Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Meals for Minds Internship by Rachel Flynn


 
         I was extremely thrilled when I received a phone call from Second Harvest Heartland (the 5th largest food bank in the US) asking me to take an internship with them for their Meals for Minds program. I have been volunteering for the Meals for Minds program for the past three years. Both my mom and I have become super close with the lady in charge named Sarah. So naturally, I was really excited and I could hardly wait to start.
 

       I had to attend a orientation to learn more about Meals for Minds. I attended along with the other interns. It was kinda funny that I was the only highschooler there. Everyone else was either a junior or senior in college. I was beyond excited when I received my official name badge.
 
     For those of you who don't know about the program, the Meals for Minds program is a program started be Second Harvest to hand out food to students in the local twin cities area. There are 10 schools in the twin cities that are involved with the Meals for Minds program. Volunteers go to the schools and set up a portable food shelf where they hand out over 40 pounds of groceries to each student that comes through the line. Through this program I've had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful volunteers from all over Minnesota. Volunteers are sent from different corporations such as Target, US Bank, and small businesses around St. Paul and Minneapolis. My favorite part of  Meals for Minds is seeing the students and their faces when they receive their food. My internship has been going wonderfully so far and I am looking forward to seeing the opportunities that come from it.

Pageant Event Fashion Show by Rachel Flynn


My sister queen Kimberly Stommes and I had the honor of attending the Pageant Event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The event was put on by my very good friend Saryna Ritter and Cheryl Smukowski. Saryna owns a pageant retail store called Go Bling Yourself. Saryna held a fashion show where the local titleholders and visiting royalty had the chance to wear her clothes on the runway. The profits from the runway show went to the local animal shelter.

          The day of the show, I went down stairs to the ballroom to see what I was going to wear for the fashion show. Saryna was so nice to let both Kim and I pick out what we wanted to wear for the show. Saryna had rows and rows of racks with gowns, cocktails, and fun fashion dresses. So as you can imagine the decision was pretty difficult. I had a blast trying on the dresses.
 
         After trying on dresses, everyone sat down for the nice lunch Saryna had planned for evertone in attendance. The event had drawings and I was really excited that I won a pair of rhinestone earrings. Kim and I then went and checked out the silent auction and looked at the jewlary for sale. There were really cute crown necklaces and crown bracelets. Kim and I both got really cute matching earrings.
 
        When it was time for the show to start, all the girls went back stage to change into their first look. I wasn't in the first show, so I really enjoyed watching the girls model and seeing all the different dresses. When it came time for Saryna's portion of the show to start, I put on a purple cocktail and Kim wore a white dress. For the rest of the show Kim and I each had five looks. The fashion show went by super fast but I enjoyed every second of it. Thank you Saryna so much for inviting me, I had alot of fun. I look forward to seeing your beautiful face again soon!

"The Pageant Event Fashion Show"By: Kimberly Stommes


I was so excited to be asked to model in a fashion show at The Pageant Event held in Milwaukee, WI. This event has been put on for the past 8 years and it is a great opportunity for pageant girls across the mid-west to get to know each other, raise money, and purchase pageant attire at a great discount.
 
Milwaukee or bust!

My husband accompanied me on this trip and it was a great weekend! I asked my husband to drive since a 6-hour drive was not something I was really excited to do on my own. I also asked my sister queens to accompany me on this road trip and Rachel Flynn’s mother decided to make it a family event and they came along as well!  
 
 
                                             Walking the show with my sister queen, Rachel Flynn

Rachel and I had the opportunity to walk the show together for some of our outfits, and even one where I had a HUGE skit that I had to play with, I slipped and fell on-stage. Embarrassing, yes, but I think I handled it well but my husband said my face going down was hilarious. Oh well, it reminds me that we are have our moments ;)

Yours truly,

Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

 

 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feed My Starving Children


By: Kimberly Stommes

 
I was invited by the beautiful and lovely Sarah Wall-Beckman (Miss MN International 2005; Miss International 2005) to participate in a special event with the Feed My Starving Children organization in Coon Rapids, MN. The event was a special Minnesota Vikings themed fundraiser called “Tackle Starvation.” Every volunteer made at least a $50 donation towards helping to feed kids all around the world. I was a guest of honor, along with MN Vikings Cheerleaders, Kayla and Saral.

 
 
 Pictured with the MN Vikings Cheerleaders, Kayla and Saral.

 
Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and then the meals are shipped to nearly 70 countries around the world! A single meal costs only $0.22 to produce!

 I absolutely loved signing autographs and handing out my photos taken by the wonderful Paula Preston!

 
This was my third time packing for Feed My Starving Children, but it was my most favorite and most memorable. I brought my daughter, Ava, with me to this event and she had such an amazing time! I really was not sure how a newly turned 6 year old would do at an event like this but I was very impressed! I took the time to speak with Ava during our 1 hour car ride, trying to inform her of children around the world who are less-fortunate than her and I. Children that do not have the food they need to survive. It really became a great dialogue between her and I, as she was very inquisitive as to why this is, or why they don’t have toys, or how come they don’t even get one piece of candy.

 At the event, they had fun music playing while were packing and Ava loved dancing and singing along while we were packaging the meals.

 
 Ava and her new friend, Amiee, and I helping to pack food

 
There are several ways you can support the mission of Feed My Starving Children:

 Pray for the millions of starving children around the world and FMSC’s ability to serve them.

 Volunteer to package meals.

 Donate online (just 22 cents pays for one meal).

 Purchase FMSC merchandise from their Online MarketPlace or at any of their sites.

 Visit www.fmsc.org to find how you can help out at a location near you!

 I challenge each and every one of you to get involved with packaging meals with Feed My Starving Children and make it a family event! This is was not only eye-opening, but heart-warming, and a great way to spend an afternoon!

 Yours truly,

 Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

Bowling with Joe Mauer and the Highland Friendship Club

By: Kimberly Stommes

 
I was invited by a former Mrs. Minnesota International, Nancy Paradise, to join her friend Heather, executive director of the Highland Friendship Club to take part in the Lanes for Friendship event. I was a special celebrity that got to bowl with one of the HFC members and sponsor, but there might have been someone else that was kind of a bigger deal than me…Joe Mauer with the Minnesota Twins!
 
 
 Taking a photo with one of the HFC members

 
The Highland Friendship Club is a non-profit organization that was started by two parents who wanted to offer young adults with disabilities the opportunity to spend time with their friends, learn social skills, try new things and most importantly, have fun! Today, more than 200 teens and adults with disabilities are active members and participate in art classes, swimming, fitness classes, music and many other weekly fun activities designed for teens and adults with disabilities. Members also work on inclusive community service projects with students from local high schools and colleges.

 
Meeting Joe Mauer!

 The event was emceed by Kare 11’s Eric Perkins, and there were many other celebrities there as well including people that have appeared on NBC’s The Voice, Minnesota Roller-Derby Girls, former Vikings players, and more! I was the only queen at the event and everyone loved trying on my crown and learning more about what the International system stands for. Meeting Joe Mauer was definitely the highlight of the event! He was a little quiet, and VERY tall. I definitely did not expect him to be so tall, but he was at least a foot taller than me, WITH THE CROWN ON, and he was bending down.

 
I would like to think I am good at many things, but bowling is not one of them.

 
This was probably one of my most favorite events that I have been part of since being crowned Mrs. Minnesota International! I made up for my poor bowling score (I at least broke an 80 this time) by winning a silent auction item FILLED with lots of chocolate goodies!

 
Yours truly,

Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

Diabetic-Friendly Dessert Recipes


By: Kimberly Stommes
 

A diabetes diagnoses does not mean that you have to give up sweets! Two key things to remember are that in moderation it can be okay, and simple substitutions when baking means even those with diabetes can indulge!

Since the holidays are fast approaching I thought it would be great to post two diabetic-friendly dessert recipes. Even if you do not have anyone that is diabetic eating at your holiday table, consider making these anyways because they are often times very healthy for everyone and still taste amazing!  In fact, one of the BEST cakes I made recently was a sugar-free recipe, and no one knew!

 
 Black Forest Trifle

  BLACK FOREST TRIFLE

1 (8-ounce) package chocolate sugar-free, low-fat cake mix (such as Sweet ‘N Low)

¾ cup water

1 (1-ounce) package chocolate sugar-free, fat-free instant pudding mix

2 cups fat-free milk

1 (16-ounce) package frozen no-sugar-added pitted cherries

2 or 3 drops red food coloring

2 cups fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

Sugar-free chocolate curls (optional)

 
Preparation: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, using ¾ cup water. Let cake cool in pan; remove from pan, and cut into cubes.  Prepare pudding mix according to package directions, using 2 cups-fat-free milk; chill at least 30 minutes. Thaw cherries, reserving ¼ cup juice. Combine cherries, juice, and food coloring. Place half of the cake cubes in a 3-quart trifle bowl. Spoon half of cherries over cake; spread 1 cup pudding over cherries, and top half of whipped topping. Repeat layers. Garnish with curls, if desired. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.  

 
Calories per serving:
132
Calories from fat:
0.0%
Fat per serving:
1.7g
Saturated fat per serving:
0.6g
Monounsaturated fat per serving:
0.0g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving:
0.0g
Protein per serving:
3.3g
Carbohydrates per serving:
28.1g
Fiber per serving:
0.9g
Cholesterol per serving:
1mg
Iron per serving:
0.0mg
Sodium per serving:
151mg
Calcium per serving:
0.0mg

 
  Cookies and Cream Crunch

 
COOKIES AND CREAM CRUNCH

1 (6.5-ounce) package sugar-free chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

3 tablespoons reduced-calories margarine, melted

1 quart vanilla no-sugar-added, fat-free ice cream, softened

 
Preparation: Combine first 3 ingredients; reserve 1 cup mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture firmly in bottom of a 9-inch square pan. Freeze 10 minutes. Spread ice cream over crumb mixture in pan. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over ice cream; gently press mixture into ice cream. Cover and freeze at least 8 hours. To serve, let stand at room temperature 5 minutes; cut into squares and enjoy!
 
Calories per serving:
232
Calories from fat:
0.0%
Fat per serving:
10.1g
Saturated fat per serving:
1.7g
Monounsaturated fat per serving:
0.0g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving:
0.0g
Protein per serving:
6.3g
Carbohydrates per serving:
34.2g
Fiber per serving:
0.7g
Cholesterol per serving:
0.0mg
Iron per serving:
0.0mg
Sodium per serving:
182mg
Calcium per serving:
0.0mg

 
Recipes from: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20307087,00.html

 As you can see, simple substitutions can still taste great and are much healthier for all of us; diabetes diagnosis or not!

Yours truly,

 
Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lions Club International’s 5M8 Mini-Forum

Written by: Kimberly Stommes

 

 

 

 When asked to be the guest speaker at the Lions Club International’s District 5M8 mini-forum held in Foley, MN, I was beyond thrilled. What a wonderful way to reach such a large group of people in one presentation. Over 300 people were expected to be in attendance and it was a wonderful turn-out.
 
 
 Speaking at the Mini-Forum in front of a crowd of hundreds

 

After speaking with a group I am always touched when people approach me afterwards with their touching stories how diabetes has impacted them or their loved ones. I had one individual tell me how their 6-month old child was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and they have to check the child’s glucose levels multiple times in the middle of the night. I often hear stories of people that have made life-style changes and have completely turned their lives around. I hear stories of people needing to have their limbs amputated due to diabetic complications. Each story is unique and I always walk away from presentations having learned something new myself.
 

 
 I thoroughly enjoy when people affected by diabetes tell me their experiences

 

 Yours truly,

Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

 

 

 

Project Bear Hugs

Written by: Kimberly Stommes

 

Project Bear Hugs is a Minnesota based, non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing comfort to children in need through the donation of teddy bears. Minnesota queens representing various systems were invited to partnership with Build-A-Bear Workshop at the Mall of America to help support this great cause!

 I was invited to attend by National American Miss Pre Teen Minnesota, Grace Myler and over 140 bears were made and donated to the “Birthday Bears” program at the Southside village Boys and Girls Club.
 
 
 Helping to make the donated animals extra special for the receiving children

 

 Miss Minnesota International 2014, Gabby Taylor, and myself helped at this event and it was such an amazing experience. We went into Build-A-Bear at the Mall of America after-hours and had a fun time picking out our bears, making wishes, doing the dances, rubbing their hearts, giving them baths, and donating them to children in need. What a fun non-profit event, thanks for the invite Grace!


 
 Gabby Taylor and I pictured with Grace Myler and our finished animals

 

Yours truly,

Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ladies Luncheon

Written by: Kimberly Stommes

 

 

 Guest speaker at the Bluffton Ladies Lunceon

 
What an honor it was to have been asked to be the guest speaker at the annual Bluffton Lions Club Ladies Luncheon! I had the opportunity to speak about diabetes risk factors, symptoms, proper management skills, and the University of Minnesota’s research update. I spoke about some key facts including:

 ·         Every 17 seconds another individual in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes

·         It is estimated that 57 million people have pre-diabetes

·         By the year 2050, 1 in 3 American’s will have diabetes

 
These numbers are staggering! They are proof that this is a global epidemic and the numbers are rising. Diabetic screenings were also available at this luncheon. I always take advantage of the screenings when they are available because I have a family history of diabetes and feel that the small prick and 5 seconds of your life, are never wasted when you are doing something preventative. One thing that I had mentioned during my speech is that of the many people that were at the event, just over half a dozen took part in the screening. I was shocked the number of screenings completed were so low, especially for a diabetes-related event.

 
 Getting my blood-sugar levels checked

 
There was a silent auction at the event, which generated part of the $1877 made in proceeds, all of which were donated to the Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation!  It was a successful event in which I was proud to be part of! Loved having the husbands serve the ladies lunch as well!

 
 Yours truly,

 
Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The GREAT Minnesota Get Together!

Written by: Kimberly Stommes
 
 
I will admit it. I scarfed my face with yummy food at the MN State Fair! What was my favorite item you ask? BACON ICE CREAM! You HAVE to try it! It sounds gross, but really, it is amazing! It is maple-flavored ice cream that has candied bits of real bacon in it. Heaven in your mouth!
 
 My good friend from law school, Megan Bond and I enjoying the best thing I have ever tried: Bacon Ice Cream
 
 
My second favorite item (which I failed to get a photo) was the Gourmet Deep Fried Pickles. These are deep fried pickles with cream cheese stuffed inside! Yum! I also had to try the Pronto Pups Corndog, Original Cheese Curds, and the hand-squeezed lemonade!
  
 
 Megan Bond and I enjoying our Pronto Pups!
 
 
I would have worn my crown and banner but unfortunately it was raining. The rain did not stop us from still enjoying the food of course! I also ran into my sister queen, Rachel Flynn! What are the odds of that? We also did some shopping and toured many exhibits! If you have never experienced the MN State Fair, I highly suggest you try it! Did you know that the Minnesota State Fair consistently ranks in the top 5 in the United States each year? Now you know!
 
Yours truly,
 
Kimberly Stommes
Mrs. Minnesota International 2014