4 Tips For Carving the Perfect Jack-o-Lantern

It’s October and time for leaves changing color, cooler weather, and a really fun holiday — Halloween! One of my favorite Halloween traditions is pumpkin carving. No matter what, there’s always something that can go wrong when trying to make your own Jack-O-Lantern. Here are 4 tips to help ensure that your pumpkin carving experience this Halloween is a treat, not a trick!

  1. Choose a large pumpkin. The larger the pumpkin, the easier it is to carve. Avoid any pumpkins with bruises or moldy stems as they will spoil much faster. Pumpkins with a lighter color tend to be softer and easier to carve.
  2. When cutting out the top, place the knife at a 45 degree angle so the lid will have a place to rest when you replace it. If you cut straight down, the lid will fall through.
  3. When cleaning the pumpkin, save the seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy as well as tasty snack. Use a large, heavy metal serving spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape the insides. If you plan to light the pumpkin with a candle, the back wall should be scraped as smooth as possible since this is where the light will be reflected. A 1-inch thickness of the pumpkin wall is optimum.
  4. For longer life, soak the cleaned pumpkin a couple of hours in a bleach water solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon of water. Dry thoroughly, then rub inside and out, including all cut edges, with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to prevent shriveling.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

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Join The Fight! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It shouldn’t take long when you hear the word “cancer” for someone you care about to pop into your head… unfortunately, most of us can say that we know someone who has battled the disease. Cancer reaches many of us on a personal level and because of that, many people take a very proactive approach in increasing awareness for it.

Each year, our Agency and many others nationwide observe October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October was established as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, and an ongoing health campaign has continued since.

During October, extra effort is made to raise awareness of breast cancer and reduce the disease’s stigma by educating people about its symptoms and treatment options.

Greater knowledge and awareness can help lead to earlier detection of breast cancer.

Mammography is promoted as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

Breast cancer has higher long-term survival rates than many other forms of cancer, and an early detection plan, including regular exams, can help Americans live longer, healthier, cancer-free lives.

t is critically important that we support this cause & do what we can to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Here are a few breast cancer facts to pay attention to. Did you know….

  • The older a woman is, the more likely she is to get breast cancer.
  • Men can get breast cancer. 1 out of every 100 cases of breast cancer will occur in a man.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S, after lung cancer.
  • The National Cancer Institute estimates that a woman in the U.S. has a 1 in 8 chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime.

For more information about breast cancer, including how you can show your support, visit the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s website at www.nationalbreastcancer.org.

Call our office during the month of October to find out more about how we can help protect you and your family with Cancer Insurance!

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Climb the Tree

I’ve been in the business world for years and very aware of it for much longer. I always had a sort of “drive” and knew that I could get to where I am (and further!) if I was just willing to pay attention and make a conscious effort to be successful.

As a small business owner, I am always looking for ways to improve and grow, not only in my business, but with myself as well. In this ongoing, lifelong process of self-improvement, I prescribe to a lot of “self-medication” in that I’m always paying attention for lessons that I can learn from, seeking out motivation to keep getting better, and working to maintain a positive mindset.

I came across a quote the other day that I thought really embodied my feelings about self-improvement, and I wanted to share it with you here…

“He that would have the fruit must climb the tree.” – T. Fuller

If we want to be successful – to continue maximizing our personal potential every day – we have to be willing to do what it takes, no matter what that is. For some of us, that means quitting a bad habit or making big attitude adjustments, while for others it simply means intensifying our current efforts.

If we want the fruit, we have to climb to the highest branches of the tree to pluck it. Those who aren’t willing to start climbing will never get there. Me, I’m a climber. I want what’s at the top, I have confidence and KNOW I can get to it, and I’m not going to let any amount of falling rain or unsteady limbs keep me from reaching for the next branch and making my way to that delicious fruit that’s up there waiting.

When it comes to self-improvement, you can’t dwell or over-analyze too much. Doing so sets you up to fail before you’ve even begun. You must keep an open mind, keep looking forward, and always be learning.

If you want the fruit, you have to climb the tree.

So start climbing.

What are you waiting for?

You CAN do it,

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6 Reasons Why You Don’t Need Life Insurance

As you probably know, September is Life Insurance Awareness month. Here are 6 reasons why you DON’T NEED life insurance.

  1. You are never going to die.
  2. You are going to inherit a fortune.
  3. You are going to win the lottery.
  4. Your children are going to support you.
  5. You are never going to retire.
  6. The government will take care of you.

We’re kidding. Hopefully, you don’t believe any of this nonsense above…you really DO need life insurance for yourself and your family.

Choosing to protect yourself and loved ones with Life Insurance is one of the most important things you can do.

We want to help make sure you are informed about this very important type of coverage.

While it is easy to overlook, life insurance is an absolute necessity to protect yours and your family’s financial future. It’s a subject no one really wants to think about, but if someone depends on you financially, it’s one you cannot avoid.

In the event of a tragedy, life insurance can:

  • Pay for funeral costs
  • Help pay the bills and meet ongoing living expenses
  • Pay off outstanding debt, including credit cards and the mortgage
  • Continue a family business
  • Finance future needs like your children’s education
  • Protect a spouse’s retirement plans 

For more information about Life Insurance or to review your current coverage, give us a call or come by the office today!

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5 Tips for Proper Gutter Maintenance When the Leaves Start Falling

As summer ends and fall begins, the leaves will quickly start falling. When they do, it is important that you are more aware than ever of the proper way of cleaning and maintaining gutters on your home.

On average, gutters accumulate anywhere from 40-250+ pounds of debris per year! It’s important to make sure to keep gutters clean from debris so that water may drain from the roof of your home properly. Neglecting to clean gutters over a long period of time could cause serious damage to your home.

If you can, pick a day when the leaves are dry to clean your gutter. It will make it easier for you to remove leaves and small twigs with your hands or a handheld leaf blower.

Here are 5 Tips to Help Keep Your Gutters Clean:

  1. For all gutter maintenance, you should use a steady ladder. Please use ladder safety precautions at all times. If your gutter is two or three stories high, use a ladder with a stabilizer.
  2. Remove all the debris from the gutter. Get every leaf and twig with a gloved hand. Go section-by-section, dump the debris you can reach in a bucket, and then move the ladder down (very carefully).
  3. After removing debris, check for corrosion and any holes or dents. Tip: If you find small holes, place a piece of painter’s tape by the hole so you can easily find it when you’re ready to repair. If you’ve found small holes in your gutter, you can seal them with a clear silicone sealant.
  4. Gently run water through your gutter with a garden hose to ensure your gutter is draining well.
  5. If the downspout is clogged, work to loosen the debris from the bottom up to avoid further clogging the downspout. Turn your water hose on high and run it up the spout from the bottom. If this doesn’t work, try a plumber’s snake (again, from the bottom to the top). If all else fails, remove the downspout and tackle the clog by hand.

There are now many gutter guards/covers available that fit on the gutter allowing water in while keeping debris out. Many of my customers have happily invested in this “one and done” solution. Shop smart and do your research if planning to purchase.

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September is National Preparedness Month

It’s important that we are always aware of the risks outside our control and are prepared in case the unthinkable happens.

We recognize National Preparedness Month to help increase awareness of the importance of always keeping safety first.

“Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”

Here are 10 Ways to Prepare:

  1. Sign up for local alerts and warnings.
  2. Create your emergency plan and test it.
  3. Assemble or update your disaster kit.
  4. Conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions for local hazards.
  5. Participate in a preparedness discussion, training, or class.
  6. Collect and safeguard critical documents.
  7. Document your property and obtain appropriate insurance for hazards that may occur near your home.
  8. Make improvements to your home to reduce potential injury or property damage.
  9. Conduct a disaster exercise to review and improve your emergency plan.
  10. Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.

Now is a great time to learn lifesaving skills – such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes.

For tips and information about maximum preparedness, go to www.ready.gov. It is the best resource for all types of disaster, emergency, and preparedness info.

Yours and your family’s safety is our Agency’s #1 Priority. Make sure you are properly prepared before a disaster or emergency strikes, have a complete Home Inventory, and are properly insured.

As always, if you have any questions about your current coverage, feel free to give us a call at any time.

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September Is Life Insurance Awareness Month

Are you protecting yourself and your family with this necessary coverage? In the event of a tragedy, life insurance can help pay the bills and mortgage, continue a family business, finance future needs (such as your children’s education), protect your spouse’s retirement plans, and much more. Life insurance plays a key role in having a sound family financial plan.

Life insurance is a necessity that you need today to help you prepare for tomorrow. What if you were suddenly gone and your family had to manage on their own? When was the last time you did the math to make sure your loved ones would be financially sound? Have you checked with your employer to find out what kind of life insurance benefit you have through work and if that will be enough to protect your family in the event of a tragedy or terminal illness? When was the last time you had your life insurance needs reviewed by our agency?

While it is easy to overlook, life insurance is an absolute necessity to protect yours and your family’s financial future. It’s a subject no one really wants to think about, but if someone depends on you financially, it’s one you cannot avoid. In the event of a tragedy, life insurance can:

  • Pay for funeral costs
  • Help pay the bills and meet ongoing living expenses
  • Pay off outstanding debt, including credit cards and the mortgage
  • Continue a family business
  • Finance future needs like your children’s education
  • Protect a spouse’s retirement plans

Each year in September, insurance agencies and non-profit organizations across the country join together to try to help educate people about the high risk associated with not having proper life insurance coverage. We know that your family’s financial future is too important to leave at risk.

Even if you already have a life insurance policy, please consider reviewing your coverage this month to ensure that you have the proper policy for your and your family’s needs. Many big life events, such as having children or buying a home can affect your life insurance needs, and we’re here to help make sure you’ve got the protection you need.

For more information about Life Insurance or to review your current coverage, give us a call or come by the office today!

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7 Ways to Deter the Biggest Summertime Pest

As we are in the middle of the summer, and while my family and I are excited and looking forward to spending more time outdoors, I can think of a group even more eager for it… mosquitoes. Those dreaded pests are one of the most annoying parts of summer, especially in the part of the country where we live.

When the weather starts warming up, we need to always keep repellant on hand when we head outdoors, but there are a few other things we can do to help us avoid being chow for mosquitoes.

Prevent mosquitoes from ruining your summer by following these simple tips:

  • Eliminate any standing water – mosquitoes use it as a breeding ground. Check your yard to make sure there is no standing water in flowerpots, discarded tires, etc.
  • If you have a birdbath, change the water in it at least once a week.
  • Clear debris from rain gutters regularly.
  • Trim any overgrown hedges and remove tall weeds – mosquitoes also like to breed there.
  • Check your window screens to ensure they don’t have any holes that mosquitoes could sneak in through and repair screens if necessary.
  • Avoid things mosquitoes are attracted to like fruity and flowery fragrances, sweat, and dark clothing.
  • Avoid being outside during dawn and dusk, the time when mosquitoes are out most. If you do go outdoors during these times, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Use these tips to keep one of the worst summertime pests from ruining your outdoor fun!

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Renter’s Insurance: A Review of the Basics

Renter’s Insurance is needed for things like when an apartment is robbed or the apartment above it has a fire, and the water used to extinguish it floods the apartment. A landlord’s policy likely won’t pay to replace any of the items in the apartment. That’s up to the renter.

You have a lot of money invested in your personal property and it’s worth protecting. And you could experience a loss due to something you have no control over.

Also, keep in mind a renters need for liability insurance. Say a friend’s clumsy cousin trips on a pair of sneakers, falls down the stairs and hurts his back. Like it or not, he could sue the renter for that. Whether or not he wins, fighting that suit could be an expensive nightmare.

A Renters Policy will protect personal property the same way it would in homeowner’s insurance. Ask your agent about what level of coverage is right for you.

A Renter’s Insurance Policy will include:

  • Personal Property Protection – Covers the loss of damage of belongings
  • Family Liability Protection – Provides legal representation and protection against judgments.
  • Guest Medical Protection – Covers medical costs for visitors injured at the residence.
  • Additional Living Expenses – Reimbursements for costs of temporary housing during reconstruction.

Coverage Choices:

  • Replacement Coverage – Allows a person to receive the full purchase price of lost items.
  • High Value Item Coverage – Extends protection beyond basic policy limits.

Insurance Discounts and Savings:

  • Multi Line (Property and Auto) – Save up to 15% depending on type of home and coverage needed
  • Protective Devices – Save up to 15% depending on the combination of installed protective
  • 55 and Retired – Save up to 10% with a 55 and Retired discount

*Coverages and discounts may not be available with all companies and vary on amounts and types of coverages available.

Call The Office Or Come By TODAY So We Can Make Sure Your Policy Is Up To Date!

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August is Children’s Learning and Vision Month

Did you know that you need over 17 visual skills to succeed in reading, learning, sports, and in life? These include focusing, eye tracking, eye coordination, and visual perception.

1 in 4 children struggle with reading and learning due to vision problems. These issues make it difficult for children to pay attention in school and learning falters. Reports show that undiagnosed and untreated vision-related learning problems are significant contributors to early reading difficulties and ultimately to special education classification.

Vision plays a vital role in a child’s education. Early detection can save years of struggling. Pay attention to the warning signs that can indicate that your child may need help:

  • Difficulty with hand-eye coordination
  • Irregular eye movement
  • Headaches
  • Avoids reading, loses place while reading easily
  • Blurry, itchy or watery eyes

For more information call your local Pediatric Ophthalmologist!

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