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Spring in Texas Means Storm Season

by Linnea Lavell

Springtime in Texas not only means beautiful sunny days and warm temperatures but it can also mean severe weather. We can get straight line winds, thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes, heavy rain, flash floods and parts of Texas can get hurricanes.  It is always a good idea to have a plan in place and be prepared for severe weather.  

Here are some things to keep in mind to so you are prepared for storm season in Texas.

  1. Have a battery operated storm radio or download an app that will alert you if storms are heading your way. Also make sure you have additional batteries. 
  2. Know where to go in your home if the weather turns bad.  You want to be on the lowest level of the structure with as many walls between you and the outside walls of the home. An interior closet or bathroom on the first floor with no windows is a good choice. A storm shelter is the best choice should your home have one.
  3. Make a plan with your family on where to meet or how to reach each other should you not all be in the same location when a storm hits.
  4. Have an emergency preparedness kit available.  This should include a first aid kit, a flashlight with fresh batteries, a battery powered radio, any medications you must take, bottled water, etc.
  5. Make sure to protector your head.  Cushions or pillows can provide protection for your head.
  6. Make sure you have the proper footwear on during a storm.  If you are home and are barefoot, you will want to put on shoes in case there is broken glass or debris you need to walk over.
  7. Make sure pets are secured and you have food/water for them as well. Your pets will be scared so put their leashes on them and keep them calm during a storm by talking to them.
  8. Stay away from windows and stay inside during a storm. It is very tempting to see what is going on outside but if debris is flying through the air, you don't want to take the risk of being hit by debris or broken glass.
  9. If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a safe location and find shelter.
  10. Watch for downed power lines that could still have an electrical current running through them. Do not touch any downed lines. 

If you do experience damage to your home make sure you contact a reputable repair company to do the work on your home.  Many cities are having contractors register with them.  The town of Little Elm is offering this to residence who have been impacted by storms this past week. To view the information, click here.

Finally remember, things can be replaced but lives cannot.  Stay safe this storm season and keep an eye on the sky.

Health Benefits and Uses for Pumpkin

by Linnea Lavell

As Halloween and Thanksgiving approach many of us are using pumpkins for decorations or in making pies but do you know the nutritional facts on this beautiful orange plant?

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one cup of pumpkin (cooked, boiled, drained and without salt) contains:

  • 49 calories
  • 1.76 grams of protein
  • 0.17 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates (including 2.7 grams of fiber and 5.1 grams of sugar)

Consuming one cup of canned pumpkin would provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 20% of the daily value of vitamin C, 10% or more vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, manganese and at least 5% for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothentic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. 

Preparing and using fresh pumpkin provides the most nutritional value but canned pumpkin is a good choice too.  Just make sure if you use canned pumpkin that it does not contain any added sugars, syrups or salt.

There are many ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet. Look for sweet pumpkins or pie pumpkins for cooking which are smaller and sweeter.  Make your own pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin. Here are a few ideas on adding pumpkin to your diet.

 

  1. Use pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin when baking in place of oil or butter.
  2. Make a quick pumpkin chocolate yogurt by combining Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, honey and cocoa powder.
  3. Add pumpkin butter to toast, cookies, crackers, oatmeal or anything else.
  4. Pumpkin dip for apples, veggies, pretzels.
  5. Use pumpkin puree in your morning smoothie.
  6. Pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin can also help our pets. It can calm an upset stomach, keep that pudgy pooch feeling full so they don't eat as much and hopefully loose a couple of pounds, helps promote support for their immune system, keeps skin and fur healthy and helps to prevent cancer. 

This fall try something new and add some pumpkin to your diet, it's easy to do and you may realize some great health benefits. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clear the Shelters

by Linnea Lavell

If you are considering adopting a pet, mark July 23 on your calendar for this years Clear the Shelters adoption event .  This event brings cities, counties and nonprofit organizations together to form a unified campaign to get pets in local shelters adopted into loving homes.  Adoption fees will be waived.* However other shelter fees may still apply.  

Thousands of animals in our area need to find forever homes.  The pets available range from cute kittens and puppies to snuggly adult dogs and cats. 

In 2015, nearly 20,000 pets found forever homes nationwide and in the State of Texas this year there are more than 60 shelters participating.  Finding homes for these adorable pets during the summer months is more critical as the population in shelters swells due to abandoned and surrendered pets after the spring births. 

The ultimate goal of this event is to help as many pets as possible find a perfect match.  Sharing your home with a four legged friend can be one of life's greatest joys.  It is also a great responsibility so do your homework before adopting a pet.  Research temperaments of breeds, activity levels, expense of care, time commitment required and so forth.  A younger pet is going to require more energy and training so maybe a more mature pet will be a perfect match for you.  Ask questions about the pets past situation.  While some shelters may not have information on the pets previous situation, some may have the information and will share it with you.  Some pets may have special needs so if you are able to take care of those needs, look into adopting those pets.

Pets are great companions and can even reduce your stress levels.   They give you someone to talk to, laugh at or snuggle up with on a stormy night.  I have adopted several shelter pets throughout the years and they are fabulous. My current fur baby, Boomer, even tries talking to me on occasion (usually when I am on the phone and he wants my attention).

The Clear the Shelters event is July 23, 2016 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Click here for a list of participating shelters in North Texas.

For tips on keeping your pet cool in the summer and safe in the winter, visit my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Other fees and shelter times may vary.

Protect Your Pets During Winter

by Linnea Lavell

Winter in Texas, one day it is 54 the next it is 70.  We are having some unusual temperature fluctuations this year due to El Nino but we still have a few months that could get really cold.  With the cold comes the reminder to make sure your pets are warm, dry and safe when it gets cold outside. 

When the temperatures fall to the freezing mark, it is best to leave your pets inside if at all possible.  Keep in mind the happiest dogs will need to go out for exercise, walks and bathroom breaks frequently. Short haired pets may need the extra protection of a sweater or jacket to help keep them warm while they are on a walk.  Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite or hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage. 

If for some reason your dog is outdoors most of the day, plan accordingly.  Make sure there is a dry, draft-free shelter available for them that is large enough for them to stand up, sit and lie comfortably in but small enough to hold his/her body heat.  The floor should be raised a few inches and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The door should be covered with a waterproof material to keep the wind and snow out. 

Pets that are outdoors will need additional food because keeping warm depletes energy.  Routinely check the water bowl to make sure it is unfrozen and has fresh water.  The food and water bowls should be make out of plastic. In freezing temperatures, a metal bowl could cause your pet's tongue to freeze to it. 

Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can cause irritation to your pets paws and their mouths when they lick so make sure to wipe off your pets paws with a damp towel.

Antifreeze is deadly poison but has a sweet taste that attracts animals and children. Wipe up any spills and keep antifreeze out of reach.  Read more about pets and antifreeze.

Be careful with pets, wildlife and cars. A warm engine can provide shelter and warmth for cats and wild animals.  Bang on the hood of your car or honk your horn to scare any animals that may have taken shelter in the engine compartment of your car. 

If you see a pet in an unsafe situation, politely let the owner know that you are concerned.  If they don't respond well document as much information as you can including a description of the animal and circumstances, date, time, location.  Take pictures of the situation too.  Then contact your local animal control or sheriff's office and present them with your evidence. Take detailed notes of who you have spoken with and if the situation is not remedied in a day or two follow up with them again.


As the temperature in North Texas continue to climb don't forget about our four-legged friends.  The summer heat can be uncomfortable and dangerous to both humans and pets.  

It is important not to leave your pets in a hot car, even with the air conditioner running, during hot temperatures. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows open slightly can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes.  After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.

Watch for humidity too.  Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If humidity levels are too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their body temperature will skyrocket dangerous levels - very quickly. Taking a dog's temperature will quickly tell you if it is a serious problem. A dog's temperature should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.  If your dog's temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke

Take care to limit exercise on hot days.  Adjust intensity and duration of exercise on hot days in accordance with the temperature.  Snub-nosed pets are more susceptible to temperatures that could cause breathing issues.  White colored pets or pets with white ears are more susceptible to skin cancer.  Don't forget that asphalt gets very hot and can burn the pads on their feet so walk your dog on the grass if at all possible.  Always carry water to keep your pet from getting dehydrated. 

Pets react differently to heat than humans do and so don't count on a fan to cool your pet down. They may not be as effective as you expect.

Any time you take your pet outside, make sure to protect them from heat and sun.  Provide plenty of fresh, clean, cold water. Add ice to the water if necessary to keep your pet cool inside as well as outside. Shade from trees or tarps provide good air flow so they are good ways to stay cool.  Dog houses may not be a good choice in the heat and may make things worse since they do not provide air flow or relief from the heat.

It is important to keep your pets cool on the inside as well as the outside so whip up a batch of peanut butter popsicles (you can use peanut butter or another favorite food flavor).   Again fresh, clean, cold water is always important to have available for your pets when the heat starts to rise. 

If baths don't stress out your pet, see if they would enjoy a cool bath or a small pool to help keep them cool.  You can always wrap a cool wet towel around them to help cool them off. 

In the case of a summer power outage, make sure you have an emergency plan in place for your pets as well as the rest of your family. 

Please be a responsible pet owner and get your pet spade or neutered. Finally make sure they have identification tag on your pet or they are micro chipped in case they get out of your yard. 

Enjoy your summer with the entire family and stay cool.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

Contact Information

Photo of Linnea Lavell Real Estate
Linnea Lavell
Lavell Realty, LLC
P.O. Box 1243
Little Elm TX 75068
214-280-5900
214-810-5906
Fax: 877-488-1740