Tuesday, August 30, 2016

DIY pet treats: economical, easy and nutritious

Dedicated pet owners have been making treats for their furry buddies since the 1800s, according to Chef Noel Ridsdale, culinary academic director at The Art Institute of Tucson.

He adds that in the last five to seven years, the number of people making pet treats has taken off. "There are many reasons for this, but I think it is the attitude that people have taken with their pets. It seems that over the past, pets have almost become another child in the house. So with this change in behavior toward our pets, it only makes sense that we would now want to feed them better."

Value - both in cost and better health

Chef Ridsdale states that making pet treats at home is both economical and healthy.

"Recipes for these treats are not any different than food for their human counterparts. Most recipes include a protein, a vegetable and a bread. All of these ingredients are readily available and are inexpensive."

Do-it-yourself recipes are available on reputable food databases including Allrecipes.com, food.com and AnimalPlanet.com - just be sure that the recipes have been tested by others prior to trying them on your pet.

Chef Ridsdale cites additional, important reasons for making treats at home. There have been more than 20 recalls by pet food manufacturers, according to the FDA. And with increased incidents of pet obesity, allergens and contaminants, knowing what's in pet food - and where it's made - is becoming increasingly important.

"We want to ensure that our pets are getting the same level of food quality [that we are]. If a dog food is made in China, we don't know for sure what standards are being met. I would not want my pet eating something that might make them sick," states Ridsdale.


Chef Ridsdale's homemade cat treats


1 cup buckwheat or oat flour

1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans, ground into flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

6 ounces tuna, salmon, or other meat

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 13x9 pan with olive or canola oil. Cats can detect the taste of vegetable or corn oil, so do not use these.

1. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl.

2. Mix tuna, egg and oil together at medium speed.

3. Slowly combine wet and dry ingredients.

4. Add enough water to create a cake batter consistency.

5. Spread batter in pan evenly and bake for 1 hour.

7. Lower oven temperature to 250 F and bake for 45-60 minutes more.

8. Remove pan and slice into 1 inch squares but keep treats in the pan until ready to serve.

Can your child's after-school program lead to a STEM career?

"Multiple studies show that children who take part in quality after-school programs have better attendance, grades and behavior, and do better on tests compared to their peers who went home alone to an empty house," says Dan O'Donnell, vice president of the Bricks 4 Kidz after-school program. "Parents can help their children get a jump-start on life, and learn to love learning, by enrolling them in high-quality after-school programs."

It's important for parents to assess after-school programs with a critical eye, and consider how successfully a program combines learning with fun and basic care. While many programs are effective at keeping kids safely occupied after school ends but before parents are done with work, not all emphasize educational material. Programs that stimulate a child's interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects can be particularly valuable - possibly even inspiring an interest in a high-demand STEM career.

"We must prepare all students ... to be proficient in STEM subjects," the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) writes in a report to President Obama. "And we must inspire all students to learn STEM and, in the process, motivate many of them to pursue STEM careers."

An after-school program with a STEM emphasis can fulfill both the need to educate children and inspire a lifelong love of STEM subjects, experts agree. Parents seeking a STEM program for their children should look for one that:

* Offers creative and engaging activities that are as fun and motivational as they are educational.

* Encourages curiosity and creativity, which are building blocks of independent thinking.

* Draws on the real-life expertise of people working in STEM fields. For example, engineers and architects designed Bricks 4 Kidz modules.

* Uses familiar, loved learning tools, like LEGO (R) bricks, to provide hands-on, interactive STEM lessons.

"It's also important for a program's lessons to be age-appropriate," O'Donnell notes. "Children need STEM lessons at every age, which is why we offer programs for children ages 3 through 13. We use themed-based project kits to motivate children by reinforcing STEM principles, and at the same time boost self-esteem, improve fine motor-skills, and teach organization and how to follow directions. And we do it in such a way that kids have so much fun they don't think of what they're doing as work."

To find a Bricks 4 Kidz program in your area, visit the interactive map at www.bricks4kidz.com/locations. You can learn more about the programs and search for a location by state or ZIP code.

"STEM education is most successful when students develop personal connections with the ideas and excitement of STEM fields," according to the President's Council report. "This can occur not only in the classroom, but also through individualized and group experiences outside the classroom ...."

Saturday, August 27, 2016

3406 NW Boulder Brook PL Ankeny, IA 50023

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/AQF3EK/3406-NW-Boulder-Brook-PL-Ankeny-IA-524464
Great location! Great updates and upgrades! Step inside to see all of the custom features. Lets start with great curb appeal including new garage doors and fabulous landscaping. The flooring inside has also been updated along with stone accent walls, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. The master suite is large and spacious and the master bath has had a total remodel with tile shower and custom closet shelving. The lower level has a 4th bedroom and full bath along with a huge family room with a wet bar. The deck is wonderful for entertaining family and friends and is virtually maintenance free. The backyard also has a great fire pit area. The pool that is there now can stay with the house or leave with the sellers. The garage is also spacious and is heated. Be sure to put this one on your list!
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3.00
Square feet: 1,880
Price: $335,000

For more information about this property, please contact Bonnie Christensen at 515-971-9973 or bonniechristensen@remax.net. You can also text 3849760 to 67299.

See more listings at: bonniechristensen.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 524464

1037 Lake Shore DR SE Altoona, IA 50009

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/3488VE/1037-Lake-Shore-DR-SE-Altoona-IA-524449
This gorgeous home offers so much for any type of family. Features are an amazing yard, great layout on main level and large potential for the lower level, custom landscaping with a large white fence for privacy and large 3 car over-sized garage. The lower level has 10 ft. ceilings. The main level shows 3 large bedrooms, a kitchen that is hidden back from the main living area and a great family area. Split bedroom concept in this footprint.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 1,424
Price: $242,000

For more information about this property, please contact Sue Sutton at 515-250-3126 or suesutton@remax.net. You can also text 3849758 to 67299.

See more listings at: suesutton.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 524449

Friday, August 26, 2016

7179 Hamlet ST Johnston, IA 50131

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/XMRCK2/7179-Hamlet-ST-Johnston-IA-524394
Beautiful Ranch townhome in Johnston! This Must-See End Unit has been well cared for and it shows! You will love the open floor plan w/kitchen that opens up to formal dining and great room w/fireplace. Custom features include tall ceilings and transom windows throughout that allow for tons of natural light that adds to the open feel. Slider leads to deck overlooking grass area. Main floor features office/den with French doors, Master Bdrm w/private bath & walk-in closet, 2nd Bdrm near 2nd bath. Unfinished LL offers approx. 1,300sqft of wide open space for future finish! New roof w/40yr shingles and gutters installed 2012. All appliances stay, 1st fl laundry, 2C attached garage, healthy HOA w/low dues of $145/mo. Fantastic location near Hyperion/Saylorville/trails and more! Hurry, this one wont last!
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 1,316
Price: $175,500

For more information about this property, please contact Charlie Fazio at 515-556-5474 or charliefazio@remax.net. You can also text 3846750 to 67299.

See more listings at: www.charliefazio.com

MLS ID: 524394

Thursday, August 25, 2016

1512 Milton AVE Des Moines, IA 50316

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/LHEDJ6/1512-Milton-AVE-Des-Moines-IA-524345
The large eat in kitchen is one of the special features of this three bedroom home. The kitchen counter tops and flooring have been updated. There are three bedrooms on the main floor with plenty of space in the lower level to add more bedrooms if needed. The bathroom on the main floor has also been updated and there is an additional 3/4 bath in the lower level. The interior of the home has been recently painted and the home has that "New" feeling. There is plenty of off street parking in addition to the garage. Ready to move in condition!
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 1,200
Price: $117,000

For more information about this property, please contact Marlene Thatcher at (515) 770-9331 or marlenethatcher@gmail.com. You can also text 3844355 to 67299.

See more listings at: marlenethatcher.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 524345

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to get a good night's sleep

A good night's sleep can do wonders for you. It can help you to concentrate better at work, school and throughout your day. It helps you to remain alert, potentially avoiding accidents or other problems. With better sleep comes the ability to think clearer and to make better decisions. It is also good for your heart and your overall health. As important as getting a good night's sleep is, many people toss and turn in their beds. It could be the cheap mattress or it could be external factors affecting their level of sleep quality.

Sleeping on Discount Beds?

Perhaps the most common problem people have when it comes to getting a good night's sleep is their inability to sleep on a mattress that is properly designed for them. Many people purchase the most affordable beds they can get, without thought to what this can do to the back, neck and other areas of pressure on the body.

- Choose a firm and supportive mattress. These are able to provide your body with enough support to remain in proper form throughout the night.

- Consider memory foam mattress options. These foam mattresses will allow your pressure points to be relaxed because they adjust to the shape of your body. They are supportive but very comfortable.

- If you have a bed that is too soft, this could cause problems in terms of lack of support. If the bed is too firm, you are uncomfortable which means you will likely spend some of your night tossing and turning.

Consider the mattress you have. Is it the best solution for you?

External Factors

Getting a good night's sleep is something you need to do on a regular basis. Most people have external stresses and situations that can take away from this. Consider the following:

- Did you know that sleeping normal hours, when it is dark, will improve your sleep quality? The body's internal clock releases hormones when there is sunlight to keep you up and, when darkness falls, hormones help to put you to sleep. Add to your modern bedroom furniture some modern drapes which can block out sunlight if you are unable to sleep "normal" hours.

- Select the right type of bed. Buying affordable bedroom furniture is important but if that set is falling apart, chances are good your comfort level is going to be very low.

- Consider the room's d├ęcor. Remove the television or hide it within the bedroom furniture. Keep distractions to a minimum. You want your body to identify your bed as a place to sleep. By removing these distractions, you can improve your ability to sleep.

All of these things put together will help you to have a good night's sleep. But if you are not giving yourself enough time to sleep each day, even the best mattress out there is not going to be able to improve your quality of sleep. Structure your day around a healthy amount of sleep and chances are good you will accomplish much.

by: Ben Weissman


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

629 27th ST SE Altoona, IA 50009

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/AGCW2A/629-27th-ST-SE-Altoona-IA-524138
This Altoona home in the Prairie Vista Development has over 1800 sq. ft. of finished space. Beautiful oak trim kitchen with granite counter tops and pantry cabinet. Main level has family room with bamboo floors, fireplace, 1/2 bath and laundry room. Upstairs you will find recently carpeted with a large Master Bedroom with walk in closet and 2 additional bedrooms and another full bath. Per the seller, the basement has approx. 450 Sq. Ft finished. Outside boasts a large storage shed and fenced in yard.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3.00
Square feet: 1,415
Price: $217,900

For more information about this property, please contact Eric Vanderploeg at 515-729-4989 or evanderploeg@remax.net. You can also text 3838943 to 67299.

See more listings at: evanderploeg.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 524138

3302 SW 26th ST Ankeny, IA 50023

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/F2JP9S/3302-SW-26th-ST-Ankeny-IA-524126
Fresh paint! Clean carpets! Great convenient location! The 2 bedrooms and 2 baths are spacious. You will love sitting on this great deck enjoying the summer sun. It also makes it convenient to grill and entertain family and friends!
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4.00
Square feet: 2,113
Price: $335,000

For more information about this property, please contact Bonnie Christensen at 515-971-9973 or bonniechristensen@remax.net. You can also text 3838934 to 67299.

See more listings at: bonniechristensen.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 524126

1125 Flagstone LN Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/78N68N/1125-Flagstone-LN-Pleasant-Hill-IA-524064
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 1,056
Price: $106,900

For more information about this property, please contact Bonnie Christensen at 515-971-9973 or bonniechristensen@remax.net. You can also text 3838928 to 67299.

See more listings at: bonniechristensen.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 524064

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It's a wrap: Tips for making gifts look great all year long

A beautifully wrapped gift truly enhances the gift giving experience. If you're wrapping that birthday or anniversary gift in drab paper or (worse yet) the Sunday comics, it's time to rethink your wrapping techniques. With a few simple tips, it's easy to create great-looking, personal gift wrapping that is as much fun to open as it is to receive.

Add flair with unexpected wrapping materials

Ribbons don't actually have to be made of ribbon. Go above and beyond traditional wrapping paper and bows by using non-traditional materials to wrap your gift. Delight the fashionistas in your life by using fun, colorful belts to keep boxes secure (and sneak them an extra accessory too). When giving cookware, wrap the package in new kitchen towels. For a going away party, wrap the gift in maps or images of the recipient's destination. Attending a high school graduation party? Stick the gift box shut with a fun bumper sticker from the grad's soon-to-be college or university. Make bows out of raffia, use leftover wallpaper instead of wrapping paper, or tie a scarf around the handles of a gift bag to add something extra special to your present.

Choose an alternative to clear tape

Amp up the style of your gift with printed packaging tape. A fun substitute for traditional clear tape, EZ Start Packaging Tape from Duck brand is available in nine decorative, trendy patterns - everything from funky Black Olives in lime green and pink to Midnight Paisley in sophisticated black and white - that are perfect for keeping wrapping paper in place while also adding an unexpected touch to gifts. Add the Pink Zebra print over solid wrapping paper to delight any birthday girl, or gear your gift for guys with the Graffiti Skulls pattern.

Create a one-of-a-kind container

Forego wrapping paper entirely and decorate the box itself. Create a unique design using stickers, stencil a monogram or pattern on the top, or decoupage it with images that remind you of the recipient. EZ Start Packaging Tape can also help makeover your gift package - completely cover the box in the tape, or use it to create stripes, chevron, checks or other patterns. To make the gift extra special, choose an unexpected item or shape to hold your present. Buckets, hat boxes, or (new) take-out containers can make for interesting packages. And, once it's been personalized, the container itself serves as an added element of the gift.

Look to the occasion for inspiration

Theme your gift wrapping around the special occasion or holiday that you're celebrating. Bridal shower? Use wedding traditions to inspire your wrapping - make sure it includes something borrowed (perhaps a beautiful pin to tie the ribbon), something blue (tissue paper), something old (include a photo of you and the bride on the box) and something new (the gift). On birthdays, be inspired by the recipient's age - on a twelfth birthday, divide the gift into twelve small items, or wrap the present in an item that represents that number, like pages from a calendar. At graduations, wrap the package in the colors of the grad's new college or university.

Make shipped items special

Even when loved ones are far away, it's simple to make the outside of their package special and personal. Besides helping to glamorize gift wrapping or boxes, EZ Start Packaging Tape is also perfect for its original use: shipping items to loved ones away from home. Use the Camo pattern to send a gift to a friend or family member away in the military, or inspire some relaxation in stressed-out college students with a care package wrapped with the Tie-Dye or Green Peace tape patterns. It will make the package stand out and keep items safely secured.

Whether you're a gift-wrapping pro or just learning to tie a ribbon, these easy tips will help you to give stylishly wrapped gifts for all of your special occasions. Pick up a few materials and let your imagination go - the present and the wrapping are sure to doubly delight your next gift recipient.

Motivational Quote of the day by Tony Robbins

We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.

-Tony Robbins

703 27th ST SE Altoona, IA 50009

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/CFJNAP/703-27th-ST-SE-Altoona-IA-523736
Absolute charmer! Located in the Prairie Vista Development, this home screams style with its up to date neutral decor, dark hardwood floors and spacious kitchen with glass tile backsplash and all stainless steel appliances. Open living concept with kitchen and dining room overlooking spacious family room with gas fireplace and built-in shelving. Large fenced yard with oversized deck, great for entertaining plus attached garage and large shed for extra storage space.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3.00
Square feet: 1,444
Price: $199,999

For more information about this property, please contact Eric Vanderploeg at 515-729-4989 or evanderploeg@remax.net. You can also text 3822258 to 67299.

See more listings at: evanderploeg.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 523736

Thursday, August 11, 2016

4904 Walnut DR Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/SJLRK7/4904-Walnut-DR-Pleasant-Hill-IA-523534
This is a three bedroom home with 1100 square feet of living area on the first floor and a full basement that could easily be finished. This ranch style home is for the person who wants a nice home and is willing to do some cosmetic work. The three bedrooms and living room have hardwood flooring. The eat in kitchen gives you an open floor plan look to the living room. Lots of storage area in a basement that could be finished to give you even more living square footage.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1.00
Square feet: 1,100
Price: $124,900

For more information about this property, please contact Marlene Thatcher at (515) 770-9331 or marlenethatcher@gmail.com. You can also text 3811384 to 67299.

See more listings at: marlenethatcher.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 523534

3416 E University AVE Des Moines, IA 50317

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/U54AWW/3416-E-University-AVE-Des-Moines-IA-523501
Great East side corner lot location. Close to I-235 Freeway and 65/5 Bypass.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1.00
Square feet: 1,271
Price: $119,500

For more information about this property, please contact Sherman Ploeger at 515 967 2903 or shermploeger@gmail.com. You can also text 3811380 to 67299.

See more listings at: shermploeger.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 523501

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Environmentally friendly ways of reusing and recycling paper, books and mags

As consumers demand the need for more paper, whether it's for newspapers, plain paper or books, we continue to cut down vast numbers of really old trees. It will take numerous years to see this turned over. Reusing and recycling paper is really important nowadays.

All paper, including books and magazines, are virtually wholly biodegradable, meaning they don't clog landfills for many years and will merely degrade into nothing. The fact that there is a need for more paper makes it appear daft not to recycle as much as we possibly can. That is why we should reuse and recycle.

The traditional means of recycling paper is by making use of recycling facilities. You will observe that where you dwell, there are opportunities to recycle, including in numerous cases your local grocery store. You may notice that your local area has different bins so you can sort your paper for recycling. So that the paper can be usable once again, the recycling process should be put in place. This saves the trees and makes for a healthy environment. Paper recycling is not always straightforward and can be made challenging by the stapling of books and mags. Magnets may be utilized to handle the problems of metal and recycling companies are constantly trying to find ways to better the process.

Mags and books can be reused, it is only a matter of using our imagination. Those old books and magazines are a fantastic learning resource for your kids and they will have the chance to give them to other people in the future. An old book will be of use to somebody else and it is not hard for us give this way.

There are always places like libraries that are happy to take your old books from you. Some libraries will take donations of old books and even magazines, providing they are in good condition. The library and the public will be happy since they will have more reading choices. So instead of merely tossing a book or leaving it to collect dust, think about giving it to a library.

Books can also be sold instead of given away either locally or online. Ebay and Amazon are popular places online where you can try selling your old books.

To sum it up, paper is being utilized more and more but there are fewer trees. Beasts use trees as a natural home and they are essential for the well-being of the environment. There are plenty of choices for us to recycle paper and to ensure that books and magazines are reused instead of thrown away.

201 NE 7th ST Ankeny, IA 50021

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/A6VT6R/201-NE-7th-ST-Ankeny-IA-523447
Just remodeled, brand new flooring and carpet and freshly painted! 3 bedrooms and potential 4th non conforming bedroom in the basement. Large corner lot with fenced in backyard and 2 car detached garage with shelves and work bench. Bar in basement and much more! Wont last long!
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 1,092
Price: $169,900

For more information about this property, please contact Angie Robinson at 515-230-3683 or angie.robinson@remax.net. You can also text 3808801 to 67299.

See more listings at: angie.robinson.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 523447

950 9th AVE NW Altoona, IA 50009

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/K99GPX/950-9th-AVE-NW-Altoona-IA-523426
Beautifully remodeled split foyer home in Altoona! Lower level has a 3/4 bathroom, closet area in bathroom, extra storage and garage area converted into a non conforming bedroom or family room. Perfect for a roommate or teenager to have their own living area. Main floor has 2 good sized bedrooms with large closets, full bathroom and extra storage closets. Beautiful flooring, new paint and updates through out!. Vaulted ceiling, fireplace and large deck off of living room. Large fenced in back yard with shed and bike trail behind house. Wont last long at this price, check it out today!
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 822
Price: $147,900

For more information about this property, please contact Angie Robinson at 515-230-3683 or angie.robinson@remax.net. You can also text 3808798 to 67299.

See more listings at: angie.robinson.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 523426

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

3175 NW Irvinedale DR Ankeny, IA 50023

Property Site: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/YC44FJ/3175-NW-Irvinedale-DR-Ankeny-IA-523311
Do you want a little slice of the country life but still want the convenience of the city life? Then this acreage is for you! The home has been updated with new flooring, main level trim, and updated bath. There is a garden shed plus an extra building that can be an office, shop, or flex space. Exterior buildings also include covered 3 stall carport and shop, 2 car detached garage and additional covered storage that can be used for boat/RV parking. The green space is beautiful.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1.00
Square feet: 1,312
Price: $268,000

For more information about this property, please contact Bonnie Christensen at 515-971-9973 or bonniechristensen@remax.net. You can also text 3807023 to 67299.

See more listings at: bonniechristensen.remax-central.com

MLS ID: 523311

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Be patient while looking for deals with best mortgage rates

Mortgaging is kind of like a collectivized loan that can affect you and your family for a long time if it is not worked out properly. People generally fall for deceptive advertisements boasting about best mortgage rates, so you need to be cautious.

Many people who have fallen into the trap of companies offering the best mortgage rates have experienced problems down the road. It is very important to go through each and every piece of the mortgage deal that you are making. Do not get carried away by those deceptive advertisements that would make your life a disaster. A small mistake, or one wrong signature, and you could end up paying installments for your mortgaged property for the rest of your life.

A thorough study of the entire plan, and all its terms and conditions, is necessary if you want to go for a safe mortgage plan with the best mortgage rates. Buying a home is the biggest investment that you will make in your life, and you would not want anyone to fiddle around with it. Mortgaging is an option for people who cannot afford to pay entire amount in a single go, and thus they look for deals with mortgage rates suitable for their pockets.

Always try to understand the power of credit limits that you can impose on yourself. There have been many examples from the market where people have actually gotten deals with great mortgage rates, but due to their negligence and insufficient funds, they have created traps for themselves and fallen in.

If your relations with your bank are good, then they would also offer you some interesting deals with a good mortgage rate. If you are one of their privileged clients, then you might be entitled for special discounts on mortgage rates. If you go into your loan search with a high credit score and a clean credit record, you would also have better bargaining power.

If you have stains on your record, you should try to get them cleaned up before going into negotiations. If you can afford to, hire a financial advisor who can help you out with the deal, making the best possible negotiation for you with the mortgaging company, credit union, Investment Company or banks with which you are dealing. Each person should play carefully in the mortgaging business, even if he is getting the best mortgage rates for his deal.

Always prefer fixed mortgage rates for your deals. This will be beneficial and score great mortgage rates with no regrets. Interest rates can bounce around, but if your deal has a fixed rates, then it is one less thing for you to worry about. Proceed in your deal with sound mind and alert eyes and nothing will go wrong.