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Guess Which Holiday Tops the Fire Claims List?
That's right. Thanksgiving is the number one fire insurance claim day; claims are typically twice that of any other day in November.

Most Thanksgiving fires boil down to cooking error; unattended stovetops and grease fires top the list. But there is good news: most of these fires are preventable, and all of them can be covered by insurance. To create a safe atmosphere for your holiday gathering, take the following steps:

Don't get distracted: Many Thanksgiving Day fires occur because the cooks get distracted. Family time, football, and festivities pull them away from the kitchen, and the unattended food goes up in flames. Keep a close eye on anything currently "under fire."

Put a lid on it: If you experience a grease fire, don't try to put it out with water. While cooking, keep a lid nearby to smother the fire. Slide the lid over the pan, and turn off the element.

Don't try to fry: Many hosts want to impress their guests with a deep-fried turkey. It might taste good, but it may not be worth the risky process. If you do go this route, fry the turkey outdoors, away from buildings and trees; carefully determine how much oil you need; and never leave it unattended.

Insure your holiday: Homeowners insurance typically covers your home and its contents if they are damaged by fire. If you aren't sure what your policy covers, or what the limits are, now's a good time to review your policy with your agent.

And have a safe Thanksgiving!

How and What You Can Learn from Your Kids
Most parents will tell you that having children teaches you a thing or two. It tests your patience and your ability to go without sleep.

It teaches you how to change diapers, how to read storybooks like a comedian, and how to hold a 20-pound object while making pasta.

But that's not all - it turns out, kids are pretty wise, too.

Here are three of the most important things you can learn from your children:

There are different ways of doing things

Toddlers want to try things on their own. They don't want their parents to show them the "right" way; they want to see if their way works. Let's take a page from our kids. Once we learn one way of doing something, we rarely veer off course.

But experimentation is often key to growth and learning. Let's think outside our own boxes.

There's a world of possibilities

Kids wake up each day filled with anticipation. They're excited because they know innately that they've got a whole day to find fun and adventure. When we become adults, we lose that sense of excitement and anticipation.

And we may not want to face our day, because we're dreading the tasks ahead. But what if we think like a kid and try to see each day not as a list of things to do, but as a period of time we can shape and even enjoy?

We don't need much to be happy

Kids want things. They want toys, sodas, and TV shows. But they're also endlessly entertained by Lego or a big cardboard box or a day at the beach. Kids don't need much to be happy and entertained and, though we often forget it, adults don't need much either. Do as your kid does, and seek pleasure in everything, especially the small things.

We adults will be more excited, creative, and happier for it.

Your Smartphone Is Calling Your Name
Smartphones offer virtually unlimited access to information, entertainment, and other diversions, but researchers have learned that all this may come at a cognitive cost. A study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that smartphones may hijack users' attention - even when they're hidden away.

The study revealed that the mere presence of a mobile device can co-opt a person's cognitive resources and decrease available mental capacity, undercutting intellectual performance and leaving fewer cerebral resources available for other thinking tasks.

Study author and University of Texas psychologist Adrian Ward and his colleagues used memory and attention tests to find that, although powered off, smartphones still reduced volunteers' working memory and problem-solving ability.

It seems we just can't stop thinking about our phones, and even a vague awareness of them can sap our brain's energy. Given that smartphones are everywhere today, these findings have significant implications for learning, creativity, and other intellectual endeavors.

So put them away. Way away.

Even Sump Pumps May Not Protect Your Basement
If you have a basement, you know that it serves many purposes: storage space, playroom, media center, workspace - or all of the above. And whether your basement is simply a place to store seasonal decorations or a professionally finished space for your home theater, it probably contains valuables. If the space were to flood, you'd be less than happy.

Sump pumps

To protect their belongings from water damage, many homeowners install a sump pump. They also take precautions with regular maintenance, and ensure licensed technicians inspect the pipes and systems regularly to protect against leaks and breaks that could cause flooding.

These are wise steps to take. However, they are not fail-safe. Don't falsely assume you are fully protected because you have a machine to pump water away from your valuables. Even perfectly maintained sump pumps may eventually fail. Pipes wear out. Accidents happen. So when the water you tried to keep out makes its way into your basement, you're going to need the correct type and amount of insurance to cover the damage.

Standard homeowners policies have limitations

You'll probably need more than a basic homeowners policy. Many property owners don't realize that this standard policy typically covers certain types of water damage, but not all. For example, some policies cover burst pipes but not sewer backups. Others may have limits on coverage, offering repairs for structural damage but not replacement of electronics.

The right policy for the right coverage

Fortunately, full coverage is available. Whether you want to insure your drywall only or everything from the kids' toys to valuable collections, there's a policy that's just right for your needs. Discuss with your agent the type of coverage you want. Review the details of what is covered by each policy or rider, and work with him or her to ensure you have the policy you need.

When the next sump pump backup occurs, you'll be glad you did.

Are You Making a Mistake with Your Homeowners Insurance?
Buying a home is the biggest investment you'll ever make. With that kind of commitment, you owe it to yourself to protect it. Before you make a decision on which policy to buy, it pays to be informed. Get up to speed by requesting my free guide, "What You Need to Know Before Buying Homeowners Insurance."
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Pomegranate
Serves 6
1 small acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced into 1/2-inch-wide half moons
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup toasted flaked almonds
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
About 1/2 cup each roughly chopped cilantro, mint, and parsley
Juice of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup golden raisins
Directions
Preheat oven to 400°. Toss squash slices in oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes until squash is tender. Allow to cool.

Combine quinoa, zest, cinnamon, salt, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. With lid on, steam for 10 minutes. Drain and fluff with a fork. Combine squash, quinoa, and remaining ingredients in a serving dish and serve.
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.

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