Hastings Insurance Solutions LLC
2435 Kimberly Road
Bettendorf IA 52722
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Recipe: Banana "Ice Cream" with Caramel Sauce
- 4 medium bananas
- 1/3 cup candied or toasted nuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peel the ripe bananas. Slice, place in a single layer on a plate and freeze for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, make caramel sauce by combining sugar, butter, syrup and salt in a small saucepan. Over a medium-to-low heat, stir until blended (about three minutes), then bring to a gentle boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and vanilla. Let cool then cover and refrigerate.
To make "ice cream," place frozen bananas in a food processor and process until it has the consistency of soft ice cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Stir in nuts and serve with sauce.
This month, some famous quotes on the subject of neighborhoods:
'Love your neighbor as yourself'
You want people to feel comfortable to walk in their neighborhoods, go out and shop, do business.
Livable neighborhoods with a vibrant street life will stimulate our economic life as well.
People don't know that New York really is just made up of a group of very small neighborhoods.
Chicago's neighborhoods have always been this city's greatest strength.
|| Update Your Homeowners Insurance Before Summer
As summer draws near and temperatures warm, it's almost overwhelmingly tempting to jump into summer activities. But before you start enjoying the great outdoors again, examine your homeowners' policy to make sure it covers the hazards that summer can bring. Updating your insurance now will ensure you have a relaxing summer ahead.
As the thermometer rises, you can almost hear the sizzle of the grill. Place it too close to your home, and you might hear the sizzle of your house.
Follow proper safety precautions and make sure your policy covers not only your house, but also other freestanding structures.
Now that the winter chill has passed, you can finally put that new roof on your garage. Or maybe it's time for that addition you've been saving for. If you're making substantial renovations to your home, it likely will drive up the replacement cost. Make sure your homeowners' insurance policy is updated accordingly.
Summer means pool time. But with 3,000 plus accidental drownings a year, your pool could be a potential hazard. If you have a pool, be sure to notify your insurance company. Your premiums will increase, but you'll be protected. Ensure your liability coverage covers all situations, even if someone is in your pool without your permission.
Standard homeowners' policies come with liability coverage, but they may not extend to trampolines. Many insurers view trampolines as lawsuits in the making and exclude them.
Check your insurance policy to see if there are restrictions on trampolines before making a purchase.
Summer may seem like a great time to make an addition to your family.
But if you buy a new puppy, don't forget to tell your insurance company. If your dog bites someone, your liability insurance will cover it ... but only if your dog is listed on the policy.
Walkies can be fun ... for Fido and you
If you like to sleep in, it can be hard to get up and take Fido for a walk. But there are ways to inject fun into morning walks (a.k.a. walkies) for you and your furry friend:
- Go to a dog park. Not only will your dog get to socialize with other pets, but you can socialize with their humans, as well.
- Take a new route and let your dog lead. Who knows what new and exciting adventures you'll discover together?
- Find a dog-walking buddy. Both Fido and you will enjoy the company.
- Turn your walk into a jog. You'll get a great workout, and so will your dog.
- Work on training. Use your walks to work on obedience commands or tricks (but don't forget the treats!)
Popular FSAs May be Less so with ACA Changes
This year brings changes to flexible spending accounts (FSAs) - the workplace arrangement that allows employees to save, pre-tax, for expected medical expenses. You contribute to an FSA through a monthly paycheck deduction by your employer, then the account is available to you for medical expenses, and you are not taxed on it.
As a result, FSAs have been popular, but changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could make them less attractive:
Under previous rules, your employer could deduct any amount, usually $3,000 to $5,000 a year. Now FSA contributions are limited to $2,500 a year, adjusted annually for inflation.
You may recall that FSA dollars could be used for over-the-counter medications up to 2011; since then, FSA dollars can only be used for prescription medications.
Use it or lose it
You must use your FSA dollars by the end of the year, or they revert back to company control.
Who should contribute
Flexible spending accounts may make sense for families with steady, recurring and/or predictable health spending needs that aren't covered by their medical insurance policies - including deductibles.
If you or a family member has regular health expenditures or needs orthodontic care, you may want to consider contributing to an FSA. But don't over-contribute. You'll run into the use-it-or-lose-it provisions.
If you're not sure about FSA changes and how they affect you, your advisor can help you understand your options.
Singletons are Living Alone ... and Liking it
It used to be a stigma: bachelors and spinsters sadly missing the pitter-patter of tiny feet and the companionship of a spouse. But that was then; this is now.
Singletons - as those who live alone have been described - are now choosing this lifestyle, and "going solo" has become statistically significant in North America, according to Eric Klinenberg.
Klinenberg, sociologist and author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, says that almost half the current population in the US is unmarried, representing 28 percent of American households. And many of the singletons he interviewed for his book highly value this lifestyle: "It allows us to do what we want, when we want on our own terms," Klinenberg commented in a recent Globe and Mail interview.
For the most part, his singletons are alone, not lonely: "Many people ... said there was nothing more lonely than living with the wrong person," he noted. And they're not bored. Single people populate gyms, clubs and coffee shops, where they can mingle with a purpose.
However, there are downsides: Living alone may be fulfilling, but it can also be frustrating. There's only one income to pay the bills, and statistics show that solos are at higher risk of accidents or crime. As well, the majority of Klinenberg's singletons are young.
What will happen as they age?
Ah, says Klinenberg, living alone is a "cyclical condition, not a permanent one." So chances are his young singletons will follow the traditional path - eventually.
Put Your Home Insurance Dollars Where They'll Count
Insurance is probably the least exciting part of buying a home, but it's one of the most important. Buying the right amount of coverage is essential to protecting your home and your assets, and understanding the most common claims on homeowner policies can help you determine where you need that extra protection.
Fires can have dire consequences. Insure your house and personal belongings at replacement cost rather than actual cash value. Premiums are higher, but, if you consider you may lose everything, it's well worth the extra money.
It's hard to imagine Fido or Fluffy biting someone. But if they clamp down on a visitor or neighbor, you too may feel the pain. As a pet owner, you're liable for your animal's actions, and if someone is bitten and needs medical attention, you'll have to pay for it. Ensure you have sufficient liability coverage.
Ruptured pipes, clogged drains, leaky roofs or a faucet you forgot to turn off all cause water damage. If it's serious, the main structural supports of your house can be compromised. Standard homeowner policies do NOT insure against flood, so make sure you purchase supplemental insurance through the federal government for that risk. Your agent (me Alex :) can help you enroll.
Wind and hail
No matter where you live, you're susceptible to wind and hail: Coastal states suffer through hurricanes; the plains have tornadoes; and blizzards affect the north. The exterior of your house can suffer damage in serious weather conditions, so make sure your coverage limits and deductible are prepared for high-cost repairs.