Have you heard of “The Swap Shop?” Yeah, I hadn’t either and it was less than a mile from my house! Are you doing your very belated spring cleaning, working on those 4-H projects, or looking at all the stuff left over after a garage sale? Keep in mind The Pottawattamie County Recycling Center just outside Oakland.
For those of you who have never been there, they have places you can dump tires, scrap metal, appliances, etc. (yes, there is a fee), but possibly the coolest part is that they have what’s called The Swap Shop. You can drop off anything people can still use (for free) – like shoes, toys, bikes, paint, golf clubs, glass windows, books, furniture, whatever and they will re-sell it for cheap! If you’ve ever been to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, it’s very much like that. And I had no idea it was even there which made me realize you probably didn’t either!
I had heard there was something out there, but I didn’t really know how it worked, and sometimes that keeps me from stopping in, but a friend suggested that I check it out and tell all of you about it. I’m so glad I did. There will be a load headed from our house ASAP! Hopefully, we don’t return home with anything, but I can’t make any promises. I love a good bargain! If you do, too, and you have a kid headed to college or need just a little paint for that 4-H project or just enjoy the fun of “discovering,” they can hook you up with lots of options! There really is something for everyone out there!
The best part is that it serves 2 purposes – it offers a place for people to get rid of their stuff and it offers a place for people to get stuff cheaply! Win-Win!
They are open Tuesday – Saturday 8am to 4pm. If you want to read more info on fees and what they take, click here.
Hard to believe with this crazy weather that this weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start to summer! One of my favorite things about Memorial Day weekend in our area is that all the flags are flying. Do you know who makes the Avenue of Flags happen in these towns? The Optimist Club.
We are blessed to have the Riverside Optimist Club that covers Oakland, Carson, and Macedonia, as well as the Treynor Optimist Club, Underwood Optimists, and the Walnut Optimist Club. Although the only three clubs offering the flag service currently are the Treynor, Underwood, and Riverside Clubs.
Treynor, Underwood (the Junior Optimists), and Riverside Clubs put up flags for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veteran’s Day plus a couple of others if the weather permits! They do all that for us and the community!
Would you like them to put a flag in your yard, too? They will if you have an address in their area. For $40 in the Riverside District and Underwood areas or $35 in the Treynor District, they will put a flag in your yard for all those holidays, as well. Or if you’d like them to put them in your dad’s yard or a friend’s, they could do that instead. Or if you’d rather they just put up extra ones along the road, you can donate for that, too!
All the money they make goes towards helping area kids through scholarships, uniform donations, educational assistance, etc. They devote their funding to youth and they donate their time putting up the flags to all of us.
If you’d like to take part, you can fill out a form and drop off a check at Arbor Bank in Oakland for the Riverside area. Checks should be payable to Riverside Optimist Club. If you have questions, you can call Alan Gardner at 402-660-7292. You can also mail a form and checks to Riverside Optimist Club – Avenue of Flags PO Box 68 Oakland, IA 51560. Or if you need quicker info, find them on Facebook.
If you’d like to take part in the Treynor program, you can find the form on their website and fill it out and mail to Optimist Club of Treynor P.O. Box 354 Treynor, IA 51575 or for questions, you can find them on Facebook, as well.
If you’d like to take part in the Underwood program, you can get forms off the Underwood website. If you have questions, contact Gina Pearson at 712-326-9735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
They’ll be happy to assist you.
Happy Memorial Day!
There's so much good in our county. You can't begin to cover it all, and as we move forward trying to improve, we must always remember that it starts with our youth!
Happy Summer Vacation to all the staff and students, and remember that we are all in this together: #PottCounty #SupportLocal #SmallTownLifeIsTheBestLife
Wednesday, May 22nd is a big day for area nonprofits! You’ve all heard the slogan about OmahaGives but now there’s a #PottawattamieGives, too! Yes, you can help out some of the rural nonprofits quietly doing good things for our region. Maybe you don’t know who to give to or which organizations are benefitting and that’s why WIDA is here to help you get the full range of information!
I don’t know about you but it’s pretty easy to just forget to send that donation or when you do think about it at Christmas time, you just don’t have the money. Just think: for the cost of 2 Starbucks coffees, you can help out local organizations who put rural Iowa first.
No matter what your passion, there’s an organization you will feel good about helping! Here’s the list of who I know works with rural Pottawattamie County families. Any of them would be grateful for your donation!:
Avoca Public Library (You can never go wrong by giving money to a library. Just sayin’.)
Crescent Food Pantry (Blessed to have plenty? Help someone else have a little.)
East Pottawattamie Soil & Water Conservation District (My dad is a commissioner. They do good work!)
Family, Inc. (They have an office in Avoca and do a lot of family-oriented events in rural Pott. Co.)
Golden Hills RC&D (I’m bias because my office is in their building, but they do amazing work that nobody realizes they do – like setting up the byways and organizing the Southwest Iowa Arts Tour)
Macedonia Hamilton Development Corporation (They make Macedonia and the Riverside area fabulous. Money goes towards the grandstand area this year (it’s one of only 2 covered grandstands left in Iowa!)
Pottawattamie County Trails Association (The new trail going in next to Underwood is partly their doing!)
SWIEF – Southwest Iowa Education Foundation (Yes, these scholarships go to rural kids, too. I have at least 3 nieces that got them!)
Tri-Center Scholarship Foundation, Inc. (Help other kids go to college.)
Underwood Dollars for Scholars (Another great way to encourage kids to get good grades!)
Vision Treynor (They are working to improve Treynor. This year’s funds go to a sprinkler system for 2 little league fields!)
Walnut Community Center (The old high school has been revamped into a great facility for events, fitness, and fellowship. A lot of good people working to make this something great!)
West Pottawattamie County 4-H (My love of 4-H runs deep. 4-H kids rule the world.)
Seriously, it doesn’t matter which organization you pick, you won’t be sorry. Any Pott. County nonprofit is deserving. You can’t go wrong.
As a person new to the nonprofit sector, I can tell you that people helping with these organizations typically donate many additional hours of their time to good causes and they don’t make near the amount of money they deserve if they do get paid. They are all working to make rural Pott. Co. the best it can be. I often think of that Mr. Rogers quote about how times may be tough but when things are bad, look for the helpers. All these organizations are the helpers.
It’s that time of year again: graduation season! Here’s your go-to guide to purchase easily, locally, and maybe even cheaply depending on what you pick!
I don’t know about you but graduation time always sneaks up on me. That’s why it’s so great that so many of our local Pott. Co. resources have the perfect gifts available! Plus, you’ve got me for just the right suggestions.
First off, be sure to head to your favorite bank. Whether it be Treynor State Bank in Treynor or Macedonia, US Bank in Carson or Underwood, Great Western or Arbor Banks in Oakland, Rolling Hills Bank & Trust in Carson, Shelby County State Bank, American National Bank in Crescent, or Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Neola and Minden, you can’t go wrong with a savings bond. Sure, they need the money now, but they’ll need it more when they get out of college to pay off all those loans! Plus, you get more for your money! If you are trying to go a little cheaper, get them a crisp $2 bill as a keepsake or make it a $20 and fold it in an origami mortarboard! And don’t forget to pick up one of those remaining free giveaway 2019 calendars they have left so the graduate can count the days till Christmas break!
I’m also a fan of those little personal touches they will keep with them forever, like a cute luggage tag. As many graduates head off on their travels, it’s just a cheap little keepsake you can buy for the long list of receptions you have this year. Blossom’s in Oakland has some super cute ones!
I also happen to love giving cross necklaces or jewelry. I feel like everyone remembers that they got that for their graduation and it gives them hope on that first big final! Blossom’s also has those, but so does The Painted Camel in Macedonia. Of course, they also have little pottery bowls in varying shapes that are perfect for dorm keys! You can’t go wrong with those either!
Now if you want to talk contraband they’ll love, be sure to swing through the Country Store in Carson and pick them up that Candle Queen candle they aren’t supposed to have but do anyway because, well, who doesn’t want to try to cover the stale mac ‘n cheese and beer-ish dorm room scent?
Speaking of beer, nothing goes better with beer than beef jerky, right? Stop by Jack Links in Underwood and stock up on the proper snacks for any college kid!
Is that same college kid needing some new clothes for campus but low on funding? Help them out by getting some pre-worn name brands at Guilty Pleasures in Shelby. She’ll even help you put the outfits together! And then load up on some McDonald’s gift cards while you’re in town because every college kid needs access to cheap food for those late nights!
You know what else I like to give? Stamps and envelopes. Yes, they are a little antiquated but they sometimes are necessary for mailing transcripts or paying bills! Head to your little post office and get the cute scratch and sniff ones. They’ll appreciate it!
I also think those little reminders of home sure are sweet. Hit the Walnut Welcome Center for a Walnut koozie or get a picture frame at the Oakland Pharmacy and put an old pic in it for the desk. Cheap but personal.
You know what else all graduates need? Command strips and hooks! They’ll even fit in a big card envelope! No wrapping required. Every kid I know is all about command strips for hanging stuff on their new walls whether they be a dorm, an apartment, or a barrack. JP Lumber in Oakland can set you up!
I’m also a big fan of statement pieces. Now, I do think you need to know the kid pretty well, but every college kid needs a statement piece – the one that gets people to stake out their room or start the small talk! There are plenty of beer signs at your disposal at any of the antique shops in Walnut, but don’t be afraid to find that wacky statue or a memorable lamp to put on that desk for hard-core studying! Think Hawaiian hula girl bobbleheads but even more interesting! Walnut is full of them!
But when it comes down to it, one of my favorite sayings is “when in doubt.” So if none of these are quite what you were going for, I have one last option. When in doubt, get a Casey’s gift card. They can buy pizza, donuts, or fill their tank for that trip back from home. Can’t go wrong! Treynor, Oakland, Avoca, and Minden will get you set up!
But seriously, if you’re looking for the exact right gift and it isn’t on this list, don’t worry. Just message me. I always have an idea!
Mother’s Day is one day you should never accidentally forget to celebrate! I have the easy shopping guide for you to get your mom, or wife, the perfect gift and still shop locally! You won’t believe all the options!
If you haven’t been to Blossom’s in Oakland, you are missing out. There’s actually too much to even see all of it! She has fresh cut flowers if you’re looking for that perfect bouquet, but she also has clothes, jewelry, and collectibles fit for the woman who has everything!
I’m also a big fan of heading to The Painted Camel in Macedonia. Everything is one-of-a-kind basically. They have the cutest little rings that any toddler would be proud to give her mom at a reasonable price or you can buy her gorgeous pottery hand-made by Paul himself! I will again say it: their art gallery is straight out of the Old Market! Love the look of it!
Then there’s Walnut. They have so many options, you won’t know which to choose! The moms I know hate to spend money on the big stuff. Here’s your chance to go big! Granary Mall Antiques has unbelievable hand-crafted furniture she will love! We’re talking fireplace mantels, dining room tables and chairs, hutches, you name it, they have it, and he’s open 7 days a week for you last-minute shoppers!
But I can't say enough how important it is to think about what she is always drawn to or what she collects like salt & pepper shakers or crazy socks!
If she’s more into dishes or vases for all those flowers you buy her, you can find anything and everything at Corn Country Antiques! One thing I never think of is lighting, but Plum Krazy has quite a collection of lamps and my personal fave, stained glass windows! Love them! However, if your mom or wife is like my mom, she is all about the outdoors right now. B Restored has statues, bird baths, figurines, and even a cool mailbox that would be perfect. But if you’re thinking smaller, they have bath bombs and pretty dresses for the mom needing to relax, too!
Speaking of pampering, we’ve got that covered, too. Give her that massage she probably needs! You can get her one at Ahh-spirations in Oakland, in Shelby at Bell Massage, at Massages by Monique in Treynor, or in Crescent at the Compassionate Wellness Center. She’ll love you for it!
And let’s face it, we can’t talk moms without taking wine and coffee! Get her that gift card to the Treynor Java Supply so she can drive through in route to work or give her a chance to kick back on Mother’s Day with a catered buffet and wine at Prairie Crossings Winery in Treynor or give her a gift card to enjoy Wings and Wine-a-ritas complete with a concert at Breezy Hills in Minden.
Of course, flowers and moms go hand-in-hand, as well. EZ Lawn, LLC just announced they have a brand new greenhouse officially opening May 4 in Minden or check out Sue’s Country Garden outside Oakland.
I always say you can’t go wrong with entertainment, and Pott. County has it! Get her some tickets to the Dreamland Theatre in Carson or The Phoenix in Neola. Grab the cheap popcorn, pop, and chat with the neighbors while you’re at it. Moms always love the gift of your time. Well, at least when you’re older. Lol.
She might also love a big day out with you! Give her a coupon and some cash and put it on the calendar that you are headed to Junkwood in Underwood on June 8. They will have every upcycled treasure imaginable and she’ll get to pick out her own gift!
Yes, I know it’s wrong to do self-promotion, but well, I’m going to do it anyway! If you want the best night out for the tired, overworked mom in your life, buy a ticket to Mom’s Night Out in Carson on May 9! It’s a fundraiser, and she gets 2 drinks, a pizza & salad bar buffet, and a fun Rated R movie minus any littles to keep control of for a few hours! You can get tickets at Great Western Bank in Oakland, the Oakland Pharmacy, The Bar’N Grill in Carson, and Treynor City Hall!
Hopefully, there’s something here perfect for the mom in your life. If not, give me a call, I’m happy to help! Love shopping and love Pott. County!
Happy Mother’s Day from this mom to you!