It’s Fruit Season: Top 10 Healthy Summer Fruits

June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables month. Summer is also the time where you are having barbecues, vacations and access to all kinds of foods. But don’t forget to take advantage of the most healthy sweet and fresh thing you can eat…fruit. This excellent snack and dessert idea for summer is full of an abundant supply of fiber, minerals and nutrients that can boost your metabolism and strengthen your immune system.

Here are 10 of the top vitamin providers you should look for this summer.

1. Strawberries: Are high in vitamin C, provide natural sun protection and immunity toward colds, flus and other infections

2. Cherries: Cherries boost antioxidant activity in your body and aid in immunity to those pop-up summer colds

3. Limes: Give you 20-30 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C

4. Mangoes: Great for the diet, these sweet fruits help reduce body fat

5. Peaches: This fruit is low in fat and is loaded with 10 different vitamins.

6. Raspberries: This tart-y berry is your friend it can slow signs of aging and help prevent cancer

7. Watermelons: True to its name, watermelon is an excellent summer source of hydration and is an excellent source of vitamin A

8.  Kiwis: This is the perfect snack, low-calorie, high in fiber and has a variety of vitamins

9. Papayas: Can be eaten raw or cooked, high in vitamins and good for the digestive track

10. Blueberries: One of the most health promoting fruits you can eat, filled with vitamins and protect from heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and inflammation.

Hungry for some fresh fruit yet? The other great thing about these fruits in season is they are more readily available. There are pop-up Farmer’s Markets. There are also farms open where you can go and pick some of the above fruits yourself.

 

Grill Up Some Summer Safety at your Bar-B-Que

Family Enjoying A Barbeque

As the weather is heating up for summer, that means getting together with family and friends as well as weekends spent gathering around the grill for picnics and cook-outs.

One thing that goes along with hosting events is making sure your guests are happy and safe.

According to the United State Fire Administration(USFA), the fires departments respond to thousands of home grill fires each year causing millions of dollars in property damage.

As part of  June being National Safety Month, we would like to highlight grilling safety this week. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind as you gear up for this summer’s grilling season.

Where to put the grill outside?- Position the grill well away (at least 10 feet) from siding, deck railings, over hanging branches. Also away from any lawn activities, play areas or places with foot traffic.

Where should I grill?- Always grill outside and never indoors. This also includes not grilling in the garage, car ports, near eaves, or any above surface that can catch fire.

What about for the person at the grill?- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking and use long handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from yourself and the flame.

How about grill prep?- Check the gas tank hose for leaks each year before using grill. Keep the grill clean. If using a charcoal grill only use lighter fluid BEFORE the fire. all of the above will help prevent fire hazards.

How should you supervise grilling area?-  Declare a “kid-free” zone within at least 3 feet of the grill and keep pets away also. Keep all matches and lighters used away from the children. Also get rid of the lighter fluid with any children around. Teach children to be on the look out for these things and report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately.

Remember to not ever leave the grill unattended while you are cooking.

Happy Summer and Happy National Safety Month!

 

 

Watercraft Safety Tips to “Hit the Water Safely This Summer”

 

USCG-Boat-Safety-LJ-1-1024x680The weather is heating up, Memorial Day has past, schools are out for the summer and the water is calling your name.

Whether you are out on a lake, river or ocean…safety should always be the primary concern.

In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard recorded over $38 million dollars worth or property damage resulting in claims from recreational boating accidents.

Here are practices every person with personal watercraft should keep in mind, when these tips are practiced, summer boating is everything is should be fun, exhilarating and safe!

1. Vest up! Everyone on the watercraft should be wearing a life jacket (correctly sized) for each individual. This includes adults who know how to swim. This is a U.S. Coast Guard requirement.

2. Equip! Make sure you have the appropriate emergency call equipment. This includes a marine radio if you need to call for help or check on whether updates. A signaling device such as a flare or whistle.

3. Forecast! Know the weather predictions ahead of time as a calm, sunny day can turn into a dangerous storm. This is also where the radio comes in handy to keep yourself updated on the weather as you are on the water.

4. Don’t Drink and Drive! This like auto accidents leads to fatal accidents, if drinking and driving on a boat. This impairs vision and judgement while navigating the waters.

5. Insure! Make sure you have proof of proper insurance coverage, in case of accident or injury.

6. Learn! Take a boater safety course. Learn the rules of the waterway. Learn the proper regulations and safety requirements from the state. Just like the road, there are rules of the waterway regarding passing, speed, and navigational rules to avoid risk of mishaps.

7.Maintain! By checking for preventative maintenance each time you take the boat out, you can make for a more safe experience as well as prevent costly repairs by not doing so. If your boat has a cabin install carbon monoxide detectors and ventilate the cabin after filling it up with fuel.

8. Map it! If you are out on a large open body of water, make sure you have up to date chart of the water.

Have Fun! Have confidence when you are using your personal watercraft that you are insured, prepared and safe on the waterway. Happy Summer!

Call your agent if you have any questions regarding properly insuring your personal watercraft.

 

10 Smart Tips to Plan a Successful Beach Trip This Year

1. Picking Your Destination– There are literally thousands of beach destinations to choose from. Make a budget, think of proximity or closeness, if you will be driving or flying and how long you are going to stay. If you are driving you want to keep it to a minimal distance so it doesn’t eat into your vacation time. If you have kids think of the availability of beach activities that would be important to you.

You can also save a sizable sum by simply heading to a lake rather than the ocean. Many lake resorts on large lakes have sandy beaches and nearly all of the water activities you can find at the beach.

A very important consideration is the weather. Many destinations may be too hot during the summer but not during the fall, however, depending on where you go it may be rainy season or hurricane weather…so check the weather report often.

2. Savings- Once you get to your destination, be sure to keep an eye for coupon booklets in the hotel lobby. These can provide discounts for restaurants and attractions to add up for real savings by the end of the trip. Fun Tip: Front Desk Staff at hotels can provide room upgrades or better rooms within your price range for people who make an extra effort to be nice or mention that this is a special trip.

3. Go Early-This is a good idea especially if you have children. The beaches are less crowded early in the morning. You also get your pick at a prime spot by the water. Additionally, if your kids get worn out, you can try to get in a nap under the beach umbrella or go back to your room and get a good amount of beach and play time before hand.

4. Bring or buy your own beach gear, don’t rent it– Here is another savings idea. Beach hotels will often charge a lot for beach equipment such as boogie boards, beach chairs etc..for just a few hours. Bring these items or buy them locally once your get to the destination, if it is something like beach toys and you don’t have room for them on the way home, pay it forward and give these items to another family.

5.Create Shade- This is important for long hours on the beach and can be a good land mark for your kids. Bring a bright umbrella and set up your towels and gear near a lifeguard station or jetty. It makes it easy for your kids to spot and find their way back if they lose track of where they are on the beach.

Another idea for good coverage is a tent. You can use it for naps, a place to keep your cooler out of the sun, a place for your kids to eat lunch. You can even put child-size portable potties in the tent and make a restroom area on the beach.

And of course, this keeps you from over exposing yourself to the sun for long hours.

6.Picnic- Plan for hunger and thirst on the beach. A well stocked cooler is a must. And can be kept in the above mentioned shady areas you create on the beach. Fill it with water bottles, fruit, lunch items, and enough juice pops for your kids and for sharing. It is also very important that you stay hydrated in the sun. There is no substitute for water to help keep you hydrated in the sun.

Also try to create a place to eat as sand free as possible. An idea would be to have a chair for everyone and a small beach table(they sell these at any retailer) for the kids to eat on.

7.First Aid – Bring one with your beach supplies. Also carry a small spray bottle with vinegar for any jellyfish stings.Also soaking the sting in hot water and taking Tylenol can help as well. And of course having the kit around for any scrapes or scratched with the seashells and hot sand is a good idea.

8. Tanning- Apply sunscreen often. For children, use high spfs as they are more sensitive to sunlight (at least 30spf or higher). Pack Aloe or sun care lotions to treat any areas of burns. The areas most susceptible to burns are feet, where your hair parts, under your nose, your chin, and any area of your body that has not been exposed to the sun in months.

9. Useful tips for  beach fun(especially for those with kids)– Bring baby powder, sprinkle it on your skin and any clinging sand will fall right off.

For little kids, bring a tiny baby pool with beach water to put beside you in the shade for the baby/infant. Fill it with just a couple of inches of water with beach toys, the baby will keep cool and you will be able to keep an eye on the baby/infant.

If you can separated from your child always look “downwind”. This is a technique that life guards use as 9 out of 10 times the child will take the path of least resistance and travel in the direction the wind is blowing.

As digital cameras do not like the heat. Save the silica gel packs from your vitamin and medication bottles and tuck them in your camera case. Keep the camera in this bag while you are not using it and this will help decrease the effects of humid climates on your camera.

10. Be mindful of tides and currents– Last but not least, while visiting the beach inquire about tides and currents. Many beaches will have flags out as well. During high tides the shoreline may disappear or make swimming quite dangerous, this normally happens twice a day.  Ask hotel staff or lifeguards about the currents and tides at the beach you are visiting to the keep the children out of the water at those times.

Have a safe and fun summer vacation on the beach!

Back to School: Insurance Checklist for High School grads, College grads and their Parents

As we are celebrating high school and college graduations across the country, these same graduates are planning on moving to college or entering the workforce. A part of these plans often include buying new computers, furniture and vehicles. Since the graduate is now out of the house, parents often want to save a little money and remove that individual from their policy. In response to the above, here are some things to consider and things about to make sure a high school or college graduate has the correct coverages.

  • Vehicle: Check with your agent to make sure the vehicle is listed and properly insured.
  • Furniture and Electronics: Does the renters or homeowner’s policy have enough contents coverage?
  • Laptop: If a student is traveling a lot with their laptop, scheduling the device to provide expanded coverage may be prudent.
  • Apartment Lease: Do you have a renters policy? Chances are the apartment complex will require this, but make sure it has enough contents coverage for the all of the electronics and furniture you moved with.

A couple of tips for parents: 

  • Check with you agent regarding state rules on removing your student from your policy. If your home is still listed as their primary residence then they are considered a household member and will need to stay on your policy if they will be driving your vehicles on the weekend or holiday breaks. In some states you are able to ‘exclude’ them from your policy and ‘include’ them when they come home for breaks…if you are looking to save a few bucks. But again check with your local agent for the rules of your state.
  • In most instances, your homeowner’s policy will extend personal liability coverage while your son or daughter is away at school, this is good a time to consider a Personal Umbrella Policy to provide extra protection for you and your family.

If you have any questions regarding your policies or specific coverages listed above, call your local agent to guide you through this process. This is a very important time in your family’s life, but it also comes with additional exposures. Congratulations to all of our WTM friends that are graduates and their family!

Protecting your Income: Disability Insurance

 

diamMay is Disability Awareness Month, this is an important aspect of insurance to look at. Everyone is concerned to make sure their Auto and Home are covered as these are very valuable assets. So what about Disability Insurance? What about another important asset, your income? Disability insurance protects your income should an unexpected event happen to keep you from being able to work. According to statistics a person is more likely to lose their home from disability than a fire or death.

Many people have no idea if they have this coverage through their employer or if this is something they are even interested in. This is a conversation you should have with your employer and then your agent if you need additional disability coverage.

Have no idea how much disability coverage you would need? Here is a tool to help:

Try this Disability Calculator from Auto Owners as an interactive tool to see how much coverage you will need based on your income and a few other factors found in the calculator.

Click here to access the calculator.

Let us know if you need any assistance with this process!

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts She will Use

Oops…waited une week of Mother’s Day to start your shopping. Here are some good last minute ideas that your mom is sure to love and use.

1. Treat Your Mom to the Spa-You can’t go wrong with the gift of some R&R.

perfume

2. Sweeten up Mom’s Life with some perfume-always a safe and much appreciated gesture.

gas pump

3. Wash and fill up mom’s , a kind and practical gesture… both are things that mom loves.

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4. Cater to her interests by getting a monthly subscription to her favorite magazine.

5. Try the popular Infinity jewelry collection for a modern twist on a classic gift for mom.

6. Try ordering a pre-made burlap or flower wreath for her door from a crafts store or online, but make sure to get priority shipping if you are ordering online!

7. Give mom some pampering by getting her a gift card to her favorite Mani-Pedi spot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Sure the Heartbleed Bug doesn’t Bleed any Information Out of your Online Accounts

 

hbbIf you are not familiar with the Heartbleed Bug that surfaced this month, here is what you should you know. This is important information for anyone who has accounts with any of the below listed affected websites and the full list should be viewed as well to make sure your accounts and personal information are not exposed.

What is it?

  • It is a virus that makes certain versions of the popular OpenSSL(Secure Socket Layer) websites information vulnerable to more easily expose log-in and password information for internet hackers and thieves.
  • It affects some web addresses that begin with “https.”

Who was affected?

  • Most financial institutions do not use the OpenSSl protocol, however there were thousands of sites affected, though there is no documented evidence of an actual data breach.
  • Anyone with an account with the following may have been exposed to the Heartbleed Bug: Yahoo, Gmail, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook. These are some of the more popular but it is far from limited to this list
  • Many companies have responded by sending emails or putting alerts on the account to request that you change your password or notifying users that their website was not exposed or the issue has been resolved.

What can I do?

  • Promote safe and secure passwords that are changed often on your online accounts.
  • Use different passwords for the multiple sites you have an account with.
  • Re-set passwords only after the provider has fixed the vulnerabilities.
  • Keep a close eye on your transactions.
  • Check sites where you have an account and change passwords for the following: financial institutions, shopping sites, any website with auto debit set up, web mail providers, and social networks.

How can I check on what sites were and are still affected?

  • Check this continually updated site of affected websites at Github Heartbleed Masstest.
  • You can also enter a web address and have this site check the security of that link by doing a Heartbleed Test.

 

 

 

 

Putting a Different Spin On the Easter Egg Hunt

If you are looking for some different ways to have an Easter Egg hunt with  your children or grand children, here are some creative ideas to switch it up and take it up a notch.

Tired of the same old Easter egg hunt? Have you ever thought of some of these ways to outsmart the easter bunny this year?

Treasure Map Hunt

This can be completed by making a map where the eggs are hidden and have clues in the eggs to where the final treasure is buried. This works best if you have a large area where you are hiding. Difficulty levels will need to be adjusted for different age levels.

 

 

Check-List Hunt

If you are having a large easter egg hunt with a large group of children, try making a check list and instructing the kids that they are ONLY to find what is on their list. For Example: Find 2 blue eggs, Find 3 yellow eggs, Find 4 purple eggs… This way every kid will be able to find eggs

Color-Coordinated Eggs

Along the same lines as the Check-list, color coordinate the eggs and assign a color to each child.  But to keep a little it of healthy competition, tell them that each child is looking for one color in common: Gold. Hide a golden egg for the grand prize.

 

 

Hunt in the Dark

For older kids, why not send them on a twilight hunt with flashlights. This is best done at dusk when it is getting dark but just dark enough to send them with flashlights. The older kids will love this twist as it will make it a but more of an adventure for them.

 

Creative-Stuffers Hunt

 

Try not putting candy in the eggs, as most likely your child is already a hoppy bunny for the Easter basket earlier. fills the eggs with unexpected things like…money, movie tickets, stickers, small prizes etc..

 

 

 

Happy Hunting!

 

 

April Showers Bring May Flowers, But do They also Bring in Concern for Flooding?

Make sure you do not get into deep water this spring without your flood insurance. Floods are the number one occurring natural disaster in the United States according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA). The beginning of spring with increased rain falls and the overflowing of creeks and rivers makes homes and businesses especially susceptible to this problem.

What you may not know about flood insurance…

  • Flood damage is not covered on your home or business owners policies. Flood insurance is a specific coverage type to be acquired.
  • Many people think you only need flood insurance if you are located in a high risk flood zone or near a water source. The fact is, Georgia has designated flood risk zones all over the state and any form of precipitation can cause floods. While flood insurance is required for special flood hazard areas, floods can happen in all risk zones and coverage can be obtained at an affordable rate.

Flood insurance is obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP), as this a government organization the laws and regulations regarding the flood program can vary, it is a good idea to consult your insurance agency as they are well-versed in the flood insurance process as well as current on the information regarding this program.

A list of communities participating in the NFIP program can be found at this link. This site also has a listings of flood plain areas and other useful information on the topic.

So don’t let these April showers catch you by surprise!