Happy Father’s Day!

Father hugging two children all smiling and enjoying each other's company

In an effort to recognize fathers similar to the ways Mother’s Day honors moms, the nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated in 1910. However, it took well over half a century to establish it as a federal holiday. 

Mother’s Day was born of an effort to bring together mothers of Confederate and Union soldiers in the 1860s. Though not an official federal holiday until 1914, Mother’s Day was the inspiration for Sonora Smart Dodd who felt there ought to be an official equivalent for male parents. Dodd, whose mother had died in childbirth, was raised with her five brothers by her widowed father (ABC News). 

In 1910, Dodd brought her idea to the YMCA of Spokane, Washington, as well as local churches, businesses, and other establishments, where she received support. Her intention was to celebrate the holiday on her father’s birthday in early June, though her supporters convinced her to delay by a couple of weeks to allow them time to prepare (NationalGeographic.com).

A successful statewide celebration was held on June 19, 1910. However, it was many years before the holiday was officially ratified. Joint resolution 187 was passed by Congress in 1970, calling on citizens to “offer public and private expressions of such day to the abiding love and gratitude which they bear for their fathers” (NationalGeographic.com). Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a resolution making Father’s Day an official federal holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday in June.

This year, consumers are expected to spend approximately $17 billion on gifts for dads and other male role models (NationalGeographic.com). And while some may opt for the typical T-shirt or necktie as a Father’s Day gift, you might also consider spending time with the male role model in your life as a way to celebrate your relationship. Consider kite flying, hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, or even ziplining. Not the outdoorsy type? You could cook something together, watch a movie, play board games or cards, or put together a puzzle. 

Whatever you do, the staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you and all dads and father figures a happy Father’s Day!

ABC News
History.com
NationalGeographic.com

You deserve a vacation!

two people sitting in beach chairs at luxury tropical resort in front of sunset

After an extended period of restrictions, many of us are looking to get out and go somewhere this summer! While we may feel a sense of hesitation, we also need to recognize that travel is good for our health. According to Allina Health, time off work for a vacation improves both mental and physical health. “People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals” (Allina Health).

If you are not ready to head out the door quite yet, you can benefit just from making plans. Research subjects show that the positive effects of planning a trip can boost a person’s happiness up to eight weeks before departing on an adventure (Allina Health).

If it has been a while since you took a break, you might not realize the toll work stress is taking on your body. The adrenal system often responds to extended hard work by releasing “hormones that may weaken your immunity,” resulting in a greater likelihood of colds, cases of flu, and other ailments, some of which are quite serious (WebMD). 

Taking a vacation can improve your health and lower the stress that wears down your body. “Vacations let you take your foot off the gas pedal for a bit and allow your immune system to bounce back” (WebMD). 

If you are worried about safety, keep in mind that not all trips involve frivolous risk, and there are lots of things you can do to mitigate exposure. If you travel by air, aim for a flight with few or no layovers which limits the number of people you will be exposed to. Continue to mask in the airport and on the plane. 

Seek out a house or cabin for lodging rather than a hotel with large areas for congregating. Travel with and stay with other vaccinated people when possible. If you are camping, camp with people from your household and visit with others outside--something you probably do already. 

Bring your own food, get takeout, or opt for restaurants with outdoor seating when possible. This will allow you to enjoy the warm weather and the surroundings that you traveled to enjoy. 

If you are still hesitant about missing work, it might help to know that time off can actually improve your productivity when you return to your job. “Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts” (Allina Health). Studies noted by Allina Health indicate that even five weeks after a vacation, subjects were still experiencing improved physical health, sleep quality, and elevated mood. 

So what are you waiting for? This is your time to get out and go!

 

Allina Health "Importance of Taking a Vacation"
CDC "Safer Travel Ideas"
WebMD "How a Vacation Affects Your Body"

Produce and You

Thankfully, spring is finally here, and this year we may appreciate the warmer weather and the chance to be outside more than ever. In addition to increased recreational activities, we will soon also see the increased variety of fresh produce at the supermarket that comes with warmer weather. 

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, (and) lower risk of eye and digestive problems.” Produce can even help us lose weight, as consumption of many fruits and vegetables prevent hunger associated with blood sugar spikes (Harvard School of Public Health). 

Once we get the produce in our hands, we need to take one more step before bringing the good stuff to our mouths: we really do need to wash them. Impurities such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites are some of the unintended contaminants found on your otherwise healthy fresh produce (University of Minnesota). The good news is that washing your hands and then your food will give you the peace of mind that what goes into your mouth is only what you intend. 

Our staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you a healthy and fruitful spring! Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

Harvard School of Public Health
University of Minnesota Extension

Jewelry Insurance

A young couple are having a romantic dinner. Man is giving the woman a beautiful necklace.

When you consider the monetary and sentimental value of certain items you own including jewelry or watches, it may be worth taking extra steps to insure that you won’t be at a loss if something unfortunate happens. While most of us maintain a standard homeowner’s or renter’s policy, these types of insurance are unlikely to offer sufficient protection for your jewelry. It may be worth looking into a jewelry insurance policy that can be tailored to your needs whether you have one particular treasure or a collection.

Because jewelry often represents a loved one who is no longer with us, a relationship to someone dear, a symbol of an important event in your life, or a combination of these things, each piece of jewelry is much more than just a physical object. Jewelry insurance is especially helpful if you travel. At home and away, jewelry insurance can provide you with peace of mind to enjoy yourself without having to worry about whether your adventures could result in damage or loss of items valuable to you.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, a standard homeowner’s policy covers jewelry, watches, and other precious items. However, since the typical coverage comes in at $1,500, this may fall far short of what some of your valuables are worth (Insurance Information Institute). If you are interested in additional coverage, you could consider raising the limit of your liability coverage. This raises the dollar amount of what you could claim for the loss of each individual piece but there may still be a ceiling on the potential dollar amount of the total claim. Another option is to purchase a floater policy and “schedule” your individual valuables. This is the most expensive option, but it offers the best protection, as it includes “losses of any type including those your homeowner's insurance policy will not cover, such as accidental losses”--for example, dropping a piece of jewelry down the drain or leaving it in a hotel room (Insurance Information Institute).

The staff at Brides.com reminds us that with great rings come great responsibilities: “While anything that happens to your engagement or wedding ring is heartbreaking, knowing it’s properly insured can help to soften the blow.” The same can be said for anniversary pieces, heirloom jewelry, and any precious piece that is meaningful to you.

If you have pieces you want to protect, Waitte’s Insurance Agency is happy to work with you to find a plan that fits your needs. Give us a call!

Brides.com
Insurance Information Institute "Special Coverage for Jewelry and other Valuables"

USA Today "10 Reasons Why Insuring Jewelry Can Benefit You Long-Term"

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom And Daughter In Bathrobes Lying With Cucumber Slices On Eyes, Doing Face Mask Treatment, Wearing Towel On Head, Having Fun Together At Home

Happy Mother's Day to all the great moms out there! Enjoy a little spa time with your special friend with this make-at-home recipe!

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon cucumber juice
• 1 tablespoon mint juice

Method
1. Mix the cucumber juice and the mint juice.
2. Apply this all over the face and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash off with water.

Your skin will be refreshed and glowing after using this cucumber face pack.

Try some of these other fun recipes too!
https://www.stylecraze.com/…/cool-it-with-cucumber-face-pa…/

Gardening tips

Image of mother and daughter gardening

Right now is a great time to start a garden for the first time or the fiftieth time, and one of the great things about gardening is that there is that it can be done at any level by anyone from a novice with a few plants to a master gardener with multiple beds. Gardening is a perpetual experiment, and every garden is a work in progress. Here are a few tips to get you started or get you going again.

Before you plant anything, consider your soil, your hardiness zone, and the amount of sun available. Your first step is to decide where to plant. Ideally, you want a site that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily, though there are some perennial plants that will happily grow with less. If possible, avoid a spot away from heavy winds if you plan to plant tender annuals whether they are vegetables or flowers, though once they are established, most plants are quite wind tolerant. You also need to decide how public or private your garden will be to the eyes of others. Are you looking for a show of floral color, or focusing on food only, or are you considering a mix?

Be sure your soil drains rather than puddles (you don’t want to drown your plants), but you also don’t want soil that has too much sand or gravel that it drains too quickly and leaves your plants susceptible to drought (UConnHome and Garden Education Center). If you are concerned about your soil, the best thing to do is have it tested. Soil tests are not expensive and will provide you with advice on how to amend your soil if necessary so you can be sure your efforts bear fruit (UConnHome and Garden Education Center).

Your hardiness zone is also something to consider if you are planting perennials. Unfortunately, garden centers will often sell plants that are not appropriate for a local hardiness zone, so it is important to be aware of your zone before purchasing a perennial that you are hoping to maintain for more than one year. (See link below with a map for hardiness zones in Connecticut.) 

To get the most of your vegetable plants, you want to have them in the ground as soon as possible. See the link below from Urban Farmer to help guide you through the timing of getting your plants in the ground. Wondering what to start with? The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends lettuce, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, peas, and a few other easy vegetables for someone looking to get started. The Almanac also reminds newbies to start small with the adage “It’s better to be proud of a small garden than frustrated by a big one.” 

Utilize your resources and remember that gardening is a never-ending experiment. Most gardeners LOVE to discuss their successes and failures, and they are usually the best resources for you to learn what plants do well in your area and what to avoid. 

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get growing! 

Our staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you a fruitful spring. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

Connecticut USDA Hardiness Zone Map

UConn Home and Garden Education Center

The Old Farmer's Almanac "Vegetable Gardening for Beginners"

Urban Farmer "Connecticut Vegetable Planting Calendar"

History of the Thanksgiving Meal

People Talking Celebrating Thanksgiving Holiday

The genesis of our modern Thanksgiving, which took place in 1621, bore a limited resemblance to our celebration today. The original feast included a gathering of approximately 50 Englishmen and 90 Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe who traveled for about two days for the event (Time.com). The colonists, having arrived on the continent in 1620, celebrated their first harvest in the fall of 1621, but the actual meal was light on vegetables. The Wampanoag brought five deer, while colonists contributed various waterfowl including geese, ducks, swans, and likely passenger pigeons (which at the time were abundant but are now extinct in the wild) (Smithsonian Magazine). The wild turkey is mentioned by some sources, though others argue there is no clear evidence of turkey having been served at all (New York Times).

Though birds may have been stuffed, it was not the bread-based stuffing we are familiar with, but rather chunks of onion and herbs (Smithsonian Magazine). None of our commonly anticipated side dishes (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie) were present at the original meal. The fowl and venison were accompanied by fish, shellfish, nuts, corn, and possibly squash, as these were readily available and part of the regular diet (New England Today).

Having traveled so far to get there, the natives stayed and feasted with the colonists for three days and enjoyed various forms of entertainment including running races and shooting competitions (Time.com). Games enjoyed by the children included Cobb’s Castle and Hubnub, both played with stones, though the latter requires a bowl and maybe played with pennies instead of stones, and a game called “All Hid,” which is similar to hide and seek (Scholastic “Games Played at the First Thanksgiving”).  These simple games  might be fun to try at home. If it is too cold to play outside or stones are not readily available, you might try other household objects such as small pillows, plastic cups, toys, or even produce that no one plans to eat.

The feast in 1621 was surely not called “Thanksgiving,” and the event was not repeated for at least a decade, as various plagues and conflicts between colonists and natives followed. Then around the mid-nineteenth century, nostalgia for colonial times emerged, and the states and colonies began to celebrate the harvest feast in an unofficial fashion (Smithsonian Magazine). In 1827, Sara Josepha Hale, editor of the popular trendsetting Goodey’s Lady’s Book magazine, began petitioning various US presidents to establish Thanksgiving as an annual event (Smithsonian Magazine). Abraham Lincoln, the thirteenth president petitioned by Hale, finally granted her wish in 1863 as a way to “unite the country in the midst of the Civil War” (Smithsonian Magazine).

However you celebrate and whatever you choose to eat, we at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

New England Today "Food"
New York Times
Scholastic "Games Played at the First Thanksgiving"
Smithsonian Magazine
Time.com

Enjoy the Fall Without Getting Burned

Roasting Marshmallows Over Campfire

Enjoy the Fall Without Getting Burned

As the leaves begin to change and the cooler weather of fall approaches, we renew our appreciation for fire. The warmth of a fire brings with it images of cozy gatherings and good food. Backyard fire pits have grown in popularity over the years and now offer a great way to socialize in relative safety as we can enjoy the company of friends and neighbors and still be outside. Like seemingly all good things, though, fire can be risky.

According to the Journal of Burn and Care Research, “Outdoor fire pits represent an increasing hazard to young children who are particularly susceptible to burn injuries from falls in or around lit recreational fires.” On average, a fire injury occurs every 30 minutes, and each year approximately 3,400 burn injuries become fatal (Burn Statistics). 

While backyard fire pits are one concern, what happens in the kitchen can be even more dangerous. Stanford Children’s Health indicates that home-cooking equipment is the “leading cause of home fires and related injuries.”

While medical research has led to advancements that enable 96.7% of patients treated in burn centers to survive, the consequences of serious burns often include serious scarring and life-long physical disabilities (American Burn Association).

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help keep our family members and friends safe. Before building or purchasing a backyard fire pit or table, spend some time planning. Your fire should be at least ten feet from your house or a neighbor’s yard. Stay away from overhanging tree branches, fences, or anything else that might burn easily. Before burning, check the wind. If the trees are swaying in the wind, save your fire for another day. Only allow adults to start and maintain a fire, and anyone near the fire should not wear loose clothing. Have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit handy, and keep a close eye on any children. Those under five are especially vulnerable.

There are also steps you can take in the house to significantly reduce the risk of burns. Periodically check appliance chords for damage or fraying; unplug appliances when they are not in use; keep children away from hot liquids, hot oils, or deep fryers; turn pan handles in toward the stove; and check the temperature of bottles, other heated drinks, foods, and bathwater before allowing children access. A kitchen fire extinguisher is also a great idea.  

You can help keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe by avoiding fire hazards and burns. More fire safety and burn prevention tips can be found in our links below. At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we care about keeping our community members safe because we are part of the community. Our friendly agents look forward to talking with you about your unique insurance needs.

Oxford Journal of Burn and Care Research

Nationwide Children's

HomeAdvisor "Fire Pit Safety Precautions"

Stanford Children's Health 

Stanford Children's Health "Preventing Burn Injuries" 

American Burn Association

Burn Statistics

Teen Drivers: How to Help Keep Them and Our Community Safe

Teen Drivers- How to Help Keep Them and Our Community Safe

Teen Drivers- How to Help Keep Them and Our Community Safe

It is a sobering fact that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), every day about six teens die, and hundreds more are injured in car crashes. Along with the loss of life and pain and suffering also comes a staggering economic cost of accidents involving teen drivers: over $13 billion annually (CDC). 

Why are teen drivers contributing to such grave statistics? Obviously, inexperience plays a role.  Teens are also more likely to speed and/or follow other vehicles too closely.  In addition to these risky habits, teens are the least likely age group to wear seatbelts (CDC). Since research has shown that “seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half,” the importance of buckling up cannot be overstated (CDC). While teens cannot legally drink alcohol, many do drink and drive, and intoxication only exacerbates the challenges of operating a motor vehicle for an inexperienced driver. 

As if they don’t already face enough of a challenge to focus on the road, cell phones and other devices may also be competing for teens’ attention and posing further distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a teen who is texting while driving is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver who is not texting.

 

What can you do to help your teen driver stay safe in the face of these daunting statistics? 

  • Model safe driving yourself, especially when your teen is with you. Avoid eating or drinking while driving, and talk to your teen about doing the same.
  • Talk to your teen about the risks of alcohol and other drugs, especially while driving.
  • Make sure your teen is aware of other factors that can compromise a driver’s focus including driving with passengers, driving at night, and driving while drowsy.
  • Stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt, and model by always wearing one yourself.
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of using a phone while driving. Consider downloading an app to block calls while driving, and ask your teen to do likewise.
  • Make sure you and your teen are both aware of your state’s graduated licensing laws and follow them. These laws have reduced fatalities as well as crashes overall (CDC).
  • Consider utilizing a tracking app that will allow you to view your teen’s location and speed in real-time as well as track your teen’s recent trips on the road, such as Life 360. Tracking basics are free, and additional paid features are also available.

 

While worry is an inherent part of being a parent of a teen, there are steps we can take to reduce the likelihood of serious injuries or even fatalities. At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we care about the safety of all of the families in our community because we are part of the community. Give us a call when you are ready to talk about your unique insurance needs.

 

For further information, visit the following publication:

CDC "Teen Drivers: Get the Facts"
NHTSA "Teen Driving"
Graduated Licensing Laws

Hit the Road in a Recreational Vehicle

Hit the Road in a Recreational Vehicle

Hit the Road in a Recreational Vehicle

Many of us are thinking about finally taking the vacations that have been on hold for so long, and we might be considering new ways to travel. The assets of recreational vehicles merit their consideration, especially now. An RV allows for a great deal of flexibility--you can go where you want whenever you want. An RV also allows you to avoid the expense, crowds, and hassles of air travel. You can save money by cooking your own food, and when you are ready to head to your next destination, everything is already in the vehicle--no need to pack.  

Seasoned RVers are also quick to point out how friendly people are. If you don't know anyone when you arrive at a campground, you soon will. Another advantage is the view.  While traveling, the RV driver and his or her companion are seated higher off the road than car drivers, and the large windshield offers a broad view of the destination.

RV travel offers a great way to experience the treasures that are our national parks and other great destinations while still enjoying the convenience of a bed and private restroom--go out sightseeing, hiking, biking, or fishing, and return to the convenience of the modern amenities in your RV.  

Drawbacks of traveling by RV include the initial investment of purchasing the RV, the cost of gas, and the challenge of parking.  Consider renting an RV to decide if the investment is right for you, though you may need to plan well ahead. Both sales and rental are significantly up from last year. 

If you do decide to take advantage of the freedom and adventure that come with owning an RV, remember that just like your car, your RV needs to be ensured to be on the road. For more tips about RV travel, destinations, ownership, and rental, check out the links below. For information about insurance, contact locally owned Waitte’s Insurance Agency to discuss your unique insurance needs. Help our community thrive by making sure you, your friends, and your family are covered.

 

For further information, visit the following publication:

AARP "Pros and Cons of Owning an RV"
Tripsavvy "RV Pros and Cons"
National Geographic "Vacationing by RV"