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Dec 07 2010

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6 Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips – The Garage Plan Shop

Holiday Road Trip Safety TipsWith the holidays right around the corner, chances are you’ll be taking at least a road trip or two to visit family and friends or experience the joys of the season in another city or town. The Garage Plan Shop recommends following these travel safety tips provided by a traffic safety researcher.

 

1.    Prepare your car – Make sure your car is in tip-top shape before setting out on a road trip. Change your oil and check tire pressure and antifreeze levels.

2.    Map your travel plan – If your road trip is going to take more than a single day’s travel, consult maps and find hotels along your route in which to stay for the night. Also use resources like Google Maps and travel sites to locate hotels along your route. Don’t forget to bring your maps with you.

3.    Drive safe during the day – Research shows roadways are most dangerous to travel early in the morning and late at night when drivers are more likely to be tired or intoxicated. Limit your driving times between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. Depart early and plan to be at your destination or hotel before it gets too late.

4.    Plan to take breaks – Plan to pull over every 2-3 hours to stretch your legs, give your eyes a quick break and recharge. If you are traveling with another driver, take turns driving in shifts so no one experiences fatigue.

5.    Wake up or catch up on sleep – Statistics report in 2009 alone over 100,000 car crashes were due to drowsy driving. If you are driving in shifts with another driver, take a nap while the other person is behind the wheel. If not, pull over in a safe well-lit place and take a quick power nap. But perhaps the best idea is plan to check into your hotel early in the evening so you can go to bed early and catch up on sleep for the next day’s drive.

6.    Do not drink – It is not safe and it is illegal to drink and drive. Studies show a single alcoholic drink can cause important changes in cognition affecting your ability to drive. So, skip the beer at lunch and wait until you are at your destination (a holiday party) where you can relax, celebrate the holidays and not have to worry about getting behind the wheel later.

 

The holidays are a wonderful time for everyone. Make sure you and your loved ones enjoy them by staying safe when taking a holiday road trip.

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Dec 01 2010

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7 Home Safety Tips: Protect your Home during the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching. If you are like the rest of us, you are busy preparing for holiday get-togethers and dinner parties, mailing holiday greeting cards, finishing up your shopping list and planning visits to family and friends. But something else should be on your “to-do” list that probably isn’t. Home safety. While we are focused on celebrating on the joys of the season, burglars are watching and waiting. During the holiday season, many of us get caught up in the festivities and let our guard down when it comes home safety making it an opportune time for burglars to strike when we least expect it. Below are seven tips to help protect your home, family and belongings during the holiday season.

 

  1. Whether you’re home all day, on an errand to the store or out for town for the week, be sure to keep all windows and doors locked. This includes the garage door and service door between the garage and the home. Burglars know the holiday season is an opportune time for breaking-in as many homes have extra valuables inside not to mention extra cash on hand, and homeowners are often away from their homes. Locked doors and windows deter potential break-ins.
  2. When you change your home’s décor from its everyday styling to holiday themed decorating, keep it simple and modest. Expensive and showy holiday decorations and elaborate light displays are a signal to criminals there may be plenty of valuables inside your home. In addition, do not leave wrapped gifts under the tree in full view from exterior windows. These are an invitation to burglars to break-in when you aren’t home. Keep wrapped gifts stashed away in closets and storage spaces until the last minute.
  3. Be sure your home is well-lit inside and out and the yard is well-groomed. Not only does this add to curb appeal, but it is an important safety measure. The more lighting you have inside your home and in your yard (including along sidewalks and around the garage), the less dark places for thieves to lurk and hide at night. Likewise, follow the 3 foot/6 foot rule when it comes to trees and shrubs in your yard. Trim bushes down to no more than three feet tall and trim trees up at least six feet off the ground minimizing hiding places for criminals. This also provides a clear view of your home from the street. 
  4. If you plan to travel out of town this holiday season, only mention your trip to the people who absolutely need to know you’ll be gone. Furthermore, do not mention you’ll be traveling on any of the social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. If a potential criminal discovers you’ll be gone, it won’t take much legwork to find your address and know just when to break-in your home. 
  5. In addition, do not mention or discuss valuable holiday gifts via social media. A post like, “Got a new sound system for the home theater for X-mas,” becomes common knowledge instantly. If a criminal happens upon this information, all he or she will have to do now is watch your house and wait for you to leave. Within minutes, that new sound system will not be yours any longer.  
  6. If you do not use social media, do not think you are exempt from the risk of burglary. As soon as you put the empty boxes and packaging from your new sound system in the trash can or next to it at the curb, you’ll be telling the whole neighborhood and all the passers-by that you have something valuable in your home. Use caution when throwing away packaging from “big ticket” gifts. Burglars know what to look for and some even cruise streets and neighborhoods looking for boxes, cartons and trash signaling valuable gifts inside a home. As soon as you leave your house, your new sound system is as good as gone. Instead of throwing away all of the packaging or the entire box at one time, break it down or cut it into smaller pieces. Recycle or dispose of the smaller pieces a little bit at a time so not to attract attention.   
  7. If you have plans to travel this holiday season, take advantage of a home security system if possible. If you already have one, you are in good shape. However, if you do not have a security system and can afford one, considering having it installed as soon as possible. If you do not have a security system and cannot afford one, take a few smaller steps like installing motion sensor lights along walkways, porches and driveways. Solar lights work well too, as you won’t have to manually turn them on or off. Inside, set your lights and TVs on timers. Have them turn on in various parts of the home at different times of the day. Consider asking a trusted neighbor to park in your driveway intermittently while you are away. Also ask a neighbor to collect mail and newspapers or stop these services until you return home. It is a good idea to notify your local police department as well and request a car drive past your home periodically while you are out of town. If you ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, identify the vehicle to the police.

   

As you look forward to celebrating the holiday season, The Garage Plan Shop recommends you add these home safety precautions to your holiday “to-do” list protecting your home, family and belongings.

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Nov 18 2010

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Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips from The Garage Plan Shop

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. If you are preparing the turkey, stuffing and all the fixing for friends and family next week, The Garage Plan Shop wants to share these food safety tips with you, courtesy of Schnucks Supermarkets.

 

  • If you plan to cook a frozen turkey, thaw your turkey in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey.
  • Cook your turkey thoroughly. The internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh should reach at least 165 degrees F. (If you do not have a meat thermometer, you can purchase one at most grocery stores and department stores.)
  • If you plan to cook your stuffing inside the turkey, follow these guidelines:

                        1. Prepare the stuffing separately, prior to filling the turkey.

                        2. Loosely fill the turkey cavity with stuffing.

                        3. Allow the temperature of the stuffing to reach at least 165 degrees F.

  • Store leftovers in the airtight containers and place them in the refrigerator immediately. Use leftover turkey within four days. Reheat it to 165 degrees F.

 

Following these food safety tips will ensure your family and friends enjoy the delicious holiday meal you serve this Thanksgiving.

 

For more information about food safety, please visit Schnucks’ food safety information page.

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Dec 30 2009

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Easy Dips for Holiday Parties

Ranch Salsa DipThe holidays are here. Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, we are often asked to bring a dish, snack or appetizer to a holiday gathering. These recipes are simple to make and tasty to eat. Try one of these the next time you’re asked to bring something to a gathering.

 

 

Ranch Salsa Dip

 

Ingredients:

1 16 oz carton of sour cream

¾  cup thick and chunky salsa

1 packet of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dip Mix

1 bag of nacho chips

 

1.    Mix sour cream, salsa and ranch dip mix in a medium bowl.

2.    Chill or serve immediately with nacho chips.

 

 

Hummus

 

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 cup roasted red peppers drained and rinsed

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 garlic cloves minced

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Crackers, veggies or pita chips

 

1.    Add chickpeas to food processor and puree.

2.    Add roasted red peppers and remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth.

3.    Refrigerate.

4.    Serve with crackers, veggies or pita chips

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Dec 22 2009

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Monkey Bread for Breakfast: A Favorite Children’s Recipe

Monkey BreadWhile the kids are off school for the holidays, serve this breakfast favorite. Everyone at The Garage Plan Shop has been enjoying this tasty breakfast treat for years.

 

Monkey Bread Recipe

 

Ingredients:

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 (7.5 oz) cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

¾ cup butter or margarine, melted

 

1.    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a plastic food-storage bag.

2.    Separate dough into 30 biscuits and cut each one into quarters. Shake in bag to coat and arrange in pan.

3.    Mix brown sugar and melted butter and pour over biscuits.

4.    Bake 28-32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in the center.

5.    Cool in pan 10 minutes.

6.    Turn upside down onto serving plate. Pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

 

Makes approximately 12 servings.

 

Visit our blog next week for more holiday recipes.

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