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St Visalia, CA  93277559-802-4094 – Phone
www.centralvalleyins.com
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Scott Bosler, Partner
Phil Oliver, Partner

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It’s Party Time! Keep Your Summer BBQs Safe

It’s time to fire up the grill and treat friends and family to your special secret sauce.

But as you gather ’round the BBQ, the last thing you need is flames that extend outside your grill; personal injury and property damage are not going to win you the block-party-of-the-year contest.

To avoid grilling your home or guests instead of the meal, take the following safety precautions.

Pre-party: Each season, before you use your gas grill for the first time, check the cylinder hose for leaks. Apply a soap-and-water solution to the hose.

If there’s a leak, you’ll see bubbles where the gas is escaping. And always leave the lid open when you turn on the gas; a closed lid can cause gas build-up that may blow the lid off – not the kind of excitement you need at your BBQ.

Party time: If you smell a gas leak while cooking your meal, move everyone away from the grill immediately.

Call the fire department, and don’t try to move the grill yourself. If you’re cooking with charcoal, be cautious with lighter fluid. Don’t try to increase your flame with liquid fuel. If coals are already ignited, adding starter fluid can cause a flash fire. Instead, rekindle the flame with dry kindling or more charcoal.

Post-party: Remove grease or fat build-up from the grill and grease trays. This will keep your grill operating at its best, and reduce the risk of a malfunction and fire. When you’re finished cooking, make sure you close the gas valve completely.

For charcoal grills, remember these can remain hot hours after the flames are gone. Keep flammable objects away from the grill, and avoid moving it while the coals are still hot. Once it is properly extinguished and cleaned, store your grill and extra propane tanks outside – away from your house.

Now pass around that special sauce!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Summer’s Fave Game Is Back

How did a stick, a ball, and a diamond capture the hearts of millions? For those who line the bleachers in big and small towns across North America, baseball’s not just a game; it’s everyone’s summer lifestyle.

Baseball in North America traces its roots back to the late 18th century, when the first reference to the game was made in a Massachusetts law about playing it too close to the town meetinghouse. Since those early days, baseball has seen many changes that shaped it into the sport we love today.

It hailed from two similar British sports: rounders and cricket, which eventually found their way across the pond and were played in schoolyards and college campuses in the 1800s. In the fall of 1845, the New York Knickerbockers Baseball Club was born. Knicks player Alexander Cartwright established the rules that form the basis for today’s game, including the use of a diamond-shaped field and the three-strike rule. Cartwright has been established as baseball’s true father, overturning a widely held, but deemed untrue, legend that a man named Abner Doubleday founded it.

Once the game was standardized by the Knickerbockers, other clubs were established. Baseball’s popularity continued to grow, and eventually leagues formed. The baseball itself also underwent standardization, eventually morphing into the five-ounce, nine-inch sphere with 108 red stitches that we see in pitchers’ hands today.

The sport continues to enthrall us. And best of all, nearly everyone is able to sing along when they hear, “Take me out to the ball game…”

Three Ways to Make Family Camping Fun – Not Stressful

Camping should be a great way to see new places, meet new friends, and bond as a family. But some may find time bonding with the kids stressful … and maybe a bit overwhelming. Take those concerns out of the equation with the suggestions below. And enjoy this inexpensive way to celebrate nature and each other – without technology taking over.

These three tips can make family bonding a pleasure:

1. Do Research
Find the perfect spot for your family online. If you’re camping newbies, the best campground should be one with amenities that’s also close to a town. As Scott Adler, editorial director of BabyCenter.com, says in an article in Real Simple, “That way … if there’s a pizza place, someone can pick up a pie and make dinner a lot easier on Mom and Dad. You’ll also be less stressed when (almost inevitably) you realize you’ve forgotten something.”

Consider the types of activities you plan to do. A biking family, for example, may choose a campground near paved roads.

2. Generate excitement
Engage the kids by getting them involved in planning the trip. Get feedback about what they want to do and foods they want to eat, and let them pack their own bags. At the campsite, encourage older children to pick the spot to pitch the tent, and then put it up together.

3. Go high-Tech
It can be a culture shock to go from staring at your screen to staring at the night sky. Instead of forcing your kids to do without their devices, let them bring some technology, but also include favorite books and games. As Jen Aist suggests in Real Simple, use their facility with technology to help the kids engage with the outdoors, for example, by locating stars with a GPS.

Best of all, let them play. As Aist notes, “Something magical happens when you are outside that doesn’t happen in other place..

Ways To Lower Your Homeowner’s Insurance Costs

One essential item on your monthly budget is homeowner’s insurance. However, this is one line item you may be able to reduce. Some research and a meeting with your insurance agent may pay big dividends.

By working through the following suggestions with your insurance agent, you’ll remain adequately covered while also taking advantage of any available savings.

  1. Deductibles make a difference: What is your current deductible? If you can afford to raise it, you could save on your premium. A change in your deductible amount can lower your premium by as much as 25%.
  2. A safe home saves money: Your premium is based partly on the level of risk to your home. If you can reduce this risk, you’ll save on insurance. Check with your agent to see what steps you can take to boost your home’s safety and lower your premium. Solutions may include modernizing plumbing and electrical systems, adding storm shutters, and installing a burglar alarm.
  3. Reviews can reduce: Have you reviewed your policy recently? It’s a good idea to do this annually to verify that your coverage fits your current needs. You may own items that have dropped in value, or you may no longer own some high-ticket items; both scenarios enable you to reduce your personal property coverage.
  4. Loyalty pays: Does your provider also handle your auto insurance? Obtaining all coverage from the same carrier typically earns a multipolicy discount. Additionally, staying with the same company for several years may result in a long-term policyholder discounts.

 Summer Berry Pavlova

Serves 8
Whites of 4 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups mixed berries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine egg whites, salt, and vinegar, and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Combine 3/4 cup of sugar and the cornstarch, and gradually beat into egg whites. Add vanilla, and beat again until firm and glossy.

Spoon the meringue in 8 big dollops onto a lined baking sheet. Spread each into a circle, creating a little indent in the middle.

Bake for 10 minutes, lower heat to 200 degrees, and bake for another hour with the oven door slightly open.

Remove from oven and cool. Whip cream and remaining sugar together, and then fold in the berries. Spoon whipped cream into each meringue, and top with more berries or mint leaves.

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