Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Bread

Get into the spooky holiday spirit by cooking with one of October’s staples — pumpkin! This recipe for pumpkin bread is a classic, popular treat to make as the year winds down. It’s not only great for Halloween parties, but also around the table at Thanksgiving dinner. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

Enjoy!

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Scary Breast Cancer Statistics

Most all of us know someone, a mother, aunt, sister, or friend, who has battled breast cancer. You may even be battling it right now. Breast cancer is a disease that reaches many of us on a personal level and we have a special interest in fighting this disease, which is why our agency celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month during October each year.

Breast cancer awareness is an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer and reduce the disease’s stigma by educating people about its symptoms and treatment options. Supporters hope that greater knowledge will lead to earlier detection of breast cancer, which is associated with higher long-term survival rates, and that money raised for breast cancer will produce a reliable, permanent cure.

Here are some scary statistics on breast cancer.

  • Excluding basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the U.S.
  • In 2021, there will be an estimated 281,550* new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women; 2,650* cases diagnosed in men and an additional 49,290 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) diagnosis in women. (ACS, 2021)
  • Older women are much more likely to get invasive breast cancer than younger women. From 2013-2017, the median age of a breast cancer diagnosis was 62 years of age. (NCI, 2021)
  • In 2020 there were 684,996 deaths from breast cancer globally. (WHO, 2021)
  • Progress in breast cancer mortality reduction has slowed in recent years. The mortality rate was decreasing by about 1.9% annually between 1998 and 2013. Annual declines have slowed to 1.0% between 2013 and 2018. (ACS, 2021)
  • From 2014-2018, the median age at death from breast cancer was 69 years of age. (NCI, 2021)
  • Despite a similar incidence, mortality from breast cancer among black women is 40% higher compared with white women. (ACS, 2021)
  • All women are at risk for breast cancer. Only 5-10% of women (5-20% of males) with breast cancer have inherited a mutation in a known breast cancer gene (e.g., BRCA1 and BRCA2). The majority of breast cancer cases do not involve these inherited mutations. (ACS, 2017-2018)
  • Many factors can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer including having dense tissue breasts, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, use of hormonal contraceptives or post-menopausal hormone therapy. (ACS, 2020, CDC, 2019)

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

Make sure you are fully covered, no matter what life may throw at you. Call our office today for information on cancer insurance.

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7 Tips for Raking Leaves

In many parts of our country, raking leaves is a necessity during the fall months. Did you know that the dynamics of raking can lead to strain and injury to the back, shoulders, and wrists?

Raking requires a number of different activities, including twisting, bending, lifting, and reaching, that utilize several different muscle groups. Improper use of lawn tools increases your risk of injury to the bones and muscles.

You can ease the strain and pain of raking — one of fall’s most taxing tasks — by taking the following precautions to minimize your risk:

1.Avoid twisting your body while raking. Use your legs to shift your weight rather than twisting your back. Twisting movements can overly strain the muscles in the back.

2.Use a properly sized rake for your height and strength.

3.Wear gloves to help prevent blisters on the hands.

4.Bend at the knees, rather than the waist, to pick up items.

5.Try to vary your movements as much as you can to avoid the overuse of muscle groups.

6.Wear shoes with skid-resistant soles to minimize the risk of falling. Sturdy shoes can also reduce the risk of injuries to your feet.

7. Don’t overdo it! Raking is an aerobic activity – you may need to take frequent breaks or slow your pace if you are an infrequent exerciser.

If you feel you are unable to rake your leaves safely – Delegate! Find a local lawn care company, teenager, or make the kids earn their allowance. ☺ It is better to pay someone to handle this chore for you than to be laid up with an
injury.

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Recipe of the Month: Grilled Banana Splits

Looking for the perfect treat for your last big grilling hurrah of the season? Try these Grilled Banana Splits. They are simple, easy-to-make, and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 4 large bananas, unpeeled, stems removed
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Other desired toppings

Directions

  1. Preheat grill on high and spray sheets of aluminum foil with cooking spray.
  2. Slice the peel of the banana from the stem to the bottom, while slicing the banana inside lengthwise. The bananas can be cut into slices instead if you like, (while still in the peel) for easier handling later.
  3. Carefully open the banana just wide enough to place the chocolate chips and marshmallows inside the peel with the banana. Stuff with as much of the chocolate chips and marshmallows as desired.
  4. Wrap bananas with aluminum foil and place on the grill. Leave in long enough to melt the chips and the marshmallows, about 5 minutes. Unwrap bananas, open the peels carefully (melted chocolate will be hot), add any additional toppings desired and a side of ice cream.
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Be Prepared Before the Next Disaster

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), September’s designation as National Preparedness Month was put in place in 2004 to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. FEMA campaigns each September to educate Americans on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

It’s critically important to prepare for possible disasters and other emergencies. Natural and human-caused disasters can strike suddenly, at anytime and anywhere.

The devastating floods, hurricanes, and wildfires of last year and so far this year have reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters.

Here are 13 Ways to Prepare:

  1. Sign up for local alerts and warnings.
  2. Create your emergency plan and test it.
  3. Find the water and gas valves for your home and learn how to shut off.
  4. Assemble or update your disaster kit.
  5. Learn life-saving skills such as CPR and first aid.
  6. Conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions for local hazards.
  7. Participate in a preparedness discussion, training, or class.
  8. Collect and safeguard critical documents.
  9. Document your property and obtain appropriate insurance for hazards that may occur near your home.
  10. Make improvements to your home to reduce potential injury or property damage.
  11. Conduct a disaster exercise to review and improve your emergency plan.
  12. Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.
  13. Contact our agency to review your insurance policies and coverage for hazards you may face such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and wildfires.

Emergencies can happen at any time and in any place. Follow these tips to make sure you’re prepared for whatever happens!

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Celebrate the First Day of Fall Next Week

The first day of fall is on Sept. 22, which means it’s time to put away your flip-flops and break out the cozy sweaters as you enjoy colorful leaves, juicy apples, and festive pumpkins.

Getting excited yet? So are we! And to properly celebrate the season, we’ve rounded up our favorite ways to enjoy fall:

  1. Watch the Leaves Change
  2. 
Nothing says autumn quite like the sudden burst of red, orange, yellow, and gold leaves emerging from treetops.

  3. Don’t Forget the Pumpkins
  4. While pumpkins make for festive tabletop accessories and spooky Halloween decor, they are also pretty darn delicious. One of our favorite ways to enjoy them? By toasting their seeds into addicting fall snacks, of course.

  5. Get Your House Ready For Fall
  6. No, we’re not talking about turning your home into the ultimate haunted house. Before the cold weather and shorter days set in, you’ll want to get your house in tip-top shape — that means gutter cleaning, furnace tune-ups, roof inspections, and more.

OK, so maybe this last one isn’t the most fun way to celebrate fall, but we promise you’ll feel like a million bucks once you’re finished.

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September Is Life Insurance Awareness Month

I recently heard a story from a friend of mine who is also an Insurance Agent. I wanted to share it with you to help stress how critically important having the proper Life Insurance coverage for your family is.

Last spring, tragedy hit very abruptly. My friend’s agency had quoted a customer and his family for a Life Insurance policy that would have cost them less than what an average cup of coffee costs per day. The husband had come to the agency to talk about increasing his Life Insurance coverage (he already had a very small policy through his work in place, but not sufficient to fully protect his family), but decided he needed to wait and speak with his wife about the decision first.

That was a Wednesday morning. Saturday afternoon the husband was driving and his car was hit by an oncoming driver who crossed the center line on a two-lane road. He was killed instantly, unexpectedly, and of course, very tragically.

As a result of all the family’s bills and costs after the husband’s death, on top of losing her husband and children’s father, the wife was forced to sell her home to get an apartment. The children were taken out of the school they had always gone to, leave all their friends behind, and move across town. Not to mention, going from a stay-at-home mom to a full-time worker for the first time in years, as the husband had been the family’s only breadwinner. Stories like this one do not have happy endings, nor do they have the financial stability to allow the family to properly grieve and try to continue living their lives as normally as possible after their loss.

While it is easy to overlook, life insurance is an absolute necessity to protect your and your family’s financial future. Life insurance is a necessity that you need today to help you prepare for tomorrow. In the event of a tragedy, life insurance can help make an extremely difficult time just a little bit easier, giving your loved ones the financial security they will need.

Your family can use a life insurance payout to cover your mortgage or other routine bills that may burden your family while they recover from the loss. It can also help finance the future needs of your family – stepping in to cover the costs of college or your spouse’s retirement.

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 yours 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, no matter what life throws your way.

September is Life Insurance Awareness month. Give us a call or come by the office this month to make sure you have the proper insurance you need to protect yourself and your loved ones.

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Happy Early Labor Day!

Our agency will be closed on Monday, September 6th in observance of the holiday. We will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, September 7th.

Many people celebrate Labor Day, also known as the unofficial end of summer, by being off work. Our agency will celebrate by being closed and at home enjoying the holiday as well.

Here are a few fun facts about Labor Day:

  • The first U. S. Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. The parade that day involved 10,000 workers on unpaid leave. They marched from City Hall to Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic and speeches.

  • The first Labor Day is said to have been organized by Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary Peter J. McGuire.

  • Congress passed an act on June 28, 1894 making the first Monday in September a legal holiday.

  • In the late 1800’s the average American worked a 12-hour workday, seven days a week, just to earn a basic living. Children as young as 5 years old worked in mines and factories.

  • The 8-hour workday was established by the Adamson Act of 1916.

We hope that you and your family have a happy, safe Labor Day holiday!

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Recipe of the Month: Peanut Butter Strawberry Bars

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over and the kids are heading back to school. These peanut butter and jelly bars make a great snack to slip into their lunch boxes!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves or jam
  • 1 quart strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and stir well.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the peanut butter mixture. Stir.
  4. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until the center is barely firm.
  5. Remove from oven and cool.
  6. While bars are baking, hull and slice strawberries. Once the base is cool, spread with jam and top with sliced strawberries. Cut into bars and serve.

Enjoy!

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The Seventh Side of Leadership is a Serving Heart

As we bring our 7 Sides of Leadership series to completion – the seventh side of leadership as outlined in Pat Williams’ book, Leadership Excellence is servingand that is the hardest dimension of leadership for many people to grasp. There are many five– and six-sided leaders in the world. They’re good at what they do, but they fall just one or two notches short of true leadership excellence.

What are they missing? They lack a serving heart.

The other six sides of leadership are nouns:vision, communication, people skills, character, competence, and boldness. But the seventh side of leadership is a verb – an action word: serving. When a leader SERVES his subordinates, team, or clients, that leader is taking action.

We have not attained positions of leadership and authority merely for the purpose of dominating our followers and subordinates. We lead people in order to actively serve them.

The traditional organization business model is depicted as a pyramid, with the leader at the apex and all the underlings and drones spreading out beneath. The leader is the boss, and everyone beneath exists to serve the leader, the leader’s goals, and even the leader’s whims. But serving leaders stand the pyramid on its head. Yes, the leader still has authority, they are still in command, still takes charge; but the people in the organization no longer exist to serve the leader. The leader exists to serve the people.

In order to achieve a leadership vision, everyone on the team or organization must be willing and ready at all times to sacrifice. We must be able to sacrifice comfort, sleep, safety, financial gain, reputation, and individual goals in order to achieve the common good, the common goal, and the common vision. There is no serving without willingness – even eagerness – to sacrifice. That is the life of a serving leader.

What’s old is new again. The serving-leadership model of the future is also centuries-old wisdom from the past. Even though bosses still boss people around today, many LEADERS are rediscovering the most ancient, most effective, most powerful leadership model of all: a serving heart. Only leaders who serve should serve as leaders. Leadership is serving, and serving is sacrifice.

One of the most ironic and paradoxical truths of serving-leadership is that if you set your ego and ambitions aside and become a true servant to your people, you can become a great leader. But you have to mean it. You have to be the sincere and humble mindset of a servant, or it will all just be a meaningless pose.

Throughout this series, I have given you my cliff notes of Pat’s book but nothing compares to reading the full book yourself. Be sure to check out Pat Williams Leadership Excellence. It is a quick, easy read as he tells many stories and gives great examples.

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