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Preparing For Fall: Fire Pit Safety

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As our warm summer nights turn to crisp fall evenings, the appeal of a cozy fire pit, surrounded by friend and family snacking on s'mores, increases exponentially. In recent years, Americans have jumped on the outdoor fire pit/fireplace/fire bowl bandwagon enthusiastically and with little reservation.  And who can blame us? A warm fire, golden flames, and friendly crackles signal camaraderie and security to us all.  But maximum fire pit enjoyment requires some forethought and plenty of preventative measures. To ensure continued safety and utmost enjoyment, we encourage you to consider these six friendly fire tips.

1. Pick a proper location. When installing an outdoor fire pit, it is essential that you choose a position in which the pit or bowl will be on a steady surface.  The location should provide for proper ventilation and should be away from homes, trees, and anything potentially flammable.  We also strongly advise you to consult the owner’s manual and manufacturer's instructions.  Should any questions arise, a professional should be called.

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2. Keep a fire extinguisher.  This should be accessible to the fire pit and, of course, in good working order. It is also wise to keep a bucket of sand and a garden hose handy just in case things get too hot to handle. 

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3. Start small.  When the fire pit is correctly set-up, dousers are nearby, the manufacturer's instructions have been read, and you’re ready for fire, proceed by using a recommended fire starter.  Gasoline should never, under any circumstances, be used to fuel fire pit flames.  It is especially important to be mindful of strong winds that could lead to flying sparks, and wood stacked too high that can result in fire-y pellets spilling out.

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4. Keep children at a distance.  Seems like a no-brainer, right?  Of course!  BUT, it is well worth the nagging reminder if it means that kids remain safe and unharmed by your “cozy” fire.  Children should never be unattended and it is a wise idea to establish a line a few feet from the pit that children are not allowed to cross.

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5. Utilize large, stainless steel cooking accessories. If you intend to cook over a lit fire pit, your utensils should be long enough to reach over the flame. Stainless steel will not rust and can withstand the elements.

6. Snuff out flames.  Although your fire pit is a safe place to have a fire, that doesn’t mean that you can just leave it alone to extinguish on it’s own.  A fire should be put out completely by using an extinguisher or by pouring water over the fire and hot coals or wood soak, until there is no steam.  When all is said and done, coals or wood can be stored in a metal ash bucket until completely put out, and the fire pit should be covered with a lid.

Back To School: Home Organization!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If there is ever a time to get yourself, your home, and your family organized, it is the back-to-school season!  We know that organization is the key to stress-free school days.  And we want you to start the school days off right, so here are Ankeny Real Estate Service’s tips to make the back-to-school transition as easy as ABC.

1. Make a “drop-space.”  Using cubbies, hooks, and baskets, designate an area for coats, shoes, and backpacks.  Keep family member’s belongings divided, decluttered, and off the floor.  Having a space for these things means that there will never be a frantic morning search for the missing shoes or MIA backpack.

2. Adopt a system for school papers.  As a general rule, there are two types of papers that come home from school -- the ones that need immediate attention and the ones you’ll need for future reference. Both kinds need a space to land! For those that need your immediate attention, why not adopt some sort of “in” and “out” mailbox? Stacked mail sorters/desk organizers would be great for this purpose.

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3. Make use of a family calendar.  For this project, we encourage you to think big and be diligent! A large calendar, in a central location, color-coded by person, with each family member’s activities, and updated frequently is sure to keep your hectic days organized.  Whether it be a store-bought fridge-mounted variety, or a DIY/customized project (I’m thinking chalk paint, cork board, magnetic paint, or vinyl clings!) a family calendar for everyone to reference will keep you coming and going in the right direction!

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4. Develop a homework station for your kinds to make working on school projects painless and peaceful. As parents, we care about the kind of learning experience our children have in the classroom AND it is just as important to give them the right study environment at home, too.  A quiet, undisturbed, dedicated, and fully stocked location for studying will help kids be able to focus and be productive! Ensure that your homework station has everything your child will need to finish a project -- paper, pencils, colors, pens, erasers, markers, staplers, scissors, etc. 

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5.  Finally, consider placing a memo board or some type of message center near the door your family uses the most frequently.  This is a great place to leave messages, reminders, and kind notes. 

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In general, kids either love or hate going back to school, but an organized home and daily routines will benefit everyone when school schedules are tight and time is of the essence.  Getting organized now will free up time to attend activities, events or dinners and downtime with the family.  Not only do we love helping our clients find homes, but we also like seeing those homes run well, and the people who live in them enjoy life!

Back To School: Featured Listings Near Ankeny Schools

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

It’s back to school time in Ankeny!  And while our students are busy catching busses, wandering halls, and finding classrooms, Ankeny Real Estate Service has YOU, the potential buyer, in mind.  We want to help you find what you’ve been searching for.  Ankeny Real Estate Service proudly represents many wonderful clients, with awesome homes for sale, near lots of fantastic schools. It is for this reason that, in honor of Ankeny’s first day back to school, we would like to share just a couple of our listings, located within a reasonable walking distance of a few of Ankeny’s top-notch schools!

1. 820 NW 20th St., Ankeny

This is a beautiful quality-built ranch townhome, located near 3 (!!) schools - Ashland Ridge Elementary, Northview Middle School, and Prairie Ridge Middle School! This open floor plan features a kitchen with staggered maple cabinets, tile, large eat-in area, pantry, and breakfast bar. The large great room with stone fireplace is cozy. Laundry/mud room (with washroom sink) are on the main floor just beside the garage. The master suite has a separate door to the covered deck, dual vanity, whirlpool tub, shower, and large walk-in closet. Other amenities: central vac, established landscaping, and irrigation system. Monthly dues also covers snow removal. Lower level is very bright with natural light from the daylight windows and is ready for you to finish to your preference.

2. 3009 SW White Birch, Ankeny

Great location near Crocker Elementary.  Like New... Immense 30' Front to Back Open Plan & 9' Ceilings, Lots of Light 19' Living Rm with laminate Flooring (2011) & Fireplace, 16' Kitchen & Dining with 8' Breakfast Bar & Slider to 23' shaded Back Deck, 1st Fl. Tile Laundry & 1/2 Bath, 2nd floor, Cathedral MBR with Full Bath & 8' Wlk-in Closet 2 other Bedrooms & 2nd Full Bath. ALL NEW FRIEZE CARPETING. ALL APPLIANCES INCLUDED: Washer, Dryer, Glass Top Stove, Refrigerator, Microwave, DW & TV in MBR. 22' Two Car under Garage accessed from back of T-Home. High-E Furnace, AC & HWH. Move in Ready!!!! Priced to Sell.

3. 2610 NW 17th St., Ankeny

Within walking distance of Westwood Elementary, this home has a finished lower level (approx 675 sq ft.) and daylight windows.   Main level with family room kitchen with closet pantry, front "Bonus Room" could be den, formal dinning or living room, 1/2 bath. Upper level with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, large master suite with walk in closet. Beautiful landscaping with many varieties of trees, bushes & flowers, also a shed. New shingles & gutters and several windows 7/2013.

4. 814 NE Lake View, Ankeny

Located very near Northeast Elementary, this home has 3,700 square feet of living space, 5 bedrooms & 4 bathroom areas, den, formal dining room, huge lower level family room with walk out to 1/3 acre yard. Wonderful view of Fountain View lake & recreation trail. New carpet throughout & fresh paint upper & lower levels, refinished hardwood floors. Central Vac, Children's play set and invisible fence(need collars) included. Easy access to I-35.

5. 106 SW Kline, Ankeny

This unique home with abundant living space is located just blocks from Northwest Elementary.  Main level features 1,152 sq ft of open floor plan, plus additional 212 sq ft enclosed porch with fire place, could easily be year round living space. Large wrap around deck with sliders and French door from MBR to deck overlooking nicely landscaped fenced rear yard. Lower level with additional 300 sq ft of living space, also includes battery back up sump. Roofing & front window recently replaced. Attached garage is 16' W X 22' D with double wide driveway for plenty of off street parking.

Although this list is far from all-inclusive, we think it speaks to the fact that, if you are looking for a home near a school, we have plenty to offer!  And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, close to your desired school, we can help!  Let us do the “dirty work” and find you the home in the perfect location for you (and your students!). Give us a call today 515-964-3662!

Easy Decorating: Locally Themed Art For Your Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

When it comes to decorating your home, the wall art options are endless.  From big name chains, to smaller home decor stores, no matter your style or budget, there is something for everyone.  So why not separate yourself by purchasing local, unique, and often customizable pieces to proudly display on the walls of your home?  Pieces that don’t go out of style and won’t break the bank. 

We’ve rounded up a few awesome Iowa and Des Moines Metro inspired art ideas that would be the perfect addition to any home!  And what’s more?  These unique pieces will get your guests talking -- talking about your terrific taste in art AND first-class home décor style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Des Moines Iowa City Skyline by YouandYoursPrints

 

Iowa by County - 18x24" Satin Print by SniffStudio

 

Home Is Where The Corn Is Iowa Map Print by For The Love of Maps

 

Des Moines, Iowa Love Print, 11" x 14", available in a variety of colors - Art By Amy Nelson

 

Iowa State - Iowa Art - Des Moines Iowa Print - Iowa Hawkeye State - custom 8x10 Iowa State Print by PaperFinchDesign

 

Des Moines, Iowa Skyline by LoosePetals

 

Iowa State Love Map, Iowa City, IA, 8"x10", Fine Art Print by SouthernSlang

 

Des Moines IA Sweet Corn Print by Domestica Print

 

10 Things To Do At This Year's Iowa State Fair

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the Iowa State Fair just over one week away, we can’t help but to be thinking about all the fun (& food!!) it has to offer.  And while, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to talk about every.single event, attraction, contest, food vendor, show, and activity available at the Iowa State Fair, we’d like to share our Top 10 favorite things to do!  So, let’s get started!

10. Take a trip down the Midway.  With attractions and rides galore, the Midway is open 10 a.m. to midnight each day of the fair. Mega Passes and Play Packs are available for purchase.

9. Visit the John Deere Agricultural Building. This building is the home to the butter cow (refer to #6), as well as, the largest fruits and vegetables, exciting floral contest, interesting animal exhibits (bees and ostriches -- woo hoo!), interactive displays for kids, and the Ag/Venture Trail’s 10 stops that highlight Iowa’s agricultural commodities.

8. Check out the Livestock Pavillion and everything the barns have to offer. From the biggest and best boars to live baby animal births, there is nothing boring about these barns!

7. Let the little ones experience Little Hands On The Farm.  This free, hands-on attraction is open daily and teaches children the importance of agriculture by letting them become the farmer.

6. No trip to the Fair is complete without a peek at the infamous Butter Cow!  An Iowa State Fair staple since 1911, the butter cow is a life-size replica of a dairy cow sculpted from 600 pounds of butter molded over a wood and metal frame.

5. Eat!  (Something on a stick, to be specific!)  With over 60 (!!) different foods on a stick and 200+ vendors, there is no shortage of options when it comes tasty treats.

4. Be entertained by some of Iowa’s finest at the Bill Riley Talent Search!  This yearly event focuses on showcasing the many talents of young Iowans and is sure to be a good show!

3. Take in a concert at the Grandstand.  From Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith to Train and Carly Rae Jepsen, this year’s lineup doesn’t disappoint!  Checkout the full concert schedule {here}.

2. Relax at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent.  This entire tent is devoted to Iowa based brewed beers.  More specifically, 33 beers, from 13 different breweries, plus 3 additional brews from 3 regional breweries.  And to top it off, there is even a locally brewed root beer available.  Stop by 9 a.m. to midnight daily.

1.  Finally, take time to people watch.  This great state is made up of all kinds -- from city-folk to farmers -- the Iowa State Fair attracts us all! And leave it to this awesome event to bring us all together!

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5