May Meetings

  • HCE Annual Meeting: May 21, 5:30 p.m. (4-H Fairgrounds)
  • May Redmon Night
  • May Happy Homemakers
  • May 14, 1:30 pm (Bell Ridge, Wilma Cook)
  • May 28, 1:30 pm (Stratton, Pat Brazelton)
  • May 23, 7:00 pm (Chrisman Nite, Betty Porter, Unit Leader)

The May major lesson is sleep and health. Lesson can be picked up at the Extension Office.

June Meetings

  • Deadline for Edgar County 4-H BBQ: June 5, sign-up sheets due to the Extension Office
  • June Redmon Night
  • June Happy Homemakers
  • June 11, 1:30 pm (Bell Ridge, Lois Lucas)
  • June 25, 1:30 pm (Stratton, Pat Brazelton, Unit leader-Marge Houghland)
  • June 27, 7:00 p.m. (Chrisman Nite, Chrisman Christian Church, Cora Jean Froman, Betty Porter, Priscilla Hunt)

The June major lesson is Dinner's Ready, But is it Safe? Lesson can be picked up at the Extension Office.

Edgar County H.C.E. Board Members

  • President: Beth Sablotny,
  • First Vice: Paula Coombes,
  • Second Vice: Pat Brazelton,
  • Secretary: Paula Coombes,
  • Treasurer: Beth Sablotny,
  • International /Public Relations: Carole Halloran,
  • Cultural Enrichment and Outreach: Dona Hoult

Three Money-Saving Kitchen Tips

  1. Check the pantry, fridge, and freezer before you go shopping and plan meals based on what is already available at home.
  2. Save vegetable scraps in freezer by storing them in a freezer-safe storage bag. Use them to make easy homemade broth for soups and stews.
  3. Cook once, eat twice! Make a double batch of your favorite soup or chili and save half in the fridge for a later meal. Leftover chili also tastes great on top of baked potatoes.


Submitting Articles and Pictures About Unit Activities

Please send to Rebecca at the Extension Office – 210 W. Washington St., Paris or Due date is the 20th of each month. Thank you for your cooperation in making HCE the best it can be!

All regular memberships of $12 should be paid to your Unit 2nd Vice-President prior to May 1st. She will then send one (1) Unit check to Edgar County HCE Treasurer, Beth Sablotny, PO Box 332, Paris by May 1. Please send a unit membership and officers list with your check also. Thank you for your help in keeping the membership and officers list correct. If you have joined mid-year, your dues is $6 for the remaining year of January until May 1st.

If you are a mailbox member, please send your check directly to Beth Sablotny at the above address.

Day Trip Idea from the Book "Eat and Explore Illinois" by Anita Musgrove

Allerton Park & Retreat Center

515 Old Timber Road, Monticello, IL 61856


Built in 1900 as a private residence by artist and philanthropist Robert Allerton. Allerton Park and Retreat Center offers a unique opportunity to experience art, nature, and history away from the distractions of everyday life. Explore fourteen miles of hiking trails, wander through formal gardens with over one hundred garden ornaments, marvel at the century-old mansion, and find peace in the quiet, expansive grounds.

Allerton has become a destination for meetings, conferences, weddings, retreats and special events for people from all over the country. Organized programs open to the community and visitors include outdoor concerts, youth summer camps, themed dinners and educational events, nature hikes, and public tours. Overnight accommodations are available. Entrance is free.

Open Year Round: 8 a.m. to sunset

Visitors Center: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ann's Wild Stinging Nettle and Ramp White Chicken Chili

Chef Ann Swanson for Allerton Park & Retreat Center

2 (8 oz.) chicken breasts 2 cups white wine

1 teaspoon salt 16 dashes hot sauce (like Cholula)

½ teaspoon black pepper 1 stick butter

8 oz. smokey country ham, julienned (Benton's brand)

15 oz. can large butter beans, drain

1 large red bell pepper, julienned 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar

10 wild leeks or ramps, washed and thinly sliced ½ teaspoon ground cumin

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced ¼ teaspoon ground coriander

1 small bunch wild garlic mustard (or broccoli raab), washed and roughly sliced

2 leaves wild garlic mustard or stinging nettles (or kale from the store), washed, destemmed and roughly chopped.

Preheat oven to 400°. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a large saucepot over medium high heat, sear chicken on both sides until golden brown. Remove pot from heat and set aside (without washing.) Place chicken in a baking dish and cover half way with hot water. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes while completing recipe.

Add ham to reserved pot and place over medium-high heat; cook until ham is browned. Add bell pepper, leeks and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add wild garlic mustard and stir. Remove all to a bowl.

Deglaze pan by adding white wine and hot sauce, stirring from the bottom to scrape pan. Pour over contents in bowl and add all back into pot while continuing to cook over medium heat. After 30 minutes of cooking time, check chicken. When cooked through and tender, shred with 2 forks and then add to pot along with liquid.

Add butter and reduce heat to medium low (to keep at a high simmer) and continue to cook until half the liquid is gone and chili begin to thicken. Add butter beans, red wine vinegar, cumin and coriander; mix well. Season to taste with additional salt if needed. Continue to cook just until beans are heated through. 


The unit sign-up sheets for the 2019 Food Stand will be mailed out by May 1. Please make sure to mark your calendar when you have to work and when to bring your pies. It is very important that each unit fill all positions and bring all baked goods. Whether from home or the store, please plan to bring an 8"-9" diameter pie. This is best for cutting nicely sized desserts.

Our guest servers were very popular last year. Each unit has a few slots labeled "Celebrity Server." Please ask your local celebrities to join in the fun and help 4-H and HCE.

Our success is based entirely on our members. Thank you to all for your hard work and dedication to our ECHCE Food Stand.

Please call your members to fill out the form and return to Elizabeth Sablotny P.O. Box 332 Paris, IL 61944 or email to by May 30.

DEADLINE: No Later Than May 30, 2019.

From the Past

Recently a 1942 edition of the Home Economics Extension Newsletter was given to our office. There were 19 units in Edgar County at that time! Times have changed but the opportunity for education and fellowship is still available through HCE and U of I Extension. Here are a few tidbits from that newsletter:

All except two or three of the units are inviting their husbands to participate in the Home Advisor lesson "Financial Planning." The men have been very interested and have participated freely in the discussions.

The need for careful planning of our spending and saving program is greater now than it ever has been, with the possible exception of the depression years.

The lesson affords us the opportunity to use the experience of others to assist us in drawing upon a workable plan of our own.

The only persons not interested in money management are hobos, bums and fashionable women.

From our Units

Members of the Redmon Night unit recently met at the home of Marian Powers for their March meeting. A tasting party of a variety of cheeses and crackers, salami, summer sausage and various teas purchased by the hostess at a plantation in south Carolina were served. Members enjoyed tasting the different cheeses and teas and decided on their favorite cheese and flavor of tea.

Following refreshments, members traveled to the Bicentennial Art Center. They were given a very informative tour of the center and were able to view the art currently on exhibit.

More From Our Units . . .

International/Public Relations Board Member – Carole Halloran

India will be the country we will be learning about during HCE Week in October. If you know of someone that would be willing to speak and share their experiences in India, please contact me so plans can be made.

IAHCE State Conference was a great meet and share experience for several board members. Edgar County applied for a $50 educational award to reimburse us for expenses incurred during a sponsored program. The check was received during the district meeting to cover International Night guest speaker stipend.

Also during the IAHCE State Conference Edgar County received an Honorable Mention Award for a Public Information Educational Award. The application covered Quilt Show and HCE Week.

By-Law Changes

By-law changes that will be voted on during the HCE Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 21, have been mailed to Unit Presidents. Anyone not attending their April unit meeting and mailbox/sustaining members, can get a copy in the U of I Extension office in Paris.

New Officers for 2019/2020 HCE year

Paula Coombes and her nominating committee will be hard at work trying to fill a slate of officers for the Edgar County Annual Meeting. Please consider serving. We still have vacant positions and expiring positions to fill. Two members may fill one position if by-law changes are agreed upon, so talk to someone and consider volunteering.

Looking for: President, Treasurer, International/Public Relations

Secretary for 1 year


4-H Fair Foodstand

Beth and Dana will once again coordinate the foodstand. This is our only real fundraiser and we need everyone's help. Sign-up packets will be mailed out by May 1 and need to be returned to the U of I Extension office by May 30. 4-H BBQ cake and potato sign-up sheets are already with unit presidents. Mailbox and sustaining members may volunteer by calling Rebecca at the Extension Office – 217-465-8585.

Edgar County HCE February Board Meeting Minutes

The ECHCE officers met for a board meeting on February 13, 2019 at the home of Pat Brazelton.

President Beth Sablotny called the meeting to order.

Secretary read the roll call. Present were Pat Brazelton, Paula Coombes and Beth Sablotny.

The minutes from the January meeting were read and approved as presented.

Board Reports:

1st Vice – Betty Porter was called to discuss a nominating committee. Due to health reasons, she will not be able to assist.

2nd Vice – No report.

Community Outreach/Cultural Enrichment – No report

International – Carole Halloran will continue to advertise in papers, libraries, etc. Carole Halloran, Bernice Hayes, Beth Sablotny and Marge Houghland will meet to discuss by-laws.

Ways and Means – No report

Treasurer – Beth is still going through papers and waiting on electronic files.

President – Beth Sablotny – A copy of the by-laws was given to the board with corrections highlighted.

Leftover pop from the 4-H Fair was delivered to the Food Pantry by Jim Bennett and Dale Cash.

School supplies were picked up from the Extension Office by Beth. Paula and Beth will sort supplies on Monday, February 18 and deliver on Tuesday, February 19. Paula will deliver to Chrisman and Shiloh. Beth will deliver to Kansas, Crestwood and Paris 95.

The annual newsletter is to be sent to Rebecca at the Extension Office.

The next Edgar County HCE Board Meeting will be at March 4, 2019 at the Art Center at 6 p.m.



Board Reports:

1st Vice – Contacted Peggy Cline concerning nominating committee. No reply was received. Members will continue to be called. School supplies were delivered to Chrisman and Shiloh Schools.

2nd Vice – Checking on table decorations

Community Outreach/Cultural Enrichment – No report

International – No report

Ways and Means – No report

Treasurer – Beth is still going through papers and waiting on electronic files.

President – Beth Sablotny – Discussion was held regarding the Annual Meeting being held on April 10. The theme will be "Celebrate Around the World." The speaker will be Becky Rich, We-Li-Kit Ice Cream. She will provide ice cream. Beth is still waiting to hear from Jeannine McDaniel about catering the meal. Mayo Leadership Club will serve and Mayo boys will set up 8 – 10 tables.

May/June newsletter articles are due to Rebecca by April 15.

The next Edgar County HCE Board Meeting will be April 1 beginning at 6 p.m. at the home of Pat Brazelton.

Don't Miss the Annual HCE Meeting

Tuesday, May 21 at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

Registration is at 5:30 p.m. with the meeting beginning at 6 p.m.

Cost is $5 – Desserts will be served – RSVP and send your check to:

University of Illinois Extension, Edgar County, 210 W. Washington St., Paris by May 12.

Please make checks payable to Edgar County HCE.

Ideas for Growing Membership
  1. Host a meeting at a senior center
  2. Use word of mouth
  3. Invite a friend. It is hard to join a club if someone doesn't know about the meeting.
  4. Keep a list of potential members. Follow through with invitations to meetings.
  5. Smile
Decorating all Year with Mason Jars

While attending the 2019 HCE Annual Conference, Paula Coombes attended the Decorating With Mason Jars workshop. There were many really cute ideas that involved minimum effort. Check these out:

April - #1 – Fill a jar with candy or cookies. Slip the jar into a cellophane Easter bag and tie with ribbon or raffia.

#2 – Place Easter grass into the jar. Add a chocolate bunny and some colored malted milk Easter egg candies. Put Easter scrapbook paper or Easter fabric on the lid. Tie ribbon or raffia around the top for a finished look. Note: Edible Easter grass can be used.

#3 – After cleaning a jar with rubbing alcohol, paint it white using acrylic paint with a foam brush. You will need 2-3 coats of paint. Paint a bunny face on the jar. Spray the jar to prevent chipping. Wrap the jar rim with twine. Place real or artificial flowers in the new "bunny vase." You can also glue a cotton ball on to the backside if desired.

May - Mother's Day Idea – Fill a Mason jar with some water. Ad food coloring so it looks tinted. Use whatever color and amount you like to get the desired color (a little goes a long way.) Add a bouquet of small fresh flowers. You may want to use a wire "frog" to help position the flowers.

Graduation Idea – Put an empty toilet paper tube in to the jar. Get some play money bills and shred them. Place them all around the cardboard tube to hide it. You can roll some real money or a check to place in the tube as your gift. Paint the jar lid and rib black. Place a black, square piece of tag board on top of the lid. Paint it if needed. Make a tassel and glue it onto the middle of the hat. Glue on a small button from which the tassel will appear to hang. The graduate could later use the jar as a bank to save those pennies for college.

June – Take one of Grandma's doilies and fit it around a jar. You may have to fold part of it down. Tie it on with a ribbon at the back of the jar. Make an assortment with different types of doilies or lace. Adorn with flower or pearl embellishments if desired. Add baby's breath or other flowers to the jar. This would make a pretty wedding decoration. You may decide to have the tied ribbon side be the front of the display.

May 2019 Minor Lesson

Spring Bulbs – Planting and More

Bulbs provide a good investment for money spent and supply years of spring color in your yard. Fall is the prime time for planting of hardy spring flowering bulbs. Most bulbs can be planted until the ground is frozen.

Preparing Soil

Properly preparing the soil for bulb planting is important. Good soil drainage is essential in raising bulbs. If you have a soil with a high clay content, it can be improved by adding compost, peat moss or some other source of organic material. The organic material should be worked in the top twelve inches of soil (eighteen inches is even better).


Both spring and summer bulbs need phosphorous to encourage root development. Keep in mind that phosphorous moves very little once applied to the soil. Some bulbs are planted 6 to 8 inches deep. The phosphorus needs to be mixed in the soil below where the bulbs will be located so it can be utilized by the bulb roots. Mix bonemeal or superphosphate with the soil in the lower part of the planting bed as it is being prepared.

If bulbs are going to be maintained in a planting bed more than one year, it is important to supply additional fertilizer. Spring flowering bulbs should have mixed into the soil in the fall five tablespoons of 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer (or equivalent bulb fertilizer) plus two cups of bonemeal per ten square foot area. As soon as the shoots break through the ground in the spring, repeat the above soluble fertilizer application. Do not fertilize spring flowering bulbs after they have started flowering. This tends to encourage the development of bulb rot and sometimes shortens the life of the flowers.

Summer and fall flowering bulbs should be fertilized monthly from shoot emergence until the plants reach full flower. Apply seven tablespoons of 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer (or equivalent bulb fertilizer) split over two or three applications over a ten square foot area.

The optimum pH range for bulbs is 6 to 7. A soil test of the planting area is necessary to determine if lime needs to be applied to adjust the soil pH. If needed, limestone should be worked into the soil. For good bud development, work bonemeal into the soil at planting.

Planting Location

Before selecting the location to plant bulbs in the landscape, consider the light requirements of the plant. Does the plant require full sunshine, partial shade or full shade? Since early spring bulbs bloom before most trees or shrubs leaf out, they can successfully be planted under trees and shrubs. Many summer blooming bulbs require full sun or partial shade.

Spring bulbs planted on a south slope will bloom earlier than the same bulbs planted on a north slope. Spring bulbs planted on a hillside will bloom earlier than bulbs planted in a valley. Cold air is heavier than warm air and behaves like water. It flows down the slope, settling in the low areas.

Planting Depth

The general rule of thumb for planting spring bulbs is to plant two to three times as deep as the bulbs is tall. This means most large bulbs like tulips or daffodils will be planted about 8 inches deep while smaller bulbs will be planted 3-4 inches deep. Planting depth is measured from the bottom of the bulb. This rule of thumb on planting depth does not apply to summer bulbs which have varied planting requirements. For planting depth of summer bulbs, consult the information supplied with the bulbs.

Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths should be planted with the nose of the bulb upward and the root plate downward. The best method of planting is to dig and loosen the entire bed to the proper depth. Press the bulbs into the soil in the planting area and cover with soil. Because the soil in a spaded bed is better drained and prepared, the planting will last longer. This method of planting is preferred over trying to plant bulbs one by one with a bulb planter. In many soils bulb planters do not work well, if at all.

Complete article can be found at:

June 2019 Minor Lesson



Source: Jason Haupt, University of Illinois Extension Energy and Environmental Stewardship

There are lots of reasons to hate mosquitoes. For most people it is the itching that accompanies the bite, but there are health reasons to hate them too. In February of 2016, the news began to talk about the Zika virus and its dangers. Although Zika is in the news, mosquitoes carry a number of other diseases that should be considered. Illinois has had very few cases of Zika and none of them came from bites originating in Illinois. According to WHO and the Illinois Department of Public Health, controlling contact with mosquitoes is one of the most effective ways of reducing your risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease.

Mosquitoes are most active at night and do not like cool weather. Most species of mosquitoes are active when the nighttime temperatures do not fall below 50 degrees. Different species of mosquitoes have different winter survival strategies, but many of the indicators for them to hatch require average water temperatures to rise above a specific temperature.

Here are a few suggestions on controlling mosquitoes in your yard:

Personal Protection - This is the most effective way of keeping mosquitoes from biting you. Wearing long sleeves and long pants works well until the weather makes that restrictive. Treating your clothes with chemicals is an effective way, improving the protection of your clothes. Using bug sprays is also very effective; though this is the most effective way of keeping mosquitoes away from you, not everyone likes this option. For one you cannot use it on young children, and not everyone wants to spray themselves with chemicals. If you are open to this option, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EPA and Illinois Dep. of Public Health have the following recommendations for chemicals to use. DEET is the most effective chemical to use. Research has shown that concentrations between 20 and 40% are effective for up to four hours and 40% concentrations were effective for up to six hours. Products that contain Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) are effective as well. Picaridin and IR3535, found in products like Skin so Soft, are also effective though nothing works as well as DEET.

Remove breeding habitat- Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and removing the breeding habitat reduces the ability of one mosquito turning into a swarm. Very little water is needed for mosquitoes to breed. They can breed in as little as ½ inch of water. Empty and scrub out anything that holds water at least once a week. Keep buckets and anything else that could hold water covered or turned over to prevent them from becoming breeding areas.

Chemical Warfare - There are lots of chemicals out there, and recently there have been a number of advertisements for having your yards treated by a professional. Though these treatments are effective, the species that is being treated for is usually very specific to the chemicals. The best way to chemically control mosquitoes is to kill the larva before they hatch.

"Natural" Options- Using things like plants, plant extracts, or natural predators are an option for controlling mosquitoes around your yard. This is one of the least predictable methods of controlling mosquitos, as attracting the desirable animals can be difficult. Also, plants and plant extracts are not as effective as other methods as they have limited reach.