7 Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Happy Friday!  Winter arrives today with the solstice occurring at 4:23 PM.  That means that the Northern Hemisphere will be at its maximum tilt away from the sun, making this the shortest day of the year. 

A lot of us dread this time of year because of the cold weather and lack of sunshine, so why would you want to celebrate the winter solstice? In early societies, the intention of winter solstice celebrations were to release the dark in favor of the light.  Think of it as out with the old and in with the new, as the days start to grow longer.

Here are some fun ways you can celebrate the winter solstice this year:

1. Make a winter solstice tree – Many animals’ food sources are scarce this time of year. To help them get through the winter you can decorate a tree with popcorn strings or pinecones and apples that are covered in peanut butter and bird seed.

2. Try a new winter activity – Is there a winter activity that you’ve always wanted to do or somewhere in our community that you would like to explore? Make a list of these activities and try to find time to do them this winter

3. Visit your local library – If you have young children, there are a ton of great books about the winter solstice.

 

4. Have dinner by candlelight – Enjoy the longest evening of the year and celebrate the return of the longer days with a candlelit meal.

5. Look up at the night sky – On winter’s first night (December 21st) and on December 22nd of this year, the night sky will be beautiful! Not only does the Cold Moon fall on the winter solstice, but you will also be able to see Mercury and Jupiter, and the Ursid meteor shower will be at its peak.

 

6. Have a solstice fire – Ancient cultures believed that the winter solstice was a powerful time of release and of rebirth. If there are events or feelings from throughout the year that you need to let go, write them on small pieces of paper and throw them into the fire.  Next, replace what you need to let go with something positive.  Write down something you’d like to invite into your life and toss it into the fire as well.  It could be something as simple as courage, openness to an idea, or love.

 

7. Set Intentions – An intention is simply something that you plan to do, to achieve, or to aim towards. Are there habits, passions, or ideas that you’d like to work towards? Intentions should come from the heart so you can focus on who you are and recognize what you truly value in life.

However you choose to celebrate, we wish you all a magical winter, a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!

 

December 2018 Newsletter: Be the Gift | Website Update | Featured Listings

This time of year we all tend to reflect a little. We try to take in life, to focus on the important things, to spend time with friends and family, and to plan for a more successful and enjoyable future.

But with that a lot of us can become stressed during the holiday season.

We’re stressed because we can’t get all our errands run, we are missing loved ones, or we are frustrated that we didn’t meet the goals we set for ourselves this year.  We can’t find the right gift, enough gifts, the house isn’t clean for guests, and we ran out of sugar for yet another batch of cookies. There’s travel, and parties, and you can’t believe you didn’t lose that weight this year.

The winter itself can be hard, but the expectations of the perfect holiday season combined with the pressures we place on ourselves for performance can definitely add to the struggles.

One thing I’m really trying hard to work on right now is to quit aiming for perfection, and to give myself a break. I’m definitely not perfect, and I never will be. But I can continue to wake up and do my best, to focus on who I want to be, and to keep taking steps in that direction no matter how often I fall.

So this year we encourage you to give yourself a break as well, because you too will not be perfect. We know you want to create the perfect Christmas for the kids, to have the house perfect for your visiting friends and family, or to get the perfect gift because it comes from your heart, but as my wife always says, the real gift is you….you are the gift, and you will always be the gift despite all the struggles you will face.

So give yourself a break and go be the gift this season. Be the gift to strangers, to your friends, family, and most importantly, be the gift to yourself.

Wishing you all the best for a wonderful holiday season in which you find time to recharge, reset, and take in all the wonderful things that truly matter in life.

We are excited to announce the launch of our new website!  Not only have we updated the look, navigation, and information, but it is now also mobile friendly with a ton of new features.

Our website now offers everything you need to search for up-to-date home listings.  Interested in being notified of the newest listings that match your criteria?  Then be sure to sign up for email alerts!

For those wondering how much their home is worth, we have added a free home valuation form.

If you have your home listed with us, it will show up right on our homepage under “Featured Listings” to give your home even more exposure!

As former teachers, we know that the only way we can learn and grow is from the people around us. If you check out our website and have any suggestions, feel free to send us a message. We would LOVE to hear your feedback!

3634 Hovde Rd, Madison

$225,000

3 Beds | 3 Baths | Large, Mature Lot

145 Prairie Grass Rd, Oregon

$219,000

3 Beds | 3.5 Baths | Private Entrance & Garage

Earth Day 2018 Madison, WI Area Events

Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day –  A day to celebrate the natural beauty of our planet and remind us of what we can do to help keep it healthy.  If you’re looking for events to honor our planet and get outside after our long winter, we have put together a list of some of our area’s Earth Day events.

 

 

 

Sunday, April 22nd

9 AM – 5 PMEarth Day Kid’s at Jada’s Garden & Greenhouse in Blue Mounds – For just $5 per child you can stop in at any time to plant veggies in peat pots and paint a garden rock.

12:30 – 3:30 PMEarth Day & Party for the Planet at Henry Vilas Zoo – Partnered with MG&E for tons of family-friendly activities.

1 PM – 3:30 PM – UW Arboretum’s Earth Day Among Woodland Wildflowers Walk and Earth Day Family Nature Program – Meet at the visitor center at 1 PM for the walk and indoor activities start at 2:30 PM

 

Saturday, April 21st

10 AM – 11:30 AMLand Steward Work Day at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center to help restore and maintain ALNC’s prairie, marsh, and woodlands

10 AM – 5 PM – Sustainable Stoughton’s 2nd Annual Earth Day Expo – A free, family friendly event that offers food, workshops, crafts, and more!

11 AM – 12 PMSeedballs at the Madison Children’s Museum -Kids will be able to make their own seedballs from clay, soil, and seeds to gain an understanding of the cycles and processes of plants.

12 PM – 4 PM – Habitat ReStore’s Spring Celebration – At their East location they will host a kid’s build & garden project plus a gardening workshop at 1 PM about worms.

2 PM – 5 PM – Quarry Hill Park’s Earth Day Event in Fitchburg – Help plant trees and enjoy delicious treats from area food carts.

 

This list just scratches the surface of our community’s events and we’d love to hear from you if we think we should add something to our list.  Feel free to email them to annanorth@realtyexecutives.com.

We hope you have a wonderful Earth Day and get out to enjoy the beautiful weather we will have this weekend!

7 Tips & Tricks for Starting Seeds Indoors

It’s April, which means that you can now start many of your produce seeds indoors to get a jump start on your veggie garden.  Growing produce from seeds isn’t just a great way to save money compared to buying ready-to-plant seedlings from a garden store, but it is also super rewarding!

Before you get your hands dirty, take time to review the planting schedule to see when you can start your seeds indoors and when they should be transplanted outside.  Once you have an ideal timeline planned out, it’s time for the fun part!  Below are 7 tips & tricks to help make your indoor seedlings a success.

  1. Use seed starting mix. Purchase a  quality seed starting mix that will help your seeds grow into healthy and strong seedlings. Pre-moisten before putting in seeds. Fill your containers about 3/4 full with seed starting mix.  You can also mix in a little cinnamon as it prevents fungus and helps prevent dampening off.
  2. Give them plenty of light. Place your seeds under grow lights or near a window to ensure they get plenty of sunshine. 12-16 hours of light is needed by seeds for the best growth.
  3. Keep soil well-watered. Keep soil moist but not drenched.  Overwatering can lead to mold growth.  To ensure that you aren’t drowning your new seeds, try using a misting spray bottle instead of watering can. Let your soil dry out just a bit between waterings.
  4. Repot in larger containers. When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, they will need to be repotted into large contrainers.  Prepare the larger pots with a potting mix that includes plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new containers and water well. Keep pots out of direct sun for a few days.
  5. Gradually introduce to outdoors. Hardening off will slowly adjust your seedlings to the outdoors and give them the best chance to flourish. About two weeks prior to replanting outside take your plants outdoors under cover- the shade of a tree is good spot. Leave them out for a couple hours and then bring them back inside. This will help them get used to the sun, wind, rain, and other conditions gradually.
  6. Plant extra seeds. Plant more than you think you will need to make up for the seeds that don’t sprout or mature. You can also start seeds every 6 weeks so you have a continual supply of seedlings ready to plant, this will keep your garden producing for much longer.
  7. Follow packet instructions- Certain seed types need specific care and instructions.  Some seeds may need to be soaked,scratched, or chilled before planting.  Some may need their container covered with a top or plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect.  Read your seed packet before planting for best results

All Natural Cleaning Recipes

If you’re putting your spring cleaning on hold because just thinking about all of the potentially harmful chemicals in your current cleaning products is making you woozy, then these All Natural Cleaning Recipes are for you!

Not only do these cleaners smell GREAT but they are also effective, inexpensive to make, AND they are safe for your family & pets!

 

All Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups distilled water
  • 15 drops of Lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops of Sweet orange essential oil
  • 5 drops of Rosemary essential oil

Funnel all these ingredients into a spray bottle, seal, and shake. There will be a battle of odors here, with the acidic vinegar likely winning out against the sweet-smelling oils, but don’t let this deter you.

The vinegar scent disappears quickly, but that citrusy, herby zing lingers on. And these oils aren’t just there for their scent alone. Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant, orange oil busts grease, and rosemary oil has some antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

 

Lemon Scented Window Cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups of distilled water
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.  Spray on any glass surface and polish with a microfiber cloth for a sparkling finish

 

Eucalyptus Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 1/3 cups baking soda
  • 25 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil

Fill a squeeze bottle with all ingredients, seal & shake.  Squeeze around the inside of the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush, flush, and you’re done. **Aside from having a deliciously fresh aroma, eucalyptus is a natural germicide.

 

Vinyl & Tile Floor Cleaner

  • 1 gallon of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons of washing soda
  • 10-20 drops of any citrus essential oil of your choice

Mix together in a bucket and wash with a mop or microfiber cloth.

 

Soap Scum Remover

  • ¼ to ½ cup Borax
  • 2 cups of hot water

Mix Borax and hot water in a spray bottle.  Shake well. Spray area thoroughly and let sit for 15 minutes then use a Magic Eraser sponge to clean.  Rinse and wipe dry.

 

Room Deodorizing Spray

  • 1 oz witch hazel
  • 3 oz distilled water
  • 18 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 6 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 12 drops Lemon essential oil

Combine all ingredients in an 4 oz spray bottle and shake before each use.

Love Oregon Part 2 – Firefly Coffeehouse

☕️ Happy Monday and welcome back to our Love Oregon video series and contest! For our first featured business in our Love Oregon series, we take you to Oregon’s living room, the Firefly Coffeehouse, where you’re greeted by a cozy, spacious cafe and always treated like family.

? Jeanne talks a little about what she thinks love is, the identity of Oregon, a fundraiser they currently have going on for the Oregon Youth Center, and how you can help.

Visit our FB page (The Minter Team) and find this video to learn how you can be entered to win a $20 Firefly gift card!

Love Oregon Contest Series Introduction

❄️ It’s February, the month of love, and to celebrate we will be launching our contest “Love Oregon” on our Facebook page! (https://www.facebook.com/TheMinterTeam) Love is all about connections, whether it’s with each other, the outdoors, or our community.

? We love Oregon and we are excited to share with you some of the reasons why. We are also looking forward to hearing what you love about it as well!

? We will be stopping into a number of local businesses over the next two weeks that we love and believe to have made an impact on our community. We will be chatting with the owners & customers about what love means to them and the things they enjoy the most about our community. You will see these videos periodically on our Facebook page throughout the next couple of weeks and we will be giving away prizes from each of these businesses!

To participate and spread the love for Oregon, visit our Facebook page and find this video! https://www.facebook.com/theminterteam

#loveoregon #lovelocal #theminterteam

Summer 2017 Newsletter: Making Memories | We’ve Grown | Mallards Game

Summer is in Full Swing…Summer is all about making memories. Whether it was a family vacation, games played with childhood friends, or simple traditions we’re guessing some of your best memories come from the freedom granted by the summer season.

What do you think of when you think of summer? What are your memories? We’d love to hear them!
We’ve Grown…The team is excited to announce the addition of two Buyers Specialists in Tara McKuen and Andrea Johnson. Both Tara and Andrea will focus on serving buyer clients so we can ensure all our clients get the availability and focus they deserve from their real estate team. We love their others focused attitude and heart of service and are sure you will too! Jeff and Michelle are still working with buyer clients as well so we continue to welcome your business and referrals.

Mallards Game…Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Mallards event on June 16. We had over 100 tickets for our biggest client event yet. It was great spending time with everyone as all our clients and referral partners own a special place in our lives. Thank you all for being a part of it!

Just Sold: 2895 Cimarron Trail

Some of our most enjoyable clients come to us as referrals from the people in our lives that know us best. When I got the call from a friend, former neighbor, and past client that her co-worker Matt got a new job in another state I knew we’d have a good one on our hands.

Matt did a great job cleaning up his bachelor pad to hit the market. Ultimately earning himself multiple offers while selling over asking price and closing quickly.

Congratulations Matt! Best wishes on new adventures!

Just Sold: 10231 Meandering Way

Congratulations Tyler & Nicole!

Searching for their first home on Madison’s super competitive west side proved to be a bit of a challenge for Tyler & Nicole. Move in ready homes created competition challenges. Not so ready homes led to work to be done.

The answer? A brand new Veridian home.

Veridian Homes can be a great option for the homebuyer who can’t quite find what they are looking for or for the buyer who is sick of competing with 5, 10, or even 20 other offers when they do find a place that meets their goals.

After consulting with new home specialist Adam Crook, we wrote the offer on this spec home located on a nearly private lot in Birchwood Pointe. As we caught the home early in the process Tyler & Nicole had plenty of time to make a few selections to personalize the home and also added a plan to finish off the basement, ultimately getting exactly the home they were looking for.

If you’re struggling to find what you’re looking for, or if you want to build within a budget, Veridian Homes offers a smooth start to finish process to put you in the home you’ve searching for.

Enough Turkey Facts to Stump the Whole Family

Thanksgiving3This season we are blessed for a number of reasons, but a big one is the wonderful clients we’ve been lucky enough to work with in recent years. Thanks so much for being a part of our lives!

For fun we thought we’d share some Turkey Trivia with you courtesy of Nationwide Bank.

Our favorite facts:

1. Tryptophan may not be responsible for the post Turkey nap

2. The average Thanksgiving meal is about $5/person…that’s cheaper than McDonald’s!

3. In 2009 the average American at over 13 pounds of turkey (more…)

Minter Madness

espntourney

Join the Minter Madness group at espn.com and take home a $25 gift card to Mason’s on Main in Oregon. Prize details will be cleared up before the tourney starts and will be announced on my Facebook page.

Entry is 100% free to you but the following rules do apply:

1. You must “like” Jeff Minter-Stark Company Realtors Facebook Page
2. One entry per person
3. Must live or work in Dane, Green, or Rock county
4. Must be 21 or older
5. Please use your first and last name as the bracket name for verification purposes
6. Yes…I can win the challenge, but in that case the second place “winner” will receive the prize

To join just CLICK HERE and enter the password: Minter Homes

 

Pin It on Pinterest