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Community members encouraged to vote for favorite cause in spirit of giving -12/19/2014, 4:17 PM

God can be our light during bleak times today, tomorrow, future -12/19/2014, 9:38 AM

Sneak exercise into your holiday activities -12/18/2014, 9:13 AM

Natoma Auxiliary spreads cheer -12/18/2014, 9:13 AM

The joys of the holiday season are all around us -12/17/2014, 10:30 AM

First Care Clinic gets grant -12/16/2014, 4:16 PM

Westar Energy expands commitment to Kansas wind energy -12/16/2014, 12:48 PM

Brownback appoints new Cheyenne County commissioner -12/16/2014, 12:48 PM

'The Battle of the Five Armies' lacking -12/16/2014, 8:23 AM

Baby keeps family active -12/16/2014, 8:23 AM

Hays native serves as intern for Moran -12/15/2014, 11:55 AM

Several ways exist to integrate stepfamilies, holidays -12/15/2014, 9:20 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Soil test information can lead to bountiful financial returns -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Community Bulletin Board (Dec. 13, 2014) -12/13/2014, 3:11 PM

The heart of Christmas -12/12/2014, 8:49 AM

DHDC announces new board members -12/11/2014, 4:17 PM

Area student selected to livestock judging team -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Bake ahead, freeze for holidays -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Extension estate planning workshops announced -12/10/2014, 3:31 PM

Remembering the Japanese invasion, World War II -12/10/2014, 10:12 AM

DHDC kicks off annual partnership program -12/9/2014, 12:05 PM

A few holiday movies to enjoy -- again -12/9/2014, 9:31 AM

New addition to family brings smiles to faces -12/9/2014, 8:18 AM

Steps can be taken to help stepfamilies adjust to holidays -12/8/2014, 9:41 AM

Genetically modified organism fact or fiction -12/7/2014, 4:12 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 7, 2014) -12/7/2014, 4:11 PM

Yes, there is a Santa Claus -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Getting out of balance disrupts life satisfaction -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

A month of busyness at Hays Public Library -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Cookie exchange raises money for children -12/4/2014, 3:27 PM

Master honored with inaugural award -12/4/2014, 8:55 AM

DCF unveils new Hays service center -12/3/2014, 3:29 PM

What's in a color -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

Several honored for milestone celebrations -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

A chance encounter overseas -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

FHSU bands to perform Friday -12/2/2014, 10:19 AM

Dealing with stepfamilies during the holidays -12/1/2014, 8:48 AM

Study finds GMO's safe for livestock -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:35 PM

Real Black Friday began thousands of years ago -11/28/2014, 9:22 AM

A lifetime of achievements in 4-H -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Fort Hays honors courses will serve as pilot courses -11/26/2014, 7:35 AM

Yoders welcome a new baby boy recently -11/25/2014, 9:34 AM

Stepfamily dynamics can be tricky to manage -11/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Local Knights of Columbus announce essay winners -11/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Grocery collection for ECMA on Saturday -11/21/2014, 8:56 AM

Feast on these holiday savings this season -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

Birthdays (Nov. 20, 2014) -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

HPMH partners with counties for outreach -11/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas Next Step announces honors -11/19/2014, 2:09 PM

Senior volunteers honored for years of service to communities -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

Living life by the five senses -- plus another -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

'Big Hero 6' is slightly under-inflated -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

KHP gives tips for safe Thanksgiving travel -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Latest donations move FHSU closer to goal -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Kansas is reading to preschoolers -11/17/2014, 12:56 PM

Great American Smokeout is Thursday -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Keep little helpers safe in kitchen -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Moran receives Legislator of Year Award from home care association -11/17/2014, 11:26 AM

Hammond named to fraternity commission -11/17/2014, 9:45 AM

No stepfamily is immune to holiday stress -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Community Bulletin Board (Nov. 17, 2014) -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Get the most from grazing crop residue -11/16/2014, 5:35 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 16, 2014) -11/16/2014, 12:52 PM

Choice overload -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

God and Ebola -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

Birthday -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

10 tips for stress-free Thanksgiving cooking, planning -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

Do you need that annual mammogram? -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

'Warcraft' preview stirs excitement; 'Interstellar' is solid -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Favorite coffee cake and being introduced to Sassy Sundae -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Many types of stressors can affect holidays -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Time for film's encore, German cooking at library -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 9, 2014) -11/9/2014, 4:30 PM

Westview hosting youth lock-in -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

A prayer that stands the test of time still holds true today -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

Extension program gives tech tips for parents -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthdays -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Foreigners must report land holdings -11/5/2014, 3:39 PM

Jana's Campaign fundraiser nets $33,000 -11/5/2014, 10:29 AM

Getting out and voting, because I can -11/5/2014, 8:40 AM

Waterline works will hamper traffic -11/4/2014, 4:08 PM

Email issues resolved -11/4/2014, 11:43 AM

Gloria's birthday present, followed by barbecue pizza -11/4/2014, 8:41 AM

Many live in stepfamilies in United States today -11/3/2014, 8:58 AM

Taking care in providing proper animal health -11/2/2014, 8:31 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 2, 2014) -11/2/2014, 11:10 AM

After 5 gathering Nov. 10 in Hays -10/31/2014, 7:50 AM

Time for trick or treating -10/31/2014, 7:49 AM

Gella's to show Turning Points film encore -10/30/2014, 1:53 PM

State's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Saturday -10/29/2014, 9:33 AM

'John Wick' is efficient excitement for flick -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Serving up homemade cinnamon rolls -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Hansen Foundation awards grant to HaysMed Foundation -10/27/2014, 10:20 AM

HaysMed's cardiovascular-stroke team earns award -10/27/2014, 10:11 AM

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SPOTLIGHT
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Make and take a family meal

Published on -9/12/2013, 11:27 AM

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Sitting together at the family dinner table might seem hard to manage with the busy lives people lead these days. However, a family meal helps cultivate an environment where parents can have a conversation with their children. And that family interaction is an important factor to protect children from the dangers of smoking, drinking and drugs.

This month, the Ellis County Extension office is teaming up with Papa Murphy's and the Hays Kiwanis Club to offer a make-and-take pizza activity to encourage families to cook and eat together. Families will have the opportunity to assemble a pizza from provided ingredients and take home a low-cost meal to enjoy together.

Family Make and Take Pizza Night will be from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Ellis County Extension office, 601 Main. (Enter the rear door from the north parking lot.) The cost is only $1 per pizza, with a limit of two pizzas per family. Quantities are limited, so registration is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Register and pay fees at the Ellis County Extension office, (785) 785-628-9430.

Papa Murphy's will donate up to 70 crusts for the make-and-take event and toppings are supported by funding from the Hays Kiwanis Club and Ellis County Extension. We'll also provide a bag of baby carrots and a few pieces of fruit to balance your healthy family meal.

Volunteers are needed to assist with this event. Call the Extension if you can help during one or both shifts -- 4 to 5:15 p.m. or 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

The goal of Family Pizza Night is to create awareness that regular conversations between parents and children are an important prevention tool to help safeguard Kansas youth and that family meals are an important way to regularly engage in those conversations.

Parental influence is known to be one of the most crucial factors in determining the likelihood of substance abuse by teenagers. Research done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse consistently finds the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. The statistics reveal teens who almost always eat dinner with their families are 31 percent less likely than the average teenager to smoke, drink or use drugs, while teens who virtually never eat dinner with their families are 72 percent more likely than the average teenager to use illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

Kids like to eat dinner with their families, too. When a recent survey asked teens about family meals, 84 percent said they prefer to have dinner with their families than to eat alone.

Additionally, research shows that children who eat dinner often with their families are more likely to be emotionally content, do well in school, have positive peer relationships, have lower levels of stress and be bored less often. What amazing benefits from something as simple as a family meal.

This month, plan to make and take a pizza Sept. 30 and think of ways you can schedule more family time to talk about what's going on in your child's world. After all, what your kids really want at the dinner table is you.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences. lbeech@ksu.edu

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