Thursday, December 18, 2014

Common Home Architectural Styles in Minnesota

Common Home Styles in Minnesota

Are you in the process of buying a home and want to know the different styles offered?
You can brush up on your residential architecture with our home buyer quick guide to common home styles. While this guide is not exhaustive, it covers some of the most popular styles of homes in Minnesota, including why some people prefer certain layouts.

 Split Level Style
This style of house became very popular following World War II because of the amount of space and utility provided. Split levels fall into two types: side-to-side and front-to-back.
Split Level Home Style

 Bi-Level Style
This style of house is also referred to as a split ranch and often categorized as a split level in Minnesota. The bi-level house is a modified version of the ranch house, with the major difference being that the lower level is more out of the ground than in the ground. Seldom is there a basement.
Bi-Level Home Style

 Townhouse Style
This style of house takes its name from the type of house which dominated the early residential development of our early cities, notably the row houses.
Townhouse Home Style

 Ranch Style or Rambler
This style of house features often one-level living. There may be a full or partial basement. Generally, a garage is attached to the side of the house.
Ranch Home Style or Rambler

 Contemporary Style
These "casual" houses are usually sheathed in redwood or stained hardwood and come in many sizes and shapes.
Contemporary Home Style

 Cape Cod Style (Other Colonial Traditions: Georgian, Dutch Colonial)
This very practical one and one-half story style of house has been popular for many years, with most capes concentrated in the northern regions. Many resale capes have been expanded over the years for increased living area.
Cape Code Home Style

 Colonial Style
This style of two-story house has been a mainstay of residential architecture for many years. These are generally well-built houses, with many being custom built. Their main appeal seems to be the spaciousness and elegance.
Colonial Home Style

 Victorian Style (Stick Victorian, Queen Anne Victorian, Shingle, Folk Victorian, Gothic)
The Victorian style of house was built in various models during the turn of the last century. Home buyers appreciate the architectural nuances of Victorian houses including large porches and interesting bay windows. The American Victorian typically took the form of a two-story square house with a hip roof disguised behind a variety of two-storied bays, with an assortment of gables as well as octagonal or round turrets and wraparound porches presenting a complex facade.
Victorian Home Style

 American Craftsman style (or the American Arts and Crafts movement)
American domestic architectural, interior design, landscape design, applied arts, and decorative arts style and lifestyle philosophy that began in the last years of the 19th century. As a comprehensive design and art movement it remained popular into the 1930s. However, in decorative arts and architectural design it has continued with numerous revivals and restoration projects through present times. In the United States the Arts and Crafts style incorporated locally handcrafted wood, glass, and metal work creating objects that were both simple and elegant. Featuring clean lines and natural materials.
American Craftsman Home Style

 Tudor Style (Other European Styles: French Country, Chateauesque, Norman)
Tudors and other English style houses were built during the period of the late 1800s through the 1920s. The combination of stucco and distinctive wood trim exterior provides the Tudor style house with a uniqueness which is most appealing.
Tudor Home Style

 Farmhouse is a general term for the main house of a farm. It is a type of building or house which serves a residential purpose in a rural or agricultural setting. Most often, the surrounding environment will be a farm. Many farm houses are shaped like a T. The perpendicular section is referred to as the ell.
These buildings tend to be more pragmatic than aesthetic. Sometimes a farmhouse may refer to a building design style, or a building's former purpose. This may occur when the farming area has been developed for other purposes, but the building itself still stands. Architectural styles vary, but very often they are of Cape Cod or two story design. Most often the style is simplistic so to serve the needs (and the budget) of the owners.

 Log Style House
A log home (or log house) is structurally identical to a log cabin (a house typically made from logs that have not been milled into conventional lumber). The term "log home" is preferred by most contemporary builders; a "log cabin" generally refers to a smaller, more rustic log house such as a hunting cabin in the woods, or a summer cottage. Log houses are especially popular where straight and tall coniferous trees, such as pine and spruce, are readily available.

There are two types of log homes:
Handcrafted: Typically made of logs that have been peeled, but otherwise essentially unchanged from their original appearance as trees,
Milled (also called machine-profiled), made with a log house moulder: Constructed of logs that have run through a manufacturing process which convert them into timbers which are consistent in size and appearance. Many log homes today are of the milled variety, mainly because they require less labor-intensive field work than handcrafted homes. There are about 500 companies in North America which build the handcrafted, scribe-fit type of log home.

Want help in choosing a home that's right for you? Contact Me!

More comprehensive list of Architectural Styles:

Adirondack, A-frame, American Craftsman American Foursquare, Antebellum, Arcachon Villa, Bay And Gable, Broch, Bungalow, California Bungalow, Cape Cod, Castle, Catslide Cottage, Central-Passage House, Chalet, Châteauesque, Colonial, Colonial Revival, Conch House, Creole Cottage, Dingbat, Dutch Colonial, Farmhouse, Federal, Federation,
French Colonial, French-Canadian Colonial, Garrison, Georgian Colonial, Georgian Revival, Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, Hall And Parlor, Hut, Igloo, I-House, Indian Veranda, International, Italianate, Lanai Style, Log House, Longhouse, Manor House, Mansion, Mar Del Plata, Mediterranean Revival, Mid-Century Modern, Mobile Home, Moderne, Neoclassical, Neo-Eclectic, Octagon, Pacific Lodge, Palladian Style, Patio, Populuxe, Post-Modern, Prairie Style, Pueblo Style, Queen Anne, Queenslander, Rammed Earth House, Ranch, Saltbox, Second Empire, Semi-Detached, Shingle Style, Shotgun Style, Southern Plantation, Spanish Colonial, Split Level, Stick Style, Stone Ender, Storybook, Swiss Chalet, Tipi, Tudor, Tudor Revival, Unspecified, Victorian, Villa

House Styles from

Thursday, December 11, 2014

7L - Seven Levels of Communication

I read 7L - Seven Levels of Communication

So for now, this post is a blank slate but it will become my take-aways and revelations from the book Seven Levels of Communication by Michael J. Maher. For some this will be Cliff's Notes.

This is what I noted during reading the book. Many were just strong reminders of things I already knew.

Givers will Get - Generosity Generation

You need to create a plan to communicate. In writing, on the calendar. Stick to it. Give it time.

If you don't ask, you won't receive.

You can market to strangers but it's a waste of money with the value is in your sphere

Put it on the calendar

I was reminded of my girlfriends old blog, an attitude of gratitude.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What is the hands down, absolute best way to save money?

What is the best way to save?

Time to start saving!  

You know you should be doing it but you have been putting it off.   Maybe you are saving for a new car, the holidays, a vacation or even a downpayment on a house.

So what are your saving options?

  • The envelope system. Basically dividing each paycheck into envelopes per your budget and ONLY using that money for it's intended use.
  • Well, you may have heard of the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge which encourages saving money in increasing amounts each week or the "response" Don’t Do the 52-Week Money Challenge which encourages saving in a money in decreasing amounts each week.
  • You may have also grown up with a coin jar or a shoebox.
  • You may have been advised to invest in IRAs or 401ks.
  • Store it in your mattress or bury it in the back yard.
  • Have money from your paycheck automatically deposited into multiple accounts (if your employer does this).
  • Have money from your checking account regularly transferred into your savings. Some financial institutions will even offer seasonal or multiple savings accounts for organizing.

All of these options can leave you with analysis paralysis and you end up not making the decision to save at all but it doesn't have to immobilize you!

So which of these is really the best way to save?  

The answer is easy. It's going to be the plan you will commit to doing.  The one you will make a habit of doing.  The important part ot to pick a goal and implement a plan to achieve it. Here are the THREE basic steps:

  1. First, what are you saving for? If you want to save $2000 this year for a downpayment on a car, break it down to the smaller amounts it would take to get there.  This is about $166.67/month or if you get paid every two weeks, $76.92 per pay check.
  2. Decide where you have to move things around in your budget to make this happen.  The old saying goes, PAY YOURSELF FIRST. So work your budget backwards and see if you can still pay all your bills after you have put this amount in savings.
  3. Lastly, decide how you are going to stash that money. If you want to physically feel the money and put it in a jar or an envelope or under your mattress, your choice.  If you want to save on "auto-pilot" then contact your bank or credit union and set up the automatic transfers.

Keep yourself motivated with a photo of that new car (or just your goal written on a sticky note) taped to your bathroom mirror so you see it each day.

Sources or the programs I mentioned:
My mom.  Yup.  She is a saving guru.

The Envelope System:

Don’t Do the 52-Week Money Challenge (At Least Not Their Way):

52 Week Money Saving Challenge:

Need help financial planning?  I have referrals for you! Call me today and I will help you get connected to the right people., 651-964-0289

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Places to go Tubing in the Twin Cities Area

Most of you that know me well know I am always cold. And I'm always complaining by this time of year. But tis the month of Thanksgiving  and I have resolved to approach the season with gratitude for the things you can do when it is cold.

After all, it's hard to be happy when the days are shorter and you're cooped up inside. So let's get outside and get some exercise and have some fun doing it!

Places to go Tubing in the Twin Cities Area
Places to go Tubing in the Twin Cities Area

Paid and FREE options included
Hyland Park
Elm Creek, Maple Grove
Badlands, Hudson
Wild Mountain
Eko Backen
Green Acres
On your next Sunday Drive, be sure to watch for public parks with big hills! :-)

More will be added as our family has a chance to find them and try them out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MN Voting: Candidates, Polling Places, Sample Ballots [VIDEO]

It's voting season!

But of course you know that because you have been inundated with the TV, radio and billboard ads and it's possible someone even knocked on your door and put a sign in your yard. So...

Do you know the laws about voting in Minnesota? (Like, can you miss work to vote?) Do you know how to find your polling place? Would you like to see a sample ballot with your actual candidates so you can research and vote informed? Would you like to review the candidates?

Visit to view FAQs, find out about absentee voting and more!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Should You Use Your 401k to Buy A Home in the Twin Cities?

Is Your 401k  Better Spent on a Home?

Many people look at their 401k and they imagine all the things they could be doing now with that retirement money.  Using use this money for all the mounding credit card debt, school loans or even a home down payment often feels like the answer to life's immediate problems. But is it?

When it comes to home ownership, a 401k loan to help you achieve a 20% down payment could be to your benefit if you can afford to pay back both the loan and the new mortgage because it will help you avoid costly mortgage insurance.  It could also help you with closing costs so that you are not cashing out your entire savings right before you take on the potential hidden expenses of a new home.

In Short, The Math Always Wins.

A younger worker who has made a lot on stock funds in their 401(k) in recent years might want to temporarily tap that money to establish themselves as a homeowner.  Or, some workers closer to retirement might find themselves retirement-plan heavy with their eyes on a retirement home. To buy it, they might have to sell investments and eat a sizeable capital gains tax.


PLEASE SEEK APPROPRIATE ACCOUNTING AND LEGAL ADVICE BEFORE MAKING YOUR DECISIONS. Make sure you understand the rules and risks before tapping your retirement savings to pay for a home.


Friday, October 3, 2014

How to Cut Pineapple for Simple Serving

How to simply prepare and serve a pineapple. 

With just a few cuts you can serve pineapple in a way that will impress your friends and be perfect for serving at a party.

Hope you enjoyed this fun and simple food trick!
Looking for other simple recipes? Click here!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Get Your Pumpkins AND Have a little FUN!

Are you a lover of pumpkins and fall fun? 

Yes? Then this article is for you!

Here is a short directory of North and East Metro places to get pumpkins. Many of these places have fun events too and some are even free! Check out their websites or call for details. :-)

Buy Pumpkins in Anoka County

Anoka County Farms - 125 Bunker Lake Boulevard, Ham Lake, MN 55304. Phone: 763-427-0000. Email:
Berry Hill Farm - Anoka, MN. Phone: 763- 753-5891,

Eveland Family Farm - 2575 Andover Blvd, Andover, MN 55304. Phone: 763-755-5123. Email:

Exotic Pumpkins - 2632 176th Ave, NW, Andover, MN 55304. Phone: (763) 753-3120. Email: Exotic.Pumpkins@Yahoo.Com.

Minnesota Fresh Farm - 20241 Highway 65, East Bethel, MN 55011. Phone: 612-735-5459. Alternate Phone: 763-439-0215. Email:

Packer Family Farms - 16029 Round Lake Blvd, Andover, MN 55304. Phone: 763 427 7207. Fax: 763 712 9443. Email:

Roselawn Stables - 24069 Rum River Blvd., Saint Francis, MN 55070. Phone: 763-753-5517. Email us at:

Waldoch Farm - 8174 Lake Dr., Lino Lakes, MN 55014. Phone: 651 780 1207.

Buy Pumpkins in Chisago County

Lendt's Pumpkin Patch - 6903 Wyoming Trail, Wyoming , MN 55092. Phone: 651-462-1516. Email:

Pinehaven Farm - pumpkin patch-pick in the field, pumpkin patch- already gathered from the field,
28186 Kettle River Blvd., Wyoming, MN 55092. Phone: 651-462-1704

Shafer Corn Maze - Hwy 8, Shafer, MN 55074. Phone: 651-353-0675. Email:

Terra Nue Farm - 32025 Ranch Trail, Shafer, MN 55074. Phone: 651-332-4191. Email:

Tom's Pumpkin Farm - 15281 Panola Drive, Lindstrom, MN 55045. Phone: 651-433-2905. Email:

Buy Pumpkins in Washington County

Afton Apple Orchards - 14421 90th Avenue South, Afton, MN. Phone: 651-436-8385.

Axdahl’s Garden Farm - Stillwater, MN. Phone: 651-439-2460. Email

Bergmann's Greenhouses and Farm Market, Inc. -12239 - 62nd Street N., Stillwater,, MN 55082. Phone: 651-439-9577. Alternate Phone: 651-248-3417. Fax: 651-439-4649. Email:

Country Sun Farm and Greenhouses - 11211 60TH ST N (Hwy 36), Stillwater, MN 55082. Phone: 651-439-4156.

Fischer’s Croix Farm Orchard - Hastings, MN. Phone: 651-437-7126.

Gilbertson Farms -12791 Oakhill Rd, Scandia, MN 55073. Phone: 651-433-2227. Fax: same. Email:

Hugo Animal Farm, Inc. - 9441 180th Street North, Hugo, MN 55038. Phone: 651-433-4455. Fax: 651-433-4455.

McDougall’s Apple Junction - Hastings, MN. Phone: 651-437-6794 or (651) 480-4701.

Schiltgen Farms - Manning Ave South & 30th Street South, Afton, Minnesota 55001 Phone: 651-503-5629.

Whistling Well Farm - Phone: 651-998-0301 - Afton, MN 55033. 2 miles south of Afton Alps/Afton State Park on County Rd 21 (Saint Croix Trail) and County Rd 76 (90th St).

Ziertman's Pumpkin Farm - 5761 Keats Avenue N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042. Phone: 651-779-9134. Email:

Zywiec's Haunting Experience and Corn Maze - 10900 East Point Douglas Road, Cottage Grove, MN 55016. Phone: 651-459-3001. Fax: 651-458-0691. Email:

Looking for more pumpkin patch info?

Information Compliments of :

Info deemed reliable but always verify please.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

All Things Home Twin Cities: 9-24-14 Edition

Have you seen this week's edition of All Things Home Twin Cities yet?

All Things Home Twin Cities- Hugo Real Estate -Lino Lakes Real Estate

  • Car loans Skyrocket
  • 7 Signs it's time to quit your job
  • Time to get your pumpkin on 
  • why it pays to be a homeowner 
  • 6 Coffee questions you're afraid to ask at the coffee shop 
  • 55038 current market insights (Hugo Minnesota Lino Lakes Minnesota)
  • 55025 current market insights (Forest Lake Minnesota)
  • US mortgage rates jump to a 4-month high

  • How to strip wallpaper (This Old House)
  • How to choose and maintain a garbage disposer
  • How to install a solar powered water heater
  • Dangers of tempered glass shower doors
  • How to choose a thermostat or home automation system

  • Transforming a 1990s split level home,
  • And much, much more!!
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+!

Do You Think She is Lip-Syncing?

Way off topic but I just had to share!

About two minutes into the video (while she is singing Lullaby) the judges stop her... they suspect she is lip-syncing.  What do you think?
(If you want to hear their comments in English, turn on cc.)

Aida Nikolaychuk auditioned for The X-Factor Ukraine

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Considerations When Purchasing a Lakefront Home

Considerations For Buying a Lake Home in the Twin Cities Area
Lakes in the North East Metro Area
If you are thinking about buying or selling a waterfront home in the Lino Lakes, Centerville, Forest Lake, White Bear Lake, or Shoreview area, it would be my pleasure to help you accomplish your goals.

Lakefront homes fit a particular lifestyle choice that is incredibly exciting for many people. However, when you are pursuing a property you really want it is more important than ever to think rationally. You can have a lakefront lifestyle, but you need to be aware of all the considerations that go into purchasing a lakefront property. Buying a lakefront home is very different on a number of levels compared to your traditional purchase. It is important to understand these differences before making the leap into lakefront living.

All things being equal homes located on a lake are typically more valuable than homes that aren’t. While your initial expense will be greater, the potential for greater appreciation is common with a lakefront home. When the real estate market drops Minnesota lakefront homes also tend to keep more of their value. What you should know however when buying a lakefront property is far more involved than your typical home.

Decide if This is a Vacation Home on the Lake or a Primary Residence

If you are purchasing this home as a vacation property you may have different needs from the property than if it is a primary residence. The weather patterns and seasonal temperatures may not matter as much for a vacation home, because you will only be visiting during the ideal seasons. If you want to live here year-round though, you will need to pay more careful attention to what the seasons will bring – especially if you are an older buyer that may struggle with more severe weather.

Current State of The Home

Living on a lake can be a lot of fun, but it is not without its drawbacks. The moisture in the air, the weather patterns created by the lake and the rise and fall of the water level can all lead to degradation of a property. If it is not kept in good repair with regular maintenance by professionals, the close proximity to the lake can lead to property damage. Wood, metal and stone can all be affected by the unique conditions created by the lake.

Like any other property you are going to want to go through it with a fine tooth comb. Make sure you hire a qualified home inspector who will take the time to go through the property from top to bottom. Specifically look out for the top home inspection problems especially bug infestation and water issues that can be found more readily near lakes.

Home Orientation
When living on a lake you one of things you will want to take into consideration is the orientation to the sun and how it sets. Does the home get morning or afternoon sun? If you are getting afternoon sun does the deck have any sun protection? How do the winds coming off the lake effect both your enjoyment of the property and the heating costs?

Get Specific Information About The Lake (MN DNR LakeFinder)

Does The Lake Offer Recreation 

Lakes can vary considerably, meaning one lake might be perfect for you while another is completely undesirable. You do not want to discover that the lake you bought a home on is nothing like what you want. Find out as much information as you can about the lake. Here are some excellent questions to ask when considering buying a lakefront home:
  • Does the lake flood? How close is your home to the flood line?
  • Are you required to carry flood insurance?
  • Is the bottom rocky, sandy or muddy?
  • Is the shoreline sandy, rocky or muddy? How easy is it to access the shoreline from your home?
  • How busy is the lake during each season?
  • What recreational opportunities are available on the lake? Kayaking, boating, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, water skiing, jet skiing, waterfowl hunting, ice fishing? Some lakes are better suited than others for specific types of activities.
  • What is mosquito season like?
  • Is there any wildlife on the lake such as ducks or geese that could become a nuisance?
  • Does the lake maintain it’s water level or go up and down with the seasons?
  • Is the lake stocked with fish?
  • Does duckweed ever become a problem? Does the lake have invasive species?
  • If you boat, how easy is it to get your boat in and out of the lake? Are you allowed to have a dock right off of your house, or is it OK to travel around the lake for an access point?
  • Are there any specific things that are not allowed on the lake?
  • Are there any local ordinances about noise or having parties in or around the lake?
  • Are the roads plowed quickly in the winter?
These are all questions that may or may not pertain to the lake you are considering buying on but are great things to consider in the back of your mind to ask.

Is There a Lake Association?
Find out if there is a homeowner’s association or other organization that controls the lake area where you plan to buy – It is always a good idea to find out the nature of any organization you will be required to join to enjoy your property and the lake it sits on. These kinds of organizations can vary a great deal in how they handle issues.

Make sure you are able to do what you want to do and able to enjoy your property as you like before you buy into an area. The last thing you want as a buyer is to find out there are things you were counting on being able to do and are not allowed.

Having a Lake association is generally a good thing as they are formed to protect the lake’s future and resolve any issues that potentially could threaten the lake’s health. The members of a lake association meet when it is necessary to discuss lake issues and determine courses of action to remedy any problems. Often times members attend town meetings to be a voice for the lake, apply for grants to protect or improve the lake, as wells as monitor the lake for any invasive species. Most of the time having a lake association is of great benefit to those living on the lake.

Are There Modern Conveniences Nearby/What's Nearby The Lake 

Another thing to consider if you are planning to live here year-round is access to important things like medical care, grocery stores and dining options. Getting out of town into the middle of nowhere may be great for a few weeks at a time, but not everyone enjoys such isolation on a year-round basis. How easy is it to get to major routes? Will getting in and around the area be difficult during times of inclement weather?

Size is another factor that may vary based on your planned usage for the home. If you want to live in the home and have company during the high season you will probably want a larger home with extra bedrooms for guests. If you just want to bring the spouse and kids out during the summer a smaller home might be fine.

Make Sure The Home is Designed For Winter Use

Some lakeside homes are setup to be used during the warmer months of the year and to be left empty when winter comes around. If you want to use the home during the cold weather you will want it to have proper insulation and heating options so you can remain comfortable. Make sure the house is equipped for winter living if this is something you need.

Expansion Possibilities
On many lakes there is a wide variety of housing. In some lakefront locations the housing has started out as small vacation style cottages only to be expanded upon and turned into more permanent residences. Often times local zoning can vary quite a bit on a lake – sometimes the size of the lots are a lot smaller than lot sizes in non water front location. It is important to find out what you can and can’t do before purchasing. You may have grand visions of putting on a second story or adding a large addition and find out it’s just not possible. Better to find out before than after you have made your purchase.

Serviced by a Septic System or Public Sewer
Whether or not there is town sewer available is an important consideration to many home buyers. Septic systems can be very costly to replace especially when they are located so close to a lake. Many communities will at some point in the future install a sewer system do to the sensitive nature of the quality of the lake. This is an added expense you should consider planning for if public sewer is not currently available.

Legal, Conservation and Zoning Restrictions
When living on a lake there may be certain regulations that are not as strict elsewhere. Lakes are considered wetlands so they are afforded different protection under the Wetlands protection act. The local conservation board is more than likely going to want to know anything you do to the property that is within 100 feet of the lake. The vast majority of cities and towns also have strict “no disturb” rules that apply to areas directly bordering the lake  – most of the time 25 feet. In most locales this restricts building, clearing, planting, etc. The purpose is to maintain a natural buffer for the lake but could also impact any future plans you may have. Make sure you keep this in mind.

Do your own homework when you see property advertised as having “lake access” or “right of way to lake”. While these advertisements certainly could be accurate on occasion there have been mistakes made which were complete misrepresentations. When these kind of representations are made it is always smart to consult an attorney who can do a title search to check the accuracy.

Make Sure The Lake View is Adequate

Will The Lake View Stay The Same 
One of the best parts of living on the lake is looking out over the water every morning. Unfortunately not every home labeled as a lake home offers this kind of view. Depending on your needs or your budget, the view might not be a priority. However, if you want to get the most out of lakefront living you should make certain that the view you have from your home fits your desires.

You might also want to find out if the lake has been completely developed as well. The view you have at the time of your purchase could change if there are still building lots either surrounding the property or on the other side of the lake. At a moments notice you could be looking at something completely different than you planned on. I personally know of a few lakefront owners who have had views impaired or changed by others residing on the lake.

Determine How Easy it is to Get to The Lake
Some lakefront homes are technically on the lake, but the lots are so steep that getting down to the water can be a real challenge. If you plan on growing old with the home then you will want a flatter lot. As you get older it will become harder and harder to climb up and down a steep lot to get to the water. This is one of the considerations for buying on a lake that many people don’t think about.

Decide on How Much Privacy You Want
The closer you are to the water the easier it is for boaters and lake users to see your home. This may or may not be a problem for you but it is worth thinking about when looking at different properties. Lots with more distance between the home and the water – distance that still offers a clear line of sight to the water – are usually more expensive than those that are right on the water. The extra cost may be worth it though if you want to sit out on your front porch in your underwear and still be able to watch the sunset.

Hire a Realtor You Can Trust
Whether buying or selling a lake front home you want to work with a Realtor that understands the complexities of selling a home on a lake. Avoid picking a real estate agent randomly when you want to buy a lakefront home. Interview agents to find out how well they do at finding lakefront homes that satisfy their clients.

You want a person on your side that can find you a good home within your budget – a home you can enjoy for decades. Lakefront homes are naturally more challenging to find at a good price due to higher demand. With the right agent, the search becomes easier and you are more likely to get a good deal on a house. This is more than worth the commission an agent will charge for his or her help.

When buying a home understand that lakefront property will carry a certain premium over non-lakefront property. How much of a premium is something a qualified real estate agent should be able to help you with. There are a number of factors that come into play including the town, the type and size of lake, the size and characteristics of the lot, neighboring properties, water quality, privacy, proximity to amenities, and highway access.

When selling a lake front home understand that marketing the property well becomes vital. Choose an agent that is easily found on the internet, does an exceptional job with photography and real estate descriptions. The Realtor you select should have excellent marketing skills that can differentiate between what buyers are looking for in a lakefront property vs a more traditional property.

Other Helpful Lake Home Buying Resources

Check out information on specific lakes across the United States via The Army Corps of Engineers.
The National Lakes Assessment resource on lake information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Monday, September 1, 2014

WBL district Calendar & Centennial District Calendar 2014-2015

2014-2015 Academic Calendars

Bookmark this page for quick and easy reference to the school calendars for WBL and Centennial!

White Bear Lake School District Calendar 2014-2015

Centennial School District Calendar 2014-2015

Visit Mounds View School District Info here:  Mounds View Public Schools

Visit Mahtomedi School District Info here:  Mahtomedi Public Schools

Visit Forest Lake School District Info here:  Forest Lake Area Schools

Not attending public school? Try the Minnesota Private School Directory

Here is a detailed map of all MN school districts:

This post courtesy of:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Get Rid of All That Stuff for FREE!

Ditch the clutter!  

Get your items together for our Clean, Shred & Donate event!

What should you bring?

  • Bring your old sensitive files and paperwork to shred. 
  • Bring small appliances, old electronics, chargers, furniture, clothing or other household items to donate or recycle. 
  • We would also appreciate new/unopened toiletries to donate to Kody's Closet.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Too busy for this event?  Here are some other great ways to get rid of your stuff:  Where Can I Donate My Stuff?
Are you moving?  Here are some awesome tips for planning your next move!
Happy house cleaning!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cool Videos (Parodies) for Moms - Part 1

Hi moms!  Every once in a while we need to "relate" to something, right? Every time I find a cool video (usually a parody), I will add it to the top of this list (so the most recent is always on top).
 Please message me if you know an awesome video you'd like to see added. :-)
See more videos: Cool Videos (Parodies) for Moms - Part 2


All About the Bass

What Does The Fox Say?

Let It Go

Last Friday Night

Monday, August 18, 2014

School Start Dates! White Bear Lake, Lino Lakes, Hugo


If your kids are in the White Bear Lake School District or Centennial School District, here are the official start date for the 2014-2015 school year. (Some parents are jumping for joy in anticipation as they read this statement.)

WBL Area Schools 

(Serving the communities of White Bear Lake, Hugo and Vadnais Heights)
Birch Lake Elementary, Hugo-Oneka Elementary, Lakeaires Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Matoska International IB World School, Otter Lake Elementary, Vadnais Heights Elementary, Willow Lane Elementary, Central Middle School, Sunrise Park Middle School, WBLAHS North/South Campus, WBL Area Learning Center

White Bear Lake Calendar

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
 First Day of School (Grades 1-12)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Kindergarten Orientation

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Kindergarten First Day of School

Centennial Schools 

(Serving the communities of Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Lexington and Lino Lakes) 
Blue Heron Elementary, Centennial Elementary, Centerville Elementary, Golden Lake Elementary, Rice Lake Elementary, Centennial Middle School, Centennial High School, Centennial Area Learning Center, Pines School

Centennial Calendar
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
First Day of School, Grades 1-9 and all schools @ CALC and Pines
RL Kindergarten Meet Your Teacher (Kindergarten students and parents), 10 am or 1 pm
New Student Orientation, 1:00pm to 2:50pm

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
First Day of School, Kindergarten and Grades 10-12
Rice Lake Elementary Gr. 3 Parent Orientation, 5:30pm to 6:00pm

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Golden Lake Elementary Kindergarten Parent Orientation, 5:30pm to 6:00pm
Golden Lake Elementary 1st Gr Parent Orientation, 6:30pm to 7:00pm
Rice Lake Elementary Gr. 4 Parent Orientation, 6:10pm to 6:40pm
Rice Lake Elementary Gr. 5 Parent Orientation, 5:30pm to 6:00pm

This information courtesy of:
Sarah Marrinan

Information deemed reliable but never guaranteed

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fun August Events! Hugo/Lino Lakes/White Bear Lake

Looking for August Fun? 

 Here are some great activities in the Hugo, Lino Lakes and White Bear Lake area! (Bonus Cities Included- Forest Lake  :-)  )

Lino Lakes, MN

Movie in the Park

Fridays starting at 9:00 PM/Dusk.
Lino Park

Lino Lakes’ Blue Heron Days (10th Anniversary)

August 15, 16 and 17, 2014 at Lino Park
Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days Festival Schedule:
Tavern on Main Street Dance -- 8 p.m.
Movie in the Park – “Despicable Me 2″ at Lino Park at Dusk
Live Music by Clear Blue Country -- Noon – 4 p.m.
Kiddie Carnival
Petting Zoon
Blue Out 5K Run at Rice Lake Elementary School -- 8:30 a.m.
Saturday’s parade starts at 11 a.m. at Target and ends near Main Street. The street dances are back this year on Friday and Saturday nights at Millers on Main.

Hugo, MN

St. Genevieve Festivat

Sunday, August 17, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
St. Genevieve Annual Parish Festival and Chicken Dinner
Children’s Games, Adult Games, Bingo, Silent Auction, Country Store, Raffle and more!
Held at Parish Community Center grounds: 6995 Centerville Rd in Centerville, MN

2nd Annual KW Hamburger Night for the Troops Event!

August 27th. from 5 - 8 pm at the American Legion in Hugo, MN.
Come and show your support for our military families that need our help as loved ones are deployed overseas. Every dollar raised from this event will go directly to the families that struggle to make ends meet while a parent, spouse, son or daughter is off protecting our freedom. The Yellow Ribbon Network 

White Bear Lake, MN

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Lakeshore Players Theatre 4820 Stewart Avenue White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Aug. 3, 2:00PM
he Summer Youth Players bring their imaginings of Shakespeare's classic romp in the woods to life in a show fun for the whole family!
$10 Students/Seniors; $12 Regular

White Bear Music Fest

first-ever White Bear Music Fest at Lakewood Hills Park
Aug. 22 and 23 at 4:00 PM
Three rock bands will perform Friday evening (High and Mighty, Bad Girlfriends, Dweebs). On Saturday, the music turns country (Maiden Dixie, Killer Hayseeds, Tim Sigler and his band).
Event is benefiting White Bear Lake Lions Club and the White Bear Area YMCA. For most attendees, admission is $18 per night or $30 for both nights. Children age 5 and under are free. Contact:

Bald Eagle lake
Thursday nights

Forest Lake, MN

Forest Lake Fly-In

first-ever White Bear Music Fest at Lakewood Hills Park
Aug. 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM-4:00 PM
The Fly-In will include:
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles® demonstration rides sponsored by EAA chapter 237
Static Aircraft displays
Skydiving demonsatration by Skydive Twin Cities
Aerial banner towing demonstration by Big Aerial Sign Service
Helicopter rides
Pancake breakfast served in the morning by EAA chapter 237
Hamburgers, hotdogs, and corn on the cob will be sold in the afternoon by the Forest Lake Lions Club
Ice cream and other treats will be available from Daniela's Chocolates

If you would like more information, or if your are an EAA pilot willing to help with the Young Eagles rides, please call John Schmidt at 651-373-3779.

This post courtesy of: 
Information deemed relfestival
t never guaranteed

Bonus Events!

 Mounds View, MN

Mounds View's annual celebration, Festival in the Park, will be held on Saturday, August 16, 2014. All events (with the exception of the 5K Fun Run) will be held at City Hall Park, which is located behind Mounds View City Hall at 2401 County Rd 10, Mounds View, MN 55112.

Fun Run - Silver View Park - 7:30am
Beer Garden 12:00pm to 930pm
BINGO 12:00pm to 6pm
Car Show 8:00am to 330pm
Concert - Jonah and the Whales 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Craft Show 10:00am to 6:00pm
Fireworks: 9:40pm
Food: 10:00am to 930pm
Games 10:00am to 7:00pm
Mounds View Police Department K9 Demostration 1:00pm
NEW! Elvis Karaoke 2:00pm to 5:30pm
SBM Fire Department Ladder Rides and Exhibits 11:00am - 3:00pm

USA-1: First National Champion of Monster Truck Racing! Coming to the Mounds View Festival in the Park Car Show! Everett Jasmer, one of Monster Trucks’ Founding Fathers, designed and built USA-1, one of the first generation of Monster Trucks. Mr. Everett will be present to sign autographs during the festival.

Japanese lantern festival

Como Conservatory
Sunday, August 17


The great Minnesota get together!
Starts Thursday August 21st.
Most popular food on a stick!

Concerts in the Park - Summer Concert Series at Hause Park

Concert Line Up:
• Thursday, August 28, 6:30-8:30 PM - Zinghoppers & Mullet River Boys Band
Traditional favorites for all ages

All concerts take place at Hause Park (Map - located on Charles Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue). Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the free outdoor concerts! Refreshments are available for sale.

**Music in the Park Summer Concert Series are sponsored by North St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Window World and Sandberg Funeral and Cremation. For more information or to be a sponsor contact Laurie Koehnle by phone at (651) 747-2504 or by email at

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bathroom remodeling secret you MUST know!

It's no secret that kitchens and bathrooms are key in selling (and enjoying) a home however most remodeling projects, though important, have a low return on investment and cause anxiety for most homeowners.

To relieve some of the headache, Lowe’s has put together complete bathrooms remodeling packages! Last I checked, there were 7 collection to choose from for you remodeling project and the basic 1/2 bath project was only about $500 for materials!

From floor tile and faucets to drawer pulls and soap dishes — this takes the angst out of decision-making and makes sure you have a more universally appealing result.  Though you have to measure and make a few educated choices like plumbing fixtures, light fixture, under-mount sinks, tile, and paint, this is a no-brainier especially if you are design impaired.

After you measure your space, in about 30 minutes online at  Lowe’s Home Improvement you'll have your new bathroom picked out and ready for shipping.

If you are struggling, a call to Lowe’s customer service or a visit to the store will have you sorted out quickly.

Aren't you happy you read this?!?

Photos from

Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Cheap Upgrades for Your Deck!

Want to update the appeal of your deck for under $300? 

Here are five projects you can do this summer. The double bonus here: most of these projects can be done in a weekend AND you get to enjoy the outdoors while you are completing the project!

1. Add Solar Lighting
  • Rope Lights
  • Hanging Lanterns
  • Carriage Lights
2. Install a decorative landing at the foot of your deck stairs
  • Flagstone
  • Pavers 
  • Stamped Concrete
3. Put up a privacy screen or 
  • Lattice Panels, 
  • Bamboo Fencing
  • Trellis
  • Outdoor Fabric Walls
4. Add a floor rug on your decking
  • Paint the whole base for a "wall-to-wall" carpet look
  • Paint just a "rug" in your favorite design in the seating/table area
  • Place an outdoor rug that will withstand the elements
5. Wash and refinish your wood decking
  • Use a good deck cleaning product then stain and seal or paint
Read more from the source:


More on HOME RENOVATION!  Get some landscaping ideas or ramp up  your curb appeal!

Enjoy your improved summer space!

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