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Displaying blog entries 71-80 of 199

Trending: Home Gyms

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you’re in to exercising, you know that the hardest part of a workout is simply showing up! Making time to go to the gym AND finding the extra cash to do so can be hard! The simple solution to the things holding us back from killer, consistent workouts? At-home gyms! Nothing beats the convenience of cardio, weight training, tabata, HIIT, yoga, or Pilates in the privacy of your own home!

Here’s what’s trending in the world of at-home gyms. As you can see, a large, dedicated space for a home gym is not always a must and a smart, well organized, functional home gym is a wonderful way to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of your workout routines.

 

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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!

Get Organized in the Garage!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

We get it – summer is coming to a close and your garage has been worked HARD! There’s a good chance it has become a dumping ground for misplaced objects and miscellaneous items, in the chaos of hot days, late nights, and lots of outdoor activities. Learn how to ORGANIZE YOUR GARAGE and reclaim that space in these 4 easy steps.

Step 1: Clear Out.

Begin by removing everything from the garage in order to give yourself a blank canvas.  With an empty area, you’ll be able to think more clearly and make better decisions about which items should go where.

Things to consider: Chance are, you’ll need to empty your garage on to a driveway or yard.  Therefore, common sense says -- get to work when the weather is cooperating. 

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Step 2:  Clean Out.

Much like the inside of your home, sorting of the garage should begin with designating piles to keep, donate/sell, and toss.  The “keepers” can then, in turn, be designated into categories such as: toys, sports equipment, tools, etc.  An empty garage is the perfect time to sweep and/or power wash the floor and paint the walls.
Things to consider: Some homeowners prefer the look and benefits of an epoxied floor.  This is the time to do it.

 

Step 3:  Draft a plan.

Whether you plan on investing in a garage-organizing system or developing your own solution, we encourage you to take down the dimensions of the garage, paying particular attention to doors, windows, switches, and even how much space the parking of your cars requires.  Then take some time to think about how you how each area of the garage will be used. 

Things to consider: Keep like items together -- sports equipment stays summoned to one area, tools to another, and so on.  This just makes good, logical sense and you’ll thank yourself later on when you avoid the hassle of searching for stuff.

 

Step 4: Get to work!

Things to consider:

● Work vertically and get items off the floor.  Even if your garage is lacking in square footage, chances are, there is plenty of wall space.  Use it to your advantage.

● Use overhead space.

● Frequently used items should be put in a convenient location.

● Seasonal items can be stored in the hardest to reach spots.

2015 Iowa State Fair: Our Top 10 Favorite Things To Do

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the IOWA STATE FAIR getting underway TODAY, we can’t help but to be thinking about all the fun (& food!!) an event of this grandeur 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 Carrie Underwood and REBA to The Fray and Casting Crowns, 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!

 

 

Ankeny Unplugged 2015

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Get ready, Ankeny! ANKENY UNPLUGGED is happening this Saturday and you’re going to want to be there!   

 

 

Featuring hot local and regional musical acts, Ankeny Unplugged offers a unique opportunity for friends and neighbors to come together.  This one-of-a-kind mini music fest has thought of it all -- good music, delicious food vendors, unique arts and crafts, refreshing beverages, sweet confections, a free bicycle valet, and more!

 

So, what more do you need to know?  Here are a few more details:

 

● This year’s concert has a new format! It is now a ONE day, alllll day festival at the Bandshell at Wagner Park (410 West First Street).

● Doors open at 11:00 am and bands take the stage from noon until 9pm.

● The event is open to all ages, and tickets are $15 at the door. Children 12 and under are free when admitted with a paying adult.

●  Ankeny Unplugged is organized by the Ankeny Jaycees, and sponsored by The City of Ankeny.

●  This year’s musical lineup can be found at the event’s website (http://ankenyunplugged.com/) and is going to be rocking! 

 

On a personal note, I recommend dressing in layers, bringing bag chairs and/or blankets, and leaving your own food, drinks, and cigarettes at home!

Now that you know the details, have time to otherwise clear your calendar, AND have been enticed by the promise of awesome entertainment, good food, and a fun time with friends, you have no excuse to miss what is sure to be a great time!

Inexpensive ideas for DIY Upgrades

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

You don’t need a big budget to give your home a little boost! A little time, energy, and a few dollars are often the only investment you need! We’ve collected 10 ideas for your inspiration!

 

  1. Paint those unsightly linoleum floors!

 

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  1. Take baseboards from small to tall!

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  1. Give your kitchen an updated look with peel and stick flooring for a new backsplash!


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  1. Give that garage an easy upgrade!

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  1. Board and batten your walls!

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  1. Cool-ify your curtains with paint!

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  1. Freshen the front door with a fun color!

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  1. Frame a boring bathroom mirror.

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  1. Add crown molding to a bookcase!


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  1. Let window boxes beautify your exterior!


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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.  

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.

 

Summerfest 2015: Part 2

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Welcome back to part II in our series highlighting ANKENY 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 11 and 12).


Read Part I {here}.

 

Saturday, July 11, 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 be entertained!



● In its 17th 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 the band, 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 Fest; Sand Volleyball, Slowpitch Softball, and Kickball Tournaments.

 

Even on its 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 2015 SummerFest activities!  For the full schedule of events, details, and other general information, visit www.ankenysummerfest.org.

 

Now, we want to know, are YOU planning a trip to SummerFest this year?  If so, what’s on your list of can’t-miss events?

Summerfest 2015: Part 1

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 9 - 12) 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 9 & 10), then finishing up with the final 2 days (July 11 & 12) in our blog post next week.  So, hang onto your hats, this is going to be fun!

 

Summerfest 2015 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 9 thru Sunday, July 12.  There are games, rides, and lots of attractions for the kids (or kids a 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 to the band, Monkey Monkey Monkey on Thursday, July 9, 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 its 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 12th 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}

● This year’s Kiddie Parade is fully embracing the Summerfest theme of “Making Magic” and we have no doubt that it’ll be full of fun and LOTS of kids! Kids (and parents) should meet in Uptown Ankeny at 5:45 pm.  Judging begins at 6:15, with the parade to start soon after at 6:30.

 

 

● Friday night’s Leisure Garden band line-up continues with the band, Decoy, from 8:00-11:45 pm. 

 

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 next week, when we highlight more of event favorites from Saturday and Sunday in our blog: Summerfest, Part II.

Displaying blog entries 71-80 of 199