Good- bye 70’s

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The temperatures dropped, corn and soybean harvest is in full swing with the geese enjoying the leftovers, the woolly caterpillars emerged, and it is time to pack away the sandals and shorts. I personally cringe at the falling temperatures and thoughts of the long winter ahead but also take joy in the changing colors of the trees, walking through the rustling leaves, and looking at everyone’s fall decor.

Octoberfest may have come and gone but our area offers a plethora of fall activities both for families and adults. I encourage you to take some time away from your fall clean-up and experience some of what our area has to offer. Buying your apples or pumpkins at the grocery store or Farmer’s Markets lacks the same experience and fun that picking your own at the pumpkin patch, corn maze, and apple orchard offers, especially if you have children. Although I must admit, even though we are empty nesters we still go to the apple orchards on a regular basis. We find the apples taste so much better when we pick our own, talk to the growers, and watch the small children running around experiencing nature and all that it has to offer. Click here for information on local pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and apple orchards.

Of course, picking apples and finding the perfect pumpkin are only a small portion of what you can experience in the Fox Valley in the fall. There are haunted houses, pumpkin carving contests, boo- fest, Halloween walks, trunk or treat activities, trick or treat, and other spoo-tacular activities.  Click here for more.

If celebrating Halloween isn’t your cup of tea and you prefer something a little more stout, the area offers many Brew, winery tours, and tastings. It is a great time to take a little road trip to visit a winery, or visit the 2nd Annual Craft Beer Walk in Downtown Appleton this Saturday, October 14. The following weekend you shop local as you take part in the 9th Annual Soup Walk.

Falling temperatures and leaves doesn’t mean it is time to stay home. Before you cuddle up in front of the fire take advantage of some of our areas best offerings. The Fox Valley offers something for everyone. Please comment and add your favorite fall activity in the area.

Touch my Heart

Touch my Heart

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One wouldn’t consider a blog post on touching my heart real estate related, but since real estate reflects on heart and home, this article is appropriate.

Living in a small community such as the Fox Cities offers plenty of benefits, both those related to life and those related to giving to others such as cancer benefits. Having attended and helped with different benefits prompted me to write this article, not necessarily because these events are particularly different than the ones helping the victims of Irma, Maria, or Harvey, but because they really touch home. I firmly believe that inherently, there are good caring people all over this world. What sets the benefits apart in our communities, is that we often personally know the people on the receiving end.

For example, this summer I had the opportunity to spend the day at the  Spierings Rock Cancer benefit at Doyle Park in Little Chute. Believe it or not, I tried to volunteer but they were full. Imagine that! We decided to attend the benefit with our very good friends because they are living and unfortunately eventually dying with cancer. Our friends were recipients of a donation courtesy of all the people attending, sponsoring, and donating to the Spierings Rock Cancer Foundation. This donation touched the hearts of my friends, consequently touching my heart.  We also saw the names of others we know or knew who also benefited from the generosity of our small community with a big heart.

Another local non profit touching my heart is .B.A.B.E.S.,INC . My “friends” got me involved in B.A.B.E.S. Hats Off! 2017 and now 2018. As a former teacher and Big Sister/ Big Brothers,  I experienced child abuse several times, breaking my heart. B.AB.E.S. does so much for  the young parents and children in our community through education, respite care, and counseling to help alleviate child abuse in our community. On Facebook, I see so many young moms calling out for help. B.A.B.E.S., Inc is a wonderful free resource helping parents get on their feet so they can support themselves and their children in a positive environment. Unbeknownst to me, when I attended last years event, I discovered that a friend of mines daughter used B.A.B.E.S., Inc so she could go to school, get a degree, a job, and take care of her young child. How heartwarming that I got to volunteer for an organization that helped someone I knew. The money donated and the time volunteered stayed right here in our community.

So in ending, how is this real estate related? I enjoy selling homes to people in a community where you can see that people’s hearts’ are in the right place. I like to be able to tell newcomers stories about how our community steps up not only to help people in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, but right here in our community. Plus,organizations such as B.A.B.E.S., Inc helping parents get an education, jobs, ultimately allows them to buy a home in which to raise their happy family.

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Honoring the Red, White, and Blue

 

DiemThe 4th of July is upon us and we all look forward to celebrating with family and friends. Unfortunately today, we seem to have lost sight of honoring the red, white, and blue.

The 4th of July is all about BIG sales, hot dogs and hamburgers on the barbecue, circus peanuts, boating, neighborhood parties, and fantastic firework displays. Lest we forgot, the 4th of July is also about celebrating our independence. On July 4th,1776 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, eventually forming the United States. Believe it or not, fireworks were originally part of the first Independence Day celebration which took place on July 4th, 1777, mandated by John Adams. The 4th became a federal holiday in 1941, celebrating the birth of American Independence. John Adams, as one of the originators of the Declaration of Independence, envisioned celebrating with,”Pomp & Parade… Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, And Illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”  

We are not so far off in our celebrations but I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the origins of our July 4th celebrations, bless our country, and pass down the story to your children and grandchildren. 

Happy 4th of July to you and your family

.God Bless America

The Packing Party

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The title, “The Packing Party ” seems fitting for this blog because it is relative when moving from one home to another. But, the Packing Party that I joined a few weeks ago has nothing to do with real estate. It is all about babies. Who doesn’t love a baby? They ask for so little, food, love, warmth, and a dry clean diaper. But some mothers need to choose between food and a diaper. Can you imagine?

I was honored to be able to participate in a Packing Party for Jake’s Diapers, a non profit whose mission is simply to provide the basic need of cloth diapers to babies, children, and adults in extreme poverty whose caregivers have to choose between food & diapers. Sounds rather simple but is so complicated. Jake’s Diapers has provided over thirty thousand diapers to 16 impoverished countries and to parents locally in need. The story of how everything falls into place and the partnerships that the founders of Jake’s Diapers have made to reach mothers and families in need is remarkable.

Many of the recipients of the diapers are orphanages in places such as Haiti and Peru. These organizations struggle daily to provide food and other basic needs for the babies. Jake’s Diapers only sends 2 dozen cloth diapers to each baby. It doesn’t sound like many but these  mothers are used to washing and greatly appreciate what they receive. The gift of diapers actually cuts down on the spreading of disease.

Jake’s Diapers partners with several businesses to provide for the transport and donation of diapers, diaper bags (in which to pack the diapers), and the adjustable rubber pants that grow from newborn to toddler size. Nicki’s Diapers of Madison, WI strongly supports the cause and provides huge donations. Johnson and Johnson also donates and supports Jake’s Diapers. The military also gets involved by transporting and dropping off the diapers.

How can you help? Jake’s Diapers needs cloth diapers. Have your children outgrown their cloth diapers?  Visit their Website to see how you can donate diapers. Monetary donations and your time are welcomed.

I personally never really thought about babies needing diapers. Of course, I knew there were starving babies all over this world but didn’t consciously think about the diaper need. I admire the founders of Jake’s Diapers for seeing a need and establishing a non profit to help diaper the babies. It touched my heart that even for a couple of hours, I could be part of something that provides basic needs both locally and internationally.

Spring Fever-Is it Real?

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Spring has sprung; the robins, sandhill cranes, and redwing blackbirds are just a few of the birds that have returned. The worms emerged during the recent rains, the “occasional”sunshine exudes warmth and baseball season starts on Saturday.

But, does “spring fever” really exist? While not actually a fever, warmer longer days following the spring equinox creates a biological change in people. Humans experience a higher energy level, need less sleep, reduce their food consumption, and encounter a lifting of their spirits when winter ends and spring begins.

My  personal bout of spring fever started a few weeks ago. I laced up my walking shoes and leashed Riley, my walking companion, for our morning and evening walks. Even our very short legs, his four and my two, yearn to be stretched out and moved. I’ve started my yard tours to check on our bulbs and plantings to discover what survived and is emerging from the previously frozen tundra.We even went to the garden store on Saturday to dream and purchase seeds to start indoors for our flower garden. We met quite a few like- minded people itching to start their gardens. I can’t wait to plant the seeds and watch my yard flourish into a canvas of color. I also suffer from clean window-itis every spring. I want to rid the windows of all their winter dirt and soil so I can clearly see my garden and it doesn’t interfere with the streaming sunlight.

All the people walking dogs, riding bikes,pushing strollers, and in-line skating along Apple Creek trail yesterday was another sure sign of Wisconsinites afflicted with spring fever. We are also experiencing the effects of spring fever at work as people are showing a strong interest in building new houses.

What symptoms of spring fever do you experience? Do you feel the biological pull to exercise, redecorate your home, or plan a garden? Or maybe, it is the lifting of your spirits as well as a makeover with a new hairdo or wardrobe. Whatever your symptoms of spring fever, be sure to embrace the season.

The Holiday Staycation

We stayed in Appleton for the holiday with big plans to play tourist again. Our daughters came to visit and one brought along a cold or the flu, thus our tours were cut short and this blog post is late.

We had plans that included visiting ice sculptures, touring holiday light displays, volunteering with We Care Meals, hiking on Christmas Day, and stops at various museums and local shops and coffee shops. Surprisingly, we accomplished several of those things.

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Before our daughters arrived and the rain melted the Appleton downtown ice sculptures, my husband and I ran downtown on Christmas Eve to take a gander.We didn’t have a lot of time as we spent the morning shoveling the heavy wet snow, building a snowman, and needed to rush home for the Packer game.Although the sculptures had started to melt, you could still see the creativity and skill that went into each one. It is a shame that the wicked temperatures on carving day put a damper on the winter event.Still, we enjoyed the sculptures and the snowman in Houdini Plaza and appreciate the Downtown Appleton, Inc. on their hard work in continuing to make the downtown thrive.

My family toured different Christmas displays than we saw last year. For the most part the ones we saw in Appleton were somewhat disappointing. We got a chuckle out of ourselves  as we loved the home that played a Santa video on a projection screen in the front window. Even as four adults we enjoyed the creativity.

Although the flu put a damper on our staycation, we did find an opportunity to venture out at the end of the week. First we enjoyed brunch at Appleton’s iconic Little Diner Xpress followed by a trip to the Kohler Design Center and museum. We spent hours in both. A trip to Kohler is well worth the drive; especially if you take the more scenic back roads. The ideas and technology displayed in the two levels of the design center are endless and have something for everyone.We loved the history in the lower level; having no idea that the Kohler family was involved in the manufacturing of agriculture implements, cast iron furniture, and in helping farmers and the country with the development of the diesel engine connected to an alternator; as well as design and manufacturing of plumbing fixtures. Kohler invented and manufactured the first dishwasher and garbage disposal as well as the first indoor bathtub modeled after a horse trough. Kohler, an innovative and forward thinking company, believes in taking care of their families and employees. The beautiful American Club is a prime example of the hospitality and warmth the Kohler family extended towards their employees and the community. Their story is worth reading and telling.

Lastly, we took a short jaunt to Menasha on New Year’s Eve for coffee and lunch at the charming coffee shop , “Your Daily Grind.” We stopped in a few shops which are all independently owned. At the recently opened Renewed and Reclaimed,we happened upon a great find we couldn’t resist. These simple snowmen were made by the Neenah High School special needs students in Workshop 120. The owner of “Renewed and Reclaimed”, Jodi, sells these items to support the students in the endeavor to hone their skills and buy specialty tools . One hundred percent of the proceeds goes directly back to Workshop 120. Please stop by “Renewed and Reclaimed”, located on Main St., in Menasha to support Jodi in her efforts.

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Although our holiday and the beginning of the new year were hampered by illness, we enjoyed getting to know our community of the Fox Valley a little better and highly recommend you touring these places. We are open to hearing about other “must see”destinations in the Fox Valley.

 

 

The Volunteer Spirit

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My family and I searched for a venue where we could physically volunteer on Christmas Day in order to bring happiness to others. Obviously we aren’t alone in the spirit of giving as many of the volunteer opportunities in the Fox Valley were full- of volunteers.

Luckily, we found an opportunity to volunteer, although we didn’t get to do much besides deliver meals to 4 homes. I was able to talk to a few people who took advantage of the free homemade meals. The gratitude for both the free hot holiday meal and a few minutes of friendly conversation showed on their faces. While we welcomed the small opportunity to help others, it was really the story of how Ed Rathsack and his brother started the We Care Meals Group in Appleton, that touched my heart.

I spoke to Ed Rathsack at length on Christmas Day about how the We Care Meals served on Christmas and Easter came about. Over 30 years ago Ed and his brother were returning home after a family Christmas gathering where the table and their stomachs were filled with holiday food, spirits, and love from spending time with family and friends. As they listened to the radio they were distraught to hear of 4 suicides committed right here in the Fox Valley due to loneliness and depression during the holidays. These two men vowed to make a difference.And what a difference they have made. The original We Care Meals were started by Ed and his brother, a chef in the Fox Valley Tech Culinary program. While the We Care Meals Program has expanded and evolved over the last 30 years, it only exists due to donations, grants, and the many volunteer hands and hearts. Manderfield’s Bakery, Van de Walles, and the Outagamie County Sheriff’s department are some of the businesses and organizations that volunteer food, time,and money to make We Care Meals in the Fox Cities a success.

We Care Meals provides both home delivery and the opportunity to share a communal meal complete with live music and gifts for the young ones.This year the meal took place at the beautiful Riverside Gardens. You don’t need to explain yourself to partake in a meal or to have one delivered, We Care Meals are open for all in the community. We Care Meals also provides an opportunity for others to give. It warmed my heart to see families with young children volunteering right alongside everyone else. I hope to have the opportunity to volunteer again but in the meantime Ed Rathsack and his crew are already accepting donations for the next We Care Meal to take place on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017. Please call 920-731-7867 to make a donation.You may also contact the United Way of the Fox Cities.

Thank you Ed- The Giving Grandpa!