How to Throw a Mardi Gras Party

How to Throw a Mardi Gras Party

There’s nothing as good at getting rid of the winter blues as a great, colorful party. Mardi Gras has been celebrated all around the world for many years, and it makes for a fun, thematic get together. Here’s how to throw the perfect Mardi Gras party this year.

 

Decorations

As with any great party, you’ll need to set the mood. Decorate using the Mardi Gras colors: purple, green, and gold. Hang streamers, blow up balloons, and be sure you have plenty of traditional beads. Encourage guests to dress up in masquerade wear to add to the ambiance.

 

Activities

Before your guests arrive, set up a playlist full of New Orleans jazz, zydeco and other music from the Big Easy. Clear a space where guests can dance and mingle. Create a craft station and invite guests to decorate their own masquerade masks with feathers, paint, glitter, and ribbon.

 

Food

Mardi Gras is all about one last indulgence before Lent, so the food is an important part! Turn New Orleans classics like Muffuletta sandwiches into bite size snacks. Serve Cajun classics like red beans and rice, fried catfish, or jambalaya. And don’t forget to bake a big, colorful King Cake with a prize inside. Traditionally, whoever eats the piece with the prize becomes King for the day!

 

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Five Winter Accessories for Your Car

2016 Lincoln MKX - Beckley, WV

Is your vehicle winter-ready?

Here in West Virginia, winter weather can be harsh and we likely still have the worst ahead of us. If you have to drive through difficult winter conditions, here are five winter accessories for your car that will make the drive a little easier.

  1. Remote Starter. If your car isn’t already equipped with one, you can get one added. A remote starter is particularly useful on days when there is heavy snow and ice. Start warming up your car early and it will make scraping it off so much easier.
  2. Seat warmer. Many luxury models include this feature as standard, but if your car doesn’t, add an aftermarket warmer to keep you toasty during long winter drives.
  3. Snow tires. Snow tires are specifically designed to cut through snow. They are made with a unique rubber compound that stay pliable even under frigid conditions.
  4. All season floor mats. Get a set of heavy-duty rubber floor mats to save your car’s carpeting from the salt, dirt, and grime that gets dragged in during the winter.
  5. Emergency kit. You never know when the weather will get the best of you. Keep an emergency kit with winter necessities in your car.

If you want to get your car ready for winter, we offer many of these accessories right here at Mountaineer Lincoln.

What to Do if You Hit an Animal while Driving

If you’re unfortunate enough to hit an animal while driving, there are some things you should do, both in terms of your own safety and the law.

Immediately after the collision, pull over to the side of the road and put your emergency lights on, and if you have flares put them out so other drivers have forewarning.

If you hit an animal, it’s important to call the police and report the accident. Many states require you to do so and enforce penalties for drivers who leave the scene of an animal collision.

This is good not only so that the animal can get some kind of medical attention or be removed from the scene but also so that you have a report of the incident to tell your insurance company about if your vehicle needs repairs.

After you’ve called the authorities, take photos of the scene to document for the police report and your insurance company. If the animal seems to still be alive, keep an eye on it and keep some distance from it—it’s probably scared and may attack if you get too close.

Do your best to avoid hitting animals by staying off the road when it’s dark, going the speed limit, and avoiding driving distractions.

hit an animal

Fun Thanksgiving Treats that Aren’t Pie

If you want to mix it up at Thanksgiving this year, we’ve found some fun dessert ideas that will set your treat apart from the smorgasbord of pies. Plus, they’re super fun for the kids to help out with!

Check out Delish.com’s article on Turkey Treats for a 14 cute and simple recipes. Using chocolate peanut butter cups for the faces and candy corns for feathers, you can make adorable turkey Rice Krispie treats, or turn no-bake cookies into turkeys with pretzel sticks. If you want to get really artsy, make some cutout cookies and decorate them—the ones featured here are seriously impressive.

Delish.com also has an article on mini-desserts for Thanksgiving so you can put away as many different kinds of sweet things as you possibly can before the day is done. Mini sweet potato soufflés, pumpkin cheesecake fries, pumpkin spice fudge, and fried apple rings are just a few of the recipes on this list, and they all look absolutely amazing.

You should also look through the New York Times Cooking section for non-pie Thanksgiving desserts, which features pecan pie truffles, pumpkin panna cotta, pumpkin gelato, and apple crumb crostata. I think we’re developing a pattern here. Is it really a Thanksgiving dessert if there’s no apple or pumpkin?

These recipes are perfect for the pie-exhausted baker, so click those links and get inspired!

Thanksgiving treats

Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips

Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips

This year’s holiday season will be kicking off in just a few weeks with ghosts and ghouls wandering the streets in search of goodies. Halloween is right around the corner which means it’s time to get costumes, routes, and candy in order. Having a safe night is more important than a bag full of candy. Here at Mountaineer Lincoln, we have a few trick-or-treat safety tips to make every parent’s life easier this Halloween!

  • Driving – Check your area’s local trick-or-treat hours and avoid driving if possible. If not, minimize distractions by turning off the radio, putting the smartphone away, and keep your lights on at all times. Doing so could prevent an accidental collision with a child.
  • Costumes – Make sure your child’s costume fits well enough that they aren’t going to trip, overheat, or be too cold on trick-or-treat night. Attach a glow stick to their costume to ensure you can spot them from a distance among a crowd of children. The last thing any parent wants is an injured or missing child, after all.
  • Routes – An adult should accompany children under the age of 12 while those over the age of 13 should stick to familiar, well-lit areas. Parents and supervisors should plan their route ahead of time to avoid any lost children and maximize candy collection.

How to Refill Tires

The weather is going to take a turn for the colder soon, and that can mean a big decrease in your tire pressure. Cold makes the air in tires shrink, so it’s important throughout fall and winter to consistently check the pressure and add air when necessary. Just follow this easy guide on how to refill tires.

Buy a pressure gauge if you don’t already have them—they can run pretty cheap, so you don’t have to worry about cost. Check your pressure every couple of weeks and check your owner’s manual for the right psi for your car’s tires.

If your pressure is low, adding air is a simple process. Whether you have an air hose at home or need to run to the gas station, it won’t take more than a few minutes. If you have to go to the gas station, bring quarters to pay for the air. Make sure you bring enough to fill up all the tires you need to do.

You fill tires the same way you check the pressure—take the cap off the valve stem and press the tip of the hose into it. If you can hear air leaking out, you haven’t connected the hose to the valve stem correctly. Remove the hose periodically to check the pressure. If it gets too high at any point, just let a little out. Repeat with all the tires that are low on air, and you’re done!

Don’t forget to schedule your service appointment with us for any other service needs!

refill tire

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Three Dangerous Driving Habits

Some driving habits are completely benign, if not socially unacceptable, like rocking out to “Who Let The Dogs Out” on repeat with your windows down. Other driving habits are just plain dangerous

# 1 – Drowsy driving. The real problem with drowsy driving is that pretty socially acceptable. Everybody seems to do it. But they probably wouldn’t if they knew the statistics. Drowsy driving contributes to 100,000 crashes a year.

# 2 – Speeding. There is certainly an acceptable margin of speeding. If there weren’t, then police officers would pull you over for going 1 mph over the speed limit and that’s nearly unheard of. However, speeding excessively lowers your reaction time. It also means you are no longer driving with the flow of traffic, which makes you unpredictable. The result is higher risk of accidents.

# 3 – Failing to yield the right-of-way. This is a common cause of accidents and a dramatic cause of accidents among folks 70 years old and older. If you are unsure about who must yield in certain traffic situations, follow the signage. In the absence of signs, study these rules.

Maybe your questionable taste in music can’t be helped. But your dangerous driving habits can.

Three Dangerous Driving Habits

Why You Need Car Insurance

Getting behind the wheel is simple, but driving without insurance can be an unnecessary risk. Not only could you be injured but you could lose everything in a severe accident. Around one-eighth of drivers hit the road without insurance, and that is not good statistic to read. Take it from us here at Mountaineer Lincoln. We have a few good reasons why you need car insurance before you get behind the wheel!

  • Cost. The most obvious reason you need car insurance is the sheer cost of an accident. In 2013, the average accident amounted to $9,300 in property damage alone. Once you include accidents with disabling injuries, the amount soared to nearly $81,000. That’s an amount that could easily bankrupt those without insurance.
  • Time and Peace of Mind. If you are in accident, your insurance carrier will walk you through repairing your car and taking care of the cost. When you’re on the road, whether you’re heading to work or on vacation, having insurance provides peace of mind. You don’t need to worry about the monetary cost of an accident whatsoever.
  • Legally Required. Many states require drivers to have a certain amount of coverage. Failing to meet that requirement could result in vehicle impoundment, license suspension, and fines. Having insurance can save you from a painful headache.

Why You Need Car Insurance

Basic Pumpkin Carving Tips to Consider Before You Begin

Pumpkin Carving Tips

Carving the perfect pumpkin isn’t easy, and believe it or not, the tricks begin all the way back at the beginning: the pumpkin patch. Be sure that the pumpkins you are choosing from are fresh, with no visible bruises.

 

It’s also best to purchase a pumpkin with a flat bottom, which will make it easier to keep the pumpkin standing up. And if you plan to use the stem as a handle, keep a sharp eye out for sturdy-looking stems.

 

Once you’ve made your choice be sure that you scoop out as much pulp as you possibly can. This will make a huge difference in the longevity of your carved pumpkin’s lifespan and will help it to dry out more quickly.

 

Lastly, be safe with your cutting utensils. It may seem like a good idea to purchase cheap cutting tools—believing that you may not use them outside of pumpkin carving—but these are more likely to be insufficient and cause injury.

 

And of course, never allow children to carve pumpkins while unsupervised.

 

Do you have any other pumpkin carving tips? Let us know your ideas in the comments, and be safe as you celebrate Halloween in Beckley this year!

Staying Safe: Distraction-Free Driving Tips

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers are distracted for nearly 30% of the time they are driving, which is one of the major causes of accidents around the world. Eating, smoking, texting, and simply talking are just some of the ways we get distracted behind the wheel. That’s why we’ve put together a list on distraction-free driving tips.

The DMV distinguishes between many types of distractions: cognitive, visual, auditory, and biomechanical distractions. Cognitive distractions are those that keep you from paying attention. Ever forget you’re on the road for a second? That’s cognitive. Try pulling over to stretch your legs, taking breaths, and talking yourself back into focus.

Visual distractions take your eyes off the road. These should be avoided whenever possible, and includes things like changing the radio, texting, putting in a CD, or digging through the glove box. Never take your eyes off the road – try setting the music before your trip, and pull over if absolutely necessary.

Auditory distractions keep your attention away from the road as well, and include things like wireless phones, on-board DVD players, and even Sat-Nav systems. You should always turn the volume down as much as possible, but not using them at all is best.

Finally, biomechanical distractions refer to distractions caused by mechanisms in your car. Ever play with your mirrors, seat, or knobs? Try to adjust everything before you take off, not while you’re in the car.

distraction-free driving tips