How Nurturing Relationships Can Be Like Nurturing Plants
Life is better with friends and loved ones, whether it’s a social circle of close pals or, with Valentine’s Day upon us, that special someone. But it can be overwhelming keeping up all the different friendships you have with different types of people. If this sounds like you, consider treating your social circle like a beautiful plant you’re cultivating, focusing your attention at different times on the friends with the attributes you need in that moment.

The leaves: friends who let you be you. On days when you want to express yourself without fear of judgment, these are the friends you need. They know where you’re coming from, celebrate your uniqueness and let you openly be the person you are, even if others question you.

The roots: friends who heal and bring you strength. These friends pick you up when you’re down, give you a shoulder to cry on when life gets too much and come to your aid when you’re in need. They’ll help you find joy in dark places and hold you steady when you’re weathering a storm.

The flowers: friends who excite you and bring out your personality. We can all do with friends who bring playfulness to our lives, people who fill our worlds with laughter, silliness and adventure. Friends like these will help to show you just how much life is worth living and ensure you make each day count.

The fruits: friends who bring out your creativity. No friendship group is complete without the people who help you to be creative and realize your potential. These are the pals who help you cultivate your ideas, achieve goals and contribute actively to bettering the world around you.
Quick Quiz
Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just click the button below and submit your answer.

First 10 responders will be entered into drawing for 3 Starbuck's gift cards.

In an average lifetime, how many times does a heart beat?

Last month's winners were:

Brenda Mendoza
Emalee Mann
Larry Owens

Click Here to Submit!

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Does My Home Insurance Cover Musical Instruments?
We tend to assume our home insurance covers everything in our home. That’s what it’s for, right? But certain items are often excluded or limited due to their unique nature and high value. Case in point: musical instruments. So if you play the piano, strum the guitar or even dabble in the harmonica now and then, here’s what you need to know about insuring musical instruments.

It is certainly possible to insure musical instruments under homeowners or renters insurance. However, it’s important to find out coverage details. For example, your policy may only cover damage from specified “perils” (such as theft and fire) but exclude others (such as flooding). Additionally, coverage for musical instruments may have a per-item maximum, and that maximum may be less than the cost of replacing the instrument. Your coverage may also depend on whether you’re an amateur or professional musician because professional musicians are generally expected to have commercial musical instrument policies.

What are your options if you own musical instruments and want to insure them? Perhaps easiest (and cheapest) is adding a rider to your existing homeowners or renters insurance. Also called an endorsement, floater or scheduled personal property, this add-on provides additional coverage for your musical instruments. You could also obtain a dedicated policy for your musical instruments.

While musical instruments can be covered under a home policy or a dedicated policy, it’s important to understand coverage details before buying. Call or email us for more information about insuring your musical instruments. We’re always here to help.
Keep Safe with These 5 Night Driving Safety Tips
Did you know that approximately half of fatal car accidents happen after dark? It’s true, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Here are five ways to minimize automobile accidents when driving at night.

Maintain your vehicle.  
Breaking down on the side of the road is risky enough during the day; when it’s dark, it’s even worse due to poor visibility conditions. So keep your vehicle in good working condition with regular tune-ups, solid tire pressure and clear windshields.

Keep an emergency kit on hand. Every driver should have a working emergency kit in the car at all times. It should include everything you need to replace a tire: a spare tire, tire iron, jack and flat repair spray. Also consider jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, a reflective vest and enough food and water to get you through a night or two of being stranded.

Drive safely. Driving safely means driving smart. Use your high beams when alone on the road, and turn them off when other drivers are coming directly at you. If you can’t see or need to drive slowly, turn on your hazard lights. Avoid aggression and let other drivers take the lead (it’s not the time for road rage). If you feel uncomfortable on side roads, get on the highway; if you feel uncomfortable on the highway, get on side roads.

Check your night vision. Some people are born with poor night vision; others experience it as they age. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If you’re afflicted, get a taxi or a rideshare, or ask a friend for a ride. It’s not worth risking your life.

Stop when you’re tired. Lastly, don’t drive if you can’t stay awake. Getting somewhere isn’t that important.
Call or email us for more tips on driving safely and to make sure you have the right insurance coverage should an emergency arise.
The Medieval Craftspeople Restoring Iconic Piece of History
In April 2019, the world looked on in horror as pictures were broadcast around the globe of the 800-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of the most iconic structures in European history, as it burned in a raging fire. It was devastating for the country of France; parts of this jewel in the crown of their cultural heritage was destroyed in a matter of minutes right in front of their eyes.

Parisians doubted whether their talismanic cathedral could ever be restored. The sophisticated architecture would require complex building techniques specific to medieval engineering; the special type of wood needed would supposedly take years to properly treat, and even just the knowledge of how to produce medieval ceiling beams had been lost to the sands of time.

And yet hope has emerged. The Guédelon project, based in France’s Burgundy region, has been training craftspeople in ancient building techniques for over 25 years. The project started as an “experimental archeology” pursuit, aiming to build a 13th-century castle from the ground up using the exact techniques, tools and even clothes that would have been used in those ancient times. Master carpenters have perfected hewing beams by hand and delicately and meticulously building structures with perfect authenticity.

In a welcome turn for the nation of France, Guédelon’s craftspeople and educators are being enlisted for the Notre Dame restoration project. Not only will they work on the rebuild, but they will also be training other craftsmen and developing the tools required to faithfully restore Notre Dame to its grand former glory.
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Valentine's Jam Tarts
Makes 12

2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 cup softened butter, cubed
1 medium egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup jam or marmalade of your choice

Sift flour into bowl with sugar. Add pinch of salt. Rub butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Using a knife, mix yolk and 2–3 tbsp cold water into dough until wet enough to come together into a ball. Knead briefly until smooth, then flatten into disc. Wrap in cling wrap. Chill for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 390°F. Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to thickness of approximately 3/8 inch, then cut out 12 rounds with 3-inch fluted cutter.

Place the rounds in nonstick patty tin or muffin pan. Drop 1 tablespoon jam into each. Cut out pastry hearts and place them on top. Bake for 10–12 minutes until pastry is cooked and jam bubbles. Remove tarts and cool on wire rack. For an extra treat, add tart to bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serve.

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