Is it Time to Review Your Homeowners’ Insurance Policy?

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Your home may be your biggest investment. Don’t let an unexpected surprise take it away. If there is one thing we have learned over time it is this. No matter where you live, you can expect the unexpected. Fires, floods, earthquakes, storms — we can’t stop them, but we can protect ourselves from financial devastation should the unthinkable happen.

Review your homeowner’s policy to make sure you know what is covered and what you may want to add to the policy in addition to what is already covered.

Things to consider:

Flood insurance and earthquake insurance typically need to be purchased separately from the homeowner’s policy or as additional endorsements.

Your policy may cover hail damage, but what if your roof is destroyed in a hail storm? Will you be able to get a new roof? Does your insurance cover full replacement value of your roof?

Your insurance may cover fire damage, but how do you ensure that all of the contents of your home are protected?

Do you need to consider an umbrella policy, just in case?

There may be ways you can save money and insure your home and its contents even better. An insurance professional will help you review your insurance coverage and make sure you and your family have the coverage you need.

Learn more with this Homeowner’s Guide to Natural Disasters from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc., and the The Actuarial Foundation, or contact your insurance agent today.

This year, don’t just renew your homeowner’s insurance policy — review and revise before you renew.

What Can You Do with Leftover PLASTIC Eggs?

Happy easter! Closeup Colorful Easter eggs in nest on green grass field during sunset background.

Everyone’s got a favorite egg salad recipe to put all of the hardboiled eggs to use, but what can you do with the leftover PLASTIC eggs? There are always more plastic eggs than jelly beans and no one remembers where their plastic eggs are a year later. Here are some tips for fun educational activities and other uses for the leftover plastic eggs.

Hold Small Snacks: Put goldfish crackers, pretzel bites, Cheerios or whatever your kids may be snacking on in these fun-size snack holders. They make a nice change from the plastic bags and they add a little variety to your day. And to top it off, they are easier to find in your car, bag or whatever you use on the go.

Play Egg Word Scramble: This is a great activity for older children who are working on spelling. All you need is some alphabet letters and either matching objects or pictures. Place both the letters and the object in the same egg. Explain to your child that each egg contains an object (or picture) and the letters that spell that object. Then have them open the egg and see if they can spell the word.

An alternative for older kids is to put letters in the eggs and have kids make as many words out of the letters as they can.

Play Object Matching: Put pictures of small objects in the eggs. You need two of each object or picture. Have the kids one open all the eggs and then find the matching pairs.

An alternative for older children or to make it a little more challenging, place all the eggs in an empty egg carton and play little memory game by making them find two eggs that have matching objects or pictures.

Get Crafty for Halloween: Plastic eggs make great spider bodies. Paint the eggs back and glue four black pipe cleaners on one side. These are the legs. Use some white paint for the eyes and you have some scary spiders made out of your colorful eggs.

Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh: Stuff with potpourri and use the eggs as an air freshener by puncturing a small hole in the plastic or by using eggs that have holes in them already. Hide them under the couch, behind a chair, on a dresser….they keep your room smelling fresh all year long.

Donate Plastic Eggs: Give your leftover eggs to a church or organization that sponsors a community egg hunt. They’ll know where to find them the next time they need them!

No matter what you choose, you never need to let another plastic egg to waste.

Keeping Kids Entertained at Open Houses

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If you’ve ever had children tag along with open house visitors, you know it can sometimes be difficult to keep them entertained while touring a house. Here are a few ways to conquer kid-size boredom, keep the parents’ attention, and extend time to engage with the family.

Give kids something to do. Scope out a low-traffic station for snacks, coloring or play dough. Hold a contest for the best drawing of the home and offer a prize that winners can pick up at your office. This gets kids involved in the spirit of house hunting and creates additional contacts with prospects.

Give kids something to take home. Inexpensive coloring books and a pack of crayons, a pick-a-prize toy box, or a small goody bag handed off at the end of the visit can add a little extra patience to kids’ reserves. Your level of understanding in the situation will also translate well with parents.

Create a digital playground with a few iPads or a dedicated “kids only” laptop loaded with simple and fun-to-play games, like “My PlayHome” or “Make a House.” Gearing media toward real estate reinforces interest in the parents’ activity and helps them explain the process to little ones.

Ask kids’ opinions. While older kids may not be as finicky, they can distract parents and push to speed things up. Be ready with clipboards and opinion checklists that ask to list their top three likes and dislikes about the home. Send a branded house hunting checklist home with parents.

Kids can be an opportunity to develop a relationship with real-estate-minded parents. Don’t miss out!

Source: Inman

Show Mom You Love Her On Valentine’s Day

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Have plans for Valentine’s Day? Of course flowers and candy may make Mom happy. But if you and the kids really want to show her how special she is this Valentine’s Day, try one of these ideas.

Write her a letter or make her a glittery card. Mom’s going to keep a handwritten letter from her kids for a long time. Grab a pen and paper or some glue and sequins and have your kids write a letter or make a card that shows how special she is. She’s going to savor that treat forever.

Extend Valentine’s Day to a weekend day. You knowMom…would a few hours alone be her favorite activity one weekend day? Let the Valentine’s Day love spread to the weekend and take the kids out for a while.

Clean the house. Vacuum, dust, scrub the bathrooms – you know Mom doesn’t like to do these chores. Help the kids clean so Mom can spend some time in a lemon-scented, freshly vacuumed home.

Wash her car. Better than cleaning the house – wash, vacuum and maybe even wax her car. There’s no mom that’s not going to appreciate a shiny, clean, cup-free car!

Take the kids grocery shopping. Go to the grocery store for Mom. It’s Dad’s turn to push the cart, pay the bill, lug the groceries in the house, and most importantly, say no to sugary cereal and cookies.

And finally – Take Mom out to dinner. It may sound like a fun idea to cook for Mom on Valentine’s Day, but you’re going to stick her with the greasy pots and pans and a sink full of dishes that need to be loaded (and then unloaded) from the dishwasher. Treat her to a night out. Doesn’t have to be fancy. She’ll be glad to not be on KP Duty.

These are a few ways to say “We Love Mom.” But remember, you don’t have to save these for a special day. Make every day Valentine’s Day!

Teach Your Kids to Love Their Home and DIY Projects

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Do you want your kids to grow up and already love a good DIY home maintenance project or at least understand the value of a clean and tidy home? Start working with them while they are young. Kids actually think cleaning the house or helping with home repairs is fun, so the sooner you engage them in this, the better.

Start while they’re young. While involving kids in housework and home maintenance may take more time, getting kids started while they are young will teach them the importance of caring for a home and taking on some hard work. Kids can hold flashlights, hand you tools or carry a light toolbox. Older kids can help with the screwdriver, replace light bulbs or take part in chores like vacuuming or cleaning

Get kids their own toolbox or yard tools like a kids’ rake or lawn mower. Let them imitate you nearby. This makes participation a game.

Talk about what you’re doing. As you work on home projects such as gardening, painting, repairing, cleaning, talk to your kids about what you are doing. You can teach them more and keep them chatting.

Let them decorate their own rooms. Kids spend a lot of time in their rooms so the more they do to make them their own, the more they will like them. They will also feel ownership and want to be in charge of keeping their rooms clean. Comfortable is important.

Teach your kids about important jobs for home owners that some adults don’t think about, including:

Help them locate the breaker box and flip the correct switch when you lose power. They can also help you label the breaker box, a task that a lot of homeowners plan to take on but never do. Kids love to run around the house and let you know what lights are off or on when you flip a switch.

Show them where to turn off the water for the house or in a bathroom. Kids are known for putting weird things down toilets. No matter how often you say not to, they still do it. Even if you don’t show them where the house water turns off, show them how to turn off an overflowing or running toilet.

Change batteries in smoke alarms. Let kids help you change the batteries in smoke alarms. You should do this twice a year and it’s a great time to teach kids about home maintenance and home safety. This could even be a good time to talk to your kids about a fire evacuation plan.

And make a quick cleaning fun!

Have a Musical Cleaning Event! For a fun cleaning game, turn on your favorite fast song and have a race to see who can clean up the most toys while the song plays. Whenever you turn the song on, the kids clean. ! Kids think this is a blast and race to beat each other. You end up with tired kids and a clean room!

Super Bowl Party Rules for Everyone

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In 2018 Americans spent more than $15 billions on Super Bowl-related items such as food, drink and apparel, according to the National Retail Foundation. Super Bowl parties are a tradition, and whether you are a football fan or not, there’s a good chance you’ll be invited to and will attend one. We want hosts and guests to be prepared with their best manners on this festive day.

10 Tips for Being a Great Guest

  1. Dress the part. Wear a team jersey, t-shirt or at least one of the team’s colors.
  2. Never come to a Super Bowl party empty-handed. Super Bowl Sunday is our second favorite day of the year to eat so having a lot of food is important. If you’re not sure what to bring, ask the host. This will help make sure there’s a good variety of food and drinks for everyone, and there’s a lower risk of too many chips, salsas and dips!
  3. Don’t show up too early to the party. If there’s no pre-game festivities planned by the host, don’t show up too far before the game and expect to be entertained. And don’t be the last to leave either!
  4. Don’t pick off the buffet. Most Super Bowl parties are set up buffet style. And the food all looks so good. And you’re excited and less formal because you’re watching a football game. You may not be at a wedding but do bring your wedding manners when it comes to the buffet and wait to begin eating until you’re back to your seat.
  5. Go easy on the alcohol. It’s easy to over-indulge in drinks when you’re toasting your team but be careful on the drinks. Be especially mindful if you’re with business associates as well as friends.
  6. Be careful not to swear, especially if it’s a kid-friendly party. Few things bring out the swear words like a bad play or a bad call during the Super Bowl, especially when it’s your team. But if you’re not in the comfort of your own home, swear words should be avoided.
  7. Watch the game and talk about the game. If you’re at the party because your spouse wanted you to come, be mindful of the others who are there to watch the game. If there’s another guest who isn’t really into the game, take your conversation to a corner or to another room.
  8. And watch the commercials, too. Super Bowl Sunday’s ads are a huge reason people watch the game. This is the one day where talking during the commercials is bad form.
  9. Leave the remote control to the host. Never change the channel or adjust the volume. The remote control belongs to the host!
  10. Respect guests who are cheering for the opposing team. There’s almost always someone rooting for the other side. Good manners say you should be polite to them and not cause trouble.

    Following a few simple Super Bowl rules will ensure you’re a special guest for parties now and in the future!

Entertain Kids During the Super Bowl

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When you’re a football fan, and your team (or any team for that matter!) is in the Big Game, it’s hard to believe that there may be people at your party who are not as into the game as you are. Those people are most likely kids! Here are some tips for keep kids happy during the game.

Bring in a Babysitter for the Day
Hire a babysitter to watch and play with your kids and any guests’ kids. Make sure you are clear on your expectations – can kids hang out with adults? What games do you have for the kids? What snacks can they have?

Set Up a Craft Table – Football Themed, Valentine’s Day Themed, Just for Fun!
Kids of all ages have fun working with their hands. Bring out the construction paper, glue, child scissors, glitter, crepe paper and more. Whatever you can think of, kids can craft with. Invite them to make pom-poms, football helmets to wear and more. Or let them get a head start on their homemade Valentine’s for grandparents or siblings or friends. And if none of that inspires them, let them make anything they’d like.

Set Up a Jigsaw Puzzle and Coloring Table or a Board Game Table
Maybe you have kids who aren’t crafty at your party. A coloring book and crayon table and a jigsaw puzzle table may be just what they need to stay entertained. Or let them play board games. Sorry, Life, Chutes and Ladders – these are all great games for kids.

Remember, the more you put out for them to do, the more easily entertained they will be.

When Making the Food, Remember the Kids
Super Bowl parties are not usually the example of healthy food choices. Junk food often rules the menu. However, you want to make sure you have healthy snack options for your adult and child guests.

Popcorn is a healthy choice. Have a popcorn bar where they can add fun candy, raisins, granola or other snacks to their popcorn. Pop up a big bowl of plain popcorn and offer a variety of flavor shakers, such as cheddar cheese, barbecue, etc. You can find these at most grocery stores with the popcorn. Put out some plastic cups to put their popcorn and let them snack. Provide red plastic “keg” cups, a stack of small paper bags or small baskets lined with paper towels for guests to serve themselves.

Make sure to have enough cups for your adult guests who are sure to snack at the popcorn bar, too.

Host Your Own Super Bowl
If Super Bowl Sunday is a nice day, set up a miniature football field outside. Have two different colored flags and let the kids play touch football in the backyard. An opportunity to run around provides a great energy burn before the game and during half time.

Play Hot Football
This twist on the classic Hot Potato can be an energy burning alternative if you can’t get outside. Have the kids stand in a circle, turn on music, and have the kids start passing a miniature football. The kid who is holding the football when the music stops has to do a funny dance and have the others in the group copy it. Keep the game going until the game starts or half time is over.

Do Touchdown Dances
If the kids are watching the game, have them do a Touchdown Dance every time either of the teams scores a touchdown. You can also make it a Field Goal Dance, too. Even the adults who are most into the game will dance when their team scores a touchdown! It’s another way to keep moving.

You know Super Bowl Sunday is a blast for fans. Make sure it’s fun for the little ones, too,
by making having Super Bowl fun Super easy!