Archive for March, 2011

Commit a Minute: 100 Things to Make Your Home Safer

Posted on March 11, 2011. Filed under: -- What MOLLY's Up To, . More Resources For YOU!, Around the House, Tips | Tags: , , |

I was looking online for additional safety tips and came across an article on where they list 100 things we can all do to make our homes more safe. Below are their suggestions. I’m going to print this list and try to knock out ALL of these tips this weekend.  Afterwards, I’m going to dance around my place doing the Safety Dance, probably a few times actually.

  1. Test each smoke alarm in your home
  2. Replace the batteries in each smoke alarm
  3. Count how many smoke alarms you have in your house. If you do not have one on every level and near sleeping areas, purchase additional smoke alarms
  4. Designate an outside meeting place for your family (for example: the mailbox) in case of a fire or emergency
  5. Blow out candles before leaving the room or going to sleep
  6. Use a sturdy candle holder or hurricane lamp
  7. Turn down your hot water heater to 120 degrees or less to prevent burns
  8. Roll up your sleeves before you start cooking
  9. Have oven mitts nearby when cooking
  10. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove
  11. Store all matches and lighters out of reach of children
  12. Put hot food and drinks near the center of the table only
  13. Put down your hot drink when carrying your baby
  14. Test hot water with an elbow before allowing a child to touch
  15. Post your fire escape plan on your refrigerator
  16. Put water on cigarette butts before throwing them away
  17. Unplug small appliances such as hair dryers and toasters after using them
  18. Use flameless candles
  19. Move anything that can burn, such as dish towels, at least three feet away from the stove
  20. Practice “Stop, Drop and Roll” with your kids
  21. Schedule an appointment to have your furnace cleaned and inspected
  22. Look for the UL Mark when you buy appliances
  23. Tell kids to stay away from the stove/oven
  24. Turn space heaters off before going to bed
  25. Remove any gasoline from your home
  26. Put non-slip strips in your tub and shower
  27. Install night lights in the hallway
  28. Put a flashlight in each bedroom
  29. Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to prevent slips and falls
  30. Use a sturdy Christmas tree stand
  31. Water your Christmas tree every day
  32. Keep your Christmas tree at least three feet away from any heat source
  33. Inspect your Christmas lights for signs of damage
  34. Flip over large buckets so water cannot accumulate and become a drowning danger
  35. Store cleaners and other poisons away from food
  36. Post the Poison Control hotline number (1-800-222-1222) next to your phone
  37. If you have young children, use cabinet locks on cabinets that have poisons such as antifreeze, cleaners, detergents, etc.
  38. Keep medicine in its original containers
  39. Purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home
  40. Test your carbon monoxide (CO) alarm
  41. Put your infant to sleep on his/her back
  42. Remove any soft bedding, stuffed animals and pillows from your infant’s crib
  43. Cut your toddler’s food into small bites
  44. Use safety straps on high chairs and changing tables
  45. Check to see if any items in your home (including cribs) have been recalled
  46. Move cribs away from windows
  47. Use safety covers on unused electrical outlets
  48. Test small toys for choking hazards – if it fits in a toilet paper roll, it’s too small
  49. Remove all plastic bags from the nursery
  50. Pick up any small items, such as coins or buttons, that can be choking hazards for infants and toddlers
  51. Write down emergency contact information for your family and make sure everyone has these numbers
  52. If young children live in or visit your home, move furniture away from windows so they don’t climb up to look out and accidentally fall
  53. Tie window cords out of a child’s reach
  54. Check your child’s bath water temperature (use your wrist or elbow) to make sure it is not too hot
  55. Remove drawstrings from your baby’s clothing
  56. Keep the toilet lid shut to prevent little fingers from getting slammed by a falling lid
  57. If you have toddlers, install a toilet seat lock
  58. If you have young children, install door knob covers on bathroom doors
  59. Use a fireplace screen
  60. Put toys away after playing
  61. Don’t refer to medicine or vitamins as “candy”
  62. Put on safety glasses before any DIY project
  63. Put tools away after your DIY project is complete
  64. Post emergency numbers near your phone
  65. Pick up one new thing for your family’s emergency preparedness kit
  66. Use a ladder, not a chair, when climbing to reach something
  67. Use plastic instead of glass near the pool
  68. Cover any spa or hot tub when it is not in use
  69. Purchase a first aid kit
  70. Drain the bath tub immediately after bathing
  71. Remove clutter from the stairs
  72. Use the handrail when you are walking up or down the stairs
  73. If the power goes out, use flashlights instead of candles
  74. Ask smokers to smoke outside
  75. Wear proper shoes when climbing a ladder
  76. Check your home for too many plugs in one socket and fix the problem
  77. Install baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs if you have young children
  78. Never leave food cooking unattended
  79. Make sure pools or spas are properly fenced to keep out small children
  80. Teach kids to tell you when they see matches or lighters
  81. Turn out the lights when you leave the room
  82. Unplug appliances that aren’t in use (especially in the kitchen)
  83. Take your hair dryer off of the bathroom counter and store it safely
  84. Check your electronics for the UL Mark
  85. Identify two exits from every room with your kids in case of fire
  86. Check your holiday decorations – keep breakable decorations out of reach of young children
  87. Replace an old light bulb with a new energy-efficient option
  88. Check the walls for loose paint chips and re-paint with low-VOC or VOC-free paint
  89. Check all the outlets in your home for overloaded sockets or extension cords
  90. Remove any extension cords that are pulled under rugs or tacked up
  91. Place fire extinguishers in key areas of your home
  92. Place an escape ladder in an upstairs room that might not have an easy exit
  93. Remove any painted furniture that is pre-1978 to avoid possible lead exposure
  94. Lock medications safely in a cabinet
  95. Consider low-flow toilets
  96. Check that all major appliances are grounded and test your GFCIs
  97. Clean the lint trap and hose on your dryer
  98. Check your swing set for sharp edges or dangerous S-hooks
  99. Take a tour of your home from your child’s perspective looking for hazards
  100. Hold a family fire drill

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Healthiest Employers In Central Texas Award Results– Dell Takes The #1 Spot

Posted on March 10, 2011. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- Uncategorized, health, Texas | Tags: , , , , , |

The Austin Business Journal recently gave out their Healthiest Employer awards for 2011, and below are the results.

1. Dell Inc.

Dell has about 15,000 local employees and ranks #1 for the healthiest large employer in Central Texas. They do things a little differently than most. For example, they have a hotline staffed by a nurse for employees to call regarding health problems for themselves or family members (I actually used to work for Dell and have used this hotline before and loved it). They also have a health plan that enables employees to lower their premiums if they record more than 150 minutes of exercise a week and have lower body fat ratios and healthy blood pressure readings. Dell even partnered with WebMD to establish an online portal for employees to get medical advise, guage their health and even track health insurance accounts. The list goes on and on with what they offer their employees.

2. Tokyo Electron

3. National Instruments Corp.

4. Travis County

5. Seton Family of Hospitals

6. The Scooter Store

7. Applied Materials Inc.

8. City of Austin

9. Atmos Energy Corp

10. Lower Colorado River Authority

11. Edward Jones

12. Life Technologies Corp.

13. Maximus Inc.

Results for MEDIUM Companies in Central Texas

1. Frost Insurance

At Frost Insurance, employees monitor pedometers clipped to their belts or shoes EVERY DAY! The tiny devices track the number of steps taken, miles traveled and even calories burned. They then upload this information to a website that tracks their achievments and tells them how close they are to reaching incentives such as cash and gift cards, and shows them where they rank with “office bragging rights.”

The program is so popular at work that 3 of 4 participating employees goes to their website more than 100 times per year. The pedometer program is just a driver to get people to the customized wellness website for health improvement, and it seems to be working.

2. CP&Y Inc.

3. Southwest Key Programs 

4. Texas Mutual Insurance Co.

5. Higginbotham & Associates Inc.

6. Captial Metropolitan Transportation Authority


8. Lifeworks

9. Green Mountain Energy Co.

10. Field Asset Services

11. Strasburger & Price LLP

12. Texas Medical Liability Trust

13. University of Texas at Austin–Division of Housing and Food Service

14. TG

15. The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas

Results for SMALL Companies in Central Texas

1. The Karis Group

2. St. David’s Foundation

3. RFG Inc.

4. Ballet Austin Inc.

5. American Inovations

6. Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing

7. Livestrong

8. Hotschedules Inc.

9. Charity Dynamics

10. Castle Hill Fitness

11. Maxwell Locke & Ritter LLP

12. Century Management

Congratulations to the Healthiest Employers and their employees!! Keep up the great work.

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Texas Tax Burden Among the Nation’s Lowest

Posted on March 9, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, Texas | Tags: , |

According to the Austin Business Journal, Texas ranks45th out of our 50 great states for the weight of total state and local tax burden, according to a report generated by The Tax Foundation who is based out of Washington DC.

The report says that tax burdens in fiscal year 2009 fell from the previous years, and said New Jersey residents paid the highest combination of income, sales, property and other taxes at a whopping 12.1 percent.

Texans paid only 7.1 percent over the same period.

New York (12.1 percent) and Connecticut (12 percent) were close to New Jersey with their tax burdens, while Alaska (6.3 percent), Nevada (7.5) and South Dakota (7.6) had the lowest, according to the report.

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Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in America, According to

Posted on March 1, 2011. Filed under: -- Top 10..., -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

 (YOU CAN CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE) releases the Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in America each year, and below I have the results for 2010. According to, after compiling sales data of romance novels and relationship books (Kindle Books and print books), romantic comedy movies (digital movies and DVDs), Barry White albums (CDs and MP3s), along with sexual wellness products, since Jan. 1, 2011, on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents, the Top 20 most romantic cities in the U.S. are:

1. Alexandria, Va. 

2. Knoxville, Tenn.

3. Orlando, Fla.

4. Miami

5. Ann Arbor, Mich.

6. Columbia, S.C.

7. Cincinnati 

8. Murfreesboro, Tenn.

9. Gainesville, Fla.

10. Tallahassee, Fla.

11. Vancouver, Wash.

12. Round Rock, Texas

13. Pittsburgh, PA

14. Salt Lake City 

15. Arlington, Va.

16. Las Vegas

17. Clarksville, Tenn.

18. St. Louis

19. Dayton, Ohio

20. Frisco, Texas 

In taking a closer look at’s “romantic” data, the company also unveiled that:

  • Alexandria, Va., knows how to keep the romance alive as America’s most romantic city (second year in a row!)
  • Needing to turn up the heat are El Monte, Calif.; Paterson, N.J.; and Miami Gardens, Fla., as the least romantic cities, coming in with the fewest number of overall purchases in the determining categories.
  • Florida is for romantics, with four cities–Miami, Gainesville, Orlando, and Tallahassee–ranked among the Top 20 most romantic cities.
  • For the second year in a row, Miami is the Sexiest City in America, winning the top spot in the sexual wellness category.
  • Of the Top 20, Knoxville, Tenn., is the most improved, jumping up 14 spots from last year to clock in as the second most romantic city.
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