Happy Holidays!

Tara Bitzan, Chicz Editor

Tara Bitzan, Chicz Editor

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback you sent us after our first issue of Chicz hit the stands in October! We knew we loved the magazine, but we were thrilled to learn that you loved it too! Not only did you send us your appreciation, but you also sent us your fabulous ideas to feature in upcoming issues.

A few of you even got so caught up with the new magazine that you sent us articles, and we’re happy to say, we printed them! A special welcome to contributing writer Amanda Herzog, a 7th grader who felt she had something to offer the “young chicz” in the area.

We’re already at work on your winter issue and would love your input. Please send us a note about what you think of Chicz or share your ideas with us.

In the meantime, enjoy every minute of the holiday season. Don’t get so caught up in the “to do’s” that you miss out on the real joys of the season – time with loved ones. My wish for you is that this time is unhurried, unharried and heartwarming.

Merry Christmas!
Tara Bitzan
Chicz Editor 

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Wild animals don’t always make good pets

By Dr. Florian Ledermann

This time of year, it is not unusual to find injured or abandoned wild animals in our yards or fields near our dwellings. These animals are subject to the same risks that humans are in their quest for survival.
These situations always present us with decisions as to what we should do to solve their dilemma.
First off, our diagnosis of “abandonment or injury” must be done with caution before attempting to move the bird or animal. I, as a veterinarian, found that many times, humans intervened too soon in an effort to rescue these creatures.
Fledgling birds and young animals that are beginning their separation from their parents can bring us to believe that by intervening, we are helping the youngsters to survive. Most often, we are better off not touching or moving them, as the chances of survival go down dramatically from the stress of handling.
Obviously, if injury is very evident, the finder should seek veterinary care, as they are equipped to help the injured in many cases. Since funds for this care are not readily available, the finder is usually responsible for the caring costs. In the case of birds of prey, the University of Minnesota Raptor Center is a nationally recognized source of care.
There are still a lot of rescued or captured wild animals and birds that are kept as pets, which is usually not a good idea. These creatures are adapted to living in the wild and many times do not do well in captivity.
In addition, there are often human health risks to keeping these animals in close contact with people. A case in point, pet skunks present a high risk of rabies for humans because of the carrier state in these animals. Many localities and states make it illegal to keep skunks.
Birds can be carriers of Salmonella and respiratory diseases that are risky for human health. Wild birds that are captured in foreign countries and imported to the states should make us think twice about purchase for our enjoyment.
For advice concerning wild animal situations, contact your veterinarian, local humane society or the Department of Natural Resources for help.

Dr. Florian Ledermann retired after 43 years of veterinary practice. He enjoys innkeeping, grape growing/wine making and spending time with his 13 grandchildren.

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A guyz perspective: The chores can wait

By Eric Morken

A light breeze and warm, sunny skies made for a perfect day for baseball on May 27.
Osakis had one of the better teams in the area this spring and opened up the section playoffs that day. My wife was working her own 12-hour shift, which meant I was responsible for our 17-month-old daughter.
With our schedules, it’s impossible for work not to conflict with parenting duties, so I fed Aubree early and brought her to the ballpark. She entertained the nearby fans through the first three innings by smiling at them and screaming “ball” with a few of the pitches.
By about the fourth inning, she was ready for a nap. I try to keep book, take pictures and tweet updates at all the games, but doing all that while keeping Aubree from crying proved to be a futile task.
The last few innings were spent rocking back and forth with her resting on my shoulder. She closed her eyes and fell asleep until I conducted my post-game interviews with her in one arm and my recorder in the other hand.
Finding ways to balance parenting, work and responsibilities around the house have been the biggest challenge since Aubree was born.
There is always something to do. The lawn takes four hours to mow. The shingles need replacing, the deck needs staining and the roof on the porch leaks every time we have a soaking rain.
Then there are the trees. Those beautiful trees that we loved so much about our property when we looked into buying three summers ago – now they seem like a constant chore with branches falling after every storm and leaves everywhere in the fall.
House cleaning and doing laundry gets put on the backburner as both Mali and I try to fit everything in. I’m guessing that sounds familiar to most parents out there.
With one moment, though, we are reminded why all those household chores can wait. The morning after I took Aubree to the baseball game, I was half asleep in bed and waiting for her to start crying through the monitor.
Instead, I heard her move around in her crib before calling for me – “Dada, Dada.” I went upstairs to her room and picked her up as she laid her head on my shoulder. Just like that, I remembered why I wouldn’t change anything, no matter how busy life gets.

Eric Morken of Alexandria is a husband, father, sports editor and outdoor enthusiast.

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Real chicz of Douglas County: Cruisin’ with Dawn Erickson

By Tara Bitzan

When Dawn Erickson of Alexandria isn’t serving as head librarian at the Benson Public Library, she can be found cruising the county roads behind the wheel of her black Corvette, with the wind blowing through her hair and her fiancé, Larry Dailey, along for the ride.
At age 16, she dreamed of someday owning a sports car. While it took awhile to make that dream a reality, she says it was well worth the wait.

What was the first car you owned?
It was a 1970 Chevy Nova – the ugliest green you could imagine! I was 16 and I bought it from my uncle. It’s fun to think back to that horrible green car and look at what I have today and laugh to myself.

Tell me about your Corvette:
Larry previously owned a 1986 C4 Corvette. He had it for about 10 years and I was the one who always drove it. We joined the Corvette Club and the guys would give Larry grief about letting me drive, but they soon found out that I could keep up with them. I would even take my turn at leading the group! We wanted to upgrade but weren’t sure about it. Larry came across a C5 2003 50th Anniversary edition with 18,000 miles on it in. We were just going to go and look, no intentions on buying that day. We fell in love before we drove it. Yes we did take it for a drive and the rest is history!

Do you feel different driving a “hot rod?”
I’ve always wanted a sports car! I originally thought I wanted a Miata to buzz around in. But after driving the Corvette I don’t even think about that other car anymore. There is just something about driving a Corvette that you have to experience to know what I’m talking about. I like the styling; I like the freedom, especially when the top is off and the wind blowing through your hair. It’s the way it feels when you sit in it, the way it handles. And the speed, the get-up-and-go when you want it. The car just seems to hug to the road and you drift around the corners and shoot out onto the open road.

Do you let your kids take the Corvette out?
NO WAY! I don’t know if they would bring it back in one piece.

Why did you join the Vikingland Corvette Club?
It is a great way to get out of the house and have some fun with a great bunch of people. We all have something in common – the love for our Corvettes! It’s fun to talk with other people who have the same interests. It’s not all about cars, it’s about enjoying life and what you want to do with it. I’ve been involved in the club since 2011. I know most members by the car they drive.
What are your other passions, hobbies or interests?

I like spending my time with my family, reading, scrapbooking, but when it’s only Larry and I, we like to get in the car and just go for a ride. There are times we just go with no place in mind. Drive, talk and look at the countryside. Once in a while I even let him drive, but not too often.

Tara Bitzan of Farwell loves writing, organizing and trying to keep up with her teenage daughters.

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He sez…she sez: Parking lot adventures

By Brandon and Amy Chaffins

Brandon: I thought I would address an issue that I don’t think is an issue at all. It’s what I like to call “Parking Lot Adventures.” It involves the interaction between me and Amy when I’m in the process of parking our truck at any parking lot.

Amy: Oh, it’s indeed an adventure and definitely a painstaking process. My husband gives parking waaaaaay too much thought. JUST PICK A SPOT AND PARK!

Brandon: There happens to be a method to my madness. As I approach a parking lot, I am scanning for the best parking spot. I admit most of the spots I park in have already been chosen from my past visits to each store. I am looking for the spot that serves several purposes:
It has to be far enough away from the masses to avoid door dings. The location is typically the same over and over so I don’t walk around the lot like a lost person occasionally beeping the horn with the keyless entry until honing in on target. My spot is based on ease of loading.
Finally, my decision is based on distance to the cart return. The shorter the better. Oh boy, the cart returns. This causes me to factor in if there are those huge heavy hauler carts around. These are the types that haul sheetrock, 2x4s and similar large items. I never park next to a cart return that is overflowing with these types of carts. Too much risk of them slamming into my truck. At this point, Amy is totally rolling her eyes and making those cute little tisking noises.

Amy: I cannot believe he just typed that out to try and justify his weird parking lot fixation; my apologies to readers.

Brandon: A new and unfamiliar parking lot presents a whole new dilemma; the time needed to apply my criteria for choosing the best spot typically elicits a comment from my ultra-patient sweetheart like, “Would you just park the truck!! You are so weird.” As you can probably tell, I am a creature of habit and I tell her the same thing every time: “Honey, there’s a method to my madness.”

Amy: I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent riding around in circles in store parking lots, rolling my eyes and wondering, ‘Who is this man I married?’ He sure is a quirky dude, but he’s so stinkin’ adorable he can totally pull it off. Dang those blue eyes.

Brandon: Sometimes, I go against all that is comfortable and park in a random spot. I do this to throw the curveball, and of course Amy says, “Are you feeling OK?” To which I reply, “Gonna live dangerous today.”

Amy: It’s true – not only am I tortured by the round-robin parking lot tours, he shakes things up once in a while and will park somewhere – brace yourself – near the front door of the store. It’s epic moments like this that save our marriage sometimes.

Brandon: Guess what happens when it’s time to leave….. Beep… Beep… Beep. Ah, there’s the truck. I rest my case. Keep the faith, guys!

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How to choose the right running shoes

By foot/ankle and sports medicine doctors
at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists

From the specific anatomy of your feet to the gait in your step, finding the right pair of running shoes is very personal, as the same shoe can fit and affect each person differently.
However, there are several basic decisions and requirements that each person must consider when choosing the right shoe. One of these decisions is based on the pronation of your feet when you run or walk. Pronation refers to the amount your foot rolls inward when you walk or run.
Choosing a shoe that doesn’t provide the proper support where you need it can result in an injury in your feet or ankles and can also have negative long-term effects on your joints.

Cushioned shoes: If you are a runner with moderate to high arches and you strike the ground first with your midfoot or forefoot, you should wear cushioned shoes. This is also the style you should choose if you do not overpronate while running.

Motion-control shoes: If you have moderate to severe overpronation while running, motion-control shoes will give you maximum rearfoot control and extra support under your arch. This style is ideal for runners with low arches who require extra support and durability.

Performance-training shoes: If you are focused on racing, speedwork, or a daily training regimen, performance-training shoes are the right choice for you. This style is best suited for fast, efficient runners with moderate pronation.

Stability shoes: This style of running shoe provides extra support for your arches and midsole cushioning. It is best suited for runners who experience mild to moderate pronation and/or require added support and durability.

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists has been serving the Alexandria area since 1974, and is committed to delivering quality medical and surgical care to those with afflictions of the musculoskeletal system.

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Add a simple vintage touch

For a simple vintage touch in your home, refurbish some antique hooks!

1. Take a trip to a local antique store or visit a flea market and pick up some old cast iron hooks.

2. Clean the hooks using a wire brush,
and let them dry completely.

3. Use a foam brush to paint one coat of paint (color of your choice) on the hooks and allow to dry. If you would like a brighter look, repeat this step with a second coat of paint.

4. Using sandpaper, gently scuff the hooks to give them a worn look, varying the pressure in
different places.

5. Apply a clear coat of varnish.

6. Allow to dry one more time and hang for a simple, eye-catching
touch to any home!

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Don’t be shy about fashion: Stand out with pops of yellow

By Annie Harman

Bring a ray of sunshine into your summer wardrobe! Cheerful yellow is associated with laughter, happiness, optimism, and good times.
You might initially dismiss yellow as a color that you can pull off, but you don’t have to go full out in yellow to embrace it. Since it’s normally a bright color, you don’t need much to give your outfit a bit of color or extra flair.
To make yellow work for you, it’s important to pick the right shade for your skin tone. Dark yellow or mustard tones suit pale skin, while those with an olive complexion should go for lemon yellows, bold yellows, or even super bright yellow. The right yellow will make your skin glow!
Whether you go with chunky jewelry, fun flats, bright nails, a unique handbag, or a lemon-colored outfit, you’re sure to feel summery with the use of yellow!

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Infuse your life with summer flair

By Annie Harman

When you think summer, some words that are bound to pop into your head are happiness, excitement, vibrant, and joyful. Who wouldn’t want all those things in their everyday life?
Having bright colors around you is a great way to help boost your overall attitude, and what better color to surround yourself with in the summertime than yellow!
Whether you want to drape your bed with it, decorate your dining room with it, have it in your garden, or dine and feast on its inspiration, there are infinite ways you can incorporate the color of sunshine to help you carry a stunning smile throughout the day.

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Say hello to summer with sunflowers

By Courtney Bitzan

This summer, brighten up your garden with sunflowers! Sunflowers are extremely easy to grow, as long as the soil is not waterlogged. Most varieties of sunflowers are heat and drought tolerant, are attractive to birds and butterflies, and make excellent cut flowers.
Following are tips for your summer sunflower garden:

Sunflowers grow best in locations with full sun and prefer hot summers to flower well.
The seeds, if possible, should be planted in a spot that is sheltered from strong winds. Also, plant them in the late spring, after it has thoroughly warmed.
The soil in which sunflowers should be planted should be average to rich. Avoid sandy soil.
Give the sunflowers plenty of room; make rows about 30 inches apart.
Mix in a fertilizer at the time of planting to ensure strong root growth.

Water plants infrequently to encourage deep rooting.
Some sunflowers may need support for a short period of time. Bamboo canes are a good choice for any plant that has a strong, single stem.
After your sunflowers have developed, using mulch can greatly reduce moisture loss.

Slugs and snails can be the cause of disaster for young sunflowers. Beer, coffee, copper, human hair, vinegar, and citrus rinds are all ways to aid in getting rid of these pests.
Greenflies and blackflies love sunflowers. Lightly spraying plants with soapy water, planting chives next to your sunflowers, or picking the pests off are all ways to reduce the aphids on your plants.


Squirrels are attracted to the seeds of sunflowers for their winter supply. A squirrel can very easily bite off a sunflower head, so try to avoid planting near walls or trees where squirrels will have easy access. Barrier devices will also work, such as white polyspun garden fleece or cheesecloth, to cover your plant heads.
If fungal diseases are spotted, such as downy mildew, rust, or powdery mildew, spray with a garden fungicide.

For sunflower bouquets, cut the main stem early in the morning before its flower bud has a chance to open. Arrange sunflowers in high containers that provide support for their heads.
When harvesting the seeds, look for when the head turns brown on the back. This means seeds are ready for harvest.
Cut the head off the plant and remove the seeds with your fingers.

Courtney Bitzan of Farwell is a 17-year-old student, part-time writer and adventure enthusiast.

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Lemony goodness

By Lori Mork

This recipe has been around forever, but is always a favorite for many.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped pecans, divided
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
2 (3.4 oz.) packages lemon instant pudding mix
2-2/3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, 1/2 cup pecans and butter in a medium bowl and mix well. Press into bottom of an 8×11-inch baking dish. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let stand to cool.
Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium until fluffy. Add confectioners sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
Add 1 cup whipped topping to cream cheese mixture and fold in gently. Spread over cooled crust.
Combine pudding mix and milk in a medium bowl. Beat until thickened. Spread on top of cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.
Chill covered for one hour. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.


For the crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon

For the filling:
2 large egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can fat-free sweetened
condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
6 oz. fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and lemon zest. Stir until graham cracker crumbs are moist. Press crumbs into prepared pan, pressing crumbs one inch up side of pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Once the crust is cool, combine egg yolks and condensed milk until well mixed. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until mixture slightly thickens. Gently fold in raspberries so you don’t break them apart.
Pour lemon raspberry filling evenly over graham cracker crust. Bake 15 minutes or until just set.
Cool to room temperature, then chill at least one hour before serving. Cut into bars. Keep bars in refrigerator up to five days.
* If you don’t fold the raspberries into the lemon mix gently, you will end up with pink bars.
* You can also use an 8×11-inch baking pan, but bars will be thinner.


For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

For the filling:
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar. Add butter and work into flour mixture with your fingers or pastry blender until it forms a dough. Press dough into bottom of an ungreased 9-inch square pan. Bake 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour over the warm crust. Bake until filling is set but not browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Place pan on wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately. Or, wrap them in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator before serving.


For the crust:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, room

For the filling:
4 large eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice, freshly
squeezed and strained
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9×9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Blend with an electric mixer at low speed until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs. Pour into pan and press mixture into an even layer. Bake 16 to 19 minutes, or until just lightly browned around the edges.
While crust is baking, make filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in large bowl. When crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture.
Bake another 20 minutes, or until filling is set and does not jiggle when the pan is gently shaken.
Cool completely before slicing.
Top slices with confectioners sugar to serve.
Makes about 24 bars.

Lori Mork of Lowry is a mother, grandmother and dabbler in all things food, photography and decor related.

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