Trick or treaters

6 Spooky Tips for Safe Halloween Driving

Jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and candy galore! Halloween is meant to be fun for everyone, but it can go bad fast if drivers aren’t being careful. More than any night of the year, it’s important to put 100% of your efforts into being safe behind the wheel on Halloween!

Keep the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and drivers alike with these 6 vital driving tips!

  1. Be prepared to stop for kids crossing the street, even when you aren’t at an intersection. Many kids don’t cross at intersections and either aren’t looking for cars or don’t know how to cross a street safely yet. In fact, the USDOT reports that 84% of collisions with young pedestrians occur at non-intersection locations. To prepare for crossing witches and goblins, look in the street as well as on sidewalks, yards, and driveways for anyone who may be heading for the street.
  2. Drive below the speed limit. You never know when a little ghost might run across the street. When traveling at a slower speed, you give yourself more time to react and your car needs less time and space to come to a stop (Thank you, physics!). Five miles per hour under the posted speed limit in residential areas is a good rule of thumb.
  3. Eliminate distractions. Put your phone in your purse, glove compartment, back seat, or even your trunk if you have a tendency to get distracted behind the wheel. Turn off the radio or keep the volume low so you can hear any pint-sized superheroes nearby.
  4. Communicate with drivers and pedestrians. Use your turn signals religiously so everyone can anticipate your next move. Turn on your hazards when stopped to pick up or drop off trick-or-treaters to signal other drivers to be careful when passing you.
  5. Turn on your headlights, even if it’s still bright out. Just like a little Batman in all black is hard for you to see, it’s hard for distracted and anxious kids to notice a car without headlights. Make yourself as visible as possible for anyone getting ready to cross the street.
  6. Use caution when pulling in or out of driveways and alleys. It can be tricky for you to see kids in these situations, and it can be hard for kids to see you! Inch your way out of these spaces, stopping frequently for any upcoming pedestrians.

With these 6 tips and some focused attention, Halloween is guaranteed to be a great night for everyone! When you’re looking out for zombies and dodging zoo animals, remember that anything can happen every day of the year, so keep yourself covered with Madison Mutual. Visit us at http://madisonmutual.com/ and have a happy Halloween!

Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna

Take a Bite Out of Fall With These 8 Recipes!

Prepare your stomachs—we have some FALL-tastic recipes!

When the leaves change, so do our food choices. So it’s time to take out your fork and knife, relax, and enjoy the seasonal cuisine. Whether you’re a pumpkin lover, apple picker, or squash consumer, we’ve got you covered! Get your taste buds ready (and your favorite flannel shirt) – we have some recipes that will make them water!

Feeling cold and blue: Potato and Cheese Soup

Fall means that the cooler weather we all look forward to is here, but sometimes the change in weather can make us feel a bit under the weather. If you’re battling a stuffy nose or want to stay in, bundle up and avoid the drop in temperature, this potato and cheese soup is the perfect recipe for you!

http://elliebeandesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/potatoandcheese.jpg


Movie night munchies: Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

Spice up your puppy chow, pumpkin style! Whether you’re grabbing a movie or having a girl’s night in, this treat will do the trick! It’s festive and easy to make. So sit back, relax and chow down.

http://www.pbfingers.com/2012/10/10/pumpkin-spice-puppy-chow/


Healthy indulgence: Butternut Squash Risotto

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, it’s easy to pack on the pounds during autumn. Fortunately, this meal allows you and your cholesterol to enjoy the seasonal produce. So indulge happily. Your body will not be disappointed!

http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000001540257,00.html


Date-night: Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo

Let the leaves fall outside while you and your love cozy up by the fireside and enjoy a night in feasting on this fall pasta! It doesn’t take long to cook, and it will make you want to savor every part of your romantic night.

http://www.closetcooking.com/2013/10/pumpkin-goat-cheese-fettuccine-alfredo.html
Gluten-free: Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna

Gluten-free doesn’t mean you can’t taste fall, too. This lasagna is vegetarian, low carb, gluten-free, and delicious!

http://potluck.ohmyveggies.com/spinach-zucchini-lasagna/
Family time: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Fall reminds us how important family is. So put your apron on and spend a little more time with the people who matter most! The spinach inside brings green to the table, and kids won’t even notice it’s there! Quality family time should equal quality food, too.

http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/fall-family-dinner-recipes#slide-3

Sip of autumn: Butterscotch Caramel Coffee

We crave warm drinks in the fall – so, start craving this one! This butterscotch caramel coffee will warm you right up from the very first sip to the last.

http://www.livinglocurto.com/2014/09/butterscotch-caramel-coffee-recipe/#sthash.32gvHFqE.GvgKfmtu.dpbs
On-the-go: Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Bars

The seasons may change, but our schedules don’t. These pumpkin cinnamon chip oatmeal bars are great for an on-the-go breakfast or snack (kids will enjoy them, too). Just whip up a batch during the weekend and you’ll be happy when you head out the door on Monday!

http://www.ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com/2014/09/pumpkin-cinnamon-chip-oatmeal-bars.html

Which recipe did you like best? Let us know on our Facebook page! If you encounter any cooking fiascos, we are here to lend you a hand! Give us a call at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com.

Man cleaning the gutter

10 Easy Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

Don’t cozy up too much for fall before you prepare your house for the colder months. Yes, picking out your favorite fall candles (did someone say apple spice?), making leaf art, and whipping up your beloved fall recipes provides the ultimate fall enjoyment, but it’s important to brace your home for more than sweet smells and leafy art.

Don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of 10 things for you to do to make sure your house is ready for the falling leaves and colder temperatures. When it comes to fall, it’s safety first, pumpkin everything second.

Gutter check: The leaves and grime that pile up in your gutters can form ice dams and prevent your drainage systems from working right. If that happens, buckle up. Water may seep into your home and create damage and more expenses. So, make sure to clean and inspect your gutters! You can do this by removing leaves and debris and pouring a bucket of water in the gutters to check for leaks!

Avoid escaping air: We don’t want the warm air escaping our house – especially since our heating system will have to work harder, costing us more money. Seal up those cracks and openings in your house by placing caulk between door frames and other stationary objects and weather-stripping components such as operable windows!

Get your ducts in order: If you’re looking for a way to save energy and money, then look to your ducts! We know they stay hidden and forgotten during the year, but it’s time to remember them again. By keeping them tightly sealed and insulated, you can reduce your annual energy bills. We’d say that’s a plus!

Lights will guide you home: Saving energy is your first thought in the colder months, but with less daylight, it’s important to keep your outdoor lights lit so you don’t fall during autumn. Whether you’re taking out the trash or bringing in the groceries, install some lights that will guide you home safely. Fortunately, if you buy energy-saving products and bulbs, you can save money during the fall and winter months.

Family safety: It’s important to have annual safety checks around the house. Limit fire hazards by testing smoke and CO monitors, installing a fire extinguisher, and making sure your family knows a fire escape plan. It might be cold outside, but it can heat up in your home if safety precautions aren’t taken.

Secure the walkways: Repair your damaged steps, driveways, and walkways. If you see cracks, fill them – don’t let them go untouched or you might break your “mother’s back” for real. Water can seep in and freeze, which will make the cracks even larger and more dangerous. Doing this not only keeps you safer but also helps you save money later.

Stop the cold from seeping through your windows: If your house is full of windows, you know how hard it is to keep away the cold air. However, the right shades, curtains or blinds can help retain some of the heat lost during. We recommend cellular shades or dressing your windows in layers by combining shades, curtains, and sheers! Our last piece of advice—the thicker the shade the better!

Get your heating system serviced: Get a professional to check your furnace. Furnace systems can wear out and stop working – or worse – pump carbon monoxide into your house.

Fix roof problems: Leaky roofs are never fun and can cause a lot of problems, especially during the colder months. Inspect your roof and make sure there are no missing or damaged shingles, leaky vents, or corroded flashing. You don’t want to have to use a bucket to catch water when the temperatures drop.

Meet at the fireplace: The fireplace becomes a staple during the colder months. Families and friends gather around it to enjoy the heat and the occasional s’more. Check your fireplace for soot or debris that piled up throughout the year. Better yet—schedule a chimney sweep!

Your home is a big investment, so it’s important to protect it during the fall. When the temperature drops, we don’t want your home to drop, too. At Madison Mutual, we provide the best homeowners insurance that’s affordable and fits your exact needs! Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com.

Fire tips

Fire Prevention Do’s & Don’ts

Cool fall weather means cozy sweaters, colorful leaves and pumpkin spice everything. It’s also a great time for roasting marshmallows at a bonfire, lighting a few logs in the fireplace or cooking comfort food on the stove. It’s no wonder that October is Fire Prevention month!

These fire prevention do’s and don’ts will help ensure you and your family have a fun and safe fall season!

Do:

  • Clear the area around the stove when cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove when using the burners.
  • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby, so you can use it to smother a potential fire.
  • Clean your dryer’s lint trap after every use.
  • Check and replace any worn or damaged electrical cords.
  • Check your smoke detectors at lease twice a year (doing this on daylight savings makes it easier to remember).
  • Make sure your home has a fire extinguisher.

Don’t:

  • Let children or pets near a hot stove.
  • Move the pan if it catches on fire.
  • Put water on a grease or oil fire.
  • Leave space heaters unattended.
  • Use open flame candles. Opt for battery-operated versions.
  • Forget to create and practice an escape plan and outdoor meeting place with your family in case of a house fire.
  • Leave a fire, whether outdoors or in your fireplace, unattended. Store ashes in a metal container away from combustibles.
  • Store 9-volt batteries loose in a drawer. Keep them in their original packaging or cover the posts with masking or electrical tape.

If you do encounter a fire that you can’t control, have everyone evacuate immediately and call 9-1-1. Do not re-enter the home. You and your family’s safety is your top priority. If your property sustains any damage, please call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com.