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Displaying blog entries 41-50 of 183

Keeping Your Home Safe While On Vacation

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Tis the season for getaways and summer vacations.  What do you have planned?  Maybe it’s a weekend adventure to a neighboring state or a 2-week-long holiday overseas.  No matter the kind of trip that awaits you, we want to help you maintain safety of the home you’re leaving behind!  Here are some tips to keep your home safe while you’re away enjoying a stress-free vacation!

 


 

● Lock all doors and windows.  Duh.  But seriously.  It’s worth double checking.

 

● Enlist the help of trustworthy friends or neighbors to “watch” your house while you’re gone.  Leave them a key, your emergency contact information, and specific instructions on your expectations for them.  Of note, we highly recommend the persuasive technique of bribery with food.  The promise of a free meal or yummy cupcakes is a commonly recognized form of reimbursement!

 

● If you don’t have them already, it is a wise idea to invest in timers for both interior and exterior lights.  At night, a well-lit home can deter would-be thieves, while keeping lights on during the day is unnecessary and wasteful.  Timers are a simple solution for making an unoccupied home look lived in even while you’re away.

 

● Make arrangements for your yard work to be done if you are planning on vacationing for a long period of time.  If your lawns is always trimmed and perfectly manicured, then long grass can be a sign for potential burglars that you aren’t home. 

 

● Avoid social media.  Today’s society thrives on the use of social media and, all too often, vast amounts of “over-sharing” are happening on places like Facebook and Twitter -- especially when it comes to posting vacation plans, updates, and pictures.  Thieves are smart and will often rely on social media to tell them when you are away from home.  Be mindful of the information you’re giving and pictures you’re posting.  And, at the very least, change your social media privacy settings so that only your most trusted friends and family can see what you’re up to (at least until you’ve returned from your vacay!).

 

● Prevent power surges and potential fires by unplugging computers, TVs, stereos, coffee makers, toaster ovens, and other electronics -- or ensure that they are plugged into surge protectors.

 

● Alert the alarm company.  This may seem like another no-brainer, but it can often be forgotten.  If you have an alarm system in place, take the time to notify the company of your plans AND if you will be having friends or family check on your house.  Likewise, your “house watcher” should also be briefed on the ins-and-outs of your alarm system.

 

● Nothing says “I’m away on vacation, please burglarize my house” like a pile of newpapers on the front step or an overflowing mailbox.  Place a “stop” order on mail and newspaper deliveries or enlist the help of a trustworthy neighbor to pick them up daily. The USPS will hold your mail for up to 30 days, as a free courtesy.  This can be done in person or online https://holdmail.usps.com/duns/HoldMail.jsp.

 

● Secure valuables in a safety deposit box.  Say all of your preventative measures fail and an intruder happens to make his or her way into your home?  Well, then, ensure that you’re not leaving them anything of great monetary or personal value!  Take the time before your vacation to deposit jewelry, essential documents, and other important belongings into a safety deposit box.

 

At Ankeny Real Estate Service, not only are we in the business of buying and selling homes, but it is also our greatest desire to help you enjoy your home and life (vacations, included!) to the fullest.  It’s no secret that eliminating simple worries such as the safety of your home while away can greatly decrease stress AND increase your happiness.  So, what do you say?  Get out there and enjoy your summer!  Hit the road...but not until you secure the safety of the home you’re leaving behind.

2016 Ankeny Area Summer Bucket List

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Ankeny parents everywhere, you may all breath a collective sigh of relief right now, as we present you with the key to summer with kids!  We’ve done the work for you and created a list of fun, FAMILY FRIENDLY ANKENY AREA ACTIVITIES to keep the kids busy and your adventures exciting!

 

 

1. Fun in the Sun at Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center and Splash Park.

 

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2. Testing the waters (including the Flowrider Surf Machine!) at Cascade Falls.

 


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3. See a show by taking advantage of the reduced price movies at local theaters. 

 

4. Spend time with the family and see the sites at Ledges State Park.

 

5. The perfect spot to picnic AND enjoy art -- PapaJohn Sculpture Garden.

 


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6.  Kirkendall Public Library summer reading program and frequent special events.

 

7.  Play while getting a spray at the American Legion Garden park.

 

8.  Another way to stay cool while burning some energy -- Dean Park in Prairie Trail.

 

9. Tackle Big Creek State Park’s ENORMOUS wooden playground!

 

 

10. Feed the ducks at Hawkeye Park, then make the short walk over to Miracle League Park.

 

11.  Take in all the fun activities of SummerFest, an Ankeny tradition.

 

12.  Catch a free flick on a warm summer night at Movie Under The Stars.

 

13. Ride the rides and see the sights at Adventureland Park.

 

14.  Have fun in, on, and around Gray’s Lake.

 

 

15. Get our play on with friends and neighbors at Ankeny’s All City Play Day.

2016 Ankeny's Movies Under the Stars

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re huge fans of all the free fun that Ankeny has to offer.  And now that our sunshine-y summer weather has finally arrived, the fun is in full force! Topping the list of our favorite free family events in town are the Movies Under The Stars presented by Veridian Credit Union.

 


 

A free event open to the public, Movies Under The Stars, gives our community a place to come together on Friday nights, take in a show, and relax under the warm summer sky.  Movie-goers are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, bug spray, snacks, and lots of excitement for, what is sure to be, an enjoyable evening. Movies Under The Stars takes place at Wagner Park Bandshell, is free to attend (have we mentioned that?!?), and beings at dusk.

 

So, what fabulous flicks can you expect to see?  Here’s the line-up for the rest of this season.

 

June 3: Inside Out (PG)

June 10: Toy Story (G)

June 17: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG)

June 24: Minions (PG)

July 15: The Good Dinosaur (PG)

July 22: Hotel Transylvania 2 (PG)

July 29: Elf (PG)

 

From the Uptown Farmer’s Market and Ankeny Unplugged, to Movies Under The Stars, this city offers fantastic options for free family fun.  Check out Ankeny’s website for more ideas and information on all the fun to be had!  http://www.ankenyiowa.gov/

Going Green with Rain Barrels

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Now that you’ve had a full week to research, design, build, and plant your own raised garden bed, you’re probably ready to install those environmentally friendly rain barrels and watering systems that you see everywhere!  Right??  Ok, ok, maybe you’re not there quite yet, but if and when you are, this is the post for you! 

 

Here is how one of your own Ankeny Real Estate Service team members added a rain barrel watering system to a raised garden bed.  Plus, keep reading to the end of this post for a couple great resources for those of you thinking of investing rain barrels!

 

“Through a little research, some trial and error, and a consultation with our local Menards specialist, we came up with a system that has proven to be, not only useful, but downright simple. It’s an arrangement that has encouraged us to spread the word about the ease and benefits of rain barrel watering systems.  Here’s a little bit about what we’ve done, our set-up, and what has worked for us.  Hopefully, you too, can recognize the simplicity and relief a rain barrel system can provide.

 

First, we purchased our rain barrels from Menards, and then connected them to the downspout using a valve system (also purchased from Menards).  All 3 barrels are joined using PVC piping so that once one fills, it will overflow into the next, and so on. Which brings me to my next point...it is wise to have some sort of overflow system for when your barrel (or barrels!) fills -- and it will (likely much sooner than you anticipate!)!  This means that it is a good idea to have a hose or something similar connected to the last barrel, so that when your barrels are full, then the excess will have a place to run. 

 

 

Next, we positioned our barrels at the top of a hill, along the side of our garage, and above garden level so that we could utilize gravity to water our soon-to-be sustenance.

 


 

Finally, we connected to the last rain barrel to a soaker hose (3, to be exact) that runs throughout the garden beds. That way, when we are ready to water, all we need to do, is open up the flow system from the barrels and let gravity work its magic!”

 

So where should YOU start?  Great news! Ankeny now offers a stormwater management (rain barrel) reimbursement program that you might find worth looking into.  In addition, Polk County Conservation offers a rain barrel workshop, which provides all materials and tools necessary for your system.  There are so many resources available to people interested in going green, making a difference, and utilizing the resources readily available to us.  Do us all a favor and take that first step!

2016 Ankeny Farmers' Market

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you’re like us, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for opening day of the ANKENY FARMERS’ MARKET.  Well, good news -- it is FINALLY here!  The Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market kicks off this Saturday, May 21 and, rumor has it, this year will be even better than the last!

The Uptown Ankeny Farmer's Market features homemade, homegrown, hand-crafted products and in-season produce. Not only is this open-air market known for the freshest locally grown produce, but each week boasts a variety of offerings. On any given Saturday, you can find meats, baked goods, cut flowers, starter veggie plants, and hanging baskets, along with prepared food vendors, local artists, and entertainers.  When it comes to vendors, no two weeks are the same -- which seems like the perfect excuse to never miss one!


So, what makes the Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market unique?  Well, according to regular attendee, Kelly Munter (Ankeny), the small-town feel just can’t be beat!  “We love stocking up on our fruits, veggies, and bread for the week without fighting large crowds.  Not to mention, supporting local farmers, the Ankeny community, and our economy is of the utmost importance to us!” 

Well, when you put it like that, the Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market sure sounds like a place we would all want to be! 


Where:

Ankeny Market & Pavilion Park

715 W 1st Street

 

When:

(May-September)

Saturdays May 21 thru Sept. 24

8:00 am to 12:00 pm

For more information visit www.uptownankeny.org

Raised Garden Beds

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Gone are the days of traditional, space-wasting, hard to water gardens.  Raised garden beds are latest trend in horticulture.  And it is one that has homeowners, even those with limited lot sizes, testing out their green thumbs, reaping the benefits (fresh produce -- yum!) and enjoying the results!  The perks of garden boxes are countless, but among the most praiseworthy are:

● Fewer weeds.

● Better water retention in sandy areas and more favorable drainage in areas with clay-based soil.

● Warmer soil earlier in the season that stays warmer longer.

● Less soil erosion.

● Prevention of soil compaction.

● Improved pest control.

● Ease of accessibility to reach each plant.

● Aesthetically pleasing.

 

Speaking of ease and aesthetics, check out these easy-on-the-eyes raised beds from two of your own Ankeny Real Estate Service team members!

 


 

 

Now you’re probably asking yourself, where I can learn how to make a raised garden bed (or 2, or 3!) of my very own?  And since we’re all about helping you make your house a home, we’ve gathered a few good resources on raised garden box building for your convenience.  Check them out, give it a try, and let us know how it goes! 

 


 

How to make a raised garden bed:

http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/ultimate-raised-bed-how-to-00400000011938/

 

A video tutorial from National Gardening on how to build your own garden box:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuTYXmy4Yb0

 

Soil calculator from Gardener’s Supply Company so you know exactly how much soil you need:

http://www.gardeners.com/Soil-Calculator/7558,default,pg.html

 

And a great resource on when to plant your seeds:

http://sproutrobot.com/

 

Finally, an all-round great, chock-full of information article:

http://eartheasy.com/grow_raised_beds.htm#c

2016 Des Moines Farmers' Market

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

This Saturday’s forecast looks like it might be hit or miss for opening day of the DES MOINES FARMERS’ MARKET, but we’re guessing a few showers won’t deter visitors!  Most locals know exactly how exciting and important this event is to Central Iowans.  But just in case you’re new to town (or completely out-of-touch!), we figured that a quick briefing on the Des Moines Farmers’ Market was in order! Now before you new-to-towners start to scoff and shake with skepticism based on your previous experiences at farmers’ markets, you should know that Des Moines’ Farmers’ Market is unlike any other you’ve ever been to.

 


 

Launched in 1976 and with only 15 vendors, this produce pushing market has since expanded and now proudly boasts nearly 300 vendors from all over Iowa and weekly attendance averaging over 18,00 visitors.  That’s big time!  What’s more?  The open-air market spans the entire Court Avenue District, is in season from May through October, and offers much, much more than just the freshest locally grown produce. (As if that isn’t enough?!?) On any given Saturday, you will find meats, baked goods, cut flowers, starter veggie plants, and hanging baskets.

 

Still not sold that the Des Moines Farmers’ Market is the place to be on Saturday mornings?  Well, let us entice you with lots of prepared food vendors (mmmm, papusas…), local artist galore, and fun entertainers to keep you…well…entertained! So, whether you’re shopping, people watching, needing a good breakfast, or looking for something fun to do, the Des Moines Farmers’ Market offers something for everyone and is the place for you.

 


 

Find out more at www.desmoinesfarmersmarket.com

Guide to Tornado Preparedness

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Weather in Iowa can only be described as predictably unpredictable.  This month, for example, we’ve had it all -- sunshine and temps in the 80s, to wind, rain, frigid temps and even a few flakes of snow.  But we’re not complaining!  Nope.  Us Iowans, we’re conditioned to roll with the punches when it comes to climate.  And if there is one thing we’ve learned with regards to the weather after living in Iowa for all these years, it is to always.be.prepared.  (Those good ol’ Boy Scouts sure know what they’re talking about!)


This preparation piece is especially crucial during the spring season, also known as, tornado season.  You see?  The problem with tornados, like many natural disasters, is that you never know exactly when or where they will strike or how severe they might be.  Therefore, your best bet is to be prepared with a plan of action.  Here are five simple steps you can take to ensure that you, your loved ones, and your home are as safe as possible should a twister touch down.

 

● Identify the safest place for shelter.  In your home, this is likely the basement or storm cellar.  If underground safety is unavailable, head to the centermost part of your home, like a small interior room or hallway, on the lowest level.  Your safe place should be away from windows, doors, and exterior walls. The more walls between you and the outside, the better!

● Become familiar with your community’s weather alert system and make sure all adult and teenagers in your home is aware of what to do when a tornado watch or warning is issued. (Interested in the difference between a watch and a warning?  Click here to learn more.)

● Develop a family plan.  Identify escape routes out of your home and neighborhood, on the off chance they are necessary, then assign an emergency meeting point. 

● Buy or put together an emergency survival kit that consists of: several days’ worth of drinking water and preservable foods, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, basic tools, a portable weather radio, batteries, clothing, blankets, cash and credit cards, necessary medications, work gloves, and important documents (including insurance policies). 

● Finally, conduct periodic tornado drills so all family members are aware of what to do in the event of a twister.

 

Again, the only predictable thing about tornadoes is that they are, for the most part, unpredictable.  So, taking the time to prepare yourself, your family, and your home can prove highly worthwhile when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and twisters touch down.  

Preparing your Home's Exterior for Spring

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As promised, this week we are continuing our series on preparing your home for the spring season.  A couple weeks ago, we posted about inside-related chores to spruce up and organize your house in time for spring, so this week’s blog is going to provide you with some tips and tricks to get the outside of your home in tip-top shape.  We’ll call it The Exterior Edition


 

Undeniably, your home’s exterior is the primary victim of winter’s harsh elements.  And it is for this reason that we should all focus a little time and attention on the outside of our houses in preparation for spring and all the weather-related conditions that come with it!  Keep reading for some simple ideas on what you can do to prepare your pad for the warmer days ahead. 

 

● Begin by walking around your home to examine the caulking of windows and doors, as well as the weather stripping that surrounds those entrances. Old, dry, cracked caulking and dysfunctional weather stripping should be replaced.

● Next, (safely!) get on the roof to check flashing, caulking, and shingles in preparation for spring storms.  This might seem like a lot of work, but in the end, leak prevention and making proper roof repairs will be worth the effort!  Check specifically for broken or missing shingles, as well as, rust and mold. 

● And while you’re already up on the roof, take the time to clean out gutters and downspouts. Go the extra mile and check for proper drainage by running a hose on the roof and watching where the water flows. If leaks are found, caulking or epoxy can be used to seal it once the area dries. 

● Spring is the ideal time to pressure wash your siding to clean it and prevent mold formation. 

● While you have that pressure washer handy, use it to clean walkways and other concrete areas after removing any debris, leaves, or tree limbs.

● Finally, begin thinking ahead to any landscaping or planting plans you might have and get prepared.  Replace old, cracked hoses and pull out any gardening tools that were stored over winter.  That way, as soon as that warm weather arrives for good, you’ll be well on your way to a perfectly manicured yard!

 

Your home (both inside and out!) should be a place to relax and enjoy the (soon-to-be) spring weather.  By preparing the inside of your home for spring AND following these simple steps to get the outside in shape too, you and your house will be ready to soak up that sun in no time!

2016 Easter Events in Ankeny

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

By now you know that at Ankeny Real Estate Service, we are passionate about supporting our community and its amazing, family-focused events! With Easter just days away, we wanted to give you a heads-up about two BIG events happening in or near the Uptown Ankeny area.

 

First off, you won’t want to miss out on the annual “Hop Into Uptown” event held TODAY, Thursday, March 28, from 5-6:30 p.m. in Uptown Ankeny (of course!). Visit the Easter Bunny at the Holiday House, located on Southwest Third and Maple streets. Get your magic number (while supplies last!) and then find your egg at participating. Grand prize eggs include 1 bike from Kyle's Bikes and Uptown Ankeny Association and 1 stuffed bunny.

 

 

The other HUGE event happening on Saturday, March 26 at 10:30 a.m. is the Ankeny First United Methodist Church Easter Egg Hunt. You can find this huge Easter Egg Hunt at the Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center at 1220 N.W. Prairie Ridge Drive in Ankeny. The Easter Egg Hunt is free (no cost) to children ages 2 through fourth grade, who are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

 

 

Children are asked to bring their own Easter baskets. Over 8,000 candy filled eggs are scattered over two and a half acres of land adjacent to the Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center. The Easter Bunny will be on hand and parents are encouraged to bring their cameras.

 

This Easter Egg Hunt is a 20 year old tradition that began in the church’s courtyard, with only about 50 families attending. That attendance has steadily increased over the years and the event was eventually so large that is was moved to Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center.

Displaying blog entries 41-50 of 183