December RVW low res



December RVW low res
Amber Melby:
Woman of the Year
Looking a lot
like Christmas!
Hilltop Florist &
Guggisberg Tree Farm
Singing for a Cause
Mankato Opry
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
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Moved into our Brand New Showroom!
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RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
When You’re Happy, We’re Happy
18 28
New Century Press
Chief Operating Officer
Jim Hensley
General Manager
Lisa Miller
Please direct all editorial inquiries
and suggestions to:
Managing Editor
Eileen Madsen
[email protected]
Sales Manager
Natasha Weis
[email protected]
Sales Team
Judy Beetch
Erin Fritz
Dawnn Hannover
Ruth Klossner
Tami Leuthold
Janelle Magelee
Deb Moldaschel
Amy Leuthold
Cover Photographer
Alika Faythe Hartmann
Despres Photography
River Valley Woman
New Ulm & Mankato, MN
For advertising and editorial contact
information and a list of newsstand
locations visit
River Valley Woman is published monthly and
distributed free in the Minnesota River Valley
area. The content used in this magazine is
copyright 2014 River Valley Woman and may
not be reprinted in part or in whole without
written consent by the publisher. All articles
and editorial material represent the opinions
of the respective authors.
The publisher reserves the right to edit, reject, or
position any advertising. In the event of any error,
River Valley Woman will rerun the
incorrect part of the ad or cancel charges
on the incorrect portion.
{{ december
• 2014
Seasonal Decor with a Twist at Hilltop Florist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Fun, Festivals & Frolics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Treasures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Suitcase Savvy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Joys of the Holidays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Holiday Style Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Strut Your Stuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Be Well: Preparing for Surgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Tis Not The Season for a Emergency Trip to the Vet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Finding the Right Instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Family Fun - Cutting Your Own Tree at Guggisberg Tree Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Readers Rave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
A Beginner’s Guide to Winter Containers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Spaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Taste of the River Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Good Taste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Tidy Tightwads: Enough Stuff is Enough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Good Reads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
Money Talks: Making a List and Checking it Twice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Money Talks: Shop Smart for the Holidays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Money Talks: 12 Tips for a Season of Giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Money Talks: Life Events Drive Need for Financial Guidance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Tires 101: A Class You Want to Pass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
8 Ways to Protect the Value of Your Car this Winter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Lather, Rinse, Repeat - Editor’s Column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Amber Melby - Woman of the Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Rewards In Retirement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Make Someone’s Monday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Carrol Meyers-Dobler - Helping Those in Need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Howard Mock Gives Back Through Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Connections Business Cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
How are you doing? Good? I mean
as in doing good for others. I know we
all have doing-good intentions but
sometimes life gets in the way. Then
again, maybe not so much, judging by
the extraordinary women (and men!) in
this issue.
First on the I-am-impressed-O-meter
is cover feature Amber Melby. Doing
good is an understatement! It isn’t every
woman who gets to reign over her own
year. Read about this Woman of the
Year’s fund-raising efforts along with
her new business venture. Speaking
of impressed, we neglected to credit
Alika Faythe Hartmann of Depres
Photography last month for taking
her usual stellar photographs of our
November cover feature. Alika’s talent
shines through the pages of most of
our issues, including this one. Whilst I
am gushing, I want to shout out to each
and every advertiser in this our best
issue yet! River Valley Woman grows each
month and that would not be possible
without the advertising support that
keeps this magazine free. And free it will
remain! Like the best things in life, right?
Thanks as well, to all of you readers for
the Facebook likes, kind e-mails, and
enthusiasm for RVW. Group hug! (Did I
just say that?)
I had the pleasure of chatting on the
phone recently with Howard Mock of
Rhapsody Music and Mankato Opry
Jamboree fame. It was such fun talking
about the tunes and bands of our youth,
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
by Eileen Madsen, Editor
and reminding him of the musical group that named themselves after him back in
the 1980s. For those of you who remember “Howard’s Hair,” yup, that was about
him. While he isn’t our typically featured female, the money he and his fellow
musicians raise with their Opry event goes to many worthy causes that benefit
women and families, including CADA House and area food shelves. He, along with
others who share their stories in this issue prove there is still good in the world.
As we all know it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and everywhere you
go there are decorations galore to buy, along with slightly disturbing nativity sets
featuring animals and food where people should be. The holy family carved out
of Spam, marshmallow Mary and Joseph (did I just say that?), and even chipmunk
angels. I didn’t even know chipmunks could play trumpets, much less had wings.
While it’s fun to see the new dazzling doohickies in the stores, consider putting
up someone else’s decor. No, don’t go steal your neighbor’s inflatable Rudolf. Hit
the charitable thrift shops! Therein lies everything one would ever need, and then
some, to decorate your home. The cool part about buying your bells, candles and
mini lights that have seen Christmases past, is that your dollars (or in some cases,
cents) go to help others. And you can score some really nifty vintage decor on the
cheap. Buy some for your neighbors while you’re at it.
With the holiday season comes the inevitable cleaning to get ready for
company. My new best friend who now has an open door invitation to our home
is none other than the ultimate do-gooder in the dirt department–Mr. Clean. If you
believe in miracles then Mr. C’s Magic Eraser is one sexy thing. (Did I just say that?).
You can’t use it on your skin, unfortunately, to magically erase crow’s feet, but
it gets rid of dirt and grime and grease in just a minute, just like the old ad song
promised. Maybe Howard Mock could book him at the next Opry Jamboree. He
does rock a bald head and earring. His Magic Eraser would make a great stocking
stuffer for your best gal pal. (Did I just say that?)
If you can sneak in some time for yourself during the holiday hoopla, check out
our Good Reads page for some ideas. I was thrilled beyond reason to meet the
author of Kevin Kling’s Holiday Inn last year right here in New Ulm. I have a signed
copy of his book and highly recommend it for some laugh until you cry and cry
until you laugh essays of family life. Sometimes you can’t “do gooder” than to read
a story to a child, share a best seller with a friend, or relax with a great book when
you should be magic erasing.
No matter what you do this holiday it forward, give it back,
or create a mac ‘n’ cheese nativity with your kids, it’s all (doing) good. Yes, I just
said that.
Advanced Joint Replacement Program
By The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic and River’s Edge Hospital
The OrthoEdge Joint Replacement Program is a specialized
program offered exclusively through The Orthopaedic &
Fracture Clinic in conjunction with River’s Edge Hospital and
includes the involvement of your entire care team: surgeon,
physician assistant, hospitalist, physical/occupational
therapists, nurses, surgical technologists, and many other
team members. The program is designed to expedite you
safely and comfortably through the joint replacement process
and return you to an active lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Here are just a few features of our
innovative OrthoEdge program:
• Placement in a private room at River’s Edge
Hospital after surgery with a dedicated
hospitalist to coordinate care during your stay
• Expanded quality menu selections
• Prehabilitation evaluation with our physical
therapy specialists to help prepare you for
surgery. Post-operatively you will receive
same-day physical therapy followed by oneon-one occupational and physical therapy
sessions twice daily in our therapy area
• Educational material for you and your coach
that thoroughly explains the process and what
to expect
• Customized postoperative list of equipment
that is specific to your need
(844) 412-7949 |
• A program coordinator overseeing your
progress from your initial appointment with the
surgeon all the way through to rehabilitation
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Woman of the Year
Amber Melby goes
all out for a cause
Story By Ruth Klossner
Photos by Alika Faythe Hartmann,
Despres Photography
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
When Amber Melby gets behind a cause, she gives it full effort—and mobilizes
her family, friends, and community to help.
Such was the case when a friend approached her to participate in the “Man and
Woman of the Year campaign” for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
The request came soon after Amber’s best friend’s son was diagnosed with Acute
Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
It was a request she couldn’t refuse. She accepted the challenge in honor of the
little boy close to her heart, Cole “Coley Bear” McDonough. Amber and Coley’s
mom, Julie, were lifelong friends—having met when they started kindergarten
together in Emmetsburg, Iowa in 1980.
Melby led “Team Coley Bear” in a fundraising effort that raised more money than
had ever been raised by a female. It won her the title of LLS Woman of the Year and
contributed $66,906 to the fight against blood cancers.
Six men and seven women took part in the Minnesota Man & Woman of the Year
fundraising campaign. Melby led the only team from outside the metro area, a fact
that she felt was to her advantage.
“That shows what great things can come from small communities like ours,”
Melby said. “It reinforced why Jason and I moved to New Ulm. We always knew
this was a special place. But, to only have lived here seven years, and to have that
support, was wonderful.”
The manager of home care and hospice for Allina Home Health Services in
New Ulm, Melby rallied her coworkers at the hospital, those from Allina, family,
friends, and the people of Emmetsburg and New Ulm to help with the daunting
10-week challenge. The 2013 female winner had raised $19,000 and the most ever
Amber and Boy of the Year Cole McDonough pose with their photo sticks from the Blood Drop Ball.
The sticks were sold as part of the fund-raising campaign.
all evening, with the final result being Team Coley’s amazing win,
naming Melby Woman of the Year for Minnesota LLS. Collectively,
all the candidates raised a grand total of $726,000, up from $190,000
the previous year. There’s more good news on the LLS front, too.
Thanks to research, the cure rate for childhood leukemia is now 90
percent, up an amazing 87 percent from 1965 when it was just three
“That shows the advances that have been made,” Amber said.
“But, Julie says ‘There’s still that other 10 percent.”
Melby continued, “The leukemia and lymphoma blood research
has funneled down into other cancers. What they’ve learned has
helped with the research into other cancers.”
Cole, now four-and-a-half, is doing great. He still has 18 months of
treatment, then another year-and-a-half of being cancer-free before
he will be considered cured.
“He’s taught us all so much about being brave, just watching
him go through it all. He’s got an amazing support system, with his
parents and his brother Chase, who’s a year older. Julie has also done
a lot of speaking for advocacy for the cure,” Melby said.
Though her life is full with work and family, Melby has now shifted
her passion to another cause.
“Our youngest son, Rhett was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
He’s a student at River Bend Education District. My passion has
shifted—there’s a lot of education that needs to be done on what
River Bend offers,” Melby said.
Working with other parents, Amber is helping to develop a Parent
Advisory Council to give parent feedback to the staff and will do
community education on resources for parents. One parent is being
sought to represent each of the 10 towns that are part of River Bend.
Melby is also a volunteer on the hospital fundraising gala
raised by a female was $38,000. With those figures in
mind, Melby thought, “Let’s try for $25,000.” She and
her team not only doubled that, but raised the most
money ever by a woman.
“The great news is that our team only won by a very
narrow margin, which I think was the difference in
small, community support,” she said.
Any candidate who raises over $50,000 gets to name
a research grant in honor of a person. Not surprisingly,
Melby named her grant in honor of Cole McDonough.
“We can put money toward a specific research
project. We picked Targeted Therapies because Cole’s
parents, Matt and Julie, felt that there was a need for
research in that area,” Amber explained.
Melby and her 12-member team—including Sarah
Jensen Weidman and Amanda Groebner of New Ulm—
did a combination of things to win the competition.
They sold “Coley Bear” bracelets, held a donation
garage sale and a family friendly fundraiser, sold a
getaway to New Ulm at the gala ball in Minneapolis
that wrapped up the state campaign, and raised
donations from family, friends, and coworkers.
“People stepped up, both in our home town where
both of our parents still live, and in New Ulm. We
had great support here in the hospital and also from
co-workers at Allina Home Health in the metro,” Melby
said. “It solidifies what we thought about rallying
people around a cause.”
The campaign came to a grand ending when the
final results were tallied at the fundraising Blood
Drop Ball in Minneapolis May 16. Results were tallied
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
“We took a
leap of faith.
Jason applied
for and got a
job. We say
it was the
best decision
we’ve ever
It was just seven years ago that Amber and
Jason handpicked New Ulm as the place they
wanted to call home. They came here from
Omaha, wanting to be closer to family. Born
and raised in small Iowa communities, the
Melbys wanted a city that was big enough
to have amenities, but small enough to be a
good place to raise their three small children.
“We took a leap of faith. Jason applied for
and got a job. We say it was the best decision
we’ve ever made. We love the community.
We found it to be very welcoming, friendly,
and encouraging,” Amber said. “Even though
we weren’t ‘from New Ulm,’ I say, ‘We are
Both Amber and Jason quickly got
involved in the community. Jason—who
works shifts as a correctional officer in
the jail for the Brown County Sheriff’s
Department—coaches the kids’ basketball
teams. Son Reece is now 13, daughter Riley is
11, and son Rhett is seven.
And, for Amber, “The hospital has been
such an awesome network of people. There’s
so much to do in the community to stay
Amber has been in nursing for 16 years,
mostly in critical care while in Omaha. She’s
been in hospice and home care for the last
five years and has been the manager of the
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
department for the last year-and-a-half.
“I realized my passion for home care and hospice, working out in the community,
with people in their own homes and in area facilities. ” Amber said.
It’s a changing field in that hospice and home care has grown so much in recent
years. From a staff of five nurses and 12 staff total just five years ago, Melby now
manages 10 nurses and 21 total staff.
“That comes from health care changes. Insurance now wants people to stay in
their homes as long as possible. And, with short hospital stays, people still need care
when they’re discharged. That’s been a big boom in home care,” Melby explained.
New Ulm’s hospice load hit a high of 43 patients last year.
“That stems from a push from physicians to discuss end-of-life care. They ask
patients and their families about their goals. We can keep them comfortable and
let nature take its course, rather than moving people back and forth to the hospital
Hospice no longer means just the last few days of life. Its definition now is for
anyone that a physician feels has six months or less to live.
“The goal is to get patients in hospice sooner so that they and their families
can benefit from our support,” Melby said. “We focus on pain and symptom
management. The longer they’re with us, the more benefits they get from our
services. Care is provided by a whole team of people, not just nurses. We focus on
patient comfort.”
The New Ulm hospice team consists of nurses, home health aides, a social
worker, a chaplain, volunteers, a volunteer coordinator, a new music therapist, a
new massage therapist, and two team assistants who “keep the wheels on the bus”
by doing all the administrative work and referrals. Dr. Matt Lieser is the hospice
physician and Karen Hoffmann-Distad the nurse practitioner who sees patients in
nursing homes.
Melby outlined the goal of the hospice program. “We don’t know the quantity
of life a person has left, but we can help with the quality of life, both for patients
and their families. We want to reach anyone who could benefit from our services.
Realizing the need for facilities that can provide care
for elderly people who can no longer stay in their own
homes, Amber and Jason have reached out into the
From Left: Cole’s mother Julie and Amber the
night of the Blood Drop Ball.
Amber and husband Jason recently purchased
South View Living Center in Gibbon.
Amber visits with a resident at South View.
community. They recently purchased South View Living
Center in Gibbon, a 12-bed assisted living facility. They
expect the purchase to be final by the end of the year.
“That translates from my job with Allina—knowing the
needs of the community,” Amber said. “South View
Hospice is a very rewarding field—to be
able to help people at a time of life when
they’re so vulnerable. We can help keep them
comfortable and provide emotional and
spiritual support.”
Melby also noted that—although many
people aren’t aware of it—hospice is a
Medicare benefit paid 100 percent if patients
meet the criteria of being physician referred,
with a life expectancy of less than six months,
and with goals that are consistent with the
hospice philosophy. RVW
was built 10 years ago and is a great resource for the
area. It’s a fully functioning facility that runs pretty
independently. The current owners were able to have
careers outside of South View and still successfully
manage the facility and that will be our plan as well. I
will be the RN on call 24/7. We are looking forward to a
new challenge and helping meet the needs for good,
quality senior housing in the area. The lot east of South
View is included in the purchase and our goal is to
add beds in the next few years to accommodate the
growing needs of the community.”
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Linda Hacket leads
a Bone Builders cla
ss .
donation from Thrivent for the hand weights, she and Linda set out
to make the exercise program in St. James a reality.
Linda, a retired military sergeant, also knew this program would
do wonders for the St. James area. An advocate for staying busy in
retirement, Linda found herself volunteering for many meaningful
projects including the Opera House restoration committee. When
Audrey asked Linda for help with Bone Builders, she immediately
stepped up. Audrey knew Linda fit the bill as a dedicated and
disciplined exercise leader, with her military background and
humorous, personable nature.
“I knew she would be good at it” Audrey said of Linda’s ability to
keep people engaged and motivated.
Twice a week, Audrey and Linda lead a group of local women
through a series of select, research-proven exercise moves to help
prevent or reverse the effects of osteoporosis and
By Lora Brady
Common Good RSVP Program Coordinator
Audrey Swanson is a woman with a mission - always! Known for
getting things done, Audrey had her mission in mind after reading
an article in the Mankato newspaper describing
an osteoporosis prevention exercise program
that kicked off in 2011. Bone Builders, a program
sponsored by Common Good RSVP of Catholic
Charities, is designed to help seniors slow or
prevent the devastating effects of osteoporosis.
“We need that,” she thought. Audrey knew
that a Bone Builders program would provide a
great benefit to seniors living in and around St.
James. In 2013 she enlisted the help of friend
Linda Hackett to start a Bone Builders class in
their hometown of St. James.
“I’ve always been into healthier living,”
she said. So with dedication and resolve,
the retired radiology and x-ray technician
got to work. Audrey contacted the local
RSVP coordinator and, with the help of the
St. James Community Center staff and a
{ continued on page 52 }
Meals on Wheels delivers great rewards
Going north to St. Peter, another RSVP
retired volunteer, Kathy Witty, above
right, finds great reward in bringing
meals to people’s homes. “I had no clue
how much I would get out of it,” said Kathy.
She and close friend and co-worker, Sue
Frey, started making a plan for getting
involved in their community while still
working at the St. Peter Regional Treatment
Center. “We knew we wanted to find some
volunteer opportunities once we retired,”
she explained. They made a list, and, when
the time came, started checking into them.
Meal delivery through Meals on Wheels at
Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSS)
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
was one such opportunity.
“I started filling in,” Kathy said, and when
Sue retired two years later, they took it on as
a team, visiting about 15 homes on average
for one route.
“You’re a bit nervous at first,” Kathy admits
about bringing food to someone’s doorstep,
but feels that it is not a huge commitment,
considering the important need being met.
In the St. Peter and Mankato area alone,
over 200 elderly people rely on these LSS
meals for daily nutrition, and often, the
reassurance drivers provide.
“They may not see anyone else that day,”
Kathy says.
She mentioned that, for her and Sue, who
worked so long in human services, they
missed helping people. Meal delivery, she
says, is a way to fill that void. She states that
almost every time they bring meals around,
they comment on how amazed they are at
the rewards they get.
She also admits that her two years of meal
delivery at LSS have been eye-opening.
They often see conditions at homes that
need attention. One man’s steps badly
needed repair, so they reported it to the
main office. Sometimes they make note of
specific needs, like lawn mowing. While they
don’t spend a lot of time at each residence,
Kathy maintains, there is plenty of time to
get to know these folks, even through a
brief conversation. “They watch for you,”
she smiled. “One older lady most definitely
wants you to have a miniature candy bar.”
Following that, Kathy emphasized again
the rewards gleaned from this volunteer
program. And, while Kathy has a peace of
mind knowing she is helping so many, she
also stresses the importance of others in
her generation stepping up. She wants this
mission to continue as other drivers who
have delivered - some for over 20 years retire from meal delivery.
Like many other RSVP volunteers who
have found such gratification in retirement,
Kathy summed it up perfectly: ‘”You just
become part of it.”
Come see us first.
Parents have told us they prefer to have their child seen by a pediatric provider when they are not
feeling well. That’s why we are making it easier to get the care they need—at a place just for kids.
When your child is sick call the Pediatrics Department at Children’s Health Center after
7:00 am to make a same-day appointment for your child before going to Urgent Care.
Call 507-389-8529 for a Same-Day Appointment.
Ask about our evening appointments.
Same-Day Appointments available Monday – Friday until 5:00 pm.
KYSM Radio made dozens
of wishes of come true
By Amanda Dyslin
Every Monday at 7:35 a.m. this year,
somebody in southern Minnesota received an
unexpected call that would make their day.
On the other end of the line were the co-hosts of “George and Jess in
the Morning” on 103.5 KYSM-FM with some pretty great news to share:
The person’s wish was about to come true.
“It was a phenomenal opportunity to reach out and touch some
people who deserved it,” said Jess Wenk, program director and co-host.
The station started a “Make Someone’s Monday” program at the
beginning of the year. The idea was to take nominations from the public
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for deserving people in the station’s listening area who had a need, big
or small.
Wenk said the program came from a brainstorming session at the
station to answer the question, “How can we use this massive radio
signal to make a difference in everyday people’s lives?”
The call to the public was simple: “We all have the person in our lives
who, for whatever reason, touched us ... influenced us ... and changed
us. Maybe that someone is going through a tough time in their life, and
you want to lift their spirits and encourage them. … George and Jess
want to help you make someone’s Monday!”
Hundreds of e-mails poured in, and each week for nine months, the
co-hosts chose a lucky recipient and worked with the person who made
the nomination to orchestrate the surprise. The station also worked with
area businesses to garner donations to make the wishes come true.
The dozens of wishes were diverse: groceries, household repairs, a
spa day, even just a night out for dinner. Wenk remembers a couple of
recipients, in particular, whose stories were particularly moving.
A couple in St. Peter, Richard and Mary, were nominated by their
daughter because Richard was having difficulty getting in and out of
the shower. They were facing having to leave their home for assisted
living. The only thing standing in the way of staying in the house was
making the bathtub handicap accessible.
Thanks to ProBuild and E&R Maintenance, the construction on the
bathroom was donated. George delivered the news on the air to the
couple on June 9.
“Richard, nobody is moving you out of your home,” George said.
“We’re not going to let that happen.”
Another instance involved a friend who nominated a giving and
selfless co-worker, Leanne of Lake Crystal, who was embarrassed to
have her son’s graduation party at her home because of furniture that
was in disrepair. Thanks to a $1,000 gift certificate donated by Rooms
and Rest, she could shop for new furniture.
“I have some good people in my life. Very good people,” Leanne said
through tears on the air.
“You’ve been a good person in a lot of people’s lives as well,” Wenk
said to her.
Throughout the program, there were were definitely mornings when
Wenk was moved to tears. She wanted to emphasize how grateful she
and the others at the station are to all the local businesses that donated.
“It was pretty life-changing,” Wenk said.
Around the holidays, KYSM focuses a great deal of attention to other
charity efforts, including Toys for Tots and ECHO Food Shelf. But she said
the program may return in the future if the fantastic support of local
businesses continues.
For more information, and to listen to previous “Make Someone’s
Monday” surprise phone calls, visit RVW
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RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Life journey...personal mission:
Helping those in need
Partners for Affordable Housing executive director Carrol Meyers-Dobler
shares her life journey and mission to help families and women in need.
Partners for Affordable Housing is the parent agency for the Theresa House
and the Welcome Inn, Mankato’s two homeless shelters open to families
and single adult females.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Number of Years Living In Area:
Coming up on three years!
Tell us what brought you to
My husband and I had always
talked that we would retire in
Mankato because this is where my
two sisters and their families live.
His health was not that good and
I knew that the day would come
when I would be alone. I wanted
the safety and security of knowing
that I could lean on my sisters, if
need be. As it turns out, he did
pass nearly six years ago and two years after his death our beautiful
home on the banks of the Missouri River in Bismarck, ND was greatly
impacted by a 500 year flood. The three month summer flood that
was never supposed to happen served as the trigger for my relocation.
I could no longer be without my sisters! I quit one of the best jobs I
have ever had, packed up the moving van and came here on a hope
and a dream! I have never, ever regretted that decision. My eyes
cannot get enough of the beautiful foliage Minnesota has to offer!
You work with people in need every day. Tell us why you got into
that line of work.
I love, love, love our mission here at Partners! This kind of work is
the reason I get up at 5 every morning! I come by my passion easily.
My father and step-father were both career employees of the criminal
justice system. They were employed at the Reformatory in St. Cloud.
My mother is a nurse, now long retired, of course, but she spent her
career working in a variety of positions including school nurse and
county nurse. My parents definitely shaped who I am today and I am
grateful that I can be here in Mankato during their elderly years.
Since you arrived in Mankato, what have been the biggest issues
facing the homeless and hungry in the Mankato area?
My impressions of Mankato revolve around the simple reality that
this is an oil and water community. What do I mean when I say that? I
simply mean that statistics show a high prevalence of poverty which
continues to exist despite a strong, vibrant business community. Blue
Earth County has the fourth highest poverty rate of any county in
Minnesota following the three counties on which there are Indian
Reservations. I have also learned that our community has more
millionaires per capita than any other community within the state.
People are always surprised by that. I am surprised by that. Couple
those facts with the reality that our community needs, desperately
needs, more affordable housing for low income families and single
adults, and you see my concern. I
know that the Cities of Mankato
All of us
and North Mankato share my
concerns. I have hope.
have had tough
In general, how giving has
experiences at one time
the Mankato community
or another. All of us
been for Partners for
Affordable Housing?
understand the importance
Partners for Affordable
of support every once
Housing, better known as the
Theresa House and the Welcome
in a while.
Inn, has quietly and efficiently
stretched to serve the needs of those
in our community who find themselves
in a temporary housing crisis. There
many reasons why a family might lose their housing. One must
understand that every single one of our families is struggling to live
at or below the federal poverty level. That means, every single one of
our families is paying more than 30% of their income for housing. That
fact alone puts them at high risk. If the car suddenly requires massive
repairs, there is no money for rent. If a child is diagnosed with cancer
and requires months of specialized care, there is no money for rent. If
a working-parent’s hours get cut, there is no money for rent.
The Mankato community is very, very philanthropic! Our agency
learned that when we launched Pedal Past Poverty two years ago.
This crazy, zany stationary bike race held in February/March of each
year attracted hundreds of participants---and resulted in net profits
of $74,000 in 2013 and $82,000 in 2014. This year’s race, slated for
February 28, 2015, will raise (we hope!) $100,000!
Experience has taught me that people will respond if we do a good
job of telling the story. All of us have had tough experiences at one
time or another. All of us understand the importance of support every
once in a while. I’ve been the lucky one! I have my sisters!
Does it ever get hard to work every day with people who are
under such stress?
This would be a great question for my social workers, shelter
manager and support staff. Yes. It does. But, our staff is incredible!
People are drawn to the non-profit arena because they want to make
a difference in the lives of others. We are a different breed, to be sure!
We don’t do it for the money. We don’t do it for the posh offices. We
don’t do it because we can work an 8-hour shift and go home, stress
free. We do it because each one of us believes, from the very bottom
of our hearts, that people can and do change. Our work does make a
difference and we have hundreds of stories that lend credence to our
work! My day is brightened when one of our former guests drops in to
say, “Hi---and thank you for everything you have done for me!”
Where do you see Partners for Affordable Housing going in the
next 10 years?
Our concern, as a Board of Directors and as a staff, is the great
numbers of families and single adult females we cannot provide
shelter to. The Theresa House and the Welcome Inn are very small
{ continued on page 70 }
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Howard Mock gives back through music
By Amanda Dyslin
oward Mock had reached a pretty good place in his life as
owner of the successful Mankato business Rhapsody Music.
And when that happens, he says, you have to give back.
So, about five or six years ago, Mock started going to Social
Services before the holidays to get the name of a family in need at
Christmas. He would pick them up, take them shopping, and buy them
clothing and gifts.
“That was fun to do, and I got a real great feeling of doing something
good for someone else,” Mock said.
The giving increased over the years, by including more families in his
Christmastime efforts and doing other charitable giving, including to
ChildFund International, formerly Christian Children’s Fund. Among his
other efforts, he helped a local boy with cerebral palsy play guitar. The
boy couldn’t hold a guitar pick, so Mock helped make a glove with an
attached pick that allowed the boy to strum.
“And then I got to thinking about it. There’s got to be a way to (give)
on a bigger scale,” Mock said. “There’s just a lot of need, and I’m in a
position now where I can help people.”
Inspiration struck in February of 2012. Mock’s old band, Sandra Lee &
The Velvets, were inducted in the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame. After
30 years apart, they performed at the Kato Ballroom. They had prepared
a few country songs they used to play in the ’70s.
“And everybody went kind of crazy for it,” said
Mock, who realized then that a true resurgence
“I got a
in interest in old country had taken place.
That’s when Mock realized that a concert
real great
in the vein of the Grand Ole Opry might be
feeling of doing
an incredible vehicle for that “bigger scale”
something good
charitable effort he had been searching
Mock’s longtime friend, Gary Pfeifer of
for someone
Janesville, came aboard as Mock’s partner
to help ease the pain if it flopped, Mock said
with a laugh.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen,”
Pfeifer said. “We thought, ‘We’ll just go down together.’”
And so, the first Mankato Opry Jamboree was held in April at the
Kato Ballroom. Just like at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, one band
performed throughout each of two shows, accompanying all of the
singers. Called the Opry All Stars Band, the group included Mock on bass;
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Photo courtesy of Mankato Opry Jamboree
From left are Sheldon Lee (white cowboy hat), Howard Mock,
Gary Pfeifer, and Jim Kozan.
Pfeifer on banjo/mandolin; Crista Bohlman on fiddle/guitar; Sheldon
Brandt on pedalsteel/guitar; Jason Olson on drums; and Jim Kozan on
A big barn backdrop on the stage was reminiscent of the hallowed
Opry stage, as was the traditional country music filling the ballroom.
Another element reminiscent of the Grand Ole Opry? The sold-out crowd
both nights. It turned out Mock’s fear of flopping was unwarranted, and
his belief that classic country had made a comeback was affirmed.
“We hoped a couple hundred people would be at each show,” Mock
said. “We were just flabbergasted when we walked in the ballroom on
the first night and the ballroom was full.”
The success of the event resulted in $13,000 being donated to area
charities, including Habitat for Humanity, school music programs,
Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA), and area food shelves.
It also resulted in the first Mankato Opry Christmas Show Nov. 28-30,
held again at the ballroom. The same band accompanied 17 performers,
and in addition to traditional country tunes, Christmas music was
performed to get the crowds in the holiday spirit.
The goal of the event, which this time included three shows, was to
raise more funds for area charities than the spring jamboree. Recipients
this time include Habitat for Humanity, CADA, and BackPack Food
Mock said he plans to do another Christmas show in 2015 as well.
Organizing such a large-scale event takes a great deal of effort. When
asked what motivates Mock to work so hard at the task of giving, he said
the spirit simply moves him to do so.
“You have to pay back,” he said. “There’s a saying in the Bible that if
you give, you’ll receive 10 fold. It just feels really good to give.”
Pfeifer – who has been friends with Mock for 20 years or so, but joked
that it seems more like 85 years – said he shares his friend’s philosophy:
“You kind of have to give back. If you do good, it’s because other people
have helped you.”
He also said that he’s known Mock to be a charitable person from the
day they met. “He’s a really good-hearted person,” Pfeifer said. “He’s
been like that ever since I’ve known him.” RVW
Tom Furth, Tracey Hillesheim,
Mary Windschitl, Pam Fullerton,
Ashton Sabatino, Paul Furth.
finding the right instrument
Many parents go through it: Your kid comes home and says, “I want
to learn to play an instrument!”
So many “what ifs” start to swirl in your brain. What if they don’t stick
with it? What if it’s too expensive?
Howard Mock, owner of Rhapsody Music, has a few tips to help
guide parents through the process.
Finding the right instrument
Some parents or children simply want to discover if there’s musical
talent to uncover, but they aren’t quite sure what instrument would be
best. Mock said he would usually start such a child on the piano.
According to the Hoffman Academy of Music in Oregon, the piano is
the best first instrument to learn because it’s easy to use (simply press
a key); the layout of the keys helps students learn to read music; and a
well-tuned piano helps students learn correct pitch.
Find the right fit
If a child does have an instrument in mind, it’s important that parents
find the right size instrument. Guitars, for example, come in ½ size, ¾
size, folk size and full size.
“You don’t want one that’s so big, the kid can’t event fit it in his lap,”
Mock said. “You want the right size guitar for the age of the child.”
Mock said the same is true for other instruments, including drums,
which come in junior size for kids.
Quality matters
Another common concern from parents is that they will invest a lot
of money into an instrument that their child will only use a couple of
times. This leads some parents buy a cheap instrument from a big-box
Often, cheap instruments are more difficult to learn on. Mock has
seen cheap guitars with strings that sit ½ inch off the neck, and children
won’t be able to press them down.
“What happens is they get discouraged right away, and they think
they just can’t play guitar,” he said. “Make sure it’s a good quality
Mock said parents should go to a music store, such as Rhapsody,
where all the employees are musicians and can share their expertise.
Plus, he said, most parents might be surprised to learn that prices on
many instruments are comparable to big-box prices, anyway.
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RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Cutting your
own tree is
By Deb Moldaschel
The idea of cutting my own Christmas tree has always
appealed to me, however my husband has never felt that
particular yearning so I’ve never even been to a cut-your-own
tree farm. That changed on a very cold but sunny day in midNovember when I visited with Tony Guggisberg at his farm in
rural New Ulm.
Tony said he started planting trees in 1994. The trees need to
grow for 8-10 years before they are ready to serve as Christmas
trees. He sold some at his business place first – River Creek
Nursery in New Ulm - and then took the plunge and opened up
the farm to cut-your-own customers 8 years ago.
Guggisberg Christmas Tree Farm is a family business that keeps
Tony and his six children busy all year round. They all help with
annual planting, watering young trees, and assisting customers
during the selling season. Of course Tony is involved in all the
work including trimming the trees for shape as they grow. His
wife, Marie, is chief bookkeeper. The Guggisbergs’ 10 acres of
trees translates to 8,000-10,000 trees in various stages of growth.
Trees available at Guggisbergs include:
Black Hills Spruce which is noted for dark green foliage and
conical form. They are very dense and have a deep dark green
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Blue Spruce, which is an attractive tree often used for
Christmas trees or as ornamentals, particularly in the eastern
United States and Europe.
Canaan Fir is a relative newcomer to the Christmas tree
market. It has many similarities to both Fraser and balsam firs in
growth and appearance.
The Scotch Pine is a lovely pine widely used throughout
North America as a landscape pine and as a commercially grown
Christmas tree. It is notable for its beautiful bluish-green or
yellowish-green foliage.
White Pine is a hardy, valuable tree with clustered soft bluegreen needles. Ideal as screen or windbreak and commonly
grown as Christmas trees.
Balsam Fir is a superb Christmas tree. Its lovely green color
and its fragrant aroma make it one of the most desirable trees
on the market. The Fraser Fir is the Cadillac of all Christmas trees. It has
dark green colored needles with a silvery underside. The soft
needles are pleasant to touch and are retained on the tree
throughout the Holiday Season.
Tony explains the
cut-your-own experience:
What happens when I come to a cut-your-own Christmas tree
At our farm you are usually greeted by one of the Guggisberg
family members. They will provide you with some information on
what type of trees we have, their prices and
where you may go to find the prized tree.
Do I have to bring my own saw?
No, we will be glad to provide you with a saw for cutting down
your tree. Remember, for safety reasons, we cannot allow customers
to use chain saws.
Will I have to cut and haul my tree myself?
Most people enjoy cutting their own tree, but we will gladly assist
them in hauling their tree back to the office where we will shake out
any old needles and help load their tree on
to their vehicle.
How do I keep a real tree fresh?
There are several ways to keep your tree fresh. 1: start by keeping
your tree away from any heat source such as fireplaces or furnace
vents. If the tree needs to be close to a vent, close the vent while
your tree is there. 2: make sure the tree does not run out of water in
the tree stand. You need to check your tree daily for water because
the tree may take up to a gallon of water daily. 3: try to keep the
room in which your tree is placed slightly cooler as this will prolong
the freshness of your tree.
Is there a difference between a tree I cut and one I buy
from a lot?
The ones you buy in a lot have usually been cut anywhere from
2-4 weeks before they arrive at the retail lots. Cutting your own tree
ensures that you get a freshly cut tree.
What if I am not going to put the tree up the same day I buy
it - how should I take care of it?
You should place your tree in a cool, shady location outside. When
you are ready to bring the tree in, you will need to give it a fresh cut
by cutting at least 1 inch off the trunk.
Which kind of tree has the best fragrance?
The Balsam Fir is generally the most aromatic.
Which kind of tree holds its needles the longest?
The Fraser Fir is known to hold its needles for a very long time.
Some customers enjoy keeping their Fraser Fir up for several
What kind of family traditions do you see in your customers?
We have many customers who make cutting their Christmas tree
at our tree farm a family
tradition. This gives them a good opportunity for wonderful photos
and many holiday memories. After they have successfully chosen
their tree and enjoyed a cup of cider and cookies, some families will
do some shopping and enjoy a bite to eat in nearby New Ulm. RVW
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Seasonal decor with a twist
By Deb Moldaschel
Christmas is red and green, right? Well that might
be what men think, but women know better. Lots of
ladies could change all of their Christmas décor each
year and never run out of ideas thanks to the many
shops that specialize in showing the way!
Kathy Van Tol, COO of Hilltop Florist and
Greenhouse in Mankato, is brimming with ideas – all
on display in their store. Kathy said that springtime
and Mother’s Day make up the busiest time of the
year in her store and garden center, and – no surprise
– Valentine’s Day is the single busiest day. But from
the look of the store this fall it seemed that
the Christmas season might be the
most fun.
“We start planning for
next Christmas as soon
as the current season is
complete” explained
Kathy. “We are able to
stay ahead of trends
through the markets
we attend.” Which,
according to Kathy is a
process that begins in
So, what are the trends
for Christmas decorating
this year? Traditional red is
always popular, especially here
in the Midwest. Chalkboards and
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Kathy & Sarah’s
condensed tips
for this year?
and words!
items with words or letters fit right in with that look.
Kathy said they are also featuring new sage type greens
this year, and that white and silver are popular in their
“Falling Snow” group. The store shows their chateaux
look with amber, brown, and copper tones and burlap
Kathy and manager/designer Sarah Gilberto
described some of the interesting ways that people
are decorating their homes. Sarah advised including
items with dimension in the tree and Kathy agreed that
adding bigger and/or unique pieces to the tree rather
than just hanging ornaments creates a fun effect. Sarah
mentioned that repurposing of unexpected items in
Christmas décor is also trending.
Hanging a decorative wreath on the door is always
popular but Kathy said they are also seeing special
baskets used the same way. Love the look of spruce
tops and other greens in your outdoor pots? You can
buy them made up and make your own.
Kathy keeps the instructions simple, saying, “Stick
them into the dirt in your pot and water it in good so it
freezes solid. This will keep your arrangement in place
during the windy days of winter.” RVW
Top left: traditional – This Timeless Tradition tree is filled with
dimensional items – see the “repurposed” ladder and old ice skates?
Top right: Browns, copper, amber and gold tones warm up
this year’s Chateaux theme.
At right: door baskets and outdoor pots are always popular accessories to the holiday season.
At left: Kathy Van Tol, COO, Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse by the store’s “welcome in” display.
Chalkboards and Words are a part of this look.
Talk to us!
Realty Executives River Valley
Dar Vosburg, Broker/Owner 507-387-5545
Pam Sher, Realtor/Buyer’s Agent 507-382-1184
Melinda Sturm, Realtor 507-382-1103
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RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Joys Holidays!
Holidays are tricky! On one hand we get to spend time with our
families, many of whom we haven’t seen all year, cook delicious
meals, exchange gifts and maybe have a few drinks. Lots of joy, right?
On the other hand, we get to be with family, spend hours cooking
the perfect meal, give and receive gifts that will be re-gifted as soon
as possible and watch relatives drink too much and say things they
shouldn’t. Lots of stress, right?
So how do we keep the joy in our
holidays without so much stress? The
bad news is that even happy events
come with stress. Consider weddings,
one of the happiest events in two people’s lives and usually a happy
event for lots of family and friends too. But weddings are one of the
most stressful events in a person’s life. Holidays are similar, even the
best ones come with some stress. The good news is that stress can
be managed and holidays can be joyful!
One of the first steps in reducing holiday stress is to prioritize.
Think about what is really important to experiencing a happy
holiday. Take a few minutes and make a list of what you need to get
done and what you want to get done and prioritize. Be ok with the
idea that you won’t be able to get everything done. It’s important
to prioritize ahead of time when you are feeling calm, and in a cool
state of mind.
Decide ahead of time to set limitations and stick with those
limitations. Overspending on gifts or buying too many gifts is
something many of us are guilty of at holiday time. There always
seems to be one more gift to buy. Stop and ask yourself do you really
need to buy more gifts?
Don’t overcommit yourself at
holiday time. Don’t agree to make
something for every holiday event
or attend every event. Holidays are
busy times and people tend to overextend themselves. Decide how
you want to spend your holiday time and with whom. And don’t
feel guilty if you have to say no to someone. Or you might consider
offering to do something or attend an event in January or February
when your life isn’t so hectic.
Don’t try to please everyone. Do you really need to make
everyone’s favorite pie for Christmas dinner? Perhaps you can make
several pies that everyone will enjoy and cut down on the amount of
baking time before your family arrives. Decide on your menu ahead
of time and make a list of all the ingredients that you need and try
Be willing to take the time
for fun, enjoy the season.
Get inspired by our beautiful showroom!
Nordaas Design Consultants will assist you in selecting furnishings for your home.
Our showroom offers a wide selection of lighting, holiday and home decor and
now featuring Norwalk Furniture made in America.
Now offering Bridal Registry services. Make gift giving easy at Home Decor by
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10091 State Hwy 22, Minnesota Lake, MN
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Sat. 8 a.m. to Noon
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
to make fewer trips to the grocery store. Crowded parking lots and
stores only add to our stress at holiday time.
Share your holidays with others. Many of us are fortunate to have
family and friends with whom to spend our holidays. But many are
alone for the holidays. Consider inviting someone who is alone
to spend a few hours with your family on either Christmas Eve or
Christmas day. You will bring happiness to someone else’s holiday.
If you can’t include someone in your celebration, make a donation
to a cause or charity that brings holiday joy to others. Some good
examples of these are Toys for Tots and giving trees. You can also
make donations to local food shelves and other organizations that
provide food baskets to families at holiday time. Knowing that a
family had a nice meal and the kids have toys will enrich your own
But my best advice to everyone at holiday time is to be willing to
take the time for fun, enjoy the season. It goes fast and only comes
once a year. Go for a drive with the family and look at Christmas
lights and decorations. Is there a character like Chevy Chase’s Clark
Griswold in your neighborhood with a thousand twinkle lights on
their home? Don’t miss those!
Go see your grandkids dressed as elves in their play or go to a
holiday musical. Decorate your tree together as a family. We all have
holiday traditions. One of my favorite holiday traditions is simple
and inexpensive. I love to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at
the beginning of December. It always puts me in the holiday spirit.
Watch your favorite holiday movie with your family and a big bowl of
popcorn and mugs of hot chocolate.
Keeping old traditions are nice but finding new ones can be great
too. Don’t be afraid to find new activities and
make them your family’s new traditions. There
can be room for both old and new traditions in
holiday celebrations.
Creating holiday memories are treasures that
can last a lifetime. RVW
By Catherine Job, MA, MBA, LPC
Executive Director, Sioux Trails Mental Health
It’s your home. Make it a unique personal
creation. Showplace cabinetry from Idea Haus of
New Ulm is made to your needs and tastes.
The design team at Idea Haus can help create a
special kitchen, bath or office space designed
for your lifestyle. Stop in soon to learn more.
Kitchens • Bathrooms • onyx collection showers
window coverings • carpet • laminate • camBria
granite • wood Floors • design services
Overson Lumber Co. Inc.
St. James | Sleepy Eye | Lamberton | Wabasso | Jackson | Westbrook | New Ulm
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Readers R ave . . . RVW Rewards!
Enter today on Facebook to win!
Receives a night’s stay at
Holiday Inn Express, Mankato:
I love reading stories about
local people. Also the list of
local events! And it’s free!
­— Karen Johnson
• Free Hot Breakfast with Signature Cinnamon Rolls • Free High Speed Internet
• Board Room - Seating for 14 People • Meeting Room - Seating for 20 People
• Priority Club Rewards of Points or Miles • 88 Guest Rooms with 22 Suites
• 32” Flat Panel LCD TV with Movie Channels
A Beautiful Way to Flower Your Day!
885 E Madison Ave., Mankato
Restore. Restyle. Recreate.
We are an occasional shop with
a unique blend of home decor
including refinished furniture,
vintage decor, retail items and
Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint
and Fusion Furniture Paint.
Open Dec. 12 & 13
and Jan. 16-17
Hours: Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-5
‘Tis the season...
For saving money! For all your
insurance needs, contact us today!
DaviD HirtH
insurance agency
213 S. Minnesota St.
New Ulm, MN
New Ulm • 507-359-8989
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
The Paw
1741 Premier Drive
Experience the Largest Pet Store
& Pet Resort in Minnesota!
Pet Expo
1800 Adams St.
Day Care, grooming, BoarDing, BirDS,
Body Concepts
1609 N. Riverfront Dr. Suite 105
Mankato, MN 507.381.5467
Dog SupplieS, Cat SupplieS, FiSh,
Small animalS, WilD BirDS,
SWimming, CageD reptileS
15 South Broadway
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014011255
A Beginner’s Guide to Winter Containers
arden Gal
Gal • Gard
rden Ga
you use it to anchor your lovely winter greens. I suggest bringing
your containers inside for a day or two so that they can thaw out.
If that’s not possible, try to remove as much soil as you can,
replacing it with dry warm soil. Firmly pack down the
replacement soil so it provides a solid base. If none
of these options works for you, you might have to
use a drill or a chisel to make holes in the soil.
(I’ve done this before, and it’s kind of terrible.
Avoid it if possible.)
Design and Materials
Once you have a blank soft-but-firm
surface in your containers, you’ll be
ready to think about the fun part – the
design! When you plant containers in the
spring, the instant-gratification factor is
always lacking. Even if you pack them in at
maximum density, the plants need time and
heat and water before they reach their full
potential and your containers look their best.
With winter pots, the final product doesn’t need to
“grow in,” so they’re immediately gorgeous!
Every year, there seem to be more and more winter
greening materials available. The most basic elements include
spruce tops, birch logs, dogwood branches (red and yellow), willow
branches (curly and straight), pine cones, boxwood branches (green
and variegated), magnolia leaves, pine branches, eucalyptus leaves,
and winterberries (red, orange, and yellow).
There are countless other options, too. Many people incorporate
n Gal • Garde
It’s happened sooner than many of us may have liked, but winter
seems to be here already. And while we’ve mostly tucked our
gardens in for the year, there’s still outside decorating
to keep us busy. When I started doing garden
maintenance work, I had no idea that “winter
containers” were a possibility. Spruce tops,
red-twigged dogwood, and sugar cones
weren’t familiar materials, and I certainly
didn’t know how to place them
artistically in flower pots.
But I’ve had the good fortune of
working with some very talented
container designers, and I’m finally
feeling confident in my own winter
design abilities. I’d love to share my
education with you – because winter
containers are so rewarding to build!
It’s a little too late for one of my most
important pieces of advice: get started early.
As soon as the soil in your containers freezes,
you’ll find it very difficult to place the materials. So,
in an ideal world, you would have already done this task,
back when the weather was still autumnal and friendly. You would
have cut off the tops of your summer plants, leaving the root balls
intact to help hold up the winter materials that you’ll be pushing
into them.
Since it’s cold now, you’ll have to deal with the frozen soil before
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
wider presence. Fill in the
dried plant parts or even
some fake ones. It’s
nice to save money by
reusing parts of your old
summer planters, such as
ornamental grass leaves
and allium or sedum
When you choose your
materials, it’s important
to keep it simple. While
it’s tempting to use one
of everything, designs
usually work better when
they don’t have multiple
competing elements. If
you’re a beginner, try to
stick with three to five
colors and textures. It will
also help to use large quantities of each element, grouping them so
that they are more visible.
Let’s say you have five different materials: spruce tops, pine
branches, curly willow branches, pine cones, and variegated
boxwood branches. Start by placing the taller greens as a
backdrop. Push the spruce tops into the soil as hard as you can
(without breaking them!) so they stay in place all winter. I like to
make a mini forest with the tallest top towards the back center of
the planter. Then, take the pine branches and build a horizontal
skirt around the spruce tops. It often helps to scoot the branches
to the very edge of the pot so they hide the bare soil and create a
remaining background
spaces with the variegated
boxwood, cutting the
stems to varying heights
and densities as you go.
Next, use the curly
willow branches to
provide height, placing
them toward the front
of the container so their
colored stems are highly
visible throughout. The
branches should mostly
be in a cluster, though you
can also use a few stray
twigs toward the back or
sides as an accent. Add
the cones for a finishing
touch, wiring them to the front of the spruce tops in an upright
position. Place them with their tips pointing outwards at different
angles, perhaps echoing the angles of the
container itself.
This is just one example, but I think you’ll
like experimenting with the unlimited options!
Be creative and festive – it’s hard not to have a
heart filled with Christmas cheer when you’re
decorating your gardens! RVW
Laura Schwarz, a New Ulm native, is a
horticulturist with Tangletown Gardens in
Building Trust
new home construc tion
217 east walnut street #2
mankato, mn 56001
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Photos by Jordan Powers, Mankato Home Tours
& Ins
Northern Energy Homes office manager Melissa Orthun, owner Mark Stenzel,
and president, Michael Stenzel tell about their move to a new location in
Mankato and a renovation project of their very own.
Tell us a bit about what Northern Energy Homes
is all about
Northern Energy Homes is a custom home builder.
We will help people through the complete home
building process from finding a lot, to designing their
dreams into a nice floor plan, to coordinating their
home building project from start to finish.
What made you decide to move to the new
Our goal has been to do majority of our work in
the Mankato area. We are a charter member of the
Minnesota River Builders Association (MRBA); our
President Michael and office manager Melissa have
been very active with the MRBA, being on the board
and past president and we have a home on the MRBA
tour of homes almost every year. We decided the
next step for Northern Energy Homes to be more
active in the Mankato area, would be to move our
office here and that is what we did.
Did the task of renovating a former mechanics
garage seem daunting?
Renovating any project is always interesting. We
have designed and remodeled many homes over the
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
past 42 years and like anything you do, the more you do it, putting your best
effort forward, the easier the task becomes and the more professional you
become at what you are doing, in this case- designing an office- show room.
How did you figure out what to do?
Renovating is like any other creative project, you have to have some ideas of
what you want, a vision of the final project, an idea of what steps to take and in
what order to do these steps to accomplish the above. The key to remodeling
a project is to draw a floor plan of what you have and then decide what you
want to end up with. Sketch out the layout you would like and then fine tune it
until you have what you want.
Did you have a look in mind?
When you are working with an existing structure you need to decide how
much you want to disturb the existing shell. Our goal was to redesign the front
of the building without changing the roof line and to maintain the footprint
of the building. We also wanted to have a very nice show room, letting our
potential clients, who stop by our office, see the quality and options we have to
offer and hopefully earning the opportunity to work with them on their home
building project. This is how we ended up with the look we have.
How did you choose who to work with?
Remodeling is actually more difficult than building new. There are many
unknowns that can and probably will come up. You need to work with people
who have done this type of work and have a vision of the process, the finished
product, and how best to get there. The people we worked with have worked
with us on many other projects. They knew going into
the project that we are very quality-minded and wanted
things done the best way possible, which sometimes
involves a lot of head scratching and flexibility.
What can customers expect when working with
Northern Energy Homes?
When working with Northern Energy Homes, customers
can expect a quality product with a lot of TLC put into
the designing and coordinating of their home. Many
customers have a hard time envisioning a floor plan and
our goal is to help them with this process. The best way
to help people understand their plan is to take them to
a similar style and size house and go through each room
and tell them how their room sizes, closet space, kitchen
cabinet space, windows sizes, etc. compare to the house
you are showing them.
What would you say make NEH memorable to clients?
Building a home is a big project for most homeowners.
Our goal is to save our clients from a lot of the headaches
that can come about in their building process. We spend
a lot of time coordinating their project which makes the
project progress in a smooth fashion, we do call them
back when they call and we try and keep them up to
speed so there aren’t a lot of surprises.
Do you have a personal favorite project?
My favorite project is a project where the owners have
ideas, but need and trust your designing skills and tell you
their thoughts, likes and dislikes as you go through the
fine tuning process.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
How about styles and trends? What do you see trending
these days?
We feel that home sizes are getting smaller and floor plans
are getting more open with fewer walls and more natural
light. Fancier kitchens, larger garages, nicer foyers and
custom closets are becoming more of the norm.
How do you keep up with that?
Keeping up with styles and trends is hard to do. With all
the tours of homes, builders magazines, and the internet,
most people have an idea of the style of home they want.
Our goal is to help them design the style and plan that
coordinates their ideas with their building site and their
Tell us about how you approach energy efficiency? And
why is it important to the homeowner?
Many aspects of energy efficiency are controlled by the
building codes. Our standard rafter has a 12” energy heel.
Under our siding we use a wind barrier wrap that is taped
at the seams and around the windows; we use an energy
efficient window. We insulate the area where our floor joists
meet the exterior sheathing with foam. We recommend a
high energy efficient furnace, limited recessed ceiling lights
and an airlock entry which can be accomplished by coming
in through the garage or having a double entry by the front
What would you say are the top important things to
consider in home design and layout?
In your home design and layout the most important thing
to do is to balance your room sizes with your house size. Also
streamline your traffic flow, design closets where they are
needed and of adequate size. If possible, design your front
entry where you can come into your home so you can go
several ways without going through your living area, and
make your back entry spacious.
What advice do you have to someone thinking about a
renovation or new home?
If you are considering renovating a house you should
decide everything you want to do before doing anything.
When you think you know what you want, work with a
designer who is experienced in their field. Have him/her
draw your existing floor plan and then revise it to the plan
you want. Get a contract bid on the work you want done
before you do anything and budget for the unforeseen in
your project. I would recommend talking to people you
know that have remodeled and learn from their experiences.
If you really want to do your homework, talk to a realtor
and see what your home is worth as is and add the entire
remodeling estimate to this figure. Then get a price on a new
home that you would build if you relocated. Now compare
the two and decide what makes the most sense for your
Whatever you decide to do keep in mind in almost all cases
you will be happier going the extra mile to start with, as
opposed to cutting corners and having to redo things later.
Do you have a favorite look or era of interior design or
My favorite architecture is the Victorian homes style with
the large porches, bay windows and fancy exterior and
interior trim. – Mark Stenzel, Owner
My favorite homes are Craftsman style homes with
exposed rafters, hand crafted stone work and using mixed
materials throughout the home. - Melissa Orthun, Office
My favorite architecture style is traditional style homes
with custom cabinetry and lots of windows. –Michael Stenzel,
President RVW
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Custom Walnut Entertainment Center
Birch Kitchen with Granite countertops and center island
Knotty Alder Galley kitchen with Granite countertops
Prange’s Heating
& Air Conditioning
SAleS And ServiCe
Residential and CommeRCial
Furnaces, Boilers, in Floor Heat, a/C,
Ventilation & Geothermal systems
302 Main St., Madison lake
Decorative concrete • FounDations
Come select your slab
interior concrete • exterior concrete
Block • Brick • stone • WaterprooFing
in our new & exciting 11,000 sq. ft. Slab Showroom
Granite & Quartz Countertops
Custom Fabricated & Installed (By US!)
Granite, Marble & More
Dart Boards • Pool Tables
Jukeboxes • Pinball Machines
Video Games And More!
Visit our Showroom:
1371 S State Street
Waseca, MN 011368
Interested in League
Play? Call Craig at
Ext. 235
C&N Sales, C&N Gameroom Outlet
1840 Commerce Dr., North Mankato, MN
507-387-7986 or 507-387-6811
241 St. Andrews Drive,
Mankato, MN
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Why choose
just one?
Put the icing on your
holiday celebrations with the
season’s sweetest desserts.
Classic Pies & Cakes - Specialty Cupcakes
Assorted Cookies - Brownies & Pastries
Muffins - Rolls & Bread
Soups & Sandwiches- Salads & Light Lunches
& So Much More!
Appetizers - Vegetarian Entrees - Rice Specialties
Palace Rolls - Special Indian Breads - Desserts
Kids Menu - Beer, Wine - And More!
Serving Dinner 7 Nights a Week
Open For Lunch 11:00-2:30
Hours: Monday - Thursday 11:00 am - 8:30 pm
Friday - Saturday 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
Open Sunday
MeNtiON thiS aD FOr
15 % OFF
yOur FOOD OrDer
(does not include alcohol)
515 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato
Hours: Mon-Sat 6am-6pm; Sun 6am-2pm
Email: [email protected]
Carry Outs & Catering available.
We can cater your holiday Party or
Group Settings. We will bring Buffet
to your location!
1511 Madison ave., Mankato
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
“It’s All About
the Food”
Check out our wide
variety of offerings.
Served at your place
or ours.
SteakS • Seafood
ChopS • SandwiCheS
Choices include:
Wings, Pizza Stix,
Cheese Stix, Garlic Toast
Breakfast Omelet Pizzas
Party Pastas, Pizzas, Party Salads
For over 50 years the Pappas name
in Southern Minnesota has meant
one thing: Great Food.
1700 N. Broadway
New Ulm 507-359-9811
1028 N. RiveRfRoNt DR.
Reservations Accepted.
Serving Lunch and Dinner Daily.
Hours: Monday thru Thursday 11am-9pm
Friday and Saturday 11am-10pm 011335
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Authentic Mexican
1707 N. Broadway
New Ulm, MN
Open Mon.-Thurs. 11-10;
Fri. & Sat. 11-10:30;
Sun. 11-9
We can accommodate
groups of all sizes!
appetizers - seaFood
QuesadiLLas - nachos
soups - steaks - Burritos
enchiLadas - Fajitas
FuLL Bar
Call Us to Book YoUr
HolidaY PartY todaY!
2101 South Broadway
New Ulm, MN 56073
| december • 2014
1404 Madison aVe., Mankato, Mn
open Mon. - thurs. 11-10; Fri. & sat. 11-10:30; sun. 11-9
For The Musician On Your List...
Guitars • Amps • Drums • Keyboards • Pianos
Harmonicas • Banjos • PA Systems • Ukuleles
Dobros • Wireless Mics & So Much More!
We carry a vast brand selection!
Piano, guitar and drum Lessons available.
Cosmetic Tattooing
Get Your Business noticed
this holidaY season
contact us today and we’ll find your perfect,
personalized holiday card together.
by Staci Lowe
Eyebrow • Eyeliner • Lip Liner • Full Lip • Specializes in Corrective
1750 tower Blvd., north Mankato 507.625.0547
3D Eyebrow
& Eyeliner
— Gift cards available —
12 Years Experience
Licensed by State of Minnesota
Dr. Angela Schuck
Dr. Keith Flack
Nicollet, MN 507-232-3438
Gift Cards
Gift Boxes
for everyone
on your gift list!
Choose from 12 different sizes,
all packed with meat, cheese and
Schmidt’s award-winning sausage.
You Deserve Comfortable Care Every Time.
• Sedation - Complete Relaxation with
Just a Pill
• Invisalign - Clear Alternative to
• Lumineers - No Fear Cosmetic
• Implants - Placement and
• Cerec - One Visit Crown
• Extreme Makeover Whitening
• 3D Imaging with Fewer X-Rays
• Cosmetic Enhancements
• Drill-free Technology
• Emergency Care
1400 Lookout Drive, North Mankato
507-625-CARE(2273) •
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
410 S. Riverfront Dr.
Mankato, MN
2010 Adams St.
Mankato, MN
making lives easier, healthier, happier
What You Need to Know
About Pneumococcal Disease
By: Brian Cornelius, Pharm.D.
Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, or pneumococcus, can cause
many types of illnesses. Pneumococcus is the most common cause
of bloodstream infections, pneumonia, meningitis and middle
ear infections in young children. Many of these illnesses can be
life-threatening and result in hospitalization.
Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people are at
greater risk for disease than others. Being a certain age or having
some medical conditions can put you at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.
Children at higher risk for pneumococcal disease include those:
• Younger than 2 years of age
• In group child care
• Who have certain illnesses (sickle cell disease, HIV infection, and
chronic heart or lung conditions)
• With cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks (escape
of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord)
Adults at higher risk for pneumococcal disease include those:
• With chronic illnesses (lung, heart, liver or kidney disease; asthma; diabetes; or alcoholism)
• With conditions that weaken the immune system (HIV/AIDS,
cancer or damaged/absent spleen)
• Living in nursing homes or other long-term-care facilities
• With cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks (escape
of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord)
• Who smoke cigarettes
• 65 years of age and older
The best way to prevent pneumococcal disease is by getting
vaccinated. The pneumococcal vaccine is a shot that helps protect
against some of the more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
The vaccine for children and adults, called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®), protects against the 13
types of pneumococcal bacteria that cause most of the severe
illness in children and adults. The vaccine can also help prevent
Brian Cornelius, Pharm. d.
Mankato Hilltop Hy-vee
2010 Adams St., Mankato, Mn 56001
some ear infections. PCV13 protects children and adults by
preparing their bodies to fight the bacteria. PCV13 is also
recommended to help prevent pneumococcal disease in
adults 19 years or older with certain medical conditions and
in all adults 65 years or older.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or
Pneumovax 23®) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years and
older and for anyone who is two years and older at high
risk of disease. PPSV23 is also recommended for adults 19
through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have
Ask your doctor or stop in and see your friendly Hy-Vee
pharmacists to see if you would benefit from getting vaccinated.
Where there is a helpful smile in your wellness aisle
By Holly Ellison, RD, LD
Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods
which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our
body. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense
and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection. It is
best to obtain these antioxidants from foods instead of
supplements. . You can find antioxidants abundantly in
beans, grain products, fruits and vegetables - so enjoy
eating a variety of these products. In addition, minimize
the exposure of oxidative stress such as smoking and
Most Commonly Known Antioxidants:
n Vitamin A and Carotenoids: Carrots, squash,
broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards,
cantaloupe, peaches and apricots (bright-colored
fruits and vegetables!)
n Vitamin C: Citrus fruits like oranges and lime etc.,
green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables,
strawberries and tomatoes
n Vitamin E: Nuts & seeds, whole grains, green leafy
vegetables, vegetable oil and liver oil
n Selenium: Fish & shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs,
chicken and garlic
Antioxidant-Rich Recipe:
Citrus-Soy Salmon Meal
Makes: 4 servings
All you nEEd:
4 (3 to 4 oz each) fresh or frozen salmon fillets, 1-inch thick
1/2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning or fresh ground pepper
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 small oranges, thinly sliced
All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil.
2. Sprinkle fish with seasoning and place on foil-lined baking sheet.
Drizzle fish with soy sauce. Arrange orange slices on top of the
3. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
4. Serve with Couscous Broccoli Dish for a budget-friendly meal.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 230; Protein: 23g;
Carbohydrate: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2.5g; Cholesterol: 65mg;
Sodium: 150mg; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 4g; Fat: 12g;
Trans fats: 0g
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014236993
good TASTE
Easy Holiday
Meal Wine
Gathering friends and family over a delicious
meal is often a highlight of the holiday season.
As you start to plan your menu for the big day,
remember to consider which wines you’ll offer as
perfect pairings for your favorite dishes.
Whether you’re preparing a traditional feast
or planning to experiment with something
new, food writers and wine connoisseurs agree
– chardonnay and pinot noir are the ultimate
holiday meal wines.
Versatile chardonnay
One of the primary reasons chardonnay is at the
top of a holiday meal wine list is the flexibility
inherent in America’s most popular white wine
grape. Chardonnay flavor profiles can range from
fruit-forward with bright acidity to big, rich and
opulent. In either case, it’s the right white for the
If you prefer white meat and lighter fare,
choose a lively chardonnay with notes of citrus,
aromas of lemon drop, yellow apple and subtle
toasted oak. This pairs beautifully with breast
meat and balances dishes like creamy potatoes or
roasted carrots.
lf darker meat is your preference, consider a
richer style with a lush texture and spicy notes
that can hold up to the more intense flavors of
the wing and leg meat.
Pleasing pinot
Pinot noir is the perfect addition to any party
because it pleases a lot of palates and doesn’t
overwhelm a classic holiday dinner. Pinot’s
inherent earthiness and notes of plums, cherries
and spice notes like vanilla and nutmeg are a
natural pairing with cranberries, dark meat turkey,
stuffing and root vegetables.
Like chardonnay, there’s a pinot noir that
complements almost any menu. A darker,
concentrated pinot noir will hold up to deeper
flavors, while a more vibrant, juicy wine such as
the La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a great
option for pairing with the variety of flavors of
delicious side dishes that a Thanksgiving feast
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Not only will it pair well with both dark and light meat, but its sweet spice and classic
earthy notes resonate well with the savory herbs often seen in holiday dishes.
Serving wines
To best showcase the wines you select, it’s important to serve them at the right
temperature. With just a few adjustments, you can bring out the best in your favorite
wine’s unique flavor profile, character and bouquet.
White wine is best when served between 45 and 50°F. Served too cold, the flavors and
aromas will be masked, and served too warm they become flat.
Conversely, in general, red wines should be served a bit warmer, between 55 and 65°F.
A colder serving temperature will make a red wine seem excessively acidic, and warmer
will bring out an overly alcoholic flavor. Chill room-temperature pinot noir for 10-15
minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Deglaze pan with wine for
fabulous sauce for steak
After sauteing or roasting meat, make a simple gravy or pan
sauce by incorporating the browned bits that stick to the bottom
of the pan. Deglazing provides a yummy sauce to serve with your
meat, and makes cleanup easier as well. Follow this recipe for
guidelines on how to deglaze your pan.
A delicious pan sauce adds the finishing touch to this steak
dinner for two.
1. Trim fat from two beef steaks, such as top loin, ribeye, or
tenderloin, cut about 3/4 inch thick. Heat a large skillet over
medium-high heat. If possible, do not use a nonstick skillet. Add
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter; reduce heat to medium. Cook
steaks about 3 minutes per side or until medium rare (145 degrees
F). Cover steaks with foil; let stand for 5 minutes while preparing
the sauce.
2. Drain fat from skillet. Add 1/3 cup dry red wine, 1/4 cup
reduced-sodium beef broth, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped
shallots or 1 clove minced
garlic to the hot skillet. Cook
and stir over medium heat.
Deglaze the pan by scraping
up the browned bits in
the bottom of the skillet.
Cook over medium heat
for 3 to 4 minutes or until
liquid is reduced to about 2
tablespoons. Reduce heat to
3. Stir in 1 tablespoon
whipping cream (no substitutions). Add 4 tablespoons cold
unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until butter melts
and sauce thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and white
Serve sauce over steak.
Hot Spiced Apple Champagne Punch
Perfect for a large New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day party
3 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
12 oz frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
4 bottles white wine
1 bottle Champagne, chilled
For Ice Ring:
8oz pineapple chunks
1 orange, sliced into rounds
4oz maraschino cherries, drained
It’s the
time of
the year!
Nothing says CHEERS
more than toasting friends
and family at holiday time.
Liquor Mart is your family-owned and operated
celebration headquarters, with one of the largest
varieties of wines from around the world.
Choose a chardonnay from California (superb
with turkey!),a malbec from Argentina (great
with lean roast beef), or a riesling from Germany
(delicious with fish!) and many more. And don’t
forget the champagne. We have bubbles to fit
every budget and palette. Friendly atmosphere,
knowledgeable staff...
Cheers from our family to yours!
Put the pumpkin pie spice, orange zest and apple juice into a pan.
Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
In a large container, mix juice and white wine, and chill overnight.
At this same time, make an ice ring out of the fruits, and freeze
Strain the liquid, and put into a punch bowl. Add in the
Champagne. Top with fruit ice ring.
1527 N Broadway Street
New Ulm, MN 56073
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
3 easy style tips
that instantly glam up your holiday look
As a renowned fashion stylist, Micaela Erlanger of New York, NY makes her clients look, and
perhaps even more importantly, feel their best for all of life’s special occasions. Now just in
time for the holidays, Erlanger is sharing her insider style and beauty tips so you can shine
this season.
n Start your holiday beauty routine in the shower For Erlanger, great holiday style starts with beautiful skin and feeling confident in it. “This holiday season, we’ll be
seeing a lot of skin-baring trends, from cut-outs to daring necklines,” she says. “When your
skin is looking and feeling great, you can wear these trends during the holidays with confidence. I recommend a body wash, which gives softer, smoother skin after only one shower,
making it the easiest step in holiday beauty prep.”
n Invest in timeless essentials In addition to taking the best care of your skin,
Erlanger suggests investing in timeless accessories, such as a great bag, piece of jewelry or
pair of shoes. While it is exciting to test out the latest trends, they are constantly evolving, so
having some classic pieces will help to carry your closet from season to season. Regardless
of the special occasion, you’ll always have those go-to items to count on to enhance your
n Find a festive focal point To incorporate a little more glam into your holiday look,
Micaela also recommends adding a bold element to make a statement. “Pick a focal point,
whether it’s a red lip, a colorful nail, or a fun necklace to elevate your style,” she says. These
eye-catching additions to your ensemble will help to highlight your favorite features and
will take your holiday look to the next level. RVW
Unique women’s apparel, fashion
accessories & home decor right inside
Southern Minnesota’s largest
furniture showroom!
a division of A&W Furniture in Redwood Falls, MN
Stop out at the farm for your holiday shopping. We carry
clothing, accessories and many wonderful gifts.
Warm wishes from our family to yours.
41132 180th St W
Springfield, MN
Put On
& receive
special coupons!
237 Belgrade Ave. | North Mankato | 507-345-6554
208 Downtown Plaza | Fairmont | 507-749-1001011112
Hours: Mon., Tues., Wed. & Fri. 10 - 6; Thursday 10 - 7; Saturday 10 - 5.
Consignment &
Bridal Boutique
311 N. RiveRfRoNt DR., MaNkato, MN
507.386.0861 www.eNcoReMaNkato.coM
HouRs: M-f 10-6isH; sat. 10-4isH; suN. 12-4isH
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Enough stuff is enough!
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Kids have
too much stuff! I know better than anyone how much this is true.
Doing professional cleaning, organizing and decluttering for years
has allowed me to take mental note
of the consistent accumulation of
“stuff” in almost every home I’ve
Why do kids seem to have so
much more stuff? Kids celebrate
birthdays with gifts more than
adults. There are gift bags at parties
and freebies at fairs. Close friends
and family love to bring back gifts
for kids after having been gone.
Parents buy souvenirs for kids on
family vacations. The Easter Bunny
brings gift baskets. Santa brings gift
baskets and the list goes on and on.
Kids are also sentimental with
items, reluctant to give up what’s
“theirs.” Knowing this, parents
avoid the hassle and tears of going
from a
through toy boxes and play rooms.
Yet, more items continue to come
into the home. I’d venture to say
many kids lose track of what they
have or can’t find what they want in
the piles of “stuff.”
by Cindy Haugland
If this sounds familiar, I’d like to
challenge you to make a conscious
Tidy Tightwad Tips
effort to reduce the stuff your kids have. Here are some tips on ways
to do this.
Talk to grandparents and other gift givers in your child’s life. Let
them know what you are trying to do. Ask Grandma to reduce her 10
gifts to five this year.
Give practical ideas of what your kids really need; sheets, mittens,
pajamas, etc.
Consider non-clutter gifts like tickets to the movie, swim passes,
Give the gift of time: game night, tea parties, date night with dad,
weekend at grandma’s, etc.
Team up and give one larger gift or family gift. Not only do a bunch
of small gifts build up clutter, the cost can really add up.
Donate to someone in need or a cause your family believes in.
Teaching children the gift of compassion is something that will last a
life time.
Encourage your kids to spend time making their Christmas lists and
really think carefully about what they want and need. Do this early
(months early) and then have them review again closer to Christmas.
Often times “fads” are over quickly, and kids will remove items from
their own lists.
While it may take some coaxing, it’s important to go through toys
and books, prior to Christmas. Donate to make room for new gifts
coming in. If children refuse to part with something, put it in storage.
Ask again later after plenty of time has passed.
After Christmas go through clothes, shoes, and outerwear. Donate
old items that your child received new at Christmas and simply
doesn’t need any longer. Kids don’t need stuff to be happy. What
you’re teaching your kids will be healthy habits later in life. Spend
time making memories with your kids, not accumulating “stuff.” RVW
We create home for
older adults, wherever
they choose to live.
The Ecumen St. Peter team is proud to provide
independent living, assisted living, memory and
respite care at Ecumen Prairie Hill, and assisted
living at Ecumen Sand Prairie. We’d love to meet you.
Please call Lisa at 507-484-2203 for a tour
or more information.
Front row: Nicki Rehnelt, Housing Director; Darcy Beranek,
RN, Clinical Director; Melanie Marti, RN, Sand Prairie.
Second row: Becky Tapper, Sand Prairie Life Enrichment Coordinator; Janet Geisler, Life Enrichment Director;
Rachel Hauschild, Human Resources Representative.
Third row: Joyce Wilcox, Sand Prairie Food & Beverage Manager; George Willis, Prairie Hill Food & Beverage
Manager; Lisa Hofferbert, Sales & Marketing Manager.
Fourth row: Doug Mehlhaff, Environmental Service Director;
Tami Brandt, Business Office Manager
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Rooted in our heritage, focused on your future
3 locations to serve you!
1600 Madison Ave, Suite 112, Mankato
306 Main St. NE, Mapleton
16 N Main, Winnebago
Tara Garbes,
Judy Ness,
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Fun, Festivals Frolics
To have your event listed, please e-mail Ruth Klossner at [email protected] Listings are generally for events that are free to the public,
or are fund-raisers. Listings will be published as space allows and at the discretion of the editor.
Though Thurs., Dec. 18
• 6th Annual ArtScape Juried Art
Show, The Grand Center for Arts
and Culture, 210 N. Minnesota St.,
New Ulm. Info: thegrandnewulm.
com, [email protected]
com, or 507-359-9222.
Through Wed., Dec. 31
• Kiwanis Holiday Lights, Sibley
Park, 900 Mound Ave., Mankato.
Walk or drive through a winter
wonderland. More than one
million LED lights. Warming
houses and concessions available.
No charge but non-perishable
food items and cash donations
appreciated. Info: 507-385-9129.
Wed.-Sun., Dec. 3-7
• ‘Christmas at Bethany’ concerts,
Trinity Chapel, Bethany College,
Mankato. 4 pm daily. Concert
Band, Concert Choir, Chamber
Choir, Mary Martha Singers &
Handbell Choir will perform. Free
will offering, advance reservations
encouraged. Info & reservations:
507-344-7365 or https://blc.tixato.
Fri., Dec. 5
• Christmas Bazaar, Redeemer
Lutheran Church, 700 S. Broadway,
New Ulm, 10:30 am-1 pm.
Fri.-Sat., Dec. 5-6
• Readers Theater - Campfire
Stories, MLC Auditorium, Martin
Luther College, New Ulm, 7:30
pm Fri., 2 pm Sat. Info & tickets:
[email protected]
Shop from local artists, live music,
wine tasting, chocolates to nibble.
• 42nd Annual Christmas in Christ
Chapel, ‘Tender Rose, Starry Night,’
Gustavus Adolphus College, 800
W. College Ave., St. Peter. 350
students, conductors & other
members of college community
celebrate the season’s calling. 7:30
pm Fri., 3:30 & 7:30 pm Sat. & Sun.
Info & tickets:
or 507-933-7520.
• Hilltop Christmas Festival, Hilltop
United Methodist Church, 108
South Manitou Drive, Mankato, 9
am-12 pm. Baked goods, crafts,
gift baskets, breakfast, more.
Half of proceeds will support the
BackPack food program. Info:
• ‘A Christmas Story’ Holiday
Radio Play, State Street Theatre
Auditorium, Center & State St.,
New Ulm. 7:30 pm. Fri. & Sat., 2:30
pm Sun. Info & tickets: newulmact.
• Nutcracker Exhibit, Wanda Gag
House, 226 N. Washington St.,
New Ulm, 10 am-4 pm. View over
100 nutcrackers, pictures with the
Mighty Nutcracker, kids’ program
at 1 pm. Exhibit also open Dec.
7, 13 & 14. Info: 507-359-2632 or
Fri.-Sun., Dec. 5-7 & Dec. 12-14
• ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’
by the Merely Players, Lincoln
Community Center, 110 Fulton St.,
Mankato. 7:30 pm Dec. 5, 6, 12 &
13; 2 pm Dec. 6, 7, 13 & 14. Info &
tickets: 507-388-5483 or [email protected]
Sat., Dec. 6
• Santa Spectacular Craft & Home
Based Business Show, GFW
Elementary School, Gibbon, 9
am-1 pm. Food concessions &
bake sale available. Info: 507-4301493 or [email protected]
• Taste of Hy-Vee, Riverfront
Hy-Vee, Mankato. 3-7 pm Fri. &
11 am-4 pm Sat. Enjoy seasonal
samples and learn how to make
holidays easier, healthier and
happier. Info: 507-625-1107 or
[email protected]
• Arli-Dazzle Lighted Parade,
Arlington, 5:30 pm. Over 100
lighted holiday units including
Santa and his Reindeer—likely
the largest lighted Christmas
parade in Minnesota. Visits with
Santa, horse-drawn sleigh rides,
snowball baseball game, food
vendors before parade. Info:
507-964-2809 or 320-420-6243 or
[email protected]
Fri.-Sun., Dec. 5-7
• GSR Fine Art Festival, Verizon
Wireless Center, Mankato; 11 am-7
pm Fri., 10 am-6 pm Sat., 12-5 pm
Sun. Free admission & parking.
• Jingle Bell Jam 5K Walk/Run,
New Ulm Recreation Center, 122
So. Garden St., New Ulm, 10 am.
Proceeds to Yellow Ribbon Suicide
prevention. Info: 507-766-0278,
Registration: jinglebelljam.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
• A Night for Courage featuring
the Little Prairie Pickers, The
Pantry, 209 N. Minnesota St.,
New Ulm, 7 pm. Appetizers and
entertainment. Sponsored by New
Ulm Medical Center Foundation
with all proceeds benefiting
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation
Institute. Info: 507-217-5180,
[email protected], or
Sat.-Sun., Dec. 6-7
• Christmas at the Hubbard House,
606 South Broad Street, Mankato.
3-7 pm Sat., 1-4 pm Sun. Various
holiday traditions with costumed
interpreters. Refreshments at
Carriage House. Info & costs:
• Holiday Open House & Sleigh
Rides, Morgan Creek Vineyards,
11 am-5 pm. Country brunch,
shopping, wine tasting,
sleigh-rides. Info: 507-9473547, [email protected], or
• Martin Luther College Christmas
Concert, MLC Chapel of the Christ,
New Ulm. 7:30 pm Sat., 4 pm Sun.
Info: Info: [email protected]
Sun., Dec. 7
• Cow Collector’s Mooseum
Holiday Open House, 34085 515
Ave., Lafayette (Bernadotte), 2-4
pm. View largest collection of cow
items. Info: [email protected]
net or 507-240-0048.
• Advent Bazaar & Stone Soup
Lunch, Oakwood Methodist
Church, 1630 Oakwood Ave.,
New Ulm, 10:45 am-12:45 pm.
Free will donation; proceeds
benefit outreach to needy kids
in community. Individually
priced crafts & baked
goods. Info: 507-766-3194,
[email protected]
Tues., Dec. 9
• Kids in the Kitchen Cooking
Class, Riverfront Hy-Vee, Mankato,
4:30-6 pm. Free 30 minute classes
at 4:30, 5, 5:30 & 6 pm with Hy-Vee
dietician; limited to 5 kids per
class. Info & registration: 507-6251107 or [email protected]
• Alice Lind Play Reading Society
reading of ‘Luther,’ Lind House,
622 Center St., New Ulm, 7:30
pm. Info & cost: 507-359-9990 or
Thurs., Dec. 11 & 18
• Healthy Holiday Sampling,
Riverfront Hy-Vee, Mankato, 3-6:30
p.m. Sample stylish & savory foods
for the holidays with Riverfront
Hy-Vee dietitian.
Fri.-Sat., Dec. 12-13
• Nativity Pageant, Riverside Park,
Springfield, 7 pm. Live pageant
under the stars. 80+ volunteers tell
the Christmas story, 30-voice choir,
dancing angels, children’s choir
and a live manger scene including
camels. Free. Info: 507-723-3508.
Sat., Dec. 13
• Holiday Vendor Fair, Immanuel
Lutheran School, Gaylord, 9 am-1
pm. Local home-based businesses
and crafters.
• Minnesota New Country School
Fundraiser, Henderson, 10 am-3
pm. Bake sale & concessions,
craft & direct sale vendors, prize
Washington Ave., St. Peter. 1-4
pm each day. Victorian Christmas
with decorations, displays, music
& refreshments. Info & cost:
• Christmas Bird Identification,
Ney Nature Center, 28238 Nature
Center Lane, Henderson, 1 pm.
A refresher for winter bird ID, in
preparation for the Christmas Bird
Count (Dec. 20). Basics of using a
birding field guide, common birds
to observe & feeding techniques
for winter birds. Info & costs:
507-248-3474 or
• ‘The Nutcracker’ by the
Mankato Ballet Company, Ted
Paul Theatre, Minnesota State
University, Mankato, 1 & 5 pm
each day. Accompanied by
Mankato Symphony Orchestra.
Info & tickets: 507-389-6661 or
• ‘Christmas with Musicorum’
holiday choral concert, Chapel
of Our Lady of Good Counsel,
Mankato, 7:30 p.m. The Mankatobased chamber choral ensemble
will present uplifting choral
music, across the centuries
and from various composers &
traditions. Info & cost: 507-3861380 or [email protected]
Sat.-Sun., Dec. 13-14
• Christmas at the Cox House,
E. St. Julien Cox House, 500 N.
Thurs., Dec. 18
• Fresh Table Arrangement
Workshop, A to Zinnia Floral &
Gifts, 15 S. Broadway, New
5:30 pm. Create a winter
table piece to last through
the holidays. Info & cost:
507-359-9900, [email protected] or
Tues., Dec. 23
• MVL Christmas Concert,
Minnesota Valley Lutheran High
School, 45638 561st Ave., New
Ulm, 7 pm. Christmas songs
performed by the MVL choirs and
musicians. Info: or [email protected]
Sat., Dec. 27-Tues., Dec. 30
• Holiday Family Clay Days, Arts
Center of Saint Peter, 15 South
Minnesota Avenue, Saint Peter.
Each person will produce several
pieces of pottery. Sessions start
Sat., 10 am-12 pm; continue
Sun., Mon. & Tues., 2- 4pm.
Open to ages 5 and up, ages
5-15 must be accompanied by
adult. Info: 507-931-3630 or
[email protected]
Sun., Dec. 28
• Hilltop Happenings, Hilltop Hall,
206 First St. N., Montgomery, 4
pm. Final musical variety show at
the hall. No admission—donation
accepted to defray costs; pizza
sold at intermission. Info:
Thurs., Jan. 1
• First Day Hike, Minneopa State
Park, 5 mi. west of Mankato on
Hwys. 68 & 169. 10 am-noon.
Area naturalist will lead guided
hike from Ground Campground
down Seppmann Mill Road,
about 3 miles, to talk about
reintroduction of bison. Info: 507384-8890, [email protected] or
Thurs., Jan. 8
• Henderson Sew & Share Quilters,
Henderson Library, Lower
level. 6:30 pm. Beginning projects
or bring your own stitching,
knitting, etc.—sew, share, and
learn. No cost. Info: 507-248-3880.
Fri., Jan. 9-Sun., Feb. 8
• PLRAC/McKnight Emerging
Artists Show, Arts Center of
Saint Peter, 15 South Minnesota
Avenue, Saint Peter. 11 am-6 pm
Tues.-Fri., 1-5 pm Sat. & Sun.
Sun., Jan. 11
• Parade of Bands Fundraiser for
Minnesota Music Hall of Fame,
Park Ballroom, New Prague.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Treasures. . .
Discover your holiday dazzle at the fun and unique shops in our
Minnesota river valley communities. One-of-a-kind treasures make
perfect stocking stuffers or simply a special gift for the one and only you!
Schmidt’s Meat Market
Gift Boxes
A unique way to express your
appreciation to your family, friends,
clients, and business associates.
The gift boxes appeal to
everyone on your gift list.
Boxes priced to fit your budget,
starting at $19.00.
Schmidt’s Meat Market
319 Pine Street, Nicollet
Award-­‐Winning Classic
Gold Medal Winner of the 2014
World Beer Cup for Vienna-­Style
Lager, this reddish amber, smooth
tasting beer is always a crowd pleaser.
It’s mild maltiness, subtle sweetness and
light hoppy finish make it a perfect
pairing for parties, great compliment to
holiday meals, and much appreciated gift!
Find Schell’s Firebrick at area
restaurants, bars and liquor stores.
100% Pure
No Synthetic chemicals, chemical
preservatives, detergents, artificial fragrance or
any other unhealthy toxins. We carry a full line of
products including: fruit dyed make up, skin care,
bath & body, hair and kids products.
Broadway Chiropractic Wellness Center
1510 N. Broadway, New Ulm
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
“Thompsons Candle Company”
wax crumble melts,
available in scrumptious long
lasting scents for every season.
Pink Swan Creations
41132 180th St. W,
Springfield, MN 56087
Favor is a thoughtfully designed
and eco friendly brand. Each piece
of jewelry is created start-to-finish
in Portland, Oregon by A team of
talented makers. Part of the profit
goes towards Women for Women
International to provide the means
for more women-owned businesses
in the world.
204 N Minnesota St . New Ulm
Away in a Manger...
Kids will love the unique gifts and toys
available at Lambrechts including this
Melissa & Doug wooden nativity set.
Makes a thoughtful gift for
your child.
119 North Minnesota Street
New Ulm, MN 56073
Decorate outside the box
with funky patterned pieces - from
bedding to wall clocks. Visit today at:
The Design Element
1351 Madison Avenue, Mankato
(507) 345-8708
“We do...”
...have dates still available for 2015! Love,
honor and celebrate your wedding with a
reception at the new renovated hotel and
conference center. Mention this ad treasure
for a half price room rental!
Holiday Inn & New Ulm
Conference Center
2101 South Broadway
New Ulm, MN 56073
When the weather outside is frightful,
these hand-crafted truffles made with fresh
butter, cream and the finest Fair Trade
European chocolate are delightful. Get that
warm fuzzy feeling sipping a variety of hot
chocolates including Raspberry, Carmel,
Mint, Peanut Butter and more. Let it snow!
A to Zinnia Floral & Gifts
15 S. Broadway St., New Ulm, MN
Fine unique pieces
at southern Minnesota’s
largest furniture showroom!
A & W Furniture,
Find and Design
1501 E. Bridge St.
Redwood Falls, MN
Not Just Fireplaces!
Discover our collection of art and
decor, like this large stunning
3-piece wall art set.
Glowing Hearth & Home
241 St. Andrews Drive,
Mankato, MN
Hello Gorgeous!
Have a holly Zum Jolly Christmas
with festive scents-of-the-season
soy candles, soaps and more! Let
us show you what we’re made of!
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free
products, loaded with olive oils,
organic beeswax, soy and more.
Hy-Vee Hilltop
2010 Adams St., Mankato
Hy-Vee Riverfront
410 S. Riverfront Dr.
Mankato, 507.625.1107
Unique and Warm and one of a kind!
Handmade recycled wool sweater mittens,
lined with soft fleece batting. Unique
colors, and patterns in various sizes.
Sure to please that special someone on
your list to buy for. Stop in today!
The Stationery and Gift Store
by Carlson Craft
1750 Tower Blvd. ● North Mankato, MN
Ph: 507-625-0547 ●
email: [email protected]
on the mood of the holidays
with a new vanity mirror. Add sparkle
to your space and visit:
Lights On Madison
1351 Madison Avenue, Mankato
(507) 345-8771
Can’t decide between a beer or a
margarita? Have both with a Beerita!
Toast to a dia feliz (happy day) with
a unique combination of flavors and
a fun presentation. It’s summer in a
Plaza Garibaldi
1707 N. Broadway, New Ulm
La Terraza
1404 Madison Ave., Mankato
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Rewards in Retirement from page 10
osteo-arthritis. The curriculum, licensed by RSVP programs around
the country, and developed by Tuft University in Boston, provides
a comprehensive, hour-long session resulting in what participants
say are amazing results in bone strength, balance and energy.
The difference of this program, Audrey says, is that RSVP works
alongside you and the community to provide classes through
volunteers, and at a no-cost location.
“It’s a free program,” Audrey said. “How can you beat that?” Two
other women, Marlene Walters and Diane Tetzloff, signed on to
assist with the class. RSVP offers them training, support, updates,
and ongoing communication. In fact, anyone who assists the
leaders in set up, paperwork, or driving others to class receives
special perks from RSVP.
“Its fun,” says Audrey, who sees the success of the growing
group. “It’s important as we age that we stay independent to stay
in our homes.” She explained, referring to staying healthy later in
Since the St. James kickoff a year ago, participation swelled to
30, with seasonal fluctuations from weather and “snowbirds.”
“We could have five (participants) and we could get 20,” said
Linda. “I know if it was just for me, I might not go…you know,
it’s too cold, the roads are bad….” It’s the social aspect that makes
everyone stay accountable, she explained.
Accountability or not, neither Linda nor Audrey intends to quit
any time soon. They both admit, when they do miss a class, they
just don’t feel right, like they’ve missed out on time with family.
For information on how to get involved after age 55, call (507)
387-5586 or email [email protected] RVW
1741 Premier Drive Mankato
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RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
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Brook Devenport
[email protected]
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Book review
Enjoy some
during the
hubbub with
these winter
White Out by Linda Howard
Hope Bradshaw has found herself on her own once again. Five years ago her husband
died and now her father has left to go take care of his brother after a heart attack. It just
figures that a blizzard would be on the way as well. However, she’s survived Idaho winters
long enough to know what to do during a white out and that is to stay warm!
What she wasn’t expecting was to find a local sheriff, Price Tanner, literally collapse on
her front porch nearly frozen to death. She warms him up in more ways than one until she
finds out that he may not be who he appears. There was a bus accident just down the road
carrying officers and prisoners. Is he really a sheriff or is he a convict on the loose?
Kevin Kling’s Holiday Inn by Kevin Kling
Celebrate all the holidays–and then some–with renowned Minnesota storyteller Kevin
Kling, whose sense of the ridiculous never gets in the way of his appreciation for human
nature. Laugh out-loud (and cry a little) stories cover a year’s worth of holidays and events.
We can all relate to this honest-to goodness story-telling.
The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
by Christopher Moore
The tiny community of Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing,
and generally getting into the holiday spirit. But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little
Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. He is sure that he saw Santa take a
shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come
back from the dead.
But hold on! There’s an angel waiting in the wings. It’s none other than the Archangel
Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately,
our angel’s not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and sends the residents of Pine
Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying
holiday party the town has ever seen.
Christmas in Minnesota by Marilyn Ziebarth and Brian Horrigan
Like the warmth of a cabin fireplace and lights of fish houses on a frozen lake, Christmas in
Minnesota can evokes strong memories of bygone years.
Familiar traditions echo across the years in funny, poignant, and surprising ways in this
group of stories. A family welcomes a Swedish traveler to their cozy sod house on the prairie
in the 1970s. The annual holiday pageant is at the heart of a moving story by Faith Sullivan
about a schoolgirl frightened by her role in the spotlight. The spirit of giving is the theme as
Evelyn Fairbanks remembers the stranger who made Christmas possible after her father’s
untimely death in the 1930s. A dad struggles to reconnect with his son in a touching story
by novelist Jon Hassler. A Civil War drummer boy prepares for a makeshift holiday while on
duty with the First Minnesota. Essayist Bill Holm reflects on the joyous and burdensome
ritual of composing the annual Christmas letter.
These stories and many more, accompanied by vintage recipes, advertisements, photos,
and decorations, recreate the excitement and spirit of Minnesota’s own Yuletide cheer.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Swipe and Earn
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with Points, Cash or Interest for using
your debit card for purchases!
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your new account and receive a
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Mankato, MN
Phone - 507.344.1450
New Ulm, MN
Phone - 507.359.2001
*1099 may be issued to recipient at
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New Ulm United Prairie locations
through January 30, 2015. VISA
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of account opening. $50 minimum
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Bonus will be deducted from account
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RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Money Talks
Making a List and
Checking it Twice
The weather is getting colder and everywhere you look you
are reminded the holidays are quickly approaching. You hand the
children the newest toy catalog so they can start making wish lists
for Santa and Grandma Betty; you have a grocery list two pages
long as you prepare for an afternoon of baking peanut butter
blossoms, homemade
toffee, and corn flake
Of course, the best part
wreath treats; and the
packing list is started
of a new year is that it’s
for your family’s 10-day,
time to see your tax
400-mile road trip to
accountant again.
the in-laws so you can
celebrate the holidays
with family.
You started all of those
lists, checking them off as you went, but before you know it the
holidays have come and gone and you are ringing in the New Year.
Of course, the best part of a new year is that it’s time to see your tax
accountant again. With your holiday lists completed, I challenge you
to make one more list—except this time, I will help you generate it.
The final list for the season is a list of items you should discuss
If you watched Neil Armstrong
land on the moon back in 1969,
join the club.
On July 20, 1969, millions watched as
Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon
and uttered the phrase, “That’s one small
step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Good memories for those 50 and older.
But now that you’ve reached the prime of
your life, it’s time to make new memories.
And enjoy the good life, including great
benefits and fun social events that come
with opening a Primetimers Club checking
account at any Community Bank.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
MANKATO - St. Andrews Drive 507.385.4444
MANKATO - Madison Ave 507.625.1551
VERNON CENTER 507.549.3679
AMBOY 507.674.3300
with your
during your tax
• Are there any
new deductions
or credits we may
qualify for?
• Discuss any known life
events (marriage, divorce, birth,
adoption, address change, etc.) and how
they may impact your taxes.
• Do we have any carry-forwards from last year (i.e. losses, credits,
etc.)? Brainstorm ideas on how to utilize carry-forwards.
• Be prepared to discuss any foreign income received or foreign
taxes paid during the year.
• Bring documentation related to debts cancelled, forgiven or
• Were you involved in or are considering a transaction involving
a new or existing business, partnership, LLC or S Corporation, real
estate, or other property? Let’s discuss.
• How can we start saving for our children’s college? Let’ look at
custodial accounts vs. 529 savings plans vs. Coverdell’s vs. Roth IRAs
vs. savings bonds.
• I have a business; can I hire my children to generate a tax
• I have a home-office; can I deduct any related expenses?
• Can we make any additional retirement contributions?
• Should we switch to a Roth 401(k)?
• How does the Affordable Care Act affect us?
• Is there a tax-free way to acquire a new rental property?
• If you are nearing retirement age, discuss your options
regarding when to start collecting Social Security.
• Based on our projected income for 2015, what are our
forecasted taxes?
• Do we need to adjust our withholdings? Or pay estimated taxes?
• Consider prepaying state taxes.
• Do we need to have a will? Health care directive?
• Discuss general planning opportunities to reduce your taxable
As you prepare for your year-end tax appointment with your
accountant, do yourself a favor and make one more list, then
check it twice. The Internal Revenue Service has provided us a tax
code full of deductions, credits, and other
opportunities. Give yourself peace of mind
and help your accountant make sure you
benefit from everything you can. RVW
By Brooke C. Forstner
CPA/Tax Manager
Eide Bailly
It Pays to Shop Smart for the Holidays...Literally!
credit card companies offer points rewards
associated with dollars spent. Don’t count
out your bank. Some banks offer points
and benefits based on swiping your debit
card. This option offers the comfort of
not potentially paying interest on your
purchases since the payments come directly
from your checking account.
Another holiday-time bonus that has been
popping up in the past few years have been
the buy-one, get-one gift card deals. Many
retailers, and even more restaurants, have
been offering free gift cards for purchasers
based on dollar threshold purchases of
their store gift cards. For example, if you
purchase $100 worth of gift cards, they
will give you a free $25 gift card. The only
decision to make at that point is, do I keep it
for me or give it as a gift? Tough choice!
It’s upon us once again...the holiday shopping season! The air gets brisk
and the dollars briskly exit our wallets as we hit the stores to shop for
those treasures for our loved ones. A little bit of planning can save you
a whole lot of money this holiday season. It’s easy, especially using the
technology that we all have in our homes, offices, and palm of our hands!
Take Advantage of Technology
Smartphone apps are the way to go for
instant gratification when it comes to finding
a deal on the spot. There are apps available
to get a quick price comparison to make
sure you’re getting the best deal. These are
great for those high-dollar wish list items,
but don’t forget that the little stuff adds
up too. Many retailers offer their own apps
that provide discounts and rewards that are
customized based on your shopping history
in their stores. There are also many apps
dedicated to bringing coupons, rewards,
and deals for a wide variety of products or
If you’re leaning more towards creating
your shopping “plan of attack” before
heading out on the town, you can save big
time by hopping online to seek out specific
coupons for your purchases. Manufacturer
and retailer-specific coupons are plentiful
online. You just have to be willing to weed
through the search engine results to find the
best and truly legit deals.
Good old-fashioned weekly ads are still
a good way to go to find the deals. Most
retailers offer their weekly ads online for
quick and easy viewing. No one likes to see
that item they just purchased last week now
listed at 25% off in the following week’s ad,
so plan ahead and watch those ads.
Gift for You, Gift for Me
So many retailers offer rewards programs
for their shoppers that it’s almost unusual to
not be offered a reward card when checking
out. Many of these rewards programs can be
very beneficial for shoppers, especially for
loyal ones. When you’re out there hitting the
racks, you can also be racking up rewards for
your own use after the holiday season settles
with these programs. The rewards can
come in the form of points to be redeemed
in gift cards, points to be redeemed for
merchandise, and even freebies.
Don’t forget your plastic when it comes to
rewards! Double up on your rewards when
you are shopping by using a debit card or
credit card with a rewards program as well.
Since many of the retailers’ reward programs
are not based on using a store credit card,
you can truly double up by gaining your
store rewards AND swiping your plastic to
earn points with your payment card. Many
Think Local
Remember to keep your local shops
and retailers in mind when you start your
shopping. You’ll avoid the additional
expense of shipping and expensive gas
fill-ups when you drive out of town. Your
dollars spent locally help the economy. More
sales tax-revenue means more jobs, more
money for schools, more dollars towards
infrastructure improvements and the list
goes on. Besides the benefits of local sales
tax dollars staying local, you can also find
really cool and unique items from local
shops. Be creative too. Gifts don’t always
have to be something from a retail store.
Food, services, entertainment and other
local treasures can make for memorable and
popular gifts.
The moral of the story when the holiday
spirit takes over and leads you out into the
wild world of retail is to think ahead and
have a plan. Planning ahead can help you
find the best deals, help you earn the most
benefits from your shopping choices and,
in the end, help you save the most money.
You may even save
enough money to set
aside to start saving
for next year’s holiday
shopping season!
By Leslie Vermillion
Marketing Manager
of United Prairie Bank
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Money Talks
12 tips
for a
Season of Giving
For many, the holiday season inspires feelings
of generosity. So if you’re thinking of making
a contribution to a charitable organization,
be sure to keep the following tips in mind.
Be sure you are giving to a qualified organization.
Examples of qualified organizations include churches,
nonprofit charitable or educational organizations (United
Way or Girl Scouts), nonprofit hospitals and research
organizations, and nonprofit firefighter organizations.
To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form
1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. Minnesota also
allows a deduction on the state return for those who do not
itemize and contribute more than $500.
If you receive a benefit because of your contribution, such
as merchandise, tickets to a sporting event, or other goods
and services, you may deduct only the amount that exceeds
the fair market value of the benefit received. 4
Donations of stock or other non-cash property are usually
valued at fair market value. Fair market value is typically the
price at which property would change hands between a
willing buyer and a willing seller, neither having to buy or
sell, and both having reasonable knowledge of all relevant
We are hoping Congress reinstates legislation that allows
you to contribute $100,000 or less directly from your IRA
to a qualified organization as a 2014 contribution. Please
check with your tax professional to find out if this has been
To claim a deduction for contributions of cash, check or
other monetary gift of any amount, you must maintain
a bank record, payroll deduction records, or written
communication (such as a receipt) from the organization
containing the organization’s name and the date and
amount of the contribution. For donations made via text
message, a telephone bill will meet the record-keeping
requirement — as long as it shows the name of the
receiving organization, the date of the contribution, and the
amount given.
To claim a deduction for contributions of cash or property
equaling $250 or more, you must follow the requirements
listed in tip #10 and obtain an acknowledgment from
the organization. The acknowledgement must show
the amount of cash and a description of any property
contributed, as well as whether or not the organization
provided any goods or services in exchange for the gift. If
your total deduction for all noncash contributions for the
year is over $500, you must complete and attach IRS Form
8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, to your return.
If you donate an item or a group of similar items valued
at more than $5,000, you must attach an appraisal to your
Donated clothing and household items must generally be
in good used condition or better to be deductible. Special
rules apply to vehicle donations.
Don’t forget about qualified travel (mileage) for the
organization’s activities.
Out-of-pocket expenses you incur while rendering services
for an organization can create a tax deduction, too.
You can also donate land, works of art, grain, and life
insurance policy ownerships.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
And don’t forget — make your contribution
by December 31 to receive a tax deduction for
your 2014 taxes. RVW
Christine Powers, CPA, Partner
Abdo Eick & Meyers LLP
Life events drive need for financial guidance
Financial professionals see it every day. A person who has never felt the need for financial
guidance walks in their door right after a significant life event – maybe the birth of a child,
marriage, or an unexpected inheritance. Life events like these and others may turn
professional financial assistance from a nice-to-have into a need-to-have situation.
What life events often drive this need? Financial
professionals say that retirement issues are among the main
reasons people visit them – and this need is becoming more
palpable as the 76 million baby boomers enter retirement.
This transition to retirement can be a trying one. Retirement
often means leaving behind the identity one formed
through work and a routine that developed over years on
the job. It may also mean added opportunity – and possibly
challenges – in filling one’s time.
Beyond the personal lifestyle issues, outliving assets in
retirement is increasingly becoming one of the concerns
among boomers – and a key driver to get financial guidance
now rather than later. But retirement questions affect
boomers and non-boomers alike – for some it’s managing
a nest egg; for others it’s learning strategies to help build
enough wealth to be ready for retirement.
Other life events
Retirement, however, is not the only life event that drives a
need for guidance. Many other life events require attention
when it comes to finances. Thrivent Financial recommends
meeting with your financial representative around these life
An inheritance. Many people devote time and attention
to devising strategies in the event of their own death
but often forget that they might also find themselves as
beneficiaries during the course of their lives. Financial
services professionals provide valuable input in helping
during these life events, too.
Education. During the past 20 years, tuition costs have
increased dramatically, and financial aid for secondary
education has not kept pace. Thus, paying for a child’s
college education is an even larger life-changing event for
parents than ever before.
Change in marital status. Getting married introduces
new challenges. Finances are increasingly an issue in
marriages and a common cause for unhappiness and strain.
A good way to lessen the stress is to make financial decisions
together and re-assess those decisions over time with the
help of a financial professional.
A birth or adoption of a child. This life event is
significant, to say the least, and usually requires some
additional financial guidance. Making room for the new
addition into one’s budget is critical. It’s also a time to
evaluate the need for additional disability income and life
insurance coverage.
Life events are inevitable and so are financial needs as
they evolve and change over time. Seeking guidance as they
arise can help create a renewed sense of financial balance.
This article was prepared by Thrivent Financial for use by St.
Peter representative Chanelle Braekkan. She has offices at 300 S.
Minnesota Ave in St. Peter and can also be reached at 507-3514580.
About Thrivent Financial
Thrivent Financial is a financial services organization that helps Christians be wise
with money and live generously. The organization offers a broad range of products and
services along with guidance from financial representatives nationwide. For more than a
century it has helped its nearly 2.4 million member-owners make wise money choices that
reflect their values. Thrivent also provides opportunities for members to be even more
generous where they live, work and worship. For more information, visit www.thrivent.
com/why. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
Thrivent Financial is the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans,
Appleton, Wis.
Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent
Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products
are available in all states. Securities and investment
advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment
Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN
55415, 800-847-4836, a FINRA and SIPC member and
a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent Financial for
Lutherans. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered
representatives of Thrivent Investment Management
Inc. They are also licensed insurance agents/producers of
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Be Well
Preparing for surgery?
What you need to know
So, it’s official. You need surgery. A lot of thoughts
are likely running through your head. You may be
feeling anxious, confused or scared. While these
emotions are normal, there are ways to feel more
comfortable with your upcoming operation. But
it’s more than calming your nerves — there are
things you can do to prepare yourself for surgery.
Q. How can I make sure I am healthy and
ready for surgery?
A. You and your surgeon will agree together on a surgical
plan. Before surgery, your surgeon will require you to have a
comprehensive physical examination within 30 days of your
scheduled surgery date. Should you not have a primary care
physician, or if your primary care physician is unable to see you
within the 30-day timeframe, the pre-anesthesia medical evaluation
(PAME) clinic is an option to complete this process.
Some things you can do before surgery to ensure you are prepared
• Attend all appointments and educational seminars as directed by
your surgeon
• Take your medications as directed by your physician
• Reduce or quit smoking
• Eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole
• Get plenty of rest
• Make arrangements with your friends and family for transportation
to and from the hospital, as well as someone to stay with you at
home after surgery.
• Reviewing your medical, surgical and family history
• Physical exam
• Completing additional preoperative testing following your exam
if deemed necessary. This may include, blood or urine tests, X-rays
or an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram is a test of heart
function with an instrument that prints out the results as a graph.
All of these pre-operative exam components help make sure you
are optimized for surgery.
Q. Why is it important to be “optimized” for surgery?
A. First of all, being “optimized” for surgery means you are in proper
physical shape before your operation and you are receiving the
right care. Your pre-operative evaluation will allow your surgeon
and anesthesiologist to be prepared and individualize your surgical
care to your specific medical needs. Preoperative optimization has
the potential to identify problems or conditions for which we can
provide treatment or management strategies throughout your
surgery and recovery time. Occasionally a problem is identified
at this time that takes precedence over an elective surgery. The
problem can be addressed before proceeding with surgery in order
to ensure you have the safest possible operation.
Q. What are some of the benefits of PAME?
A. A PAME appointment is very similar to the exam you would
receive with your primary care doctor. PAME has a specific focus on
how anesthesia and surgery affect your medical history and current
conditions. PAME providers specialize in pre-operative exams. This
allows us to see patients within the 30-day timeframe and provide a
detailed evaluation of each patient.
If you have questions or concerns about
preparing for an upcoming surgery, talk
with your health care team. RVW
Q. What happens during a pre-operative exam?
A. Your preoperative evaluation in the PAME clinic will include these
• Measuring your height, weight and vital signs
• Reviewing your medication list with recommendations for how to
take your medications prior to surgery
Elizabeth Cumberland, nurse practitioner, is
a Mayo Clinic Health System pre-anesthesia
medical examination provider.
For more information, visit www.
Kato Moving & Storage
Over 120 years of service
We can handle all your moving needs
local and long distance, climate controlled warehouse or self-storage units
417 Poplar Street, Downtown Mankato
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
507-388-9329 or 1-800-228-8583
Thank you to our listeners, advertisers,
staff and associates for a great 2014! We’re
looking forward to another great year in 2015.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Tires 101:
a class you want to pass
Proper maintenance is important to your
safety and prolongs your vehicle’s ability to
function as designed. This is especially true
when it comes to your tires. With so many
options available now days, choosing new
tires can be a little overwhelming. However,
with the following information, you will have
enough knowledge and confidence to be
sure you’re getting exactly what you need to
make an informed decision when replacing
your next set of tires.
wearing is more true and even.
Proper tire inflation is equally
as important. If you have too
much air in your tires the center
will wear faster than the edges.
Too little air, and the edges will
wear faster than the center. Also
keeping your alignment in specs
and your tires balanced is a must
when prolonging the life of your
tires, and it ensures that your
vehicle will handle properly. If
you notice your vehicle pulling
to the left or right or your
steering wheel shakes; that is a
good indication your alignment
is off or the tires need to be
How do you know when
new tires are needed?
Tires need to be in good condition to
insure your safety, which is why maintaining
them is so important. Once a month, or
before you embark upon long road trips,
check your tires for wear and damage. You
will want to check the pressure as well.
Refer to your owner’s manual for proper
pressure but a general rule of thumb is 35
psi. Uneven wear can signal a multitude of
issues too so if you notice flat or bald spots,
bulges, cracking or chunks missing you will
want to have your mechanic thoroughly
inspect your tires before heading out. Your
mechanic should know whether your tires
will need to be rotated or balanced or if you
have any suspension or alignment issues.
An easy way of checking the tread depth is
to do the penny test. Simply take a penny
and hold Abe’s body between your thumb
and forefinger, then select a point on your
tire where the tread appears the lowest
and place Lincoln’s head into one of the
grooves. If any part of Abe’s head is covered
by the tread, you’re driving with the legal
amount of tread. If the tread gets below
his head (approximately 2/32 of an inch),
your car’s ability to grip the road in adverse
conditions is greatly reduced and you may
be issued a citation if pulled over. Living in
Minnesota is a true test to this. Realistically
2/32nd is not going to provide the traction
needed to safely navigate our snow and ice
covered roads. We recommend having tires
replaced at 4/32 of an inch or when the top
of Lincoln’s hair is level with the tread.
How do I know what
kind of tire I need?
As stated above, there
are more options than ever
before, and let’s face it, tires are
EXPENSIVE! Some of the most
important things to consider is
the size and weather conditions
where you live. The size is located
on the sidewall of your tires. You
should always put on the correct
size for your vehicle. Not doing
so will result in turning issues,
excessive tire wear and your speedometer
will not read accurately. If you have troubles
locating the size on the sidewall, most
vehicles will have a vehicle information
sticker located on the driver’s door as well.
With Minnesota weather conditions, an all
season tire is recommended. These tires will
provide great traction on wet roads as well
as on snow and ice.
The next item to consider is your driving
style. Do you prefer a soft, cushioned ride,
or would you rather have a stiffer tire with
crisp handling for sportier driving? Touring
tires provide a softer ride compared to
performance tires which are for drivers
who demand a little more when it comes to
vehicle performance.
How do I prolong the life
of my tires?
We recommend having your tires rotated
every 6,000 miles or every other oil change.
Rotating your tires often will ensure the
What is the best brand?
As with most anything else, often you
get what you pay for when it comes to tires.
Depending on the size and type you need,
tires that fit your vehicle will be available
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
with quite large price differences. This is
where it’s important to compare tread wear
warranties, since you can be fairly certain a
tire with a 40,000-mile warranty won’t last
as long as one with an 80,000-mile warranty.
When considering price points, keep in mind
the age of your car, how much longer you’re
planning on keeping it, how many miles you
typically drive and how often you want to go
through the process of replacing tires. Also,
remember that premium, top-tier brands
tend to be pricey, but that doesn’t mean that
a mid-tier, lower priced brand doesn’t offer a
quality tire.
There are many factors that go into
replacing tires, but stressing out over
what’s the best option shouldn’t be one of
them. Keep in mind the points mentioned
above and you will have no problems being
confident in whatever brand and style you
Amber Schnurrer
Marketing & Customer Service Rep
Mike’s Collision & Repair Center, New Ulm
40 years of satisfied customers
make Mike’s Collision & Repair Center
an easy choice when you need to get
back on the road.
We do it right the first time,
ensuring you’re getting the best service
available each and every time!
services We provide
“Clean & Friendly environment….Focused on Safety”
625 West Bridge Street
Redwood Falls, MN
Visit your local
Firestone Store
on the West side
of Redwood Falls!
Sale prices good through
Dec. 25, 2014
Free Cookies & Coffee in our family waiting area
auto body repair
tires, oil changes, brakes,
suspension work
(shocks, struts, ball joints, tie rods)
wheel alignments, exhaust repairs,
transmission flushes & replacements,
engine replacements, belts, hoses,
radiator flushes and replacement,
batteries, starters, Tune ups,
A/C and heater repairs,
and more!
809 20th North Street
New Ulm, MN 56073
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
8 ways to protect the value of your car this winter
Your car is one of your most prized possessions. It’s your road-trip
partner, your chauffer each morning and your home away from home
when you’re on the go. Because you depend on your car for so much,
you want to protect and keep it running as long as possible.
As the seasons change and winter approaches, protecting your
vehicle becomes even more important. Before cold weather strikes,
make sure to follow these tips to keep your vehicle running in perfect
condition. The better the condition of your vehicle, the longer it will
last and the higher the resale or trade-in value.
n A clean car is your first line of defense against winter. While the
winter season typically takes a toll on your car, proper maintenance can
go a long way to preserving your investment. For example, according
to the International Carwash Association, getting a new wash and a
fresh coat of wax before the temperature starts to fluctuate can be
your first line of defense against winter elements like ice, salt, sand and
slush. Vehicular corrosion also occurs most quickly when temperatures
rise and then fall below freezing. That’s why most auto manufacturers
recommend getting your car washed and waxed at a professional car
wash twice a month, especially during the winter.
Using a WaterSavers car wash can is a strong first step to ensuring
that your car will be ready to withstand the winter elements - inside
and out. It’s also a great way to protect the environment. For example,
these car washes typically use only 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of
fresh water per car wash. Learn more and find a WaterSavers wash at
n Rotate your tires. Most people know they should get their
oil changed every 3,000 miles, but many forget their tires need
maintenance as well. Tires should be rotated before winter and then
again every 6,000 miles.
n Add some winter weight to your oil. Changing your oil and filter
is especially important during the winter. Drivers who live in a colder
climate should consider changing to heavier, winter-weight oil during
the winter months.
n Take care of your wiper blades. Your windshield wiper blades are
your first line of defense when the snow starts to fly. Make sure your
wiper blades are in good, working order and replace them if you have
doubts. It’s better to make this change now instead of finding out your
blades aren’t working when you really need them.
n Take your car in for a tune-up. Any noises, pings or sluggish starts
you currently notice will only intensify as the temperature drops. It’s
best to get your vehicle in for a tune-up as soon as possible to get any
issues addressed.
n Give your steering some power. Check your powering steering
fluid each month, and make sure the car is warmed up before you do
so. If you find the level is low, look for leaks in the hoses or pump. Low
power steering fluid will make your car more difficult to steer, which is
something you’ll want to avoid as the roads get slick.
n Protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide leaks
are dangerous at any time, but they are especially deadly during the
winter when you will be driving your vehicle with the windows closed.
Have your exhaust system checked to make sure no leak exists.
n Apply the brakes. Besides the seatbelt, your car’s brakes are its
most important safety feature. This is especially true in the winter
when slippery conditions can make stopping difficult. Before the first
snow fall, bring your car to an experienced mechanic to verify that your
brakes are ready for the season.
Cold winter temperatures mean vehicle maintenance is even more
important. By following these simple tips listed above, you’ll be able to
ward off winter’s harshest advances, protect your investment and what
rides inside of it.
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
Ladies Treated to Special
Night Out at Kohl’s Weelborg
Cassie Donlea, marketing strategist and
event coordinator for Kohl’s Wheelborg in
New Ulm, says their first Ladies Night Out
Winter Survival Clinic was a success beyond
their expectations. Women attendees had
the opportunity to talk directly to the service
people about vehicle maintenance, safety
and winter driving. Cupcakes, hors d’oeuvres
and punch were served.
“It was neat to see who responded to the event,” said Cassie, noting
that women of all ages attended.
“Our idea behind the event was to build relationships,” said Cassie.
“We wanted women to be able to visit first hand with the people
who may be servicing their vehicles in the future. We also wanted to
simply have a fun, social night out for women and give them valuable
information at the same time.
“We wanted to do this one as a test run and see the interest and
also to see how we handled things as well. The service department
enjoyed themselves immensely, talking to and helping the women
with their questions.”
Questions from the women ranged from how to operate the
electronics in their vehicles to what the “check engine” light means.
According to Cassie, women these days want to embrace their
own futures. It’s becoming more and more common where women
handle the finances in a family, or
the husband and wife have their
own checkbooks and keep things
“I have a lot of visions on how to
make women feel special with future
events,” said Cassie, explaining that
they hope to have themed events
quarterly in the future.
Photo: High-heeled cupcakes
created by B&H Bakery, were some of
the treats on hand for attendees at the
Ladies Night Out.
‘Tis Not the Season for an Emergency Trip to the Veterinarian
Christmas dinner at my house is a hazardous event. There are a
lot of ways to get burned, or cut, and usually too many people in the
kitchen, and too few adults supervising children, and I’m sure ours
is not the only dangerous kitchen in America. Holiday gatherings
are also a pretty unsafe place for pets. In addition to the hazards
we humans face, glass ornaments, poisonous poinsettias, and rich
leftovers face our four legged family members. Of course the best
thing to do is keep your pets away from all the commotion, but when
that’s not feasible or practical, it’s important to be extra vigilant
about keeping them safe. Whether it’s your first Christmas with pets,
or your fiftieth, the best way to enjoy the season is at home, not in
your vet clinic office.
Food Safety While it is certainly important that your turkey
reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, there are many
more culinary hazards to your pets than to your grandma this time
of year. Most pet owners know not to feed any cooked turkey bones,
but it’s important to remind guests of this as well. The abnormally
high volume of sugary treats, especially chocolaty ones, can also be a
concern, especially for dogs.
Keeping pets safe from food poisons is about managing hazards
more than anything. Tactfully warn guests about sharing food with
pets, and keep appetizer and desert platters out of reach. In general,
leaving dogs and cats out of the kitchen will keep chefs and pets
safer while food is prepared.
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Deck the Halls A well decorated Christmas tree is beautiful, but
for many pet owners, can also be a big safety concern. Cats are prone
to climbing or jumping onto Christmas trees, and many dogs will pull
ornaments off to chew on or play with. Many
pet owners opt for plastic ornaments,
to at least keep broken glass out of
the picture. Most dogs will still
go after plastic ornaments,
so sometimes keeping the
decorations out of reach
of your pets is the safest
Other decorations
can be dangerous to
pets as well. Poinsettias,
a common holiday
decorative plant, are
highly toxic to pets, and
even typically well behaved
pets might try to sample the
leaves when stressed by guests.
Lit candles are another concern
for many pet owners, as dogs and
cats both can knock them off surfaces
and burn themselves or the carpeting. Plug in or
battery operated candles are a safer option and will keep your mind
at ease.
Holiday Anxiety All the commotion of guests can cause some
pets to become fearful and anxious. Sometimes this means your
pet’s normal good manners will be forgotten, and this can pose an
extra threat to your pets. With additional people in and out of the
house, there are extra opportunities for a dog or cat to slip through
the front door and become lost. Guests are not always aware of how
easily a pet can sneak out, especially if the pet is nervous about the
In addition to a loss of front door manners, the extra stress of
visitors can cause some dogs to become more active, loud, and
sometimes even snappy, especially around children who do not
always know how to behave towards dogs. Making sure your dog
has a safe, quiet place to rest, away from guests, is the first step
to keeping Fido’s Christmas low-stress. Children should always be
supervised around dogs, and sometimes adults need a reminder to
be respectful as well.
Keeping your pets in a safe place, either crated, or locked in a quiet
room is usually the kindest thing for both pets, and guests. If that is
not practical, it’s still important to ensure your pets’ safety during
the holiday season. Managing hazards, such as food poisons and
front doors, is as important as communication
to guests about how best to keep everybody
safe. The last thing anybody needs during the
holidays is a trip to the emergency vet, or local
impound to save their dog. Taking a few extra
safety steps before your guests arrive will keep
everybody more safe, and hopefully, the only
thing that will burn is the turkey. RVW
By Antonia Langr
Sales Associate , Pet Expo, Mankato
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
When Travel Gives You Lemons
where it was. And get another blank look.
By the time my husband Terry and I planned our trip to Thailand,
For the better part of a day we covered an entire web of roads in
we’d already used rental cars in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Australia, all
that part of central Thailand. Then finally a dried apple-faced old man
over Mexico, all over England and Europe. We thought we were pretty
pointed down a dirt road that turned out to be the right one. Finally.
driver-savvy when it came to driving on the right or left, navigating
It was late afternoon by that time. We hadn’t eaten since
unknown regions with out-of-date maps (this is before GPS devices),
breakfast, but our information said cabins were available along the
and understanding that the only real global rule-of-the-road is that if
lake shore and surely there’d be food there as well. So off we headed
it’s bigger than you, it has the right-of-way. Or, as my husband likes to
down the dirt road, happily relieved to have finally found the lake
say, Bus takes Truck, Truck takes Van, Van takes Car, etc.
which we were beginning to discern in the distance (hmm...just like
So when the guy on the plane between Tokyo and Bangkok said,
“You’re going to do what?” to our expressed plan of driving from
Only to come to a canyon-like wash-out that cut right across the
Bangkok in the south to Chiang Mai in the north, we didn’t really pay
road, a car-length wide and just as deep. Terry and
much heed to his tone or expression.
I got out to inspect it and discovered someone had
There were some initial challenges, to be
put two logs across the abyss at wheel-base width.
sure. Finding the rental car place was our first
Well, wheel-base width for their vehicle. And the
challenge. That should have been our initial clue
logs were very roughly sawn, bumpily semi-flat on
that this country wasn’t really set up for self-driving
their topsides.
tourists. But we found it, and found our way out
To me, it wasn’t an option. But Terry cheerily
of the city, entertained by the scene every time
declared, ‘We can do this!’
a stoplight was encountered. Thailand has the
I have to come clean. I came unglued. Maybe it
longest stoplights ever, and as we sat there waiting,
was the lack of food.
surrounded by lanes filled with cars and buses and
While I was doing that, walking away from the
trucks, the spaces between would gradually fill up
Thai Grand Canyon and mentally curling into a fetal
with motorcycles, scooters, and bicyclists. Road
position, my husband drove our rental car across
shoulders and even the grass margins were utilized
those two logs.
as well. By the time the light changed to green, a
So onward. We came to a gate with a little
motorized mass of wildly varying vehicles would
guard house and a young man guard. He stepped
surge forward like the Great Oklahoma Land Grab.
out and we said brightly, “Bungalow?” Which is a
Another challenge was navigating. Thai road
word, we had learned, used widely in Thailand.
signs are in Thai. And they are in Thai script, which
Blank look--our umpteenth that day. So we said it
is truly beautiful but completely meaningless to us
again, at which point he retreated back into his little
Latin alphabet users. Since the signs didn’t help at
house and pointedly turned his back to us. We sat
all, our map became extra precious, which explains
there a few minutes, staring at his unrelenting back,
the look on my husband’s face when, at highway
stunned at the thought that we might have to turn
speeds, the map got sucked out of my hands
around and go back over that log bridge (if one can
and out the open car window. Luckily we quickly
Notes from a
even call it a bridge). But by now we could see the
u-turned and retrieved it.
lake and some buildings nearby and we knew there
But we were making our way, figuring it all
World Traveler
was no place else to stay for miles and miles and it
out. We drove to Khao Yai National Park, northeast
Marci M. Fuller
was getting late in the day. So Terry got out, lifted
of Bangkok, and there had an interesting trail
the railroad crossing-style gate by hand and muscle,
encounter with an Asian Elephant. Luckily our trusty
and I drove under it, glancing at the still unmoving
rental car was nearby for refuge.
guard’s back.
Then north to Lake Bueng Boraphet, which was known among
Why guard and gate were needed was bewildering, since
birders for its special species (my husband’s passion). Well, at least we
headed in that direction, but that lake was like the fabled disappearing the whole place seemed deserted. But a woman appeared from
somewhere, understood our word Bungalow, and gestured for us
village of Brigadoon. It just didn’t seem to be anywhere, and it was
to wait. She hurried off and soon reappeared with another woman,
supposedly a very large lake. We studied the map, tried this road
buckets and mops. Like tornadoes they top to bottom scrubbed one
and that road, and stopped to ask every person we came across.
of the bungalows, which evidently had not been used for months and
Well, ‘ask’ is a figurative word here. In reality, I would say, hopefully,
was completely covered in a thick layer of dust, until it was amazingly
‘Boraphet?’ And get a blank look. Then I’d say it louder, changing the
pronunciation a bit in case that helped and coupling it with lots of
We thanked them sincerely and asked about food. They shook their
pointing in all cardinal directions because by then we had no idea
RIVER VALLEY WOMAN | december • 2014
of floating leafy green. The boat cut through the plants, leaving a wake
heads No. Distressed, we tried again. Nope, no food. We took stock
that was temporarily open water, then slowly filled in again behind us.
of the situation: Four mini bananas that we’d purchased at a roadside
So much life. Vegetation and birds and clouds of little fish. Saruta
fruit stand, two tiny bags of airplane peanuts, and one bottle of
and Terry spotted special species of water birds. We passed a lone
water. That was going to be lunch, dinner, and breakfast. The woman
woman in a hollowed-out log canoe working nets in amongst the
did come back after a bit with a battered electric teapot, which we
plants. And then the sun rose above the horizon.
thanked her profusely for but didn’t use. The cord was so frayed we
Much of that vegetation was
were certain of electrocution.
lotus, the flowers closed and
Then it got dark. Really dark.
In that instant, all those things changed from
unnoticed, until the light hit them.
The light in our bungalow was
trials to the necessary and treasured
All around us and stretching off
a bare bulb hanging by a cord
into the distance in all directions,
directly over the bed. And there
experiences that had brought us to that place with
the lake surface suddenly burst into
were bugs. Lots of bugs. The kind
those people at that time.
bloom, floating flowers that made a
of bugs like giant beetles and large
giant fuschia-filled watery plain.
winged moths that hurl themselves
Saruta, in the boat’s bow, smiled
at the screens desperate to get at
wide and said, “The sun is very beautiful for the
light. There must have been a missing screen,
because they succeeded. Bugs rained down
Was it ever. With my superior command
upon our bed. We’d brush them off and another
of English, I couldn’t have said it better. We
layer would take their place.
soaked in her words and the spectacle. In that
Frantically, we turned off the light, swept off
instant, grumpiness, hunger, hardship, bugs,
the latest layer, and lay down in the pitch black,
log bridges, long driving miles, all dissolved
trying to ignore our stomachs. After such a day,
and drained away into the radiancy that was
sleep found us.
Lake Boraphet. In that instant, all those things
Terry had read that boat rides on the
changed from cheerless trials to the necessary
lake could be arranged and had managed to
and treasured experiences that had brought us
communicate this upon arrival. Before sunrise,
to that place with those people at that time.
a boat man and a young woman who spoke rough English appeared.
In that instant, all the world was a lake of flowers.
We gathered that she was some sort of naturalist and her name was
Epilogue: When travel gives you lemons, wait for the lotuses. Many
something like Saruta. We settled into the middle seats of the open
other anecdotes like this one exist from our journeys. Times when
boat and headed out.
perceived travel disasters have morphed into unexpected travel delights.
Terry was excited. I was hungry, grungy, and decidedly grumpy.
The lake was like no lake we’d ever seen before. There was so much As travel guru Rick Steves says, “Be militantly optimistic.” And get out there.
vegetation that the surface of the water was an undulating living mass
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(continued from page 14)
shelters capable of housing just 11 families at any given time. People
should know that each and every month we turn away an average
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At this very moment, Brunton Architects & Engineers are
completing a feasibility study on a building that has been offered to
us as a possible shelter site. The building would allow us to triple if
not quadruple the number of families we can shelter. While everyone
agrees: homeless shelters are nothing more than a band-aid for the
bigger issues related to poverty and the need for affordable housing,
the simple reality is Mankato/North Mankato is not comfortable
with children sleeping in their cars, huddled in storage units or
vacated building or under loading docks or bridges . We can do
better. Indeed, we must do better. People can and do recover from
homelessness and our stats show that they can do so in just 60 days!
When you were young, did you envision yourself in a career of
helping people?
Always! When I was in my formative years, I had three prospective
occupations in my mind: social worker, probation officer or teacher. I
graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a degree
in elementary education but only taught five years before entering
the non-profit arena where I have thrived for the last 40 years! I love,
love, love working on behalf of the disadvantaged within the nonprofits. My work eventually drove me to pursue my Master’s Degree
from the University of Mary in Bismarck and today I can see that my
contemplative professions have all been experienced, in one way or
another, by my work with the disadvantaged. I have been blessed on
many fronts. RVW
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