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Santa's North Pole Village 2016

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the holidays less than 2 months away, now is the time to start that sh-sh-sh-shopping. But fear not, friends! Ankeny plays host to a HUGE annual event that makes the gift getting easy.  That’s right -- EASY!  With over 250 vendors, the Santa’s North Pole Village Craft Show is sure to have something for everyone. Even those hard to buy for people in your life!

The 35th Annual Santa’s North Pole Village is taking place this Saturday, November 5, 2016, so get it on your calendars and make plans now!  With between 5,000-10,000 visitors expected, this Ankeny Art Center fundraiser, is one of Iowa’s largest craft shows.  And, of course, that many visitors calls for multiple locations!  This year’s event will be held at Northview Middle School, Parkview Middle School, and Prairie Ridge Middle School.  Bonus: there is a shuttle service available for transportation from site to site!

From fine art crafters and “junkers,” to jewelry, candle makers, and more this is an event you do NOT want to miss!  So, here’s what you need to know:

35th Annual Santa's North Pole Village Craft Show

Saturday, November 5, 2016.    Hours: 9am-4pm

Admission: $5.  Shuttle bus available.

Three locations: Northview Middle School, Prairie Ridge Middle School and Parkview Middle School.

Cafeteria opens at 8 am and features an array of food vendors.

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!

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

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With all the changes happening in the Ankeny Community School District, it is proving difficult to keep up on the latest.  And while the community as a whole is trying to adjust, we at Ankeny Real Estate Service believe that it is important to remember that there are hundreds of teachers working tirelessly with one common goal in mind: to educate our students.  For this reason, we'd like to take the opportunity to introduce you to some of those educators on a regular basis.  From personal interests, to an insider's perspective, we hope that our Q & A's with an Ankeny Educator series will help us all to remember that there are real, committed people working to ensure that our Ankeny youth are being taught to the highest of standards.

So, without further ado, we'd like to introduce you to Mrs. Weesner!

Name: Molly Weesner

Position: 6th and 7th Grade Health Teacher at Prairie Ridge Middle School

Number of years in education: 9 years

Years taught in Ankeny: 5 years

Family: Tim Weesner Ellie, Cecilia, and Maggie

Hobbies: Being with my family, Cheering on the Cyclones, Gardening, Crafting, and Running.

What do you consider the best thing about teaching in Ankeny?

Ankeny is such a great community; what I enjoy most is teaching where I live. After living and teaching in Ankeny for five years, I am constantly running into current and former students here and there. For example, right now my daughter is playing softball and I currently have two of her teammates’ siblings in class. To me that is so fun. Even though the population in Ankeny is growing it still has that small town feel.

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

Currently, we are learning about Standards Based Grading. I think it is great to be able to give students more detailed feedback for where they are with their learning. I think we are headed in a great direction.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging aspect of my job as an educator is balancing all of my roles. Not only do I have to teach my content material, I also need to provide feedback, discipline, and praise, build relationships with students and coworkers, grow professionally, be part of school committees and more. At times it can be a bit overwhelming, but that is also what makes education a great field. Every day is different and there is never a dull moment.

How would your students describe you?

I hope my students would describe me as caring, fair, and fun. I want my students to work hard but we also like to have fun in health class.

What motivates you?

Coming up with creative and fun ways to help middle school students understand that their health is important and for them to understand that what they do now does impact their long term health motivates me.

What is typically the best part of your day?

My favorite part of my day is when I arrive at school in the morning and my room is all quiet. I get excited to see what the day will bring. There is always something great in every day.

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: 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!

Home Swimming Pool Safety

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

In the midst of these sweltering summer days, we believe that it is especially important to be mindful of swimming pool safety.  And while Iowa isn’t necessarily known for it’s home swimming pool popularity, it is certainly a trend on the rise from the real estate perspective.  For this reason, it is crucial that homeowners remain diligent when it comes to maintaining a safe environment around their swimming pool.

We have put together a list of home swimming pool safety steps for homeowners in hopes to inform and educate, thus preventing a potential drowning tragedy. 

● Invest in and make use of a lockable safety cover for your pool.

● Secure pool area using a four-foot or taller fence, with self-closing and self-latching gates.

● Consider the use of pool and gate alarms that sounds when children go near the pool.

● Drain and suction covers should be checked on a frequent and regular basis. Defective equipment can lead to accidental entrapment and drowning.

● Pool and hot tub water should be kept clean and clear by maintaining proper chemical levels, circulation, and filtration. Water should be tested regularly to avoid spreading of disease.

● Keep life-saving floatation devices on a pool hook close-by to aid in emergency rescue situations.

● A first-aid kit (including scissors for cutting hair or clothing that may be caught in a drain, a charged portable phone for calling 911, and a floatation device), should be accessible and well-labeled. 

● Clearly mark water depths and have “no diving” signs visible.

● It may seem like it goes without saying, but children should always, always, always be under active supervision if they are in or near the pool.

● Additionally, children and adults should be taught basic water safety.

● Learn to perform adult and child CPR and keep those skills updated regularly.

● Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life vests.

Nothing brings pool fun to a screeching halt faster than a water emergency. At Ankeny Real Estate Service, we take the safety of you and your family very seriously.  Therefore, we encourage you to go the extra mile this summer by implementing all of these steps to ensure a safer pool experience.  

Ankeny SummerFest, Part II

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Welcome back to part II in our series highlighting Ankeny’s SummerFest and some of our favorite/we-think-you-ought-to-know-about events!  As we mentioned last time, not only do we pride ourselves on being the “Ankeny Specialists” when it comes to real estate, but we’d like to think we know a little something about our community and it’s happenings, too.  So, without further ado, here are just a few of the, what we consider to be, can’t-miss events from SummerFest days 3 and 4 (July 13 and 14).

Read Part I {here}.

Saturday, July 13, is a day jam-packed with fun and activities for all ages and citizens with a wide variety of interests. 

● The day begins with a bang as the SummerFest Grand Parade takes to the streets of Ankeny at 9:00 am.  As long-time patrons, we encourage parade-goers to find a spot along the route early, come prepared, and be ready to to be entertained!

●In it’s 16th year, the Cardboard Boat Regatta is among the most popular of SummerFest events!  The challenge to, “design and build a person-powered corrugated cardboard boat that is capable of racing, or at least floating,“ is not only exciting for participants, but is also highly entertaining (read: hilarious!) to watch.

●Once again, no SummerFest evening is complete without a stop by the Leisure Garden where bands like Throwing Toast and the Standing Hamptons will be performing on Saturday.

●Among much, much more, don’t forget to check out other Saturday events, such as: The Miss 16 Contest; Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast; Sand Volleyball, Slowpitch Softball, and Bags Tournaments.

Even on it’s final day, SummerFest doesn’t let up on fun!  The events schedule is full, but a few of our Sunday favorites are:

Ankeny Optimist SummerFest 5k/1 mile run.  This is the perfect way to work off some of that fantastic fried food from the midway that you’ve been consuming all weekend!  Even better?  It’s for a great cause!

Corks & Caps: Iowa Wine and Craft Beer Festival.  A perfect opportunity to check out wineries and breweries from all over Iowa!  Tickets are available at the door!

Fireworks!  The finale!  It’s a spectacular show...especially for those that choose to be up close and personal, viewing the fireworks from the Leisure Garden or Prairie Ridge Sports Complex!  These fireworks are the perfect way to celebrate another successful year of SummerFest!

And there you have it!  Our complete list of must-see/must-do 2013 SummerFest activities!  For the full schedule of events, details, and other general information, visit www.ankenysummerfest.org.

 

Ankeny Summerfest, Part I

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

At Ankeny Real Estate Service, we like to refer to ourselves as the “Ankeny Specialists” when it comes to Ankeny homes.  BUT, that doesn’t mean that our expertise ends with the real estate market. Nope! We are proud to be a long-time, Ankeny-based business, which means our community ties are strong and we are well-versed on all things Ankeny...including local events. 

This year’s Ankeny Summerfest is right around the corner and we think you need to know about it!  However, this 4 day event (July 11 - 14) is just too BIG for us to cram into just one blog, which is why we’ve decided to make this a 2-post series.  Today we’re excited to share with you some of our favorite Summerfest activities, beginning with the events of the first 2 days (July 11 & 12), then finishing up with the final 2 days (July 13 & 14) in our blog post next week.  So, hang onto your hats, this is going to be fun!

Summerfest 2013 begins with a Thursday evening chock-full of fun!  Here’s the rundown on what Day One has to offer:

Summerfest on-site carnival and vendors.  Runs Thursday, July 11 thru Sunday, July 14.  There are games, rides, and lots of attractions for the kids (or kids at heart!), as well as, plenty of foods, drinks, and vendors for those less interested in the Midway shenanigans. 

●The ever-popular Leisure Garden will be playing host (yet again!)  to the band, The Rumbles on Thursday, July 11, from 7:30-11:00 pm.  As always, entrance to the Leisure Garden is free.

●This year’s 3-On-3 Youth Basketball Tournament gets it’s start on opening day.  What an awesome opportunity to grab a couple buddies, lace up those sneakers, and begin your quest for 5th-8th grade total basketball domination! 

The Summerfest fun continues on into Friday with a full day of activities offered.  Some of our favorites include:

●The Ankeny Alumni Association will be hosting it’s Tenth Annual Golf Tournament at Otter Creek Golf Course.  This is a 4 person best shot tourney, with a $70 registration fee that includes a cart, lunch, and plenty of swag!  Details can be found {here}

●The Bill Riley State Fair Talent Show, presented at Prairie Ridge School Stadium.  Be there at 7:00 pm and be prepared to be wowed by some of Ankeny’s wicked-awesome talent!

●This year’s Kiddie Parade is fully embracing the Summerfest theme of “Get Loud” and we have no doubt that it’ll be just that...plus LOTS of fun! Kids (and parents) should meet in Uptown Ankeny at 6:00 pm.  Judging begins at 6:15, with the parade to start soon after at 6:30.

●Friday night’s Leisure Garden band line-up begins with Abby Normal from 6:00-8:30 pm, then continues from 8:45 to 11:45 pm with Summerfest-newbie Fahrenheit

And there you have it -- just a FEW of our Summerfest favorites from Days 1 & 2.  To view a complete schedule of events and to learn more about all that Summerfest has to offer, visit their website at www.ankenysummerfest.org.  Plus, don’t forget to stay tuned for next week when we highlight more of event favorites from Saturday and Sunday in our blog: Summerfest, Part II.

Rain Barrel Watering System (a great addition to your raised garden!)

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!

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 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

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14