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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!

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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.  

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4