Ah the holidays have arrived, time for food, family and hazards?
501 South 2nd Street  Mount Vernon, WA 98273
(360) 336-2112
Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season!

Avoiding holiday hazards

With winter rapidly approaching and the holidays just around the corner, accidents will be on the rise.  Here are some helpful hints to keep your family, pets and homes safe.

  • Make sure that candles are secured and extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.  Do not have candles too close to flammable materials: furniture, curtains, holiday decor or in places where the candles can be easily knocked over.  For a safe alternative use flameless LED candles which come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
  • Holiday decor can be quite hazardous for pets and small children.  Tinsel and ornaments can be choking hazards for little ones and pets.  
  • While mistletoe and poinsettias are beautiful to look at, they are extremely poisonous.  Make sure they are out of reach of pets and children.
  • Live trees and live wreaths need to be watered regularly to keep green and healthy.  Dry trees and wreaths can pose fire hazards if exposed to open flame or too much heat from holiday lights.
  • Hanging holiday lights can be a fun experience, creating a little holiday cheer.  Be very careful with ladders, walking on roofs, etc.  Surfaces can be slippery and a bad fall can result in severe injury.  When hanging holiday lights, make sure you use the buddy system in case of an emergency.
  • If you are in an area prone to snow or ice accumulation, make sure your walkways and driveways are free of snow and ice.  Icicles hanging from awnings or garages should be cleared to eliminate the potential for injury.
  • During the holiday season it seems that spirits can be a part of every meal or gathering. DUIs and accidents are an unfortunate reality during the holidays.  Keep the safety of yourself and others in mind by using cabs, public transit or designated drivers.
  • Food, glorious food!  Food is an important part of many holiday celebrations, but it can also be the cause of holiday accidents.  Make sure to check on food with extended cooking times often, ensuring they do not overheat and burn.
  • NEVER use a turkey fryer close to a house, overhang or wooden structure. 
Frozen pipes, drafty doors and leaky windows, oh my!!     

     Along with the usual prep that comes along with an extended trip over the winter, homeowners need to take extra precautions if they live in an area where temperatures can dip below freezing.  Coming home to find frozen or even worse, broken pipes can be stressful and take some time (between filing an insurance claim to getting the damage fixed) to deal with.   There are some simple steps that one can take to prep pipes and your home for plunging temperatures.

     Hoses and sprinkler systems should be drained and the hoses should be brought in during the cold.  If you have pipes that are exposed or close to exterior walls, adding a bit of insulation around the pipes can be an inexpensive way to stave off the cold temperatures, but make sure that the insulation is sealed at the edges otherwise it will do little to keep heat on the pipes. 

           Insulated Pipes

     In addition to pipes next to exterior walls, pipes that are in areas with little insulation (attic, basement, garage, shed, etc.) should be insulated as well.  One could purchase a freezing alarm, some which will alert a homeowner with a telephone call should something unfortunate happen, if there will not be anyone in the home for an extended period of time.

     Pipes are not the only home fixtures that can cause winter headaches.  Drafty doors and windows can cause energy bills to skyrocket, as warm air seeps out into the cold.  Weather stripping the door creates an airtight seal when closed and can be easily done after a trip to the hardware store.  Need a simpler solution?  Placing a folded towel at the base of the door will keep cold air from seeping under. 

     Improperly sealed windows not only let the warm air out, they also allow moisture to build up around the seals creating the perfect environment for fungal growth. Recaulking window seals and checking for leaks (if you have double pane windows) are a few easy and inexpensive way to head off fungal growth before it starts.  Single pane windows, usually found in older homes, can be ineffective at keeping heat in the home. While replacing the windows is optimal, sealing the windows with plastic wrap is a quick, short term fix. 
      These short term DIY solutions may only work for a few days or weeks.  Talk to your insurance agent for professional referrals (plumbers, contractors, etc.) to make your home warm and weather proof this winter.

Make this holiday season a healthy one!
      Let’s face it, the holidays only comes once a year. Instead of trying to alter your tasty family recipes, look to improve your holiday with a different approach. Have a plan this holiday season. Pick five food items you must have on your dinner plate then alter how you eat for the rest of the day. Work towards feeling satisfied verses stuffed. This can help you maintain energy, cut cravings the following few days and help maintain your body weight during the holiday season.

Eat a healthy Breakfast and Lunch
     Many people will often skip meals to save calories for the holiday feast. This can cause your metabolism to slow down preventing you from burning calories efficiently. Eat a breakfast filled with lean protein and veggies. Choose a lunch that is filled with lean protein and veggies.  Skip the carbs – you will be eating plenty for dinner.  Keep yourself hydrated! Shoot for at least two liters of water before dinner. Some healthy examples:
  • Veggie omelets or protein shake
  • Salads or lettuce wraps with lean protein.
  • Lean protein with veggies
  • Tuna salad, tuna lettuce wraps, grilled chicken salad, taco salad, asparagus wraps with deli turkey. 
Don’t forget to exercise!
     This will help jumpstart your metabolism to help you burn more calories during the day. Mix in a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training.

Choose your carbohydrates wisely!
     Choose carbs that you do not usually have throughout the year like, Sweet potato casserole.  However, the dinner roll? It’s more of a filler. Skip the carbs you don’t really love to save on calories. Again, visualize your dinner plate to measure the appropriate amount of carbs to eat. Try to make no more than a third of your plate carbs because most likely, you will be having a dessert later!

Pre-dinner snacking
     Create a veggie platter for munchies as you work on food preparation and pre-dinner socializing. Choose to alter your dipping sauce – pick hummus over fattening dips.  Do you make a delicious dip every holiday season? Choose to eat the dip but include it in your “Top Five” carbohydrates.

Dinner time!
     Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes 10-20 minutes for the brain to realize you’re full. If you’re a fast eater especially, wait at least 10 minutes before thinking about wanting seconds. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite. This will help recognize you’re full faster. Drink water with your meal.

Looking to cut calories in your holiday dinner dishes?
  • Use skim milk and roasted garlic with mashed potatoes instead of whole milk and butter
  • Flavor sweet potatoes with cinnamon and a little apple juice instead of butter and marshmallows.
  • Skip the cream soup for the green bean casserole. Instead, add chunks of potatoes and use fresh green beans. Also, substitute slivered almonds instead of fried onions. 
Connect with us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Copyright © 2012 Wycoff Insurance, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list   update subscription preferences