without really thinking about whether the benefits still outweigh the risks, especially as people get older and may have acquired new conditions or had medication changes.

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Lowering your sugar intake is a wise and healthy choice, as research shows that consuming too much sugar can increase your risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, some cancers and heart disease.

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“I bought a wooden whistle, but it wouldn’t whistle” is part of an old children’s song that goes on to joke about buying a metal whistle. But a modern metal whistle used by a policeman looks very different from the wooden whistle made centuries ago.

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Did you adopt a dog during Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month in October? There’s some good news if you did. The Mayo Clinic has published a report of a large study showing why it’s to our benefit to own a pet.

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My father is a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. His sacrifices for this country, along with thousands of other men and women, are recognized on Veterans Day.

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It’s important that any venison derived from hunting be handled safely to avoid the spread of foodborne pathogens, which could cause foodborne illnesses. Venison is meat from wild game such as deer, elk, moose, caribou, antelope and pronghorn.

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The auction described the settee as “in the Adam taste,” but an online search for the words won’t explain what that means. When it says “Chippendale style” in a catalog, it means it is a reproduction made long after the original pieces designed and made by Thomas Chippendale in the 18th century.

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It’s a new puppy. It’s a soft toy. It’s a draftbuster. Yes, indeed, it’s all three, and the adorable soft puppy will love to come into your home to keep some of winter’s chilly drafts from breezing through doorway cracks and windows.

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November may be a time for cooler weather and fall flavors, but it is also a time to highlight the epidemic of diabetes in our country. Diabetes Awareness Month reminds us that over 30 million Americans are living with the condition, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.

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Strep throat infections that are chronic — lasting more than three months — or recurrent are indications for tonsillectomy in adults. However, this is an uncommon surgery in adults, and there isn’t a lot of published data on the effectiveness of treatment.

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What’s better this fall than taking leisurely family walks to grab some fresh air and enjoy the stimulation of the outdoors? While everyone might recognize houses and neighbors and get caught up in collecting fallen leaves along the way, this time can also draw everyone’s attention to new discoveries — like taking a closer look at the bark on trees. Is it knobbly and cracked?

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In ancient Egypt, a rich man would not write his own letters but would travel with a scribe who wrote his letters for him. The scribe used a crude pen that had to be dipped in ink; he carried it on a stone with a slight hollow. As more learned to write, the ink holders became fancier, and carved stones like jade or marble were used.

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For years, it was an October tradition in our neighborhood to drop in at my friend’s preholiday arts and crafts sale. Opening the heavy front door of her turn-of-the-century home, we were drawn in from the outdoor chill by the aroma of warm, freshly baked pumpkin bread served on trays in the dining room.

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Halloween is the second most popular holiday among collectors of holiday memorabilia. Christmas comes first. But Halloween decorations are in such demand today that there are even mail-order catalogs and pop-up stores that feature nothing but Halloween.

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Fall is a good time to start looking to buy pears, apples and hard squash, among many other seasonal fruits and vegetables. In fact, those are some of the items that many grocery stores typically start to promote heavily at discounted prices in their grocery aisles.

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Whenever I’m thinking about ways to add variety to chicken recipes, my spice rack always provides inspiration. Freshly ground peppercorns add a much-needed boost to the mild flavors of chicken, pork and fish.

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Thieves are continuing to target seniors where we’re most vulnerable. Most common is the Social Security scam. Annoyingly enough, I received one of these calls today on my cellphone.

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Houseplants, especially those grown outdoors during the summer, commonly drop some or many of their leaves in response to the lower natural light intensity in the autumn and reduced light intensity indoors.

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The hot, dry weather experienced in late summer is bringing an early leaf drop to many landscape plants. But even under the best weather conditions, the shorter, cooler days of autumn signal deciduous plants to begin their color change and eventual leaf drop. 

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Squash bugs can be a persistent pest on all of the cucurbits, but especially on squash and pumpkins. This pest overwinters as adults in crop residue or nearby weeds, then fly to fields and gardens when the vines begin to “run.” 

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Do you have a tree that is displaying fall color early this year? Although some early color may be beautiful, this may be a sign of health issues.

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Are you ready to change the way you clean up your perennial garden in the fall? Changing just a few garden habits can make a huge difference to butterflies, moths, bees and other beneficial insects that overwinter in the local landscape, said Kelly Allsup, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

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If you missed the window for planting native plants in your garden this spring, don’t worry. You still have time to get them in the ground in the fall.

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As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, we often start seeing uninvited insect guests in our homes, according to University of Illinois Extension educator Ken Johnson.

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Selecting the most perfect ripe melon is not the easiest task. People often wonder how to select the best melon in the store, while home gardeners question when to pick melons off the vine.

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My birthday is just around the corner. I know that not because of the date on the calendar, but because of the way my joints mimic the sound of one of my favorite childhood breakfast cereals when I get out of bed — Snap! Crackle! Pop!

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Everyday life was often depicted in paintings or figurines in the days when photographs were unknown. Familiar workers like firemen, soldiers, farmers or royalty were made from porcelain or metal.

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I completely agree that people with kidney stones should avoid calcium supplements. The transiently high levels of calcium after taking one cause the kidney to excrete a lot of that calcium, and that can cause a calcium crystal to grow, eventually forming a stone.

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Like it or not, here it comes again: winter, along with snow and ice in many parts of the country. As seniors we need to take extra steps to stay safe, warm and healthy during cold weather. Investigate now whether your grocery store delivers.

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It’s fall, and winter is on the way — a time to sort, toss and save. Collecting and squirreling away supplies for artful indoor and outdoor fun with your kids in the months ahead can be a creative activity in itself.

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With flu season just around the corner, there’s a new wrinkle to staying healthy this winter. Our old standby, the antiseptic hand sanitizer, has been found to not work as well as we believed, especially with the influenza A strain. It’s all in how we use it, according to a recent study.

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Fruits and vegetables are easier to come by in the summer months than in the fall and winter. But to stay healthy and ward off diseases, it’s important to include fruits and vegetables in your diet year-round.

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Felting acorns using fluffy natural wool is a relaxing and enjoyable fall activity for all ages. It’s especially suited for young children who like to get their hands in soapy water to shape and change the structure of the soft wool into dense felted wool balls.

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Ninety-nine percent of people have had chickenpox and are at risk for shingles, and this includes most people who think they haven’t had chickenpox. Some cases are so mild that they go unrecognized.

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Antique handmade game boards are popular as decorations in homes filled with folk art. Most are for chess or checkers, and the square boards look important in a group on the wall. But there also are game boards that are other shapes.

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Now that autumn is officially upon us, there are countless opportunities to celebrate the season with meals and snacks full of unique flavors.

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Are you ready to change the way you clean up your perennial garden in the fall? Kelly Allsup, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, said changing just a few garden habits can make a huge difference to butterflies, moths, bees and other beneficial insects that overwinter in the Illinois landscape.

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Baked apple rings are a tasty and nutritious snack you can make in your own kitchen on a chilly fall day. We use zesty apples that friends share with us from their backyard trees, or we buy them at farmers markets and apple orchards.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

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On the list of what frightens people the most, ranking right up there with spiders, snakes and heights are needles. In fact, the extreme fear of medical procedures involving needles is a valid phobia with an ominous name: trypanophobia. Charyn Caruso, a phlebotomist for Grove City Medical Center, has worked with her share of patients who have suffered from the condition throughout her 20-year career.

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Each year, hundreds of thousands suffer from cardiac arrest in the U.S. Anytime, anywhere, an emergency can strike, leaving many with little chance for life-saving personnel to make a difference. These numbers would be decreased dramatically if more people were CPR certified. Currently at Seneca Valley School District, students and staff are training to be ready for any dire situation thrown their way.

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Trying to attain perfection, especially during the holidays, can leave a person financially stressed and spiritually depleted.

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In the "Strawberry Capital" of the US, an immigrant farmworker prepares for the birth of her third child while facing healthcare challenges and threats to immigration status. Produced by Every Mother Counts

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As we continue to live longer, we're seeing an increase in illnesses like dementia. All over the world, innovative ways to care for our aging loved ones are on the rise.