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You’re Cordially Invited.... To come in and see what Hy-Vee Drugstore Wine & Spirits has for you! Our store offers a large selection of wine, beer, and spirits. We also have hand painted wine glasses, wine aerators, and other accessories (some of which make great gifts). Whether you are having a party, or need something special for your holiday dinner, our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help you.

Spirtis Beer Wine

Our Wine Department offers a large selection of wine from around the globe. Check out our Latin section for a nice Malbec, Italian section for a Chianti or Pinot Grigio, or German for a Riesling. We have recently expanded our Iowa section to include more of the wines from our local growers. Whether you are looking for Mogen David or Dom Perignon, we have what you need.

We offer the largest selection of craft and import beers in the area, now offering Great River and Mad House from Iowa. This time of the year is exciting because there is a plethora of seasonal beers with so many different flavors available. From Fireside Nut Brown to Gouden Carolus Blauw (my personal favorite), you will almost always find something new to try.

Not only do we have great values on Vodka, Whiskey, Rum, Gin, and Tequila, but the Drugstore also has a large selection of premium spirits as well. With the holidays here we will be running many fantastic specials that offer huge savings again this year. There are too many to tell you about here so keep an eye out for our ads or stop in and ask our friendly staff for assistance (we know where the best deals are at).

We are looking forward to helping you make this holiday a memorable one for you, your friends and family. Hope to see you real soon. Cheers, Pete.

875 4th St. SW, Mason City, IA •641-424-4181 MS-56053


contents WINTER 2011-2012

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On the cover Photo by Jake Rajewsky

Features About Us EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE WOW magazine 300 N. Washington Ave. Box 271 Mason City, IA 50402-0271 800-421-0524 www.GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW Publisher/Editor: Howard Query 641-421-0507, howard.query@lee.net Advertising Director: Greg Wilderman 641-421-0545, greg.wilderman@lee.net Advertising Coordinators: Lynette Harrington 641-421-0586 lynette.harrington@lee.net Linda Hawk 641-421-0522 linda.hawk@lee.net Managing Editor: Karen Jacobs 641-421-0529, karen.jacobs@lee.net WOW is published four times a year by the Globe Gazette.

In Every Issue

28 Supermom syndrome

33 The writing tells it all for Michelle Sprout Murray.

Are women expecting too much when it comes to raising children?

26 Columnist Ann-Marie Berg on using the word “no.”

36 To buy or not to buy?

34 What’s Up Down There? Medical expert answers questions women often are too embarrassed to ask.

2 Just call me slut A new social movement for women is causing a stir. But are people having the right conversation?

8 8 Finding your best vitamin

We offer tips for parents who want to purchase a car for their teen.

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Think about your specific needs before reaching for that bottle of vitamins.

6 Protect yourself Experts say premarital agreements have a bad rap.

39 The long and happy road 13 Miracle worker of our youth

A successful marriage takes time, forgiveness.

Marcy Colvin reaches out to children across North Iowa.

16 Sugar nation This sweet stuff you may be addicted to lurks in foods you may not suspect.

GLOBE

GA Z E T T E

20 Stars of the party

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WINTER 2011-2012

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This year, shake up your holiday menu and go with an all-appetizer meal.

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just call me slut A new social movement for women is causing a stir. But are people having the right conversation? By CAITLIN LEITZEN

ASSOCIATED PRESS photos

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After a police officer in Toronto told university students in January that rape could be avoided if women did not dress like “sluts,” a movement was sparked around the world to take back the word and support rape victims. In fewer than nine months, marches sprang up in Los Angeles and New York City, but also around the world in Sweden, South Africa and dozens of other countries. A walk was held in Des Moines in late July. The Washington Post said, “In just a few months, SlutWalks have become the most successful feminist action of the past 20 years.” But our local experts question whether the movement is truly having the impact it intends to have. The SlutWalks are organized marches where women often dress provocatively and brand themselves as “sluts,” holding signs with slogans like, “My dress is not a yes” or scrawling the word on their bodies. Christine Peterson, a teacher at Mason City High School, said she is “not secretive about being a feminist.” For Peterson, the central message of the SlutWalks is

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Peterson. “What I like about this movement is that it’s getting people talking,” Peterson said. “I hope their protests will evolve to make a real and lasting impact on this issue.” Ingham compares the strong publicity of SlutWalks with another antirape event that has been around for several years, the Take Back the Night rally. “When there was a (Slut) walk in Des Moines there was front page coverage,” Ingham said. “Typically efforts that anti-rape groups have done in the past haven’t been front page news necessarily.” In one way they are effective because people are talking about it, she said. After one Crisis Intervention Center employee attended the walk, Ingham realized the movement may be “tapping into a different audience.”

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simple. “The goal is to make us all aware that bodies are just bodies,” Peterson said. “No matter what we wear, it does not invite sexual assault.” Crisis Intervention Center Executive Director Mary Ingham explained the walks help to erase the idea of a “perfect rape scenario.” “In society, there seems to be ‘good victims,’ ” Ingham said. “If I was walking home from church and a man jumped out of the bushes and raped me, people would be outraged.” Ingham said it’s often easier for people to “make that leap” to blaming a woman for being raped if she is dressed provocatively or drinking at a bar. “It has nothing to do with what you’re wearing,” she said. “(It’s) an act of violence.” One positive result of the marches is to begin the conversation, said

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“They (SlutWalk participants) are more disenfranchised people who wouldn’t feel comfortable seeking out mainstream sources or the justice system,” she said. The walks are reminiscent of previous women’s movements, said Blake Slonecker, assistant professor of history at Waldorf College. Slonecker, who has taught American Women’s History and Second Wave Feminism at the college, said the SlutWalks follow a sequence common in women’s rights movements and for civil rights in general. “It’s a classic feminist issue,” Slonecker said. Often, protests are sparked by the actions or words of one hateful individual. Then a dramatization of the issue is made to drive the message home, followed by an effort to make the public uncomfortable, all aspects of the SlutWalk phenomenon, he said. One item consistent with feminist movements is an effort to be both funny and serious, Slonecker said. “I see them protesting and I see them angry,” he said. “But I also see

them laughing and having fun.” In 1968, feminists crowned a sheep Miss America outside of the competition in Atlantic City. Famous women’s rights advocate Gloria Steinem wrote “If Men Could Menstruate” in 1978, saying men would take an uncomfortable and embarrassing time for a woman and turn it into a competition of masculinity, Slonecker said. “People are scared of feminists being funny,” he said. While injecting humor may increase publicity to a cause and buck the stereotype of the serious feminist, it may also have a negative impact. Because of its in-your-face approach, SlutWalks may only be speaking to those who already agree or to those who think the marches are “silly and sensational,” and that “doing something shocking is often the last resort,” Peterson said. “I fear that these SlutWalks are in themselves too tantalizing to make the protesters’ views heard and seen by those that the women most want to hear and see their views,” she said, saying the walks may be, in fact, draw-

ing attention to the impact of provocative clothing instead of the fact that outfits don’t matter. Peterson also said her high school students have never heard about the walks, citing that the message may not be reaching the audience it needs to. Another goal, to take back the word “slut” to rob it of its power to offend, also may not be successful, the experts said, citing the continued use of derogatory terms in racial or sexual discrimination attacks or advocacy. Ingham said her colleagues are “all over the map with SlutWalks,” a common theme among experts. “What I hope to see happen to this movement is to expand beyond outfits, marching and using the term,” Peterson said. “We need something to shake it up.” Slonecker said the movement is successful in dramatizing the act of blaming a woman for rape, but the rest could be lost. “The danger is the message could be lost by the method,” he said. “If that’s (the clothing and marching) all they see, the more meaningful message can be missed.”

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WOW Makeover Rules: 1) You must be a female and at least 21 years old. 2) Winner will be selected by a panel of judges who will review all applications that meet the following criteria including: Female • At least 21 years old • Reasons for wanting a makeover • Current photo included • Must be available between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm on Saturday, February 11, 2012. 3) All applications must be received by December 30, 2011. 4) No purchase necessary. 5) Anyone chosen for a makeover must agree to not make any dramatic changes to their hair (must be the same as photo) or makeup prior to makeover. They must sign a release and be willing to have their hair cut and colored and have their makeup changed. An entry or may be picked up at the Globe Gazette. 300 North Washington Ave. Mason City, IA 50401 or one will be sent to you upon receipt of a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Decisions of the panel are final. MS-55223

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protect yourself Prenup agreements should be looked at as a loving gesture benefiting everyone involved, experts say By CAITLIN LEITZEN

PHOTOS BY JAKE RAJEWSKY

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When Lauren Trembath-Neuberger got married on Sept 25, 2010, she and her then-fiance thought of everything. Except what would happen if the union was split. “We didn’t even discuss it,” said Trembath-Neuberger. “It didn’t cross my mind.” Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements, are defined as “agreements between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage,” said Jim Locher of the Locher Law Firm in Mason City. These agreements outline what happens to each partner’s physical property and assets from before the marriage, or can relate to personal rights or obligations within the relationship. For example, Nicole Kidman could have a prenup stating she takes the money Keith Urban earns from their marriage if he ever relapses on cocaine. Almost as synonymous with celebrity examples when discussing prenups is

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GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012


the negative connotation that accompanies these agreements. “I’d like to think that if Julie (Trembath-Neuberger’s wife) would have asked me to do one, I’d have agreed happily,” said Lauren. “But there still is something about them that sort of implies a bit of untrustworthiness.” However, our experts disagree with this common misconception. “(The bad reputation of prenups) probably has to do with a perception that they introduce something cold, overly business-like, legalistic to relationships just at the point when people about to be married are most joyful and optimistic in outlook,” said Locher. “There may be an element of truth in the perception, I suppose, but many people regard the agreements as just good planning designed to protect families.” Locher, who has been practicing law for 35 years, has drafted several prenuptial agreements and provided advice to clients upon dissolution. He thinks they should be seen as beneficial instead of bullying. “Premarital agreements may be advantageous in terms of clarifying

rights to property and preventing pasthat they’re not taking this seriously,” sage of property in a way that might be he said, comparing to the current viewunfair or contrary to the wishes of a point of “because I love you I don’t party,” he said. ” For example, under want money to be an issue.” Iowa law surviving spouses have rights Both Locher and Anastasi provide with regard to the estates of spouses advice for those considering a prenupwho die. These rights may be waived tial agreement. or modified in a premarital “It’s a loving gesture. I’m marrying agreement. Children often you and not what you have — marrybenefit from ing the pauper but I get the benefits the agreeof the prince.” ment as a result.” “I think anyone entering into a secJim Anastasi, licensed marriage and ond or later marriage, especially with family therapist and mental health children from a prior marriage, should counselor for Anastasi Counseling Sergive thought to a premarital agreevices in Mason City, also has a much ment,” said Locher. “It may not be the more optimistic view of prenups. most pleasant thing to contemplate “It’s a loving gesture,” said Anastasi. before a marriage, but it very well “I’m marrying you and not what you could prevent much more heartache have — marrying the pauper but I get and disappointment later.” the benefits of the prince.” Anastasi explains the agreement Anastasi recalls the negative stereoshould be “respectful of all parties” type of these agreements but said the including spouses and their children reputation is improving. and should be “fair and consistent.” “They used to imply that the couple “If you question whether you think it is already planning on getting a divorce, is important, get one,” he said.

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finding your best vitamin Think about what your body needs before deciding on what supplements to take, experts say

w By CAITLIN LEITZEN

With increasing medical concerns and the rising cost of health care, vitamins are becoming a popular solution. But opinions are divided about their effectiveness. Sandy Gutting is the assistant manager of Mason City Nutrition, a vitamin and supplement store in downtown Mason City. For Gutting, identifying each customer’s specific needs is the first step to choosing supplements. “The basic of course is the good, complete multivitamin,” Gutting said. “But they are specialized.” Vitamins for women often include increased nutrients formulated to


combat diseases that target the gender. “Women need vitamins specialized to deal with menopause, pre-menstrual syndrome or to help increase energy and decrease stress,” she said. Higher levels of calcium, iron and Bvitamins may also appear in supplements for women to promote bone health, improve immune function and increase energy, Gutting said. Annette Snyder, a registered dietitian at Wright Medical Center in Clarion, is more hesitant to suggest vitamins. “In general if somebody has a very balanced diet, they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, usually I would suggest you don’t have to take anything,” Snyder said. Picky eaters could reach for a basic multivitamin to ensure all nutritional needs are getting met, Snyder said, but “nothing more extravagant than that.” Apart from multivitamins for those with gaps in their diets, Snyder does advocate for such supplements as the headline-making fish oil and a calcium/Vitamin D combination for women. “In women, I do encourage that you get enough calcium and Vitamin D.

Women tend to lack in that department,” she said. Three to four servings of calcium-rich foods are recommended, and women who do not meet that requirement should reach for both calcium and Vitamin D. Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium. Trendy newcomers fish oil and coQ10 are highly publicized, but Snyder is divided on their effectiveness. “Fish oil I would totally agree with that,” Snyder said. “That is one that women would benefit from taking as well.” While mainly suggested for heart diseases, fish oil has shown to be beneficial for depression, arthritis and “a whole slew of things,” Snyder said. CoQ10 is less researched, but does not appear to be detrimental, Snyder said. “I don’t see any problem if somebody wants to take it (coQ10),” she said. “I don’t believe it has too many negative side effects, but I don’t know if there’s enough research for me to recommend it.” Choosing a fat-soluble vitamin will cause the nutrients to be stored in the

body longer than a water-soluble option, which will be eliminated quickly. Water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin B and C need a time release effect to be useful, Gutting said. If a vitamin user is incorporating specific supplements into their diet, they should check to make sure they limit their choice to 100 percent of the daily recommended amount, Snyder said. Some, like the varieties of B vitamins, claim to administer 1,000 percent of the daily need, most of which is watersoluble and quickly eliminated from the body, Snyder said. “It’s kind of a waste of money,” she said. The current health care debates are also affecting the vitamin industry, Gutting said. “With medical bills skyrocketing, a lot of people are trying to find alternatives,” she said. “Over the last few years the amount of people (visiting the store) has increased by 20 percent or even more.” Preventative care using vitamins can be achieved to combat an existing or

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hereditary problem and provide a more natural choice than prescriptions, Gutting said. “We’re seeing an increase in the amount of people treating (themselves) if they know it’s in their family,” Gutting said. Snyder agrees those with a family history of certain diseases could reach for a vitamin to be proactive. Snyder takes 2,000 milligrams of fish oil, although the recommended amount is often half that, because of a family history of heart disease. Gutting advocates for choosing natural supplements, while Snyder said both synthetic or natural could be helpful. “Your body can tell the difference,” Gutting said. “If you’re going to choose between synthetic or nothing, you’re better off taking nothing.” “Getting the nutrients in their natural state is always the better option,” Snyder said. “Sometimes the synthetic does work as well. It just depends.” Both Snyder and Gutting disapproved of certain supplements. Resveratrol, a new discovery that isolates the antioxidant found in red wine, could be potentially harmful, Snyder said. “When you take a compound out of food, it tends to act a little differently than it would normally,” she said. “It can be kind of dangerous from what I have researched on my own.” According to Gutting, an investment in vitamins does not need to be large. “Our goal is to provide something that works well without breaking the bank and emptying the pocketbook,” she said, suggesting a budget of $20 monthly for vitamins as an average estimate. While new supplements are always discovered, Gutting has simple advice to assure each person has what will work for them. “You need to have what suits your purpose, your health and your future first,” she said. While Snyder is more reserved about suggesting supplements, she said she is “not going to stop anybody from taking extra.”


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Always in the midst of things, Marcy Colvin provides direction for some of the confirmation students.

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miracle worker of our

youth

Marcy Colvin sets out to empower, support and encourage North Iowa teens By MICHELLE SPROUT MURRAY Photos by MICHELLE SPROUT MURRAY

“i

“I am one of the most transparent people you’ll ever meet!” said Marcy Colvin. “I have no hidden agenda. What you see is what you get!” Whatever Colvin is doing, she’s doing something right. As director of Youth Ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City, Colvin is in charge of all of the seventh- through 12th-graders at the church. It’s no wonder that Trinity youth are well-acquainted with her. Colvin reaches kids even outside of the Trinity circle. Ask almost any high school student if they have heard of “Marcy.” Their answer most likely is that they’ve just seen her talking to kids at their school lunch.

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Marcy Colvin shows off a part of her T-shirt wall, which includes a collection spanning many years of attending youth gatherings all over the country.

Jesus told us to love one another and take care of one another, and this is another of my focuses with kids.” What is her secret to getting teens to share their lives with her? Two words — “being there.” Colvin’s agenda is to empower, support and encourage teens. Her goal is to get teens to be confident about themselves. This can be a daunting task in this plugged-in, fast-paced society we are living in today. Colvin said that kids know she genuinely likes them and they trust her. “Being there” for them includes attending one game of every sport of every season, music programs, Stebens Children’s Theatre productions,

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and yes ... even high school lunch. “I like seeing their faces when I’m there,” Colvin said. “I want them to know I care.” Although Colvin is quick to point out that parents are the most important influence in a teen’s life, “the more adults you have in your child’s life, the more likely they are to succeed,” she said. This happens even in the school cafeteria. This tradition began in early 2001 when Mason City’s youth workers were invited into the school after three

GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

high school students had died during the year. “It got to the point that students panicked if they saw us in the building,” Colvin said. At first, the school administration encouraged Colvin and other youth workers to be at the school. Now Colvin said, “A few of us just do it on a regular basis.” She tries to go on Fridays and talk to as many teens as she can. She’ll never forget the time a ninth-grader looked at her in the cafeteria and said, “Oh — you have to do community service!” He couldn’t believe that she was there simply because she likes kids and chose to be with them. Colvin has chaperoned dances and school field trips. Why? “There’s church and there’s the ‘real world,’ and I blend them,” she said. Colvin takes this theory and applies it to the high school Sunday school class called “Synergy,” which means “working together.” She tries to help teens take what they learn there and apply it in life. Colvin said, “Jesus told us to love one another and take care of one another, and this is another of my focuses with kids.” Not only does she promote taking care of one another by urging the upperclassmen to help the ninth- and 10th-graders by giving them advice, but she also takes youth of all ages to places around the country to allow kids to experience things first-hand. One look at Colvin’s office and you know she’s “for real.” Pictures of teens adorn her bulletin boards and T-shirts from various youth gatherings are hung


Want to discuss what you’ve read in WOW?

what’s important. I would never want to go through (cancer) again, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for everything I’ve gained from it.” Now 20 years of being cancer-free, Colvin said the experience profoundly affected her relationship with God. She now realizes the importance of “paying forward to others.” From her own experience of being a wife to her husband, John, and a mother to daughter, Kelly, who now lives in Oxford, England, with her husband; and son Charlie, who is back in Mason City after playing baseball in Belgium, Colvin’s “family” has grown quite a bit over the years. Once her own kids were

adults in the church. Whether she links them to the quilters who make baby quilts or men on a fishing trip to East Park, Colvin is doing all she can to ensure that the bridge between church and “real life” is there. As a mentor and leader of teens, Colvin sees so many things that they need. She stresses to parents that they are first in their child’s life, so they need to remember to be great role models themselves. It’s all about “being there” for them, and Colvin urges parents to be a faith model for their kids. “Be with them; sit with them in church; attend their events,” she said.

Marcy Colvin has been doing her job for 12 years in a field where the average youth worker at a church lasts only two to three years. out of the house, she gained about 200 more. The toughest thing about her job is not reaching every child. “There are so many kids that I miss, so many that I don’t get the chance to develop a relationship with,” she said. “There are only so many hours in a day.” For Colvin, though, the hours are very well spent. She not only is that extra adult in so many teens’ lives, but she also tries to help build intergenerational relationships by linking teens to

If there is one last lesson to leave people with, Colvin said it relates to the first lesson she teaches “her” kids when they go skiing. “The first lesson is how to get up,” she said. “I tell them they are going to fall down; they just need to learn how to get up after they do so.” Colvin then compares this to life. “In life, you are going to fall down, too, and that’s OK; it’s how we learn. What’s important is who’s there helping us get up.”

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on her walls. Colvin has taken teens to ELCA National Youth Gatherings in Atlanta (twice), Kansas City, Mo., San Antonio and New Orleans. These gatherings are huge and are offered only every three years. In 2009, Colvin was a part of the largest threeday service project ever recorded with 36,000 teens helping with the clean-up after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In July of 2012, the ELCA National Youth Gathering will once again be in New Orleans, and Colvin will be there with yet another enthusiastic group from Mason City. Whether it’s an inner-city immersion in Minneapolis, a service trip or a national youth gathering, Colvin is a firm believer that these trips help to bridge other places with home. Kids “come home with a completely new appreciation for what they have,” she said. To see teens “knock down stereotypes and survive in a very different setting and to see the personal growth and confidence they get from that is my personal favorite thing to do,” Colvin said. It’s the love of kids and her job that keep Colvin doing what she’s doing. She has been in her position full-time since 1999 in a field where the average youth worker at a church lasts only two to three years. Colvin talks about how every little life experience prepares you for something, even when it’s the “awful things in junior/senior high school.” Those things help make it easy to relate to kids, she said. The life experience that really prepared her for anything was being a two-time cancer survivor. That “really gives me more grit and focus,” Colvin is quick to say. “It helps you focus on

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15


sugar nation This sweet stuff you love so much lurks in high amounts in foods you may not suspect By ANNETTE SNYDER


w

We all like it. We all crave it at some point or another. It’s addictive and it has such a pull over many of us. What is it? Sugar. We are born with a natural preference for sweet foods and many of us never lose that. Sweet foods in nature tend to be “safe.” This is all fine until we overdose on the stuff. Consider that in the late 1800s, people ate maybe one-half ounce of sugar per year, and now, Americans get 200 pounds of the sweet stuff. That’s a 6,400 percent increase — yowzers! No wonder we have more lifestyle-related health issues these days. Science is even pointing the finger at sugar as a cause for our increased cancer rates, and apparently, eating sugar can decrease your body’s immune system for five hours after eating it. Think of that the next time you nosh on holiday treats around all of your sniffling friends and coworkers this year. “I don’t eat sugary foods,” you may say. Or, “I only drink diet pop.” Do you drink a latte every morning? Fill up on juice? Nibble on granola bars or down protein shakes? What about that milkshake with your burger? Chances are, you’re eating more sugar than you imagine. Check labels and pay attention to how much you eat. Don’t fall into the trap of

assuming something is better for you because of what type of food it is. Consider this: for the amount of sugar in a bottle of juice, you could eat three apples. Instead of baked beans you could pack in either two apples or six cups of non-starchy vegetables. That milkshake? Hope you’re hungry: it provides seven apples’ worth of sugar. Don’t be fooled by fancy foods in the health foods aisle — you still need to check before you buy. Limit your total added sugar intake for the day to 32 grams, or 8 teaspoons of sugar. You don’t need more than that — chances are you’re sweet enough already!

What to look for ... When you check labels, scan the ingredients. The following count as sugar: • Table sugar • Corn syrup • High fructose corn syrup • Molasses • Cane sugar • Evaporated cane juice • Raw sugar • Turbinado sugar • Brown sugar • Honey • Fruit juice concentrate • Sucrose

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19


Stars of the party This year, shake up your holiday menu and go with an all-appetizer meal By MICHELLE SPROUT MURRAY

PHOTOS BY JAKE RAJEWSKY

h

Holiday parties are upon us, and what better to feature than your favorite appetizers? Everyone has the old “standbys” like Chex party mix, Lipton onion dip and chips and various salsas to dress up some tortilla chips. This year, shake it up a bit and add something new to your menu. Include some hot appetizers, some spicy ones and some all-around comfort foods to get your party started. Not all appetizers have to be time-intensive to prepare. Plan to have a variety of appetizers on hand, from a couple of hot dips, some just-out-of-the-oven delicacies and a few cold dips or crudités to round out the menu. Don’t forget the simple recipes, because you don’t want to be in kitchen while the rest of your guests are having fun! We’ve come up with six appetizer recipes for you to try at your holiday parties this year. They are tried and true and appetizers that our own families enjoy at get-togethers throughout the year. Enjoy!

Clockwise from top left: Spicy Chicken Dip, Cheese and Bacon Jalapeno Rellanos, Rhonda’s Rockin’ Cheese Bread, Black-eyed Pea Salsa, Triscuit Turkey “Club,” Bruschetta.

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GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

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Stars of the party This year, shake up your holiday menu and go with an all-appetizer meal By MICHELLE SPROUT MURRAY

PHOTOS BY JAKE RAJEWSKY

h

Holiday parties are upon us, and what better to feature than your favorite appetizers? Everyone has the old “standbys” like Chex party mix, Lipton onion dip and chips and various salsas to dress up some tortilla chips. This year, shake it up a bit and add something new to your menu. Include some hot appetizers, some spicy ones and some all-around comfort foods to get your party started. Not all appetizers have to be time-intensive to prepare. Plan to have a variety of appetizers on hand, from a couple of hot dips, some just-out-of-the-oven delicacies and a few cold dips or crudités to round out the menu. Don’t forget the simple recipes, because you don’t want to be in kitchen while the rest of your guests are having fun! We’ve come up with six appetizer recipes for you to try at your holiday parties this year. They are tried and true and appetizers that our own families enjoy at get-togethers throughout the year. Enjoy!

Clockwise from top left: Spicy Chicken Dip, Cheese and Bacon Jalapeno Rellanos, Rhonda’s Rockin’ Cheese Bread, Black-eyed Pea Salsa, Triscuit Turkey “Club,” Bruschetta.

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GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

21


food

holiday appetizers

1 Rhonda’s Rockin’ Cheese Bread START TO FINISH: 25 minutes

Mix the following ingredients together and spread on French bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and then broil until golden. 6 ounces finely shredded Mozzarella cheese 5 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese 10 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese 1½ cups Hellman’s mayonnaise 2 teaspoons garlic powder 36 to 40 inch loaf of French bread THIS BREAD is so yummy it may become an addiction. • RECIPE COURTESY OF RHONDA MURRAY

2 Spicy Chicken Dip

START TO FINISH: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes active)

Mix the following ingredients together in a crock pot on low for around 4 hours (or until warm and bubbly): 2 10-ounce cans of chicken, drained 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 8-ounce package cream cheese 8 ounces sour cream 1 cup Velveeta cheese 8 ounces pepper jack cheese 1 tsp. garlic powder 1 small onion, chopped 1 green pepper, chopped Optional: 1 jalapeno, chopped

THIS IS A GREAT WARM DIP to serve as an appetizer for holiday parties! If your palate doesn’t like spice, leave out the jalapeno. Serve with tortilla chips, cocktail bread or crackers. • RECIPE COURTESY OF MARC AND MICHELLE MURRAY

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GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012


food

holiday appetizers

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3 Black-eyed Pea Salsa

START TO FINISH: 10 minutes

2 cans black-eyed peas, drained One can whole kernel corn, drained One can Rotel diced tomatoes 1cup chopped red bell pepper 1cup chopped green pepper 1/4 cup chopped fresh jalepeno pepper 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion 4-ounce jar chopped pimientos, drained

Combine dressing ingredients, pour over combined salsa.

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food

holiday appetizers

4 Cheese and Bacon Jalapeno Rellanos

START TO FINISH: 30 minutes (20 minutes active)

4 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened 1 cup Kraft Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese with a Touch of Philadelphia 4 slices Oscar Mayer bacon, cooked, crumbled 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onions 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro 1 clove garlic, minced 18 jalapeño peppers, cut lengthwise in half, seeds and membranes removed Heat oven to 375 F. Combine all ingredients except peppers; spoon into peppers. Place, filled-sides up, on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. • RECIPE COURTESY KRAFT.COM

Substitute 3 large red, yellow or green bell peppers, each cut into 6 triangles, for the jalapeno pepper halves. Top with cheese mixture before baking as directed. These rellanos also can be prepared using Kraft Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese or Kraft Shredded Cheddar Cheese

COOK’S

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GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

TIP


food

holiday appetizers

5 Bruschetta

6 Triscuit Turkey “Club”

24 Triscuit crackers 3/4 cup chopped lettuce 1 cup chopped cooked turkey breast (about 6 oz.) 3/4 cup Kraft 2 percent Milk Shredded Swiss Cheese, divided 2 Tbsp. Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard 1 Tbsp. Kraft Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise 1/3 cup chopped tomatoes

START TO FINISH: 10 minutes

1 loaf (1 lb.) French bread or baguette, cut into 24 slices 1/2 cup prepared Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix 1/2 cup Kraft grated Parmesan cheese 2 large tomatoes, chopped 2 green onions, sliced • RECIPE COURTESY KRAFT.COM

Arrange crackers in single layer on large microwaveable plate; top evenly with lettuce. Mix turkey, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the mustard and mayo; spoon over lettuce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the tomatoes. Microwave on high 10 to 15 seconds or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Additional recipes Want more recipes? Go to www.globegazette.com/wow and click on this story.

• RECIPE COURTESY KRAFT.COM

COOK’S

TIP

Substitute Miracle Whip Light dressing for the Kraft Light Mayo Reduced Fat mayonnaise.

GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

25


make sure you mean it

o

By ANN-MARIE BERG

Of all the insurmountable challenges parents face, communicating with kids ranks at the top of the list. Sure, sounds simple enough, but just ask any parent who has tried talking to their child lately. It’s not just that kids don’t actually want to talk to us or that they think everything we say is stupid, or that they become tone deaf to our voices. Mostly, it’s that they decide to change the meaning of words that have been understood in the English language for centuries so that we have no idea what they are saying. Take the word “bad” for example. Bad means good. Unless you are referring to a truly bad thing, in which case it might, but not necessarily, mean bad. And “wicked” means great, unless you are referring to the musical. “Raw” has nothing to do with uncooked foods, but nowadays means “cool.” And “tight” stopped meaning constricted long ago and now means wicked, in the non-musical sense of cool. And the word “no”? Well, no meant no at one point, but that was years ago. The kids decided not to replace that one, meaning they technically never hear it now. So how do we get them to understand it? The first step toward getting kids to take no seriously is to mean it when you say it. Do not waver once you make your decision by first saying no and later saying yes. This type of inconsistency teaches kids that persevering through pestering will eventually wear you down and get you to change your mind. Avoid feeling pressured into giving your child an immediate answer. Just because he feels his needs are immediate does not mean your response needs to be. Take time to think about his request, determine an

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GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

Ann-Marie Berg informed decision and get back to him later. This will help your initial response be the right response. Don’t make no your standard answer. It becomes easy to adopt the motto “just say no” when kids seem to ask for ridiculous things all the time, but try to avoid developing a “no” habit. If kids are constantly told no they will find it difficult to differentiate between a habitual one and a serious one. Additionally, kids may eventually stop asking for permission if they feel they will only be told no, which is counterproductive to a healthy parent-child relationship. Say yes whenever possible. If a first request is not something you can consent to, try helping your child revise his plan or request so that you can say yes to it rather than no if needed. Saying yes frequently will help kids feel as if they do have freedom, that you are willing to listen to their needs, and that they are not constantly denied. When saying no, it is important to avoid getting drawn into the drama that inevitably ensues. It is reasonable to offer an explanation regarding the reasons behind your decision, but

after that end the conversation. Do not listen to further pleads, get drawn into a yelling match over your decision or feel obligated to endure a tantrum. Simply remind your child that you are the parent, you have made your decision, end of story. Walk away if need be. If necessary, remove privileges if the pestering continues. Say no with respect. Avoid surrounding the word with harsh or angry tones as this will increase the child’s negative response to your answer. Instead, put some kindness behind the no so kids better understand you are saying it out of concern for their well-being, even when really it is because their idea is just plain silly. Always use good communication skills when saying no. Turn and look your child in the eyes, get down on their level if need be, and be direct with your response. Saying no with your back turned or while multi-tasking only sends the message that you are not truly considering or listening to what your child is asking, or putting thought behind your answer. Let’s face it, no one likes to be told no. But no is often necessary to keep kids safe, set boundaries and halt some of their more ridiculous schemes. Say no clearly, reserve it for special occasions and ask kids if they understand what you have said before assuming they do. After all, they may have reinstated the word but changed its definition to mean yes. Which would make not clarifying a big no-no. Ann-Marie Berg is a pediatric nurse practitioner and freelance writer who lives in Cedar Rapids. She can be reached at amhberg@mchsi.com.


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supermom syndrome Are women expecting too much of themselves to keep their children entertained, and how can today’s moms take care of themselves? By STEPHANIE SCHOLL

PHOTOS BY JAKE RAJEWSKY

i

I had a funny thing happen recently. It was funny, yet if you think about it, a little disturbing, too. My husband and I had just spent our entire Saturday morning watching our three girls play soccer. Had things gone our way, he would have spent the morning lifting weights at the gym while I would have enjoyed digging up bulbs in the backyard. Instead, I found myself watching and cheering our ponytailed girls as they endlessly chased a runaway ball up and down a field while my husband patiently coached and encouraged them to pass to their teammates. Afterward, the girls asked if their friends could come over and play. Why not? It was a beautiful day! They giggled a lot and played dolls and ran in and out of the house. By mid-afternoon, I was exhausted. It was time to corral their friends and drive them home. The moment the last little girl stepped out of the van I was about to breathe in a sigh. But my 8-year-old cut it short when she nonchalantly asked, “When are we going to do something fun today?” “Fun?” I asked in disbelief. “Are you joking? What do you think you have you been doing all day?” Unfortunately, I hear this question in my house a lot. I never signed up to be

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GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012


a cruise ship director. But if the Carnival Cruise Lines are looking for one, I’m confident my resume could be at the top of the pile. I know I’m not alone and reassure myself that some of my friends keep their kids busier than mine. But I have to ask, why do so many parents feel as though we have to keep our kids occupied?

I’m drowning! “I’m drowning! Work, home, kids, volunteering. I literally feel like I can’t keep my head above water this week,” Molly Anderegg of Mason City recently posted on Facebook. Molly is a 40-year-old mother of an 11- and 13-year-old. She and her husband, Mike, have been married for 17 years. She has a career she loves as the director for Retired Senior Volunteer Program at North Iowa Area Community College, where she helps people 55 and older find places to volunteer. When Molly’s not at work, she’s often chauffeuring kids from one event to another. They’re current-

ly in five sports and considering a sixth between the two of them. Her daughter also dances, plays piano and is a Girl Scout. Molly volunteers as their leader. “During harvest and spring, my husband can work 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. I’m basically a single parent those times,” said Molly. “I thought it might get ‘easier’ as the kids got older and you’re not changing diapers or making bottles. But it changes. You’re running them back and forth to practice and events.” Molly said she made her comment on Facebook on a day that simply sent her over the top. “I was very busy at work that week traveling around North Iowa meeting with volunteers and teachers,” she said. “I love my job, but the month of September is crazy busy. I had also missed telling the moms of the girls in my Girl Scout troop about a deadline and felt guilty.”

De-stress your lifestyle • Don’t be afraid to say no to an activity, or have your child choose what’s more important to him/her, said Carrie Kamm, a Mason City mother of three. • A good parent takes time for themselves. “If you’re taking time to yourself every single opportunity, then it’s an issue,” said Cody Williams, Turning Leaf Counseling in Mason City. “If it’s once a month, it’s not an issue. Get over the guilt by making sure your partner or whoever helps you with the kids gets to take time to themselves, too. Then you don’t have to feel guilty.” • Find your own identity outside your kids and family. “One day, the kids will be gone. Who are you then?” Kamm said. “I find time to exercise. It has healthy benefits and gives me more energy.”

You don’t have to be a superhero Carrie Kamm, 35, has never

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WINTER 2011-2012 GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW

aspired to be a supermom. Maybe that’s her secret. This mother of three admits she’s a horrible cook and that her husband, Dan, does most of the grocery shopping. She even donned the outfit for our cover photo as part of a lighthearted commentary on what many mothers think they need to be in order to raise today’s active children. “I am busy, but not to the point where I feel overwhelmed,” said Kamm. “I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m half of a wonderful team.” Kamm has two boys, ages 12 and 11, and a 6-year-old girl. She has been working retail since college and seven years ago worked her way up to general manager at Mason City’s Younkers in Southbridge Mall. While she and her husband believe kids need to be involved, they do say “no” to activities, too. “Two activities per child is enough for us to handle,” said Carrie. “I’m lucky. He works 7 to 3 and can pick the kids up from school. He helps them with their homework and gets them ready for activities. I have an amazing partnership with my spouse.” A typical day for the Kamm kids involves getting up early for school, having Dan pick them up, doing homework, sprinting off to soccer, dance, baseball or football then coming home to baths and bed by 8:30 p.m. “My kids know how to put themselves to bed,” said Kamm. “It’s so important for my husband and me to have an hour, maybe two, so we can connect and communicate together.” Kamm recognizes she has a lot of support. Not every parent is so lucky. According to the latest 2009 statistics from the Kids Count Data Center, 29 percent of Iowa’s children age 18 and younger are living in single-parent households. Kamm suggests if a parent doesn’t have a spouse to help share the workload then find a network of parents, grandparents or friends who can help. “We need to use each other as resources and not judge and help each other,” said Kamm. “We all have a common goal. We all love our children and want to bring out the best in them.”


Activity Overload? In his book “The Hurried Child,” David Elkind writes, “Today’s child has become the unwilling, unintended victim of overwhelming stress — the stress borne of rapid, bewildering social change and constantly rising expectations…. Pediatricians report a greater incidence of such ailments as headaches, stomachaches, allergic reactions and so on in today’s youngsters than in previous generations.” “We’re telling kids they have to be entertained all the time,” said Cody Williams, a family counselor at Turning Leaf Counseling in Mason City. “They are losing their imagination. And this is only going to cause future stress because they won’t know what to do with themselves.” Even a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages children who have more downtime to encourage freeplay. It states: “When play is allowed to be childdriven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. Ideally, much of play involves adults, but when play is controlled by adults, children acquiesce to adult rules and concerns and lose some of the benefits play offers them, particularly in developing creativity, leadership, and group skills.” But it isn’t all doom and gloom. The Society for Research in Child Development recently pointed to a study that concluded organized activities are good for kids. It found busy kids — those who are engaged in 20 hours or more of scheduled activities a week — make up only between 2 to 6 percent of the entire population. What’s more, they love what they are doing — staying busy because they want to, not because their parents pressure them to. Shela Lang has been teaching kindergartners at Harding Elementary in Mason City for 11 years. She said she sees a lot of creativity among her students every day. “I think I’d have to disagree,” Lang said. “We have a very structured kindergarten program (at Harding). But when it’s outside recess time, kids can be very imaginative in their play. Or even in their play at center time.”

Readers sound off In a recent Facebook query, WOW asked women what’s on their minds. More than 80 percent of the responses came from women who feel torn between juggling time for families and children and taking time for themselves. Here’s a sample.

“I agree with all the comments — we, as women and mothers, take so much on ourselves. I think it would be interesting to explore the idea of what this does to our children, especially our daughters — are they growing up thinking they have to do it all? And the impact this has on what they view as being successful.” — Heather Gudenkauf, age 41 (mother of 12-, 14- and 15-year-olds)

“Why is it so hard for us (women) to take time for ourselves?” — Sara Anderson, age 42 (mother of 7-year-old)

“How can a modern woman do it all and do it well? I need the answer to that one.” — Cally Peterson, age 32 (mother of 4- and 1-year-olds)

“... It seems like I give in to guilt too much about being there all the time for everyone else and don’t ever take time out for myself. It gets very frustrating and exhausting.” — Robin Rees, age 41 (mother of 10- and 7-year-olds)

“I’d really like to go on a fun trip with my girlfriends, but there isn’t a single weekend that we can all get together because our kids’ activities always take precedence. Is it good or bad to be that kind of parent?” — Julie Kim, age 42 (mother of 11- and 14-year-olds)

GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

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commentary

my life

the writing tells all Handwriting gives a glimpse into our personalities By MICHELLE SPROUT MURRAY

i

It was the morning of a very dear friend’s mother’s funeral. For some reason, I had the sudden urge to look through a bunch of old recipe cards. Some were stained with telltale splotches of ingredients and some were faded from years of use. While I was flipping through the sadly unorganized stack, a recipe fell out and I bent to pick it up. Here was a recipe from the woman whose funeral I would be attending in just a few hours. The recipe for “Round Up Beans” was given to me at a bridal shower and it was written in no-nonsense cursive writing that even a young child would have no problem deciphering. As I blinked the tears out of my eyes, I thought about how much this simple index card meant to me. I now had a part of someone who I would no longer see. If this recipe had been typed out or printed, I don’t think it would have hit me so hard. Here was a sample of this woman’s handwriting that told so much about her in each curve of every letter. Besides being a great cook, she had a no-nonsense attitude about life. What you saw was what you got. Somehow, this was illustrated in the ingredients and instructions on this recipe card. As if I wasn’t feeling nostalgic enough, I grabbed another stack of recipes and looked for the “personalities” hidden in the handwriting on the cards. Sure enough, it was there. My mom’s elegant and “floofy” cursive writing, my grandma’s staunch capital-lettered name, my sister’s writing that has a style of its own. Yes, the handwriting matched the people, and this gave me a sense of hope that I had never entertained before. Someday, when I’m gone, maybe my kids and grandkids will appreciate those handwritten notes that I leave in the margins of every cookbook I use. “Noah said, ‘This rocks!’ ” or “Even the boys liked this!” or “Perfect for a night when the family had to run to a dress rehearsal for ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!’ ” These are the kinds of notations that can be found in my half-print, half-cursive handwriting. This is exactly the kind of artifact that I look for now in

every old cookbook I come across. Even more than learning how to make a certain dish, I want to know more about the cooks themselves. Did they follow the recipes exactly or did they stray off the guided path, wandering a bit but coming out OK in the end? Did their families love what they cooked? Is it a recipe worth passing down to future generations? Was the concoction made on a night when they wanted to be anywhere else but the kitchen? What did they do after they ate this meal? I am full of questions and I can only guess what most of the answers might be. In this high-tech world we live in, will our handwriting all but disappear? Not if I can help it. Although it might be easier to retype all of my recipes and put them in alphabetical order on a computer file, this will never happen. Why would I want a bunch of sterile instructions when I can have a part of so many people? I want to look at my mom’s writing, for example, and pass down stories about her along with her recipes when she’s no longer here. Her “From the Kitchen of…” signature always brings me comfort. It’s like having a signed permission slip to go on and create something scrumptious. Maybe someday my sons won’t get the same satisfaction out of my handwriting as I get from my recipe cards. Maybe their wives will have recipes of their own. Maybe, just maybe their family recipe box will contain some of the favorites I use now. And maybe future generations will stop to wonder about the woman who wrote in half-print, halfcursive. Michelle Sprout Murray is a freelance writer who lives in Mason City with her husband and sons. She can be reached at queenmom@mchsi.com.

GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012

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what’s up, down there?

Medical expert answers questions women often are too embarrassed to ask

By CAITLIN LEITZEN

PHOTOS BY JAKE RAJEWSKY

Julia Oulman, Certified Nurse Midwife with North Iowa Community Action, takes on readers’ questions.

I know everyone jokes about how crazy women get during menopause, but I genuinely worry about feeling out of control. Are these emotional symptoms real? Is there anything I can do to prevent them? The emotional symptoms experienced by women during menopause are real. The changing levels of hormones can affect moods and emotions. These changes are not necessarily preventable but there are ways to manage the symptoms: regular exercise, adequate sleep, avoidance of caffeine, daily use

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of a multi-vitamin, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B6 supplement, a calcium/magnesium supplement and a healthy diet (plenty of fruits and vegetables). In some instances estrogen replacement therapy may be indicated and recommended by your healthcare provider.

For the past few years I have decided to roll my own tampons out of toilet paper. Could this be harmful? This could potentially be harmful. The chemicals in the toilet paper can prove to be irritating to the lining in the vagina and interfere with the healthy environment normally present, increasing the incidence of vaginal infections. Any fragments of the toilet paper left in the vagina could also increase the incidence of infection.

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to buy or not to buy Once your teen earns that license to drive you struggle with the idea of getting them their own vehicle. If the decision is “yes,” what should you consider? By MICHELLE SPROUT MURRAY

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PHOTOS BY JAKE RAJEWSKY

GLOBEGAZETTE.COM/WOW WINTER 2011-2012


t

The surprise factor of a shiny new sports car in the driveway on your teenager’s 16th birthday may not be a good idea. The same goes for passing down the old family car. Safety and responsibility are key factors to consider when even toying with the idea of buying a car for your teen. Matt Kennedy, sales consultant with Mason City Ford, says that most people are headed toward the pre-owned cars than new ones for their teens. He has seen some people choose "SUVs or others with good, reliable four-wheel drive for the winters we have in North Iowa," and he also said he sells the occasional truck for some teens. Overall, though, Kennedy says, "People are looking for mid-size, smaller cars with good gas mileage." Key safety features to look for include anti-lock brakes, stability control and head curtain airbags, according to Consumer Reports.

6 Steps to Buying a Car for Your Teen 1. PICK A SAFE CAR. Teens are inexperienced drivers and are four times more likely to be involved in a car crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A larger vehicle is not necessarily the safer choice. An SUV has a higher center of gravity, giving it a higher probability of rolling over in an accident. Midsize and some smaller cars with updated safety features are the top choice. 2. BUY NEW IF POSSIBLE If you can afford to buy a new car for your teen, you will ensure the latest safety standards. However, most cars built after the 1990s also have the necessary safety features. 3. CHECK THE CAR’S CRASH TEST RESULTS Go to Insure.com to find its car crash performance tool. Cars are issued safety ratings for their test results in frontal impact, side impact and rollover performance. 4. EVALUATE YOUR CAR INSURANCE OPTIONS Be prepared for your premiums to increase — sometimes as much as 100 percent. “A boy is usually a bit more expensive than a girl, but that’s starting to change,” according to Loretta Worters, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute. Because insurance companies differ dramatically in how they price policies for teen drivers, shop around. 5. USE A MONEY-SAVING STRATEGY Ask about a “good student” discount and also add your teen to your existing policy, which is much less expensive than buying a separate policy. 6. CONSIDER “SPYING” FOR A DISCOUNT Some insurers give a discount on your car insurance premium if you agree to install a tracking device in your teen’s car. Your teen’s driving is monitored through a GPS unit that is fastened to the dashboard. You may then check a website that allows you to see if your teen has been speeding or slamming on the brakes too many times. This monitoring device can save you 10-15 percent on your premium. — moneycentral.msn.com

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According to Consumer Reports, mainstream sedans are safe options. Here are some other things to think about when going on the car hunt with your teen: • Check with various places to increase your options. One car lot might have seemingly a huge selection but nothing that fits your child’s needs; another establishment might have just a couple options that day but one of those could just be “the one” for your teen. Kennedy said that while he would like people to buy from him, “it’s a good idea to see what’s out there.” • Have an idea of a price range that works for you. Kennedy says, “It’s great when people come in and say something like, ‘I don’t want to spend more than X amount of dollars,’ because then the sales people know what to show you.” He said that if there isn’t anything that you see that day that fits your needs, the sales consultant may know of cars coming in the next few days that may just fit the bill for you. • Be prepared with who is going to sign the loan. More parents are signing car loans in their names, Kennedy says, but there are some cars where loans are signed in both the parent’s and the child’s names. Whatever you decide, remember that this big purchase also can provide several teachable moments for your teen, according to Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN Money. People need to get real about what they can afford. “Keeping your priorities straight ultimately will set the best example for your children,” she said. • Know that there might be more options in warmer weather. Although there isn’t really a “best” time to buy your teen’s first car, Kennedy says there are often more options in spring and summer. He sees more traffic during this time and cars tend to “turn over quicker.” Just as in back-to-school purchases such as school supplies and clothing for your younger children, your teen might need that new vehicle for school or college, and Kennedy says that he sees an influx of people doing just this.


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If you want your marriage to avoid becoming a statistic, then we have some sage advice for you and your spouse. Jim Anastasi, a licensed Mason City marriage and family therapist and licensed mental health counselor, provides suggestions for how to improve the strength of your marriage.

Date. Daily/Weekly/Seasonally. A daily date could be as simple as a phone call to say “hi” and ask about their day. “Don’t talk about the kids, or money, or if the washer got fixed. Just call to hear their voice. Let them know you’re thinking about them,” said Anastasi. A weekly date could entail retaining a babysitter and enjoying deserved quality time together without the kids. “The weekly date is anything to get away, get out of the house; the kids need alone time, too.” The seasonal date is a long weekend where you go somewhere, do something fun or take an extra day to be together. According to Anastasi, too often people forget how to “date” once they’re married. A married couple who date acknowledges their need to be a couple first and parents second. Take the blame. Anastasi suggests that individuals in a committed relationship ask themselves, ‘What’s my part?’ whenever conflict arises. “People need to take responsibility for their part in a conflict as most likely it’s a mutual responsibility. Taking the blame is about two people realizing that it isn’t all one-sided,” said Anastasi. Ken Rodemeyer, Mason City, knows how to eat crow after 56 years of marriage. “It’s hard for me to swallow my pride when I realize she (his wife, Bernie) is right” said Rodemeyer. “It’s a good thing for both

the long and happy road A successful marriage takes time, patience By RHONDA REGAN


that’s our code for not lying to each other. It’s one rule we established early on in our relationship because we wanted complete and total honesty with each other.”

partners to learn to eat crow, no matter how hard it is.” Common Values. It’s beneficial to the relationship if the partners have and practice common values and express them in their daily lives. “It should be something that both partners believe in and have value in” said Anastasi. An example of a common value is honesty, which is one thing that is important to Steve Shurtz and

his partner, Logan Shurtz, Mason City, who have been married for two years. “To us and our relationship, honesty is one of the most important things that we can share as a couple. Because without honesty, trust can’t be built, which feeds into safety and security; all things every person should get out of a relationship.” Shurtz disclosed a ritual that he and Logan often perform. “When discussing major issues, we ask each other, ‘Do you promise?’ and

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Practice Forgiveness. “Being able to accept a partner’s apology and granting forgiveness is one of the most God-like things humans can do” said Anastasi. Forgiveness is about forgetting the details, and remembering the lessons learned. Rodemeyer said that he gets a little help from his children with this part. “My daughter tells me to swallow my pride and make it right. You have to give and take in a marriage. Sometimes it seems as though you’re giving more than taking, but it all evens out in the end.” Trust Me. The Rev. Joseph Mirowski, Greek Orthodox Church of Transfiguration in Mason City, believes that trust is very important for a marriage to succeed. “Trust is a key ingredient. There has to be trust when two people commit to one another.” Shurtz agrees with that statement as he believes that “trust is the foundation of any relationship. “Without trust a relationship will go downhill and will be unsuccessful. Once you have trust, your relationship will grow from there.” Speak a New Language. The language of love. Anastasi talks about identifying the 5 Love Languages, which is basically a practical way of expressing love. This includes Physical Touching, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Receiving Gifts. The theory is based upon a book of the same name by Dr. Gary Chapman. Anastasi recommends that couples see, hear, feel and become bilingual in the language of love. “Learning the 5 Love Languages mutually enhances the significance of the other person” said Anastasi. “Remember that marriage is not always easy as the honeymoon stage lasts only so long. You have to work at it” said Shurtz. Rodemeyer advises couples that being happy is a choice. “You can make yourself miserable in your marriage or happy in your marriage. It isn’t by luck, it’s by choice — a choice you have to make for yourself.”


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WOW Winter 2011