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Celebrate Brainerd Lakes Area Dining Courtesy of Up North Parent

The lakes areas newest source for all things HOT is Up North Parent and they are following  up our nation’s independence day celebration with a huge, fun celebration of their  own!

Up North Parent Launch Giveaway

In honor of the Up North Parent website launch, vision, and  passion for thriving families and strong communities, these 3 awesome Brainerd Lakes moms are offering up TWO awesome giveaways; both of  which will let two lucky winners enjoy two of our area’s yummies eats. UpNoPa is giving away $25 gift certificates to two of our favorite local hotspots; Grand View Lodge dining and The Chocolate Ox of Nisswa. We want you to be able to go and enjoy them too!

Up North Parent Summer Launch Giveaway

FIRST: Visit Facebook to Win The Chocolate Ox Gift Card Giveaway:
Here’s how to enter to win a $25 gift card to The Chocolate Ox (that will buy you A LOT of ice cream!):
1. go HERE and Like this post!

2. Comment on this post and tell us what your FAVORITE flavor of ice cream is.
Both tasks are required to enter. Giveaway ends Thursday, 7/13/17 at 11:59 PM CT. One winner will be randomly chosen and announced by 7/17/17. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook.
THEN visit  Up North Parent website to learn how you can enter2WIN a $25 Grand View Lodge dining gift card on Instagram! Grand View Lodge has eight amazing dining venues to choose from. The UpNoPa moms were recently at their newest eatery, On The Rocks, and shared their mouth-watering experience here.
DISCLAIMER: VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW, NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. US Residents only. Please note that this giveaway is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook. By entering, you are confirming that you are at least 18+ years of age, you release Facebook from any and all responsibility and you are adhering to Facebook’s Terms of Use.

May 5 is World Hand Hygiene Day and Essentia Health wants to Help

**Shared with permission from Essentia Health


It may seem like a simple concept, but washing your hands really is one of the best ways to stay healthy.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), handwashing reduces the number of diarrhea cases by a third, and the number of colds and other respiratory illnesses by 20 percent.  May 5 is World Hand Hygiene Day and Essentia Health is using this time to spread the word about not spreading germs.

“Good hand hygiene is really being aware that we can transmit infectious germs on our hands and that we carry them around with us,” says Dr. Kevin Stephan, an infectious disease specialist at Essentia Health. “Hand hygiene provides a means to get those germs off your hands.  There are several ways to do that, including an alcohol-based handwashing rub or old-fashioned soap and water. The key is to do it properly and to do it at the proper times.”

You should always wash your hands before, during, and after preparing and eating food.  If you care for someone who is sick or are treating a wound, wash your hands first.  After changing diapers, using the bathroom or blowing your nose, it’s time to lather up or sanitize.  And it is good hygiene to wash your hands after petting an animal, cleaning up animal waste, or handling pet food.  Don’t forget to sanitize after touching or taking out your garbage as well.

Effective handwashing involves five simple and effective steps:

  1. Wet
  2. Lather
  3. Scrub
  4. Rinse
  5. Dry

Dr. Stephan adds many places people commonly miss include their thumbs, the webs between their fingers, nail beds and around jewelry.

Please encourage your family to use good hand hygiene habits. Consider these tips:

  • Put a nail brush next to your sink
  • Remind yourself and others to wash carefully around nails and between the fingers
  • Show children how to properly wash their hands and remind them to wash after going to the bathroom, before eating and after playing with pets
  • Use an antibiotic wipe on shared surfaces of your home regularly, including your cell phone, computer mouse, and television remote

The CDC also has some great resources and science to back up healthy hand hygiene at this link:


Tips and Tricks for Successful Slow Cookery

crockpot cooking

Slow cookers are a wonderful way to have food “cook itself.” If you’re not used to using one, knowing some tips and tricks ahead of time can help reduce the learning curve. Even if you do use your slow cooker frequently, it’s nice to expand your recipe repertoire and learn something new about this stand-by of busy kitchens.

Here are some tips and tricks for successful slow cookery.

1. Don’t Peek!

When you’re using your slow cooker, leave the lid on unless the recipe directs you not to. If you take the lid off during cooking, it can take up to 25 minutes for the food to resume its proper cooking temperature, and that extends your cooking time.

2. Warming “Plate”

You can use your slow cooker to keep foods warm even if you didn’t make them in the slow cooker. From soups to meatballs, a slow cooker on Low with the lid off or Warm with the lid on can keep foods hot while you transport them or serve them from your buffet or table.

3. Hot Weather Friend

Did you ever think about how little heat a slow cooker generates in the kitchen? This makes it ideal for cooking during hot weather. You can even do baking in your slow cooker, helping to keep your kitchen cool.
(Slow cookers use less energy than an oven, too.)

4. High, Low, and Making Adjustments

A good rule of thumb to remember is that 1 hour on High is roughly equivalent to 2 to 2 1/2 hours on Low. Knowing this allows you to adjust the timing of your dish, whether to speed it up or slow it down.

5. Blanch Veggies

Blanched vegetables do not lose as many nutrients as veggies that are placed in the cooker raw. (Blanching means dipping the vegetables in boiling water for a minute or two, then in cold water to stop the cooking process.)

6. A Special Warning about Raw or Dried Kidney and Fava Beans

If you are going to use these beans in your slow cooker, choose canned whenever you are able. Dry or raw kidney and fava beans contain a toxin that only goes away if the beans are boiled for 10 minutes. The low temperature of a slow cooker doesn’t work to get rid of this toxin. So either use canned beans or pre-boil them.

7. What Size?

Generally speaking, a family of four can do well with a slow cooker that’s about 5 to 6 quarts. However, having more than one slow cooker size can come in very handy. You can have a hot drink going in the small one while you make chicken stock in the large one; or bake bread in the large one while heating soup in the other (for example).

8. Fast-Cooking Foods

If you are going to be gone a while and still want to cook thin cuts of chicken or fish fillets in your slow cooker, you can place them in the cooker while they are frozen. This increases the cooking time and decreases the chances of overcooking.

I found some killer crockpot recipes over at Girl Love Glam! 8 Slow Cooker Recipes to Try | Fight the Flab Friday

Slow Cooker Recipes

Children’s Book Reviewers Needed (Cost=ZERO)

Are you interested in receiving a FREE multicultural children’s book to review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017? The MCCBD team has a new perk this year that will appeal to more than bloggers!



In years past, MCCBD has asked for BLOGGERS to sign up to receive a free book in return for a review on their blog in honor of the January 27th online event. This year, they are thrilled to expand their invitation for a FREE diversity book to review, along with the optional book extension activity to blog posts, to anyone who is active on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

In a nutshell; you don’t have to be a blogger to review multicultural children’s books for the MCCBD 2017 holiday! You just need to have a love of diversity in children’s literature and be willing to share on your social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

Just pick the social media platform that you are most comfortable on and post your review for everyone to read and enjoy there. When signing up to be one of our book reviewers simply indicate which platform(s) you plan to post your review on in the “blog URL” space on the below Google sign up form that can be found HERE.

How the Review Process Works: Information for our valued Reviewers During a Multicultural Children’s Book Day Event

Step One:Reviewers sign up via a Google Sign-up and review a multicultural children’s book for this event. If you will be posting your book review somewhere other than a blog, simply indicate which platform(s) you plan to post your review on in the “blog URL” space on the below Google sign up form.

Step Two: Reviewers are then “matched” by the MCCBD team with an author or publisher that will supply them with a free children’s book to review some time in November/December.

Step Three: Once matched, an email will go out sharing who you are matched with. Please respond in a timely fashion with the best mailing address to mail your free children’s book to. Authors and Publishers are responsible for getting reviewers their books so we want to give everyone plenty of time to receive and read their free book.

Step Four: Reviewers are then encouraged to share their thoughts on the book (a basic book review) in the form of a complete and descriptive post on their chosen platform Many Reviewers add a book extension activity that is fun and acts as a way to bring the story to life.

Step Five: Once the book review post is live (any time between January 1 and January 27th is good), Reviewers are invited to “link up” their blog post on the Linky that will be found on any of their CoHosts’ sites and also the MCCBD website. This linky will go live on January 27th..

Go HERE for Reviewer sign-up for 1/27/2017 (NOTE: They will not be shipping out any books for the 2017 online event until Dec of 2016!) Deadline for reviewer sign up is 12/31/17.

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