Archive for May 2014

Keeping Your Electric Bill Low This Summer

With the temperature rising as it gets closer and closer to summer, it is important to make sure you pay close attention to your electric bill. Summer in Austin can mean temperatures in the hundreds, which can mean steep hikes in your electric bill if you crank up the air conditioning. Following these tips can help keep your electric bill low during the hot summer months.

  • Keep an eye on the thermostat. Setting the temperature to 70 degrees can cost 50 percent more than setting it to 78 degrees. Make sure to set it to a higher temperature, especially when you are out of the house, but do not turn it completely off. It is less efficient and more expensive to cool a house back down than to set the thermostat to a higher temperature.
  • Cover the windows. Just like covering windows in the winter will keep heat in, it will also keep the cool air in during the summer. Adding curtains and drapes can help lower cooling costs by 30 percent.
  • Use ceiling fans. Although fans do not actually cool the air, the circulation they create can make it seem cooler. Do not leave fans running while you are out of the home since it will only cause the electric bill to rise without actually cooling the house.
  • Avoid the oven. The oven heats up food inside, but can also raise the heat in the whole house. Consider using other appliances, such as the toaster oven or microwave, which uses 90 percent less power than the oven.
  • Turn off those lights. Lights cannot only raise the temperature of a room, but they also use a lot of power. Make sure to turn off lights when you leave a room and only turn them on when the sun goes down.

When it comes to finding the perfect homeowners insurance, contact the Insurance Agency of Dean Davis.

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BBQ Brisket Recipe

Barbecue season is in full swing! The hot weather means more time spent outdoors with friends and family. Having the perfect BBQ recipe on hand can ensure that you are prepared for any summer time get together. This BBQ Brisket recipe is sure to be a hit with everyone at your next BBQ.

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef brisket (5 to 6 pounds), with a layer of fat ½ inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the brisket under cold running water and blot it dry with a paper towel.
  2. Combine the salt, chili powder, sugar, pepper, and cumin and mix with your fingers. Rub the mixture on all sides of the brisket. Wrap the brisket in plastic and let sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours.
  3. Preheat the charcoal grill on low. When ready to start cooking, place 1-½ cups of hickory or mesquite chips on the coals.
  4. Place the brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum foil pan, or make a pan by doubling up heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the pan in the center of the grill and cover.
  5. Baste the brisket from time to time with the fat and juices that drip into the pan. Make sure to add 10 to 12 fresh coals and wood chips every hour.
  6. Cook the brisket until it is tender enough to shred with your fingers, about 6 hours. It may take up to 8 hours depending on the size of the brisket and heat of the grill.
  7. Remove the brisket from the grill and let rest for 15 minutes. When slicing the brisket, make sure to cut across the grain.

The Insurance Agency of Dean Davis, located in Austin, Texas hopes your brisket is the hit of you BBQ. They also encourage you to contact them for all your insurance needs.

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AT WIT’S END: Teenage Driver and the Parent

By: Erma Bombeck

Having a new teenage driver in the family does strange things to parents… besides turning them in to pedestrians.  It throws some of them into premature senility and has others writing check to God, bribing him to strike the battery dead.

My husband and I decided long ago we would not succumb to the hysteria that overtakes most parents the moment their teenager takes the family car out for the evening.

As I told my husband, “It certainly is convenient having our son drive so that we don’t have to dig out & run him across town.”

“It certainly is,” he said.  “All we have to do is sit here & relax in our own home & wait for the police to call.”

“That’s right”, I sighed.  “I think a lot of parents overreact. After all, this is what maturity is all about.  This is the responsibility that goes with growing up.  By the way, did you remind him to turn off the lights, put the car in park & take the keys out when he left?”

“I pinned a note to his coat.”

“Good.  You know it seems like only yesterday when he had his little cars on the floor going vroom… vroooommmm… vroooommmmm, remember that?”

“I certainly do,” he chuckled.  “He smashed four unbreakable, non-destructible, right-built, sturdy, childproof, Tonka trucks in four days.  But… a boy has to learn.”

“You bet,” he said.  “You show me a car that doesn’t have a hole in the floorboard on the passenger side and I’ll show you a parent who has never driving with his teenager.”

“It certainly is great not having to worry about them anymore.  I’m going to bed.”  “You are in bed,” said my husband.  “It’s 12:30.”

“Oh.  I was talking & I guess I just keep myself awake.  Did you hear a motor?”

“No.  I just swallowed a button off my pajamas.”

“Actually” I giggled, “having a teenage driver has brought us close together.  We haven’t burnt candles and prayed together in years.”

In the driveway, we heard four tires screech to a halt. “AMEN,” we said in unison.

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Memorial Day Weekend Events in Austin

With Memorial Day right around the corner, now is the best time to find weekend activities in your area. In the Austin area, there are plenty of exciting events that are fun for the whole family.

On Monday, May 26th, the East of Weird Floating Concert Series is coming to Austin. The event will start at 11 a.m. and go until 7 p.m. The event starts in the Wal-Mart parking lot, where a party bus will pick up attendees. Guests are invited to start the day on the bus while it drives to the newest tubing hot spot for tubing in Texas, led by the Bastrop River Company. Make sure to bring your own drinks and coolers to the float, leaving out any glass or Styrofoam. The three-hour river float will feature a live band. The party continues at Tacos Y Tequila in Viejos with gourmet tacos, hand crafted tequila and signature cocktails. The party bus then takes you back to the parking lot of Wal-Mart.

For an event the whole family can enjoy, come out to the Red Fest 2014 all weekend long. The 3-day event starting on May 23rd features big name artists such as Tim McGraw and Lynyrd Skynyrd. There are also many villages and activities planned for everyone to enjoy. For the younger crowd, there is a playground that will feature activities for all ages, including zip lining and climbing walls. For those who love everything outdoors, there is an outdoor hunting and fishing village to get a taste of the great outdoors in the big city.

Insurance Agency of Dean Davis wants to give a big thank you to all the men and women who have served and are serving our country – thank you!

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Foods that help you sleep better

Falling asleep after a stressful day is sometimes harder than it sounds. Luckily, there are plenty of tasty foods that can help bring on slumber.

  • Walnuts – these tasty nuts contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin.
  • Cheese and crackers – this tasty snack contains calcium, which helps the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to manufacture sleep-triggering melatonin.
  • Chamomile tea – sipping tea is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts like a mild sedative.
  • Shrimp and lobster – treating yourself to one of these tasty crustaceans for dinner may help bring on an easier sleep since they are a good source of tryptophan.
  • Elk – this delicious game meat has almost twice the amount of tryptophan than turkey breast, allowing you to nod off more easily.
  • Cereal – having breakfast for dinner is not only a wonderful way to end your day, but the combination of carbohydrates, from the cereal, and calcium, from the milk, can help you sleep better.

Eating these foods before bedtime can help you achieve better sleep and start you on your way to healthy living. The Insurance Agency of Dean Davis, located in Austin, Texas, urges you to find little ways, such as these to achieve a healthy lifestyle and to contact them for all your insurance needs.

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5 times to re-evaluate your life insurance

Life insurance may seem like something you buy once and never look at again, aside from the monthly payments. However, there are many different reasons to reevaluate your life insurance plan, such as these 5 common reasons:

  1. The number of people who depend on you changes. If the number of people in your immediate family grows, such as getting married or having children, it is important to change your coverage. You may want to expand you coverage to a larger amount. On the other side, you may want to look into lowering your coverage in the event of one of your dependents passing.
  2. Your child becomes disabled. You may want to look into a permanent policy to make sure your child will be provided for in the event of your passing.
  3. You bought a policy before 2009. Prior to 2009, insurance companies were relying on mortality tables from 1980. After 2009, they switched to 2001 tables, which may allow you to pay lower premiums since people are now living longer and paying on their plans for longer.
  4. You pay off your mortgage. Owning a home may eliminate your need for life insurance. Evaluate your financial picture to see if you need to keep your life insurance policy, or if you could possible lower the amount to save some money.
  5. You have taken out significant debt, such as a student loan or a mortgage. The debt you have may be a burden to your dependents after your passing. Make sure you have the proper amount of life insurance to cover your debts after your passing.

The Insurance Agency of Dean Davis, located in Austin, Texas, can provide optimal life insurance to fit your needs. They also offer home, auto, and commercial insurance to fit your needs.

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Protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which is a perfect time to think about how to protect yourself while being exposed to the hot summer sunshine. Following a few simple rules can help save you from the harmful effects of the suns rays.

  • Stay in the shade especially between 10 am to 4 pm. This is when the suns damaging UV rays are the most dangerous. If you are going somewhere and there is not going to be shade available, bring an umbrella or wide brimmed hat to keep you safe.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. There is no safe way to tan outside or in a tanning booth. Although many tanning booths claim to be safer, they are not. The UV radiation from indoor tanning beds is known to cause skin cancer.
  • Use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15 everyday. Making sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen will help you be protected from the suns longer, more damaging rays and help with your skin cancer prevention plan.

The Insurance Agency of Dean Davis, located in Austin, Texas, urges you to stay safe in the hot summer months. They provide optimal home, auto, life, and commercial insurance policies to fit into any way of life.

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