6 Unique Ways to Celebrate Fall

Autumn is a beautiful season that brings with it vivid colors, cooler temperatures, and countless opportunities to take advantage of the many adventures and goodies that nature has provided. While the typical thing to do when fall rolls around is to go apple or pumpkin picking, take hayrides, and get lost in a corn maze, you might be looking for something different to do to commemorate the season.

Check out these 6 different ways you can celebrate fall below!

Make Something From Scratch – Whether it’s your favorite seasonal pie (we’re looking at you, pumpkin and apple!), banana bread, or pumpkin spice cookies, get creative and make your very own autumnal treats this fall! Stop by your local farmer’s market or patch to nab some tasty fruits of the season, find the perfect recipe, and try it out. Make it more fun by inviting your friends over to sample them!

Host a Chili Cook-Off – Warm dishes are a welcomed luxury of fall. If you’re a chili fan, try hosting a chili cook-off with your friends! You and your buddies can make a huge array of chili dishes and sample each one. Make sure to leave out tasty sides and garnishes like avocado, cheese, cornbread, sour cream, and chives. Once you’ve all tasted them, you can determine the winner and give them a blue ribbon for their dish!

Take a Hike – Fall is the best time to get out and enjoy the world around you. The weather hovers at a nearly-perfect temperature, and the trees are bedecked in shades of gold, orange, and ruby. Visit your favorite trail to check out the beauty around you, or go somewhere new and find a new favorite path or park!

Save and Press a Fall Leaf – While you’re hiking, be on the lookout for a fall leaf on the ground that simply leaves you speechless. Whether it’s a sycamore leaf, a maple leaf, or something different altogether, take one or two favorites home and press them under a few heavy books for a day or two. You can leave your leaf in a favorite book, or you can place it next to your favorite autumnal poem as decoration.

Dabble In Fall Colors – Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean that you need to trade bright and cheerful shades in for black and drab hues. Have some fun and play with colors this fall! You can decorate or paint your home or deck yourself out in traditional hues like vibrant red, gold, or burnt orange, or you can think a little more outside of the box and choose colors like cream or even cobalt blue as part of your newfound color scheme.

Plant Spring Bulbs – It’s never too early to think about spring! October is the perfect time to grab a trowel and plant bulbs that will flourish in spring. Think daffodils, tulips, and irises when it comes to bulbs to plant, and make sure to do this before the first frost hits.

How do you celebrate fall? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page! We would love to hear from you!

5 Important Tasks to Complete Before Moving Into Your New House

Purchasing a new home, whether it’s for the first time or the 10th time, is an incredibly exciting time in the life of a homebuyer. It can also be quite scary and stressful, especially if you are unsure of any particular steps you may need to take before you haul all of your belongings to live under an all-new roof.

Here are 5 big steps that you should definitely take before moving into your new home:

Change the Locks – First and foremost, make sure that your locks are changed on all of your exterior doors, including the garage, as soon as the closing is over. Several sets of people may still have the current keys to the home, so call up a locksmith and take this necessary step to make this home yours, safe, and protected right away.

Clean It Up – There are many sellers out there who may clean their home before they hand the keys over to you, but there are also many who don’t take the time to do this. Either way, you’ll want to go ahead and clean your new home yourself. Either hire a service or get your tools ready to do it yourself. Make it easier by setting up an area with all of the supplies that you will need to get your home clean including buckets, brooms, vacuum, mops, and surface cleaners for washing counters, cabinets, and plumbing fixtures. Don’t forget to give the carpet a professional cleaning!

Install New Switch Plates – This isn’t a total necessity, but it’s quite nice to have all of the plates looking new and exactly the same. It will really make the house become all yours and gives it a new, clean look. All you need is a simple screwdriver to get the job done!

Get All Mechanical Equipment Serviced and Cleaned – As soon as you purchase your home, contact a professional to clean and service your heating and cooling systems before the change of the seasons arrives. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of winter with a broken furnace!

Install Window Treatments – For the sake of privacy, comfort, and a bit of a finishing flourish, dress your windows with some window treatments. Whether it’s cheap blinds, simple curtains, or stunning shades, anything will work to keep the heat in (or out) and any prying eyes from staring into your new abode. Later in time, you can choose to upgrade your treatments for a more personalized, pulled-together look.

After you’re done with these 5 tasks, don’t forget to call your insurance agent at Madison Mutual Insurance Company to plug in all the new information in your current home insurance plan or to start fresh with a new one. We’re here for you when you call us at 1-800-766-MMIC, or you can learn more by visiting www.madisonmutual.com.

How To Protect Yourself Before, During, and After an Earthquake Strikes

It can strike at any time. Maybe you’re in the middle of your workday or watching your favorite show, or maybe you’re deep in sleep in the middle of the night when you feel the ground below you shift and shake. After a second or two of confusion, you realize what it is – an earthquake.

Earthquakes are a phenomenon that should never be taken lightly. Although we can’t truly predict when exactly one will occur next, there are plenty of actions that we can take to protect ourselves before, during, and after an earthquake happens. Prepare yourself today with the following tips:

Before an Earthquake

Prepare Your Actions – It’s easy to lose your cool once an earthquake strikes, but you can change how you react with practice and mindfulness. Identify the safe places in your home and your work area, and remember that you will need to drop, cover, and hold on when an earthquake hits. Also, know at least two ways that you can exit the building safely after the fact.

Stock Up on Emergency Supplies – This includes a fire extinguisher, first-aid kits, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries at home. You will also want to consider getting a whistle, sturdy shoes, and blankets together. Plan as if resources won’t be available to you for about 24 hours.

Be Smart About Item Placement – Make sure that your bookcases, large file cabinets, and artwork in your home are all anchored to the wall. You will also want to store heavy objects on low shelves as they can fall and cause damage when an earthquake hits.

Make Plans With Your Family – Much like you would for a fire, you will want to determine where you will meet your family after an earthquake hits. Meet somewhere that everyone is familiar with in the event that you are separated in the event of an emergency.

During an Earthquake

Stay Calm – The most important thing you can do when an earthquake hits is to stay as calm as possible. You will be able to make smarter, more rational decisions when you are calm, and others will take notice of your actions and respond to them.

Stay Safe Indoors – If you are indoors when an earthquake happens, stay there. Make sure to move away from the windows and any unsecured tall furniture. Drop, cover, and hold on under a desk, table, or along an interior wall, and cover your head, neck, and face. Stay this way until the shaking subsides.

Stay Safe Outdoors – If you are outdoors when you feel the earth tremble, stay outside. Move to an open area away from falling hazards including trees, power lines, and buildings. Once again, drop to the ground and cover your head and neck until the earthquake finishes.

After an Earthquake

Check For Injuries – Assess yourself and others for any injuries. If you are able, provide first aid to anyone who may need it until the authorities arrive. Also, don’t move injured people unless they are in danger.

Check Water, Gas, and Electric Lines for Damage – If there is any damage to any of these, shut off the valves. If you happen to smell gas, open all of the windows and doors and get out. You will also want to report the smell of gas to the authorities.

Use Extreme Caution –
If you have to leave a building, be incredibly careful. Continually assess your surroundings and watch for any falling debris and broken glass. If you do leave, be sure to take your keys, any vital personal items, and emergency supplies, but only do so if it’s safe. Also, never re-enter a damaged building until an all-clear has been given.

Be Smart With Phones – Your cell phone might not be too handy after an earthquake as the systems might be jammed. If there is a life-threatening emergency, make sure to use an actual telephone. Remember to turn on the radio and listen for updates.

Expect Aftershocks – It isn’t uncommon for aftershocks to happen after an earthquake hits. Tremors and aftershocks can occur for days, so don’t be surprised if you feel any minor trembling.

While you can help protect yourself with these crucial tips, earthquakes can strike at any time of the day or night and can cause massive damage in just a few quick seconds. Make sure that you’re totally prepared by calling your agent at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC today!

Don’t Drive Angry! 6 Quick Tips to Help You Avoid Aggressive Drivers

We’ve all encountered an angry, aggressive driver at some point in our lives. They’re the ones who zip in and out of lanes at high speeds, break rules of the road simply to get ahead, tailgate others, and even shout or make rude gestures at other drivers. Finding yourself on the road with one of these drivers can be a very dangerous situation for you, the passengers in your car, and others on the road with you. In fact, aggressive driving plays a role in approximately 66% of traffic fatalities. That accounts for 2 out of 3 fatalities on the road!

If you come in contact with a driver full of road rage, you should take the necessary steps to increase your safety and protect those in your car and others around you. Be the better person – protect yourself and others with these 6 quick tips:

Move Over – If you notice someone tailgating you, don’t make them angrier by going slower or at the same speed, and don’t endanger yourself and others by speeding up. Instead, simply move over as soon as you can and let that driver pass.

Avoid Eye Contact – Sometimes making eye contact with the aggressive driver can increase their anger. They may take your look as a form of a challenge and become even more aggressive. Just ignore them as they pass by and make sure to give them plenty of room.

Ignore, Ignore, Ignore – Did you know that 50% of drivers tend to react angrily to those who exhibit angry behaviors on the road? If someone tailgates you, treats you poorly, or makes rude gestures at you, the best thing you can do is to ignore it. It protects your safety and health and can ultimately protect those around you.

Always Wear a Seatbelt – Remember, your seat belt will protect you in the event that you need to make a quick defensive move on the road. It can also save your life in the event of an accident, so never forget to wear it while you’re behind the wheel!

Stay Calm –
Don’t let a driver’s poor behavior get the best of you. Do your best to stay calm. You can do this by giving yourself plenty of time for delays on your trip and listening to your favorite music. Also, use your horn only if you absolutely need to.

Report Them – Is someone driving erratically or being too aggressive on the road? Call the police to report it before the incident gets any worse. You could wind up preventing an accident!

Remember, keeping yourself safe on the road also means making sure that you have the proper insurance coverage to protect you in the event of an accident. Make sure that you’re covered by calling us at 1-800-766-MMIC! Don’t have auto insurance? Find out why you should choose us by visiting us online at www.madisonmutual.com.