As families of doctors, many of us have found ourselves facing the coronavirus pandemic with a partner on the frontlines. Our partners have taken a selfless oath to care for our community, and they are true heroes as we enter these unprecedented times. Iowa Medical Partners is full of gratitude and support for our spouses and partners along with the many, many other health care workers and essential workers keeping our communities functioning.
Hearts for Healthcare Workers is a social initiative to show support for the people in our community that are keeping the rest of us safe. The way it works is very simple. Hang a heart in your window as an expression of your gratitude. Show your support for the people in our community that play an essential and important role in protecting us.
If your family has created a window of hearts, please send in your pictures to email@example.com. We will be sharing them on our Instagram to help spread encouragement among our families.
Lastly, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the members of IMP and our partners who are essential in this fight.
Iowa Medical Partners, President
Match Day is a time of celebration! Being the family of a doctor-in-training is not easy, but matching to residency is a great milestone which merits space for joy and anticipation. Due to the developments surrounding the COVID-19 virus, Match Days around the USA will not receive the celebrations they deserve. Even with social distancing, you deserve to recognize this moment and celebrate your next steps as a family. With all this uncertainty, I would like to offer as much help as possible as you transition to your new home in Iowa.
Being a born and raised Texan, Iowa was never on my list of states I expected for my future. The match process is unlike securing a first job for most professions, and it can lead to unique twists in life. While I didn’t know it at the time, I am so grateful we matched to the UIHC. If you are not sure where to find Iowa City on a map, you are in for a surprise. Iowa City is a hidden gem for families!
The Iowa City area is the type of town where I am sure to run into someone I know everywhere I go. There is a great scene of local shops and cafes to explore. Throughout the summer and fall, countless festivals and community events fill up the calendar. Even the holiday season is sprinkled with magic to help ease us into the long Iowa winters (but even these are relatively mild). The school districts provide a great education, regardless of the elementary school to which you are zoned. The libraries in the area are unparalleled. The housing market is hot and provides options that are affordable.
Furthermore, you have the opportunity to join a community of other families enduring medical education. Iowa Medical Partners (IMP) is a group of the partners and spouses of medical and dental students, residents and fellows. We are an active group that provides many events each month including play groups, a children’s activity, an adults only event, a family event, a book club, and philanthropic events. Additionally, we have a private facebook group and an instagram account that provides a platform for members to connect. Whether you are looking for baby sitter recommendations, for date night suggestions, or for friends with whom to commiserate when your spouse is a captive of the hospital, IMP is here to help you thrive in your new home.
So you matched to UIHC… now what? Here is a little input about the surrounding neighboorhoods that you might decide to claim as home:
West Iowa City: Living in University Heights or west Iowa City (especially those living east of Mormon Trek Blvd) will place you the closest to the hospital and the football stadium. Many residents and fellows who live in this area walk or bike to work. The schools on the west side are great (we love Horn Elementary) and parks and trails like Willow Creek, Kiwanis and Clear Creek Trail are perfect for a run, a picnic or a play date. It's a quick drive from the west side to get out of town or to jump on the highway up to I-80. Traffic is light except on home football game days and Walmart and Aldi's are close while Hy-Vee and Trader Joe's are less than a 10 minute drive. – Allison Cascio, Entertainment Club Chair
East Iowa City: The East Side is between approximately two and four miles east of the hospital and about 15 minutes from the Coralville Mall and shopping area; 20 minutes from North Liberty. In this area, you tend to get a bit more house and yard for the price, with newer builds being more common than other neighborhoods, but we’re still very close to several parks and grocery store choices. We have two new University of Iowa clinic locations (Dodge Street and Scott Blvd) with some of IMP’s favorite providers. Some favorites in our area include Dodge Street Coffeehouse, Tot Time every weekday morning at Mercer Park gym, Music Together classes at Preucil, and the close proximity to the adorable towns of Solon and West Branch. Favorite restaurants over here include Blackstone, Wig and Pen East, 2 Dogs Pub, and Rapid Creek Cidery. Hopping down to the South Side of town is easy if you’re heading to Big Grove Iowa City, the new Starbucks, Hatchet Jack’s, and consignment shopping at Stuff Etc., Crowded Closet and Kidworks. – Molly Sherwood, Philanthropy Chair
Coralville: Coralville is a great location in the middle of the creative corridor. You are only minutes from the mall, Costco, Target, consignment stores and many grocery store options. The Iowa River Landing is located in Coralville which includes Trader Joes, great dining and shopping, and the IRL UIHC Clinic. Additionally, going to downtown Iowa City or North Liberty is very convenient. Driving to UIHC is approximately 15 minutes (which is mostly due to the 25 mile per hour speed limits); however, you may be able to live along the Research Park Cambus route and avoid driving all together (free to all!). The Coralville Library is one of my favorite weekly spots for storytimes. I also love the walking trails in our city and the community events throughout the year. I feel safe and connected living here. – Megan Pai, President
North Liberty: Many medical families choose to live in North Liberty. There are wonderful schools and neighborhoods filled with friends, and it is very geared towards families. There are many parks like Centennial, Quail Ridge, Beaver Kreek, and Penn Meadows, some fun local restaurants, and the best ice cream around is from a North Liberty joint, Heyn’s. We also have a pumpkin patch in our town that we go to almost daily in the fall, and there are many trails and easy access to both I-80 and 380, which makes going anywhere in the greater Iowa City area a breeze. There are a lot of fun events too, from storytime at the library to the big Barbecue and Blues festival that are all held locally. We love the community here! - Shannon Squires, Secretary
Looking for trusted recommendations? Our group’s sponsors can help you in finding and adjusting to your new home. Tundy Brady with Urban Acres can help you find your future home (even if you are unable to travel). Green State Credit Union can help you with local banking and securing a mortgage, including a Doc Loan. Bobby Scott with Partner Wealth is here to answer any questions related to your unique financial sitation. Nanci Kohl with State Farm can help you determine your insurance needs.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to IMP! You can join IMP here, and once you do, you can join our facebook group. Congratulations on your match!
The second half of our Bronze Sponsors, as promised!
Iowa Medical Partners is thankful for all the support we receive from our local community. Our bronze sponsors have donated items we use as raffles and prizes throughout the year. IMP officers have provided some input below about why they love these establishments. I encourage all our members to check out these businesses! You will not be disappointed!
Molly’s bakes some of the tastiest creations in Iowa City and has an adorable storefront complete with board games, comfy pillows and swing seating. They are located in Iowa City and everything for sale is delicious. A personal favorite and one of their more popular items is the Crème Brule cupcake. They also have coffee, homemade ice cream, edible cookie dough, and will do special orders for events. Any cupcake can also be made into a large cake size treat (I have ordered a Crème Brule cake more than once.) The employees are all spectacular and you can’t beat the flavors and fun environment! - Bridget Campbell, SOS 2019
Coral Ridge Mall
The Coral Ridge Mall Carousel is wonderful fun for kids! My daughter loves it and would happily ride it for hours at a time if I could stay on it that long myself. One of our monthly highlights is going to Free Family Fridays where you can ride it for free, but be warned, once you let your kids go on it they’ll want to ride it again every single time you go to the mall! -Shannon Squires, Social Media 2019
Coral Ridge Mall Ice Rink offers a fun-filled experience for the whole family. Our three year old has enjoyed his first attempts at skating. We have also enjoyed watching the Hawkeye hockey team play their games at the rink and watching other kids take skating lessons and perfect their acrobatics.
–Eric Dugdale, Web Manager 2019
The quaintest little shop – if you have a crowd, be sure to order ahead and eat elsewhere! This Iowa City favorite began as a popular food truck and the demand was so great, they opened a brick and mortar restaurant. They have eco-friendly flatware and to-go containers (they even compost!!) and you can find something on the menu for everyone! Delicious Asian-fusion. -Katelyn Sexton, Former Book Club Chair 2019
Prairie Lights is a wonderful local bookstore located on Dubuque Street in downtown Iowa City. They offer a great selection of books for all ages and are more than happy to order anything not in stock. They have a children’s club that gives a discount on all children’s books, which–if your kids love books as much as mine—you can’t pass up. Prairie Lights also has frequent readings which often feature local authors, so keep your eyes open for their upcoming events! -Ceric Keck, Secretary 2019
To be honest, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to describe Raygun in words when I signed up for this; and also, that’s the kind of sentence that they’d put on one of their t-shirts. Raygun is the Midwest’s weird kitschy souvenir shop. They sell things that make you feel like you’re on the inside of the joke, but maybe the people around you aren’t. They’re funny and odd and very liberal; once you see the inside of their store (on the corner of Washington & Dubuque in downtown Iowa City), you’ll realize that you’ve been seeing their t-shirts and bumper stickers everywhere, but they hadn’t quite registered yet. Check it out, or visit their website, which is a good place to get lost for a while. (Fun tip: I like to leave one of their “Someone in Iowa Loves Me” stickers in the guest bedroom when friends and family comes to visit!)
-Kelsey Sprowell, Book Club 2019
Mellow Mushroom is located in Coralville in the Coral Ridge Mall. It has a warm and friendly environment with delicious pizza! They also make it easy for those with food sensitivities by offering gluten free crust on ALL of their pizzas, and prioritize allergy-safe procedures on any of their gluten-free pies. They will cater your event and also offer online ordering for easy pick up! If you happen to be a beer lover, they also have a plethora of delicious and unique beers ON TAP at this location. They offer many fun events including: BINGO on Mondays 6-8 pm, KIDS EAT FREE Tuesdays starting at 5:30, TRIVIA Wednesdays 7:30, LIVE MUSIC Thursdays 8-10 pm, $2.50 pints Friday 7-10 pm. - Bridget Campbell, SOS 2019
Noodles and Co.
Noodles and Company, also known as Noodles World Kitchen, is a delicious and convenient spot for lunch or dinner! Their menu embraces ingredients and dishes from all over the world and they have locations in both Iowa City and Coralville. If you are searching for lighter fare or healthier options, the zoodle dishes are very popular. They also have online ordering and easy pick up for those that need something quick and no waiting in line!
-Bridget Campbell, SOS 2019
Hy-Vee is the type of grocery store where there is a helpful smile in every aisle. Employees at Hy-Vee are always offering assistance and making themselves available to better your shopping experience. Whether it is too difficult to get out with the kids, winter has kicked up frightening conditions, or you just want to make life easy, Hy-Vee Aisles will make life so much simpler. Do your shopping online, select what time you want to pick up your groceries, or have their employees deliver your groceries directly to your house! Pick up is free with a minimum of a $30 purchase, and delivery is free if you join the $99 annual membership. Hy-Vee Lantern Park Plaza donated some awesome coupon books for the swag bags this year!
-Megan Pai, Vice President 2019
Iowa City Public Library
In 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City the world’s third City of Literature, recognizing the city’s creative programs and culture. As such, the public library here in town is an incredible resource and asset to Iowa City, serving its residents since 1896! The main library branch sits on the Pedestrian Mall across from Bread Garden Market, abutting South Linn Street. In addition to a collection of more than 266,000 items, the library has a large children’s section and play area, an accessible outdoor playground, several conference rooms, and frequent events. The library also services two remote drop boxes and a mobile Bookmobile, with several community stops per week. Check out more here. -Kelsey Sprowell, Book Club 2019
Iowa Medical Partners is thankful for all the support we receive from our local community. Our bronze sponsors have donated items we use as raffles and prizes throughout the year. IMP officers have provided some input below about why they love these establishments. I encourage all our members to check out these businesses! You will not be disappointed!
UI Safety Store
Whenever we need to make a big purchase such as a new car seat or stroller I always check here first! It is located on the lobby level of the Children’s Hospital and they sell a majority of the major brands for much cheaper than you can find online or in most stores! They also sell safety items such as helmets, light switch covers, etc. at a discounted price. Next time you’re at the hospital visiting your significant other I would suggest swinging in here and seeing what they offer! -Lindsay Norvell, President 2019
If you’re new to Iowa and looking for a place to stock up on some Hawkeye gear, Iowa Book has you covered. They have great options for men, women, children, babies, and even pets. Anytime I’m looking to get my girls new Hawkeye gear for the upcoming sports’ seasons, this is my first stop. They also have a good selection of books, children’s books, and children’s toys (including some pretty neat Melissa & Doug stuff that my girls love).
-Ceric Keck, Secretary 2019
Clinton Street Social Club
Clinton Street Social Club calls itself “Iowa City’s Premier Gastropub”, and they’re not wrong! Located on the 2nd and 3rd floors above Clinton Street, across from the Old Capitol lawn, the bar boasts handmade cocktails, live jazz, weekly specials and a great menu. Come for the drinks, but stay for the people-watching. -Kelsey Sprowell, Book Club 2019
North Liberty Recreation Center
Our little small town has an amazing recreation system! They offer so many classes/activities for all the different ages. We love our pool pass in the summer and spend a lot of time at their indoor (and free) campsite in the winter months. For preschool ages the Tippi Toes dance and PeeWee are two of our favorites. My BIG tip for the activities is to know the registration dates as classes and swim lessons usually fill up within a day of opening registration. August, December, and April are usually the sign up months but check with the rec front desk and they will get you all the upcoming info! -Lindsay Norvell, President 2019
I love Core Fitness! I started out as a volunteer in the child care (2 hours a week in the childcare for free membership!). I loved how the director was so flexible and easy to work with when I had sick kids, or had to be out of town. I love that Core has two locations so you can switch up the classes, and the child care, depending on what works best for your schedule. They have such a great variety of classes, and I love all the instructors! There are several of us who are instructors there from IMP! If you have any questions or want to join feel free to reach out! -Lalana Rogers, Children’s Activities 2019
The Java House
The Java House is a great little cafe with lots of personality and a homey feel. They're always ready to support local groups like ours and I never regret a trip to head over to support them. If you're looking for a great cup of coffee that is hand poured, a comfortable work location, a place to meet with friends for board games or just a lovely smelling lunch place, this is always a sure bet!
-Allison Cascio, Entertainment Club 2019
Not just a movie theater! It is a nonprofit with a mission to enhance cultural vitality in the area through the art and discussion of film. You’ll find the best popcorn in town as well as lots of really neat indie and documentary films. -Katelyn Sexton, Former Book Club Chair 2019
The Falafel Joint! You can find their AMAZING hummus in all area HyVee stores, but it’s cheapest and freshest from their restaurant on the north side of downtown IC. Little known fact, they have the absolute best french fries in the area. (My recommendation is to get the north side special – fries at Oasis and a burger from George’s Bar down the street). Their falafel is amazing and so is their chicken shawarma and cabbage! I’ve never had anything bad here and the owner is a really nice guy. Support local!!! (Also a plug because they are friends, the owner’s wife has the cutest flower shop ever just across the street called Willow & Stock.)
-Katelyn Sexton, Former Book Club Chair 2019
Capanna Coffee & Gelato
This local coffee shop is a must-see on the list of Iowa destinations! Not only is their coffee fresh and delicious they also offer a huge selection of gelato that they make in house. If you or your significant other needs a quiet coffee shop to study (or escape) I would definitely suggest stopping here!! They have some yummy variations of the common drinks such as the Alpine Mocha and Turtle Mocha that are worth giving a try. -Lindsay Norvell, IMP President 2019
Note: This is only half of our Bronze Sponsors - the rest will be featured in the next blog post!
I have moved three times, soon to be four, for my partner’s medical training. Keeping a job throughout has been a challenge, and I often questioned (and still do) my worth as a working professional when we always choose his career over mine.
Maybe you work outside the home full-time, part-time, or maybe it’s not a part of your life right now – maybe you have children or you don’t, but chances are you’ve had to make a big sacrifice for your future to allow your spouse to pursue theirs.
Sometimes, I struggle with my feelings about this sacrifice. Here are some questions I hear as a working “doctor’s wife” that raise my blood pressure, and probably yours too.
What did you do today?
I work part-time as a medical writer and spend the rest of my time with our two young boys. My husband comes home, and, though he says it without judgement, when he asks me “so, what did you do today?” I tense up and try to dramatically list off all of the stuff I did so that he thinks I was busy and useful. It doesn’t help that I know he’s out there doing surgery while I’m sitting on a conference call and asking my toddler not to lick the floor.
Are you available tonight to finish this assignment?
I have no idea if I’m available tonight to get back to work, because I have no idea if my husband is coming home to help me with the kids. Weekends? Same. I used to be the go-to person for plenty of tasks at work, but now, I can’t be, because no one knows if I will be able to commit. I hate to under-deliver.
What are your long-term career plans?
I also have no idea what my long-term plans are. I can’t commit to my jobs for more than a few years because we will have to move. Another aspect of this is the realization that, likely, my family won’t need my income in a few years. So what does that mean for my contribution? Is it worth it? Is it appreciated? Should I just stop trying to have a career so I can stop feeling like I can’t give anything the attention it deserves?
The cable guy is coming tomorrow, can you wait for him?
Of course I can, because it has to be me. And when the kids are sick? Me. Sometimes this isn’t even posed as a question, it’s an assumption that I’ll be there. One time our son had some minor non-contagious ailment, and my husband told me I should take him to the doctor the next day. It tipped me over the edge. Easy for him to say – it doesn’t affect his schedule at all. I have to take off work, disrupt the baby’s naptime, and drag two wild savages to a room covered in a film of bacteria. Not to mention, “taking off work” doesn’t mean you work less. It means you finish the work another time.
Worst of all – the absence of a question.
When we are out at an event related to my husband’s job, no one asks me what I do. Do they think I do nothing but wash scrubs and pack lunches? Or even worse, do they think I do have a job, but it’s not interesting enough to ask about?
Here’s what I need to hear, and you do too.
You are intelligent, you are needed, and your contribution to your family is valuable.
I’m no expert at juggling everything that comes with being a working spouse of a resident or fellow, but here are some goals I’m working on:
I invite everyone to comment on this post and list your career and personal successes so that we can learn about your current and previous accomplishments. Let’s take a moment to learn about this part of each other’s past and send some much-needed words of appreciation.
- Molly Sherwood
Whenever the topic of estate planning comes up, people invariably mention creating a will. And with good reason—having a will is a foundational aspect of your estate plan.
However, a will is only one small part of effective planning. In fact, if your plan consists of a will alone, you’re guaranteeing your family will have to go to court when you die. There’s a saying in the lawyer world of estate planning: “Where there’s a will, there’s a probate.” And it’s no laughing matter.
In our view, a primary goal of estate planning is to keep your family out of court and out of conflict no matter what happens to you. Yet with only a will in place, your plan can fall woefully short of that goal, leaving your loved ones—and yourself, if you become incapacitated —susceptible to getting stuck in an unnecessary, expensive, time-consuming, and public court process.
Here’s why having just a will is not enough:
A will offers no protection against incapacity
A will helps ensure your assets are properly distributed when you die. But it offers no protection if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions about your own medical, financial, and legal needs.
Should you become incapacitated with only a will in place, your family would have to petition the court to appoint a guardian or conservator to manage your affairs, which can be extremely costly, time consuming, and traumatic.
Your family must still go to court
While you may think having a will allows your loved ones to inherit your assets without court intervention, this is not true. For your assets to be legally transferred to your beneficiaries, your will must first pass through the court process called probate.
The probate process can be an extremely distressing for your loved ones. The proceedings can drag out over months or even years, and in most instances, your family will have to hire an attorney, generating hefty legal bills that can quickly drain your estate.
Moreover, probate is public, so anyone can find out the value and contents of your estate. They can also learn what and how much your family members inherit, making them tempting targets for frauds and scammers.
And if you think you can just pass on your assets using beneficiary designations to avoid all of this... well, that’s just asking for trouble. In fact, we plan to write a whole separate article on that topic in a future installment of this series.
A will doesn’t protect against creditors, lawsuits, or poor decisions
Passing on your assets using a will leaves those assets vulnerable to several potential threats. If your will distributes your assets to your beneficiaries outright, those assets are not only subject to claims made by a beneficiary’s creditors, they are also vulnerable to lawsuits and divorce settlements the beneficiary may be involved in.
And if assets left via a will pass to beneficiaries without any conditions, those assets are susceptible to the beneficiary’s own poor judgment. For instance, a sudden windfall of cash could cause serious problems for someone with poor money-management abilities and/or addiction issues.
Not all assets are covered by a will
Some assets can’t even be included in a will. For example, a will only covers assets or property owned solely in your name. It does not cover property co-owned by you with others listed as joint tenants, nor does a will cover assets that pass directly to a beneficiary by contract, such as a life insurance policy or retirement account.
Don’t let your plan fall short
Though a will is an integral part of your estate plan, a will is almost never enough by itself. Instead, wills are often combined with other planning vehicles, such as living trusts, to provide a level of protection devoid of any gaps or blind spots. And here’s the thing: If your plan is incomplete, it’s your family that suffers, having to clean it all up after you are gone.
As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we will empower you to feel confident that you have the
right combination of planning solutions for your family’s unique circumstances. Schedule a
Family Wealth Planning Session with Hayoon today to get started.
Special thanks to IMP Member Hayoon Kane for writing this blog post.
I like the term “Risk Management” much better than the term “Insurance” don’t you? The word insurance comes with some serious baggage… and for good reason. The reason is two fold:
Does this mean insurance is bad? Yes and no. As with any tool, it depends on how it’s used. Does an orthopedist recommend a knee replacement when in reality simply setting a fracture and casting will do? You see where I’m going with this? It’s not the tool, it’s how you use it!
When used correctly, insurance is an extremely cost effective way to manage your risks. The natural question then is: “Okay, Bobby. what are my risks?”. In a nut-shell, your risks are likely:
So, do you need it? Answer the following question: “If any of the above happens to me, am I okay financially?”
LIABILITY INSURANCE: As a physician family, the likelihood of getting sued is higher. Why? Because your household makes a lot of money (or will someday)! Yes, you may not have much now, but if they think they have a case, they can garnish your future wages! The fix is fairly simple. Go get umbrella coverage on your home and auto policies.
LIFE INSURANCE: As a physician family, you very likely have a negative net worth and you might be in a heap of trouble if something happens to your spouse! Some student loans are often forgiven, but not all. Additionally, you’ve put quite a few years of your life “on hold” in hopes of a potentially higher household income. If this income disappears, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Saving for retirement, paying off your mortgage, paying for childcare should the primary caregiver pass away….All of these things are expensive and add up quickly. Term life insurance from a financially strong insurer can be a VERY cost effective way to mitigate the risk of death. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper these policy premiums are.
DISABILITY INSURANCE: In the same way that the death of a spouse would be financially devastating, so too would the disability of the primary breadwinner. Whether it’s repaying student loans, saving for retirement, paying off mortgage, or putting kids through college...all of these things require income. But not just any income, they require a PHYSICIANS INCOME! This is where “own occupation” long term disability insurance (LTDI) comes into play.
Without going too deep into the weeds, the vast majority of LTDI policies do NOT protect your specific specialty. Only a handful of carriers will pay you a disability benefit EVEN if you re-train specialties or end up flipping burgers at McDonald's. Imagine this scenario: You train to be an Orthopedic Surgeon and lose function in one of your extremities and can no longer perform surgery. You take a much lower paying faculty position teaching surgery at the university. Would you still want the income that should go with surgery? Of course you would! The disability you incurred forced lower income and reduced your debt repayment, retirement savings, and a host of other things.
In closing, paying for insurance is likely the last thing a low paid resident or fellow wants to do. However, take advantage of your young age, good health and resident discounts! A few thousand dollars over the next few years is a small price to pay to protect the massive investment you and your family have made in pursuing the life of a physician family.
While I don’t sell insurance, please reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll connect you to a local independent agent who will put your interests ahead of their own!
Special thanks to our sponsor Bobby Scott, CFP® for writing this post!
Two notable movie stars - Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker - provide a cautionary tale on the importance of keeping your estate plan and will up to date. In Hoffman’s case, his 2004 will had never been updated and he had two children after it was created. Walker’s 2001 will had also never been updated to reflect the many changes in his life.
Conducting an estate plan review whenever something major changes in your life - like a birth, death or divorce - is key to ensuring your will remains valid and that the people you love are taken care of in the way you intend. Here are some additional steps you can take to be sure your estate plan remains valid:
Make it easy to find. It is not uncommon for people to file away a will and estate plan in a safety deposit box, which makes it inaccessible to family without a court order.
Make wise choices in executors. Not only should you name more than one person as executor - you will want backups if for some reason your primary choice cannot serve - you should also inform each person that you have chosen them to ensure their willingness to take on the job.
Avoid contradictions in your estate plan. Be sure that your will does not contradict your choices for beneficiaries of your retirement accounts, life insurance policy, etc.
Name guardians. If you have minor children, one of the most important functions of your will is to name a guardian. If that person cannot serve, you will need to have named a second choice for guardian to ensure the future of your children does not end up in the hands of a judge who doesn’t know you or the choices you might have made for them. We have a free report we can send you on six common mistakes parents make when naming guardians - mistakes you definitely want to avoid! Just contact our office for a free copy of this valuable report.
Beware of unintentional disinheritances. If you are remarried and have children from your first marriage you wish to provide for as well as your current spouse, you will want to make those provisions for them in your estate plan. If you wish to intentionally disinherit someone, you should specifically state your intentions in your will.
Get professional guidance. Wills and other estate planning documents downloaded from the Internet will not be tailored to the specific needs of your family. You should seek out the experience of a qualified attorney to help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your family’s financial future.
The best way to learn about protecting your family is to talk with us about a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you to provide for and protect the financial security of your loved ones. For more information, please visit www.hayoonkanelawfirm.com.
Special thanks to IMP member Hayoon Kane for writing this blog post.
Going on vacation entails lots of planning: packing luggage, buying plane tickets, making hotel reservations, and confirming rental vehicles. But one thing many people forget to do is plan for the worst. Traveling, especially in foreign destinations, means you’ll likely be at greater risk than usual for illness, injury, and even death.
In light of this reality, you must have a legally sound and updated estate plan in place before taking your next trip. If not, your loved ones can face a legal nightmare if something should happen to you while you’re away. The following are 5 critical estate planning tasks to take care of before departing.
1. Make sure your beneficiary designations are up-to-date
Some of your most valuable assets, like life insurance policies and retirement accounts, do not transfer via a will or trust. Instead, they have beneficiary designations that allow you to name the person (or persons) you’d like to inherit the asset upon your death. It’s vital you name a primary beneficiary and at least one alternate beneficiary in case the primary dies before you. Moreover, these designations must be regularly reviewed and updated, especially following major life events like marriage, divorce, and having children.
2. Create power of attorney documents
Outside of death, unforseen illness and injury can leave you incapacitated and unable to make critical decisions about your own well-being. Given this, you must grant someone the legal authority to make those decisions on your behalf through power of attorney. You need two such documents: medical power of attorney and financial durable power of attorney. Medical power of attorney gives the person of your choice the authority to make your healthcare decisions for you, while durable financial power of attorney gives someone the authority to manage your finances. As with beneficiary designations, these decision makers can change over time, so before you leave for vacation, be sure both documents are up to date.
3. Name guardians for your minor children
If you’re the parent of minor children, your most important planning task is to legally document guardians to care for your kids in the event of your death or incapacity. These are the people whom you trust to care for your children—and potentially raise them to adulthood—if something should happen to you. Given the monumental importance of this decision, we’ve created a comprehensive system called the Kids Protection Plan that guides you step-by-step through the process of creating the legal documents naming these guardians. You can get started with this process right now for free by visiting our user-friendly website.
4. Organize your digital assets
If you’re like most people, you probably have dozens of digital accounts like email, social media, cloud storage, and cryptocurrency. If these assets aren’t properly inventoried and accounted for, they’ll likely be lost forever if something happens to you. At minimum, you should write down the location and passwords for each account, and ensure someone you trust knows what to do with these digital assets in the event of your death or incapacity. To make this process easier, consider using LastPass or a similar service that stores and organizes your passwords.
Complete your vacation planning now
If you have a vacation planned, be sure to add these 4 items to your to-do list before leaving. And if you need help completing any of these tasks—or would simply like us to double check the plan you have in place—consult with us as your Personal Family Lawyer®.
We recommend you complete these tasks at least 8 weeks before you depart. However, if your trip is sooner than that, call and let us know you need a rush Family Wealth Planning Session, and we’ll do our best to fit you in as soon as possible. Contact us today to get started.
This article is a service of Hayoon Kane, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge. In August, IMP members will get an additional $300 discount for estate planning. You can see more information here.
Iowa Medical Partners is thankful for all the support we receive from our local community. Our silver sponsors have supported us at a level that we recognize through ads on our website and our shirts. IMP officers have provided some input below about why they love these establishments. I encourage all our members to check out these businesses! You will not be disappointed!
The Encounter Café
The Encounter Café radiates warmth to all guests with a peaceful atmosphere, blissful coffee, and satisfying breakfast and lunch fare. Those of you that know me know how much I love this establishment. When I was pregnant with Nicole, The Encounter Café became my weekly spot to relax and read during the time between my OB appointments at UIHC and Maddie’s preschool pick up. The café is operated by Sharon Bethel Mennonite Church in Kalona, Iowa. They use a portion of their profit to benefit charities, and they strive to demonstrate their values of relationship building, care and service to all who visit. This is the type of place you will find people from all walks of life welcomed and enjoying their encounter. The use local ingredients and cater to many different dietary needs. Make sure you try their freshly baked Kalona specialties including a soft pretzel and cinnamon roll! –Megan Pai, Vice President 2019
The Preucil School of Music and Preucil Preschool
Preucil’s north campus (location of Music Together and the preschool) is located on the east side of town off of North Dodge Street, right off the I-80 exit. They have a preschool program as well as a seasonal, 45 minute-long once-weekly music program called Music Together. Music Together is recommended for ages 0 to 5 and includes circle play with child and parent - you get a CD of that session's songs and the kids love the singing and movement involved with the class! The teaching style is reflective of their preschool method (more on that next) where children are encouraged to explore and participate however they feel comfortable. For those of us with multiple littles - they are totally cool with baby siblings being in tow. They also have a preschool program based on the Reggio method, which is essentially a philosophy that child, teacher, and environment are equal components of learning. Teachers guide the curriculum around child interests, learn alongside children, and encourage a great deal of creative and outdoor play. They have a huge playground and natural playspace outside and always lots of self-guided art and music time. Stop by and take a tour with them for Music Together or preschool!
-Molly Sherwood, Philanthropy 2019
Parkview Christian Preschool
Last year my son did the Tues/Wed morning program at Parkview Preschool and we had a wonderful experience! Everyone from the front desk to the teachers cares so deeply for those kids and from the moment you walk in you feel welcomed. Our son grew so much academically and socially in his year there. The fun activities he would do or the amazing art projects they do daily were always huge topics at our dinner table. I would recommend this wonderful preschool to anyone who asked and have nothing but amazing things to say.
-Lindsay Norvell, President 2019
In Depth Home Inspections LLC.
InDepth Home Inspections LLC. offers thorough home inspections. Customers can accompany the inspector on the inspection of the house, which is followed by a comprehensive written report. Dennis Paulson has 25+ years in the home building and remodeling industry, and 5+ years as a fire lieutenant. He serves the Greater Iowa City and Corridor area. –Eric Dugdale, Web Manager 2019
My daughter started taking classes at Iowa Gym Nest when she was about 2 years old, we started in the ‘Parent and Me’ class and she has now moved up to the preschool level. Our experience there has been amazing! My daughter looks forward to gymnastics class every week and with how much fun my 8-month-old has watching I’m guessing she will be starting classes as soon as she can walk! Iowa Gym Nest also has a great makeup policy, so if you ever miss a class, or need to change to a different class that week, it is very easy to do so. One of our other favorite things is their lunch bunch; every weekday from 12-1 they have open gym where your kiddos can run around on the mats, play in the foam block pit, or try out the gymnastics equipment (this is especially great in the winter when you are looking for a warm way to burn off some energy)! –Ceric Keck, 2019 Secretary
Have you ever actually enjoyed working out? Yeah, me neither, until I joined Barre3 (located on Melrose next to Maggie's pizza). It is definitely targeted towards women and working out the areas we want to focus on (think butt, thighs, and core). Of course, men are welcome too. It's always a fun class when someone brings their husband who huffs and puffs throughout! Barre technique is based on isometric training - lots of little movements and holding muscles in challenging positions until reaching fatigue. There is always a super motivating and supportive dynamic between the members and from the instructors. At the end of the class, you get to do a guided meditation (the best part). Most participants wear leggings and a flowy shirt - no socks, shoes, or equipment required! And, yes, they have childcare (for up to 6 kids each class, so you have to reserve their spot in advance). IMP swag bags this year include one free class - try it! -Molly Sherwood, Philanthropy 2019
North Liberty’s newest salon! Sister salon to Iowa City’s HABA Salon. An IMP member worked here for many years. Specializing in balayage, effortless hair and microblading. Kevin Murphy and R+Co products. They take good care of their clients, and if you go there you will leave looking and feeling totally fabulous!
–Katelyn Sexton, Former Book Club Chair 2019
We’re huge fans of Chick-fil-A here! Not only do they always have delicious chicken, but the people who work there are friendly, the food is hot and fast, and they are constantly doing giveaways! If you don’t follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@chickfilacoralridge) then you need to ASAP! They do samples of seasonal items, give away free sandwiches all the time, and receipt days are pretty fun too! I personally have dressed up as a cow more than once since moving here to get some of their chicken for free. Also, if you haven’t tried their cookies and cream milkshake you are missing out big time. Go check them out! -Shannon Squires, Social Media 2019
The Iowa Children’s Museum
The Iowa Children’s Museum is great for kids of all ages! We personally have year passes to go, and we can’t live without them! They have fun and interesting activities no matter what your kid is into. There are play structures, a grocery store, train tracks, a huge aerodynamics room, several rooms for building or creating art and even a cow you can milk. We have so much fun every time we go! -Shannon Squires, Social Media 2019
I was actually introduced to scratch from the Welcome Brunch at IMP, and I was sold! They are no average cupcakes. The cake is so moist and dense (what I believe a good cupcake should be), and they have such great variety to fit all sweet tooth needs! Scratch is my go to special treat. I have appreciated all the times they have donated to our events! Thank you IMP for introducing me to the world of gourmet cupcakes!
–Lalana Rodgers, Children’s Activities 2019
Big Picture Gallery & Studio
My oldest did a Summer Camp at Big Picture our very first summer here (3 years ago) and we instantly fell in love. Miss Becky is amazing with the kids and fosters a genuine love of art in the kids. Since that camp my daughter has taken weekly art classes there and made everything from ceramic art sculptures to watercolor paintings and everything in between. She looks forward to her classes and seeing Miss Becky every week. We even did her birthday party there this last year and I would highly recommend that experience! The kids had a blast and Becky does an entire painting with them and all supplies are included. It was a blast for my daughter and her friends!! -Lindsay Norvell, IMP President 2019
As part of our financial series, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk a bit about budgeting. Budgeting means different things to different people, but making and strictly sticking to a specific budget is the best way to have your money work for you and to achieve your goals (both long term and short term). It is also critical to establish budgeting skills now. Like any habit, it takes time and practice to become a normal part of your life. Of course, there are some wealthy people who have never budgeted, but the vast majority of people that achieve financial independence have done so through budgeting. My parents still have a budget because they feel like their money goes much further when they are on a budget. Budgeting is a key process to be committed to in order to achieve your financial goals, regardless of how much money you make, but the earlier you establish these patterns in your life the better.
A budget is a plan for how you will use your money for a certain period of time. Most people who budget do a monthly budget, as many things are paid monthly. It will take several months of adjusting and improving your budget before it will be right for you; no one creates a perfect budget their very first try. The first step to building a budget is to look at all your expenses on a monthly basis and put them into categories. A lot of programs recommend looking at the last 3 months of expenses so you can get an idea of what you spend in each category on average. You also will want to divide your expenses into Fixed Expenses and Variable Expenses. Fixed expenses do not change month to month; variable expenses do. Here is an example of some common expenses, divided into fixed and variable amounts to get you started:
Once you have an idea of what your monthly expenses look like, you can compare them to your financial goals. Looking at your spending versus your goals can help you adjust what you do to be more in line with what you’d like your budget to look like. Then you can set realistic financial goals and use your budget to help you achieve them. Some goals you might want to achieve include building up an emergency fund, getting out of debt, investing for retirement, being able to give generously to a cause or organization you believe in, or saving up for a dream vacation. Whatever your goals may be, make sure they are included in your budget. A wise person once said “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
Side note: most financial advisors or books or classes advise this order on some of these goals.
After figuring out what your goals are, look at how much you make and subtract out all of your expenses until you know how much money you can put toward each category. I ended up canceling several subscriptions we had and started extra couponing to put more money towards the things that are priorities to us. I feel like our money is actually going towards our goals instead of randomly being spent on things we didn’t use, want or actually need! I still don’t love working on our finances (does anyone like paying bills?), but I no longer have stress and anxiety when doing it. Our money is working the way we want it to!
There are now a lot of different ways to make and stick to a good budget for you and your family. I personally use the “Every Dollar” app, because it’s free and it is very easy to use and intuitive. I set up my budget on the computer, and my husband and I each use the mobile app to log transactions. Then, when deciding to make purchases in a specific category, we check how much is left in that category before buying anything. You also have the ability to make funds to put away a bit every month, or to log how much debt you have and make payments towards it every month and the app will track how much debt you have left or how much money you have in each fund. I find it a lot easier than doing a spreadsheet or putting cash in envelopes, but those are legitimate systems too, and different things work for different people.
At the end of making a budget, make sure you stick to it the best you can! It won’t be easy at first and there is definitely a learning curve, but it just gets better and better. And once you are good at it, you can really use it to your advantage. When you get a pay raise, for example, you don’t have to act like you did; you can just put that extra money towards getting out of debt faster, or towards saving up for moving expenses, or your dream vacation when you’re done with training.
Let’s have some comments on this post! What systems do you use for budgeting? How has budgeting helped you? What challenges have you faced with starting or sticking to a budget?
Special thanks to our sponsor Bobby Scott for editing and correcting this post.
Special Service Opportunity
Hopefully many of you have noticed our craft item drive that starts on Saturday, June 29th and goes until July 9th. This encompasses three events: the Welcome Brunch (June 29th), Intergenerational Storytime (July 5th), and Toy Story 4 (July 9th). If you plan to be at any of these IMP events, please consider bringing donations of new or gently used craft items for Camp Bangarang.
So what is Camp Bangarang? I’m so glad you asked! It is a non-profit organization that hosts free camps in the Midwest for children who have life-threatening conditions. These camps are wonderful opportunities that many children with serious diseases wouldn’t have otherwise. The camps provide medical care and accessibility and caters to the children and families that come to them. At these camps kids can be kids despite the medical trials they are undergoing, and can make friends with other kids who understand their struggles.
The camp currently hosts camps in Iowa and in Illinois, and they are a fairly new non-profit but are filling a definite need and are growing as more people learn about their worthy cause and give donations. We love their cause and want to help, so that is why we’ve decided to give them whatever craft supplies we can gather. It might not be much, but every little bit helps! Alternatively, if you’re interested in checking out their Amazon wish list, please click here.
So please, go through your boxes of craft supplies and donate what you can! Or if you see stuff on sale, grab some extra glitter or glue or anything else and bring it to one of our events to donate. If everyone does what they can, it will make a big difference. If you aren’t able to make one of the IMP collection events, please contact Molly Sherwood at email@example.com or through Facebook to set up a pickup time.
The camp coordinator has also expressed their desire to spread the word about the camp so that eligible children and families are aware of their organization. Please consider telling your spouse about the camp, so that they might share as they interact with appropriate patients. Thank you!
Please direct any questions to Molly Sherwood, our Philanthropy Chair.
Why I No Longer Work With Physicians
Okay... so the title is mostly "click-bait", but not entirely. As an independent financial planner and CFP® professional, I prefer to work with with high net worth individuals and families. Believe it or not, many physicians won’t ever reach the high net worth status and experience true financial freedom. I define financial freedom as: not needing to worry about the next paycheck, not being concerned about a loss of income because you have your financial "ducks in a row". Those are a bit extreme, but the idea is simple: you aren't living paycheck to paycheck and you don't lose sleep over money. It is unbelievable the number of physicians and physician families who don't ever truly experience the financial freedom that should come with the kind of income a physician earns.
But Bobby, you say, how can a physician making between $16k - 80k per month be living paycheck to paycheck?!? Believe me, it happens. Paying off student loans, buying a house that's "too much", a new boat, a new car… always needing the next thing. Sure, those people have a lot of toys, nice clothes and fancy houses, but they also lose sleep at night worrying about income. They also put themselves in a position to HAVE to work until they are 75 because they created a lifestyle that demands their entire paycheck. Instead of experiencing the freedom that can come from high earnings and wise financial choices, their income is their master.
Perhaps this post is more about contentment than it is about spending. The saying is true: we do the same with a small amount of money as we do with a large amount of money. I've seen it time and time again working with residents/fellows and practicing physicians. The type of lifestyle and financial decisions you make in training will almost certainly carry over to when you are earning a full physician’s income.
So what do we do now, you ask? Well, start by setting lifestyle goals before you actually have the ability to walk into the car dealership and buy the new Audi S5 with cash. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that you wear sack clothing or never, ever dine out. I'm saying think through a reasonable lifestyle now, write it down and live by it. I believe you will actually be happier! Another step (a crucially important one now that you are an MD/DO in good health), is to protect your investment in your education and career, and your future income, with physician-specific disability insurance. Right now with student loans and very likely a growing family, you would be in a pickle if you or your spouse could no longer earn the income that should come with your training. There are a lot of providers who claim to have this physician-specific disability insurance, but it's important to read and be able to understand the fine print. While I do have my insurance license, I am no longer an insurance agent. However, if you are a member of Iowa Medical Partners don't hesitate to reach out to me and I can point you in the right direction and connect you with some fantastic agents in the Iowa City area.
So if you want financial freedom, start making good financial habits now!
Note to members: If you have questions for Bobby but don't know how to reach him, please reach out to any of the IMP officers and we will connect you with him.
I love living in Iowa! It’s beautiful, it’s peaceful, everyone is friendly and it is so very green here! But there is one thing that often disrupts our peace - tornadoes! I’m originally from Alaska, so I just about lost it the first time the sirens went off. I was completely unprepared - but you don’t have to be! With help from Megan Pai and Kelsey Sprowell, I’ve written this post to help you know what to do during tornadoes and other severe summer weather.
Outdoor Warning Sirens
Outdoor weather sirens in Johnson County are tested regularly, at 10 am on the first Wednesday of every month. If the test needs to be rescheduled for some reason, it will occur on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the same time. If you hear the siren, first check to see if it is just the test day. If you hear the siren at another time, you need to take action to avoid being caught in a severe weather event. This means getting to a safe place indoors as quickly as possible and following local media for weather updates. Johnson County’s sirens will go off during tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings, when winds are greater than 70 MPH and if hail is expected to be golf ball sized or larger.
These sirens are part of a comprehensive warning system designed to alert people working outside of impending severe weather conditions. Often they cannot be heard inside, so it is important to not rely solely on sirens as your personal warning system. Always check local television and radio stations for specific weather information.
Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning
Tornado Watch: Be Prepared - tornado watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center for a county experiencing weather conditions which could result in tornadoes. A watch area is usually large, which is why you should begin following weather alerts from local sources once a tornado watch has been issued. When a tornado watch has been issued in your area, you should check to make sure your safe space is prepared so that if a warning is issued, you can act quickly.
Tornado Warning: Take Action - tornado warnings are issued if a tornado has been spotted or indicated by radar. Warnings are issued by local forecast offices, and are usually much smaller in area compared with a tornado watch. If there is a tornado warning, you need to take shelter immediately.
When to Take Shelter and How to Receive Updates
If you’re in an area with a tornado warning, you must take shelter immediately. Sign up for notifications from Johnson County Emergency Notifications to ensure you will receive notification during emergency events:
Sign up for notifications here
I have found that most weather apps can be confusing to use when trying to determine if you are in a tornado warning area. Local television and radio stations are always the best resources to help you determine current local weather conditions. If you do not have local television channels, I recommend bookmarking a local television station’s website with live feed so you have access to their information. I use this site:
CBS 2 Iowa
It’s also great to have a radio on hand, tuned to a local radio station like 600 AM. If you want to be even more prepared, you can buy a NOAA weather radio which will broadcast information about the weather from a nearby National Weather Service office. An example of one of these radios can be found here:
Weather Radio on Amazon
Finally, when in doubt, it is always better to seek shelter in your designated safe space. Stay in your safe space until you receive notification through local sources that you are no longer in the warning area.
Where to Go
Ideally, you will go in the basement of your house in a windowless room to wait out the tornado warning. This room, if possible, should be stocked with some essential items, which we will cover in the next section. If, however, you live somewhere that has a basement but does not have a windowless room you should try to stay away from the windows or possibly cover them up while you are in there. If you do not have a basement or live in an apartment building you should take shelter in an interior room without windows on the lowest floor of a sturdy building, whatever that means for your situation. If you look into where this should be ahead of time then you will know where to go when the next tornado warning happens.
If you are not at home, either get home if it is close by, go to a friend's home that is close to your location, or go somewhere that is close to you that has a storm shelter, like the hospital or mall. It is very important that if you are driving when a warning is issued that you do not stay in your car. Cars are not safe shelters from tornadoes.
We have a comprehensive list of what to do by location if you are interested in reading further:
What to Do in a Tornado
It’s easy to feel alarmed when you’re reading this, but bear in mind that in almost every case, you’ll be alerted to a tornado warning well in advance. Preparation is key and knowledge is power!
How to Prepare
Sometimes tornado warnings only last 30-45 minutes, but sometimes they last much longer - here in Iowa some storm systems generate multiple funnel clouds at different intervals. Identifying what to have in your shelter is a bit of a cost/benefit analysis; you don’t want to go crazy trying to remember every possible item you need, but you want to keep yourself and your family safe in case the worst occurs. These are the recommendations we can offer for how to be prepared in your safe place:
We hope this article has helped you, and that moving forward you will feel confident you are doing what is needed in order to be safe during tornado season.
If anyone has extra tips, please leave us a comment! We’d love to hear them!
Welcome to Iowa!
IMP provides so many amazing opportunities for us to build community during a transitional time of our lives. Some of us will only be in Iowa City for one year, others will be here for more than a decade, but all of us are part of a remarkable group that provides friendship as we survive the years of medical training.
One way IMP helps to support our members is through post-partum meal trains. This year, I am in charge of organizing meal trains. I want to share with you two things:
1) You can request a meal train even if you don’t “need” it!
2) It is easier to sign up and share a meal than you think!
Do not hesitate to put in a request for a meal train, even if you do not think you need it. I don’t mean to sound pushy; if you already received a bunch of freezer meals, have a different group providing you a meal train, or maybe it isn’t your thing, no worries! Do what is best for you!
However, I want to let you know, it is okay to sign up even if you do not think you need it. “Need” is a funny word. It can sound so desperate when the truth is most of us are very self-reliant. Guess what - it is okay to let ourselves get spoiled by our friends! We always say that we are here for each other to provide support. It is important to give others the opportunity to provide support too. This is how we build community: making space to let others serve us and seeking opportunities to serve others.
IMP post-partum meal trains are just one way that we can participate in creating a community of support.
Now, let me offer some suggestions so that you can sign up for a meal train! I usually cook a double batch of whatever I am going to make my own family for dinner. We eat half and I pack up half to drop off the next day.
1. Costco Rotisserie Chicken (aka: your best friend)
O, Costco chicken, thank you for all the easy meals you have provided my family! You can add the chicken to literally anything. Pasta, rice, salad, sandwiches, soup, tacos, waffles & casseroles. Plus throw the bones in a pot of simmering water, and now you have chicken broth to make soup out of for later in the week!
I have become an expert at prepping a Costco chicken.
My Tips: break off the wings, break off the legs, break off the thighs, pull the breasts away from the bones and slice. Then boil the rest of the carcass for soup.
Send a bag of tortillas, a protein (chicken, ground meat, beans, etc), a mixture of toppings (tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper, avocado, cilantro, lettuce, cheese, etc), a side of rice and beans, chips and salsa! I will literally put anything on a taco - butternut squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and lentils all frequently show up on tacos at my house.
You can do hard shell tacos, soft shell tacos, or even taco salad! Yum!
Send a box of pasta with sauce, protein and veggies. Or cook up the pasta and mix everything together so it is even easier (Costco pesto is an easy option here)! Anything can go in a pasta! Maddie (my 3 year old) “cooked” dinner for our family a few nights ago, and she picked carrots, asparagus, bell pepper and shredded chicken to be mixed into whole wheat pasta drizzled with pesto. And she ate every last bite on her plate.
4. Stir Fried Rice
Fried Rice is another super easy meal because you can put anything in it! Chickpeas, eggs, cashews and any meat are good proteins. Any and all veggies work well! Make a ton of rice for dinner the day before, and then stir fry the rest!
Another bonus: it's easy to alter depending on allergies and extreme dislikes. Annnnnnd you get to use up random veggies you have from making other dishes. Easy peasy!
5. Crock Pot for Pulled Meat Sandwiches
Pulled pork, pulled chicken, and shredded beef are all very easy meals you can throw in the slow cooker. Send with buns, a salad mix such as coleslaw, some beans, a potato salad, veggie or fruit mix, cornbread, sweet Iowa corn on the cob… really the sky is the limit.
I hope I have given you some inspiration to sign up for a meal train or the reassurance to take IMP up on receiving one. Let me know in the comments your favorite meals you have made or received as part of meal trains.
IMP Vice President
Get to know the Iowa Medical Partners officers! There are some great tips and advice in here, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed compiling this post.
Name: Lindsay Norvell
From: Minden, Nevada (small town outside Lake Tahoe)
Partner’s Specialty: Anesthesia
Year of Training: 3/4 (home stretch starts July 1st!!)
Favorite Activity: Wilson’s Orchard or dinner and a drink on the Patio at Big Grove in Solon
Best Vacation Spot: Wisconsin Dells or the HUGE zoo in Omaha, NE
Advice: don’t wait to make friends! Your resident friends will become your family and the more you jump right in the deeper connections you can make. Some of our residency friends will be friends we will stay friends with for LIFE!
Name: Megan Pai
Position: Vice President
Partner’s Specialty: Cardiothoracic Surgery
Year of Training: 3/8
Favorite Activity: So many things! NewBo Market in Cedar Rapids, Lattes & Cinnamon rolls at The Encounter Cafe, Lattes & Almond Croissants at Cortado, McBride Raptor Center, Taste of Iowa City, Corn Maze at Colony Pumpkin Patch, Geyer’s Pizza Oven Farm, Downtown Hunting for Elves, Kites over Hoover Park.
Best Vacation Spot: Wisconsin Dells
Advice: Go to Rapid Creek Cidery for brunch on Sunday morning. It is a truly beautiful experience, especially when the weather is nice and you can sit on the patio overlooking Wilson’s apple orchard. Also take the kids to Red Vespa where they can build their own pizza. Maddie went on her birthday, and all her “training” at the Children’s Museum pizzeria made it a truly memorable experience for her.
Name: Jaycee Chambers
From: Wichita, KS
Partner’s Specialty: Hematology/Oncology Fellow
Year of Training: Year 2/3
Favorite Activity: Hiking at Wikiup Hill Nature Center or Indian Creek Nature Center, with a pit-stop in Ely on the way home for Dan and Debbie's ice cream.
Best Vacation Spot: Kansas City
Advice: Get out and explore. While Iowa City is great, we are surrounded by a lot of small towns that have much to offer. Explore and you'll find great restaurants, small town libraries and movie theaters, and unique shopping. My favorite small town is Mount Vernon - quaint downtown district, great splash pad for young kids, and the historic Bijou Theater. West Liberty also has a great movie theater with delicious, local popcorn. Enjoy exploring!
Name: Ceric Keck
From: Dubuque, Iowa
Partner’s Specialty: Surgery
Year of Training: 6/7 (if just counting residency), 6/10 (if counting fellowship, we matched to Iowa for plastic surgery, yay!), 6/11 (if counting second fellowship) 6/? (because he keeps adding on and at some point it's too depressing to keep counting, haha)
Favorite Activity: Enjoying all the parks in the area with my girls. Going to Geyer's Oven Pizza on the Farm in the summer.
Best Vacation Spot: Pikes Peak State Park, it has great camping, hiking and views.
Advice: The advice I give anyone new to residency is to not wait around for your partner to get home or be off to do stuff, or you will spend all the years they are in residency waiting. So, make plans, get out, explore the area! Also, Cortado has hands down the best coffee around!
Name: Katelyn Sexton - call me Kate!
Position: Book Club Chair
From: Kansas City, MO
Partner’s Specialty: Emergency Medicine
Year of Training: 3/3 !!!!! The end is in sight!
Favorite Activity: Wilson’s Orchard in the fall, Big Grove Brewery for food and drinks
Best Vacation Spot: I think Chicago is the obvious choice, but Kansas City and Des Moines are so worth the short drive! So much to do there. Minneapolis is also fun. My advice is to take advantage when you can of how central Iowa City is to so many great Midwest cities!
Advice: Do your grocery shopping at ALDI! Visit Kalona and go to Stringtown grocery - so fun and cheap! Remember that you only get out of something what you put into it, so in respect to IMP, go to things! It can feel intimidating, but everyone is so welcoming and nice. You’ll never regret making new friends - especially with people who, more than anyone in your normal life, understand your current lifestyle situation.
Name: Lala (Lalana) Rogers
Position: Children's Activities Co-Chair
From: The Seattle area
Partner’s Specialty: Plan is Pathology
Year of Training: M3/G3- Basically we have 2.5 more years until residency!
Favorite Activity: I'll put a plug in for the Lisbon splash pad. 30 minutes away, but SO worth the drive!
Best Vacation Spot: We did Madison Wisconsin in 24 hours with the kids. It was the perfect size city with fun things to do!
Advice: The Children's Museum is most fun during nap time hours. Costco can be considered an activity. Walmart grocery pick up helps keep your sanity (the new drive up at Target is pretty great too)!
Name: Nicole Porter
Position: Children's Activities Co-Chair
From: Lyman, Utah
Partner’s Specialty: Oral Surgery
Year of training: We are in our 1st year out of 4
Favorite Activity: Iowa has many beautiful trails. Our favorite place to go is Linders trail.
Best Vacation Spot: We haven't been here for very long but we loved visiting Chicago!
Advice: When you are sad just remember that you don't look the same as you did in 6th grade.
Name: Alli Cascio
Position: Entertainment Club
From: Lubbock, Texas
Partner’s Specialty: Internal Medicine
Year of Training: 2/3
Favorite Activity: I love driving the backroads to Kalona to take in the beautiful countryside and visit their Golden Delight Amish Bakery (cheesy bread, raspberry angel food cake and pecan caramel cinnamon rolls are personal favs), hitting up Central Discount or the Stringtown Grocery stores (in the summer you can walk from one to the other but watch out for the horse manure!), and visiting the Kalona coffeeshop which has a little play area for small kiddos.
Best Vacation Spot: Amana Colonies, Starved Rock State Park
Advice: For those new to the area: Parking downtown IC is mostly paid but a few parking garages offer the first hour free. Summer is full of free activities so take advantage because the free tends to go away when school starts up. If you don't like crowds, check out activities in the surrounding towns for fun but less crowded events (Solon, Kalona etc). Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City has an outdoor play area for kids which makes it our "go to" for a relaxing family meal. There is an app to track the city buses on there routes. Beware of traffic on home football game days!! Especially when the game let's out.
Name: Molly Sherwood
From: Eldersburg, MD
Partner’s Specialty: Oral surgery
Year of Training: 2/4
Favorite Activity: Having a drink at Big Grove or the Clinton Street Social Club; bringing the kids to any of the awesome local parks
Best Vacation Spot: Pella, IA
Advice: Don't be afraid to throw yourself into your new friendships even though living here may only be temporary. Also, if you're debating whether or not to wear a hat and gloves with your coat... Wear the hat and gloves.
Name: Ashlee Wheeler
Position: Playgroup Co-Chair
From: Mantua, Utah
Partner’s Specialty: Anesthesia
Year of Training: 1/4
Favorite Activity: Swimming at Lake McBride and going to the new trampoline park in Iowa city (Planet 3 Extreme Air)
Best Vacation Spot: Haven’t been yet but we’ve heard Sugar bottom campground is amazing, planning on going this summer.
Advice: Iowa City Mom’s blog is a great resource for things to do in the area!
Name: Reem Al-Musa
Position: Playgroup Co-Chair
From: Amman , Jordan but also half American
Partner’s Specialty: “GI” gastroenterology
Year of Training: 2/3
Favorite Activity: Exploring parks and areas in Iowa ; also going to north liberty recreation center outside pools in the summer
Best Vacation Spot: I just love everywhere we've traveled to in the Midwest. We are still discovering Iowa and it’s different areas , but I would say my favorite spot so far is Des Moines ( Adventureland and the zoo)
No matter where you go or live make the best out of it . Life is short enjoy it to the max .
Name: Shannon Squires
Position: Social Media
From: North Pole, Alaska
Partner’s Specialty: Pediatrics
Year of Training: 1/3
Favorite Activity: I unashamedly love going to the North Liberty Free Lunch every day possible during the summer. It's so nice to not have to come up with lunch for my toddler! We also love Tot Lot at the Coralville Rec Center during the wintertime.
Best Vacation Spot: The Wisconsin Dells! I've had a blast every time I've gone, whether I was young and single or with a toddler while pregnant, and both summer and winter there are great.
Advice: Go to all the IMP activities you can when you first get here, you'll quickly make friends and have a good support network and people to help you when you need it! We have an amazing group of people here and they will make all the difference to you during this journey. We all have committed partners in the medical field, so we get it in ways that family and other friends might not.
Name: Bridget Campbell
Position: Spouses Out Socializing
From: Wichita, KS
Partner's Specialty: Interventional Radiology
Year of training: 2/6
Favorite Activity: Iowa Raptor Center, Kayaking at Lake Macbride, Dining at one of Iowa City's MANY restaurant patios.
Best Vacation Spot: Indiana Dunes State Park
Advice: I have never lived in an area that had metered parking, so I was highly confused when we first moved here. The parking meters are FREE any day after 6 pm and FREE all day Sunday and all National Holidays. The garages downtown are all FREE the first hour and only 1$ an hour after that!
Name: Eric Dugdale
Position: Web Editor
From: English, raised in Colombia, most recently from Minnesota (lived 17 years there!)
Partner’s Specialty: Emergency Medicine
Year of Training: 1/3
Favorite Activity: Camping at Sugar Bottom (great tent sites overlooking Coralville Lake)
Best Vacation Spot: Can't beat hanging out at a Minnesota lakeside resort (we like Arrowwood on Lake Darling)
Advice: I've enjoyed playdates and pancake brunches at IMP members' houses, for me a better way to get to know folks than at the large group events. Don't be disheartened if your spouse doesn't get to know your IMP friends; it is just a reality of their schedules that this is almost impossible to pull off. And men are as warmly welcomed in IMP as women, so if you're a guy thinking of joining us, just do it!
By: Katelyn Sexton
Unlike a lot of IMP members, I am a born and bred Midwesterner. The stereotypes are generally true. I am modest, I like my coffee black, I love ranch dressing and I say “ope!” And I wholeheartedly believe that for whatever else we may lack here in flyover country, the people in these parts are second to none.
I grew up in Kansas City and so when we matched in Iowa City, I was thrilled to be just a short 4ish hours from home. Before I delve too far into my hometown, I’d like to make very clear that most of the time people refer to Kansas City (Royals, Chiefs, museums, the airport, etc.), they are referring to the city in Missouri. NOT KANSAS. This is a point of contention for most natives of KCMO. Kansas City, Kansas is still part of the larger KC metro area, but most of the parts to write home about are on the Missouri side of town. I don’t know how to explain why this is an annoying assumption that we’re all from Kansas, but it really strikes a nerve. ;) and so now, you know! And you know that, unless noted otherwise, everything recommended to you to do in KC is likely in Missouri, our neighbors to the South. (I’ll note that plenty of lovely suburbs are on the Kansas side and it’s a fine place to live, but the point I’d like to drive home is there’s a difference!)
Now that the most important lesson is out of the way, let’s talk about the place that Travel + Leisure named one of the most cultured cities in the country. Kansas City is a great weekend getaway for those of us spending some time here in Iowa City. Just over 300 miles away, it’s somehow always a bit more mild in terms of winter weather. Come Springtime, take a trip to KC and you’ll find the grass really is greener and it’ll get you by before we start to warm up here. There, you’ll find lots and lots of big city amenities without some of the drawbacks a true large city would have. Traffic is not a concern, and it’s an affordable place to visit (and live).
You’ll find world class art at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Fun shopping in a unique setting on the Country Club Plaza (modeled after our sister city in Spain, Seville). Hundreds upon hundreds of fountains (called The City of Fountains). Fascinating and always changing exhibits on display at Union Station (as well as kid-friendly Science Center). Incredible restaurants and a flourishing nightlife in the Power & Light District. Walt Disney Studios. The world’s best BBQ (Joe’s KC or Arthur Bryants are my recommendations). The attractions are in abundance!
Please make sure to put Kansas City on your list of Midwest places to visit during your tenure in Iowa City. If you do, here are some top spots to hit:
In recent years, Kansas City has been credited on numerous lists as a top spot for hipsters and millennials. The city is really being revitalized and has been given a lot of well-deserved attention since our otherwise mediocre baseball team was in the World Series two years in a row a few years back. It swells my heart to see my home portrayed in such a positive light. Let me know if you visit!
By: IMP Member Meg Willett
Have you been watching the show “Tidying Up” on Netflix with Marie Kondo (or read the book)? Like most of America, it has made me want to get rid of lots of our stuff. It also reminded me that I’d asked a few former IMP members for their best moving advice right after their departure from Iowa City. So whether you are moving this summer (!) or in the next few years, this advice is for you!
Purge / Organize
All agreed that you should get rid of as much stuff as possible! One member said she pocked about $350 from selling at Stuff, Etc. but would have made even more money if she had started earlier. Other people prefer to sell to IMP members or on Facebook.
Amid your purging, make sure you keep important papers (birth certificates, car titles, etc) in a place that you can easily find.
If you are moving for a job, negotiate for higher moving costs. It is ALWAYS more than you think. Inquire if hotels, gas, food and all those other expenses are included.
Look on Craigslist for free/cheap boxes and moving supplies. You can save a TON by picking up boxes this way. Maybe start looking a month or so out.
Make an appt at the DMV in new city. Once former member Kristen moved, she discovered there was a waiting period of months and she would have benefited from advanced scheduling.
If you have kids: Pack as much as you can while your kids are in school or occupied in some consistent kind of care (camp etc). It is much easier to pack up a box, seal and label it when you didn't have toddler hands trying to "help." Maybe even trade off babysitting with another IMP member who is moving!
If you are selling your house and using a realtor (like our sponsor Tundi Brady!), reach out early—like now --to stay on schedule for a listing around Match Day.
Double check that movers cover all your furniture with furniture pads. One member warned her fast and efficient movers came at a price—almost every piece of furniture was dinged. She wishes she would have watched more closely as they loaded the truck.
Consider paying to have movers come out a few days before loading the truck to organize the boxes and furniture. It made things run more smoothly on moving day for a member.
Check out Penske: the prices are a little lower than Uhaul and they have discounts (AAA etc). An auto repair person also said that they have the best coverage in case things go wrong.
I would also add from our moves in the past: READ the contract you sign. We went with a huge moving company about seven years ago, and they took close to two weeks to move our items (a 16 hour drive)! But, we referred back to the contract, and they only had to pay us a minimal amount for taking over a certain amount of time. I wish we would have clarified. They also forgot to load packed items in a front closet. We shouldn't have trusted them as much to be thorough.
We have always been running around at the last minute leaving town. I wish we would have planned to spend the night with a local friend to tie up loose ends rather than hitting the road stressed. We did fork over money to hire cleaners so we could leave as soon as moving truck did.
What else do you recommend?
By: Katelyn Sexton
Chicago. The windy city. Chi-town. The second city. The third most populous city in the United States is just a short 230 miles away from Iowa City, which makes it a necessary venture for those of us living here during our medical tenure. Iowa City is sometimes referred to as Chicago’s favorite suburb because of the very large student population from Chicagoland.
You’d be hard pressed to fit everything you wanted to do in Chicago into an overnight stay. A full weekend getaway is highly recommended! Obviously, Chicago is home to many famous tourist attractions. An entire weekend could be spent doing things you certainly don’t need to read about on a blog. Between Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, various art museums, the sky deck on Willis Tower, and shopping on Michigan Avenue, you’d keep plenty a full itinerary without needing any guidance from me! I will say that if you are interested in hitting all the tourist hot spots, look into purchasing a City Pass (www.citypass.com) that will grant you access to everywhere you want to go for one cost all while skipping the lines.
All that said, here I am writing a blog post about visiting the town. One of my brothers lives in Chicago. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit him on several occasions and gotten a glimpse of why people really love the Windy City. Trust me, no one moves to Chicago for the winters! There really is some magic to the city beyond all the tourist traps. And you’ll easily spot plenty of UI tiger hawks all over the city to make you feel at home! Anyway, here’s a short list of things to do that may otherwise fall beneath your radar:
Pizza: Obviously, everyone wants deep dish when they visit. Skip the recommendations you’ve been given and go to Pequod’s in Lincoln Park. You won’t be sorry!
Hotel: I’m an advocate for staying in a short term rental. Try to find an AirBnB or something on HomeAway. It’s the best way to feel acclimated in a new city and you get a kitchen to save some money by buying food! If you’d prefer a hotel, I’ve found reasonable rates at the Hotel Cass, which is in the Loop just a few blocks shy of the Magnificent Mile.
Parks: The city is home to many amazing parks that are 100% free. There’s something really nice about being in a peaceful oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Lincoln Park is one of the more famous parks and even hosts a zoo completely free of charge. There are also amazing hiking trails, such as the 606 hiking trail, in parks around the city to give you glimpses into many different neighborhoods.
Museums: For something off the beaten path, check out the Saturday Night Live exhibit at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
Food: Other than pizza, Chicago is home to a million incredible restaurants and bars. Some of my personal favorites include Monk’s Pub, Quartino and Taco Joint.
Bike tour: When it’s warm out, I highly recommend Wheel Fun Rentals. It’s a four-person bike to explore the city. It’s a little dorky, but a really fun family activity. Bonus: it’s by the beaches, which are also a must in the summer months.
Chicago is the perfect weekend getaway. I visited several times with my family as a child, and it’s definitely a place with plenty of family-friendly activities, but I’d say that, if possible, a parent-only retreat would be idyllic. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy a trip to Chicago during your time in Iowa.
By: IMP Member Lindsay Norvell
Recently my husband had a week of vacation time and we decided to do something as a family versus going back to our home state. With a large family and a residency budget, we were looking for 3 specific things:
After debating a few different locations we settled on the Wisconsin Dells, and it could not have been a more perfect family vacation! The dells are about a 3.5 hour (easy) drive from here and are made up of large hotels with indoor water parks. We decided to stay at The Great Wolf Lodge as the many reviews read listed it as the most small child-friendly one.
We stayed 2 nights at the hotel but arrived extremely early on the first day. They let you go into the water park on the day of check-in and the day of check-out, and you can stay there as long as you would like.
The water park itself had 3 major areas that appealed to different age ranges. One area had a kiddie pool and climbing structure, and we spent majority of the time with our littlest two here. The 2nd area had a kiddie slide, pool to play in, hot tubs and a large tube slide. The third area had a wave pool, 4 large slides and another kiddie pool.
Check the height requirements before going to make sure your kids can enjoy the slides! My slightly tall 5 year old was a few inches above the requirement line…had he not made it, he would have been devastated!
Bring Food! Food is SO much more expensive up there. There is a Walmart about 5 minutes from the hotel so we didn’t bring anything in advance, but I ran over there and grabbed breakfast and lunch items. We only ate out for 2 dinners.
Book in Advance! Book as far in advance as you can. If you go to the Great Wolf Lodge website and sign up for their newsletters, you get access to their early bird pricing. It saved us almost half the price!
OTHER VACATION TIPS
Consider a Room Upgrade: We decided to upgrade from the standard room to a kids cabin room in the end, and it was COMPLETELY worth the cost. The cabin made the kids feel super special, provided a little separation from the master and their room, and just all around made the room more fun!
Magic Quest: Beside the water slides this was my kid’s favorite part of the trip. You buy a wand and the kids use it to complete a number of scavenger hunts/tasks and earn different titles. This quest takes place in a 4-story building attached to the hotel, and we spent easily 5 hours there.
A couple notes though...
Hotel Activities: If your kids are anything like my 3 year-old, there is only so much time he can spend doing the water park. Great Wolf had us covered! They have activities planned in the lobby almost hourly such as Bingo, coloring, yoga and story time. So, once he had hit his max for the day, I took the younger two and we did those instead of the pool for a little while.
Buffalo Phil's: It is definitely a tourist restaurant and the food is slightly pricey, but it was worth the experience. All the food/drinks are delivered by a miniature train, and my kids were in heaven!
Moosejaw Pizza: Another fun and family-friendly restaurant we enjoyed. The pizza was delicious, the kids loved their moose hats, and it was a fun dinner out.
Denny’s Diner: Not to be confused with the chain breakfast place, this was a fun local breakfast stop on our way out of town! Whether you stop here for a meal or not you HAVE to get their cinnamon rolls to go. They are AMAZING.
By: IMP Member Megan Pai
Not being a native Iowan, I am certain there are other IMP members who are more knowledgeable about our state capitol. Nonetheless, after two years of trading in our Texas citizenship to relocate to the Hawkeye State, my family finally ventured to Des Moines.
If you are looking for a quick and easy get away, Des Moines is a great city to enjoy a weekend trip. The drive is straightforward. Literally. Drive west on I-80. Less than two hours later, you will arrive to the city where our legislators are hard at work (insert winking face emoji here).
For our family vacation, we stayed in the downtown area at The Comfort Inn and Suites Event Center, located at 929 3rd St. There are many different option for lodging; nonetheless, my family was very comfortable at this location. We were able to walk to many of our destinations and enjoyed the complimentary, hot breakfast.
Some of the activities we did included:
Some of the activities on our list for the future:
On our weekend getaway, we ate at:
Who in IMP has been to Des Moines? What restaurants and activities do you recommend adding to our to-do list for our next visit?
By: IMP Member Laura Marthaler
If you’ve met me in person, chances are you know I am from Wisconsin. We love it there! Recently we took a tour of the state. We began on the western side for an interview then made our way east to spend some time with family, then finally, we dropped the kids off at grandma and grandpa’s house and got a couple days to ourselves in Door County.
Door County is the peninsula that sticks out into Lake Michigan, just northeast of the city of Green Bay. Most Wisconsinites will use their left hand as a map when describing where something is in the state. In this case, I’m referring to the thumb. To the west is the Bay of Green Bay and to the east is Lake Michigan. It’s a magical place that has a coastal New England feel, but is so much closer to home. According to Google Maps, it is 364 miles from my eastside abode, or a 5 hour and 43 minute drive.
This is my husband and my absolute favorite getaway! We’ve only visited during the spring and summer seasons...but fall would be gorgeous with all the forestry turning colors and there would be so much to do during the winter with plenty of recreational areas for outdoor winter activities.
So no matter the time of year, Door County would have something for everybody.
On past trips, we went on a tandem kayaking tour- I’m talking a true 3-hour tour of kayaking! We’ve enjoyed a winery tour on a trolley and we’ve taken the ferry from the north end of the peninsula across Lake Michigan to Washington Island. We did the sailboat cruises around the Bay and even attended a famous Door County “fish boil.”
This past trip was kind of last minute, so we didn’t plan ahead like we’ve done in the past. It still turned out great! We enjoy driving from town to town and walking around the shops, checking out new restaurants and cafes and even hitting up a winery or brewery for a tasting. We love going to at least one state park to hike or just sit and enjoy the views of the water. Our days were still filled with fun, great dining and a lot of relaxation! We did attempt to go on a kayak tour of the caves of Lake Michigan, however the weather did not cooperate and unfortunately, it was cancelled.
One of the highlights of this trip was our morning spent in Peninsula State Park. The park is located along the shores of the Bay. We have known many people who camp in the park and spend a week just exploring it. We are not campers, but every trip we’ve been on, we’ve always fallen in love with something new there. We planned to rent bikes at the base of the park and ride through, but instead, we decided to hike.
We drove in toward the Eagle Bluff, parked and began the Eagle Bluff trail. It was about a two mile “difficult” loop that got us in caves, climbing rocks, and also allowed us to find some tiny private beaches. In addition to the miles of hiking available, the park also has a large public beach and a number of overlooks to stop at and just enjoy the views of the water. We’ve caught a sunset or two that have been glorious!
If you are planning on a trip to Door County, here are a few “pro tips” to help you out:
First, do you want to stay on the Lake or on the Bay?
We personally are “Bay” people and love staying in Sister Bay, Ephraim, Fish Creek and Egg Harbor.
What type of accommodations would you prefer?
There are resorts galore as well as standard hotels. If you like to camp, there are plenty of options depending on whether you tent or use a camper. AirBnB is big up there as is VRBO if you are even interested in renting an entire house. And let’s not forget about the quaint Bed and Breakfasts located all over! It is nice to find a place with a kitchenette especially if you are there for more than a couple days. It takes away the need to eat out every meal.
What time of year will you be going?
Door County is a very popular tourist destination. When looking at accommodations, if you are planning on going “peak season,” you will pay more than off, naturally. Our stay was a little lower because we did a Sunday-Tuesday trip.
What should we know about the restaurant scene?
We love the dining in Door County. There are so many options! Whether you want fine dining or would rather hit up a place where the locals hang, there literally is everything! Just be mindful of their hours of operation. We found many were not open Mondays or only had breakfast served Thursday-Monday. Oh yeah, and its Wisconsin. Portions are huge!
Our first night out at LURE in Sister Bay left us offering the rest of the patio a taste of our Crab Rangoon nachos. (Yes, they were as amazing as they sound, but really, I think one order would have been enough for all of IMP!) In addition to LURE, we also enjoyed Bluefront Café in Sturgeon Bay, Wild Tomato in Fish Creek, Al Johnson’s in Sister Bay (in case you want some Swedish food with goats hanging out on the roof of the restaurant) and a tiny breakfast joint called Carroll House also in Sister Bay.
By: IMP Member Ceric Keck
Located only a little over an hour and a half away, Dubuque is a great destination for a family weekend trip. It is located along the Mississippi River, and the bluffs surrounding it show off a different landscape than what most people expect of Iowa (i.e., flat).
The best place to stay is the Grand Harbor Resort. They are located downtown right along the Mississippi and have an attached waterpark that is great for kids of all ages. They have everything from a zero-entry wading pool for the littlest of swimmers to larger tube waterslides. When booking at the hotel, you can get weekend passes for the waterpark bundled with your room to save some money. Or, if you choose to stay at a different hotel, waterpark-only passes are also an option.
Right next door to the Grand Harbor is the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. They have a great area for smaller children where they can interact with some different exhibits and burn off some energy playing. There’s a large water table that allows you to build dams and float boats down the river—a particular favorite of my daughter’s. They also have different traveling exhibits that come through, so there is always something new.
If you are looking for some outdoor activities, the Mines of Spain Recreation Area is located just a few minutes south of Dubuque and has a good selection of hiking or cross-country skiing trails (depending on the season). The Julian Dubuque Monument is also located on the bluffs within the park and offers a great view of the river.
Another great option for an outdoor activity is the Heritage Trail, which runs from Dubuque to Dyersville (where the Field of Dreams is). It is a crushed limestone trail that is nice for walking, biking and running. There is also a stocked pond by the main parking lot with fishing platforms.
About 10 minutes south of Dubuque is Crystal Lake Cave, and while not an especially large cave, it is definitely worth a trip with lots of great formations. If you are looking for a larger network of caves, Maquoketa Caves State Park is only 30 minutes south of Dubuque and has scenic hiking trails linking different caves, formations, and overlooks.
Other attractions in and around Dubuque:
By: IMP Member Jaycee Chambers
I grew up in small-town Kansas, and have a soft spot for rural life. While I love Iowa City, I especially love exploring new places, meeting new people, and exposing my boys to the charm and beauty of small towns and country life. I started taking regular “field trips” with my boys last year, and I’m excited to share our journeys with you!
Load up your kids and picnic basket, it’s time for a Friday field trip! Today, we are headed north for some outdoor fun and a sweet, local treat.
Indian Creek Nature Center (ICNC) is roughly 40 minutes north of Iowa City. I prefer the scenic route, and followed Highway 1 through Solon, and then along the Cedar River. If you want to see some beautiful Iowa landscape, I highly recommend this route. My boys also loved yelling “Moooo” at the many cows we saw along the way.
We spent our first hour in ICNCs “Amazing Space,” which is their main campus building. Built in 2016, it is one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the country. Inside, we explored classrooms filled with taxidermy, puppets, and children’s books. We then said hello to a few animals who call the Amazing Space their home, including a turtle, toad, fish and snakes.
Also inside the Amazing Space building is a bird watching room, complete with comfy chairs, books, and a contained beehive. If you have a little one tagging along for this field trip, I recommend this area for any quiet time you may need. The older members of your crew will keep busy looking through the binoculars at the many birds, and peeking into the beehive. Have them search for the queen bee, that should keep them busy for a while!
Surrounding the main campus building are four miles of hiking trails that wind through 210 acres. You have your druthers when deciding which landscape you’d like to explore. Prairie? Woodlands? Wetlands? Take your pick!
The boys and I headed off on a prairie hike, but somehow got stuck inside the labyrinth trail. I guess that’s what happens when your guides are 4 and 3! I advise grabbing a trail map from the main building, or researching the trails online before you go!
The highlight of our trip to ICNC was the outdoor nature sensory trail, complete with a full-sized teepee, mud kitchen, and functional water pump, which was a big hit! My boys could have spent the entire day in this large, child friendly space. They can mud paint on canvas, balance on tree stumps, make mud pies, or do whatever their imaginations see fit. Your child (and possibly you) will most likely end up dirty, so wear appropriate clothes.
After a morning of hiking and play, we enjoyed our picnic lunch at one of the many tables throughout the nature center. Before leaving, we popped back into the Amazing Space to use the restroom (yes, there are changing tables) and browsed their gift store, Creekside Shop. Pick up some raw honey or fresh maple syrup to try.
Ice Cream Time!
The final stop on our field trip, Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, is located about 10 minutes south of the nature center. I had been waiting all summer to check this place out, and it didn’t disappoint!
According to their website, goal of the Creamery is to “provide the freshest, most wholesome farm to table dairy products in the area.”
All of the dairy products served at the Creamery are truly farm to table. On a small farm outside of Ely, 150 dairy cows are milked twice a day and are treated like cow royalty. Each cow is given a name at birth, is milked in a parlor, and housed in a sand bedded freestall barn. Months before a cow is to give birth, she is sent to pasture for some momma-to-be R&R. Now that’s what I call a babymoon!
Tours of the farm are available, but if you want the good stuff (the ice cream!) visit the Creamery, located in downtown Ely. This is where the milk from the farm is transformed into squeaky cheese curds, delicious ice cream, or bottled to sell, cream top. If you’d like to see the transformation first-hand, you’re in luck! Inside the Creamery is a viewing room, where you can watch the process from start to finish.
The ice cream was truly the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. So fresh and creamy, not overly sweet, and served at the perfect temperature. Enjoy a cone at the store and buy a pint (or 6) to take home! The Creamery also sells a handful of other local items, it’s a one-stop shop for groceries!
Until next time, keep adventuring!
By: IMP Member Katelyn Rose
Recently, I was asked to officiate the wedding of a good friend. Shawn has been my husband’s best friend since they were in middle school, so I’ve known him for a decade. While he can be somewhat of a troublemaker (read: perhaps not the best influence), I feel honored and privileged to lend myself to him in such an important role!
For the curious, no! I have not done this before. I am not any sort of pastor or church official. I’ve heard of friends officiating weddings for friends, but never knew much about it. It’s as simple as googling “become an officiant” and filling out a form. Boom! I am now a member and a REVEREND in the Universal Life Church. A close friend of mine tells me that this could be grounds for excommunication from the Catholic Church, but I don’t believe the Vatican will be calling me anytime soon.
In preparation for the ceremony, I scoured Pinterest and countless blogs about what in the world to say. Obviously, I am married (we had a full Mass) and I’ve been to dozens of weddings, but now that the script is mine to write, I am drawing a complete blank on what one says at a wedding ceremony. Does anyone pay much attention to the words spoken? Or are we all focused on the bride and groom? At the end of the day, the most important aspect of the ceremony is that the couple is, well, married. I ask them a few questions, they each say “I do” and they kiss. While I will include this, I would like to provide some meaningful thoughts and even suggestions as well.
Most of my research ended up yielding the same result. Whether it a religious, civil or somewhat comical ceremony, all officiants seemed to include something in their “sermons” about three things: love, honor and respect.
Writing a wedding ceremony forced me to reflect on my own marriage, which brings me to this blog post. If you’re in Iowa Medical Partners and reading this (my first blog post ever!!), then you’re obviously either married or quite committed to someone in medicine. Which, let’s face it, adds quite a bit of stress to the already difficult, although wonderful, commitment that is a long-term relationship.
The medical journey is a long one and often leaves those of us NOT on the doctor-track feeling like the love, honor and respect is a bit one-sided. It can be taxing! We are so lucky to have a tribe in IMP to lean on others who just get it.
But before we come out the other side, on the days when you’re really feeling stretched a little thin, maybe reflect on your own (or possible future!) wedding ceremony. Remember the words spoken in front of your home tribe and the vows that you and your spouse shared.
Let your love be stronger than your anger. Learn the art of compromise and the wisdom that comes with it. It is far better to bend a little than to break.
Look at me! I’m only a few weeks into being a “certified” ;) officiant and I’m already preaching.
So, let me hear it. Have you ever officiated a wedding? Who married you and your spouse? What important words do you remember from your wedding ceremony?
Thanks for reading!!