A Stress-Free Morning Routine for Back to School

Let’s go! Let’s go! Come on! I don’t know where your favorite jeans are! What do you mean you still have homework? Did you brush your teeth yet? Let’s go! I’m leaving… NOW! Get in the car!

Parents, I hope your back-to-school morning doesn’t sound like that above. If it does, it’s not too late to turn that ship around. The key to having a stress-free morning routine is to have a smooth bedtime routine. Remember, a routine is something that is followed regularly, standard procedures. Without consistency, you will have a continual uphill battle.

Here are some tips for a stress-free morning routine that will help you and your kids:

  • Early to bed, early to rise. That one is simple. Enforce a regular, early bedtime.

  • Have kids pick out clothing the night before – getting their involvement in choosing leads to happier children that are less likely to give trouble getting dressed

  • It’s recommended that showers and baths be taken at night, especially for the kids. You think you’ll have time in the morning, but you rarely do.

  • No yelling, no matter what. Raising your voice only escalates matters.

  • Look over all homework for completeness before bed; don’t assume it’s finished.

  • Before bed ensure lunches are made and backpacks are packed. This ensures that there are no surprises in the morning 

  • Give singular instructions. Don’t say, “I want you to finish your homework, eat breakfast, get dressed, comb your hair, and brush your teeth.” Make each instruction significant on its own. One instruction at a time works wonders.

  • Set consequences and stick to your guns. If you tell your child the car is leaving at 8:15 sharp, make it happen. Clearly, you can’t leave your child behind, but tell them you will be leaving whether they are ready or not. Sending a 10-year-old to school with uncombed hair, pajamas, and mismatched shoes might help get the message across.

Getting back to school and into a regular routine is a very stressful event. Remember: you are the parent; you set the tone for the morning. You need to be actively involved in the morning routine.

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As Temperatures Rise, Are You Prepared?

In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.

Know the Difference:

  • Heat Advisory – Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).
  • Excessive Heat Watch – Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning – Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).

When in the heat, watch for signs of:

  • Heat Exhaustion – headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and heavy sweating
  • Heat Stroke – vomiting, high body temperature, red-hot skin, and loss of consciousness
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Recipe of the Month: Herbed Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilling your corn on the cob puts a new spin on an old favorite that the entire family will enjoy.


  • 8 medium ears of sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Place corn in a stockpot; cover with cold water. Soak for 20 minutes; drain. Carefully peel back corn husks to within 1 in. of bottoms; remove silk.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients; spread over corn. Rewrap corn in husks; secure with kitchen string.
  3. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat until tender, 25-30 minutes, turning often. Cut the string and peel back the husks.


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Hit the Books Before You Hit the Trails

It’s summertime and that means many of us are getting outdoors. Camping and hiking are both popular outdoor activities, and they can be a ton of fun, if you are prepared.

If you are planning on spending some time in the great outdoors this summer, keep these tips in mind and make sure you are prepared!

  • Travel With a Companion—You don’t want to be by yourself in case of an emergency. Leave a copy of your itinerary with a responsible person. Include details such as the make, year, and license plate of your car, the equipment you’re bringing, the weather you’ve anticipated, and when you plan to return.
  • Be in Good Physical Condition—Set a comfortable pace as you hike. If you have any medical conditions, discuss your plans with your doctor and get approval before departing.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing—Wear appropriate clothing, especially shoes, for the trail conditions and season. Dress in layers in cooler weather.
  • Check Your Equipment—Keep your equipment in good working order. Inspect it before your trip. Be sure to pack emergency signaling devices.
  • Be Weather Wise—Keep an eye on current and predicted weather conditions. The weather can change very quickly. Know the signs of approaching storms or changing weather conditions.
  • Learn Basic First Aid—Know how to identify and treat injuries and illnesses. Carry a first aid kit with you. Learn how to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hypothermia, and dehydration, and know how to treat them.

Make being safe your #1 fun activity this Summer! Preparedness is key!

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The Sun and Safety

Kids and adults are at greater risk for sunburns during the summer months. Besides being painful, sunburns can lead to skin cancer down the road. 

Only 58% of adults practice proper sun safety procedures, such as applying sunscreen and seeking shade. Teaching sun safety to kids can help them have better behaviors as adults.

In addition to applying sunscreen and being aware of time spent in the sun, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Wear a sun hat whenever possible to protect your face from harmful rays.
  2. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B radiation from the sun. It should have an SPF rating of 15 or higher. Apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply it often. Always reapply the sunscreen after swimming or any physical activity.
  3. Bring a shade enclosure or large umbrella if you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun.
  4. Use caution even on cloudy days since you can still get a sunburn when you can’t see the sun.
  5. Protect your eyes too. Never look directly at the sun and wear sunglasses to block some of the UV rays.

Knowing you are doing everything you need to do to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones gives you peace of mind so you can relax and have fun.

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July Fun Facts and Trivia

As we kick off the month, here are two fun facts you may or may not have known before and some fun trivia for all ages.

Fun Facts:

  • The names of the Declaration of Independence signers were kept from the public for over six months to protect them. If independence had not been achieved they would have faced treason charges which carried a death sentence.
  • Nationwide there are 31 towns with the word liberty in their name. Iowa has the most with four, Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.


  • July is named after a famous Roman general. Who is it? A. Julius Caesar
  • In J.K. Rowling’s book, what is the character Harry Potter’s birth date? A: July 31, 1980
  • Which is the famous sports tournament that takes place in July? A: The Wimbledon Championship
  • On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Which was the name of their spaceflight? A: Apollo 11
  • Other than the water lily, another flower is regarded as the birth flower of July. Which is it? A: Larkspur
  • What does the birthstone ruby signify? A: It is a symbol of love, passion, strength, and confidence.
  • There is a monument named “July Column”. Where is it and what does it signify? A: It is in Paris signifying the Revolution of 1830.
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Recipe of the Month: Strawberry Mousse

As the days heat up you will want to enjoy a guilt-free cool treat!


  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1 pkg. (1.4 oz) strawberry gelatin
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Whole strawberries and whipped cream for garnish


  1. Wash strawberries, cut in half, and puree in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl pour boiling water over gelatin and sugar. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Pour pureed strawberries into gelatin and stir until combined. The mixture should be at room temperature.
  4. Whip cream until stiff and fold into gelatin and strawberry mixture until well blended.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours until set. Then serve.


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Tips For Traveling Safely On Your Own

When you travel alone—for work or on vacation—you must be extra careful about your personal safety.

Here’s some advice to keep in mind when you’re traveling solo:

  • Study unfamiliar locales ahead of time. If you’re traveling outside the United States, learn about your destination’s political and cultural scene to figure out how the locals treat people of your gender, race, or age. 

  • Research your destination’s transportation system. Learn the main types of public travel—buses, subways, etc.—and determine the safest way to go. 

  • Pack light. Don’t bring more suitcases than you can easily carry by yourself. You won’t be relying on a companion to keep watch over luggage when you need to ask a quick question or use the bathroom. 

  • Nap wisely. If you get sleepy on your flight, or on the bus, make sure your belongings are secure before you doze. Use your purse or backpack as your pillow, and tuck larger bags away in positions that would cause you to wake up if anyone were to move them.
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Do Not Drive When Tired!

Think for a minute about the last time you were really tired and driving somewhere. Even though you have been driving for years you still weren’t at your best. Driving tired is as real a danger as driving drunk!

Driving when you are tired can be extremely dangerous. You can fall asleep at the wheel and have slower reaction times when you’re tired.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are about 100,000 crashes a year resulting in nearly 800 fatalities due to drowsy driving. These crashes usually occur between 1pm – 4 pm and 2 am – 6 am.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that 50% of adults said they’ve driven drowsy and an astounding 20% report falling asleep at the wheel.

If you start showing warning signs of fatigued driving find a safe place to pull over and rest or call someone to come get you. You can always pick up the car later. Better safe than sorry!

Here are some warning signs you should be aware of:

  • Yawning
  • Inability to keep your eyes open and head up
  • Not remembering the last few miles you traveled
  • Drifting in and out of your lane
  • Hitting rumble strips
  • Distraction

Don’t let anyone drive if you can tell that they are tired and starting to show warning signs! If they have to be somewhere, such as work or an appointment, tell them you will drive them there and pick them up afterward.

If you have any questions about the coverage on your policy, and how you are covered in the case of an accident, please don’t hesitate to call our office today!

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June is Great Outdoors Month

Are you ready to hear a scary statistic? Children spend roughly 6.5 hours per day watching television. It seems that they would rather play video games than ride a bike. Even scarier, this number extends to adults as well. We’re on the computer or watching television and we don’t get outdoors nearly as much as we should.

June is Great Outdoors Month and the plan is to change those statistics. We all need to embrace our parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands and waters. There is so much to do outdoors and it doesn’t cost much if anything at all!

Not only is outdoor recreation enjoyable, but it also provides mental, physical, economic, and social benefits. Recreation outdoors can be anything from watching wildlife to participating in extreme sports. June is an especially active time for outdoor recreation in America, with millions of us starting our usual summertime activities.

Try activities such as camping, swimming, hiking, and barbecuing. These activities are low or no cost. Take these as opportunities to create memories that will last much longer than Monday night’s sitcom or a high score on the latest video game!

Kids should have no problem getting excited about Great Outdoors Month. Make summer more fun for your child by planning activities that you know he or she enjoys as well as some that he or she has never done before.

Recreation can be fun and educational. Try to expose your child to new experiences in an exciting way! Not only will they be having a good time, he or she will also be exercising.

Here are some great outdoor activities you can try!

  • • Biking
  • • Fishing
  • • Walking and playing with pets
  • • Playing Sports
  • • Tossing the Frisbee
  • • Picnics
  • • Miniature golf
  • • Visit a local zoo
  • • Plant and maintain a garden
  • • Blueberry picking

Use some of the above ideas to get active and get outside this month! While out and about, stop by or call the agency to make sure all your summer fun is covered and protected.

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