Many people are starting to realize that racism is a lot more widespread and day to day than most realized…
One of the first questions people are asking themselves is What can I do? What should I think?
At Windermere on Whidbey Island, we know that knowledge is empowering and clarifying when times are stressful and people are confused. It sounds like it’s almost too easy but it’s absolutely true that one of the best things you can do is listen, read, and watch with a heart to learn more. This is a shortlist of high-quality talks, videos, animations, and articles we think will help to get you started. There are thousands more. If you have a recommendation please leave it in the comments below. Thank you for showing up to this issue.
Why what has happened recently is such a big deal…
Trevor Noah on current events (18:12) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4amCfVbA_c
For those with young kids this short video may help explain racism…
Book reading of “Something Happened in Our Town” (8:50) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcOhOFGcWm8
Why being color blind is not a good thing…
TEDx Fighting to be Seen in a Colorblind World by Traci Ellis (14:34) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqvZRO2LPmw&t=101s
What does white privilege mean…
Sociology Live explanation (4:09) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLgbw_A1mLI
A talk about Charlottesville by Brene Brown (12-32 min) answer begins around 3:30 https://www.facebook.com/brenebrown/videos/1778878652127236
What is systemic racism…
Explanation of how our systems have been built in a racist way (4:23) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrHIQIO_bdQ
Help in understanding the big picture with racism by academic Robin DiAngelo…
How the Real Estate industry has contributed to racism…
Explained, Racial Wealth Gap (16:12) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqrhn8khGLM&t=34s
The Disturbing History of the Suburbs (6:19) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETR9qrVS17g&t=7s
Real Estate Investigation: Testing the Divide (41:17) https://projects.newsday.com/long-island/real-estate-investigation-videos/
How a Real Estate brokerage should be talking about racism https://www.redfin.com/blog/its-not-enough/
For those buyers who are actively searching for a home be prepared to follow local, state and the National Association of Realtors offers guidelines for looking at homes safely with tips like:
- Buyers wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer before entering the home and again after leaving.
- Cover shoes with booties.
- Wear facemasks.
- Clean all surfaces prior to entrance and again after.
- Sellers will hopefully open doors and turn on lights prior to potential buyers entering to reduce the need for them to touch surfaces.
These requirements may stay in effect for some time so if you are ready and willing to buy a home with a trusted professional who has your best interest in mind and are taking the lead on this new eras, approach to home buying then let’s connect so we can help you navigate your move through this uncertain time.
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Whidbey Family Resources During COVID-19 Closures
Many working parents with young children are scrambling to reassess the next 6 weeks and putting plans in place to keep kids healthy and learning while still earning necessary income. This is going to be a trying time for everyone but families with 2 working parents are facing a particular logistical headache. There are options out there and below is a collection of what is available…
Boys & Girls Clubs are offering more than 50% off child care and reduced transportation fees. Fill out the application and find out more via the following links.
High School and College Students are out of school as well and might be looking for child care work. The going rate for long term child care is anywhere from $7-$15 an hour depending on how many kids, their ages, responsibilities, driving required, etc. When screening babysitters this article might come in handy. https://www.care.com/c/stories/6753/babysitter-interview-questions/
Short Term Homeschooling:
If you are finding yourself staring down the tunnel at 6 weeks of homeschooling when this has never been a part of your plan it can feel daunting. Here are three tips that may help.
1. Create Structure through a Schedule:
Having a schedule that everyone can refer to and count on will help things from getting out of control. Here is a simple schedule we like.
2. Use the Online Resources at Your Fingertips:
Thank goodness we live in the digital age and that we still have the internet through this. We highly recommend Prodigy Game for keeping kids 1-8th grade on track with their math. Looking for a daily curriculum and content to guide your academic time at home? This Scholastic site has set up day by day themed learning opportunities at four different age levels for free! https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
We would love to hear what you recommend and be sure to check out this long list of free or discounted resources! http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/
3. Stay Positive & Create Community:
This too shall pass and you can choose to either wallow in the negatives or focus on all the silver linings! Since we are all in this together on Whidbey be sure to reach out to your fellow families, whether you have a previous relationship with them or not. Times of trial can bring people closer together in very authentic ways. Being outside is the safest way to convene and with some beautiful Spring days planning a walk with just a few families might be the perfect way to brighten everyone’s day. Want to learn more about outdoor opportunities?
Visit these posts…
Did you know that Windermere Real Estate is one of the only brokerages to have it’s very own in-house economist?
Matthew Gardner is Windermere’s Chief Economist and is responsible for analyzing and interpreting current economic data and the impact it will have on the real estate market. Matthew is a huge asset to the Windermere name and on March 12th Whidbey Island Windermere was lucky enough to have him give a presentation on our local market that was recorded and made available to all. Matthew addressed questions such as the following:
How will COVID19 affect the market?
Does the current oil shock have any effect on real estate?
Are we in the middle of a real estate bubble?
When is the next recession? Will my home value plummet?
Is the housing and income gap still growing?
What’s the market like in MY area?
In the recorded presentation below Matthew gives answers to all of these questions and more with his in-depth and comprehensive review of the current and projected state of the Whidbey Island real estate market. If you have questions after watching the presentation don’t hesitate to give your local Windermere agent a call!
Discover the Best Places to Whale Watch
When it comes to natural wonders, Whidbey Island is unbelievably blessed. With expansive undeveloped areas, nine state parks, and views that take your breath away, it’s hard to imagine it could get any better.
But it does!
In addition to our incredible outdoor opportunities for explorers, we are one of the few places in the world where land-dwellers have an opportunity to get a glimpse of some spectacular mammals of the sea. Puget Sound’s cold and nutrient-rich water makes it the perfect place for whales to roam. Although you could spend the money to board a whale-watching boat and find the mammals out on the water, boats aren’t always required when you’re on Whidbey.
Below are the top 5 places to see whales from land on Whidbey!
At the west-most point of Oak Harbor lies a stretch of beach beloved by wanderers and sea life alike. With wide-open views and miles of ocean just off the shore, it’s not hard to see why West Beach is one of the best places to see whales near Whidbey.
The nutrient-rich water of Penn Cove cultivates a thriving ecosystem for small and large sea life. It’s this sea life in the form of ghost shrimp and fat seals that attracts the attention of gray whales and transient Orca alike. It’s not uncommon for the residents of Penn Cove to see a gray whale’s tail break the surface of the water as they dig in the mudflats for shrimp or a full-on chase between a stealthy Orca and a seal.
What this public beach lacks in amenities it makes up for with view and privacy. On a sunny day, beach-goers have the opportunity to see Camano Island sitting peacefully across the Saratoga Passage and – if they come at just the right time – maybe even a whale!
Just north of this charming seaside community is a county park boasting nothing more than public access to the Lagoon Point community beach. Luckily access to the beach is really all you need to catch a glimpse of traveling orcas or scavenging grey whales.
Hidden below the streets of downtown Langley is a quaint little park with beautiful art, well-maintained landscaping, and a spectacular view of the Saratoga Passage. Onlookers often have the wonderful treat of seeing a whale pass or even watch them feed in the massive ghost shrimp beds. If you do, don’t forget to ring the Whale Bell!
Bonus: Your own back porch?
Can you say “waterfront property”? Yes, please! Our beautiful island has many waterfront homes and properties with beautiful views of Puget Sound. How amazing would it be to sip coffee on your own patio while enjoying pods of orca passing by or gray whales feeding on the beach right in front of you? If this sounds like your dream, give us a call today!
Now, remember, if you do see a whale you should report it to the Orca Network! Reporting sightings to the Orca Network helps with scientific efforts and helps other whale watchers like yourself!
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Valentine’s Day with Kids
The way we celebrate Valentine’s Day changes so much once kids enter the picture! Suddenly it becomes about finding ways to incorporate kid-friendly activities into what used to be a romantic night out. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun! Here are a few ideas to make Valentine’s Day special for you and your little ones:
DIY your Valentine’s cards
Find a cute homemade Valentine’s card craft that your kids can do with you, like these sweet owl cards or these heart buddies. If you have babies or very young toddlers, this heart fingerprint card could make a great gift for relatives! Need something a little less crafty for those large elementary school classes? You can find tons of free printables online that you can pair with a few sweets, like this Tic Tac Toe Valentine!
Bake something yummy
Kids love getting messy in the kitchen, and there are so many yummy Valentine’s Day themed treats you can make together! Cookies are always a good option, especially ones you can bake and then decorate! Want something with less baking? Buy some pink, red, and white candy melts and sprinkles and yummy treats to dip in them, like pretzels or wafer cookies.
If you’re new to baking with your little ones, 3 Scoops of Sugar has some great tips for making it more fun for everyone!
Hire a babysitter or have an at-home date night
After a day filled with baking and crafting, let the kids relax at home with a favorite babysitter, library books and some coloring pages while you and your Significant Other enjoy some quality time! You can even set up some baking or crafting activities for the sitter to do with your kids so it’s still a special time for them too.
Babysitter and going out not in the budget this month? Wait until the little ones are in bed, or settle them with a good movie so the adults can have some quality time together. Play a game together, snuggle up for a favorite Rom-Com, cook a meal together…the important thing isn’t flowers and chocolates and candle-lit restaurants. It’s all about just being together!
How does your family celebrate Valentine’s Day?
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The gifts are all open, friends and family have returned to their respective homes, the ball has fallen, and the kids are back in school. The holiday season has officially come to a close, leaving us with the annual question of “Now what?”
Although this question can be an ominous one correlating to all that life may hold for us in the coming 12 months, for many it also applies to right here and right now. The sudden calm after Christmas can leave people dazed or even in a state of shock when they realize they have a bit of post-holiday cleanup to complete. It can be hard to know where to start or what to do when it comes to reorienting your home back to normal. We are here to help with 5 After Christmas Activities.
Donate Old Toys
If you’re like most families, the quantity of toys in your home this time of year probably spikes quite a bit. When new and exciting Christmas gifts join those that came before it can feel like you’re living on the Island of Misfit Toys. Sneaking unplayed-with toys out of their room in the dead of night may be the easiest option but encouraging your children to choose which toys they would like to donate can help teach generosity, the importance of cleaning up, and critical decision making skills. Once you and your kids have decided which toys they can bear to part with there are a few choices on where you can donate. Below are some of Whidbey’s second-hand shops and charities that accept lightly used toys.
Island Thrift | 600 SE Barrington Dr, Oak Harbor
Upscale Resale | 210 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
Habitat for Humanity | 280 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
The Garage of Blessings | 800 SE Barrington Drive, Oak Harbor
Recycle Your Tree
Now for that (maybe less than lush) tree currently gracing your living room with its presence. It’s always a little sad when the time comes around to take down the Christmas tree, but the end of its needle droppings is usually welcomed. What’s not welcomed is the question of what to do with it. If you live in a house with a wood burning fireplace it might be a little tempting to chop it up and throw it in, but this is a BAD IDEA. When pine needles catch on fire they don’t burn slowly like wood, but instead spark out in all directions which can be a huge fire hazard in a home. Instead, what you should do is deposit your tree at one of the island’s Solid Waste drop-off locations where they can be put with other yard waste and recycled properly:
North Whidbey Solid Waste | 3151 Oak Harbor Road, Oak Harbor
Coupeville Solid Waste Complex | 20018 State Highway 20, Coupeville
Bayview Solid Waste | 5790 S Kramer Road, Langley
What You Can and Can’t Recycle
“Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s?” (King5) It’s little wonder why this increased waste occurs. However, it doesn’t make the statistic any less startling. To put that in perspective, since the average American produces about 4.5 lbs of waste a day (EPA); Whidbey Island theoretically produces an additional 3,500 TONS of waste every holiday season. If there was ever a stat to make you want to recycle, that should be it! However, in order to be an effective recycler you need to know what can and what can’t go in that little blue bin of yours. So here’s a quick rundown of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.
● Cardboard boxes
● Plain paper boxes and bags
● Plain wrapping paper
● Holiday Cards (w/o embellishments)
● Tissue paper
● Bubble wrap
● Plastic Bags
● Holiday Lights
● Foam Packaging
Give to the Food Bank
During the holidays it’s very easy to get caught up in the good cheer and generosity of the season. But the time immediately after the holidays can be especially difficult for charities and food banks. The financial exasperation many experience directly after the holidays can cause an all out stop to donations for a while; but unfortunately, needs don’t cease just because Christmas is over. Donating to charities and especially food banks is something critical to do throughout the year and not just in November and December. Below are some local food banks who could do a great amount of good with your post-Christmas donations.
Throw a Regifting Party!
We all have that one gift (or 5) that we simply didn’t want or need. Yes, Aunt Kathy meant well, but what on earth are you going to do with a crochet pillow of her cat?? Often these gifts are begrudgingly placed deep into the depths of our closets never to be seen again (or at least not for a few years). However, it doesn’t have to be this way! We know you aren’t a fan of seeing Whisker’s face on a pillow every day, but who is to say your friend Bethany might not LOVE it? Unwanted gifts don’t need to sit gathering dust in the closet, especially when there’s a simple solution of how to find someone who might actually find use or enjoyment in it.
Throw a Regifting Party!
Regifting Parties are basically White Elephants thrown after Christmas with the intention of finding better homes for those unwanted gifts. The concept and rules for the Regifting Game is simple and match White Elephant almost exactly. So makes some warm drinks, grab a few good friends, and have a great time discovering new treasures!
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Have you been outside lately? There has not been a coatless day in WEEKS and the trees downtown are one harsh wind away from officially being bare.
The point is…it’s cold.
We all know the drill here. We put away our summertime flip flops in exchange for wool socks and thick boots. Our tank tops get pushed to the backs of our closets as sweaters emerge. Winter is coming and we are preparing our closets accordingly.
But how are you preparing your home?
It’s hard to imagine failing to maintain the greatest investment we’ve ever made yet every year a shocking number of homeowners fail to do basic winterization tasks. Some don’t even know that they should! To lend a helping hand here are the Top 5 Winterization Tasks you should do every year.
Clean out the gutters
Those beautiful fall leaves we’ve been watching descend so gracefully from the sky are the same ones descending into your gutters. Although that might not mean much now, when the temperature dips down to freezing it can mean a whole lot. Water unable to escape the drains due to fallen leaves expand as it freezes. This can cause gutters to become damaged or pull away from the house. Eventually these become overhead hazards that threaten to fall from above.
Cleaning your gutters may not be fun, but it is vital and pretty easy. Simply grab a ladder, some work gloves, a trash bag, ang get to work! You’ll probably find it goes faster than you ever imagined.
Flush irrigation systems
If you have a sprinkler system for your home, it is of the utmost importance to have the lines professionally blown out before the cold hits! As we talked about with the gutters above, when water freezes it expands. This is bad news for those underground pipes! Frozen water that expands within irrigation pipes can cause pipes to crack or burst destroying your system and your yard. Below are some local companies certified to service irrigation systems:
Precision Plumbing and Backflow Testing | 360-914-0321
Everflow Irrigation | 360-840-4793
GCF Backflow Services | 360-320-9871
Evergreen Landscape & Maintenance | 360-679-2363
King Water Company | 360-678-5336
Cover outside faucets
Going hand in hand with blowing out that sprinkler system is covering ALL outside spigots. BURSTING PIPES! It’s a very real issue that can cause thousands of dollars in property damage. Luckily, covering your pipes can be as easy as going to your local hardware store and picking up one of the below faucet covers. They are extremely easy to install and if you are even a little concerned we have found a helpful video to guide you through!
Fertilize the lawn
Winter months seem to only to bring with them frost and death. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the story for your lawn. Winter fertilizer helps your grass recover from minerals lost in the scorching summer sun and stock up on the nutrition it needs to withstand the cold winter months. This will prevent it from dying away when spring hits.
However, living on an island brings with it special considerations when it comes to fertilizing your lawn. Traditional fertilizers often contain high amounts of hazardous chemicals such as zinc, lead, cadmium, chromium or sometimes even arsenic. The risk of these chemicals is only elevated with the addition concern of their runoff into the Puget Sound. Living on Whidbey increases this risk drastically even for the most centrally located island properties. That’s why we highly suggest using eco-friendly fertilizers such as Milorganite’s Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer which you can pick up Home Depot today!
Replace weather stripping
Every year countless sums of money are spent on the excess heating required to keep our homes warm in the winter months. But is all that money necessary? You’d be shocked to learn all the different ways in which the sacred warm air inside escapes from your home. Although some of these issues require big solutions like reinstalling insulation in your roof or switching to a better heating system altogether; quite a lot can be done in simply replacing some of your weather stripping around the house!
How long has the weather stripping along your exterior doors been there? Since you’ve moved in, right? Well every time that door opens and closes there is a little more wear to the stripping and after a few hundred passages it’s no wonder it starts to give way.
Replacing weather stripping is easy and relatively cheap! Check it out:
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Whidbey Island Wineries & Distilleries
“With intriguing accents of spice and musty earth [and] a gripping mouthful of tannins dance on the lengthy finish.”
These are the words used to describe Spoiled Dog Winery’s Estate Pinot Noir. If you are a fancy wine connoisseur, you probably knew what all of those words meant. Or maybe that entire sentence was gibberish to you.
Luckily, expertise is not a requirement for enjoyment when it comes to wine. This is evident annually with the “Autumn on Whidbey Tour” when people from all over and with all levels of wine knowledge flood the tasting rooms of local wineries to make memories. The tour is filled with friends having fun, amazing wine, and local art displayed in every tasting room.
Hosted by the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association, this year’s Autumn on Whidbey tour is widening it’s horizons by also including some local spirits! This expansion helps to include individuals interested in participating, but not really interested in wine. It also provides recognition and traffic to some pretty great local distilleries.
Below are some of the Wineries and Distilleries participating in this year’s tour that we had the pleasure of visiting:
Holmes Harbor Cellars
When you think of vineyards and wine tours, do you think of gorgeous Italian villas overlooking expansive acres of grape vines? If so, Holmes Harbor is the place for you! This locally owned winery opened its doors in 2008 with the hope of blending art and science to create some of the most incredible wines on Whidbey. This blend is evident both in their wine and in their tasting room which has the facade of a beautiful authentic villa while proudly displaying their fermentation tanks within. You can’t help but feel like you are about to have the best weekend of your life when you enter this incredible space.
Mutiny Bay Distillery
You are going to LOVE this mom, pop, and son distillery. After retiring as pharmacists Rod and Kathy Stallman utilized their deep understanding of chemistry to create spirits that ignite your imagination. With the engineering innovations of their son Scott, this trio created what can only be described as a dream line of liquor distilled from almost exclusively local ingredients. Their love and passion for their craft is evident from the moment you enter the tasting room. They love walking people through their selection of spirits and their process. You do not want to miss this stop on the tour!
Spoiled Dog Winery
As one of the most established and favorited wineries on the island, Spoiled Dog is without doubt a real treat to visit. Approaching the property guests are enveloped in trees that open suddenly to acres of vineyards and one of the most charming farm style buildings on Whidbey. Walking in one is immediately met by friendly tasting room staff standing in front of countless barrels of aging wine. The staff are knowledgeable and eager to help. Their selection is incredible and nothing beats the view of the vineyard with tall evergreens in the background.
This year’s Autumn on Whidbey Tour is November 9-10. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 or $30 day of the event. You can purchase yours here!
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