Father’s Day is 
Sunday, June 20th!

Father’s Day Fun Facts:

  • The first Father’s Day happened on June 17, 1910. 
  • In the 1920s and 1930s, some people campaigned to scrap both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and just have Parents’ Day – that never caught on. 
  • Father’s Day became more popular during World War II when the day was used to honor troops. 
  • The observance became an official national holiday in 1972. By this time Mother’s Day had already been a holiday for 58 years. 
  • Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June in many countries. 
  • Americans spend over $1 billion annually on Father’s Day presents. 
  • According to Retail Spending, Father’s Day is the 3rd biggest card giving holiday in the world.
  • According to the census, there are more than 72 million fathers in America.
  • Popular gift choices for Father’s Day (aside from a tie) include outings (golf, sports, or eating out),
  • electronic gadgets, clothing, gift cards, sporting goods, and music or books.

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The Seven Sides of Leadership

Have you ever read Pat Williams book Leadership Excellence? If not, I highly recommend it. He shares the Seven Sides of Leadership which are:

  1. Vision
  2. Communication
  3. People Skills
  4. Character
  5. Competence
  6. Boldness
  7. Serving Heart

Pat’s book has made a huge impact on the way I lead my team. Since reading the book the first time, I have seen improvements across the board.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Leadership is all about the future, so all true leadership begins with vision.

Men and women of vision are people who have trained themselves to look over the horizon, to see what doesn’t yet exist, to see things others can’t see. Visionary leaders see earlier than others, farther than others, and more than others. Then they assemble teams of followers who catch that vision and hammer those dreams into reality.

A visionary leader can take a look at a plot of bare land and see a building already built. A visionary leader can look at an empty street and envision a victory parade. A leader starts with a vision and then works backwards from that vision, figuring out each step it will take to turn that vision into a reality.

Vision has always been a prime ingredient of leadership excellence, and it always will be. General Colin Powell put it this way: “I don’t know that leadership in the twenty-first century will be essentially different from the leadership shown by Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and their colleagues two hundred years ago. Leadership will always require people who have a vision of where they wish to take ‘the led’. Leadership will always require people who are able to organize the effort of others to accomplish the objectives that flow from the vision.”

Sam Walton is a prime example of one of the world’s greatest visionaries in retail. In the 1950’s Sam bought a two-passenger plane to fly around the country to scout locations for new discount stores. Sam later wrote in his autobiography, Made in America: “From up in the air we could check out traffic flows, see which way cities and towns were growing, and evaluate the competition – if there was any. I’d get low, turn my plane on its side, and fly right over a town … Until we had 500 stores, or at least 400, I kept up with every real estate deal and got to view most locations (from the air) before we signed any kind of commitment.”

The vision principle of leadership is exactly the same today as it was in the ancient world. No matter what empire you wish to build, you must begin with a vision.

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Stay Safe in the Water This Summer

Sitting by the pool, heading to the beach, or getting the boat into the water are fun summer activities that many of us will be enjoying as the weather continues to warm up.

No matter how we choose to have fun outdoors this summer, safety should come first. There are some things we can do to take precautions and help prevent accidents. In case you will be around the pool, lake, or beach this summer, here are a few tips on how to stay safe:

  • Swim with a Friend – It doesn’t matter if you are in a pool, a lake, or the ocean, always swim with a partner. It is easy to get tired or develop a cramp while swimming, which makes getting out of the water difficult. Swimming with a friend means there is always someone there to assist you, and, if necessary, get help.
  • Swim within Your Limits – Know your limits when you are in the water. It is easy to get caught up in the fun and overdo it. Swimming out too far, especially in a lake or ocean can become a serious issue if you don’t have enough energy to get back to shore. If you are inexperienced or just learning, it is best to stay in water where you can touch the bottom.
  • Stay Close and Alert – When kids are in the pool always stay close and alert. Kids can get into trouble quickly. Be sure to stay close to the pool and always keep an eye on them. This is especially true if the pool is crowded.
  • Stick to Safe Areas – Avoid swimming in areas that are not monitored by lifeguards. Currents and rip tides can be deadly and are prone to change quickly. Always be aware of the area where you are swimming. Remember that swimming in an open body of water is quite different than swimming in a pool. Riptides and currents can quickly drain your energy. Be careful!
  • Wear a Life Jacket – If you are headed out on a boat be sure to have enough U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Children and inexperienced swimmers should have their lifejacket on whenever they are near the water.

Please keep these tips handy and use them to stay safe if you and your family plan on enjoying the water this summer.

Call or come by our office if you have any questions about your summer fun insurance coverage and let us know how we can help!

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4 Changes That Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance

It’s now that time of year when many homeowners get to work on improving their homes. Many people like to use the warmer summer months to tackle home improvement projects that they’ve been thinking about through the winter. It’s important to remember that if you make improvements or renovations to your home, changes can affect your homeowners insurance.

Homeowner’s insurance is a necessity but one that many homeowners rarely think about until they need to make a claim. According to insurance industry stats, almost 20% of homeowners are currently underinsured. Homeowners insurance should be reviewed and updated whenever there are major changes to the value of your home or its contents.

Here are just a few circumstances that would prompt an update to your homeowner’s policy:

  • Major Renovations – If you have made major renovations to your home or added finished square footage, you should review and update your homeowner’s policy. Finishing a basement, installing a new kitchen, or updating a bathroom is just a few examples of improvements that can increase the value of your home.
  • Increased Liability – While adding a pool can increase the value of your home it will also increase your liability. If you have recently put in a pool or even just a trampoline you should have us review your policy and make sure you are carrying an appropriate amount of liability coverage.
  • High Ticket Belongings – If you are in the market for high-end jewelry, electronics, or artwork you should have a look at your policy. The majority of homeowner policies have a modest coverage limit on luxury items. A review of your policy will determine if you have enough coverage. You may need to up your coverage limits or add a rider to your current policy to make sure your high-end belongings are protected.
  • Security Upgrades – Upgrading your home could result in a discount on your homeowner policy. Adding a burglar alarm, hard-wired smoke detectors, or a sprinkler system can often lower your premium. The same is true of updating heating and cooling systems. If you have recently upgraded your home give us a call to see if any additional discounts can be applied to your policy.

Carrying the correct amount of homeowner’s protection is very important, and sometimes things can affect your insurance policy even if you don’t know it, like the changes above.

If you have made any changes to the value of your home lately please give us a call for a review of your policy. We’re here to help make sure that you and your family are fully protected.

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Recipe of the Month— Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

 

Do you love peanut butter? Do you love chocolate? If so, you will love this No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie!

It is smooth, fluffy, rich and the perfect blend of peanut butter and chocolate with only 4 ingredients.

What You’ll Need

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 (3.9 oz) package of instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 (1.3 oz) package of whipped topping

Directions

  1. Mix and crumble confectioners’ sugar and peanut butter. Put half into bottom of pie shell—reserve the remainder.
  2. Make pudding as directed on package and pour over peanut butter crumbs. Mix cream whip as directed and spread over pudding. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the remaining crumb mix.
  3. Chill and serve

Enjoy!

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Stay Safe on the Water This Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. Next weekend is one of the most popular throughout the year for having fun on the boat, getting out on the lake or river, and relaxing. If you plan on getting on the water anytime this summer, or year-round, please be cautious and keep safety your top priority.

Boaters face a variety of safety concerns. In addition to watching out for other boaters, docks, and shallow water; boaters need to be on the lookout for submerged items that hover close to the surface due to low water levels.

Whether you own a fishing vessel, runabout, personal watercraft or a pontoon boat, boaters should look at their boat insurance policies to assure proper coverage for property damage and liability. Items on boats that should be covered include GPS tracking systems, fish finders, fishing equipment, life jackets, and other personal property left on the vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Safe Boating Council recommend that boaters:

  • Take a boating education course
  • Wear life jackets as a rule. Most laws require having U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets onboard your vessel for all passengers
  • Do not mix drinking and boating
  • Know the weather and water conditions
  • File a float plan. Give the information to a friend or relative who can call for help if you do not return as scheduled
  • Observe the nautical rules of the water, including speed limits
  • Get a courtesy vessel safety check
  • Do not discharge oil, trash, or sewage into the water
  • Properly insure the boat and make sure it has sufficient coverage

Keep these in mind while on the water this Memorial Day weekend, and all summer long! For more tips, visit http://www.uscgboating.org/.

Need a boat policy or have questions about your current policy, call or come by the agency today. 

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How to Erase the Writing on the Wall

If you have children in your household, the expression “writing on the wall” takes on a whole new meaning. Even if you don’t, hairline cracks, chair scuffs; marks from moving and dust can turn a seafoam stairwell or beige bathroom wall into an epic eyesore. Instead of a full paint job, you can make your walls look fresh and fabulous by addressing some of the smaller issues.

Here’s how:

  • Scuff Marks – It doesn’t matter if your marks come from crayons or chairs – they’re unsightly. Marks and scuffs accumulate on walls, making them look dirty and in need of a fresh coat of paint. To remove the scuff marks, grab a pencil. Rub the scuff mark with a clean pencil eraser. Then, blot the scuffed area with a moist clean cloth. Repeat the process until the scuff marks are gone.

  • Hairline Cracks – Simply spackling over small wall cracks doesn’t work. The spackle dries, the wall moves and you once again have a hairline crack. For a permanent repair, all you need is drywall tape and joint compound. For tips and advice, visit your local home improvement store.

  • Baseboards – The easiest way for a wall to lose its luster is to let the dust build-up. So, give a little love to your baseboards. Use a moist clean cloth and quickly rub across your baseboard until the dust is gone. Tip: A fabric softener cloth works well and leaves a clean smell behind.

    Keep in mind, not all paints and surfaces are the same. Test your technique in a small unseen area first.

     

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the last Monday of May. It is a time for remembrances and celebration. It is a special day to remember heroes who have given of themselves so we can breathe the air of freedom.

Here are a few fun facts about the holiday:

  • Memorial Day once went by another name. The head of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union Veteran organization established Decoration Day on May 5, 1868. The holiday was meant to be a time for citizens to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers.
  • The date – May 30th was chosen to highlight the flowers of May. Major General John A. Logan felt that the flowers would be in full bloom all over the country at the end of the month.
  • The Uniform Monday Holiday Act came into effect in 1971 so Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday of May. This was done to ensure a long weekend.
  • In 1966 Congress passed a resolution recognizing Waterloo, N.Y. as the birthplace of the Memorial Day holiday.
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How Can You Help Save the Planet?  

This year Earth Day is on Thursday, April 22nd and there are many ways that we can celebrate this awesome planet that we live and breathe in. There are many environmental issues that we are dealing with as a society, and sometimes it may feel like there is no way you can possibly make a difference with such a tremendous amount of needs that the Earth’s environment has.

However, I assure you that every little bit counts! And, if we all just made a few simple changes in our daily lives, those changes would have an enormous positive impact on our Mother Earth.

Earth Day was first observed on April 22nd, 1970 and is meant to bring attention to the decline of our planet and how we can improve the environment.

Here are a few ways you can help improve our environment and save our planet every day:

  • Use a reusable water bottle
  • Opted for reusable bags instead of plastic grocery bags

  • Turn off the lights during the day – open your curtains to allow the use of natural light

  • Plant a tree – not only will this help the environment but will also help your local wildlife
  • Unplug unused items – chargers, computers, TVs, DVRs, etc.

  • Carpool or ride a bike when possible – not only will this help your wallet but also cut down on emissions and fumes

  • Only run the washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load – again, this will help your wallet and the environment by cutting water use

  • Choose rechargeable batteries

  • Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle – look for the special triangle on all your products to know if it can be recycled.
  • Stop purchasing only new items, look for it used first

  • DON’T LITTER – keep a small bag in your car at all times for trash to save it from going out your window

For more information about Earth Day and how you can make a difference, click HERE.

Making these few changes will help give us a healthier and more wonderful world to live in. Every little bit counts, so start today and make a difference!

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7 Helpful Tips for Seasonal Allergy Sufferers

Springtime is here! You know what that means… it’s time that seasonal allergies start kicking in. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you probably aren’t looking forward to this. Taking a proactive approach to battling allergies will help you make the best of this inconvenience.

The biggest secret to minimizing your seasonal allergy suffering is knowing what you’re up against.

What is a seasonal allergy? A seasonal allergy is an allergic reaction to a trigger that is typically only present for part of a year, such as spring. This type of allergy refers to a pollen allergy, such as in trees, weeds, and grasses.

What is pollen? Pollens are tiny, egg-shaped, powdery grains released from flowering plants, carried by the wind or insects, and serve to cross-pollinate other plants of the same type for reproductive purposes. When pollen is present in the air, it can land in a person’s eyes, nose, lungs, and on their skin, causing an allergic reaction.

Unlike avoiding pet dander or simply not eating foods you know you have an allergy to, preventing seasonal allergies is a bit more complicated. It is much more difficult to avoid exposure to pollen, since it is present all around us

Here are 7 tips to help minimize pollen exposure:

  1. Keep windows closed preventing pollens from drifting into your home.
  2. Minimize early morning activity when pollen is usually emitted between 5-10 a.m.
  3. Keep your car windows closed when traveling.
  4. Stay indoors when the pollen count is reported to be high, and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in the air.
  5. Take a vacation during the height of the pollen season to a more pollen-free area, such as the beach or sea.
  6. Avoid freshly cut grass and mowing the lawn.
  7. Machine dry bedding and clothing. Pollen may collect in laundry if it is hung outside to dry.

For more tips to nip your allergies in the bud, click HERE.

Please use these tips to help yourself beat the seasonal allergy blues!

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