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Q & A with an Ankeny Educator: Meet Mrs. Delaney

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

We're back this week with another round of questions and answers from one of Ankeny's finest educators, Mrs. Ashley Delaney!  You all know how we feel about the amazing people teaching, leading, and influencing our community's students and Mrs. Delaney is no exception!  Won't you join us in taking a minute to meet this dedicated wife, mom, and teacher?

Name:  Ashley Delaney

Position:  ELP teacher at Southview

Number of years in education:  11

Years taught in Ankeny:  2

Family:  Brett, Brynn (3), and Kiernan (1)

Hobbies:  Food is my passion.  I love to cook and garden.  There is something lovely about eating what you grow and appreciating nature’s ability provide nourishment.  I also enjoy reading with my children and outdoor activities.

 

What is the best thing about teaching in Ankeny?

The best part about teaching in Ankeny is the people.  I thoroughly enjoy my colleagues and the families I work with. 

 

What gets you excited about the direction that Ankeny schools are heading?

I sincerely believe teachers want every student to learn and grow daily.  They work tirelessly to develop learning opportunities for students that are developmental appropriate and interesting.  The community rallies around these passionate professionals to help make this possible.  It is wonderful to see families, business, and other stakeholders work with educators to make our schools outstanding.

 

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is keeping up with my students.  Day-to-day what I am teaching depends on what students need.  One day I could be extending a Physics concept and the next I could work with analyzing poetry.  Their needs and outstanding abilities never cease to impress me.

 

What motivates you?

Being a part of the development of a child is the greatest honor.  I believe it truly does take a village to raise a child into a well-rounded, empathetic citizen of the world.  As a parent, I want my children’s teachers to feel the same way.  I treat my students as if they are my own.  Ultimately, I want all of them to understand their intelligence and education doesn’t make them above the world, it makes them responsible for it.

Home Fire Safety Tips For The Winter Months

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

Cozy winter fires are the best, aren’t they?  Well, at least when they’re contained to a fireplace!  In the midst of these frigid temperatures, we are all spending more time inside, which is why we want YOU to be informed with ways you can prevent {non-fireplace} flames in your homes. Read on for fire prevention tips and tricks AND for a downloadable/printable checklist from the National Fire Prevention Association.

 

First of all, plain and simple common sense and awareness is the key to keeping flames at bay.  While these ideas are elementary in principle, the impact of follow-through is anything but!  Here are Ankeny Real Estate Service’s top tips for your winter fire prevention:

 

1. Heaters need space!  Anything producing heat (furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater) should have ample room to do their job.  The NFPA recommends a distance of at least 3 feet between a heater and anything flammable (newspaper, kindling, firewood, clothing, upholstered furniture, bedding, etc.)  Also, take care to never use a space heater with a worn cord or one without the automatic shut-off function, should the heater get tipped over.

 

2. Keep a close eye on those cooktops and NEVER use your stove or oven to heat your home.  Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires?  It’s true!  And the perfect reason to never walk away from the stove when cooking.  Always turn off your burner before stepping away.

 

3.  Prepare your fireplace before use, then be sure to maintain and use it appropriately. Do not let dry leaves and needles pile up on your roof, then be sure the spark arrestor on your chimney is in place.  Furthermore, fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected yearly. Fireplaces should have a steady screen that prevents flying sparks.  When cleaning out your fireplace, hot (and even just warm!) ashes need to be put in an approved metal container, with an airtight lid.

 

4.  Extension cords. Thousands of fires yearly are attributed to faulty electrical cords. Cords should be checked for cracks and frays.  Additionally, never place extension cords in front of heaters, fireplaces, or any place they could fall onto a heat source.

 

5.  Candles. Because of the open-flamed nature of candles special care needs to be taken when using and handling these.  See the National Fire Prevention Association’s guide to candle safety {here}.  Summary:

● Don’t leave candles near combustibles.

● Don’t fall asleep with a candle burning.

● Burn candles in a candle holder or jar, never directly on a flammable surface.

 

6.  Install Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms. Detectors should be installed on every level of the home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.  Smoke alarms have, approximately, a 7-year life span, and batteries should be changed twice yearly (daylight savings times serve as great reminders).

 

7.  Safety escape route. Your family should develop and practice a home escape plan.  These plans should include two ways out of every room and an outside meeting spot. Consider investing in AND learning how to use a fire escape safety ladder.

 

For additional information on home fire prevention, be sure to visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/prevent-home-fires.

 

AND, don’t forget to click {here} for your own printable checklist from the NFPA to prepare your home for heater season.

The Stinky Side Of Real Estate

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

When preparing a home to sell, it is common for us to think about and focus our efforts on how it looks.  Are the floors mopped?  The china buffet dusted?  Is it staged to look homey, yet not to personal?  How about that curb appeal?  Surely the lawn is cut, watered, and perfectly manicured!  But we’re here to tell you, friends – concentration on just the physical, visible selling points of a house can lead to the costly mistake of overlooking (ahem, smelling) the scent of a home.  The unseen, stinky funk of a property can not only hinder the selling process, but completely prevent it, as well.

Studies have shown that our sense of smell is a powerful one that connects the aromas picked up by our noses to the limbic system of the brain.  And THAT is where the magic happens -- smells elicit emotions, attractions and memories. It is a subconscious psychological process that we have no control over.  This means that even if they wanted to, your prospective buyers couldn’t walk into your home and say, “I am going to ignore the wet dog/dirty sock smell and ONLY focus on the open foyer and spacious kitchen that I so desperately desire.”  Nope, it’s NOT going to happen!  So, why not use this super sense to your advantage?  Wow prospective buyers with fresh, clean scents and positive, fond memories of your home after they leave, rather than nose plug-worthy nastiness and feelings of disgust. 

We’ve compiled a list of 3 things you can do to ensure that your home will pass the smell test.

1.  Eliminate smells from their source. What you do to truly eliminate an odor depends on the odor itself, but almost always a good, deep cleaning is the first step.  And by deep cleaning, we don’t mean, a mother-in-law-is-coming-for-the-weekend-and-I’d-better-wash-the-sheets-clean.  An in-depth sanitation might necessitate professional services, but should include carpet cleaning, and washing of all upholstery, sheets, curtains, blankets, and textiles. Carpet that has been repeatedly urinated on by pets (or children! or adults?) might need to be replaced, and walls subjected to cigarette smoke or strong cooking odors should be repainted.  While your home is on the market, be mindful of your meal making! Fish, bacon, onion, garlic, and curry, in particular, are especially strong and can linger for days.  So, while you’re on “home showing stand-by,” try to find a way to curb that Curry Bacon Wrapped Fish with a side of sautéed onions and garlic craving!

2.  Take Fido (& Fifi) with you! Even if you think your four-legged friend is as fragrant as fresh flowers, it is likely that you are just used to his/her scent.  It is called sensory adaptation and it can cause major problems for homeowners if they are unable/unwilling to recognize these familiar, yet not-so-fresh fragrances.  We recommend packing up the pets, as well as any kennels, pet beds, toys, or litter boxes any time your home is being shown to prospective buyers.

3. Bring in a fresh, honest, and objective nose.  Finally, due to the phenomenon of sensory adaptation mentioned above, we encourage you to employ the advice of a close friend or family member who won’t be afraid to tell you if your home doesn’t pass the smell test. Just remember: if they tell you that your house stinks, don’t shoot the messenger.  Your loved one’s upfront (and warranted!) honesty could play a crucial role in the sale of your home!

Tips For Reducing Your Heating Bill This Winter

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the colder (read: frigid!) months now upon us, you might find yourself concerned with the ever-rising cost of utilities as temperatures fall.  The winter months are already packed with additional holiday expenses, so why not do yourself a favor and save some money when it comes to your heating bill?  We’ve compiled a list of a few tips for reducing your heating bill that won’t break the bank OR require much time and energy.  These are simple and quick steps for cutting the crazy expenses of utilities so you have more money to spend on the things you enjoy!

 

1.  Turn down the thermostat.  Yep, it’s as easy as that.  Now, we’re not suggesting you live in an uncomfortable climate, but we are saying that your home doesn’t need to feel like the tropics either!  Find a temperature that is comfortable for you and your family, then program your thermostat.  Chances are, if you’re lowering the thermostat by only a few degrees, you won’t even notice the change!  Additionally, it is wise to turn down the temp when you are out of the house (during the workday) and at night when you are sleeping.  Turning down the temp can shave 5-10% off your heating bill -- a savings that is sure to show over time!

 

2.  Take advantage of sunlight!  Open those window coverings during the days to let the light shine in!  Hey, it’s free heat!  Conversely, be sure to close them again when it’s dark to trap the heat from escaping through the windows.

 

3.  Wear socks.  As silly as it sounds, when your feet are warm, your body feels snugger, too!  And if you’re still shivering?  Grab layers and a blanket!  Don’t let your first response to feeling chilly be cranking up the heat.  It takes a little thought and maybe some self-control, but in the end, the effort will be worth the saving.

 

4.  Winterize windows.  This can be as easy as putting up the plastic sheets over wind-leaking windows.

 

5.  Delete the drafts! Wherever wind and cool temps are entering, heat is sure to be escaping.  Seal leaks around windows, doors, ducts, or pipes. Caulking and weather stripping can be purchased at home improvement stores for this purchase.  With just a little bit of elbow grease and effort, this work pays off when winter weather stays away. 

 

6.  Replace your furnace filter regularly. A blocked filter can lower the efficiency of your furnace and drive up the cost of heating your home.

 

7.  Set those ceiling fans to help, not hinder, your heating efforts.  During the winter months, set your ceiling fans to suck warm air up and distribute it throughout your home.

 

Still in a pinch to pay that heating bill?  This website (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/iowa/renting/energyprgms) offers many potential solutions for assistance.  In addition, utility companies will often give over-the-phone or in-person, specific tips for heating bill reduction. The time it takes to make the call might be all you need to save some green!

A Few Of Our Favorite Holiday Light Displays Around The Metro

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Nothing says “Holiday Spirit” like grabbing a snack and some hot cocoa, then jumping in the car to take in the lights and sights of the season!  In and around the Des Moines metro, the choices are plenty when it comes to areas for your tour de lights.  We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of our faves! 

First up, the obvious: Jolly Holiday Lights!  Drive through Water Works Park to enjoy one of Central Iowa’s most beloved traditions!  And don’t forget a stop at Santa's Wish Shop where you can talk to Santa, get a snack or even snag some stocking stuffers! See link for admission prices and hours.

Next, be sure to plan a drive through of a few well-known Beaverdale neighborhoods!  Beaverdale Lights is a show of about 50 homes on Ashby and Wallace Avenues east and west of Beaver Avenue.  Some of these are historic homes with serious holiday cheer!

{photo credit}

While you’re out and about in Des Moines, see to it that your tour involves a drive to 200 North Main Street in Grimes.  This is where Bob Jordan and his family set up their elaborate indoor and outdoor display every year. And just to put this one in perspective, the Jordan’s have so many lights that they beginning the decorating process in October!  A show said to use more than 1,000 feet of drop cord, the 2010 show used 127 plastic snowmen and 74 Santa Claus statues. The family gives all proceeds to the Special Olympics – a win, win in our book!

 

Looking to stay a little closer to home, Ankeny friends?  Our town is proud to feature several well-lit neighborhoods known for their festive-ness and magnificent light displays! 

 

Perhaps the most popular is the famous Gingerbread Lane on Richland Court and the nearby Richland and Rio Circles.  This year these streets will be collecting canned goods (December 13-14, and 20-12 from 6-8pm).  These neighbors have a story to tell and do so using lights and decorations! 

 

Called the city’s best kept Christmas light secret, some homes in The Country Club division boast beautiful displays and lots of holiday spirit. 

 

Of course, the well lit and decorated homes in and around Ankeny are too numerous for us to mention all.  But we want to know?  Where have you found the best light displays and festive decorations?  We’ll be checking the comments and making sure to take your advice!

2013 Local Holiday Events You Won't Want To Miss

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

Tis the season to spend time with family, friends...and your community!  Lucky for you, Ankeny is a town with lots of super special Holiday events happening soon, making that quality family/friend/community time a reality!  Below you will find a list of a few of our favorite must-see and do special events.

 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

 

Ankeny Community Chamber Luncheon

 

While this event requires tickets in advance, and that deadline has passed, we feel that it is still worthy of mentioning.  That way you will remember to put it on your calendar for next year!  And if you’re one of the lucky ones headed to the luncheon today -- we’ll see you there!

 

Santa and Mrs. Claus visit the Library

 

Take your little ones for this event at our local library.  Let them visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, make a craft, watch a movie, and more!

 

 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

 

Past Time Treasures Holiday Open House

 

If you haven’t visited this new Uptown Ankeny store yet, make this Saturday your first trip!  Plan to shop, enjoy some goodies, and be entered in a giveaway!  Plus, you might just find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy for person on your list!  Take it from us…this well-run, family-owned business is unique and worth the trip!

 

Holiday Tree Festival Open House at the Ankeny Fire Department Headquarters

 

See the beautifully decorated trees sponsored by areas businesses, individuals and organizations. These trees are donated to families in need from the Ankeny, Bondurant, North Polk, and Saydel areas.

 

Festivities include music, hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn, and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus!

 

Christmas in Uptown Ankeny - Santa’s Treasure Hunt

 

First enjoy a pancake breakfast at Ankeny First United Methodist Church, next head over to meet Santa, have your picture taken with his sleigh, and then be sure to take advantage of the horse-drawn Wagon Rides!  See link for details.

 

Breakfast with Santa

 

Again, this event required pre-registration, but we found it worthy of mentioning for your future reference if you’ve already missed the deadline!

 

Saturday, December 12, 2013

 

Family Movie: The Polar Express

 

Head over to our local library to see this showing of a Christmas favorite!

Q & A with an Ankeny Educator: Meet Mrs. Lynam

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

This is the time of year where we all tend to count our many blessings.  And we think that all of us can agree that Ankeny has certainly been blessed with a LOT of outstanding teachers!  We want to take the time to recognize and get to know a few of these fabulous educators.  So, our Q & A series with Ankeny Educators continues!  Up today?  Mrs. Lynam! 

Name:  Heather Lynam

Position:  Special Education, Northview Middle School

Number of years in education:  10

Years taught in Ankeny:  This is my first.

Family:  Husband Sean, daughter Keelyn {4}, son Easton {18 months}

Hobbies:  spending time with my family, all things Pinterest

 

What is the best thing about teaching in Ankeny?

The best thing about teaching in Ankeny is the high level of understanding and support from administration and colleagues. 

 

What gets you excited about the direction that Ankeny schools are heading?

I am really excited this semester with our professional development on differentiation of teaching and learning.  Our goal is that ALL students will learn, and sometimes it takes thinking outside of the box for that learning to occur for some of our students.  I am so glad to see students with special needs integrating into the general education environments more and more.

 

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

I was an elementary teacher for nine years, so moving to an 8th & 9th grade building is quite different.  I find myself spending more time honing my skills in pre-algebra and US Studies.  I also am working on implementing the newly released Essential Elements for students with significant disabilities that align with the Iowa Core.  These Essential Elements will allow for students to receive the same core standards that the general education students are receiving in a modified way.  It will provide for more rigorous teaching and learning.

 

How would your students describe you?

Fun, loving, and serious when I need to be.

 

What motivates you?

Knowing that every student in our building deserves the chance to have the very best education they can receive.  When my students have their “a-ha” moments and generalize skills in other areas, it makes me want to push myself and them harder.

 

What is typically the best part of your day?

The moment when the kids walk in the door.  The “Hi Heather’s”, high five’s, and their overall excitement to be back for another day of learning.  

Ankeny Real Estate Service Black Friday Ad 2013!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

There's An App For That: Top Smart Phone Apps For Moving

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

One of the main purposes of smartphone applications is to help us organize and streamline our lives.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of apps out there to assist with the moving process.  From help with packing and to-do checklists to decorating a new home and getting to know a different neighborhood, these applications can assist in every aspect of your relocation -- whether across town or across the county.

Here are 5 moving apps that will help you get and stay organized, so that the process can be as stress-free as possible.

Moving List (iPhone, $2.99)

This handy dandy application comes with 95 already developed list task items that you can edit or add to based on your specific moving needs.  All items can be organized by categories or due date.  Categories include DIY, friends & family, goodbyes, job relocation, movers, new address, packing, transport, and other.

Moving Van (iPhone, $1.99)

This app proves useful when packing and unpacking. It allows you to track, and even take pictures of, all the items you put in a box.  Think this sounds like too much work?  Just imagine how thankful you’ll be that you took the time to use this app when you’re looking for little Johnny’s nightlight on your first night in the new house and don’t have to go through 10 boxes to find it.  Another bonus?  Moving Van also has the capability to export your inventory list as either a PDF or as text in the body of an email. Sleep easy knowing where all your junk is! 

My Move (iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire)

Need a reliable moving company to assist you in your relocation, but don’t know where to start?  My Move is an app that help you search for licensed contractors by location and read reviews by other customers. There is also a free quote feature that makes this application stand out.

Moving Day (iPhone, free)

The Moving Day App is specifically designed to get you through the big day.  It has built in barcode scanning and label making functions, which allows you to create barcodes on your phone, print them out, and attach them to boxes. Then, once you’ve arrived at your new residence, you scan the boxes to make sure everything has arrived AND to see what is in each box without actually opening it.  Genius, I tell you!

Home Inspection Checklist (Android, free)

While I firmly believe that nothing can replace the know-how of an experienced, certified, professional inspector, I recommend using this app to call problem areas to the inspector’s attention beforehand.  These checklists include all aspects of a home from interior and exterior structural details, to electrical and plumbing.  Show that licensed professional that you’re prepared for his/her inspection and that you care a great deal about their findings!

Applications such as these can save you time, money, and stress that often comes with a move.  Do yourself a favor and simplify the already complex process by downloading these apps or ones like it!  Like I always say...work smarter, not harder!

Now, if only someone could come up with an app that could pack and unpack all those boxes, we’d be set!

Tips For Moving With Children

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

It’s official!  You’re moving!  Now, pack those boxes, grab the fam, and get outta town.  Piece of cake, right?

Wrong!  We only wish it was that easy!  Moving is complicated for EVERYONE, but when there are children involved, not only are you dealing with logistics, you’re dealing with emotions. And quite frankly, is there anything more important than the emotional well-being of the little ones in our lives?!?  We don’t think so!

And that’s why we took it upon ourselves to compile a list of our top Tips For Moving With Kids.  These strategies are sure to help you buffer those emotions, create a smooth transition, and make your relocation an adventure to celebrate.

1.  Have a family meeting.  Make this an open forum and explain why you’ve made the decision to move.  Share about why you’re excited for this new adventure and how it will be good for your family.  Prepare children for what to expect and let them know that you’re counting on them for their help and input as you move forward with the process.  Let them know that you value their opinion and give kids the opportunity to express their questions and concerns.

2.  House hunt as a family.  If logistics allow, take your children with you when you tour potential homes and if the search is primarily happening online, be sure to bookmark your favorites for their input. 

3.  Give them some say in their room.  Whether it be paint colors, furniture arrangement, or artwork on the wall, kids enjoy any control you’re willing to give them. 

4.  Time your move (if possible).  If circumstances are such that you are able to time your move according to YOUR schedule, try to plan it for a relatively “quiet” time of year.  Maybe when the children are out of school?  Or after any other major life events (vacations, potty training, etc.) have taken place.

5.  Tour the new location.  Become familiar with your new town or city.  Keep a list of places you want to go, restaurants to try, parks to visit, etc.  This will help to build and maintain excitement for your children.

6.  Have them help you pack & purge.  Children who are old enough should be encouraged to help you pack.  Give them a say in what gets packed and what doesn’t.  Make them a part of the process.

7.  Throw a Going Away Party.  Give kids the chance to say goodbye to friends, family, and neighbors in a FUN and meaningful way!  Host a party that they won’t soon forget.  Besides, who doesn’t love a good celebration?!?

8.  Say goodbye in a special way.  Whether it’s a special dinner where you share your favorite memories, or a custom book of photos from the house, doing something worthy of remembering.

9.  Make the new place feel like home.  Without feeling rushed to unpack, be sure to make it a priority to hang and set out some of your children’s favorite items.  Familiar thing will help make the house feel like home -- for both you AND the kids.

10.  Celebrate!  Once you’re moved into the new home, be sure to make it an occasion!  Let your kids pick a special restaurant or activity to celebrate their role in your move AND to toast the beginning of new adventures!  

Displaying blog entries 151-160 of 171