Would You Be Prepared?

The beginning of a brand new year makes you hopeful and optimistic about what the next twelve months have in store. Many times this leads us to set unrealistic resolutions, and consequently, we quickly lose motivation and fail to reach our goals.

However, there is one common New Year’s Resolution our agency can support… and that’s becoming more organized! I recommend you keep and update a Complete Home Inventory, and the start of a new year is a great time to do this if you never have before, as well as to update an existing file. Since you only need to update your Home Inventory a few times a year (or when you make large purchases), it will be easy to check this one off the list and give yourself a pat on the back for organizing your home and being prepared.

It is very important to keep track of all of your personal belongings in the event something catastrophic happens to you. We hope that disaster never happens to us, but we must be prepared for the worst.

Think about how difficult it would be to list all your personal belongings after they are lost. Chances are some things would be forgotten or you would not have proof you owned them initially. A Home Inventory ensures that your belongings are protected.

You need to complete a Household Inventory and make sure that it is updated frequently, especially after any big purchases. Having a Household Inventory will protect your belongings in the event that they are damaged or destroyed, as well as help you maximize your insurance claim payment.

An accurate inventory and proof of ownership at the time of a loss can make the claim settlement easier and faster.

Taking inventory can be tedious, but if you ever have a fire, break-in, or damage or destruction to your property, you’ll be glad you have a record of what you own. There are several apps available through the Google Play Store and Apple App Store to digitize your home inventory. Many allow you to easily enter all needed information (item description, make, model, serial number, value, purchase date) and save pictures.

Complete your home inventory today & make sure you are protected throughout the year!

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Personal Time Management

Ask yourself, “Who does your time belong to?”

When you wake up tomorrow, you start your day with exactly 24 hours of personal time.

Most of us have traded part of our 24 hours for benefits. Like going to school or work, you have traded part of your time for education or pay. Personal time is what we call “free time”, the time we haven’t already given away.

Let’s think about how we spend most of our time …

An average person spends the following amount of time in an average day on:

  • 8.5 hours of sleeping.
  • 1 hour for personal care
  • 2.5 hours on household chores
  • 8.5 hours at work or school
  • 3 hours caring for others

By adding up these numbers, you will see that “free time” is really at its finest!

The trick to managing personal time is making every minute count. You need to determine how much time you have to manage and then categorize it. Here are some ideas:

  • Personal time spent in relaxation is as important as the rest of your day. Make sure you schedule time to do the things you enjoy.
  • Delegate some daily chores to the weekend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate some chores to others like your spouse or kids.
  • Learn to multitask. You can fold the laundry while the potatoes are cooking.
  • Divide large tasks into small ones. “Today I’ll mow the lawn, tomorrow I’ll tackle the weeds.”

We all enjoy our personal time! Just don’t forget to make it happen!

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Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick

It’s very easy to make New Year’s resolutions but most of us have difficulty sticking to them! Resolutions take focus, planning, and a determination to stick with them for the same amount of time it takes to change a habit.

It is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a means for extensive character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.

By making your resolutions true-to-life, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year. Just keep in mind:

  • Always start small. Make a resolution that you think you can keep. If you want to diet, for example, try replacing something sweet with a fruit or veggie you enjoy eating.
  • Change one behavior at a time. You develop unhealthy behaviors over a period of time. Replacing an unhealthy behavior with a healthy one takes time. Don’t overwhelm yourself and work toward changing one thing at a time.
  • Talk about your resolution. Share your experience with friends and family. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Perfection is impractical. Minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and okay. Everyone has ups and downs. Resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

Here’s to focusing, planning, and determination in 2023!

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Don’t Forgot Sleep In the New Year

Sleep is something that comes naturally to everyone and most people do not think about it or its importance. For the most part, the only people who do think about sleep are those who are having a hard time falling asleep or sleeping through the night. In order to understand this natural part of daily life, it is necessary to know why sleep is so importance to the human body.

Here are 4 Reasons Why Sleep is Important:

  • For Optimal Physical Growth – This is especially true in growing children between the ages of 0-12 years of age. Sleep allows the body to perform optimal functions as such as cell growth, which is necessary in order to achieve ideal height, higher intelligence quotient, and many other aspects of human development.
  • Rest and Regeneration – Sleep allows the immune system to rectify any imbalances in the body. This is why people who are suffering from infections or any kind of sickness are advised to rest and get some sleep. The human body needs rest in order to perform cell regeneration and heal itself from the inside out.
  • Reduction of Stress – The body has the capacity to cope with even the most stressful situations and sleep is one of the most vital components of its defense mechanism. The more stressed out you get, the more sleep your body will need in order to correct the imbalance and regain status.
  • Overall Wellness – Rest is very important and it is achieved through proper sleep. The average human being needs about 6 to 9 hours of sleep every night in order to feel rested and relaxed the next morning. Individuals who get enough sleep are more energetic and productive, as opposed to those who only get a few hours of sleep every night.

Many people take sleep for granted and suffer as a result.

Make it a goal in 2023 to get the right amount and type of sleep so that you are functioning at your highest level.

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Recipe of the Month: From Scratch Gingerbread Cookies

What better way to celebrate this winter than by whipping up a batch of this classic holiday recipe? This is our favorite from scratch recipe for gingerbread cookies… decorate them however you want, and they’re still tasty as can be!

What You’ll Need

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour your baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute. Then in a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and soda and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the spices. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, blending well but not beating. Stir in the buttermilk, then the molasses. Shape into cookies and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on the sheet for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Decorate for taste and preference… popular toppings include chocolate chips, raisins, icing, etc.

Enjoy!

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Your Holiday Season Cooking & Cleaning Checklist

I love the holiday season and everything it brings – good food, quality time spent with family and friends, and a few days out of the office!

Growing up, I always remembered the holidays being busy. From family coming from out of town to visit, to wrapping up school exams, and more, December always seemed to be over before it began (except of course those few hours spent waiting impatiently for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve…)

The busiest room in our home during the holidays was always the kitchen. It’s the epicenter of frenzied activity… cooking, cleaning, people coming in and out, and general craziness. Throughout the holidays, it’s important to remember to take deep breaths, relax, and have fun. Here are a few tips to help you keep this part of your home orderly and all things running smoothly, despite the chaos:

  • Before you cook even one holiday recipe, remove kitchen clutter, making as much room as you can for holiday preparations. Take stock of what’s on your kitchen counters, get a cardboard box, and fill it with all the things you won’t need until after the holidays. Then, stash the box out of sight.
  • Attack your refrigerator. Discard everything that has spoiled, expired, or that you don’t anticipate using before its expiration date. Clean off shelves to make room for bowls of cookie dough or trays waiting to go into the oven.
  • Read recipes carefully and take inventory of each meal you’re planning to make sure you have all supplies you will need. Pay special attention to particular pan sizes or for cooking utensils you’ll need which you may have stored throughout the rest of the year.
  • Check to make sure you have plenty of storage containers and materials, including plastic wrap, wax paper and aluminum foil. If you use glass or plastic containers with snap-on lids, organize them to make them easy to find.
  • Clean as you go. Make a habit of washing, drying, and putting away kitchen utensils as soon as you can after using them.

From our Agency family to yours, we hope that you have a very happy holiday season!

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5 Wonderful Things About December

This time of year can be very hectic and chaotic. For those that have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) it is compounded by depression.

For a little pick me up as we enter the dark time of year, here are 5 Wonderful Things about December.

  1. Colder Weather.
    The best indicator that December has arrived is the weather. Northern states are getting snowfall by the end of November and the rest get “sweater weather”.
  2. Winter Break!
    Kids are out of school, the older ones are home for the holidays and everyone has some good old family togetherness.
  3. Doing Nothing Around the Fire.
    When there is cold weather, there is usually a fire. Being able to just bask in the warmth to relax with a blanket and a good book is highly overlooked.
  4. The Best Food.
    Winter specials such as hot chocolate, stews, and soups are always very tasty in the cold winter weather, and you simply cannot have a December without them.
  5. The Holidays.
    December would not be as special as it is without Christmas, Hannukah, and every holiday that every family celebrates over the break. Gift-giving warms the heart and seeing the looks on everyone’s face when they wake up Christmas morning is priceless. It is the perfect ending to every single year.

May you have a great December to wrap up 2022 with a smile!

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3 Tips to Help You Prepare and Keep Your Home Safe This Winter

Fall is finally here and cold weather is on its way. November is a great month to prepare for the winter season. Properly maintaining your home and tools during the winter months not only helps you save on your utility bills but will also protect the investment that you made in your house.

Your homeowners insurance is there to protect you in your time of need, but even a small claim can result in a premium increase, which is another great reason to prepare your house for the coming winter months. Many of these steps are do-it-yourself, but some may require the expertise of a professional.

Here are a few things to look at protecting before the cold weather really sets in:

  • Tune Up the Heating System – A furnace inspection and tune-up should run between $80-$150. A technician will give your entire heating system an inspection and make sure it is clean and in proper working order. They will also check for carbon monoxide leaks. If a problem is found, have it repaired immediately; a faulty furnace can result in a house fire.
  • Inspect Your Roof – Your roof should be inspected at least once a year. Fall is one of the best times to do it. Inspect your roof from the ground with a pair of binoculars to check for any loose or missing shingles. Inspect flashing seals around any vents and the chimney. Before grabbing a ladder to climb on your roof, call a professional. A professional should inspect your roof once every 2-3 years or after a major storm to check for damage and possible leaks.
  • Shut Off Exterior Faucets – Leaving un-drained water in a pipe can freeze which will lead to a burst pipe when the ice expands. This can result in an expensive repair if the water gets into the walls. Disconnect all garden hoses and allow the water to drain out of the faucet. This is also the time of year to blow out your sprinkler system. If you have a compressor this is something you can do yourself, otherwise, call in a pro.

Properly preparing your house for winter can help prevent accidents and keep your family and your home safe. Call us today so we can help make sure you’ve got the home coverage you need to stay safe this winter.

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Staying Safe Shopping This Year

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for most of your life, you probably know that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has earned the reputation of being the busiest (and most dangerous) shopping day of the year.

That day is fast approaching this year and I wanted to give you some information to help you stay safe while shopping this holiday season.

Most auto accidents reported during the busy shopping season are car accidents in crowded parking lots.

On a normal day, 1 in 5 car accidents are in parking lots. You can imagine how the number rises during the busy holiday season.

While the majority of parking lot accidents tend to be low-speed collisions, they can still result in expensive damage and possibly push up your insurance rates.

If you’re planning on hitting the stores this shopping season, keep these tips in mind and use them to have a happy, safe shopping trip.

  • Look carefully when backing out of a parking spot. Check both ways before starting to exit the parking spot and drive slowly.
  • Pay close attention to other cars as well as pedestrians. Always yield to pedestrians in a parking lot, even if they are not in a crosswalk, no matter how frustrating.
  • Keep an eye out for cars driving diagonally across the parking lot.
  • If your car is equipped with a back-up camera, be sure to use it.
  • I saved the biggest, best tip of all for last… Shop Online! Avoid the crowds and potential accidents altogether by never leaving your home to get your shopping done.

Be Safe this shopping season! If you do need to make a claim, call the agency right away.

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Something We Should All Be Thankful For

It’s November now and that means we will all soon be gathering around the table with our families to eat a delicious meal and reflect on what we are thankful for this year.

One tradition that my family has is to go around the table and share what we are most thankful for on this special day. When it’s my turn I always talk about how my family is the most important thing in my life, and the blessing that I am most thankful for on both Thanksgiving and every other day of the year.

When it comes to my family, I want to make sure that they are cared for and protected if something were to happen to me, which is why I have a life insurance policy. In fact, every person in my family has a policy so that our family is fully protected. While most of us rarely think about life insurance, it can be a lifesaver for your family in the event of an unforeseen and tragic event.

The payout from a life insurance policy can help cover routine bills, pay off the mortgage or put your children through college, all expenses that may be a burden on your family, and so much more.

Research has shown that most Americans are underinsured. A recent study found that households protected by life insurance were at a 50-year low. Protect your family’s financial future. Call me today and I can easily put together an affordable plan to protect your family.

Whether you already have this valuable protection or not, give us a call this holiday season so we can review your needs and recommend a policy that you and your family can be thankful for.

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