Archive for December, 2011

New Year’s Eve Events Around Town

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

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Are you still looking for the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration?  Search no further!  Check out one of these great holiday events happening around town.

Rock The Universe: Visit Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe between 6:00PM – Midnight for their annual Rock the Universe Celebration.  Enjoy live music from the School Of Rock Road Crew, dress the part of a rock star with free rockin’ hair and face paint, and make your own music video.  From 10:00PM on enjoy a New’s Year Eve countdown complete with party favors and a ball drop!  Cost of celebration is free and unlimited ride wristbands will be available for a discounted rate.

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration: If you are partying with kids whose bedtime falls before midnight, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory’s Noon Year’s Eve Celebration may be a great alternative to the traditional midnight countdown.  Stop by between 10:00AM – 1:00PM for festive hat making, special animal enrichment demonstration, costumed characters and story time.  At 11:59AM enjoy a countdown to noon and celebrate when hundreds of beach balls drop from the ceiling!  Como Park admission is free and relies on donations for operation.

Buck Hill: Do you need to burn some calories after Christmas feasting?  Grab your family and head to Buck Hill’s New Year’s Eve Bash for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.  This special celebration will also include live music, magicians, and a midnight fireworks display.  Enjoy glitter glam hair-dos and tarot card readings while keeping an eye out for a prize passing, snowboarding Santa!  Cost of celebration is free with Buck Hills Admission.

New Year’s Eve Party At Edinborough Park: Visit Edinborough Park in Edina, Minnesota for a family-friendly bash from 6:00 – 9:00PM.  Enjoy complimentary cookies and juice, dance and play with KidzDance DJ.  Play in Adventure Peak, splash in the pool and jump in the bounce castle.  New Year’s Eve Countdown will begin at 8:00PM.   Cost is $7 per child and adults are free with paying child.

Happy New Year’s!

New Years Note from Mark Sass

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Wow, this past year really flew by! I have never seen so much change in our fast paced world. It seems we have to adapt more and more.

Thank you for supporting us this year. We are in business because of all our repeat and referral customers along with many new customers. We appreciate working with all of you and look forward to serving you in the New Year.

Enjoy this season with your family as we look forward to another good year. We are all blessed to have family and friends.

- Mark Sass and the Sass Team

Sass Team Holiday Traditions

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

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Nothing reinforces the importance of families and traditions as much as the holidays.  With Christmas just around the corner, we asked our staff about some of their favorite holiday traditions.

“My family has always followed the tradition of St. Nicholas by hanging our stockings – although originally it was shoes in the legend – by the fireplace on December 5, St. Nicholas Eve.  In the morning, our stockings would have a small gift, such as coins and candy, if we had been good children. If we had been bad, we would get ‘coal’ or, in my case, a charcoal briquette and a stick. St. Nicholas is believed to be the basis for what Santa Claus looks like today.  My parents also had their own incentive for honoring this tradition.  As my mother later explained, a piece of coal mixed into our stockings two weeks before Christmas ensured our best behavior leading up to the holidays!”  - Wendy

“Our tradition, since my daughter was born twenty-eight years ago, is to go out the day after Thanksgiving and cut down our own fresh Christmas tree.” - Jeff

“Being a full-blooded Norwegian, you might guess that one of our Christmas family favorites was “Lefse.”  Both my mother and grandmother made it, and it was awesome!  As my sister and I got older we both wanted to learn to make it ourselves, but we never quite got beyond helping. About 10 years ago my sister was here from California and we decided we’d try to make it with our daughters, nieces, and nephews.

We had a recipe from our grandma and it called for 5 tablespoons of salt – we thought it seemed like a lot but it was Grandma’s recipe.  Lefse is supposed to be round but as we were rolling it out, the kids were laughing and having a great time trying to decide what state their Lefse was shaped like; so not only did it not taste good, it didn’t even look good!  Needless to say, we didn’t count this experience as a success, only an attempt to carry out a Norwegian tradition but we had a great time.  Our mother and grandmother would have laughed until they cried. But the story has a happy ending – I have now learned how to make Lefse that both looks and tastes good.  It has become a tradition with my kids and grandkids to have good Lefse at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.” - Barb

“Christmas dinner with Mark’s family is something I look forward to every Christmas.  We start out with oyster stew and homemade bread for garlic toast.  Then we jump right into the main course – sauerkraut and dumplings, deep fried or baked fish, German potato salad, kolaches (a Bohemian sweet roll), and rohliky (a Bohemian crescent roll).  While the food never changes, our deserts change all the time.  It is whatever we all decided to bring from pies, cookies, caramel corn, fudge, rosettes and more.  It’s a Bohemian/Czech and German dinner that the family always looks forward too.  IT’S TRADITION!” – Chris & Mark

We hope you make time this year to enjoy your own traditions and, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Green Party Planning Ideas

Friday, December 16th, 2011

istock_000017556816xsmallWith the holidays come many holiday events.  When planning this year’s festivities consider adding a new color to your planning palette – GREEEN, as in green party practices.  Use these eco-friendly tips to help reduce your carbon footprint while throwing a fabulous fete!

Invitations: Don’t leave a paper trail to your holiday fun.  Instead, save a tree and invite friends and family using an online invitation.  Quick to create, convenient, and easily customizable, online invitations are the perfect way to get your green party started!  Utilize invitation management sites such as www.evite.com to create invites perfect for you and your event.

Flatware: Trade out disposable plates and utensils for washable crockery that can avoid the landfill and be reused at celebrations time and time again.  Or consider using recycled, compostable plates that will go right into your composter for easy breakdown.  Replace plastic tablecloths and paper napkins with linens to further reduce waste.

Refreshments: For a truly eco-friendly event, purchase food locally.  Not only will your supplies be fresher, local food is often cheaper!   Your area Farmer’s Market can provide an array of fresh meats and cheeses to fruits and veggies to desserts and breads.  The Farmer’s Market can also be a great source of organic and locally grown flowers – perfect for your eco-friendly centerpieces.  Don’t forget to bring your reusable canvas tote shopping with you!

Clean-Up: Make recycling an easy part of clean-up by providing clearly labeled containers for guests to use throughout the night.  After your last partier has left, utilize a nonhazardous and biodegradable cleaning product to give your home a onceover!

Green Heating Options

Monday, December 5th, 2011

As the temperatures outside are dropping, we are turning up the heat inside. This year, as you turn your thermostat on, consider installing one of these energy-efficient, renewable or alternative heating methods:

Radiant-Floor Heat: Radiant-floor heating delivers heat through the floor—usually through a hot-water tubing system embedded in a concrete slab. The heat is distributed over a large surface area and, as such, it can be delivered at a relatively low temperature while still achieving the same results as a traditional heating unit. The heat is delivered uniformly and warms people directly (through the floor) as opposed to warming the air around them. As a result of all of these factors, most homeowners are able to maintain lower thermostat temperatures as compared to other systems.

Geothermal Heat Pump: Geothermal heat pumps work by drawing heat from the earth into your home. Unlike heat drawn from the air, the earth’s ground temperature is much more constant and consistent. It is this consistency which makes geothermal pumps efficient, comfortable, and quiet heating units.

While geothermal pumps can be more costly to install than traditional heating systems, their energy efficiency can help to offset these initial costs. For example, according to the US Department of Energy, geothermal heat pumps use twenty-five to fifty-percent less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency now includes geothermal heat pumps in the types of products rated in the EnergyStar® program. Lastly, geothermal pumps are mechanically simple and placed below ground. As a result, most have very minimal maintenance costs.

Are you ready to install an alternative or renewable heating system in your home? Contact us today for more information!