Mar 8, 2023

Home Energy Audits

By Rachel Braaten

In late September, I decided to have a home energy audit conducted on my home. I wanted to know what we could do to help us save energy, and reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. I chose to go with the Home Energy Squad. This is the story of how it went.

First off, it was in late September when I made the appointment, and they finally visited my home on January 11th. So I waited quite a while for this to actually happen. The day of, they gave me a 20 minute notice, and when they arrived, they were friendly (and dare I say patient). There were two people, and they worked on different things during their time in my home. The audit took three hours.

One of them was looking all around my house, finding little fixes that could be done immediately while they were here. She changed three incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, put weather stripping around my front door, installed a sealer along the bottom of my front door, AND replaced my kitchen faucet nozzle and my show-er head! This is the part of their trip that I actually paid for, and all this work was only $100. The other worker didn’t cost anything.

The other worker found a lot of ways to improve the efficiency of my home, and also found some safety issues. It turns out, when we run our dryer or our exhaust fan in the kitchen, carbon monoxide is being pulled into our house from the top of our water heater and furnace! I also learned that our water heater is 20 years old, and is quite inefficient anyway, so this will be at the top of our list for replacement. The recommendation was to switch to a water heater with heat pump technology, which has become ultra-efficient over the years. This will switch us away from gas, to electric, and we’re already paying for renewables through Xcel.

Probably the most interesting part of the visit was when they did the blower door test. They installed a big fan inside our front door and sucked air to the outside. This thing can measure how much leakage is coming through our house! While the blower door was running, they went around taking infrared images, finding areas where air was coming into our home! Very cool…cool indeed, we need caulking above our back door. And we will benefit from getting our room joists in our basement insulated. This will probably have the effect of making our basement much more comfortable, and usable.

If you’re interested in getting a home energy audit conducted on your home, you can do it through the Home Energy Squad, but the actual visit is through a third party called CEE (Center for Energy and Environment). Any-way, the website is here:

All this for $100. After the visit, they followed up with an email, which lays out all their findings, and will be assisting me with next steps. I have been paired with a home energy advisor, who can help find rebates for energy efficient appliances, and can also help me find the right professional who has passed CEE’s standards for proper installation. So now, I just need to make that call.

Feb 22, 2023

Dispelling Breast Cancer and Mammogram Myths

By Becca Pitan

As a mammographer and breast ultrasound technologist, I hear a lot of misconceptions about imaging and breast cancer. I’d like to dispel a few common myths I hear most often.

Myth: I don’t have any family history of breast cancer, so I don’t have to be worried about it.

That’s great that you don’t have a history, but unfortunately, you’re not off the hook. The average risk for breast cancer is 1 in 8 women, and about 85% of those diagnosed with breast cancer do NOT have family history. So just keep getting those annual mammograms.

Myth: My grandma had breast cancer when she was 65, so I’m high risk and doomed.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but I’ll be honest, that was my thought before I went into the breast imaging field. My grandma DID die from breast cancer in her 60’s, so I always wondered what that meant for me. There are a lot of factors that go into determining whether someone is considered high risk, so it’s best to ask your doctor if you’re not sure. But, generally speaking, family history can increase your risk if you have two or more close relatives with breast or ovarian cancer, a mother or sister with premenopausal breast cancer, or male relatives with breast cancer.

Myth: Mammograms give people cancer and have tons of radiation, so they should be avoided.

Mammograms have been proven to be the best way to catch early breast cancers. The radiation levels are incredibly small, and well below limits set by the government. There have actually been no documented cases of anyone receiving cancer from getting a mammogram. Considering how many women do get breast cancer, you’re more likely (by a long shot) to be harmed by the cancer than the mammogram itself.

A note on resources: all information provided is from either the stores of my brain or from educational resources provided by my employer. 

Feb 5, 2023

Member Social: Cards Against Humanity

It's time for another members social, this time a card game that let's you say terrible in attempts of humor. There will

be snacks, drinks -adult and otherwise and paper bags with eye holes in case you are shy.

Where: Casa del Carr - Members please RSVP to Diane W C

Date/Time: February 16th, 6:30pm

Reason: We are going out of our minds here in the cold and snow.

Feb 1, 2023

Message from the President, February

 The reasons that I enjoy being a member of Minnesota Women of Today include:

   • The great friends that I have made and the new people I meet.

   • The great volunteer projects and helping the community.

   • The opportunity to learn new things from each other.

   • The opportunities to work as a team and see individuals and the group succeed.

   • The opportunities for personal and professional growth.

 MN Women of Today Creed

“We, the Minnesota Women of Today, are service, growth

and fellowship. We believe that through us great lessons

can be learned, worthy deeds performed and a hand of

fellowship extended to millions of women everywhere.

May we leave the world a better place because we lived

and served within it.”

- Mary

Jan 12, 2023

Vegetable Soup (plant based)

 By Bonnie Hansen

I make this often. I use spinach instead of kale and white beans instead of red. Delicious and easy.

Jan 1, 2023

Lunch Brunch

December Lunch Bunch was a HUGE success!

Benihana's Golden Valley - 10 NHWT Members attend-ed. It was the first Lunch Bunch for members Teri, Deb and Zach! WEL-COME !!! Great Food ! Great Company ! Great FUN !

January Lunch Bunch will be at Nong's Thai Cuisine, New Hope

February Lunch Bunch will be at The Birdhouse, Robbinsdale