Do You Plan to Wear Green Tomorrow?

Whether you can trace your families’ bloodlines to Ireland or not, most people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Here are a few St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts:

  • Tradition says that you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to hide from leprechauns that would pinch you.
  • St. Patrick was not born in Ireland. It is believed he was born in Britain and kidnapped by Irish raiders.
  • The first-ever St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in America.
  • The 4 leaves of the clover symbolize Faith, Love, Hope, and Luck.
  • Beer is the most widely consumed beverage on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000.
  • Ireland and Montserrat are the only 2 countries that have made St. Patrick’s Day a public holiday.
  • There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.

Need a little laugh this week?

  • Q: How can you tell if an Irishman is having a good time?
  • A: He’s Dublin over with laughter!
  • 

Q: What do you call a fake stone in Ireland?

  • A: A sham rock

I hope you enjoyed this information.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Spring Forward on Sunday, March 13th

It’s almost time to spring forward! Be sure to set a reminder to move your clocks ahead an hour on Sunday, March 13th to make sure you are not an hour late 😊

This is also a great time to take care of important tasks around your home:

  • Change the batteries in your smoke detectors
  • Flip your mattress
  • Wash your pillows
  • Take stock of your medicine cabinet and pantry
  • Clean your fridge’s coils
  • Vacuum out your dryer’s vent and ducts
  • Replace or clean filters around your house
  • Clean the oven
  • Check your emergency kit

Daylight Savings is also a great time to call our office to review your insurance policies to make sure there are no gaps in your coverage and that you are receiving all possible discounts. We suggest reviewing your coverage at least once a year. Make sure you ask us to review your policies regularly to ensure you are getting the best coverage and all discounts possible!

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March is Save Your Vision Month

It is estimated that 93 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss. Proper care and caution are very important to prevent serious eye diseases and possible blindness.

You can reduce your risk of vision problems by taking steps as simple as wearing sunglasses and getting an annual eye exam.

Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms. It’s important that we are informed and recognize the risk so we can safeguard our eye health.

Here are 5 tips to help you do just that:

  • Wear sunglasses — Wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays can delay the development of cataracts by protecting your eyes from direct sunlight that can damage the retina. Sunglasses also protect the delicate eyelid skin and reduce your risk of wrinkles and skin cancer around the eye.
  • Don’t smoke — Tobacco smoking is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Studies show that current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop AMD than people who have never smoked. Smokers are also at increased risk for developing cataracts.
  • Eat right — A vitamin or mineral deficiency can impair retinal function. The belief that eating carrots improves vision has some truth, but a variety of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, should be an important part of your diet.
  • Early intervention — Age-related eye diseases, including cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and AMD are expected to dramatically increase over the next several years. Left untreated, these diseases can cause serious vision loss and blindness. Regardless of your age, early intervention now will prevent vision loss later.
  • Be aware of eye fatigue — If your eyes are tired from working at a computer or doing close work, you can follow the 20-20-20 rule: Look up from your work every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If eye fatigue persists, it can be a sign of several different conditions, such as dry eye syndrome, and you should see an eye doctor to determine why you are having eye fatigue and to receive proper treatment.
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Recipe of the Month: Tater Tot Topped Casserole

Six ingredients and ten minutes of prep are all you need to make this creamy, delicious goodness! It’s so good you may want to make a double batch and freeze one for another day!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup or Campbell’s Condensed 98% Fat-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups frozen tater tots

Directions

  1. Cook the beef and onion in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the beef is well browned, stirring to separate meat. Pour off any fat.
  2. Stir the soup, ketchup, and Worcestershire in the skillet. Spoon the beef mixture into a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Arrange the potatoes around the inside edge of the baking dish.
  3. Bake at 425°F. for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.

Enjoy!

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Protecting Your Home and Avoiding Water Damage

Every home is vulnerable to leaks and flooding. Dealing with water damage can be expensive and annoying. The good news is there are several easy ways to prevent water-related problems.

Look at these maintenance tips to help keep your house dry and your foundation strong.

  1. Clean your gutters. To do their duty, gutters must be free of leaves, nests, and other debris. Be sure to clean out your gutters regularly or they may send water directly to the sides and foundation of your house instead of carrying it safely away.
  2. Watch for signs of a leak. Identifying and repairing potential water leaks can help you steer clear of mold and termites. Pay attention to any upticks in your water bill and listen for dripping sounds. Also look for physical signs of trouble, like dark spots around your pipes or ceiling stains.
For extra peace of mind, consider investing in a smart water leak sensor that will detect hidden leaks and alert you when there’s an issue.
  3. Avoid chemical drain cleaners. Harsh chemicals can erode your pipes to the point of puncture, so do yourself a favor and invest in a drain snake. They’re effective, inexpensive, and better for your health and the environment.
  4. Insulate your pipes. There are plenty of ways to avoid bursting pipes. Whether you leave cabinet doors ajar, leave faucets dripping or cover outdoor spigots with foam shields, be sure to act before inclement weather hits. Insulating your pipes is the best preparation.

Along with these preventive actions, make sure you know what your policy covers in the event you do have to file a claim. It is important to remember what is covered under a home policy versus what requires a flood policy.

If you have any questions about any of your current policies or about adding a policy, do not hesitate to reach out. Call the agency today!

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Are You Keeping Your Heart Healthy?

February is American Heart month and that means it’s a good time to think about being heart healthy.

Heart Disease kills over 650,000 Americans each year. It is the leading killer among both men and women being 1 in 4 deaths.

According to the Center for Disease Control, making these healthy lifestyle choices can help:

  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin.
  • Select fat-free, 1% fat, or low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Select and purchase foods lower in salt/sodium.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
  • Keep an eye on your portion sizes.

It’s also important to know the signs of an impending heart attack because they can start slowly, and symptoms may seem mild. According to the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute, these are the signs that may mean that a heart attack is in progress:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.

If you start feeling these symptoms, call 911!

To Your Heart Health!

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Groundhog Day Fun Facts

Every year we celebrate Groundhog Day on February 2nd. Here are a few fun facts about the cute little furry animal.

  • The average groundhog is 20 inches long and 12-15 pounds.
  • Groundhogs are covered with coarse grayish fur tipped with brown or dull red.
  • They have short ears, short legs, and a short tail.
  • Groundhogs eat green veggies, fruit, and need very little water due to their diet.
  • Groundhogs whistle when they are alarmed or courting.
  • Groundhogs are one of the few animals that hibernate.
  • Groundhog babies are born mid-April to early May and go out on their own by July.
  • Groundhog litters are usually 4-9 babies called pups, cubs, and kits.
  • A groundhog’s lifespan is usually 6-8 years.
  • It is believed that if a groundhog sees his shadow and retreats to his den, there will be 6 more weeks of winter.

Happy Groundhogs Day!

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Recipe of the Month: Ham and Potato Soup

Here’s a classic tasty recipe for Ham & Potato soup that is very easy to make. Not only is it yummy, but it will also keep you warm during the cool winter months! Plus, you can add your own twist to it by adding some of your favorite ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled & diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk

Directions

  1. Combine potatoes, celery, onion, ham, and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stir constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot and cook soup until fully heated.
  4. Serve.

Enjoy!

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Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter

Frozen pipes can be a huge inconvenience and a mess to clean up if they burst. Before it’s too late, now is a good time to learn how to protect your home from costly repairs.

Having the pipes in your home freeze can be easily prevented if you know what to do. Here are a few tips to help prevent frozen pipes and keep you safe from risk this season:

  • Leave your water dripping overnight. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing. If you’re worried about the water bill, once you get the repair bill, you’ll regret worrying about the water bill.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • Disconnect your garden hose from the faucet outside and cover the faucet to prevent it from freezing.

Use these tips to help prevent frozen pipes this winter. In the event, you need to file a claim, call us immediately!

For more info about preventing frozen pipes, and for tips on how to thaw pipes that are already frozen, visit the Red Cross’ tips website at www.redcross.org.

Stay warm this winter!

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January Fun Facts

To kick off January and the new year, here are a few lesser-known fun facts:

  • Apart from leap years, January always begins on the same day as October. In leap years, January always begins on the same day as April and July.
  • January is the only month when the North Pole is on average colder than the South Pole.
  • January’s birthstone is the garnet which represents consistency.
  • January is National Blood Donor Month, National Braille Literacy Month, National Hobby Month, National Soup Month, and National Staying Healthy Month among many others.
  • January is, on average, the coldest month in the Northern hemisphere and the warmest month in the Southern hemisphere.
  • The first Super Bowl was held on January 15, 1967, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in L.A., California between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • The 1st of January was a highly significant day in medieval superstitions regarding prosperity, or lack of it, in the year ahead. A flat cake was put on one of the horns of a cow in every farmyard. The farmer and his workers would then sing a song and dance around the cow until the cake was thrown to the ground. If it fell in front of the cow that signified good luck; to fall behind indicated the opposite.

Another great way to kick off the year is by calling the agency now to schedule your insurance coverage review. When you call ask to review your policy and all insurance coverage to make sure you are fully prepared for anything 2022 throws your way!

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