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Live it! Culture of giving ‘It feels right’

Wineries, breweries Give back

Minimalism Give it a try APRIL / MAY 2017 • FREE ISSUE

Giving back …

Get connected! Get involved, make a difference. That’s the motto of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. April is National Volunteer Month, and April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week, as designated by Points of Light, an international nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in the United States, dedicated to engaging more people and resources in solving serious social problems through voluntary service. The organization was founded in 1990 under President George H.W. Bush. Points of Light is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities, according to Kari Goldschmidt, community impact and engagement director with United Way of West Central Minnesota. Points of Light helps millions of volunteers change the world by mobilizing people to take action on the causes they care about. Kari heads up Get Connected!, the local United Way’s “one-stop shop for volunteering.” Get Connected is the place to go whether you are an individual, family or group looking to volunteer, or you work for an organization seeking volunteers. Gretchen shares with us the story of volunteers in the area, and the rewards of volunteering for both parties - the volunteer and the program they volunteer for. It’s a win-win for everyone. Comments shared can pertain to any of us, and it really does feel good. Personally, I have done a variety of volunteering over the years, including the produce giveaway a couple of times with co-workers (see photo), handing out fresh produce and more at the Willmar Area Food Shelf. It is always a very rewarding experience. You leave there feeling good about yourself and the community we live in. There are so many excellent programs, activities and organizations that give back to the community. Wineries and breweries give back, as our Spirits guy points out. He mentions a few here, and I know Foxhole recently hosted a Pay It Forward Thursday event, where $1 was donated for every pint sold in the taproom. Proceeds went to the Willmar Area Food Shelf during Minnesota Food Share month in March. Food items were also collected. The number of ways people can give back through volunteer opportunities and more is limited only by one’s imagination. Have fun, give back, feel good. As always, we hope you enjoy all the tips and ideas shared in this issue. If you have a topic you’d like to see in Live it!, send your story ideas to We love to hear from our readers. You can also “like” us on Facebook or send us a tweet @Lilveitmag. Life in west central Minnesota … it really is a beautiful thing …

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Sharon Bomstad Live it! Editor

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MAGAZINE EDITOR To contact Live it! call 320-235-1150 or email

Writing & Photography Gretchen Brown Anne Polta Jen Anfinson Briana Sanchez Kenzie Tenney

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Copyright © 2017 West Central Tribune Live it! magazine All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained.

Cover Story Volunteers help fill the gaps.


April 2017, Volume 6, Issue 2


Volunteering is important


Q&A: Everyone does their part


‘Baby blues’ a serious illness


Closets get a good spring cleaning




READER’S MAILBAG What we hear from our readers


LIFE HAPPENS Rejoice in new life


STYLE IT! Capsulized wardrobe


DO-IT-YOURSELF Memory wire makes it easy


HOME 101 Home inspections critical


READ IT! Teens enter filmmaking scene


HEALTH & FITNESS Spring clean


your body


TASTE IT! Cookbook Club goes Italian


SPIRITS It’s good to give back


WHAT’S HAPPENING? Mark your calendars now


‘It’s up to us’ For many, volunteering is a way of life

6 Live it! Magazine







Live it! Magazine 7


ickie Vogt can make most any recipe for 200 people. It’s just the way she was raised. “They’ll say, ‘How do I make it for two?,’” Vickie says, laughing. “I’ll say, ‘I don’t know.” Cooking is in her blood. Many of her recipes were passed on from her grandfather, a military cook in the Korean War. And for 54 years, she’s worked at her family’s food stand at the Minnesota State Fair – which she now owns. That all comes in handy on a Tuesday night in New London, cooking up tater tot hotdish soup for up to 200 people as part of Tuesday’s Table, a community meal hosted by New London and Spicer churches.

“I don’t know, I got it initiated in my blood early in life to volunteer to do things.” – Vickie Vogt


The meal seems daunting. But it’s a volunteer affair, one of several she juggles each week. She’s the president of the New London Lions Club and volunteers at the New London Food Pantry. She even mans the scoreboard at New London-Spicer High School girls’ basketball games. Vickie, 64, is one of 1,560,667 Minnesotans who volunteered in 2015, contributing a combined 155.41 million service hours, according to data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal volunteer agency.

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Continued on page 9

1,560,667 Minnesotans volunteered in 2015, contributing a combined 155.41 million service hours. On average, Minnesotans contribute 33 volunteer hours per capita. That adds up to $3.3 billion in service hours. BEN LARSON, FROM LEFT, DESIGNATED COORDINATOR AT NUVISION, HELPS VOLUNTEERS RON PABST AND ROGER HUISKEN PREP THE PLANTS AT THE MINNWEST TECHNOLOGY CAMPUS GREENHOUSE.

In west central Minnesota, volunteers are a vital piece of the puzzle, says Chasity Ommodt, director of client services and community engagement for The Link in New London, an interfaith community outreach organization. “We’re very fortunate in this area,” she says. “Everyone’s willing to do a part.”

Everyone’s part is different. For Ron Pabst and Roger Huisken, volunteering is filling in the gaps where others can’t. Ron, 71, and Roger, 64, are best friends. They also spend their days at NuVisions, a state-operated day training and habilitation support program in Willmar for individuals with physical and mental disabilities. The program aims to help adults develop and maintain life skills, and participate in community life and activities of their own choosing. On a recent blustery March day, winds whipped by outside and temperatures were frigid. But Ron and Roger were toasty and warm inside the greenhouse at the Minnwest Technology Campus in Willmar, watering spinach, lettuce and kale, and picking weeds. “We’ve been friends a long time,” Roger says, patting Ron on the back.

On Tuesdays, the two volunteer at Bethesda, replacing water cups for the residents. They will also stuff envelopes at the Willmar offices of Advocacy & Inclusion Matter, a disability rights nonprofit, and United Way. The two say they feel good about volunteering, and like helping out. They know the importance of filling the gaps. “It’s up to us,” Ron says. It’s easy to say volunteering is important. But making it work with a busy schedule can sometimes be a challenge. Steve Maher is a funeral director and partner at Harvey Anderson and Johnson Funeral Homes. It’s a job with a lot of responsibility. It can get busy. But Steve, 45, is still a eucharistic minister at his church, Our Lady of the Lakes in New London. He’s on the cemetery board and church council there. He’s also active in the New London Lions Club, treasurer of The Link, president of the New London Economic Development Authority, and a past president of the New London-Spicer Educational Foundation. “You just make it happen,” Steve says. “Once you engage yourself, you become part of the culture, and it just kind of feeds on itself.” Continued on page 10

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He says his job and his volunteer activities go handin-hand. As a funeral director, it’s important to stay involved in the community. “You choose this profession because you like helping people,” he says.

“As a family, we do volunteering together. It’s just part of our fabric.” – Steve Maher One of Steve’s most time-consuming volunteer projects is Ribfest, a summer fundraiser and barbecue contest in its fourth year, raising money for The Link. As an event co-chair, he helps put together the day. That means everything from getting the meat to securing the teams, to finalizing the location, applying for food permits and recruiting over 100 pie donations. Even participating in the barbecue contest himself. Typically, up to 1,500 people attend, buying rib samples and voting on the best. That can make for a time-consuming summer. But for

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Steve, it’s a family affair. Last year, his family baked 50 of the donated pies. “That then kind of becomes a fun event at our house,” he says. “As a family, we do volunteering together. It’s just part of our fabric.” Volunteering wasn’t something he set out to do when he moved to the area in 2000. But he was invited to join the local Lions Club, and his volunteer engagement only grew from there. “It becomes a culture of giving, you know?” he says. “It feels right to give back.”

It’s a passion. Vickie can still remember her first volunteer opportunity. At 19, she was a Willmar Community College student, visiting her parents in Hutchinson on the weekends. She was recruited by the local Lutheran church to be president of the women’s group there – the youngest member by far. “I mean, really, seriously, who does that?” she recalls, laughing. “I don’t know, I got it initiated in my blood early in life to volunteer to do things.” Continued on page 11



The Link

an event -- set this year for April 29 -- collecting household and body hygiene items for people in need. The Link’s website has a contact form helping interested volunteers get involved.

United Way

organizations in the community. Participating organizations include Safe Avenues, the Willmar Public Library, Girl Scouts of Minnesota, Green Lake Lutheran Ministries and the Humane Society of Kandi and Meeker Counties.

Volunteers run nearly all of The Link’s services and programs, including Tuesday’s Table, a community meal hosted weekly by area churches and businesses, and “Just the Basics,”

United Way of West Central Minnesota runs a volunteer website called “Get Connected,” placing interested volunteers with

The Link and United Way are just two of many volunteer organizations in west central Minnesota. Be sure to check your local agencies for more opportunities.

She might have fallen into volunteering by chance, but passion kept her doing it. “I like to reach out to people,” she says. Like one day volunteering at a food shelf, when she met a woman who could not afford food for her son’s birthday. “That got the wheels turning,” Vickie says. Vickie started making “birthday bags” for children in need. The bags are all-inclusive, with birthday napkins and plates, a coloring book and crayons, spaghetti and noodles, cake, a cake pan and frosting. She calls her service “Friend of Mine.” Last year, she delivered 111 bags throughout the area. The supplies are funded through sporadic donations and garage sales. “It’s contagious and it’s just a fun thing to do,” she says. “Because people always want to help people but they can’t always do it on a large scale.” Minnesota ranks second in the nation for volunteer participation, the Corporation for National and Community Service found. On average, Minnesotans contribute 33 volunteer hours per capita. That’s no small feat. It adds up to $3.3 billion in service hours. Ron and Roger have only been volunteering for about

six months, but they volunteer up to 10 hours a week. Ron said he was reluctant at first. It was out-of-the-box for him to go. But he’s now a familiar face to the people at each place he visits, like The Goodness Coffee House in downtown Willmar, where he and Roger sometimes volunteer to wash dishes. “I’m glad I did,” he says. Gretchen Brown is the public safety reporter and features writer for the West Central Tribune.


Every little job

is important

Volunteers make things possible BY GRETCHEN BROWN


hasity Ommodt is director of client services and community engagement for The Link, a New London-based organization that aims to “fill the gap” in services for people in need. As one of the organization’s only two paid staff, she handles volunteer engagement for the large base of volunteers who run The Link’s programs, such as community meals and a food pantry. Chasity says The Link couldn’t provide the breadth of services it does without volunteers. Live it! asked her to share her experiences and expertise from working with volunteers in west central Minnesota.

volunteers. It needed so much work. It’s an old building. It had not been painted. Habitat for Humanity stepped up and said, “Let me round up some guys, and we’re gonna make that happen.” Every Monday and every Wednesday, guys showed up. I didn’t even ask them. Stuff like that is just so astonishing. Instead of saying, “Hey, we’ve got three weeks off,” they say, “Hey, we’re gonna help you.” They were more than happy. We have a lot of churches in our community. And that just goes naturally with being a good steward, being a good person is giving back.

Live it!: What makes volunteers in our area special? Chasity Ommodt: I think that people are completely blind to what volunteers do. I think they have no idea how so many things are done in our community by volunteers. I don’t know if there’s that big of a volunteer base to pull from in other communities. I just feel that we’re very fortunate in this area. Everyone’s willing to do a part. Every little tiny job is important. It just blows my mind. We decided to move our offices (for The Link) up here to New London to be all together with our

Live it!: Why is it important that people volunteer in their community? CO: Without volunteers this wouldn’t be possible. There’s no way I could be here every minute of the day. Without volunteers we could not have these programs. So many things would be impossible for the good of people. It is a win-win. Not only do you do something good, but you feel good as well. Knowing you did some goodwill to lighten somebody’s day, you can’t help but have that same good feeling.

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Continued on Page 13

I volunteer as well in all different areas, and there’s nothing more that I love than seeing my team learn something and you know that you were part of it. It’s something you’re passionate about: making a difference in somebody’s life. It’s not the same being paid as it is doing something out of the goodness of your heart. Live it!: How do people find the right fit? CO: I think you know what you’re passionate about. It’s really just reaching out. A church is always the best place to start if you are curious about other organizations. Somebody in a church knows somebody. United Way is a great place. They have a volunteer website, and they have connections with every organization that you would not believe. Sometimes, I think it is word of mouth. Our website (for The Link) just launched, and I have gotten two people who didn’t know about our organization to volunteer. Live it!: What advice do you have for someone who wants to get involved, but doesn’t think they have the time? CO: Well, we’re all busy. Everybody’s busy. But there’s always opportunities. I bring my kids to volunteer at Tuesday’s Table. From beginning to end, it’s two hours. If you don’t have two hours, then you’re not as passionate about volunteering as you think. There’s mornings, there’s evenings, there’s weekends that people are needed. When you volunteer one time, I think it is so contagious that you’ll come back. You’ll make room.

Live it!: Where does The Link fit into the local volunteer community? CO: It continues to grow, every year it grows. Really, we always say we “fill the gap.” Our money is basically all from churches and donors. And we have a couple of really small grants. We rely a lot on individuals. What we strive to do is help families where they need it most that other organizations can’t cover. Our budget is much smaller because we’re really a tiny organization. We support Tuesday’s Table, which is a weekly meal that is hosted by different churches. We just started our food pantry, that just opened February 15. That’s what we call a mini food shelf. Families can come and get food as they need. Our basics event is coming up here in April. We purchase all sorts of things – we do Kleenex, and trash bags and body soap. All of these household and body hygiene items. We give as much as we can in one morning to families.The rest we donate to the Hope CARE food pantry (in Spicer). Rhonda (Otteson) and I are the only paid staff. It’s all done by people who volunteer in our community. It’s amazing, and they’re so happy to help and know that they’re making a difference in our communities. I’ve never worshipped volunteers on this level until I came here. I had no idea that there were people out there that make this all work. And they just do it out of the goodness of their heart. It’s my favorite part of my job. I get to work with all these passionate people. 001365458r1

Live it!: What makes a good volunteer? CO: Everybody has different talents. You just have to find out what they are. Sometimes we have people do data entry, that’s kind of more their thing. And then I have people who are really, really wanting to work with people. They have really good people skills. I have one woman here who is an organizer. She reorganizes the food, because she loves that. Sometimes people will call me and say, “This is what I’m looking for.” You don’t want to lose them as a volunteer, you just see that they would fit in better here. I never say “no.”

If you’re passionate about something, it’s probably because you’re good at something, or it’s close to your heart. You want to play off of things you’re good at. I don’t want to sit and do paperwork all day long. So I’m not going to volunteer my time sitting and writing things for people. I’ll move people. I‘ll run around with my head cut off. You do want to enjoy what you’re doing. I always ask people, “What do you like to do?” And usually in that conversation, people will be like, “I’m not good at this.” They want to feel useful too. If you ask them to do things that they’re not good at, they’re not comfortable.

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Embrace the unknown



y the time this issue is in print, the welcome signs of spring will be upon us. Nature’s natural cycle of life is never more evident than when frost gives way to warmer air and the first signs of green grass and perennials pushing through fresh earth once again. The arrival of new life is a time for rejoicing and gratitude. When that new life comes after 9 months of expectancy and planning, the heart of a mother is often filled to overflowing with emotions for the child

she has carried within. It is a time of great change both inside and outside the mother as both systems search to reach a healthy rhythm once again. It is also during this time that 1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression. Postpartum depression used to be called “the baby blues,” but today we know so much more about this serious and treatable illness. Postpartum depression most often follows the first months of childbirth.

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8 signs of postpartum According to WebMD, these are the signs that are important to know: 1. Your “baby blues” don’t get better. It’s common to have a dip in mood during your baby’s first two weeks. After that, you should feel better. But if you’re still sad or even hopeless weeks later, and the feelings are growing intense, that’s more than the blues. 2. Sadness or guilt consume your thoughts. Feeling upset once in a while is normal. But if you have crying spells, or you often feel unhappy about being a parent, or you’re often “down on yourself” as a mom, these may be among the first signs of postpartum depression. 3. You lose interest in things you enjoy. Are you laughing at your favorite romantic comedy? Are you interested in being affectionate with your partner? What about your favorite foods? Are you enjoying them? Are you eating at all? If you said no, talk to your doctor about these changes in mood and habits. 4. You have trouble making decisions. Maybe you’re too tired to think straight. Maybe you just don’t care. If you can’t decide whether or not to get out of bed, take a shower, change your baby’s diaper, or take her for a walk, these may be early signs of postpartum depression. 5. You worry you won’t be a good mom. Who hasn’t worried about this? It’s common among moms whose babies are sick or premature, or were born with special needs. But if this is not your situation, then having constant doubts about yourself as a mother could mean something else.

6. Your sleep patterns have changed. Of course they have. You have a baby! But if you can’t even rest when your child is napping, or you’re sleeping all the time, that’s likely something other than a new sleep pattern. 7. You’ve had big, stressful changes in your life. Maybe you’ve been fighting with your partner, or your family isn’t helping you care for your baby. Perhaps someone you loved died a short time ago. Stressful events like these can worsen your sadness and trigger postpartum depression. 8. You think about harming yourself. Thoughts of suicide, or hurting yourself or your baby, are advanced signs of postpartum depression and even postpartum psychosis, a rare and serious mental illness that happens with postpartum depression. If you’re having any kind of suicidal thoughts, you’re in crisis and need to call your doctor or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 immediately to get help. Like all mental health issues, knowing the signs of postpartum depression is the key to diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may include psychotropic medication, individual therapy and a good support system is key. So many mothers have experienced this illness in the past without the benefits of proper treatment and it’s up to us to raise awareness so all mothers have the care and the support they need for themselves and their families. Take care. Claudette Larson, LICSW, RPT, is owner of Willow Creek Counseling in New London and has enjoyed working with children, teens and adults for the past 16 years.

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Fulfilling your life with less


stood in front of my open closet scowling. It, and my dressers, were filled to the brim. I even moved my husband’s clothes to the downstairs closet! Still, I kept thinking to myself that I have “nothing to wear.” My first thought was to run to the mall quick (which was once my favorite escape) and grab something new, but I just knew my husband would roll his eyes and shake his head. Maybe I needed to become more inspired or creative? Or maybe just more organized? I began grabbing at the clothing and threw every single item on the bed. From there, the purge began. A few hours later, I donated a garbage bag of items that no longer fit me. I. Felt. Free! Fast forward about a month. I was on break for the holidays and came across a documentary called “Minimalism” on Netflix. Of course I had heard of the term, but I never really understood what the PURPOSE

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of minimalism was. I was glued to the screen as they talked about experiences over things. About living a life that had fulfillment. And it hit me. Could it be that I was buying clothing every couple weeks to try to fill a void or PROVE something to someone? Yes, probably. So I began another purge not only in my bedroom closet, but in the other rooms in my house as well. After two days of purging and organizing, I brought two car loads to my local Goodwill and stored several boxes away for my family’s spring garage sale. I’m not rushing the process and I’m not living a (complete) minimalistic life yet — and maybe I never will — but I have noticed the benefits of a decluttered life and living my life through experiences and not things. My closet is still fuller than I would like, but I’m well on my way to building my capsule wardrobe. And when I say build, I don’t mean buy. I’m choosing items I currently own, the items I absolutely love, and making them into creative outfit combinations.

Minimalism isn’t for everyone, but I do encourage you to try decluttering your life and even consider a capsule wardrobe. Here are a few tips on how to get started: 1. Find the time and clean out your closet. Take everything out. Seriously. Every single item needs to be removed. It’s going to look like a tornado hit, but it’s key. 2. Divide & Conquer a. Start by sorting it into general categories: Love it. Like it. Maybe. Must Go. Move everything in the “Must Go” pile away from your other piles. I was a little chaotic and just threw it out in the hallway for the time being, but if you’re a little more organized, just place it in a bin or box. b.Then start answering a few questions: Does it fit? Have you worn it in the last year? Is it in good condition? Does it have a story behind it or emotional impact on your life? Some people will tell you to not be emotionally attached to materials and I tried to keep an open mind while answering that question. Be honest with yourself. I kept a few things that I absolutely knew I could never get rid of — some of my late grandmother’s blazers and wool jackets and a couple blouses I bought when we were travelling abroad. I

ended up making another pile and labeling “Ask me in a couple months.” If those items don’t cross my mind, I’ll donate them. c. Start condensing piles down even more. Sort into seasonal and special occasion outfits. 3. Organize and declutter Put this season’s outfits toward the front of your closet and the other seasons toward the back. Out of sight, out of mind. If you are really into organization like I am, I find organizing everything by type and color very cathartic! 4. Don’t shop Besides the emotional “attachment” issues, this was — and still is — maybe the hardest step to this process. I drove a different route home from work so I wouldn’t be tempted by the mall and I avoided Target like the plague. 5. Have fun with it. Consider selling some of your higher quality items on an app and use the money toward a fun experience or put it into savings. Do good and donate your items to your local donation center. Remember this isn’t an overnight thing. It’s definitely a process, but once you start freeing yourself from clutter, you will start to realize life isn’t necessarily about materials. It’s about living a life that is fulfilling to YOU. Kenzie Tenney is a freelance writer for Live it! Magazine

Building a capsule wardrobe Quality over Quantity. Invest in well-made basics. Ask yourself some questions: Will the quality of this item hold up nicely? Is the piece timeless? Variety. Have a chunk of neutral basics and spice it up with a few accent colors or patterns. Make your outfits pop with fun shoes or accessories. Personality & Fit. Aim for creating a wardrobe that reflects your style and personality. Find a style or fit that works well for your body. Don’t concentrate on the brand name or the current trend. One thing that resonated with me the most was a line that one of my favorite bloggers, SimplyFiercly, wrote “There is nothing wrong with finding a style you love and sticking with it. Consider this – you can wear what you know works for you and look good 100 percent of the time or you can constantly be experimenting … and look good 20 percent of the time.”

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Do-it! yourself Memory wire jewelry Creative options are endless BY JEN ANFINSON About a year ago I began working with memory wire in jewelry making. I liked the idea of it, the simplicity, the small amount of materials and tools needed, the quality and strength of it. I also thought it would be a good way for people to begin in jewelry making in the classes that I offer. I was right about memory wire. It is all of those things and more. And, the creative options you have are endless. Let me teach you more. Memory wire is a very hard temper wire that remembers its shape and always returns back to it, hence the name memory wire. It comes in a coil of wire and looks like a slinky. It comes in necklace, bracelet and ring coils. We will be talking about memory wire bracelets today. When using memory wire in bracelet making, you need no clasps, o-rings or the tools to work with them. You simply need memory wire, beads, a memory wire cutter and a round-nose pliers (to start and finish off your ends) that’s it. Memory wire comes in an assortment of finishes and sizes. You can find it in gold, silver, gunmetal and bronze finishes. It is made of carbon steel. Oftentimes it doesn’t matter what finish you have, for you only see the very ends of the wire, the other wire is covered

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with your beads. The standard size of bracelet wire is a 2-inches-across measurement. Memory wire also comes smaller and larger. You can also get different thicknesses of wire. The standard thickness of wire is about 3/4 of a millimeter. This will work for the majority of your projects. There is also heavier gauge wire, if need be. Let’s talk about beads for a moment. Oh the fun! Beads come in all different materials: glass, acrylic, wood, metal and stone. You can go to your local thrift store and get vintage beaded necklaces to take apart and use, or go to your craft shop and choose from a variety of options. You also probably have beads in your jewelry box that may have special meaning. The options are endless.

Continued on Page 19


Once you choose your memory wire and your beads, you can get going on your project. Cut off the amount of wire you would like to use with a memory wire cutter. It is important to use a memory wire cutter because memory wire is so strong. They say it will ruin

other jewelry cutters. You can start with a single crossover bracelet, meaning that you want your bracelet to cross over at least two inches for strength. You can work your way up to making a wide bracelet cuff, cutting off after three, four or five loops.


turn with your hand. When you pull your pliers out, your wire will have a loop in it. I sometimes give it an extra pinch with a needle nose pliers so it’s completely tight.

Next, lay out your beads on a piece of felt so they don’t roll away and begin placing them on your wire. Some people like to lay out a pattern, or you can simply have a fun,


random mix of beads that you place on your wire. I often put beads on, take them off and put them on again before I get a look I like. Don’t get discouraged. This is the fun and creative part!


making an o-ring at your end. I like to add little charms on these o-rings sometimes as a fun, finishing touch.

Next, use your round-nose pliers to form an o-ring at the beginning of your bracelet. Place the round-nose pliers at the end of the wire, hold your thumb against that wire, so it lies firmly against the pliers, and make a complete

When you get to the end of your wire, you need to leave about a 1/4 inch to finish off the other end. Do the same thing you did with your round nose pliers at the beginning,

That’s it!

This is such a fun project for all ages. I have led classes in this for ages 5 to 95 and everyone loves it! Feel free to check out my Jen Anfinson Studio page on Facebook for some fun project options and memory wire class dates, many times free of charge at libraries statewide. Do message me with any questions. Happy creating! Jen Anfinson creates jewelry and other homemade items from her studio in Paynesville, and teaches DIY classes all over the state. For more information on upcoming classes, check out Jen Anfinson Studio on Facebook.

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Get home inspection done early



pring is right around the corner, and with that many new buyers are in the marketplace already looking. After being inside all winter, people are ready to move. This year is on track to be another successful real estate year. We need properties to sell, with it definitely being a seller’s market. I often get asked: What is one good thing I can do to my property before I list it? Get a pre-list home inspection. A home inspection done before listing can be beneficial for both the seller and buyer, and here are a few good reasons why: 1) It will help you uncover unknown issues upfront, and make the necessary repairs ahead of time. 2) Provides confidences and ease to potential buyers – when a potential buyer walks into your property on a showing and has seen the home inspection already done, it gives them a little ease knowing what they are getting into, or that the seller has already taken the time to address any issues that may have come up.

20 Live it! Magazine

3) Saves time – a majority of home sales are contingent upon a home inspection. If the home inspection is done ahead of time, it could be fewer headaches, and move the process along faster. If a more expensive repair is needed (i.e. a new furnace, shingles, etc.) it can be taken into consideration when deciding on the list price. 4) Know the house is well-maintained – when the seller is willing to go the extra step and get the prelist home inspection, and make the necessary repairs, it speaks for itself that the house has been wellmaintained over the years. If you are considering putting your home on the market this spring, getting a pre-list home inspection could be very beneficial for you and the buyer. Your real estate agent would be glad to help walk you through any other steps needed before putting your home on the market. Nicole Dahl is a licensed real estate agent with Edina Realty in Willmar; 320-262-2380, nicoledahl@edinarealty. com;




eens are making movies, thanks in part to a Best Buy Foundation grant the Willmar Public Library received last fall to purchase video equipment and editing software to support the program. The workshop series focuses on several aspects of video production including screenwriting, camera training, shot composition, sound and lighting, video editing and production, and online sharing. Between each workshop, teens have several work days to use the skills they have learned to create their videos. At the end of the summer, the library will hold a film festival for the public and create a YouTube channel showcasing the teens’ work. The library hopes to continue this program into the next year and have the teens who participated use the skills they have learned to mentor a new generation of teens. The idea for this program developed out of the teens’ interest in learning more about filmmaking after several successful YouTube Video Night programs held at the library. During the video nights, teens watched videos created by and for other teens and were inspired to create their own. The library hopes this program will not only act as an outlet of creative expression for teens, but also provide teens with technical, communication and relationshipbuilding skills to help them succeed in their future. The library has already held a number of video production workshops.


The teens also have several project ideas underway and are excited to continue working on their videos. A special thank you goes out to the Best Buy Foundation for making this programming possible. Emily Sovell is a Teen/Young Adult Services Librarian at the Willmar Public Library.

Live it! Magazine 21


Spring cleaning is not only for your home



pring is in the air and the thought of spring cleaning is at the forefront of your mind. Out with the old clothing and clutter, in with the newness and freshness of the season. We tend to clean out our closets and houses, but neglect to pay attention to our overall health and wellness. Could your body use a spring cleaning, too? Read on and decide for yourself. More than 75 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system. It is home to 100

trillion microorganisms (bacteria). The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body. These bacteria, if given the chance, can help fight off sickness and infection and keep you healthy. Along with keeping you healthy, these bacteria also help to aid your body in digestion, regulate metabolism, and so much more. This means if you want to maintain health and wellness long term – you need to start with your gut.

Continued on Page 23

MAKE A DIFFERENCE VOLUNTEERS HELPING TO BUILD A BETTER RICE Looking for ways to give back to the community? For as little as four hours, twice a month, you can join us! Flexible hours to match your schedule, opportunities on days, weekends and evenings, and on-site training. Volunteer in the gift shop, surgical lounge, information desk, and much more!

Volunteering for Rice is a way I feel like I can give back to the community. Plus, I enjoy seeing and talking to all the people. -Joan Schultz, Volunteer

301 Becker Ave SW, Willmar, MN 56201 • • 320.231.4286

Let’s use your closet for example. You remove your old to make room for the new. Do the same with your diet. Rid yourself of old habits and make room to create new ones. Instead of focusing on all the things you are removing (refined sugars, processed foods, refined carbohydrates) shift your gaze to all the exciting new foods you can add to your diet. Leafy greens, juicy fruits and vegetables, yummy new healthy snacks and meals. Eat fermented foods – they help your gut flora thrive. There are many fermented foods you can try – sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kim chi, ginger carrots, etc., or adding a probiotic – or you can take a local class and learn how to ferment your own foods, and even how to brew your own kombucha (a tea). Also consider adding bone broth to your soups and even drinking a bit each day.

Take a look at what you are currently eating, and what your diet looked like throughout the winter. If you’ve been consuming lots of sugary and/or processed foods, refined carbohydrates, limited veggies etc., cleaning up your diet is a wonderful idea. Consider how you currently feel. Are you tired? Irritable? Full of mood swings? Chronically stressed out? Always sick? These can all be your body’s way of warning you that something is out of whack. A great place to start is with what you’re feeding your body. So … what should you do about it? Remove the “junk” from your diet – just as you would remove junk from your closets and home. This doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself.

Drink plenty of water. It is recommended to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Give it a try. Work on managing stress in your life. Chronic stress can wreak just as much havoc on your body as a toxic diet can. Take care of yourself. Exercise, read a book, spend time outdoors (vitamin D, an added bonus), get a massage – whatever you need to do in order to keep your stress level in check. Find a support system. Having a friend or family member make a lifestyle change with you can be extremely beneficial. As you consider cleaning your closets and home, also take a moment to think about cleaning your body and life, and what that might look like for you. Take control of your health. Spring is the perfect opportunity to do some inner cleansing. Be sure to consult with your medical provider before making any drastic diet or fitness changes. Amy Erickson is owner/trainer at Amy Erickson Fitness;

Live it! Magazine 23

! t i e t s Ta Cookbook Club is forum for food, recipes and friends BY ANNE POLTA

Photography by Briana Sanchez


f there’s a tantalizing aroma wafting from the upstairs meeting room at the Willmar Public Library, it must be the second Tuesday of the month. That’s when the library’s Cookbook Club meets – one of the few occasions when it’s OK to partially break the no-food-in-the-library rule. The club was organized last fall by Syrena Maranell, adult librarian. “I know people love food,” she said. “It was an idea for a different way for people to gather at the library.” It’s an opportunity to share food, swap recipes, make new friends and find inspiration. And although many cooks nowadays turn to the internet for recipes, the Cookbook Club also is a forum for highlighting the library’s diverse collection of cookbooks. (A couple of the most recent acquisitions are “Dorie’s Cookies” and “A New Way to Dinner”.) The group can usually rely on six to eight people to show up each time. “It’s gone over well,” Syrena said.

24 Live it! Magazine

It was a chilly winter night when I attended a Cookbook Club meeting for the first time. The menu was Italian. Someone had made cheese ravioli entirely from scratch. Someone else brought cannoli. Offerings of pasta, pesto, bruschetta and more gradually covered the table. We all introduced ourselves. We took turns describing what we brought and shared reflections on the recipe – whether it was easy, or time-consuming, contained a special ingredient or could be tweaked with different seasoning. Then it was time to eat. At the end of the evening, everyone left with a handful of new recipes to try and memories of a convivial meal with like-minded food fans. For a sample of what we tasted that night, check out the following recipes. Anne Polta may be reached at or follow her on Twitter @AnnePolta.

Creamy Basil Parmesan Italian Soup

Almost everyone in the group tried this and pronounced it delicious. It was hot, creamy and comforting, with a blend of ingredients and seasonings that lifted it out of the ordinary.

Ingredients: 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces 2 cups uncooked macaroni 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 3 tablespoons butter 1 small onion, chopped 1 cup sliced carrots 1 cup chopped celery 1 red bell pepper, chopped 4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced 1/4 cup flour 5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth 2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained 1 teaspoon sugar 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon 1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh snipped parsley 1/2 teaspoon each: dried oregano, cumin, salt 1/4 teaspoon each: red pepper flakes, pepper 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped 2 cups heavy cream or half and half 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese For garnish: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil


Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until almost cooked through. Remove to a plate. Melt butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over mediumhigh heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add 1 more tablespoon olive oil and the celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes until mixture thickens. Gradually add chicken, then the stock, followed by tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves and remaining seasonings. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over reduced heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is completely cooked through. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in the cream; add cooked pasta. For a less chunky soup, add more broth or cream. Garnish individual servings with grated Parmesan cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stromboli This was hot and filling, combining the flavor of pizza with the wrapping of a sandwich. One of the Cookbook Club diners suggested jazzing up the flavor by substituting half a pound of Italian sausage for the ground beef. Remove the sausages from their casings, crumble and cook.

Ingredients: Readymade pizza dough 1/2 pound ground beef 1/4 green bell pepper, chopped Half an onion, chopped 1/4 cup prepared pizza sauce 1/4 cup prepared spaghetti sauce 1/4 cup melted butter Thinly sliced pepperoni 2 cups grated cheese


Cook the ground beef in a skillet on the stove top until browned. Add chopped pepper and onion and continue to cook until vegetables are softened. Roll out pizza dough into a rectangle. Spread pizza and spaghetti sauces over dough. Sprinkle on grated cheese, then top with pepperoni slices. Spread on the ground beef mixture. Roll the dough, jelly-roll fashion, into a cylinder, tucking the ends under. Lay on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Cut into slices to serve.

26 Live it! Magazine

Pizza Hotdish

If classic Minnesota hotdish and the avors of Italy had a child together, this would be it. It’s an example of how immigrant food traditions often become Americanized.

The Willmar Public Library Cookbook Club meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the upstairs meeting room at the library in downtown Willmar. The group is open to anyone who enjoys food and cooking. Participants are asked to bring a dish to share and a copy of their recipe. No registration or fee is necessary. Food themes for each month are chosen by the members.


1 pound Italian sausage or ground beef 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (optional) 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper Pizza seasoning to taste, about 1 tablespoon 1 24-ounce jar pasta sauce 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese or a blend of your favorites 1 small package pepperoni, diced (optional) 1 package extra-wide noodles or rotini pasta, cooked and drained, reserving up to 1 cup of the pasta water

Upcoming meetings and their themes are: April 11: Pizza. May 9: Bacon. June 13: Childhood favorite. For more information, visit or call 320-235-3162.


Brown the sausage or ground beef with onion, bell pepper, salt, pepper and pizza seasoning. Drain. Combine meat mixture with pasta sauce, tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Stir in one-half to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water or milk. Blend in the cooked pasta. Pour into large casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Hotdish can be placed in a slow cooker to keep warm.


Blast into Space! 18th Annual Camp Alpha, June 18-21, 2017 Morris, MN An exciting four-day event sponsored by Morris Area Community Education. The camp is designed for students who have completed grades 4-8. Students at camp will be involved with many different aspects of astronomy, aerospace, science, and math. They will tackle problems faced by real NASA scientists and learn the latest information on current space missions.

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Getting and Giving



t first, I couldn’t understand the feeling. Whenever I helped a neighbor harvest crops or assisted with his chores, I got this feeling that felt … good. As a young, naive lad, I asked my parents why I got this feeling and, their reply was simple and to the point: “Because you did something good!” I expect they would’ve liked to add a couple of other choice comments about my innocence but they were kind to me. Today I completely understand that doing good is the right thing. It doesn’t have to be the type of good that will turn the world in a new direction, but if we plant a seed of goodness amongst us, we’ll receive much more than we give. When we give, we get. It’s always a joy for me to talk to vintners or brewers, and in so many instances I discover something very simple but very powerful about these people – as they get, they give. Naturally many businesses give back to their communities, but I’d like to focus on three businesses – one winery and two breweries. On my first visit to Bank Brewing in Hendricks, I walked into the brewery and had a few minutes to just stand and sense the environment. The hop and malt smells were so satisfying and after a few minutes, I met brew master Richard Drawdy. We had a pleasant time together and I learned that Bank not only gives back to the neighborhood but also to the state. A portion of Bank’s profits go into land conservation via the Pheasants Forever Build A Wildlife Area program. The brewery’s participation began about eight years ago and money is donated to the program from the sale of Bank’s Walleye Chop lager – clean and crisp – and Rooster Lager – a tasty and crisp American amber/red lager with noticeable malts and minimal hops. Pheasants Forever receives grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and these grants match every dollar received from Bank Brewing Company. As Bank gets, it gives. Oh, when you visit the brewery, ask to see the doublebarrel shotgun door handles. When I first visited Glacial Ridge Winery near Spicer, I was greeted by a beautiful silence. It was mid-summer

28 Live it! Magazine

and rather then enter the building, I walked a little way into the apple orchard and was graced by its beauty and peace. Returning to the store I bought a bottle of Call Me A Cab – medium-bodied and slightly sweet – wine and talked with the person there. That’s when I began to learn how Glacial gives. The orchard provides apples for the food shelf. They have held events that collected food and Toys for Tots. The winery hosts fundraisers for food kitchens and food shelves, opens its doors for Habitat For Humanity programs, hosts the United Way Power of the Purse Auction (I wonder why men don’t have a Wonder of the Wallet Auction?) and opens its doors to many other nonprofit organizations. Once again, as Glacial gets, it gives. And that orchard is still there – visit it. I walked into Marshall’s Brau Brothers Brewing taproom and was greeted by the sight of a fire engine. Yes, a fire engine – good old Number 56. It was a first for me and the amazement just continued as I learned more about Brau Brothers and its business. The brewery began in Lucan, moved its major operation to Marshall a few years ago and ever since has been an ongoing supporter of the community. In addition to working closely with the United Way, the brewery partners with Southwest Minnesota State University’s athletic departments, Esther’s Kitchen, Pheasants Forever and other local sports and community organizations to promote community awareness of local nonprofit organizations. By the way, I would recommend their Old No. 56 lager. It has just the right balance of malt and hops to satisfy the traditional lager drinker and the craft beer geek. These are just a few example across the region. When we give, we get. When we get, we give. The common good is served in many ways and it always feels good. As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon. Cheers! Ron Skjong writes primarily about the wonderful world of wine but likes to explore various spirits and beers, too. He is married and has four grown children. While stationed in Germany, he was introduced to German wines and from that introduction, a lifelong pursuit developed to find that perfect bottle of wine.


What’s happenin’ ? April - May 2017 Glacial Ridge Winery Every Friday

Spicer, 5 to 9 p.m., Glacial Ridge Winery, state highway 23 between New London and Spicer; free music concert by different individuals and groups.


Every Thursday

Willmar, 6 p.m., Jazz-N-Java; 913 Business 71 N.; free music concerts by different individuals and groups.

Willmar Community Center Every Weekend

Willmar, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Willmar Community Center; free music concerts and dances by different individuals and groups. Watch the West Central Tribune Thursday Showcase section for details.

‘Beginnings’ April 7

Dawson, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Auditorium; Dawson-Boyd Arts Association present “Beginnings: The Ultimate Chicago Concert Experience” which brings to life the music of Chicago and expertly recreates every decade of the band’s hits; adults $30, students $10; call 320-769-2955, ext. 246, 9 a.m. to noon.

Liz Vice Trio April 8

Collegeville, 7:30 p.m., Humphrey Theater; Gospel, soul and R&B combine in the powerful vocals of this inspiring, up-and-coming artist dedicated to making positive change through her genuine, yet playful approach to soul-filled music; call 320-363-5777 or visit

To list your event, email

‘A Number’ April 19-21

St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m., Coleman Theater; the play tackles profound questions of identity and notions of “self” as it unknots the tangled story between a father and son; call 320-363-5777 or visit

‘Kitchen Witches’ April 20-23, 27-30

Willmar, 7:30 p.m. April 20-22, 27-29, 2 p.m. April 23 and 30, The Barn Theatre; The Barn presents “Kitchen Witches,” adults $20, ages 18 and younger $10; 320-235-9500 or visit www.

Tierney Sutton April 22

St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m., Escher Auditorium; vocalist Tierney Sutton is backed by the CSB/SJU Jazz Ensemble in this highenergy, big band concert. Sutton is often described as a “musician’s singer” who uses her voice like an instrument.

‘The Grapes of Wrath’ April 23

Dawson, 7 p.m., Memorial Auditorium; National Players present “The Grapes of Wrath”; adults $10, students $5, open seating, tickets go on sale April 20.

Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra April 29

Willmar, 3 p.m., Willmar Education and Arts Center; “Young Artists Concert”; adults $10, ages 5-18 $5, under 5 are free, family pack of 2 adults and unlimited children $25.

Kahulanui April 29

Morris, 7:30 p.m., Edson Auditorium, University of Minnesota; Kahulanui -“the big dance” -- draws its inspiration

from 1920s and ‘30s Hawaiian Swing. A tradition passed down through three generations of the Naipo family, Kahulanui will strum up memories of the past and appreciation for cultural diversity in the present through its classic Hawaiian music. For tickets call 320-589-6077 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays or visit

Tuxedo Junction April 30

Glenwood, 3 to 7 p.m., Lakeside Ballroom; Winter Dance Club open to all, music by Tuxedo Junction; $10 per person, $5 ages 17-30; no jeans or shorts.

West Central Concert Series May 2

Willmar, 7:30 p.m., WEAC; West Central Concert series presents “Seraph Brass,” a female brass quintet; for more information email; $20 at the door.

Minnesota Orchestra May 15

Willmar, 7 p.m., WEAC; the Minnesota Orchestra in concert.

Live It Up Downtown May 20

Willmar, 7:30 p.m., Barn Theatre; the Barn Theatre, 321 Fourth St. S.W., downtown; Kat Perkins concert; $30 general admission, $45 preferred seating and meet and greet; 320-2359500 or visit

‘Big Fish’

June 1-4, 8-11, 15-18

Willmar, 7:30 p.m. June 1-3, 8-10, 1517, 2 p.m. June 4, 11 and 18, The Barn Theatre; The Barn presents “Big Fish,” a musical, adults $20, ages 18 and younger $10; 320-235-9500 or visit

Live it! Magazine 29

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April/May 2017 issue of Live it! Magazine  

West Central Tribune lifestyle magazing

April/May 2017 issue of Live it! Magazine  

West Central Tribune lifestyle magazing