July 2019

Reduce Their Risk: Safety Tips for Teen Drivers 

It's time for a teen to get their driver's license. Who is more nervous - the teenager or the parent?

Parent anxiety during this rite of passage is understandable. According to the Insurance Information Institute, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death among those age 15 to 20.

Fortunately, teens and parents can take steps to improve safety on the road. If you have a teen behind the wheel, try these best practices.

Choose a safe car: Sure, your teen will probably prefer to drive that sporty convertible, but giving a teenager the keys to a sleek, fast car will only encourage speeding and other unsafe driving habits. For a teen's first vehicle, choose a car that is easy to drive and offers solid protection during an accident. Avoid small cars and SUVs, which are prone to rollovers.

Limit their risk: Consider following a graduated driver's license (GDL) program. These are in place in some states, and parents can institute similar policies in areas where they aren't required. Under these programs, teens' driving privileges are restricted until the teen has gained experience behind the wheel. Restrictions may prohibit driving at night or with teen passengers.

Emphasize safe habits: Talk with teens about risky driving behaviors. Explain the dangers involved with distracted driving caused by phone use, radio use, or conversations with passengers. Stress the importance of remaining focused while driving.

Additionally, certain practices, such as enrolling teens in a safe driver program or using electronic devices to monitor their driving, may qualify you for insurance discounts. Contact our office to discuss what programs are available in your area.

If you’re the parent or grandparent of a teen driver or soon-to-be teen driver, you’ll want to view this video. If you have friends who are parents of teen drivers, forward this to them. It just might make the difference in keeping teen drivers safe.Here is the link to the video on this issue. It is produced by the “Insurance Institute for Highway Safety” and is information every parent should have:

The Ultimate Back-to-School Shopping Hacks 

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be stressful or costly if you have a plan and stick to a budget.
If your child’s school provides a supply list, use it to find deals in stores or online. Take an inventory of what your child already has and compare prices before heading out to shop. Follow thekrazycouponlady.com or download her app to get the scoop on the latest deals.

But don’t shop too early. The best prices on school supplies show up in late August and early September. Many states also have sales tax–free weekends in the fall. When you shop, consider midyear replacements your children will need. Stock up at Costco while things are on sale and stash the extra supplies away for next semester.

And wait a bit longer to get the best prices on clothes. The best time to buy fall clothes is in October, especially over Columbus Day weekend.

Do a combination of online and in-store shopping. For variety and value in clothes and backpacks, look online. But basics like notebooks, pens, and binders are cheaper in-store. Include office supply chains in your shopping plan as they sometimes offer great deals. Shopping at Target? Check out Raise.com, where you can get great deals on used, discounted gift cards. Also, don’t forget the dollar stores. Check these first, then finish your shopping at the larger retailers.

Lastly, consider pooling resources with other parents to buy in bulk and divvy up supplies among yourselves or swap any items left over from last year.

Beware of This Common Pet Owner Mistake 

We humans aren't the only ones who need to watch our waistlines. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for a long and fulfilling life for our pets, too. But they don't have control over their weight; we, the pet owners, do, and we often overfeed our four-legged friends.

In an interview for petmd.com, Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian in Charlotte, North Carolina, said one of the simplest ways to gauge a pet's weight is to stand above it and look down. Both cats and dogs should taper in between their abdomen and their hip socket.

"You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you can see them, they are too skinny," Dr. Dobies said. "If you can't see their ribs, and place your hands on the side of their chest and still can't, they're overweight."

Pet owners can also use body condition score charts from sources such as www.mypetsdoctor.com. These score images of a dog or cat at different weights according to how healthy they are and provide a visual guide to measure your own pet against. Feeding our pets the correct amount is critical to warding off issues that arise from obesity, such as congestive heart failure, some types of cancer, and musculoskeletal problems.

Start by consulting your pet food packaging, which typically provides a recommended serving based on an animal's size. Pay careful attention to the wording and whether the serving amount is per meal or a daily total to be divided into meals. Two meals are recommended for most adult dogs, while more frequent feedings are suggested for puppies. For cats, petmd.com recommends between 24 and 35 calories per day per pound.

Quick Quiz

Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just send us an email and submit your answer.

What is didaskaleinophobia?

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

Last month's winners were:
Tanne Jacobo

Linda Stone

Effie Mazin

Cannellini Bean and Corn Salad

Here's something simple and fresh, perfect for your next potluck or BBQ.

Serves 5

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2-3 tablespoons quality olive oil
  • 1 15.5 ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh corn, grilled then shucked
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil Salt and pepper to taste


Place the chopped shallot in a small bowl with lemon juice and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, tomato, and basil.

Whisk the olive oil and lemon together. Pour over the salad, season, and toss.

Serve at room temperature.

Adapt this recipe to suit any taste or occasion by adding cheese or shredded chicken.

Worth Quoting

This month, some famous quotes on pets:
Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

Groucho Marx

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.

Christopher Morley

I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.

Bill Dana

Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.

Franklin P. Jones

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.

Max Eastman

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

Bernard Williams

Good Words for Ryan Jennings

"My move to California was so much easier having my questions answered and both auto and home insurance in place before the actual move!"
Vicki Langfield

Ryan Jennings Draws Winning Ticket

See Winner Below

Client Angela Ficken displays her rewards in our 2nd quarter Client Referral Rewards drawing. She wins $250 for herself and has donated the $100 charity check to Karen's House.
From left are Scott Bosler, Barbara Swanson, Nathalie Kagy, Angela Ficken, Mark Jennings and Ryan Jennings.

Thank you for your referrals, Angela!