DIY Gift Ideas

Looking for some DIY gift ideas? Learn how to make your own vanilla and much more…


DIY Gift Ideas

As the holiday season approaches, if you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or another tradition, you are probably starting to think about gift-giving. In our household, we have struggled with the idea of purchasing gifts that may not be either sustainable nor necessary for our loved ones who seem to have more than enough “stuff” in their homes. When do buy gifts, we focus on buying local, spending at least one weekend patronizing local businesses. I find it’s one of the few times I actually enjoy shopping!


However, the best tradition that has come out of this struggle is do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts. Growing up, my siblings and I were encouraged to make gifts for teachers, friends, and family members, but this was time-consuming so tapered off. As an adult, I’m fortunate that my in-laws have inspired a DIY gift-giving tradition. I have received amazing goodies over the years including jam, paper flowers made from maps, hot sauce, and granola. The following is a recipe for DIY gift I did last year along with other DIY options that not only do not take much time, but are also consumable, reducing the amount of waste that is a result of most holiday gift-giving. In fact, you will discover that recipients beg to be kept on your holiday list for future DIY gifts.

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Member Spotlight: Stephanie Clohesy

Stephanie Clohesy, and her husband, Bill, have lived in Cedar Falls since Bill was hired by UNI in 1987. They moved to the College Hill area, changed homes once, but stayed in the same neighborhood. Stephanie has a strategy consulting business that she runs from an office built onto their home. Bill is an Emeritus Professor in Philosophy.


The Clohesys transplanted here from New York City, so they miss the density and intensity of NYC. But they have found Cedar Falls to be a treasure as a community, full of interesting people that are so dedicated to the community as a whole. Sometimes she thinks about all of the things there are here in the Cedar Valley and wonders who were all the wonderful people that built these things, the parks, museums, and art centers?

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Board Happenings: October 2017

– Election results are in! Welcome to our three newest Board members: Jacquelyn Berggren, Andrew Morse, and Scott Wirtz. We also want to wish a heartfelt farewell to our outgoing Board members, Amber Mann, Kristel McClenahan, and Dan Heit. Amber, Kristel, and Dan have been involved with the Co-op from it’s very first planning session, and their contributions to the Co-op have been immeasurable. 
– We’ve been steadily gaining new members to our committees, but we still need more help. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Melanie Drake at
– We had a great time at our Annual Member Meeting/Potluck. We’ve had a banner year, and we anticipate more of the same this coming year. 
– We’ve been moving forward with finishing our Pro Forma and meeting with local banks, which is an important element in our next stage of development. 
– We’ve also been having discussions with developers concerning future site locations. We can’t say too much yet, but we want you to know that these conversations are starting to happen and they seem very promising. 

Cold Buster Chicken and Pasta Soup

Chicken, lemongrass paste, turmeric, and orzo pasta…yum, the soup is on!
Well, the cold season is upon us, and one of the best things to eat is a hot bowl of chicken soup. There is just something that heals your soul when you eat homemade chicken soup; it warms you up and nourishes the body. This recipe is an easy way to make someone feel better or to serve on these cold nights. Enjoy, this soup is so good!  

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Recipe: Tomato Basil Turkey Meatloaf

Oh, the smell and taste of fresh basil! This meatloaf recipe is amazing and we are all in luck, you can still get fresh basil at the Farmers Market. This recipe is a favorite, so yummy you will want to keep it handy to make again and again. Add some fresh veggies and baked sweet potatoes for a deliciously nutritious dinner. Gather around the dinner table and enjoy!

This Tomato Basil Turkey Meatloaf recipe is a perfect whole30 & paleo option that is super easy to throw together for a weeknight dinner!

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Member Spotlight: Mike Finley

Meet CFFC member owner Mike Finley. Mike was born in Jamaica, Iowa in 1963. He joined the U.S. Army in 1982, retired from that organization in 2009, and moved to Cedar Falls because of the lovely community and UNI. He went to college and picked up a degree in Criminology while furthering his real interest, which was financial literacy. He started the financial literacy club at UNI in 2011 as he started teaching classes on money to community members. During that time, he started writing and by the time he finished, he had written four books, Financial Happine$$, What Color is the Sky, Graduation!, and Now What?. Mike continues his mission to bring a financial education to all who are ready and willing to take control of their money and their life!

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Love Your Co-op Month

Change your Facebook profile picture for Love Your Co-op month!

The whole month of October is dedicated to showing how much you love your co-op! We would like to encourage all of our supporters to use our new profile picture on Facebook to show your support. We also know a lot of our members love to shop at other co-ops, and we want to hear about it! When you visit your favorite co-op, send us a selfie, tag us on Facebook, and tell us why you love co-ops!

Vote For Your Board!

Board elections are now open! Learn about your candidates and vote today!

The goal of the Cedar Falls Food Co-op is to be a locally owned and democratically run grocery store. This includes offering our members the opportunity to choose who will serve on the Board of Directors to make decisions about how our business is run. This year we have four amazing candidates running for three open positions. Voting began on September 20th, and the deadline is Tuesday, October 24th, at 7pm. To learn more about our candidates, visit:

Voting is conducted through an online service. If you haven’t received an email with the link to vote, contact Dan Heit at

Board Happenings: September 2017

  • We’ve had a lot to celebrate this past month: The summer celebration event at the Octopus was great, we were featured in the Courier, and we have 4 amazing candidates for our open board positions!
  • Our annual Member Meeting is coming up on October 24th. This is a great time to get a full update on the state of the Co-op. Check out the article in this month’s newsletter for more details.
  • We’re busy mapping out our next steps, including finishing our pro forma, preparing for our capital campaign, and researching potential store sites.