Last week at Village Home Stores we held our second annual Staff Soup Cook-Off and almost immediately when we started posting photos from it to our social media we had messages coming in with requests for recipes. We had many entries this year and once again, each was different from the next! It was pretty much the best work potluck on a snowy February day EVER!
Before we get to all of the delicious recipes we have to of course give a proper shoutout to this year’s winner of the coveted “Golden Ladle” ::: drumroll ::: congratulations to MaryBeth Farber for her winning Baked Potato Soup!!! Of course she was very excited to beat last year’s winner Gregg Swanson (he looks thrilled doesn’t he).
The winning recipe was MaryBeth’s Baked Potato Soup! She also staged up her serving station with decorations and had a whole buffet of toppings for the soup. If you are looking to find a delicious winter soup to feed the masses this is your new favorite!
And now for the other incredible entries! We kinda hope that the party planning committee decides to make this annual event quarterly because we had so many different and creative soups compete this year!
What a fun time and who knew six crock-pots full of soup could feed a Village! Did you find this post because you were looking for a soup recipe? Well allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Village Home Stores and we are a small business located in downtown Geneseo, Illinois. We provide appliance sales, service, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, flooring, wall tile, and custom window treatments for the entire extended Quad Cities Region. Learn more about our store here at villagehomestores.com or stop by and see us sometime! You may even luck out and show up during a fun event like this soup cook-off!
We feature nearly a project-a-week all year on our blog. With the amount of designers on staff and the variety of sizes, styles, and budgets for these projects it’s impossible to pick our favorite every year. In 2017, that decision was very easy. We were honored to help with one special kitchen that has earned the title of our favorite project of 2017: the new Life Skills Lab at the High School in Geneseo, IL.
This kitchen may not seem like much to you, but to the students and teachers it is a game-changing new space that will help our community long term! Students with varied levels of abilities use this classroom every day during the school year. It was a privilege to partner with other local businesses on this new lab. Take a look at the kitchen area from the old classroom: Not only is it limited in space, but also limited in access! For example, it was not even a possibility to teach any student in a chair how to rinse or wash their dishes. The need for a new updated and accessible classroom has been present for quite some time. Last year the amazing people at Good Samaritan wanted to come up with a way they could give back to these students. You see, the kids love visiting the residents at Good Samaritan Village and the feeling is mutual! So much so that Good Samaritan raised money and wrote for a grant to help and make the new lab project happen.
Initially, three local kitchen companies including ourselves were invited to a meeting to discuss bidding the project. A very long story short…. all parties at that meeting agreed very quickly that if we each chip in what we were able to, then the overall project would have the best result. Once we heard the needs of the students and visited the existing classroom…. the term “competitor” went out the window. Village Home Stores, Chicago Street Decorating Center, and Alexander Lumber were now all partners for this important and impactful project for our community.
Village Home Stores was able to provide a brand new wall oven, cooktop, microwave, and range hood. We also provided some cabinetry and countertop for the “shop” area of the lab. The photo below was taken before some final areas were completed (i.e. concealing plumbing, paneling toespaces and island legs) but just look at the difference from the old space!
This new Life Styles class helps to empower and challenge the students to learn and practice skills with their teachers. The addition of the accessible island now makes it possible for all students to access the large kitchen island space to learn and practice. And now for our favorite photo of the project. Here are just some of the happy students and parents from our community that will get to use this new space.
You can barely see the kitchen yet it showcases exactly what this project was about perfectly. We can’t think of a better way to capture the new Life Skills Lab than with this single photo. This new lab space is an investment into the future of each of the students that uses it. We were invited to an open house to celebrate all involved and seeing the kids in the lab was so incredible!
Geneseo, IL is “Where the Future Grows” and that slogan isn’t just for business. It means growth all across our community. It means growing and preparing for our future and cultivating and enabling our residents as best we can.
An ADA accessible classroom space allows the students the space, surfaces, and accessibility to try and practice skills that help them be independent! An area of the classroom was also installed as a “shop” for the lab. This shop area is used for activities such as sorting, and other household skills.
There are currently many students that use this lab at the High School and they come from many surrounding communities. Knowing the upcoming amount of students that will be entering the High School grade level made it important to take action now. The new lab is now finished and has been in use for the 2017 school year.
With local businesses teaming up to help provide products and services, that allowed Good Samaritan the ability to help these kids out even more. The funding from the Good Samaritan team and the grant that was received was able to be used to cover added costs outside of the materials and labor and also to purchase needed supplies for “kits” used every school year.
A special thanks to our competitors at Chicago Street and Alexander Lumber for making this project fun and exiting to see completed. An added thanks to the team at Durian Builders for their expert craftsmanship and installation. Thank you also to Wirth Plumbing for providing an accessible and safe sink and faucet for the lab. The school district, staff, and Geneseo Board of Education were helpful and enthusiastic to help make this lab happen. Our thanks again to Good Samaritan for including us in that initial bid meeting. We were honored to be included in this opportunity to give back to these important members of the Henry County community.
Of course, thank you to these enthusiastic and happy students. We absolutely love it when you come visit us at the store. You are incredible and we know each of you can do great things! Now you have the perfect space to practice and learn new skills. Thank you for being our favorite clients of 2017!