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February 2014
Do You Know Your Winter Olympics Trivia?
Olympic skier

Do You Know Your Winter Olympics Trivia?

See if you're a 'medal winner' – take our winter games quiz.

This month, the world’s attention is focused on the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. For 17 days, athletes from around the globe compete in a variety of winter sports to see who is the fastest, the most accurate, the most graceful and, in some cases, the most daring.

How well do you know your Winter Olympics trivia? Test your knowledge with this quiz. (Answers appear at the end.)

  1. In what year were the first Winter Olympics held? 
    1. 1920
    2. 1924
    3. 1912
    4. 1936
  2. Where were the first Winter Olympics held?
    1. Eau Claire, Wis.
    2. Chamonix, France
    3. Munich, Germany
    4. St. Moritz, Switzerland
  3. How many new sports are being introduced at the 2014 Winter Olympics?
    1. Three
    2. None
    3. Twelve
    4. Six
  4. Who is the all-time winningest individual medal winner in the Winter Olympics?
    1. Eric Heiden
    2. Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards
    3. Bjørn Daehlie
    4. Katarina Witt
  5. What country has won the most Winter Olympic medals?
    1. Norway
    2. United States
    3. Liechtenstein
    4. Canada
  6. True or false: The Olympic Torch has been in space.
  7. How far will the flame have been carried by torchbearers for the 2014 Winter Olympic games?
  8. How many times has the U.S. hosted the Winter Olympics?
    1. One
    2. Four
    3. Two
    4. Seven
  9. Which Winter Olympics first saw the Jamaican Bobsled team?
    1. Calgary in 1988
    2. Albertville in 1992
    3. Sarajevo in 1984
    4. Lillehammer in 1994
  10. Who won the first ever gold medal in the Winter Olympics?
    1. Philippe D’arbanville
    2. Charles Jewtraw
    3. Werner Heisenberg
    4. Sancho Panza
  11. What does “Miracle on Ice” refer to?
    1. The world’s best new martini recipe.
    2. A way of keeping ice frozen above 32 degrees.
    3. The U.S. Men’s Hockey victory over the Soviet Union in 1980.
    4. Cars that don’t slide in freezing rain.
  12. How many countries are represented in the 2014 Winter Olympics?
    1. 74
    2. 38
    3. 82
    4. 107
  13. What do the colors of the Olympic flag represent?
    1. Nothing in particular, they just look nice.
    2. They are the flag colors of the nation that held the first Olympics.
    3. They have at least one color of every nation’s flag.
    4. They are the corporate colors of the first company to sponsor an Olympic team.
  14. Sochi will also host the 2014 Winter Paralympics. When and where were the first Winter Paralympics held?
    1. Japan in 1972
    2. Sweden in 1976
    3. United States in 1980
    4. Norway in 1976
  15. Where will the next Olympics be held?
    1. Tokyo, Japan
    2. Berlin, Germany
    3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    4. Madrid, Spain

We hope you enjoyed this fun Olympic quiz. If you correctly answered 13 or more questions, consider yourself a gold medal winner!  If you correctly answered 10 to 12 of the questions, consider yourself a silver medalist. And, if you got between 7 and 9 answers correct, you’ve made a respectable bronze medal showing.

The athletes of the 2014 Winter Olympics represent the dreamer in all of us. They’ve set their sights on a goal and have done everything they can to pursue their dream of competition on a world stage. We applaud all of the athletes and wish them the very best.

Your dream is out there, too. Go get it. We’ll protect it.

Answers:

1) b. The first winter games were held in 1924.

2) b. The first winter games were held in Chamonix, France.

3) c. The 2014 Winter Olympics will introduce 12 new sports. (Biathlon mixed relay – Mixed; Figure skating team event – Mixed; Luge team relay – Mixed; Ski Halfpipe – Men’s; Ski Halfpipe – Women’s; Ski Slopestyle – Men’s; Ski Slopestyle – Women’s; Snowboard Slopestyle – Men’s; Snowboard Slopestyle – Women’s; Snowboard parallel slalom – Men’s; Snowboard parallel slalom – Women’s; Women’s ski jumping.)

4) c. Bjørn Daehlie of Norway won 12 individual medals in cross-country skiing between 1992-1998.

5) a. Norway holds top honors for most Winter Olympics medals, with a total of 303. The U.S. is second with 253, and the former Soviet Union holds third place, with 194 medals.

6) True. The Olympic torch went to the International Space Station on Nov. 7, 2013, along with new crew members. On Nov. 9, Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazan stepped out into space holding the Olympic Torch in space for more than an hour.

7) The Olympic flame arrived in Moscow from Athens on Oct. 6, 2013. Two days later, the relay began its route around Russia, a course than will have spanned 65,000 km. when it concludes on Feb. 7, 2014, at the "Fisht" Olympic Stadium in Sochi. The 2014 Winter Olympic Torch Relay will be the longest national relay by time and distance in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.

8) b. Four: Lake Placid (1932, 1980), Squaw Valley (1960) and Salt Lake City (2002).

9) a. 1988 in Calgary, Canada.

10) b. American Charles Jewtraw became the first Winter Games champion by winning the first event, 500 meter speed skating.

11) c. The 1980 U.S. Hockey Team win over the long-dominant and heavily favored Soviet Union became known as "The Miracle on Ice."

12) c. 82 countries are represented at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

13) c. The five colors of the Olympic rings and the white background reflect at least one color of every nation’s flag.

14) b. The Winter Paralympics were first held in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

15) c. The next Summer Olympics will be held in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The next Winter Olympics will be held in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.


Beware of Ice Dams
Ice hanging from a roof

Beware of Ice Dams

Protect your home from water damage this winter.

Icicles may give your home a quaint look in winter, but they’re symptomatic of a bigger problem – ice dams.

Ice dams can damage your home because they prevent melting snow and ice from draining properly. This melted snow can seep under your home's shingles, damaging your roof, attic, ceilings, insulation, walls and belongings.

What causes ice dams?

Ice dams form when attic air becomes warm enough to heat the underside of the roof, which in turn causes the snow on top of the roof to thaw. The melting snow runs down the roof until it hits an eave or roof edge that is below the freezing point. The melted snow refreezes and creates a ridge of ice – an ice dam – which blocks further runoff. As snow continues to melt, it has nowhere to go but up, where it starts seeping under the shingles and into the house.

Prevent ice dams in the first place

The best way to prevent ice dams is to keep the roof – and attic underneath – as cold as the outside air. Here are some steps you can take to keep ice dams from forming.

  • Use a roof rake to get the snow off your roof. By removing the snow, you remove the water needed to form an ice dam. Use caution not to damage shingles, which can become brittle in cold weather.
  • Have adequate insulation. Attic insulation should be at least 12 inches deep, installed without any gaps and in conjunction with a vapor barrier.
  • Check light fixtures, chimneys, bathroom fans and anywhere else heat might escape into your attic. Seal any openings with caulk, spray foam or weatherstripping.
  • If heat ducts run through your attic, make sure they’re well insulated to prevent heat leakage.
  • Insulate and seal all attic access doors.
  • Install peak or ridge vents in the attic to allow warm air to escape, and install soffit vents to allow cold air in.
  • If you’re installing a new roof, add a moisture barrier under the roof covering to help prevent water from seeping into your home.
  • Weather permitting, and if you can safely access your gutters and downspouts, remove leaves, sticks and any other debris. Keep them clear of snow and icicles throughout the winter.
  • Many sources advise against using salt or calcium chloride to melt snow on a roof, as these chemicals can damage gutters, downspouts and nearby grass and plants.

What should I do if I have an ice dam?

The best thing you can do is wait for warm weather to melt the ice dam, and take steps to keep it from getting worse – namely, removing snow from the roof with a roof rake and keeping downspouts clear. Going on the roof to chip away at it is not only dangerous, it can cause more damage to your roof. If you can't rake the snow off the roof and can’t wait for the ice dam to melt, hire a roofing company with the tools and expertise to safely remove an ice dam.

Check out these related resources:

How to Prevent Ice Dams

How to Avoid Ice Dams on Roofs

Avoiding Ice Dams (and Showers Indoors)

Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Is Your Home a 'Burn Zone?'
Man and women looking at a computer and calculartor

Is Your Home a 'Burn Zone?'

Follow these suggestions to prevent burns and scalding.

Home is where your dreams live.

But it also can be a potentially dangerous “burn zone.”

These easy-to-follow tips can help you avoid burns and scalds in your home.

Be stove smart

  • Don’t leave the stove or oven unattended when cooking.
  • Point pot handles inward. Place hot dishes where they can’t be knocked down.
  • Keep flammable items and loose-fitting garments away from burners.
  • Create a “kid safety zone” – keep little ones at least three feet from the stove and oven.
  • Use the back burners when young children are present.
  • Stir and test microwaved food before eating.
  • Replace old or worn oven mitts.

Prevent scalding

  • Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees or lower.
  • Open heated food containers slowly, away from your face.
  • Before taking a bath, run cold water first, then add hot, and test the water continuously to prevent it from getting too hot.
  • Supervise young children and anyone who may have difficulty removing themselves from hot water.

If you must smoke…

  • Don’t leave burning cigarettes, cigars or other smoking materials unattended.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep ashtrays away from flammable objects (curtains, newspapers, furniture, etc.).

Use smoke detectors

  • Install smoke alarms on all levels of your home (including basements and attics) and near all sleeping rooms.
  • Test all smoke alarms monthly.
  • If someone in your home is hearing impaired, install flashing smoke alarms.

Remember, if you or a loved one have been burned or scalded, seek treatment immediately, and call a physician if the injury is severe.

Get Organized Now for Tax Season
Person writing on a tax sheet

Get Organized Now for Tax Season

Prepare now, avoid headaches later!

Tax season can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some no-nonsense suggestions for organizing your documents now, so you won’t have headaches and heartburn at tax time.

Create a timeline: Make a general timeline for gathering documents, filling out your returns (or having your accountant complete them in a timely fashion), and submitting everything by the April 15 deadline. If you haven’t received all W-2, 1098 or 1099 forms by now, contact the appropriate companies.

Gather documents: Collect W-2s, 1098s, 1099s, receipts and documents that may fall under the following categories:

  • Income – Wages, salaries, tips and other earnings; interest income; dividends and other distributions; rental income; retirement plans, pensions and annuities; Social Security benefits; other income.
  • Gains and losses – Gains from selling or trading stocks, bonds or other investment property; gains from selling your home or property you personally use.
  • Adjustments to income – Contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts; alimony; student loan interest; other adjustments such as moving expenses, self-employment health insurance, etc.
  • Deductions and expenses – Medical and dental expenses; real estate, property and other taxes; mortgage interest; contributions and charitable donations; nonbusiness casualty and theft losses; car expenses and other employee business expenses; work-related education; child and dependent care.

Federal tax forms are available at IRS.gov.

Get educated: For details on the categories and items listed above, consult “Your Federal Income Tax,” a free guide published by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Don’t miss the “What’s New” section for important tax changes and updates. Also, IRS.gov offers an abundance of tips, tools and information to help you complete your returns.

Get help: If you get stumped or have questions, call the IRS Monday through Friday, or contact your local IRS office.

Refer to your state’s department of revenue website for details and tax forms for 2013.

Remember to plan ahead for next year by organizing your documents ahead of time, and keeping them all in one place. It could help streamline the process when you prepare taxes next year.


Check out these related resources:

Creating a Family Budget

The Dollars and Cents of a College Education

 

Beat the Winter Blues

Beat the Winter Blues

Don't let a seasonal slump stop you from enjoying winter.

It’s that time of year again when many people fall into a seasonal slump. Winter blues can be triggered by a variety of events including stressful holidays, reminders of absent loved ones, less sunlight and colder temperatures.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to pick yourself up to keep the blues at bay.

  • Get some exercise. Physical activity is great for getting in shape and relieving stress. Exercise also helps release endorphins, those "feel good chemicals" that improve your mood.
  • Eat healthy. Avoid refined and processed foods and try to incorporate more veggies, fruit and whole wheat breads. Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight cups of water per day.
  • Get outside. In winter, many people spend less time outdoors getting less sunlight. Reduced sunlight can cause you to feel down and not even realize why. Getting more sunlight helps boost your body’s Vitamin D supply and improve your mood.
  • Avoid excessive drinking. Alcohol is a depressant, and rather than improving your mood, it may make it worse.
  • Relax. Everyone needs some down time. Read a book, sleep in on the weekend, go to bed early, try some meditation or take a yoga class.
  • Embrace the season. Instead of avoiding it, take up a winter sport like ice skating, snowboarding or skiing. Having some fun in the winter will lift your spirits. (Be sure to stay safe!)

While there are many parts of our life we have control over, the change of seasons isn’t one of them. If you can learn to adapt to and enjoy winter, you can keep the seasonal, winter blues at bay.

Note: If you’re feeling more than just seasonal blues, or feelings seem stronger, more intense and last longer, you may have a more serious condition. Speak to your physician if you have additional concerns.  


Check out this related resource:

Find Your Inspiration