Fall Gardening Tips

While things are winding down in the fall, there are still some gardening tips and strategies that you can employ. You can add some color and life to your garden, and prepare it for winter. Depending on where you live, fall can be a busy time in the garden. Here are some tips.


Fall is a colorful season, and you can add some of that color to your garden this time of year. Chrysanthemums (mums) come in a variety of yellows, bronzes, reds, and purples. Fall is the time to plant these and take advantage of the season’s colors. It’s worth noting, however, that mums will return each year – they’re perennials. So take that into consideration as you decide on their placement in your garden.

Get the Weeds before They Seed

Fall is the time when many weeds go to seed, sending the makings of next year’s invasion all over your yard. Thankfully, fall can be a rainy time, and wet soil is easier to pull or hoe weeds out of than dry soil. You’ll thank yourself next spring when the weeds are fewer.

Another word about weed control in the fall – you can lay down several layers of newspaper on your garden once the plants are spent. Anchor the newspapers with rocks or soil and, by the time spring arrives, the weeds will have been deprived of the light and air they need to sprout. The newspaper will decompose and can be tilled into the soil to enrich it, and another layer applied in the spring before planting (poke holes in the newspaper layer to plant).

Pests’ Hiding Places

Remove the dead leaves and spent plants from your garden before winter sets in. Many invasive and annoying pests overwinter beneath leaves, boards, tools, and anything else left lying on the ground.

However, some gardeners like to leave a layer of autumn leaves on their garden to act as a mulch and compost in one. So depending on what kind of pests you have in your area and how cold it gets, leaving the leaves may work for you.

Plant Bulbs

There are a variety of bulbs that need to be planted in the fall. If you grow garlic, it will need to be put into the garden in the fall. Flowers like hyacinths and daffodils are typically planted in the fall so they can complete their growth cycle in time to come up in spring.

Trees and Shrubs

Now is a good time to prune back trees and shrubs, including shrub roses. It’s also a good time to plant them. In the fall, trees and shrubs are in a dormant state, and the planting and pruning are less shocking to the plant.


Essentia Health Offers Walk-In Flu Clinics and 10-Minute Scheduled Appointments

The best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu is to get vaccinated. Essentia Health is providing two options to be vaccinated: by scheduling a 10-minute appointment at your local clinic or just stopping by during a Walk-In Flu Clinic.
The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a flu vaccine for anyone who is six months old or older. Some children younger than age nine need two doses to be protected, so ask your doctor.
“An infected person can spread influenza when they cough, sneeze or just talk near others,” said Kari Russell, RN, Infection Preventionist at Essentia Health. “They can also spread it by touching or sneezing on an object someone else touches later.”
Russell goes on to explain “Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu. Other precautions you should take include washing your hands regularly, covering your cough, and not going to work or school if you are sick.”
The cost of a flu vaccine is covered by Medicare Part B, Medicaid and most private insurance companies.
Essentia Health clinics are offering 10-minute scheduled appointments at all Clinic locations: Baxter, Brainerd, Crosslake, Emily, Hackensack, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Pillager, and Pine River. Options will include: FluMist (nasal spray), flu shots, and a high dose flu shot option for those 65 and over. Call 218-828-2880 to schedule an appointment at the clinic nearest you.
Walk In Flu Clinics will be held at the following Essentia Health Clinics on the dates and times listed:
Baxter Clinic, 13060 Isle Drive                 2-6p.m.                 Wednesday, October 1 in Pediatrics for children and their families
Brainerd Clinic, 2024 S 6th Street                      9a.m.-1p.m.                      Saturdays: September 20 & 27 and October 4 & 11
Crosslake Clinic, 35205 County Road 3           8:30a.m.-4p.m.   Wednesdays: October 1, 8, 15, 22
Emily Clinic, 20918 County Road 1               8:30a.m.-4p.m.          Fridays: October 3, 10, 17, 24
Hackensack Clinic, 110 3rd Street South         8:30a.m.-4p.m.   Thursdays: October 2, 9, 16, 23
Pequot Lakes Clinic, 4317 W Woodman Street      8:30a.m.-4p.m.   Thursdays: October 2, 9, 16, 23
Pierz Clinic, 221 N Main Street                 8:30a.m.-4p.m.          Tuesdays: October 7, 14, 21, 28
Pillager Clinic, 680 Pillsbury Street N         8:30a.m.-4p.m.   Fridays: October 3, 10, 17, 24
Pine River Clinic, 415 Barclay Avenue           8:30a.m.-4p.m.   Thursdays: October 2, 9, 16, 23



Tis the Season: Flu Season

Call me a worry-wart, but I am usually one of the first people to schedule my family for flu shots. With school starting and the Fall months approaching, I know it’s time to start thinking about flu prevention and care again.


How to Care for Your Flu-Sick Child

Once you’ve confirmed that your child has the flu by a visit to your doctor, you have to go home and weather the flu storm. Because it’s a virus, parents and kids will just have to wait it out. But there are some things you can do to make your child more comfortable and maybe even shorten the duration of the virus. Here are some tips.

Over-the-Counter Cold and Flu Meds

Many parents go straight for the colorful syrup or chewable tablets when their child has the flu. But experts warn that such medications are not without side effects, some of them dangerous, and that these medicines will not make the flu go away any faster or treat the actual virus.

In fact, the FDA does not recommend cough and cold medicines at all for children under the age of two, and there is concern that older children may not benefit from these medicines either. The FDA is currently looking into the potential dangers of over-the-counter flu meds.

Therefore, it might be a good idea to research the pros, cons, and risks of specific medicines before giving them to your child, and to check with your child’s doctor before administering.

Bed Rest

Encourage your child to rest as much as possible. This may be easy, as a child with the flu may not feel like doing anything but lying around. If your child does not like to be isolated in his or her bedroom, you can set up a comfy resting place in a more social area. Try a beanbag chair, recliner, or the couch.

Aches and Pains

If your child suffers from a painful sore throat, high fever, and the aches associated with the flu, non-aspirin pain relievers designed for children can offer some relief. Make sure that your child does not pop up and start running around after the symptoms are relieved, though – children may think they are “all better” when in fact it’s just the symptoms that have been relieved.

Coughing and Blowing

Sources say to encourage nose blowing and coughing. This is to help expel mucus and keep air and nasal passages clear. For very young children and infants, you can use a nasal aspirator to clear nasal passages.


Your doctor probably told you this as a child and still does – drink plenty of fluids. If you want to give your child a boost while drinking fluids, consider vitamin-enriched drinks and fortified juice.


Essentia Health Opens a New Clinic in Emily

{Taken from Essentia Health press release}
Emily Clinic_Stainedsm
Essentia Health Opens a New Clinic in Emily
Open Date September 29, Community Open House September 22
To bring health care closer to home, Essentia Health is opening a new clinic in Emily, Minn. located at 20918 County Road 1.
The clinic, which opens Monday, September 29, will provide primary care to adults and children as well as low-risk obstetrics. Lab services and X-rays will also be offered. Common urgent prescriptions will be available through a special automated dispenser.

Essenta Health
Essentia Health
The new clinic offers family medicine and low-risk obstetric care up to 36 weeks from Dr. Sara Lokstad and Physician Assistant Lance Fisher as well as two nurses. Services include a lab, X-rays and an Insty Med prescription dispenser.
Dr. Sara Lokstad, a family medicine physician who recently returned from her second deployment as an Army Major, will see patients at the clinic. She currently works at the Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Crosslake Clinic. She will be joined by experienced Physician Assistant Lance Fisher who lives in the area and has been caring for patients at UrgentCare and ConvenientCare in Baxter over the past year. We are also proud to share that we have hired nursing and receptionist staff from the community who include: Arianne Sizenbach, LPN, of Emily; LaSandra Biermaier, LPN; Lindsey Paulsen of Outing; and Jennifer Jacobson of Emily.
“Our mission is to make a healthy difference in people’s lives,” says Bill Palmer, the regional clinic administrator. “We already serve a number of patients from Emily and Outing at our Crosslake Clinic. A new clinic in Emily is more convenient and makes it easier for people to access care.”
“We heard from community members that extended hours are important,” continued Palmer, “So we are pleased to share that the clinic will be open from 8a.m.-6p.m. four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday) and 8a.m.-4:30p.m.on Thursdays.”
“A lot of our citizens are retired and older so having a clinic in town means they’ll have better access to health care,” says George Pepek, Emily’s mayor. “That’s important.”
“A lot of older residents don’t drive and they don’t like to ask for a ride,” explains his wife, Priscilla Pepek. “With the clinic being in town, they won’t be so hesitant to call for a ride.”
The Pepeks bought their home on Ruth Lake in 1993. They retired and began living there year-round nine years ago.
“One of my greatest fears in moving here was finding a decent doctor and starting all over again,” Priscilla says. She’s pleased that her physician, Dr. Lokstad, will now have appointments in Emily as well as Crosslake.
“Dr. Lokstad is genuine and she genuinely cares about you,” Priscilla says. “It’s not ‘get you in one door and out the other.’ I just love her.”
George, a Vietnam veteran, gets his care from the Veterans Administration. He says the community is excited about the new clinic and new business.
“This is an excellent opportunity for a new business that the community will greatly benefit from,” he says.
The clinic has been built in a vacant office that served a log home builder. Essentia Health invested in the conversion of the vacant office space into a beautiful clinic that is nearly complete with the help of a local contractor and many local subcontractors.The community is invited to an Open House on Monday, September 22 from 4-6:30p.m. Attendees are welcome to tour the clinic, meet the staff, enjoy appetizers and enter into prize drawings.
To schedule an appointment for your annual physical or any follow-up care or immediate health needs you can call 218-763-4800.



Back To School Money Save-How to Shop for Back to School Clothes

The clock is ticking. The days are slipping away and many of us are taking note of how many days left until school begins in the Brainerd Lakes area and beyond.

Back to school shopping can often take a big bite out of the family budget; especially clothing. But there are ways to shave precious dollars off the expense and get by somewhat reasonably.  It might be tempting to buy clothes for all weather scenarios that might arise during the school year. If you did that, though, it would be a mistake. You’ll just end up spending more money. Try these tips for Back To School Money Save-How to Shop for Back to School Clothes for effective ways to score back to school clothes for the new school year.

How to Shop for  Back to School Clothes

How to Shop for Back to School Clothes

1. Only get one or two special outfits for the first day of school. The rest of the clothes can be “basics” or staples of their wardrobe like regular jeans, t-shirts and even sweats.

2. Make a clothing buying calendar. Figure out what is absolutely necessary for clothing and figure out the best times to buy. Sweaters are best purchased after the season because they’ll be cheaper that way. You can split up your purchases to use them as gifts for birthdays and holidays. This way it will help fill out your gift giving and you’ll also save money by not buying everything all at once.

3. Utilize consignment shops for buying and even selling clothing that your children have outgrown. I would suggest having a garage sale to sell your child’s outgrown clothes, or use the local Facebook Garage Sale Groups, and use the money towards

4. Resist the Urge to Stock Up: Remember, the kids are going to keep growing. Buying for the whole year could leave you with clothes never worn because your child had a growth spurt you were not anticipating.

5. Swap clothes. If you have friends with kids a little older and a little younger than your own, then work out a clothing swap with them. You can do this at the change of each season even, to keep rotating the clothes out of the house.

6. Wait until after Labor Day to shop. Those back to school sales aren’t as great as they might seem. It’s great for school supplies, if you need to stock up on glue and crayons, but clothes not so much. So wait until after Labor Day to get the savings.

7. Buy clothes that can be worn during many seasons. A nice polo shirt can be worn over a long sleeve shirt in the colder months. A summer dress paired with some leggings will get extra wears.

8. Numerous mix ‘n match outfits can take one outfit and turn it into ten different looks. This will ultimately save you money while helping your kids remain in style and fresh so they aren’t perceived as wearing the same clothes every day.

9. Shop those clearance racks. Snatch up that out-of-season sweater in a size up from what your child is currently wearing to make sure you get extra wears out of it.

10. Don’t forget about the thrift shops. You can get some nice high end items very cheaply, to help fill in any wardrobe to make it through the entire year in style.

Back to school shopping is often a cause for anxiety and can really break the piggy bank if not done right. But if you plan things out and shop sales and shop the seasons instead of buying all at once, then you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and money.

Need to Save Money? Need to Make Money? Here are Some Ideas & Links

I am always on the hunt for ways to not only trim the family budget, but generate extra cash as well like my latest project which is selling items on the local Facebook Garage Sale Sites. I love the challenge of finding ways to make extra jing and also save some in the process.

So in my weekly Internet travels I usually find some truly good stuff that covers both of these bases. This week was exceptionally good so I thought I would compile some of my top picks and share them with you; my beloved readers:


One Weird Trick Saves Me $125/m in Groceries -  SarahTitus.com


Sarah Titus

This is totally “do-able” and we’ve done it. There needs to be some planning involved (especially if you have kids) because obviously you don’t want to go a week without milk, fruit, bread, eggs and some of your main staples. But it does work and is indeed a way to save some $$.

save on groceries

Seven Tips to Make a Living on eBay

THIS one really tickled my fancy. As an eBay seller since 2002 I know first-hand what a great source of income it can be for families…IF you know what you are doing. This article from Sarah at SarahTitus.com really had some good tips and I learned a thing or two.

7 Tips to Making a Living on eBay

Love Me Some BARTER

Not too long ago, I bartered with a friend and it was a win/win all the way around. I have a notorious black thumb when it comes to gardening :( BUT my friend Lisa is a whiz. I had some oddball leftover office supply/business-type items that were perfect for her business and of no use to me anymore. SO, we bartered. She got some great items for her biz and my family enjoyed her fresh garden-grown Kale, lettuce and beans for a week. SCORE :)

Here are a few great articles on using barter to get what you want and save money in the process.

How to Barter Anything at RealSimple

How to Barter for Goods & Services – Tips and Methods to Trade at MoneyCrashers


My parents always used to preach to me to keep enough money in the bank to get by for two months at all times and to try to live as if there was only one income in the family. In a nutshell; live below your means, not above it.

Unfortunately I wasted too many years NOT listening to their advice and though it never came back to bite me, I now wish we would have saved more money during those “fat and happy” years when we were childless, the economy was good and we were making a combined six-figure income.

Now later in life I truly see the value of living like a one-income family. I found a great article from Sisters Shopping on a ShoeString that talked about preparing to live on one income (hypothetical or actual). Enjoy

Getting By on a Single Income

single income

What great tips, links and resources have you found lately?

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