Community Partners And Projects

FROGBOX Madison WI - Tips for a Greener and Less Stressful Move

FROGBOX LOGOBy: Guest Blogger Matt Harbut, FROGBOX of Madison

1. Manage your time properly

Start organizing and packing at least one month before the moving day. Start with things that you don't use daily. Your ski suit, snow boots, winter clothes, most of the books, CD's and computer games and other things you can do without for a few weeks. Start slowly and dedicate an hour or two every day for packing. The most important step is to go through your stuff and sort it.

2. Be sure to have recycling bins and donation bags and garbage bags

Before you start packing, you need to get rid of things that you don't need. A good example are clothes that you haven't worn for the last two years and that are taking up space you could use for new clothing.  This applies to books, toys and home decorations.

3. Throw out the fridge

or at least a lot of it - Food and vitamins are not like good wine. They don't get better with age!  Go through your pantry, medicine cabinet and vitamins; throw away anything that has expired.  Be sure to check-out the Wisconsin DNR for pharmaceutical disposal guidelines.

4. The "Maybe Box"

Sometimes it's hard to let go. If you feel conflicted, put it in a "MAYBE box" that you have prepared especially for tough decisions. After a few days, go check in with your "maybe box". Your clarity will increase and you may see things differently.

5. Use existing containers, suitcases, etc for packing

Take a look at your home. You probably have some plastic containers, suitcases and camping bags that can be used for packing. Sometimes these bags are stored in the attic and they are full of dust; clean them and use them for your move.

6. For the rest of your things rent reusable plastic moving boxes from FROGBOX.  

They are easy to work with. Your belongings won't get wet while loading/unloading in the rain. They are not only eco-friendly (since they reduce cardboard waste) they are family friendly too- if you by accident have packed your child's most important stuffed toy... all you have to do is open the lid, take it out and close it back up. (You'd be surprised how often this happens.)

7. Soft Items

Do not pack all your towels in one big box. Use the towels to pad the bottom of each box when packing dishes and other fragile items. Use another towel on top and close the lid.

8. Label Every Box

Don't label the top - always on the side, so when you stack them on each other you can tell what's inside. When you rent FROGBOXes you get labels with your order but you can always just flip open the lid to see what's inside so the contents of you boxes will never be a mystery.

9. Don't let your junk mail move with you!

Use this as an opportunity to manage your mail with services like DMAchoice, OptOutPrescreen and Catalog Choice.   Feel good about simplifying your life, while saving hundreds of trees each year.

10. When choosing a mover...

make sure they're licensed and bonded, and have a great reputation. Call or email FROGBOX for a list of trusted Madison area movers.

11. Do it yourself moving

Consider renting the smallest van or truck that your things will fit into.  This will make loading the truck much easier and you'll save money and fuel.  If you have a small amount to move and don't own a car it might be a great opportunity to use a car share program like Community Car.  They have some roomy pick-ups and mini vans that are great for moving and FROGBOX customer get 50% off the Community Car registration fee.

12. Set a goal to unpack

Unpack a certain number of boxes each day in your new home. If you rent FROGBOXes you'll appreciate having a deadline for unpacking your boxes - sometimes a little motivation is healthy!. When you've reached your goal, make sure to treat yourself, you deserve it!

Good luck with your move and let us know if we can help!

Willy Street Fair 2011

willy street fair, madison wiAnother great year to be one of the sponsors for the Willy Street Festival, hang out with our neighborhood friends and past clients and enjoy one of the best Madison area festivals!

Come join the fun on September 17th and 18th, 2011!

This is not just for Near East side neighbors, the Willy Street Fair is for everyone in the Madison area and people come from all over Dane County to celebrate the last days of Summer. The entertainment and fun is everywhere you turn with 6 stages of entertainment, a crazy fun parade at 11am on Sunday, award winning local & national beers, a large variety of foods, hand made arts and crafts and all for a good cause - to support the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center and Common Wealth Development.

Alvarado Real Estate Group is a supporter of this Fair and will have a booth, so come visit us to fill up your water bottle with ice cold water and check out our inventory of great listings in the area. We continue to be actively involved in supporting neighborhood events like these because it is what creates strong communities. Over and over again we meet with clients that want to move into a community, not just a house. It is what makes a neighborhood desireable and helps people feel a part of a community and not just a homeowner on a street. And we all benefit from that in many ways.

We hope to see you at the Fair!

FREE Home Buyer Education Classes

Great Home Buyer classes for people looking to buy in the Madison WI and Dane County areas..and for FREE?! Space is limited so please call Project Home at 608-246-3737 for more information or to register.

Classes will be held Tuesday July 12, 2011 AND July 19th, from 6:00 pm to 9:30 p.m. Homebuyers must attend both sessions in full and a 1 hour counseling session to be scheduled individually. Classes located at Project Home's Training Center, 1922 S. Stoughton Road Madison WI. 

The First Time Home Buyer Education classes offered by Project Home and GreenPath, Inc. allow first time home buyers to learn about homeownership in an environment that encourages questions and protects the potential home buyer from being solicited. They learn about the pros and cons of home ownership, money management skills, credit issues, how to choose a realtor and lender, down payment assistance programs, shopping of a home and obtaining financing.

We began this partnership in April 2011 and in the first 3 months of classes we have had 67 individual participants in 50 households. We are reaching the populations targeted - 96% are first time homebuyers and approximately 74% are at or below 80% of County Median Income and therefore may be eligible for most down payment assistance programs.

To receive funds for most down payment assistance programs, potential homeowners must complete education and/or counseling. This program is designed to meet the National Industry Standards for Home Ownership Education and Counseling created by the National Advisory Council of NeighborWorks® America. Our course is 7 hours of face-to-face group education and 1 hour of 1-on-1 counseling.

The Housing Center is a joint venture between Project Home and GreenPath Debt Solutions to expand and sustain affordable home-ownership in Dane County. 

Project Home is a local non-profit organization offering help to Dane & Green County residents for the last 40 years. Project Home's mission has been to improve the quality and affordability of housing for low-to-moderate income residents. With the rising cost of housing, utilities, and building materials, it is difficult and expensive to tackle the repairs that all homes need. Project Home provides services that will improve homeowners' comfort, safety, and reduce energy bills.

GreenPath Debt Solutions is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt, and bankruptcy concerns. Our customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals for 50 years.  The Madison office has been serving local customers for 12 years.  Ellen Bernards has been a housing counselor and housing educator for the last 7 years and was the 2010 recipient of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling's Individual Counselor of the Year award.

This information provided by Ellen Bernards, GreenPath Debt Solutions. Thank you Ellen for all you do!

Monroe Street Office Opening Soon!

We are excited to announce the opening of a second office for the Alvarado Real Estate Group at 1914 Monroe Street on Madison's near Westside just one block west of Trader Joe's!

This is an important location to us for many reasons. We are a neighborhood based, local real estate company and community is at the core of our business. Opening our first office as an independent brokerage in 2008 on Madison's near Eastside gave us a community that has been very supportive and created wonderful success for the company but with all the business we do all over Madison, now it is time to grow!

The Monroe Street area has always been a place where we work, live and play and therefore a perfect fit for our business to move into as well. We look forward to stronger partnerships with other local businesses in the area and a Westside base for our agents that already live and work in the area that will also cater to our clients.

So when is the Grand Opening? That will depend on how the renovation goes, we're shooting for August! And we'll be sure to have a HUGE Bash! Stay tuned and thank you all for your part in supporting our business. We couldn't do it without you!

La Fete de Marquette 2011 - Madison WI

La Fête de Marquette 2011 is coming soon! Come celebrate French Music & Culture starting July 7th through the 10th on Madison's Eastside (South Dickinson & E. Washington). We love co-sponsoring this event because it helps the Wil-Mar neighborhood center and also because it is a great opportunity to bring our community together for some serious summer fun!

Music, Dancing, Food and Friends make La Fete one of Madison's hottest summer events. And it gets better every year!

In its sixth year the free music event, which attracts thousands, celebrates French culture and benefits the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, will be staged from July 7 - 10th. The French-themed event occurs on or near Bastille Day (July 14th), the French national holiday.

See the La Fête de Marquette Schedule and bios of Performers.

Music

Musicians from throughout the French-speaking world including North and West Africa, French-speaking Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean will perform throughout the weekend. Artists with roots in the New Orleans, Cajun and Zydeco traditions will again perform primarily on Sunday, Le Jour de Louisiane.

It is hard to recall any Madison music event that could boast a more spectacular or more diverse cast of musical characters. Anders Osborne, Cyril Neville, Rosie Ledet, Glenn David Andrews, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, The Lost Bayou Ramblers and Papa Grows Funk are some of the heavy hitters from Louisiana. While BelO, Maraca, Bombino and Baloji are some of the global celebrities, set to converge on our fair city. De Temps Antan and Raz-de- Marée are two of the finest Quebecois groups from that culturally rich province.

La Fête's music director, Bob Queen, claims this year will trump all previous years in terms of quality, quantity and diversity of musical acts. "These are all world -class groups. Some are making their first trip to this country or region. Anders Osborne is not to be missed. He is playing with his own band (Sat. last) and then joining a group of legendary New Orleans players in a grand finale on Sunday. Glen David Andrews is Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews' 6'4" older cousin who may supplant his cousin on this year's stage. Critics have compared Andrews James Brown and Prince. Baloji from Belgium and The Congo is no slouch and his big band will be playing Millenium Park in Chicago and Central Park's Summer Stage (NYC) on his first U.S. tour."

Acoustic Café Breakfast

Another of the festival highlights will be the Sunday morning Acoustic Café Breakfast with a live stage show hosted by 105.5 Triple M's Jonathan Suttin and Kitty Dunn. The Café runs from 9 am to 11:45 am and will feature memorable acoustic performances by Quebec's Raz-de-Marée and Louisiana's Lost Bayou Ramblers. A wait-staffed breakfast of scrumptious quiche prepared by State Street's Barakas is the featured menu item and served to your table by East High School French students and participants of Wil-Mar's Teen program. Sponsored by Alvarado Real Estate Group (yay!).

La Tente De Danse

Because of the incredible, vibrant dance tent sessions last year, La Fete organizers have established a new large tent dedicated to Quebecois and Cajun dance. La Tente De Danse will offer a wall-to-wall dance floor with a stage for live music. Quebec's Raz-de-Marée (Tidal Wave) and Cajun phenoms Ryan Brunet et Les Malfacteurs (The Outlaws) will keep the tent buzzing. There will be a small ticket fee to support this new venue. La Tente De Danse is sponsored by RP's Pasta, MadCat Pet Supplies and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Food

As always, there will be incredible food and drink from a host of vendors including-- Baraka's, Nattspil, Lao Laan-Xang, Smokin' Cantina, authentic Cajun cuisine from Double S BBQ, Southern Style Seafood delights from HMI Catering, Jamerica, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream and many more.

Willy Street Co-op Annual Meeting & Party

The Willy Street Co-op (presenter of the Fête) kicks off the celebration with its annual membership meeting Thursday evening, July 7th.  Featured that night are New Orleans' Papa Grows Funk boasting OffBeat Magazine's pianist-of-the-year, John Gros, in the lead. The incredible guitarist Bombino from Niger will show folks why he is taking the world by storm and reminding people of a Tuareg Jimi Hendrix.

The Willy Street Co-op's Annual Meeting & Party is open to the public after 7 pm or become a Co-op equity-paying member (for just $10!) at the event and get a FREE Dinner (including beverage) gifts and chances to win prizes.

Ferris Wheel

The vintage, 1930s-era Ferris Wheel (which was just added last year) will be back and provided a perfect escape (if needed) with picturesque views of the Capital dome and Fête de Marquette's colorful grounds.

This event has grown incredibly and attracts music lovers from all over the Midwest! Hope to see you there!

Marquette Waterfront Festival 2011

Another great event is coming soon to the great Near Eastside neighborhood! What do we love most about the Marquette Waterfront Festival? The music, the friends, the dancing, spending time outside, the beer? It is must be the combination! Here is the great description of this year's event from the Marquette Neighborhood Association website:

Yet again the Marquette Neighborhood Association is conjuring up two days of unsurpassed excitement for the Marquette Waterfront Festival. The community will celebrate atop the whip thin spit of land known as Yahara Place Park on June 11th and 12th . This is the 22nd edition of the event and there will be a totally sensational group of performers around representing our neighborhood and diverse regions of the nation and the World. The music will be joyous and raucous and sweat-inducing danceable. We ask that you please come both days to enjoy the show and the seductive breeze at Lake Monona's shore.

Saturday, June 11th, 2011 Waterfront Schedule

Sunday, June 12th, 2011 Waterfront Schedule

We hope to see you there!

Madison's Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sale is this Saturday!

Here in Madison we have our own style. And part of this lifestyle in Madison WI that we love is our ability to be at the forefront of making a difference in the world. It seems that most people I meet in Madison understand that Global Change Starts at Home. At home in our own beliefs or our driving habits, energy use or our food choices. That statement is pretty broad but it also focuses on what we have the ability to control too. And one thing that we have seen many new Madison homebuyers get excited about (yes, they get excited!) is the opportunity to start composting in their new backyards.

Madison area Compost Bin SaleThe City of Madison and Dane County will hold their annual home compost bin and rain barrel sale on Saturday, May 7.  This one-day only sale will feature the Earth Machine Home Composter and the Systern rain barrel.  The Earth Machine will be on sale for $45, tax included and the Systern will sell for $55 tax included.

Madison location information: Alliant Energy Center. Customers should use the Olin Ave entrance. 9am - 3pm.

Middleton location information: Middleton Public Works Garage 3300 Laura Lane. 9am - 1pm.

For more information check out the City of Madison website and visit the Alvarado Group resource guide for making a difference in your home.

Bike Madison Spring Fair 2011

Family and friends cycling in Madison WIIt's the Spring Bike Fair in Madison WI!

Sunday May 1st, 2011, 11am - 3pm Wright Middle School, 1717 Fish Hatchery Road

Celebrate the return of spring and the promise of many fun-filled days of biking by participating in the first annual Bike Madison Spring Fair. The Bike Madison Spring Fair is an opportunity to get ready for spring by learning or refreshing your skills with workshops such as Bike Maintenance 101, Bike Commuter 101 and many more.

The Bike Madison Spring Fair will feature MSCR kids activities, a chance to try out Metro Transit's Rack-n-Roll program, Madison Police Department Bike Tours. The Bike Spring Madison Fair is a FREE family event.

Information provided by the City of Madison - Spring Fair website. For more resources and information about Biking in the Madison area click here.

Bike Madison Spring Fair Activities Include:

  • Madison School Community Recreation Family Fun Activities - All Day!
  • Madison Police Department South District Bike Tours at 1p.m. and 2 p.m.: Each ride will be approximately 45 minutes long. You will be required to wear a helmet to participate in the ride.
  • Planet Trek Dane County information and Bike Tour at 1:00p.m.: Information and maps will be available for Planet Trek Dane County, a scale model of the solar system along the bike path from Monona Terrace to Mt. Horeb. We will also have a group ride leaving at 1:00 to make a loop from the Sun (Monona Terrace) to Jupiter and back to Wright Middle School.
  • Metro Transit Rack-n-Roll Program: Learn how to use the bike racks before you travel. Ask questions and practice on a Metro bike rack.
  • Bicycle Registration: A Four-Year Bicycle Registration costs only $10.00 and is a good way to help protect your important means of transportation, recreation and exercise!
  • Madison Police Hula Hoop Making: Who doesn't like a hula hoop? Madison Police Officers will be on hand to help you make your very own hula hoop.
  • City bike initiatives: The City's Bike Madison staff will share the exciting bike planning initiatives occurring in Madison. Pick up a 2011 Bike Map.
  • Local bike advocacy groups: 20by2020, Wheels for Winners, Freewheel, and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin will be on hand to talk about their programs and events.
  • Transporting children by bike demo by Williamson Bicycle Works: Children of pre-cycling age will still love traveling by bicycle - there are different solutions for different ages.Brought to you by: City of Madison Bike Madison Program, MSCR, Madison Police Department, Metro Transit, UW Space Place, 20by2020, Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, Williamson Bicycle Works

The Alvarado Group will be at Isthmus Green Day - April 16th, 2011!

Alvarado Group at Isthmus Green Day

Sara and Kathryn at Isthmus Green Day

This is one of our favorite expo's. It is the earth friendly expo and Madison's finest!

April 16th, 2011 from 9am - 5pm come down to the Monona Terrace and visit local businesses, organizations and learn from the informational presentations.

This year the Alvarado Real Estate Group will be there to:

  • Showcase our great Madison area listings
  • Educate on the benefits of working with an EcoBroker
  • Introduce you to the Slow Home Movement

Informational & entertaining presentations: * An amazing line-up of speakers talk about shortening the distance from farm to table. * The Fabulous Beekman Boys from Discovery's Planet Green reality show share adventures from their urban-to-rural life with goats, chickens, pigs, and one diva of a llama. * A townhall discussion on healthy food in schools features farmers, students, parents and school representatives.

Fun for little ones too! Isthmus Green Day's Family Play Zone has hands-on activities, arts and crafts, sponsored by Aldo Leopold Nature Center, MSCR, and Friends of the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Tickets are $5 at the door or in advance at the Isthmus office, 101 King Street in Madison. Free admission for children under 12, and if you walk, take the bus or ride your bike. Bring donations for Goodwill and get in free, too!

 

Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor for your Madison WI Home

It is the end of March in Madison WI and we still have our heat on. Waking up to 15 degrees outside at the end of March? Not fair. We all know that living in Madison can be cold and bitter during the winter months. So what happens when your heating and/or cooling system breaks down? It can be an overwhelming experience to find a local heating contractor if you don't have someone you already trust. You need to find someone quickly but don't want to make the wrong choice or end up paying way more than necessary.

With many years in the Madison real estate market and loads of connections with contractors, we have access to the most trusted people, tips and information that can help you find a contractor you are comfortable with. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, be prepared by following these tips from EnergyStar.gov:

Study up

Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also, make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

Get a referral

Ask your favorite Madison Realtor, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area. Take it another step and call for references.

Find special offers

A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you'll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at www.energystar.gov.

Look for ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR-qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

Expect a home evaluation

The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn't always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers' specifications.

Get written, itemized estimates

When comparing contractors' proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A low price may not be the best deal if it's not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

Check City of Madison guidelines

The City of Madison requires a permit for the installation of a new furnace. And then they need to come back to inspect it after the furnace has been installed. Make sure your contractor arranges for this and cooperates with the City. If you don't live in the City of Madison, call your building inspector at your village, town or city hall.

Sign first 

Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It'll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

Pass it on

Tell friends and family about your experience with your heating and cooling contractor. Another great tip is to gather two or more of your neighbors and see if you can get a group discount for your annual furnace check up by all hiring and scheduling together.  And of course tell your friends about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

For more tips on taking care of your home, stay in touch with us on facebook! And please be sure to share the love and pass our contact info on to your friends and family when they talk about moving.

Sustain Dane's Eco Salon - March 2011!

badger rock middle school madison wiThese events are amazing! Every month Sustain Dane hosts an evening to gather, meet new people and learn about important and relevant issues in the Madison area. This month is no exception.

This month Sustain Dane's Eco Salon presents: "Schools. Food? Gardens!" An evening discussion about the growing importance of recognizing good food in our public schools.

March Speakers include:

  • Madison School District Superintendent Dan Nerad
  • Megan Cain who manages East High's food/garden program
  • Jay Affeldt representing Badger Rock Middle School

Thursday, March 10th 301 S. Few Street, Madison WI Doors open at 6 pm, program begins at 7 pm Beer & wine provided along with engaging discussion

My Ideal Backyard. Creating a Sustainable Oasis for Madison Area Homeowners

Learning how to make garden beds with Growing Power

We work with many Madison area first time home buyers. We sit and drink coffee or tea together and our clients tell us their dreams in a home. With first time home buyers we usually hear things like: We are tired of sharing walls with neighbors, we want more privacy and we want to paint the walls whatever colors we want. We want to invite our friends over to to grill on the deck. And of course:

We want a yard. A place to let the dogs play. A place to garden. A place to grow food, plant flowers. A place to compost or build a chicken coop. 

So we help them buy their first home. They get their yard. And then what?

They love their new home but don't know what to do now that they have the yard. We have heard it many times. And now in perfect partnership with Sustain Dane we are excited to bring you a springtime seminar:

MY IDEAL BACKYARD: Turn your yard into a sustainable oasis. 

Part book club, part get-your-hands-dirty workshop, these series of interactive classes teach how to put together a sustainable backyard. Learn the building and gardening skills necessary to install a raised bed, to put in a water catchment system, and to build a chicken coop--and then make them happen!

Throughout the program, participants meet with experts and practitioners to learn the reasons for backyard gardening--and then will take those skills to their own homes.

Each week, participants meet at one person's backyard and install that week's lesson.

Limited availability so sign up today!

DATE & TIMES

  • Thursday, March 17th, Madison Children's Museum, 6:30 - 8 pm Initial design: Kate Hieber-Cobb, Madison Area Permaculture Guild
  • Saturday, March 26th, Madison Children's Museum 1--2:30 pm Review Backyard Designs
  • Saturday, April 2nd, 1 --4 pm Install garden beds: Megan Blodgett, Willy Street Co-op
  • Saturday, April 9th,1 -- 4 pm. Madison Children's Museum Introduction to Chicken Coops: Julie King, Rooftop Ramble Coordinator, Madison's Children Museum
  • Saturday, April 16th, 1 -- 4 pm Install a chicken coop
  • Saturday, April 23rd, 1 -- 4 pm Install water conversation and irrigation systems: Jim Guither, rain barrel program
  • Saturday, April 30th, 1-- 4 pm Worm bins and bee-keeping: Kiera Mulvey, Madison-area Agriculture Supported Coalition
  • Saturday, May 7th, 1-- 4 pm Canning, jarring and enjoying your backyard: Sustain Dane staff

SIGN UP TODAY! Or contact Phil Busse at Sustain Dane with further questions: phil@sustaindane.org, 608.819.0689

Family Fun on New Year's Eve in Madison WI

Madison New Years Eve Party

Take the kids out dancing!

There is so much to do on New Year's Eve and I could list a number of hot spots in Madison to celebrate a brand new year but I'm a mom with two young boys and without a doubt our favorite event is U.S. Bank's New Year's Party. (If you really are just looking for that list of hot spots...this link will take you there).

Thank you for letting me take this moment to say THANK YOU all for a great year in 2010. Everyone on our team at Alvarado Real Estate Group has been blessed with amazing clients. And we are blessed to work with each other, to learn together, help others and do our part in creating strong communities, healthier homes and inspiring change for a better planet. So let's celebrate Madison style!

U.S. Bank Eve's fireworks finale will take place over Lake Monona at 10:05. Best viewing is from the Lake Monona bike path between Monona Terrace and the Lake Shore.

Madison's Best Family Friendly New Year's Highlights - for more info on tickets click here.

U.S. Bank Plaza - Downtown Madison

1 South Pinckney 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Concessions provided by Sunprint

  • Main Street Wisdom 6:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
  • Kiddie countdown with hats, horns and confetti 7:30 p.m.
  • Complimentary 20th U.S. Bank Eve birthday brownie and cup of hot chocolate in the Sunprint Café at our Madtown Party. 6:00 until supplies last!
  • Get a temporary airbrush tattoo or balloon hat creation, then step into our photobooth to record your New Year's look 6:00 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Design your New Year's savings goal visor and START to save with a new piggy bank 6:00 until supplies last!
  • See the Spec-can-ular, eco-friendly holiday tree
  • Take a tour back in time on the Holiday Trolley, which leaves every 15 minutes beginning at 6:30 p.m. at our Webster Street entrance. Last one boards at 9:30 p.m.

Monona Terrace

6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 1 John Nolen Drive Concessions Available

     Grand Terrace

  • Truly Remarkable Loon 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

     Hall of Ideas

  • Learn how to Tango, Conga, Salsa and Merengue from 6:05 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

     Madison Ballroom

  • Rick Wilcox's Magic Show at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

     Mid Level

  • UW Space Place Photo Show
  • Fly a US Bank Plane

     Olin Terrace

  • View wonders of the night sky on the Olin Terrace through telescopes operated by UW Space Place volunteers.

     Exhibit Hall

  • Gomeroke: Kid's karaoke with the Gomers Band from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Big Inflatables
  • Obstacle Course
  • Little Bounces
  • Take a ride on the Circus Train
  • Enjoy fun and games in Madison Parks hands-on village
  • Take part in our 9:30 p.m. Balloon Drop Countdown!

Madison Children's Museum

6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Madison Children's Museum website) 100 North Hamilton

Join a sing-a-long led by Ken Lonnquist at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Celebrations Room.

  • Make a masterpiece on MCM's new paint wall.
  • Play in the shadow room.
  • Be part of creative crafting in MCM's permanent, collaborative collage.
  • Get your face painted, walk through the rooftop garden or enjoy refreshments at Bean Sprouts Café.
  • Countdown to our early New Year's in the main hall at 8:30 p.m.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Olbrich website) 3330 Atwood Avenue

  • Holiday Train
  • Flower Show
  • Bolz Conservatory
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Henry Vilas Zoo Animals in the Conservatory
  • Wii and Xbox Game Station
  • Strolling magician Tom Krzystof
  • Games and prizes
  • Color your Savings Goal and decorate your new piggy bank, while supplies last!

Prairie Athletic Club and Sun Prairie Ice Arena - New Site!

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Prairie Athletic Club website) 1010 N. Bird St/655 Athletic Way

Ice Skating - Bring your own skates, rent for just $2, or rent for free with a donation of two non-perishable food items for the food pantry.

  • Swimming
  • Gym Games
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Bouncy Castle
  • Cakewalk
  • Design your New Year's Savings Goal
  • Snakes Alive! in Studio 2 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Concessions and raffle to benefit Sun Prairie Youth Ice Hockey Association's Capital Campaign to build a new ice rink

Keva Sports Center

 8312 Forsythia Street, Middleton (Keva website) 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • Open play sports including soccer, football, yard games, tumbling, parachute, basketball and more!
  • Concessions
  • Hats and Horns
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Raffle
  • Inflatables for tots and pre-teens from Fun Play
  • Design a cookie or your New Year's savings goal (while supplies last)
  • Coat Check and Cubbies Available

So where will you be? Wherever you end up on New Year's Eve - and even if you stay home and get the kids to bed early please know that we will be wishing you all a Happy Happy New Year! We hope that 2011 will be full of happiness, peace, friendships, laughter and lot's of LOVE! Best wishes from your friends at the Alvarado Real Estate Group!

The Best Local Holiday Shopping in Madison!

perfect photo thanks to Rachel Best Henley!

It is time to remember to SHOP LOCAL! And that isn't hard to do in Madison this year as there are plenty of great opportunities in our wonderful city. My favorite place to find local shops is at the Dane Buy Local website. Although, even easier, is checking out these great events that bring many local businesses together in one place for OUR convenience! Love it! 

Shopping Local for the Holidays

-          Dane Buy Local promotions, 11/19 - 12/31 -          Anthology Holiday Craft Lounge, 11/27 -          Arboretum Sale, 11/28 -          The Fair Trade Holiday Festival, 12/4 -          Glitter Workshop's Annual Craftacular, 12/11

Dane Buy Local Businesses Reward You When You Think Local First

Visit and appreciate the unique locally owned businesses in our area this holiday season, and you could be a big winner! From November 19th - December 31st, register to win prizes at 62 participating Dane Buy Local businesses.

You could win the Grand Prize of a local getaway at The Madison Concourse Hotel, with dinner, an overnight stay, and two tickets to a Forward Theater play! Over $6,000 in additional prizes will be given away, including gift certificates and merchandise! Look for the drawing boxes in locally owned businesses, and enter each time you visit. Visit more participating businesses to enter more often. See the map here for all 62 entry sites. We All Win When You Think Local First.

Anthology's Holiday Craft Lounge

Downtown Madison shopping now features a great holiday shopping event in the lobby of the Overture Center. You'll find 20 artists hosting from the Madison area. Mark your calendar for Nov. 27, from 10am to 3pm, at 201 State St in the Overture Center. Admission is a $1 donation or a can of food, both of which go to Second Harvest. The "make and take" crafty projects cost between $5 and $25. Kits will also be available if shoppers don't have time to linger.

Close to Home: Arboretum Local Products Expo

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum will be hosting its second annual "Close to Home: Arboretum Local Products Expo," celebrating sustainability, recycling and locally produced goods on Sunday November 28 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Visitor Center, 1207 Seminole Highway in Madison. Admission and parking are free.

Art, edibles and "green" gifts will take center stage, showcasing local enterprise and creativity that's "Close to Home." This second annual event has doubled in size with more than 40 vendors. New this year, shoppers can have custom gift baskets created on site incorporating their purchases, along with the option to have the baskets mailed.

Fair Trade Holiday Festival

This year's Fair Trade Holiday Festival is located at the Monona Terrace on December 4th, 9 - 4 pm and features more than 50 vendors of fair trade goods. Visit calamadison.org for details.

Glitter Workshop's Annual Craftacular

This year the Glitter Workshop's Craftacular sale will be held at the East Side Club, 3735 Monona Drive on December 11th from 10-5pm. Featuring more than 40 vendors this is a great place to buy gifts for your loved ones and help support local businesses.

Some of these events offer more information here.

If you are ready for a BIG present you can jump in the market and buy a new home for your family - start your search here! Work with our local brokerage, The Alvarado Real Estate Group and we'll provide friendly, professional and highly experienced Realtors to help you! 

2922-2924 Traceway Dr. - Madison Duplex for Sale

2922-2924 Traceway Drive, Madison WI Duplex for SaleThis is the opportunity you have been waiting for!  Own for less than renting, and build equity in this freshly renovated duplex presented by Darcy Haber, Alvarado Real Estate Group!  Both spacious units offers many green and energy efficient features: all brand new energy star low E windows, new roof, open concept living room/dining room area, wood-burning fireplace, screened-in porch, full basement, fenced yard and a one-car garage. Owner's unit also has a new stove and refrigerator, a bonus room in the basement, all new flooring, and a tile entry. Value Range Price: $210,000 - $215,000, for mls data info and more photos, click here.

This property is owned, and has been renovated by, Project Home and is made available to purchase through the NOAH program (Neighbor-owned Affordable Housing).  See guidelines below.

  • Each unit has:
    • 3BRs, 1.5 baths. Owner's unit = 1453 square feet
    • Screened-in porch with fenced backyard
    • Private entrances
    • Attached 1-car garage
    • A one year home warranty!

Traceway Property Features

$70,000 renovation just completed including:

  • New energy star low E windows
  • New roof
  • Owner's unit features all new flooring, new countertops, refrigerator, stove, microwave vent and new water heater
  • Brand new fireplaces and flue liners in each unit

Neighborhood Features

  • Around the corner from Aldo Leopold Elementary School (no street crossings)
  • 2 different shopping centers within a half mile include restaurants, groceries, bakery and more
  • Aldo Leopold Park and playground one house away!

Buyer  Eligibility and other Guidelines

Buyer must be a first-time homebuyer, and must owner-occupy one unit while renting out the other. Buyer must be under 120% of Dane County median income which equals $96,000 a year for a family of four. Subsidies available for lower-income buyers. Renter must be under 50% of the Dane County median income and rent on the unit cannot exceed $847 per month.

Please contact Darcy Haber to schedule a showing and for more information: 608.358.6180, Darcy@TheAlvaradoGroup.com

Free Foreclosure Legal Clinic in Madison WI

FREE Foreclosure Legal Clinic in Madison is now available for any homeowner who is facing foreclosure now. As foreclosure and short sale experts in the real estate world, our team talks to a lot of people who are concerned with their ability to continue to pay their mortgage. Whether their adjustable rate mortgages are coming due or someone in the home has recently lost a job or a divorce is causing financial stress; there are many reasons that a looming foreclosure is a reality. Our website has great information as you start to understand what your options are and there are great local organizations that are here to help too. One of our favorite resources is the Dane County Foreclosure Legal Clinic.

Madison WI Foreclosure Legal Clinic

DATES: Every Tuesday TIME: 9am - 11am (This is a walk in clinic so come when you can) LOCATION: Room L0001 (West End) of the Dane County Courthouse at 215 S. Hamilton St.

Dane County homeowners facing foreclosure have access to a free legal clinic staffed by volunteer lawyers and law students. The clinic operates on a walk-in basis, no appointments are necessary.

The purpose of the clinic is to provide homeowners in foreclosure with basic legal information. Homeowners who have been served with a foreclosure lawsuit can receive help preparing a written response, which the homeowner can then file with the court. The goal of the program is to increase access to the legal system. A recent sampling of court filings shows that in 85% of cases in Dane County homeowners face foreclosure without the benefit of legal counsel. The clinic will help those who are unrepresented become more engaged in the process. Experience shows that homeowners who engage in the process early have better opportunities for a positive outcome. 

The Foreclosure Answer Clinic is a collaborative effort of the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce, the Dane County Bar Association and the UW Law School, with grant funding provided by the State Bar of Wisconsin and other support provided by Dane County.

The Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce is a coalition of public agencies, non-profit service providers and other community partners working together to develop sustainable alternatives to foreclosure in Dane County. Sara and Carlos Alvarado are proud to be a part of and support the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce.

Visit the Dane County Foreclosure website: www.daneforeclosurehelp.org or contact Carlos Alvarado at 608-438-6757 or carlos@thealvaradogroup.com for further questions.

Highlights from the ATHENA Young Professional Award Night 2010

What an amazing evening hosted by The Business Forum! And a big THANK YOU to Kristin Verstegen for nominating Sara Alvarado and for her leadership within the Business Forum.

Gov Doyle and First Lady Jessica Doyle with Sara and Carlos at Athena Young Professionals event

Governor Doyle and First Lady Jessica Doyle with Sara and Carlos Alvarado at the ATHENA Young Professional Award Night

ATHENA Young Professional Award Program, Madison WI   One of our own, Sara Alvarado, Broker/Owner of Alvarado Real Estate Group was one of the 19 nomimees (these women area awesome!) for The ATHENA Young Professional Award 2010. The program was launched by ATHENA International in 2007. It honors emerging community leaders whose professional and personal achievements make them ideal role models for young women.

The nomination and selection criteria set by ATHENA International, which administers the ATHENA Award® Program worldwide includes both men and women between the ages of 25 and 40. The criteria are:

  • The individual is an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in his or her business or profession.
  • The individual clearly serves as a role model for young women, personally and professionally.
  • The individual provides valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.

Sara is dedicated to building strong communities through education, vibrant neighborhoods and a passion for making a difference.

Pie Palooza is this Weekend in Madison WI!

wholepies for pie paloozaFor the LOVE of REAP we present Pie Palooza! Sunday November 7th at the Goodman Community Center.

We are lucky to have REAP: Research, Education, Action and Policy on Food Group (REAP) is building a regional food system that is healthful, just, and both environmentally and economically sustainable. And to keep REAP strong there are great fundraiser events throughout the year that help bring our community together to educate and celebrate all that REAP is doing and engage its members. Pie Palooza is a Madison favorite that many of our clients rave about! With so many Madison residents harvesting their own food in their backyard gardens and their passion for eating locally grown food, the members of REAP have created a powerful community. We all look forward to gathering together for events like Pie Palooza. Much of this information comes directly from REAP's website...   Pie Palooza is a delicious Sunday brunch including:

  • a choice of two slices of scrumptious sweet or savory pies,  baked by area chefs using local products
  • a farm-fresh salad
  • and beverage.   

All proceeds from Pie Palooza support REAP Food Group programs, which promote the inclusion of healthy, local, sustainably grown foods in schools, restaurants, food stores and home kitchens. 

Here are the pies that will be available: Bacon, Potato and Cheddar Quiche Mushroom, Cheese and Herb Quiche Greens, Fennel and Feta Pie with yeasted crust Savory Autumn Vegetable Tart Autumn Harvest Quiche w/squash, onion, parsinips, spinach, & sweet potatoes Spicy Crawfish Cheesecake Pie Mushroom Leek Asiago Strata Bacon Lardon, Leek, Gruyere, Tomato Quiche Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Pie Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Tart Apple Crisp Cheesecake Pumpkin Whoopie Pies w/cinnamon cream cheese Local Raspberry-Almond Tart Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Hickory Nut Bourbon Caramel Pie Cranberries and Cream Apple Pie with Cheese Crust Pumpkin Pie with hickory nuts and caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

*You can also buy a whole pumpkin or apple pie too! See website for pre order info. 

How do I get tickets for Madison's Pie Palooza?Tickets are sold for three timed seatings to assure good selections and shorter lines for everyone.

Seating times are 9:30-10:30am, 10:30-11:30am, and 11:30am - 12:30 pm. Walk-ins welcome at 12:30 (and for other times if not already sold out.) Advance tickets are $16. Tickets at the door are $18. Purchase your tickets online.

We hope to see you there!

Saving Water in Madison WI - Toilet Rebate up to $100!

Alvarado Real Estate Group is committed to setting ourselves apart from the rest in a way that means something to us, in a way that not only helps our clients, but helps our planet Earth too. The homes we live in create a sacred place for our families...and that takes energy and resources. There are many ways we can make changes in our homes and lives that will not only increase our enjoyment but can also be less stressful on the planet.

One of the reasons we love Madison WI is the dedication the city has to sustainability at the city level. Madison has a Water Conservation and Sustainability Plan to reduce per capita water usage 20% by the year 2020. How amazing is that? And they can't do it by themselves...the city needs us all to participate so they've created a wonderful program to help homeowners (and apartment building owners) to replace water wasting toilets (which can use up to 3 gallons of water with each flush) with an EPA WaterSense rated high efficiency toilet that only uses an average of 1.28 gallons of water per flush and they'll send you an rebate up to $100!

How can Madison Homeowners save more water?

1)      Purchase a new toilet (anytime after January 1, 2009). The toilet model must be on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense list {click here for the list}.

2)      Submit the original receipt of the toilet and the application {click here for the application form}. Please remember to keep a copy of your receipt for your records. Send your receipt and application to: Madison Water Utility, Toilet Rebate Program, 119 East Olin Avenue, Madison, WI 53713.

3)      The City of Madison will send you a rebate of up to $100 for residential customers!

The City of Madison Toilet Rebate Program:

-You must be residential customers of the Madison Water Utility, and the installation address must be in the customer service area of the utility.

-You must live in single-family homes, condos, or apartments in buildings no larger than four units.

-Rebates are for replacement of existing larger-capacity toilets, and are not for new construction.  -The program is for only one rebate per household.

More details about installation, rebate details and disposal of old toilets can be found on the Madison Water Utility website[youtube] [/youtube].

Parade for the Planet and Sustainability Fair in Madison WI on 10/10/10

Madison's Parade News from Alvarado GroupMadison WI Event & Parade Info

Join us for the first annual Parade for the Planet and Sustainability Fair

12-4pm, Sunday, October 10, 2010 - State Street, Madison, Wisconsin

This parade is for you if you...

  • Have worked to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Are concerned about climate change
  • Want to send a message to our leaders to enact policies reducing our use of carbon fuels
  • Want to join with people across the globe to save our planet

Students, congregations, businesses, agencies, non-profits, neighborhoods, and families throughout the Madison area have already been taking many creative and determined steps to lower our carbon emissions.  We invite you to join the Parade! Organize a delegation from your group to celebrate your efforts and ask our leaders to increase theirs. Help us build a movement to stop climate change

Please contact Nathan Gorst at ngorst@gmail.com or visit the event website: www.paradefortheplanet.com

About 350.org

350.org is a global movement to stop climate change. Local members are organizing the Parade and Fair as part of the Global Work Party being held by 350.org on 10/10/10. (Read our mission statement.) Over the weekend of 10-10-10, citizens around the world will complete work projects and celebrate in their communities to show concern for the planet. Our government leaders will take note of the many ways we are all working to reduce our carbon emissions. Leaders will be encouraged to increase their own efforts to create policies and programs that will reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million or less. Find out more about the Global Work Party at 350.org.

Madison's Green Realtors

Alvarado Real Estate Group is committed to creating awareness and inspiring change for greener homes and living. As trained EcoBrokers we help our homebuyer clients understand homes from an energy and health related perspective as we tour and guide through the decision making process and we help our Seller clients differentiate their home from the competion. We also give our clients Green Home Care Packages when they move into their new homes and do our best to promote ways to create a more energy efficient and healthy living space for their families and for the planet. And as a local and independent Madison WI business we are able to create business policies and office standards with our values at the forefront. Whether it is saving paper, conserving energy or making decisions about our office space and furniture - we are committed to being innovative in every aspect of our business.