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Sports schedules keep families on the run

SLOW COOKERS a mainstay


Personalized book frames


Season of change…

The change of seasons from summer to fall is filled with many other changes as well, most notably the return to school. For those with schoolaged children, everyone’s routine changes from that of a more relaxed summer routine. Children are back on a more regular schedule, but generally those schedules are filled with school classes and activities, church programs and sporting events or other extra-curricular activities. For many families that means juggling schedules. Especially if multiple children in the family have different interests – one has footbal and/or hockey, while another may have theater or music. Not to mention the parents’ jobs and activities. Having just come off the summer baseball/ softball seasons, many families are now faced with football, volleyball and/or hockey practices on top of school classes, homework and church programs. Hockey gets to be a long season, for those in youth hockey especially. Getting ice time can mean earlymorning or late-evening practices. The rush of getting the children from here to there after a full day’s work can be a challenge. But it can also be very fulfilling and rewarding. While we no longer have school-aged children, I remember those days, and sometimes wish they were still a part of our regular schedule. Though our two weren’t as involved as many kids are now days, it was still a rush. Perhaps as our grandsons grow and get more involved we will return to at least a taste of those days once again. In this latest issue, sports writer/photographer Jake Schultz takes us inside the home of Becky and Al Paulson and their family as they share their story and tips for juggling the multiple schedules of a busy family. The Paulsons also provide housing for two Willmar WarHawks junior hockey players, which adds another dimension to the mix. Another sign of fall is turning to our comfort foods at mealtime. Foodie Anne Polta shares some slow cooker mainstay recipes with us, and our style column keeps us stylish with a variety of jacket ideas to keep us warm on those chilly mornings and evenings. All this and more. 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 @Liveitmag. Life in west central Minnesota…it really is a beautiful thing…

! t i Live

Sharon Bomstad Live it! Editor

g a b l i Ma

you. from g r a e o h veitma ant t li m We w eet us @ k Tw veit@ oo , l li aceb emai it us on f ! Box 839 t i . e vis 1 v i 5620 s, rite L or w llmar MN tory idea s i . e W re elcom nd mo We w ments a com

Watch for our next issue out Dec. 1, 2017. May we publish your letter?

On August/September issue: I just wanted to say how much I love the Live it! Magazine. (Lu) your pallet article was great and the (article) with Lois a while back very cool! I have made recipes, taken advice and used some of the resources provided from the different issues. — Deb Krueger, via email

On the August/September feature on Jean Trumbo: Jean is my niece. You did a fantastic job capturing the spirit of Jean! I have the greatest admiration for Jean. Interestingly enough I have a disability, too. In 2007 I was diagnosed with PostPolio Syndrome. Observing how she has blossomed by her determination has helped me face my limitations. I paint, too, but I can’t hold a candle to her amazing talent. — M’Layne Murphy, Portland, Oregon, via email

Thank you for publishing the recent article in “Live It” magazine on Jean Trumbo. I thought it was extremely well written with great photos and told her story very well. Reading about the obstacles and challenges that Jean has had to overcome since her stroke, and on a daily basis, puts everyday problems into perspective. She is truly inspiring as an artist and a person!. — Lynn Edwards, New London

Editor’s note:

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We love to hear from our readers. “Like” us on Facebook, send us a tweet with your comments or even a new story idea, or email us at liveit@ Watch for our next issue due out Dec. 1, 2017.

Live it! Magazine 3


Can’t Live without it!

A publication of the West Central Tribune


Sharon Bomstad

Magazine Editor To contact Live it! call 320-235-1150 or email

Writing & Photography Anne Polta Lu Fransen Kenzie Tenney Jake Schultz

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Steven Ammermann, Publisher Kelly Boldan, Editor

2208 W. Trott Ave., Willmar MN 56201 Volume 6, Issue 5

Copyright Š 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 Hockey: It gets in your blood


October 2017, Volume 6, Issue 5


Balancing family schedules


WarHawks coach shares advice


Challenges of being involved


Fall brings new beginnings


LIFE HAPPENS Remember what’s best


MONEY MATTERS Money-smart lessons


SYTLE IT! Jackets are all the rage


DO-IT-YOURSELF Framing cherished


HEALTH & FITNESS Benefits of self-care


READ IT! Budding authors celebrate


SLOW-COOK IT! Slow cooker meals




SPIRITS It’s all about balance

for your child

for children







equal easy meals



It’s Back By Jake Schultz

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jake Schultz & Paulson family

The Paulson family: back row, from left to right, Al, Gavin, Isabella, Brooke and Becky. Front row, Carter and Willmar WarHawks Jacob Berkowitz and Cameron Pries.

6 Live it! Magazine

Paulson family expands, thrives during hockey season

Live it! Magazine 7

Most weekends we divide and conquer. – Al Paulson

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There’s a lot of travel and a lot of time at the rink, but it’s great to get to watch them do what they love. I don’t let the stress get to me. I live a – full life. – Becky Paulson


he Paulsons are the kind of family that make you question how truly busy you are. Sure, every family with active kids has their own seemingly crazy stories about rushing their offspring to various practices, lessons or games. Those long drives and late nights at the gym, rink or ballfield will always feel long and late. Al and Becky Paulson, though, welcome the lifestyle. The Paulsons have four children, Brooke, 13; Gavin, 10; Isabella, 8; and Carter, 4; all of whom are currently hockey players or – in Carter’s case – on their way to the hockey life. Starting in September and going until March, the Paulsons’ lives are dictated by hockey schedules. Brooke plays junior varsity for Willmar Senior High School while Gavin is set to play Squirts and Isabella is looking to play U10 or Mites, a year after being the only girl on the traveling Mites team last season.

Carter, who contends he’s “the biggest,” is learning to skate this year and acts as the family’s de facto mascot, cheering his siblings on at practices and games. Those practices and games can take the family just about anywhere. The Willmar Civic Center, which Al calls the family’s “second home,” acts as a home base for the continuous bustle, but various games and tournaments can mean drives as far as Albertville or New Ulm. Between the three hockey-playing Paulsons, there can be anywhere from four to eight games in a typical weekend. Not to mention, the myriad of practices throughout the week. Two parents and four kids, three of which often need to be in different places, is math that doesn’t work out too well. Especially when you consider both Al and Becky were in school last year.

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HITTING THE BOOKS Yeah, you read that right. Al, a 19-year veteran of the National Guard who made two tours to Iraq from 2004-05 and 200910, spent most of last year’s hockey season in Minneapolis training to become a firefighter. That meant four months of spending work weeks in Mound with his mother while training at the Fire Academy, and weekends back in Willmar, shuttling kids to various games. Nowadays, Al works a 48-hour shift in Minneapolis before 96 hours off. Becky was busy in her own right, as well. The mother of four, in addition to her duties as a hockey

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mom, was finishing her last year as a nursing student at Ridgewater College. “I always wanted to be an RN and I tried after high school, but I wanted kids and once we had them, that became most important,” said Becky, a Willmar High School graduate. Last year “it was constant going. Up until all hours, up early the next morning.” The term “busy” doesn’t begin to describe the Paulsons and, yet, they wouldn’t have it any other way. “There’s never a dull moment,” said Becky, now a registered nurse with Divine Home Care. “There’s a lot of travel and a lot of time at the rink, but it’s great to get to watch them do what they love. I don’t let the stress get to me. I live a full life.”

I’ve got a calendar going and I color-code it, so each one of the kids has their own color. Maybe that’s part of my Type-A personality, but organization is key. – Becky Paulson


Becky and the rest of the Paulsons live with a full household, too. When the Willmar WarHawks came to town last year, it became clear that the new junior hockey players would need a place to stay. Willmar hockey families seemed like obvious choices but the Paulsons were hesitant. “We were kind of on the fence at first,” Al said. “I was a ‘Heck no,’” Becky said. Those feelings didn’t last long. “We wanted (the WarHawks) to be successful,” Al said. “And we kept thinking if it was our kid, we’d hope they would have a good family to stay with.”

That’s where Jacob Berkowitz comes in. The Omaha, Nebraska, native joined the Paulsons last season and quickly became part of the family. “I’ve got big brothers,” Carter said, mentioning Berkowitz and this year’s addition Cameron Pries, as well as his older brother Gavin. “Jacob had a great impact on our kids,” Al said. “He was shooting pucks with them the first day. I think it was a positive experience for everyone involved.” That’s why Berkowitz returned this year and Pries, a WarHawks newcomer, joined him at the Paulson household because, according to Becky, “What’s one more?”

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Al admits the first weekend after hockey season ends is a bit odd, suddenly with no games or practices to attend. “That first weekend is definitely weird,” Al said. “We have to catch ourselves because we keep thinking, ‘Is there someplace we need to be?’ or “Shoot, what am I forgetting?’” During the season, Al and Becky have a variety of tricks to make sure one kid doesn’t get left at the rink or miss a game, and it all boils down to organization. “I’ve got a calendar going and I color-code it, so each one of the kids has their own color,” Becky said. “Maybe that’s part of my Type-A personality, but organization is key.” Al adds that it wouldn’t be possible without a support system.

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“Most weekends we divide and conquer,” Al said. “I’ll take one of the kids for one game, Grandma takes another and Becky will take another someplace else. We try to split it up so we can all see the kids play at some point, but most of the time you have to miss some.” Friends help, too. Sometimes one of the kids tags along with a teammate or another hockey parent helps out. Being a hockey parent becomes a lifestyle and families become intertwined. In fact, that’s how it started. Neither Al nor Becky grew up on skates, much less playing hockey, but Brooke had friends that played hockey and she decided to strap on the pads and leave her dance slippers behind. That was four years ago now, and she paved the way for her younger siblings to follow in stride.

The Paulson home shows evidence of the lifestyle, as well. The garage is full of hockey gear and there are black marks left by pucks on the walls. Carter can’t skate yet but he’s never far from the action, especially in the garage. He’s always eager to strap on makeshift cardboard goalie pads and stop a couple of shots. Soon, the family will be in a new home with walls to mark. In addition to spending the offseason playing baseball and softball and spending time at the lake, the Paulsons were house shopping. Which

means as the season slowly starts, they’ll also need to move. But that’s OK, Becky says she has missed the adrenaline rush of constantly being on the go. “During the offseason, I miss the chase,” Becky said. “Plus, they get along better because they’re tired.” Luckily, it’s hockey season. Jake Schultz is a sports writer for the West Central Tribune. He can be reaches at



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Q&A: Sports families Finding a balance By Jake Schultz


he life of a hockey parent is full of lengthy travel, chaotic schedules and pricy gear. Most weekends start early and end late, and that’s not even taking in practices and training camps. Many of those same parents, however, say they wouldn’t trade it for the world. Chris Blaisuis is the head coach and director of hockey operations with the Willmar WarHawks, a junior hockey team based at the Willmar Civic Center, and he’s also a hockey parent. The WarHawks boss lives in Indiana during the offseason with his wife, Heather, and two kids. His eldest son, Brendan, is a youth goaltender, and also swims competitively, as does his younger brother Riley, meaning plenty of work for Chris and Heather. Live it!: What advice do you have for parents trying to help their kids find balance while playing hockey? Chris: I think it’s important you expose kids to other things. Whether you’re going on a family vacation for a week, or taking them to an amusement park or the Mall of America for a day, I think it’s important just to get them away from the rink. Ultimately, we’re the ones driving the car. The kids aren’t driving themselves, so it’s up to us to get them to – go be a kid. In the summertime, our kids, where we live in Indiana, they have a historical museum where they go

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to summer camp for a week, and they go to Vacation Bible School for a week. ... I think, as parents, if you can find ways to supplement it, you more or less force the balance on them. Whether a kid skates every day when he’s 12 or 15 isn’t going to determine whether he goes to the NHL. I think it’s important to have perspective. It’s a game, it’s a kids’ game, let them enjoy it. As parents we need to enjoy it, sit back and enjoy the ride. Live it!: What makes balance so important? Chris: Having been in this a while, I’ve seen a lot of kids, when they haven’t had balance at the young ages, by the time they’re 18 or 19 they’re burned out. I think, as parents, we’re partially to blame. Sometimes as parents we lose perspective. We want our kids to play at the highest level, but I think kids should play where they’re meant to play, not where the parent wants them to play. If your kid is into something, support it, but don’t ram it down their throat. When a kid says they need some time, give it to them. I think as parents we need to keep that in mind, they are kids. Whether they are 12 or, in my case with the WarHawks, I’m dealing with 16- to 20-year-olds, it’s important to give them a couple days off during the week. Let their bodies recover and let them recover mentally. They need a mental break; let them go do whatever.

Ultimately, we’re the ones driving the car. The kids aren’t driving themselves, so it’s up to us to get them to – go be a kid. Live it!: What do you think are some qualities that make good hockey/sports parents and what are some of the bigger problems? Chris: I think one of the bigger problems is the parent trying to live their dream through their kid. Or they have a 10-, 12-, 13-year-old kid and they’re paying this money and they think of it as an investment that’s going to pay off as a scholarship down the road. For my wife, Heather, and I, we just want to support our kids. Our approach is – and for me it’s tough being a coach, but I try – to let them do their thing. I have a rule with my son that we don’t talk about the game once the car rolls out of the parking lot. Once we hit the street we’re done talking about it, unless he asks. Live it!: What do you like about being a hockey parent? Chris: I yhink the most important thing is standing back and watching my son grow and develop. He’s learning. For me, I try not to coach my kid because I’m his dad. He doesn’t view me as a hockey coach. The rewarding thing is to stand back and kind of watch him grow and learn through some achievements and mistakes where I’m not involved. He’s learning it on his own, he’s learning some hard lessons on his own as well. I think as a parent that’s the most rewarding thing, is to see your kid learn about teamwork, and learn about work ethic and drive, and how to compete and battle and overcome adversity.

Especially as a goalie, you get lit up and give up seven goals in a game, you have to learn how to bounce back. No matter how far his hockey goes, those are qualities and traits he’s going to need when he’s in college and graduates. I think that’s where youth sports in general, not just hockey, can be good for kids, as long as we, as parents, don’t screw it up for them. Live it!: What makes the travel and the expenses worth it and how do you do it logistically? Chris: For me, it’s how does my wife do it? My wife is a rockstar because she not only has my one son playing hockey but he also swims and my other son also swims and she works full time. You have to have a support system, that’s how you balance it, especially if you’re a single parent and, with my wife, I’m more or less an absentee husband during the season because I’m up here during the hockey season. It falls on mom to pull it off. The financial aspect is, you just have to budget right. It’s expensive, being a hockey goalie’s parent is painfully expensive. But I think when you see your kid have a passion for something, then you’re willing to go the extra mile for it. That’s how me and my wife are, as long as our kids are working hard, enjoy it and have fun – it’s worth it. You’re not paying for the investment in the hopes of getting a scholarship, you’re paying for the life lessons.

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Being involved can be challenging By Claudette Larson, LICSW This is especially the case for families with kids and teens active in sports. Having one child involved in after-school sports requires coordination and planning, but when there are multiple children in the family involved in sports, it’s a never-ending, calendar-filled, juggling act of who needs to be where, doing what, at what time and how in the heck are you getting them there? As a parent, there’s a lot of pressure to get involved and support your child while making sure they have what they need to be a responsible and prepared member of the team. Yet sometimes the pressure of performing and needing to be a success on the field is a pressure your child may be feeling and you may not even know it. If you fear your child is only playing a sport to please you, ask them – and be open to hearing the truth. Many parents enjoy seeing their children excel in sports. It’s a great way to be involved in the community, increase your child’s self-esteem, stay in shape, learn work ethic and be a part of a team dynamic. Perhaps being on a school sport brings back memories you want your child to experience.

However, it’s important to remember there is a difference between your school sports experience and your child’s. If you were the star of the team, your child may not be. Your child may not want to be the center of attention and get all the field time. It’s OK that they sit out sometimes. Not everyone can be the MVP. Being a solid supporting player is a valuable contribution to the team and it’s important that they can feel good about that. It’s also important that children have a healthy balance in their lives. Playing a sport should be one part of a balanced day and week. Children also need time for all the experiences of being a student. This means time for school work, friendships, family time and down time. This also allows a healthy perspective that life is more than winning and losing, and keeps performance pressure in a healthier place. In the end, playing a sport should be enjoyable. Remember, if your child is having fun while learning about working hard and being a good team member, even when they lose, they will come out a winner. 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.


school year means lots of change – both fun A new and challenging for students and parents.


Teach your children well... about finances and investing Submitted By Jeanne Ashburn


igh debt levels … lack of savings … the inability to budget – these problems all have several causes, but one of them is almost certainly financial illiteracy. Too many of us just never developed the money management skills necessary to cope with our complicated – and expensive – world. If you have young children, you can teach them some money-smart lessons – and who knows, you may learn a few valuable reminders, too. Here are some suggestions for a financial “curriculum”:

them they can’t have everything – and they certainly

Save for a goal.

regularly for this purpose, rather than borrowing as

In our highly commercialized culture, it’s almost inevitable your children will eventually become somewhat acquisitive. Obviously, it’s important to teach

credit card.

can’t have everything right now. So, once they are old enough to receive an allowance or to earn money in some fashion, encourage them to set a goal for something they want, such as a toy or video game, and to put money aside every week for that goal. It’s also an excellent idea to model this behavior yourself. So if you are considering making a major purchase in the not-too-distant future, such as a car, show your children how you are setting aside money much as you can or putting the entire purchase on a Continued on page 18

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Continued from page 17

Establish a budget. It can be challenging to create a household budget, and just as difficult to stick to it – but for most people, it’s worth the effort. You’ll be doing your children a

give your child a pretend $100 bill to “invest” in this company and then see how its value changes, explaining along the way that various factors – such as the popularity of the company’s products, the skill of its managers, and so on – will affect the stock’s price. At some point, you may even wish to purchase real

favor by showing them how you have a certain amount

stocks for your child and place them within a custodial

of income and where it goes – mortgage, utilities,

account. And you might also want to show your child

groceries, retirement accounts, etc. – each month. Explain to your kids that by staying within your budget, you can help avoid problems such as debt and extra fees tacked on to bills for late payments. You might also want to point out that, as your income rises, you can gain greater flexibility in budgeting. Here’s the key point: Living within your means pays off in the long run.

Have fun with investing. It might surprise you, but even young children enjoy learning about the investment process, especially if you explain to them that they can be an owner of a company that makes a product or service they like. You might want to pick such a company and, along with your child, chart its course over time. You could

how your own stocks and other investments are performing. The investment world can be fascinating, and by sharing your enthusiasm for it with your children, you can encourage them to invest throughout their lives.

Knowledge is power. And the more knowledge about finances and investing you can impart to your children now, the more empowered they will be to make smart financial moves in the future. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Jeanne Ashburn is a financial adviser with Edward Jones in Willmar. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

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Style it! Outerwear for the fall outdoors


By Kenzie Tenney utumn in Minnesota – there is nothing like it!

The beautiful colors, the smell of harvest in the air and the changing temperatures. Many days start out cool but soon warm up as the day goes on. Grab a stylish jacket for those chilly mornings and evenings. With many different styles out on the rack, you are sure to find something that suits your style or occasion!




Buffalo check / plaid



Timeless and iconic, you can throw on a denim jacket with just about anything. The best part? They won’t be going out of style anytime soon so you’ll never have to worry about the trend fading.

Bomber jackets have been out for the last few years but this season I’ve seen a bit of a twist. And although a bit trendy, the fun embellishments of prints and embroidery are fun ways to show personality through your outfit.

I love, love, love motorcycle jackets! I find you can wear these with just about anything and everything. Jeans? Check. Work pants? Check. A Dress? Check. They give you a fun “edge” that anyone can pull off.

Parkas aren’t just meant for the arctic temps. The cut and fit is tailored and inspired by the classic heavyweight parka – but these are lighter for those warmer days.

Is there anything that screams fall – apart from pumpkin spice – more than large buffalo check or plaid? This print will never go out of style and is perfect for the pumpkin orchards.

Another piece that is timeless and can live in your closet as long as you wish. Attending a fall wedding? Grab a longer wool jacket to throw over your dress and you’ll be set. Kenzie Tenney is a freelance writer for Live it! Magazine

Do-it!-yourself Personalized book frames By Lu Fransen


o you have an old hardcover book sitting on the shelf at home gathering dust? Well, I have a use for it – thanks to an idea I found on Pinterest.

It all started with some books I got after my mom passed away. They meant something to me because they have her handwriting in them. I needed to come up with a gift for the family Christmas exchange, using something from around our house, and found this idea for a photo frame. The one I’m making here is a recipe book with her name in the front, and notes on recipes. The pages are well-worn and have much evidence of food splatters. Let’s get started. Print out the photo you want to use. Find a button, some cardboard (a cereal box works great), a piece of felt or other heavy fabric, string, trim or ribbon. Be creative and use what you have around the house. Cut the cardboard so it’s at least a half-inch larger than each side of your photo. Cut the fabric so it is a bit larger than the cardboard. Trace the outline of your photo onto a piece of scrap paper, about a half-inch smaller on all sides and cut it out. Then trace the pattern onto the cover of the book, making sure it’s closer to the spine so you have room to attach the button on the other edge.

You can use a utility knife (have a nice sharp blade in it) to cut this shape out, or you can drill holes in the corners to insert the blade of a scroll saw and let a power tool make it easier for you!

20 Live it! Magazine

Now you need to dress up the edges of the opening. I used burlap ribbon and hot glued it on the outside, then wrapped it around to the inside and glued. Then I glued some additional trim on top of that just for decoration.

Next, hot glue your cardboard on the inside front cover over the opening, leaving the top open so you can insert photos. Hot glue the fabric over the cardboard to give it a nice, finished look. Now insert your photo!

And now you are ready to display your book frame! Drilling four holes comes next: two in front and two in back, close to the edge. On the front side, attach your button through the holes using string; on the back side pull your string through the holes as shown and tie it off so that you can loop it around the button. This will hold the book partially closed when you stand it up so it doesn’t tip over and you can still open it up when you want!

Lu follows in her mother’s footsteps of unwinding and relaxing by crafting and creating Creativity is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes!



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Fall into a new self-care routine By Amber Chevalier


ard to believe summer is over. It was a great season to enjoy time with family and friends, take relaxing getaways, and spend time enjoying the weather. However you spent your summer, I hope it was great. Fall is here and with it comes many changes, other than just the leaves turning new colors. School has started, sports have begun, new projects are beginning at work, and your activities shift from outdoors to inside events. There is a shift in the air that brings new beginnings. These new beginnings bring about a change in routine and structure of our days. Instead of going straight home after work, now you need to run to a soccer game,

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watch a clarinet recital, or go to a play after work. You no longer have that “extra” time to yourself, nor do you have the same routine. Many times we do not think too much about these new routines and structures, it is just something we have to do to stay on track with life. Also, we become so inundated with the added responsibilities that we soon forget how much the “extra” time was needed for our own health and wellness. Take a minute and picture yourself a few months from now when you are settled into the new fall routine. What do you see? Do you see yourself tired or well-rested? Are you short-tempered or patient?

Are the foods you are consuming beneficial to your health and wellness or are you living off convenience and junk food? What is your overall satisfaction with life, or quality of life? If you feel like you will end up on the negative end of the spectrum with many of these examples, take some time to think of ways to prevent this from happening. After all, a lot of the time we need to simply practice regular self-care to see a benefit in our quality of life. What if self-care could be as ingrained in us as the new fall routine, it is just something we do? Self-care can occur in many forms, from taking 10 minutes to yourself in the evenings to read a book or meditation to running six miles a day. The key is to find what it is you feel you should adapt into your lifestyle so that you can have a sense of calm and not lose who you are amongst everything going

on in your life. By practicing self-care you may notice yourself being more patient, feel less anxious, avoid illness throughout the cold and flu months, or have a greater satisfaction of life. I would encourage you to take some time and look at your schedule. Where can you fit in some time for selfcare? It may be taking a walking lunch break, having meal prep Sundays, going to yoga every Tuesday, or chatting with a good friend each week. Self-care can be simple or complex, just be sure you practice it – regularly. After all, if you cannot be well yourself, you cannot continue to care for others and manage things effectively. Let the change in seasons give you the courage to make a positive change in your self-care routine. Amber Chevalier is the ReYou Wellness Program coordinator and Wellness Care Guide at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

Live it! Magazine 23


Let the writing begin By Syrena Maranell


ave you ever dreamed of writing a novel, but didn’t think it was possible? Join us for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at the Willmar Public Library. One part writing boot camp, one part rollicking party, NaNoWriMo celebrates its 19th year of encouraging creativity, education and the power of the imagination through the largest writing event in the world. This year, NaNoWriMo expects nearly 500,000 people to start a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. NaNoWriMo teaches you to believe that your story matters, to trust the gambols of your imagination, and to make the blank page a launching pad to explore new universes. “That’s important because when we create, we cultivate meaning. Our stories remind us that we’re alive, and what being alive means,” says Grant Faulkner, executive director of NaNoWriMo. The Willmar Public Library supports writers by providing a space to work on your novel and free WiFi. We are here to help beat writer’s block and provide snacks and beverages to keep your brain fueled. Join other writers and compete for swag in writing challenges. Come Write In programs will be held upstairs from 6 to 8 p.m. as follows:


You LIVE a busy life.

1200 1st Street South 320-235-2570

Wednesday, Nov. 1 Thursday, Nov. 9 Wednesday, Nov. 15 Wednesday, Nov. 29

‘Stranger Things’ Are you as excited as we are about the second season of “Stranger Things” being released? If so, join us for a special “Stranger Crafts” edition of Craft Circle on Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 4 to 6 p.m. Make a “Stranger Things” character magnet with Perler beads and snack on some Eggos. In a world of 10s, be an 11! Another fun, new thing at the library is board games. Want to try a game before purchasing it or just looking for something fun to do with friends and family? Now you can check out board games for two weeks. Some of the games are Catan, Terraforming Mars, Wit and Wagers, Bingo, Evolution: Climate, and Mexican Train Dominoes. To check availability, visit and search for “board games” under call number. Syrena Maranell is the Adult Services Librarian at the Willmar Public Library. For more information on these audiobooks, swing by the Willmar Public Library. The librarians are there to help you find your new favorite author. Check out the library’s blog at turningpages.areavoices.

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Slow-cook it! Crock-Pot meals are mainstay for American cooks By Anne Polta


hen the air turns frosty and the busy round of meetings, school activities, sports and community events goes into full swing, pull out your slow cooker and say hello to easy meals for the household on the go. The slow cooker has been a mainstay of the American kitchen ever since it arrived on the scene in the 1970s. In an era when women were entering the workforce in record numbers, the convenience of the electric Crock-Pot, the name under which the first models were trademarked, was a major selling point. Its maker, Rival Manufacturing, boasted that it “cooks all day while the cook’s away.” The original Crock-Pot retailed for $25 and was dressed in the decade’s fashionable colors – copper, avocado and harvest gold. The rise of the microwave oven in the 1980s sent the slow cooker into a decline. But although the Crock-Pot

was down, it was never out. Since 2001, sales in the U.S. have nearly doubled as a whole new generation of cooks discover the joy of the slow cooker. In a testament to its enduring place in American culture, a slow cooker can be found in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Some trivia for slow cooker fans: One of the biggest innovations was the introduction of a removable crock; earlier models were hard to wash because they couldn’t be submerged in water. The latest refinement in CrockPot cooking: smart technology that allows the cook to remotely program temperature and cooking time via an app. Anne Polta may be reached at or follow her on Twitter @AnnePolta.

Recipes on page 26 & 27

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This is hearty fare for an autumn night. Leftovers freeze well for future meals. If you prefer, skip the squash and substitute with an additional half pound of halved small potatoes. The amount of meat and vegetables will also work in a smaller 3-quart crockpot, but the liquid should be reduced to 2 to 3 cups. More can be added during cooking if the stew seems too dry. 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided Salt and pepper to taste 1 pound beef chuck, cut into 3 pieces 3 garlic cloves, minced 4 sprigs of fresh thyme 4 cups chicken or beef broth, divided 1/2 pound small unpeeled potatoes, halved 1/2 medium butternut squash (1 pound), peeled and diced into medium cubes, about 2 cups 1/2 cup pearl barley Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and cook until pieces are browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Transfer mixture to slow cooker. Add potatoes, squash, barley, 2 cups water and remaining 2 cups broth to slow cooker, cover and cook on high until meat is very tender, 4 hours (8 hours on low). Using two forks, shred beef. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


The ingredients can be doubled if you’re using a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. This soup is more flavorful if it’s made the day before being served. 1 small onion, diced 1 to 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into coins 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup raw wild rice, rinsed and drained 1 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme Pinch of poultry seasoning Salt and pepper to taste 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound 5 cups chicken broth In a 3-quart slow cooker, combine first 8 ingredients. Top with chicken, then add the chicken broth. Cook on low for 6 to 6½ hours or on high for about 3½ hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return to slow cooker and stir. Remove the bay leaf. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

26 Live it! Magazine


As a new generation discovers crockpot cooking, versions of this recipe are popping up everywhere, from food websites to Pinterest. It’s inspired by one of the soups featured on the Olive Garden menu and is a rich blend of creamy and chunky. Half and half can be substituted for half of the cream. For those who prefer a little less heat, use mild Italian sausage. 1 pound hot Italian sausage 4 to 6 russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons garlic, minced 4 cups chicken broth 1/2 bunch kale or Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces 1 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons flour Salt and pepper to taste Cayenne pepper to taste 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled Brown sausage links in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Cut links in half lengthwise, then cut into slices. Place sausage, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes and onion in slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and meat. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 5 to 6 hours until potatoes are tender. Thirty minutes before serving, add the 2 tablespoons of flour to the cream and whisk to blend until smooth. Add cream mixture and kale to slow cooker and stir. Cook on high for 30 minutes or until soup thickens slightly. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Garnish with crumbled bacon immediately before serving.

TEXAS-STYLE PULLED PORK 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1 4-pound pork shoulder roast 3/4 cup barbecue sauce 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup chicken broth 1/4 cup light brown sugar 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1¾ teaspoons chili powder 1 large onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 8 hamburger buns Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a 3-quart slow cooker. Place the pork roast in the slow cooker and pour in the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar and chicken broth. Stir in the brown sugar, mustard,, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, garlic and thyme. Cover and cook on high until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours. Split the buns and spread the inside of both halves with butter. Toast the buns, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Spoon pork onto the toasted buns.


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What’s happenin’?

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October - November 2017 MUSIC CONCERTS AND MORE Great Times Band

Oct. 12, 26, Nov. 9 Willmar, 6 p.m., Jazz-N-Java; free concert by the Great Times Band; free admission.

West Central Singers

Nov. 19 Willmar, 4 p.m. Church of St. Mary; the West Central Singers present “The Beatitudes.”

Prairie Winds Concert Band Rouge Valley

Oct. 14 Dawson, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Auditorium; Dawson-Boyd Arts Association presents “Rouge Valley.”

1060 West Addison Blues

Oct. 19 Willmar, 6 p.m., Jazz-N-Java; free concert by the 1060 West Addison Blues; free admission.

Roger Kodet Quartet

Nov. 2 Willmar, 6 p.m., Jazz-N-Java; free concert by the Roger Kodet Quartet; free admission.

Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra

Nov. 4 Willmar, 7 p.m., WEAC; fall concert “Evening at Pops: All That Jazz.”

West Central Singers

Nov. 18 Spicer, 7 p.m., Faith Lutheran Church; the West Central Singers present “The Beatitudes.”

Nov. 19 Willmar, 2 p.m., WEAC; Prairie Winds Concert Band presents a fall concert.

Pat Dwyer

Nov. 30 Willmar, 6 p.m., Jazz-N-Java; free concert by Pat Dwyer; free admission.

MISC. Farmers Market

Every Saturday through Oct. 14 Willmar, 6:30 a.m. to noon, YMCA parking lot.

Mid-Week Farmers Market

Every Wednesday through Oct. 25 Willmar, noon to 5:30 p.m., Kandi Mall Southeast parking lot; high-quality produce available that is grown within 100 miles of Willmar.

ARTS/DRAMA Children’s Theater

Oct. 27-28 Willmar, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27; 2 p.m. Oct. 28, The Barn Theatre, the Hayloft Players presents “Charlotte’s Web: The Musical.”

The Barn Theatre

Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 7-10 Willmar, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 7-9; 2 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10, The Barn Theatre, 321 Fourth St. S.W., downtown; “A Christmas Story”; 320-235-9500 or

DANCES Julie Lee

Oct. 22 Glenwood, 4 to 8 p.m., Lakeside Ballroom; dances open to all; music by Julie Lee White Rose Band.


Learning the value of balance By Ron Skjong

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

When our children were going through the public school system, that phrase – which is part of the opening paragraph from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens – pulsed through my brain many times. The cause of the pulsation was the many sports in which our children participated in while they were attending various educational facilities. More recently the phrase reminds me of wine. We totally enjoyed our kids participating in sports. But the numerous practices, games and other sportsrelated activities caused anxiety along with excitement, tension along with release, and brought an immense amount of pride to our family. Very early on when the kids were getting into school-related sports programs, we taught them the importance of staying focused on a holistic approach to school. In other words, balance. Our children enjoyed their sports. Our daughter – who is highly competitive – was a gymnast. She started very early in elementary school and competed around Minnesota and the Dakotas until she graduated from high school. Along the way, and despite her tall stature for a gymnast (she stands 5 feet, 11 inches tall), she earned a Minnesota state championship award in gymnastics. But she understood the need for balance – to make time for school work, for gymnastics, for a social life and for family. Our oldest son participated heavily in school sports. He was part of the golf team, the baseball team, the track team and from freshman year through his senior year, he was the only young man who was a member

of both the football and the basketball teams. He played basketball and baseball during his four years at college and, through all that participation, he always remembered to properly balance his social, school, family and work life. It was through all of these athletics he found lifelong friendships. Our second son participated in football and basketball in public school and tried one year of college basketball. He quickly realized classes were more important to him than sports and found balance by playing pickup games of basketball whenever possible. The friendships he formed during his time playing basketball at college still hold today and he frequently gets together with his old teammates for reunions around the country. Number three and final son found basketball – along with theater and speech - to be his public school passion. He stands 6 feet, 9 inches tall and to say he was built for basketball would be an understatement. Along the way, he was a member of the high school team when they won a Minnesota State Basketball Championship. It was a glorious time to see that team develop and to form bonds that still hold together to this day. Balance came in the form of knowing what he could do and what he couldn’t do – he was a solid member of the team. Note the word “team.” I’ll never forget the moment when the team voted him the honor to carry the state championship trophy around the school gym during a pep fest celebrating the state championship. So, what’s this all got to do with wine? Continued on page 30

Live it! Magazine 29

Continued from page 29

When making a wine it’s all about balance. The grape grower needs to balance pruning the vines with allowing the vine to fully mature and produce grape clusters. Then picking the grapes at the proper time so the sugar content is in balance with the vintner’s timetable to make the grapes into wine is critical. The vintner needs to correctly balance the pressing of the grapes, the introduction of yeast, the aging of the wine and the bottling of the finished product to ensure a desirable wine. From the vineyard to the final bottling process, there is a need to balance product and time. I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend some very well-balanced wines, so here’s a couple for you to try. Peirano Estates “Six-Clones” Merlot is an excellent example of a terrific California Lodi regional wine. The 2014 vintage is available now and is everything a merlot should be – a medium bodied, slightly cherry tasting and mildly aromatic wine. It’s as well balanced as any wine I’ve tasted and will be perfect as you celebrate

those family sport victories – or to keep in mind that losses go along with any sport activity! Lastly, DaVinci Pinot Grigio from Italy is a treat to drink. It’s tart and crisp enough to satisfy those who enjoy a dry wine. It balances a nice floral aroma with a terrific taste of green apples that ends with a cool, clean finish. I like to think we’ve taught our kids the value of balance in life. We should enjoy our passions, but never forget all the other joys and pleasures that surround us inside and outside the sporting arena. Yes, it may have been the best of times and the worst of times, but our family went through it together and we have wonderful memories of those best and worst of times. 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.


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October/November 2017 issue of Live it! Magazine  

West Central Tribune Lifestyle magazine

October/November 2017 issue of Live it! Magazine  

West Central Tribune Lifestyle magazine