Things Your Mother Should Have Told You!

Who knew?

Strawberry 11. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

2. Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

3. Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

4. Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

5. To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

6. For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

7. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

8. Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!

9. Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

10. Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

11. Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

12. Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

13. Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go. Cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

14. Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can’t see easily.

15. No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

16. Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it.

17. Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

18. Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and … guess what! … static is gone.

19. Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out. (Or spray the measuring cup or spoon with Pam before using)

20. Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

21. Re-opening envelopes
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

22. Conditioner
Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It’s also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn’t like when you tried it in your hair.

23. Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2′ with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

24. Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it ‘home,’ can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

25. Dryer Filter
Even if you are very diligent about cleaning the lint filter in your dryer it still may be causing you a problem. If you use dryer sheets a waxy build up could be accumulating on the filter causing your dryer to over heat. The solution to this is to clean your filter with with a toothbrush and hot soapy water every 6 months.

And now you know!

Keep Halloween a Fire-Free Fright Fest

Halloween Decorated

Do you have a great Halloween costume planned for this year? How about for your kids? Or your pets?

Why do I ask? According to the National Retail Federation, 71.5% of Americans plan to celebrate in a spooky fashion. Even if you’re not the dress-up type, that means you’re probably planning to decorate your house in some way, shape or form. Overall, it’s estimated we’ll spend $8 billion on Halloween this year alone.

With all of the money spent on this day, you’ll want to preserve your investment as best you can. Especially when you consider that, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Halloween is one of the top five days for candle fires.

Let’s talk about candles. According to the NFPA, they are the number one cause of home fires. After you carve your pumpkin masterpiece, think twice before grabbing a tea light to place in it. Rather, place a flashlight, glow stick, or a battery-operated candle inside. When I bought my pumpkin carving kit a couple of years ago, it came with a battery-operated candle that flickers like the real thing.

If you do choose to use candles as a part of your decorations, make sure you keep a watch on them at all times. Place them on stable surfaces, far from any other decorations, especially dried out cornhusks or other highly flammable materials.

Fires aren’t only caused by candles, so make sure those highly-flammable decorations are also placed far from any heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters. Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) also recommends checking all power cords for loose connections, frayed or bare wires, all of which pose a fire risk.

Even if your power cords are OK, UL also reminds you not to overload extension cords. If you’re using special heavy duty appliances like fog machines, make sure your extension cord is rated to handle the wattage of the device.

Keeping Halloween fire free is easy if you just take a few precautions. No one wants their fun memories tarnished by an accidental fire. And if you’re in the market for insurance, consider giving a Long’s Insurance Agency a call.

Source: blog.foremost.com

Beware! New Virus Threat, Coming to you soon…..

computervirus

Forgive me if I sound a bit like those bogus virus warnings proclaiming,

                        “You have the worst virus ever!!!”

But there’s a new threat that is serious: 

             CryptoLocker

Anti-virus software is not working well against it.  It shows up in two ways:

  1.        A red banner saying that your files are now encrypted, or
  2.       You can no longer open data files.

computer-virus-rev-1

Attacks typically come via email attachment, browsing a malicious website, or being tricked into downloading a malicious video driver/codec file.  As yet, there’s no remedy.  The only sure way to get files back is to restore from a backup.  Some users have successfully paid a ransom.  BE AWARE.

Source:  Windows Secrets

Any Hayrides in your plans this week?

Sittin’ on a Bale of Hay – 7 Ways to Stay Safe on Hayrides

There’s perhaps nothing that more embodies fall than heading down to the local pumpkin patch. You can pick out the perfect gourd for carving, purchase apple cider and donuts, wander through a corn maze and hop on a hayride. Seriously, who doesn’t enjoy riding through a farm or orchard while sitting on a bale of hay? I’ve enjoyed plenty of them. But I’m also a living testament to the dangers they present. Twenty-one years ago, I fell off a hayride and was almost completely run over. Fortunately, other riders saw me fall off and were able to get the driver to stop quickly.

I don’t remember all that much from the event because I blacked out. I remember the fall itself and waking up with the wheel of the trailer pressed against my torso. While I spent three days in the hospital, I only had to deal with three broken ribs, a bruised lung, a bruised liver and plenty of road rash. All and all, I was pretty lucky.

And I was pretty dumb. I fell because I stood up on the ride. My injuries were 100% my fault. I was a bright kid, who often shied away from taking risks, but it was easy to get caught up in the fun and I forgot the rules. That’s why it’s important for adults to be extra observant and stress the importance of safety on hayrides.

Surprisingly, when searching for hayride safety tips online, I found few articles. The best resource I could find, from the Haunted House Association, is written for operators, but we can easily apply their recommendations as safety tips for riders.

  • Follow the posted rules. A reputable business operating a hayride should have posted rules, probably near the waiting area or cash register. Read them, and take some time to explain them to your children.
  • Listen to ticket takers, attendants and operators.  These people not only know the rules of the hayride, but are also probably reciting them. They will correct anyone they see doing something wrong.
  • Do not stand on the ride. Learn from my mistake. Once the ride starts, don’t stand, plain and simple. Hay can be slippery, and a moving wagon is not a stable surface to stand on.
  • Do not throw straw. Here’s another admission: I stood because other riders started a hay fight. I wanted to participate. This is another unsafe behavior, don’t do it. 
  • Do not use cameras or other devices that will distract you. You may really want to take a quick photo of your family on the hayride to post on Facebook. Please don’t. While the ride is moving, it’s important to keep your focus on the ride.
  • Hold on. It’s one simple way to help ensure you won’t fall off the ride.
  • Keep arms and legs inside the wagon. You don’t know the trail the wagon will travel. There might be some tight spaces. Keeping your arms and legs inside the wagon will help make sure nothing hits you.

It’s a lot of common sense, but like a said earlier, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and forget the rules. And hayrides are a lot of fun — more so when everyone is safe.

Source: blog.foremost

It’s National TeenDriving 2013 Week

Teen Driving=Big Responsibility

Cruising down the strip in my mini-van, windows down, friends in tow, listening to some sort of 90’s hair band without a care in the world…now that was the life. I remember how fun it was to finally turn 16, drive around the town feeling 100 feet tall because I was an adult (in my eyes). I don’t remember seeing my parents act nervous or scared…although I’m sure after I pulled out of the driveway they were a nervous wreck.

Driving as a teenager carries a hefty amount of responsibility and when your child smiles big for that first license picture, your stomach may drop. Chances are you have heard the stories, seen the statistics or maybe firsthand witnessed teenage driving accidents. That’s because traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

The NHTSA reports that each year more than 5,000 teens (ages 16-20) are killed in passenger vehicle crashes and during 2006 a teen died in a traffic crash an average of every hour on weekends and once every two hours during the week.

Don’t let these statistics keep your teen in the house forever, but set some rules that reiterate the importance of responsible driving. I think I did a pretty good job as a teen. I credit it to the fact that our grandparents lived with us and I drove them back and forth to McDonalds every night. Besides anticipating the delicious hamburgers, I remember thinking that I had to drive carefully because I didn’t want anything to happen to them. Whether your teen has a grandparent or younger sibling they are responsible for or are on their own, these tips should help point them in the right direction.

  1. Buckle up always! The car shouldn’t even start before everyone in it has their seat belt fastened.
  2. No alcohol or drugs. Explain the consequences of being caught with alcohol or drugs in their vehicle and that they are responsible for what is in the car, even if it is not theirs. (That one seemed to help me say no to my peers a lot in high school.)
  3. No texting or talking on the phone while driving.
  4. Curfew: Think about heading home when it starts getting dusk out.
  5. Passengers: No more than one at a time.
  6. No speeding.
  7. Don’t drive while sleepy. According to the AAA Foundation, driving sleepy slows reaction time, impairs judgement and is similar to driving drunk.
  8. Drive defensively.
  9. Pay attention. (You would think this would come automatically, but even as adults we need to be reminded.)

Driving is an important responsibility and the way your teen learns to drive today is how they will drive tomorrow. Remind them that driving is a privilege—not to be taken lightly or for granted. Getting behind the wheel can be a great rite of passage…just make sure it’s the right passage they are driving down. How did you handle your teen driving years?

Stay safe wherever you choose to go on the road. Your safety is number one to us. For peace of mind on the road, Long’s Insurance Agency to talk about an auto insurance policy.  Servicing areas such as Boulder, Longmont, Firestone, and Westminster just to name a few.  Call us today!

Source: blog.foremost.com

Germaphobes Beware: Do you know what’s on your phone?

Germs and cell phones

Germaphobes Beware: The Lowdown on Smartphones and Other Bastions of Bacteria

Which do you think is a more bacteria laden surface-a toilet seat or a smartphone? Surprisingly enough, in many cases, it’s the latter. Recent research has revealed that smartphones can harbor a surprising amount of bacteria.

This makes sense when you consider how many other surfaces your fingers touch in between all the times you pick up your smartphone to text, type emails, dial phone numbers, sweep through your photo collection, and more. You transfer the bacteria from whatever else you have touched on to your phone.

Even though the most germaphobic among us may seem to be overly alarmed by invisible creepies and crawlies, there is some cause for concern. An overabundance of bacteria on your smartphone, especially the wrong types of bacteria, can cause skin rashes, breathing problems, and even food poisoning. Studies have indicated that between five and 25 percent of all bacteria found on the average smartphone can potentially cause disease in humans.

So, what’s a phone-dependent person to do?

Obviously, it’s smart to wash your hands often and thoroughly throughout the day, as well as after touching other surfaces and before touching your phone, but this isn’t always possible or convenient. Try carrying a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or vehicle, and develop a routine for disinfecting the surface of your phone every day. To do so, use an alcohol-based wipe-easily obtainable from a drugstore-designed to keep your gadget clean. Alternatively, you can simply use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol; just gently rub it over the surface of your phone, taking care not to get it too wet. (This works great for laptops, too).

Now that you know how to minimize germs on your smartphone, consider these other places where germs like to lurk, and use the following tips to keep them at bay:

  • The grocery cart. Some supermarkets now provide sanitizing wipes for the express purpose of cleaning off the cart handle before you push it.
  • The restaurant menu. It’s a total germ fest! Use hand sanitizer, or run to the restroom to wash your hands, after handling the menu and before eating.
  • That lemon wedge perched on the edge of your glass. Studies have revealed that some seriously nasty bacteria-including E. Coli-can live on those ubiquitous lemon wedges. Ask for your drink without the lemon.
  • Your contact lens case. This little storage space can harbor germs that can cause serious eye diseases. Always dump out old contact cleaning solution, wash the case in hot water every night, and replace cases every three months.
  • Your shower curtain. There’s more than just soap scum hanging out on the average shower curtain. Infection-causing pathogens can live there, too. Take down the shower curtain liner once a month and send it for a spin in the washing machine, using the hottest water possible.

Take measures to minimize your exposure to germs does more than just lessen the gross-out factor; it will help to ensure you experience fewer illnesses, which means fewer trips to the doctor and fewer health insurance copayments. Spend a little time promoting cleanliness, and save a little money!

Have all of the changes to healthcare left you confused and unsure of what you need to do?  Contact Long’s Insurance Agency today!  We are 1 of 1500 certified agents in the State of Colorado and have the answers that you need.  Let us help navigate you through the next few months so that you are prepared for January 1st!

Source: business-insurers.com/blog

National Bus Safety Week!

School is back and so are the buses!

Whether you have kids, plan to have kids, or were once a kid, you’ve most likely taken a trip on a school bus. When I was a kid, my biggest concern involved keeping tabs on where the cute boys sat on the bus, but I’m sure my parents had a lot more on their minds than cute boys. I never had any issues on the bus, thanks to my parents constantly reminding me to pay attention to my surroundings. My brother, on the other hand, was a different story. While he never encountered safety issues, he did fall asleep on the bus and missed his stop, along with all the remaining stops. To this day, he never falls asleep in the car – now I understand why.

25 Million

 

With all the kids going back to school and an increase of school buses on the road, it’s a good idea to brush up on bus safety. Approximately 25 million children a day are transported by those big yellow buses and according to Safe Kids Worldwide, school buses are the safest mode of motorized transportation. However, injuries can always occur if kids are not careful and aware when getting on and off the bus.

Safe Kids Worldwide has a great list of tips for parents and drivers:

Parents:

Tip 1: Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time. Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and to never walk behind the bus.

Tip 2: If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

Tip 3: Instruct younger kids to use handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door. If your children drop something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up.

School-bus

Drivers:

Tip 4: Always follow the speed limit and slowdown in school zones and near bus stops. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.

Tip 5: Slow down and stop if you’re driving near a school bus that’s flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off.

For additional resources, check out this National School Bus Safety Week Resource Guide.

 

Source:  Foremost.com/bus-safety

 

Food For Thought ~ Are you what you eat?

Kitchen open late

Dr. Panda of the Salk Institute of Biological Studies has a theory that the advent of artificial light has led to an artificial extension of our feeding times.  That extended eating interval messes with our bodies ability to process the food we eat.  Consequently, the longer you feed, the lazier your metabolism becomes, and those calories end up where they should not – around our bellies and butts.

His remedy:  Fit your food intake into an 8-hour window and your body steps up to the plate, burning more calories day and night.  For years we’ve been told “You are what you eat.”  But it turns our we are when we eat, too.

 

Source:  Men’s Health

 

Boat Winterization

Boat WinterizationTucking your boat in for the winter?

 For boat enthusiasts everywhere, the end of boating season can be disappointing because on-the-water adventures are about to come to an end and the task of winterization is about to begin.

As you know, taking the time to protect your watercraft through the winter requires an investment of time, labor and money. While winterization is an absolute imperative that can help prevent irreversible damage, think of the process not as a chore, but a chance to dream about next spring when you’ll be ready to go afloat on Carter Lake again.

To help you get started, we at Long’s Insurance Agency have compiled two essential steps to follow.

1. Find the best storage place indoors or outdoors

  • If possible, find a place to have your boat spend the winter out of water and well out of the way of inclement weather.
  • If you are storing your boat outdoors, check on the level of security. For example: Is there security personnel on duty? Is it a locked facility?
  • And if your boat will be exposed to the elements over the winter, make sure it is shrink-wrapped by a professional.

2. Be thorough in winterizing or find a pro

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, the steps to winterizing your boat can be easily found via many online resources.

Your boat’s owner’s manual also could be a great help, as most will include detailed winterization instructions.

Regardless where you get the details, you will ensure a better start come next boating season if you follow a comprehensive checklist now to get your boat ready for winter.

If you’re opting out of the do-it-yourself category and instead trusting the pros, you’ll want to find a shop that specializes in winterization. Get an appointment well in advance of the assault of inclement weather. To find the best option, consider getting a reference from a fellow boating enthusiast.

Regardless of how you choose to prepare your prized watercraft for the frigid days of winter, we at Long’s Insurance Agency hope you enjoy the cooler season as you await the return of spring!

Contact Us!

We can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 720-684-6012 or send us a note at info@longsinsuranceagency.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

 

Content provided by Safeco Insurance