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

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

For thousands of years, it has been a custom of humans across cultures to honor those who have fallen in battle. “The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance for loved ones (including soldiers) each year, festooning their graves with flowers and holding public festivals and feasts in their honor” (History.com). This tradition evolved into a national holiday in the United States following the Civil War, though it was not always known as Memorial Day. 

On May 5, 1868, three years after the Civil War had ended, Major General John A. Logan, head of an organization of Union Veterans, “established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers'' (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). The designated date to observe Decoration Day was May 30 for a variety of reasons, one of which was because across the country, flowers would be blooming at that time (U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs). 

Over time, the holiday changed and expanded, and by 1890 the practice of recognizing fallen heroes at the end of May became common across the nation. The holiday became more commonly referred to as “Memorial Day” rather than “Decoration Day,” and those honored were not only Civil War heroes but all fallen American troops (Military.com). The exact date to observe the holiday also changed when the U.S. government passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, moving Memorial Day to the last Monday in May (Military.com).

In December 2000, the U.S. passed and ratified P.L. 106-579, the National Moment of Remembrance Act (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). “The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). 

Join us as we remember America’s heroes on May 31.

 

Moms in the Military

The draft ended in 1973, at which time only 2 percent of enlisted forces were women. Today women make up 16 percent of active-duty members, some of whom are mothers (Council on Foreign Relations).  Recognizing that diversity and inclusion are keys to innovation, branches of the United States Military have taken steps over the years to increase opportunities for female service members (Department of Defense). In 2015, the ban restricting female soldiers in combat was lifted, and women’s participation in military services has slowly continued to grow. 

For women of child-bearing age, military service can be a mix of both opportunity and challenge. Active-duty birth mothers are granted six weeks of maternity leave and may receive another six weeks of “primary care-giver leave” (Military One Source “Types of Military Leave”), and the Department of Defense in many cases is able to assist parents with child care (Military One Source “Parenting and Children”). Along with the support provided by the military, service members often turn to extended family for additional assistance in the case of deployment. 

According to U.S. Navy Dr. Marion Henry, deployment is part of the job. "No matter what your job is in the military, you will not progress or succeed unless you deploy” (Today.com).  Unfortunately, some disapprove of moms being deployed, but as U.S. Army Captain Megan Harless points out in Today.com, “We’re all still veterans and all still fighting for that one cause.”

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we salute all of our servicemen and servicewomen and today give special thanks to the sacrifices made by the mothers serving our country. Anyone interested in supporting our troops by writing letters can click on the link below to “8 Websites Where You Can Write Letters to Soldiers.”

 

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"

Get Ready for Camping!

Marshmallows over a campfire

This past year has brought many of us a new appreciation for the simple things in life, including time spent by a campfire with people we care about. Along with rediscovering nature, many of us are also revisiting some favorite childhood memories including making and eating s’mores. Whether you spent your childhood camping every weekend or the experience is totally new, here are some campfire snack tips to help you savor the great outdoors.

Discover (or rediscover) basic s’mores. Prepare a graham cracker and chocolate by breaking the large, rectangular cracker into two squares and placing your chocolate squares (break them so you have about the same surface area as your cracker) on a plate so it’s ready to go when your marshmallow is done. 

Surprisingly, there actually is more than one way to toast a marshmallow. While it’s tempting to get started as soon as the fire is lit and the flames are high, it is more effective to hold the marshmallow on the end of a stick over the embers of a dying fire. This will allow the sugar to caramelize, and you will be less likely to end up with a marshmallow that is charred on the outside and underdone on the inside. Once your marshmallow is cooked to your liking, squeeze it between the two pieces of cracker and slide the marshmallow off the stick.

When you are ready for a new treat, try replacing the chocolate in your s’mores with Nutella, Reese's peanut butter cups, caramel sauce, crushed candy, or jam (“6 Over the Top S’mores Ideas''). You could also replace the graham cracker with your favorite cookies.

If s’mores aren’t your thing, try popping popcorn, or making baked apples or hobo pies. Hobo pies (also known as pudgy pies, mountain pies, or toasties) are made with a cast iron toasting tool you can purchase at most camping stores and simply require two pieces of buttered bread and your filling of choice such as jam, fruit with cream cheese, peanut butter with chocolate, mini marshmallows with chocolate, just chocolate, etc. The possibilities are endless! (“10 Camping Desserts for People Who Don’t LIke S’mores”).

Our staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you a season filled with fun food and adventure. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

"Campfire S'mores"
"6 Over the Top S'mores Ideas for Your Next Camping Trip"
"10 Camping Desserts for People Who Don't Like S'mores"

Food Safety for Easter

Honey Sliced Ham For Easter

Dyeing eggs and egg hunts are two of the most popular Easter traditions for children. As we get older, the allure of egg decorating often lingers such that we branch out beyond the tablets and vinegar to fancy up our eggs with paint, silk tie designs, shaving cream, natural food dyes like beets, and berries, or other crafty methods. Since opportunities for food-related illness are as plentiful as design options, we have a few tips to pass along to help keep your holiday as bright and fun as your decorated eggs.

Tips for Handling Eggs:

  • Inspect your eggs before buying to be sure they are clean and crack-free, as bacteria can enter an egg through a crack (University of Nebraska).
  • Store your eggs in the carton in the body of the refrigerator rather than in the door. The door is the warmest part of the fridge, and if frequently opened may not maintain a cool enough temperature to keep eggs safe. 
  • Thoroughly wash and rinse hands before handling eggs for cooking or dyeing.
  • Thoroughly cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm to kill Salmonella and other harmful bacteria (Foodsafety.gov).
  • When preparing for a hunt, avoid hiding eggs anywhere they could “come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects, or lawn chemicals” (University of Nebraska).
  • Eat eggs or return them to the refrigerator within two hours as long as the shell is intact. Cracked eggs should be discarded, and saved eggs should be eaten within one week (University of Nebraska.)

Though the egg may be the focal point of the fun, it is less likely to be the focal point of the meal. The following are some tips for safely preparing popular Easter meats:

  • Pre-cooked ham that is vacuum packaged or canned from a federally inspected plant may be eaten without cooking or maybe warmed to an internal temperature of 145° F (Foodsafety.gov).
  • Uncooked ham or ham packaged in a plant that is not federally inspected must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F (Foodsafety.gov).
  • If you are unsure whether or not your ham is pre-cooked, look at the label. “Ham that is not ready-to-eat but has the appearance of ready-to-eat products will bear a statement on the label indicating the product needs cooking” (Foodsafety.gov).
  • If lamb is your tradition, you will still look for an internal temperature of 145° F regardless of the cut (University of Oklahoma”).
  • The US Department of Agriculture recommends an internal temperature of 145° F for various cuts of beef including roasts and steak, while ground beef (and any other ground meat) should be at least 160° F. 
  • Chicken and other poultry should be brought to an internal temperature of 165° F (US Department of Agriculture).

Whatever your Easter plans may be, our staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you a happy and healthy spring holiday! Stop by or give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

"Egg Handling and Safety Tips" University of Nebraska Lincoln

"'Egg'cellent Food Safety Tips" University of Oklahoma

Foodsafety.gov

US Department of Agriculture