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Auto 101: What is Defensive Driving?

Is there ever a BAD time for safe driving tips? With the weather warming up, our agency believes it is time to refresh everyone on road safety! This week, we want to discuss the term “defensive driving.”

Many may ask “What is defensive driving, exactly?”

The simple answer: Defensive driving is simply driving in a manner that uses safe driving strategies to enable motorists to address identified hazards in a predictable manner. This is a great way to reduce risks on the road because, in other words, you will learn how to anticipate problems and accidents before they actually happen.

There are plenty of ways to learn more about defensive driving. You could always sign up for a defensive driving class or even an online defensive driving course! Most of these classes cover the same information, including:

• Traffic crash info
• State traffic laws
• Psychological factors
• Human factors, such as DUI
• The dynamics of a car crash
• Car crash prevention techniques
• Safety equipment

What are the benefits of defensive driving?

Not only will you be minimizing risks, but taking such a class may result in ticket dismissal, cut points from driving records, etc.

Believe it or not, but taking a course may actually help improve your auto insurance premium, too. If you do decide to take a class, be sure to call our agency and report back. We may be able to cut you a break!

If you are interested in hearing more about the benefits of such a class, do not hesitate to call our agency. We would be more than happy to discuss defensive driving with you.

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St. Louis Events Calendar: 13th Annual St. Louis Water Gardening Society Pond-O-Rama

Are you looking for St. Louis events going on this weekend? Look no further! We have just the event for gardening lovers and those with green thumbs. This weekend, the St. Louis Water Gardening Society with present its 13th annual water garden and pond tour!

This year, the tour has over 40 private water gardens owned and maintained by Society members. You will see a range from small pools to large elaborate waterfalls. You may even see some exotic fish and aquatic plant life! These are not only beautiful to see but the entire tour can be very educational, as well.

If you are interested in attending, check out the details below:

Where: Gardens throughout the St. Louis and Illinois Metro Area
When: Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23
Times: 9AM-5PM each day
Price: $15 for both days (if you are over 18) Under 18 is free!
Contact: Call 314-995-2988

Tickets are available at retail locations. Check out the list, here! For more information, do not hesitate to check out the official St. Louis Water Gardening Society website.

Our agency hopes that you enjoy this wonderful Spring event – we know we will be!

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Local Attractions in Missouri: Botanical Garden Whitaker Music Festival

Looking for a good time this season? You sure are in luck! As a resident of Missouri, you may want to check out the Whitaker Music Festival, located at the Missouri Botanical Garden! Here, you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the Garden grounds while listening to the soothing sounds of musicians and artists.

This Wednesday, you can hear renowned jazz trumpeter and composer Terrence Blanchard. It is up to you to bring lawn chairs, blankets and even a picnic to the event. If you are not able to pack a picnic in time, no worries at all. There are sandwiches and beverages onsite for purchase.

If you are interested in attending, check out this quick info:

WHEN: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 (or any Wednesday evening until August 7, 2013!)
WHERE: Missouri Botanical Garden, Outdoor Cohen Amphitheater
TIME: 7:30PM-9:30PM
ADMISSION: FREE after 5PM!

A few things to make note of: NO PETS are allowed onsite, as well as barbecue grills, fireworks or sparklers. The music will begin promptly at 7:30PM and last entry is at 9PM

To learn more about this event or see the schedule for musicians and artists, do not hesitate to check out the official website, here.

Our agents at ABS Insurance Agency hope that you decide to check out this fun local event through the season. It is a great time for the entire family!

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Family Attractions in St. Louis Missouri

It’s summer and the kids are out of school. You may be wondering “What are a few things to do with kids these days?” Remember, there is PLENTY that can be done! This week, we have a great exhibit to share. Introducing… “Once Upon a Time… Exploring the World of Fairy Tales Exhibit.”

Your children may wonder what it is like to actually BE a part of their favorite fairy tale classics. Well, now they can find out! This hands-on exhibit will bring life to these tales. This exhibit is not only fun, but educational, teaching children about the tales’ cultural significances and more. The following tales will be included:

· Anansi and the Talking Melon

· Beauty and the Beast

· Cinderella

· The Elves and the Shoemaker

· Jack and the Beanstalk

· Lon Po Po

· Thumbelina

If this sounds like an attraction that your family would enjoy, you can check out some quick details below:

WHEN: Saturday, June 8

WHERE: The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum

For more information, do not hesitate to check out the official website, here!

This event will be running from June 8th until September 22nd, 2013. If you cannot make it this weekend, no worries! We hope that you get down to see this exhibit at some point. We have a feeling your little ones will love it!

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St. Louis Events This Weekend: Big Truck Day Show

As always, we have the most exciting St. Louis events for you, right here! If you are not sure what to do this weekend, we a have a great family-friendly event for you. Have you heard of the Big Truck Day Show?

This event is hosted by the Kemp Auto Museum and is fun for all-ages. There will be over 40 vehicles representing the top monster, military and performance trucks in St. Louis. All board!

Kids, adults and truck lovers of all ages are able to climb aboard the area’s largest and loudest trucks. Instead of admiring these vehicles from afar, kids will have the chance to explore the trucks from the inside, out. There will also be BBQ, snow cones and refreshments available to the public.

Those interested should take a look at this quick info:

When: Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Where: Outdoors at the Kemp Auto Museum (16955 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, MO 63005)

The best part of this event? It is FREE! Just remember to bring a nonperishable food item to support Operation Food Search. What better way to enjoy a weekend than with family and a free fun event? If you are looking for more information on this St. Louis attraction, please visit the official website, here.

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A Routine Car Maintenance Checklist for Spring

It is no secret that Missouri road conditions have drastically changed since earlier this year – this means your car may be due for a good tune-up. With spring in full swing, now may be a good time to tackle a routine car maintenance check. Fortunately, our agents at ABS Insurance Agency are here to help you. We have put together a quick checklist for you!

The Checklist:

  • Check the battery – if your battery is weak, you may not be going anywhere this spring!
  • Check the brakes – strong brakes are a safety necessity. Winter weather, salt on the roads and the likes may damage your brakes, so it is always best to check.
  • Check all belts and hoses – If either of these are broken, your car may break down sooner than later.
  • Inspect and/or replace your tires – Tire pressure is affected with the change of weather. Be sure to fill them. Also, look to see if they are worn-down.
  • Test the A/C – It would be a shame if it wasn’t working on the hottest days of the season!
  • Check oil & fluid levels – Top off all fluids for a fresh spring start.
  • Clean air filters – This will ensure that you are breathing in CLEAN air once the A/C starts up.
  • Clean out interior AND clean exterior – A fresh ride is a good ride!

What are you waiting for? Print out this checklist, grab a pen and get to crossing off! If you prefer to have a professional do the work, do not hesitate to contact a local repair and auto body shop.

Whether you tackle this list yourself or pay a professional to do it, your car will be happy and ready for those spring joy rides.

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10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Homeowners

Spring has sprung, which means spring cleaning should be in the near future for homeowners. Sure, it may not be the most fun task but you are sure to feel refreshed and ready for warmer weather once you de-clutter and clean your home from top to bottom. No idea where to begin? No problem! Our agency is here with 10 spring cleaning tips.

#1: Start by stripping all those beds! Out with flannel sheets and in with cotton.

#2: Clean curtains/blinds/shades – or better yet, replace wintery ones with light and airy ones.

#3: Have your carpets cleaned professionally or tackle this project yourself. If you have hardwood floors, do the same.

#4: Clean out the pantry to rid of expired items.

#5: Clean out all closets and drawers. Move all winter gear into the attic or basement. A reorganized closet will be a breath of fresh air, and may make choosing an outfit MUCH easier (especially for the ladies!)

#6: Create a different mood in your home or change the theme. The spring is a good time to go with a “lighter” mood and look. You can paint the walls if you want a major change, or simply change your throw pillows for a minor change.

#7: Clean that bathroom from top to bottom. Make it shine!

#8: Clean all the windows in your home to let the sun shine through – yes, even the harder to reach ones.

#9: Dust and/or replace light bulbs and light fixtures in your home.

#10: Last but not least, give your insurance agent a call to update your homeowners insurance policy for the new season. It is always a good idea to “check in!”

Are you ready to get your cleaning on? Follow the tips above by making a to-do list. You can even print this article and check off as you go through. Do whatever works best for you. We will be glad to know that we could be of assistance to you!

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LOCAL EVENT: Year of the USO Motorcycle Raffle

Need some weekend plans, motorcycle enthusiasts? We have just the event for you!

The Motorcycle Raffle is an exciting time of year for riders across the state of Missouri. This year, the event is raffling off a 2013 Harley Davidson Street Glide. To attend this event, you must purchase a ticket for $10. Once you have entered, you will have to wait until November 9th to attend the drawing – and hopefully be a big winner!

To kick off this event, there will be a party this weekend! There will be live music, food, drinks and much more. This year is extra special, too. It marks 10 years of the largest annual fundraising effort to support our troops and the USO of Missouri.

If you are interested in attending the kick-off party, check out the details below:

When: Saturday, April 20th, 10:00AM – 5:00PM

Where: Gateway Harley-Davidson, 3600 Lemay Ferry Rd., St Louis, MO, 63125

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling 314-845-9900 or online!

For more information on this event, check out the event page, here.

At ABS Insurance Agency, we ALWAYS want to support the local community and especially our troops. We are also always there to support riders in the state. We do so by providing motorcyclists with the right coverage. Learn more about our motorcycle insurance solutions, today!

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LOCAL EVENT: St. Louis Workplace Wellness Symposium

Calling all St. Louis residents! Tomorrow morning, the American Heart Association will be hosting its first ever St. Louis Workplace Wellness Symposium. This event will be designed for human resource and worksite wellness directors, in order to educate and help them explore how companies can foster and encourage healthy behavior in the workplace.

There will be a variety of topics discussed at this event. An expert panel will discuss:

  • Harnessing the Influence of Leadership and Management
  • The Impact of the Affordable Care Act
  • Finding Your Partner in Wellness

Below is a list of details for those interested in attending:

When: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Where: Ameren Missouri – 1901 Chouteau Ave, St. Louis, MO

Time: 7:30AM – 12PM

THIS IS A FREE EVENT! What is better than that? Just register tonight and enjoy a day of free and informative knowledge. For more information, do not hesitate to check out the official website, here.

At ABS Insurance Agency, we believe that health and safety in the workplace should always be a priority. By practicing safety and wellness, your employees will not only enjoy their work environment, but you may also be reducing the risk of an accident or injury. Fewer injuries and issues, the lower your business insurance and/or workers compensation premium will be in the long run.

To learn more about workplace safety, contact our agents!

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Monday Morning Recipe: Black Sesame-Pear Tea Cake

Are you in the mood for a refreshing and tasty treat? Spring is in the air – why not celebrate with a spring-inspired baked good? We have just the recipe for you. Have you ever had a Black Sesame-Pear Tea Cake? It may be time to try it out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (maybe more)
  • 1 1/2 cups AND 2 tbs of flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbs AND 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 1/3 cups AND 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ripe and firm Bosc pear (must be peeled, cored, and cut into cubes)

To make this cake, follow these instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  • Prepare a metal loaf pan by buttering it.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk 1 ½ cups flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and 2 tbs sesame seeds.
  • Grind the remaining sesame seeds (half cup) in spice mill to form a thick paste. This should take about 2 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat ½ cup butter and 1 1/3 cups sugar.
  • Add sesame paste and continue to beat mixture.
  • Add egg and egg yolk and continue to beat until fluffed.
  • Turn down the speed and beat the flour mixture into the mix in THREE additions – alternating with buttermilk in TWO additions.
  • Add the pear and remaining flour to the batter.
  • Add batter to pan and sprinkle with 2 tbs sugar.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. If your loaf pan is small, check after 45 minutes.
  • Cool and serve!

Whether this is just for you or your family and friends, all are sure to enjoy this pound cake – it is quite refreshing for the start of spring!

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