The Opposite of Growing “Pains” at AmFamPOB

tom birthdayIt’s been an exciting start to the new year.  The agency has almost doubled as we welcome TWO licensed agents to the team.  January 4th, licensed agent Tom Coverdale joined The Patrick D. O’Brien Agency, bringing years of experience and wonderful energy to the office.

Cindy

 

 

This February, Cindy Herr-Pino, already an amazing asset to the agency as our director of business development, passed her home, auto, life and health licensing exams.  Now, as a licensed agent, Cindy is able to not only promote the agency and it’s products, but she will be consulting and advising customers to find the best products to fit their needs.

 

Here’s some pictures of Pat and Kelly assembling Tom’s desk.  Future AmFamPOB employee?

Kelly kelly desk Kelly desk2

Another desk has been added for Cindy.  This time, Tom was recruited to help with the heavy labor.  (Kelly was on a break).

desk pat and tom tom vacuum

Great job, guys – the desk looks great!!

Cindy2

Cindy and Tom are excited to work with you.  Contact us to set up an appointment.

– S.O.
The Patrick D. O’Brien Agency

 

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10 Ways We Reduce Dust (and Allergies) in our Home

Today is the first day of spring and we are looking forward to cleaning up the garage, the yard, and “spring cleaning” inside the home.  With two small children, it’s hard to have a perfectly clean home every day but the one thing that will stop me dead in my tracks year round (no matter what I’m doing) is dust.  Why does dust bother me so much?  Because dust mites live in dust.  YUCK!  And, Pat and Jack have allergies that can go berzerk.

I know dust mites exist and I try hard not to think about them living in our pillows, bed covers, mattresses, furniture, carpeting, and clothing.  (Another YUCK!)  But, I feel better knowing I can reduce the amount of mites in our home by staying on top of the dust with some easy steps.

Here’s our top 10.

  1. Vacuum floors and upholstered furniture once a week
  2. Keep your closet clean and the floors clear so you can vacuum easily & regularly.
  3. Keep furnace filters clean.
  4. Limit knickknack decor.
  5. Instead of heavy drapery, hang lightweight curtains & shades.
  6. Avoid stacking piles of mail, newspaper, and magazines on tables and shelves.
  7. Keep clothes you wear regularly in your bedroom or closet and store the rest.  Use garment boxes and clear plastic containers to store items on shelves so they don’t collect dust.
  8. Store stuffed animals in a closed toy box or closet & regularly wash stuffed toys in hot water.  I’ve heard you can put a stuffed animal in a plastic bag and in the freezer overnight every few weeks to help kill dust mites – but I haven’t tried that yet.
  9. Wash your sheets (and the blankets you wrap up in when you snuggle on the couch) weekly
  10. Have your area rugs cleaned once or twice a year

Can you think of any other ways to reduce dust in the home?  Who’s ready to get started “spring cleaning”?!

– S.O.
POB Agency

Visit Patrick’s profile on Pinterest.

8 Tips For Throwing A Successful Holiday Party

Tis the season for Holiday Parties!  When you attend one, you may not give much thought as to how much pre-planning a host may do prior to the event.  But if you’ve ever been the host – Oh my!  It can get pretty stressful.

We recently had a party for 12 and in between work, kids, volunteer work, and day-to-day household chores, thank goodness we gave ourselves two weeks to prepare!  But, it all came together nicely and I’ll share some tips I think will ensure your party is a success without the stress:

1. A store-bought veggie tray is OKAY. Yes, our guests liked the hearty finger food but at the end of the night, that veggie tray was empty.  Guests like to nibble and snack as they drink their cocktail and they don’t want to leave feeling stuffed.

2. If you’re serving dinner, choose something that you can make ahead of time.  Have a casserole or lasagna pre-prepared so you can greet your guests as they arrive.  You’ll be free to mingle with everyone instead of stuck cooking in the kitchen while your guests hover over you feeling as if they should be doing something to help.

3. Decorate with inexpensive festive décor & play music. Simple wreaths and a few candles are an inexpensive way to create a warm and cozy atmosphere.  Our decor was minimal this year (to save time):  a tree and a simply decorated mantle.  We put on holiday music from one of our TV channels (who has time to create a playlist?!??!), lit candles and dimmed our lamps.  It was just enough.  We received many compliments on how cozy the house felt.

Click for EASY recipe!
Click for EASY recipe!

4. Serve ONE holiday drink for all.  Check out Pinterest for a TON of ideas.  Try a Candy Cane or “The Grinch” Martini; A Hot Apple Rum Punch; or the one I served:  Pomagranate-Cranberry Sparklers.  Even the guys drank it and LOVED it.  If you’re worried about drinking and driving, have a list of driving services and/or taxi numbers on hand OR offer them a guest room.

5. On that note, don’t stress your guest room accommodations.  We have 1 guest room but 2 couples stayed over.  I knew this could be a possibility after serving cocktails so I made sure all the beds had neat and clean bedding – even if one couple had to sleep on (clean) Avengers sheets.  But, it’s okay!  These are our friends and no need to stress the accommodations.  They were safe and slept great!

6. If it’s a relatively small party, enjoy a white elephant gift exchange. This party we hosted is an annual party and we always do a white elephant gift exchange.  It’s a blast!  It can be something from your home that you are no longer using; something funny; or something purchased.  It’s always fun watching people switch and swap as each gift is chosen. We’ve lucked out some years with a great gift and other years we’ve gone home with a gag gift – like a singing turkey.  If that’s too risky due to a more conservative group, consider something even simpler than that, like an ornament exchange.

7 If you’ve got the funds, consider hiring help. A catering service will allow you to fully enjoy the party. A bartender is also a nice addition, especially if you’re going for more complicated & diverse cocktails to serve. You might feel like you’re taking the easy way out, but in the end, you’ll be glad you got to engage in the holiday merriment along with your guests.

Have you hosted a Holiday Party (or any party) recently?  What did you do to cut back on time and stress?  Share your tips and success stories with us!

S.O.
POB Agency

Christmas Tree Fires are More Deadly than Typical Fires – Follow our Tips

The Christmas season has begun and it’s one of our favorite times of year.  Our Facebook news feed contains many posts of our friends’ beautifully decorated Christmas trees as well as pictures of them cutting their live tree at the Christmas tree farm.  We thought this would be an excellent opportunity to remind you of how to care for your live tree so it does not catch on fire.

christmasTrees are not a fire hazard if you take care of them, keep them watered, and decorate them carefully.  However, should the tree catch on fire, it is one of the most deadly fires.  In fact, one of every 66 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death according to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  The tree provides an unusually large amount of fuel leaving little time to get out of the house.  They are especially deadly if they occur at night when people are sleeping.

  • Keep the tree well-watered.  Check the water supply at least once a day.  Trees can drink a lot of water.
  • Use new or high-quality lighting.  Never use lights with frayed cords or worn connections.  Consider switching to LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights. In addition to the energy and cost savings, LED lights are much cooler than incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of fires.
  • Keep the tree away from candles and other heat sources such as a fire place.  (A heat source too close to the Christmas tree started one of every five (18%) of Christmas tree fires from 2006-2010 according to the NFPA).
  • Turn off the lights before leaving home and before going to bed.
  • Dispose of the tree as soon as it feels dry.  Many cities, including Indianapolis and Fishers, will provide safe disposable sites for your tree beginning December 26th.  Big box stores such as Home Depot will also provide drop off sites.  (Do not burn the tree outside your home)!

In addition to our Christmas tree fire prevention tips, we also encourage you to review the following fire safety tips that pertain to this time of year (compliments of amfam.com):

  • Candles should be kept away from your tree and any flammable decorations and should be extinguished before leaving a room.  Candles are also a major cause of household fires during the holidays.
  • When starting a fire in your wood stove or fireplace, use hardwood logs cut the season before. Do not toss wrapping paper or branches from your Christmas tree into the flames because flash fires can result. Chimneys and wood stoves should be inspected annually for creosote and cleaned regularly. Stockings should not be hung from your fireplace mantle in the path of sparks and flames.  Home heating equipment, such as wood stoves, space heaters and fireplaces, cause nearly one-third of all home fires according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Inspect your lights before they go up to make sure they’re in good condition. Don’t plug too many into the same electrical circuit or overload extension cords. You should use no more than three light sets per extension cord. Unplug all lights when you leave the house and before going to bed.
  • Make sure everyone knows all of your home’s exits and you have a designated outdoor meeting place to regroup. If a fire does start in your home, stay as low as possible while heading for an exit to reduce your chance of smoke inhalation. If you do catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.

We wish a wonderful and safe Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas!

– S.O.
POB Agency