December and Holiday Season Fun Facts

Are you ready for the Winter Holidays? Let’s kick this month off with a few fun facts.

  • The date of the Winter Solstice varies between December 20th and the 23rd. The 21st and 22nd are the most common dates.
  • On December 16th, 1965 the song, “Jingle Bells” was the first song ever played in space.
  • The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, has been tracking Santa’s journey around the world since 1958.
  • When you think of Christmas critters, do you think of Spiders? In Ukraine, families often add spider web ornaments to their trees as a nod to a story about a spider using its web to decorate the tree of a poor widow and her children.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started as an advertising gimmick for the Montgomery Ward department store in 1939.
  • The largest Christmas gift ever given was given to the U.S. by France in 1886 – the Statue of Liberty.
  • Christmas Trees were originally shunned in the U.S. as being a pagan practice.
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Thanksgiving Fun Facts

From everyone here at the agency, we want to wish you are yours a Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you are able to safely celebrate this holiday with your family and friends.

To kick off the Thanksgiving activities, here are some Thanksgiving Fun Facts.

  • The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920s.
  • Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on October 3rd, 1863, and set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • The most popular ways to serve leftover turkey are as a sandwich, in a stew, soup, or casserole.
  • Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.
  • Congress passed a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.

Please keep in mind while celebrating that the office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day to reopen Friday, November 26th.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Watch Out For Deer!

Did you know? We are in the middle of deer migration and mating season which generally runs from October through December. Every Fall there is a dramatic increase in the movement of the deer population. As a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year. Drivers need to be especially vigilant. 

Colliding with a deer or swerving causing you to hit a ditch or tree can cause a tremendous amount of damage to a vehicle. 

Here are a few tips that can help you prevent and decrease the danger of being involved in a deer-related auto accident:

  • Slow Down and watch for the rest of the gang. Deer are pack animals and rarely travel alone. If there’s one, there are likely more. Just slow down and keep an eye out.
  • Scan the fields and roadsides ahead of you. Deer are very unpredictable.
  • When possible drive with your high beams on. The high beams will reflect better in the eyes of the deer allowing you to spot them easier.
  • Heed deer-crossing signs. The yellow diamond with the deer on it are placed in high-traffic areas where collisions are more likely, so slow down and pay careful attention when you see a sign. 
  • If you come upon a deer in the roadway, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Avoid swerving. It could make you lose control and make a bad situation worse.

If these tips fail, you should take the following steps in the deer collision aftermath:

  1. Pull to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights and remain in the vehicle until you are sure it’s safe.
  3. Call emergency services if injuries are involved or the local police for property damage.
  4. Stay away from the deer. If it is still alive, it could be confused, injured, and dangerous if approached. When contacting the authorities, let them know if the deer is in a dangerous spot on the road so that it can be removed.
  5. Contact us here at the agency as quickly as possible to report any damage to your vehicle.
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Thank You To Our Veterans

It’s time, tomorrow, to celebrate all of the heroic people that have served our country on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11th. If you know a Veteran, take this time to personally thank them for their service and all of the sacrifices they have made.

It is important to remember the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Veterans Day is a time of thanks to our living heroes that have or are currently serving. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of our heroes that gave it all in the line of service.

The history of Veterans Day is an interesting one and many of us are not aware of how this special holiday came about, here is a quick crash-course on Veterans Day:

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The fighting had stopped seven months earlier when an armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month which is why November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

President Wilson, in November of 1919 proclaimed the 11th as the commemoration of Armistice Day. The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Veterans Day was made an official legal holiday on May 13, 1938. It was to be a day that was dedicated to the cause of world peace and would be known as “Armistice Day.” While the holiday was originally set up to honor World War I veterans, after the Second World War, the act was amended in 1938, striking out the word Armistice, changing it to Veterans. On June 1, 1954, the holiday was declared a day to honor living American veterans of all wars. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation urging the nation to support the Veteran’s Day effort in any way possible.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate and honor our veterans this Veterans Day:

  • Wear a red poppy or yellow ribbon to show support for veterans and active duty service members.
  • Volunteer at a local VA facility.
  • Donate time or money to a local veteran’s organization.

While November 11th is set aside as an official holiday, we should celebrate veterans all year long. Support veteran-owned businesses and express thanks whenever you see a person in uniform. A simple thank you will let them know how much you appreciate their service.

From me and everyone else here at the office, we hope that you have a very happy and safe Veterans Day!

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Fire Safety Stories to Keep in Mind as the Temperature Drops

As the weather gets a little cooler, many of us will start using alternative heat sources in our homes.

As an Insurance Agent, I’ve seen many cases of house fires over the years, many coming from the fireplace, wood stoves, and space heaters.

Each fire is unique, but some have common causes. I’d like to share a couple of my own experiences so you can learn how to better protect yourself and your family.

In one situation, the homeowner knew that fireplace ashes can act as insulation and keep embers hot for 7-10 days. He placed them in a metal can on the back deck to cool. Heat transferred through the metal and ignited his deck. You can imagine what happened.

In the case of another homeowner who was using a vacuum to clean up around a wood stove, she unknowingly sucked an ember into the vacuum, which was then put away in an attic stairwell. A smoke detector later alerted the homeowner that the stairwell and the top of her home were engulfed in flames.

In one more situation, a customer’s teenage daughter was having friends over for a sleepover in their basement. Since it was very cool downstairs, the mother set up a space heater in the corner of the room. The girls woke up during the night on a deflating, burning/melting air mattress. The heater had been left too close and on too high a setting.

The most common source of easily preventable fire accidents comes from wood-burning devices, like the stove and fireplace mentioned above.

If you use ANY wood-burning devices to keep warm this winter, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors.
  • If you use a metal container to transfer ashes, put some water in it before the ashes and then place the container outside away from combustibles.
  • If you are dumping ashes on the ground, saturate the ash pile with water before walking away from it.

Make sure that you are keeping your and your family’s safety top priority this winter and be extremely diligent when it comes to heat sources.

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3 Tips for Safe Trick or Treating

How are you enjoying October so far? I know I always say time is flying by faster and faster, but it’s because it’s true! Halloween will be here in just a few more days. Everywhere you look, decorations are going up, and the candy is on sale. Pretty soon, we’ll be gearing up for the rest of the holiday season too.

My family has many holiday traditions, including trick-or-treating with the kids at Halloween.

Here are the top 3 things to keep in mind to ensure safety while your family trick-or-treats this Halloween:

  • Proper Supervision – Older kids can walk in groups, but younger children should never be out unless accompanied by a parent or other trusted adult.
  • Slow Down – Excited kids can quickly get away from you or get hurt while eagerly running from house to house. Make sure everyone in your group walks and looks both ways before crossing a street.
  • No Homemade Treats – A homemade treat may look tasty, but you should pass unless you know the person who made it well. Homemade treats sometimes contain unknown ingredients which can cause allergic reactions. Also, be wary of anything that may have been unwrapped or looks even slightly suspicious. We recommend you stick to factory-wrapped candy and treats.

Also, we recommend that you plan your trick-or-treating route so that you do not get lost or wind up too far from home; and don’t forget flashlights!

Check out the below links for more information on having a safe, happy Halloween!

Halloween Safety Tips from Safe Kids – https://www.safekids.org/tip/halloween-safety-tips

48 Fun Halloween Games for Kids from Good Housekeeping – https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/halloween-ideas/g2618/halloween-games/

We hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!

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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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