Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More scams reported

As many of you are aware, the Green Dot prepaid debit card scam has grown, and We Energies utility customers continue to be targeted. Now, other scams are being reported too.

Under the Green Dot scam, customers receive phone calls from scammers posing as We Energies utility employees and are told their service will be disconnected unless they make an immediate payment. They are told to purchase a Green Dot or other type of prepaid debit card, load the card with money, and then provide the card number over the phone.

If you receive a call like this, hang up and contact We Energies at 800-242-9137 or your local police department.

Now, another type of scam is targeting customers. Scammers have been impersonating We Energies employees in the field and approaching customers at their homes. Again, using the threat of disconnection, the scammers are demanding immediate payments and are using scanning devices to swipe customers’ debit or credit cards. We Energies does NOT collect payments of any kind in the field.

These scammers also are using fake We Energies identification cards, making the scammers appear legitimate. To remain safe and avoid falling victim, call us to verify if an employee is at your property. You can confirm an employee’s identity by calling 800-242-9137. When in doubt, do not let a stranger into your home.

WISN-TV story

Scammers also have been targeting business customers.

FOX6-TV story

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cool efficiently to save money

Your greatest energy use comes from cooling and heating. During periods of extreme heat, air conditioning can add two or three dollars to your energy costs each day.

To help control central air conditioning costs, adjust your thermostat to a slightly higher setting, dress in cool clothes, use fans and avoid heat-producing activities such as cooking, drying and ironing until evenings. Also, increase the thermostat setting much higher (around 80 degrees) when you are away and then lower it when you are home (around 75 degrees).

Refrigeration uses less energy than air conditioning, but it likely comprises about 6 percent of your energy use. Because refrigerators and freezers produce heat, using them efficiently can save money and take some load off your cooling equipment as well.

Some ways to save on refrigeration:
  • Make sure your refrigerator is set to correct temperature  45 degrees is good for fridge and 0 degrees for freezer.
  • Make sure the seal is good. Keep it clean and replace it if damaged so cold air cannot escape. 
  • Keep vents and coils free of dust to improve efficiency and run less frequently. 
  • Keep refrigerator a couple of inches away from the wall to allow escape of hot air it creates. 
  • Let food cool before putting it into the refrigerator. 
  • Defrost frozen food in fridge rather than wasting water or using a microwave. The frozen food also helps keep the refrigerator cool. A slow defrost also is better for the food. 
  • Keep the doors closed as much as possible. Decide what you want before you open the door, get what you need and get out. Leaving the door opens wastes energy and costs money. 
  • If your freezer requires defrosting, do it when the ice gets ¼-inch thick to avoid wasting energy. 
  • Keep the freezer full. An empty freezer loses much cold air each time it’s opened. If you never have much in there, consider putting empty containers in there to take up the space. 
  • Consider replacing old units with newer Energy Star units, which are more efficient. Replacing refrigerators from the 1970s and 1980s can save $100 to $200 a year. The Energy Star calculator can help you estimate potential savings.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Scammers citing Fox Valley tornados when targeting customers

Customers in the Fox Valley are urged to be on alert for scammers claiming to be We Energies workers.

The scammers are calling customers, mentioning the recent tornados that touched down in the Fox Valley during the call. The callers claim that -- although customers’ power may have been out during the storm -- they still have an overdue bill and are at risk of disconnection. In some cases, the scammers are giving the customers the option of paying the bill in person at a We Energies facility. 

The scammers appear to be trying to legitimize their calls by mentioning both the storms and We Energies facilities. The callers continue pressuring customers to make a payment over the phone with a pre-paid debit card, or “Green Dot” card. This is a scam. We Energies does not solicit payment from customers in this manner. 

These scammers have been targeting customers across our service territory for several months. When the scam was first reported, Spanish-speaking customers were being targeted. Since then, the scammers have branched out. Customers of many different ethnicities have reported the scam. Small business customers also are being targeted. 

Utilities across the country also have had customers victimized by these scammers. From Colorado to California to New York, the scammers have targeted utility customers in many areas. Authorities believe they may be operating from an off-shore location, making them hard to track down. 

If you get a call that sounds suspicious, trust your gut and hang up. Call our Customer Care Center to see if the call really originated from We Energies. By calling 800-242-9137, you can verify if the call received was a scam, check on the status of your account, and verify your payment history.

Related links: Previous scam warnings on our blog and website

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Last Day of Summer & Apple Streusel Bars


I can't believe the summer has come to an end for us!  It has been unusually cool for Oklahoma, and we  just had to spend our last day of summer outside this morning!


Love my happy and carefree girls.  


Although there can be a LOT of fighting, pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth in our house...these girls truly do love and care for one another!  It's such a beautiful thing to watch them grow up together.  

I also have to share this recipe.  I have been craving apple pie, apple crisp and apple oatmeal lately.  These are wonderful.  They have a wonderful, flaky, pastry-like crust and a nice crumble topping.  I did make a few changes to the recipe which I will post in italics!  I hope y'all have a wonderful rest of your summer!

Apple Streusel Bars

Sweet Pastry:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten

Apple Filling:
1/2 cup sugar (i used 1/4)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon (i used 2 teaspoons)
4 cups sliced, peeled apples (i used gala and fuji)

Glaze: (i cut the glaze recipe in half)
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract (i used vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish (i used a 9x9 to have thicker bars...just increased baking time by about 10 minutes).

For the crust mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until you have pea-sized crumbles.  Stir in the beaten egg.  Gently press about 2/3 of the mixture onto the bottom of the dish.

To prepare the filling toss the apples with the sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Spread over the crust.

Sprinkle the remaining pastry mixture over the apples and bake for 40 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.

Allow to cool completely and prepare the glaze.  Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and extract until blended.  Drizzle over the bars and allow the glaze to set.

ENJOY!!!





Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Baby Bump Update - 100 Days Left!


I can't believe we will meet our little guy in just 100 days (countdown set to my scheduled c-section)!  I was shocked when I looked at my countdown app a couple nights ago!  This little guy keeps me up at night.  On average I have slept maybe 3-4 hours a night the last couple weeks.  I have to visit the bathroom at least once every hour.  I have to ice my back throughout the day. I HAVE to eat cereal and look at Pinterest late at night.  Usually at 12:30 on the dot.  My allergies are so brutal right now, I can't breathe.  But the funny thing is, I enjoy it.  It's quiet, and I get to spend time with just Beckham.  It's the time he is most active, and I know that I won't be pregnant again so I'm really soaking it all in.

Beckham's due date is Thanksgiving Day.  Of course, he will be here before that, but he's our little Thanksgiving Baby!  I really enjoyed summer, especially since the heat has been so mild here in Oklahoma, but I am SO ready for fall.  The weather, the activities, the FOOD, the multitude of pumpkin desserts, and the holidays with a sweet new baby boy.

The next couple months will FLY by I know, so I'm also trying to enjoy these moments with my girls.  Brooke starts school on Thursday and turns FIVE in just a few weeks.  The twins start school (one day a week) in September.  Tear. They are all so excited....I can't believe how big they are getting to be.   


We got a LOT done this weekend in Beckham's Nursery.  I wanted to add a few rustic elements to his room, so I found a branch that worked perfectly (and was free!) for the curtain rod.  I finished making the bed skirt with stitch witchery, of course.  Total cost for the skirt was $5!  I love looking in there and seeing it all come together!

Here are a few funnies from the sisters lately....they are really cracking me up with all their questions.

"Did Beckham go poop?  You need to change his diaper, he stinks" - Lauren (while going #2)

"Did Beckham take a nap when I did?  Oh he's still sleeping - WAKE UP BECKHAM!!!" - also Lauren

"I need to give Kep-bam kisses and hugs" - Lily (sometimes she confuses his name, but she is always hugging and kissing my belly)

"Does Beckham want some of my cookie (as she smears a fudge round all over my shirt)?" - Lily

"Wow mom your belly is getting big, but not too big yet.  You look so cute" - Brooke

I love them.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fox Valley restoration completed

As of 11 a.m., we have restored electric service to all Fox Valley customers affected by Wednesday's severe storm. This morning new power outages were reported, and we are working to resolve those just as quickly and as safely as possible.

We replaced more than 10 miles of distribution lines, 157 utility poles and 92 transformers in a three-day period in the wake of six tornados in the area. As a follow-up, we also are inspecting equipment in the area that may have suffered damage that could lead to future outages.

We appreciate the kind support of customers who shared food and drink with our crews as well as compliments and words of encouragement during the restoration effort. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spiced Peach Muffins....and a few freezer recipe links!


TWO recipes on the blog in one week?!? That's a record for me lately.  Usually the only time I bake these days is when I am taking a meal to someone, or if I am getting paid to make cupcakes.  :)  I have really been trying to stock our freezer with meals, snacks and breakfast food the last couple weeks.  Although I have had a better pregnancy than the last two, there are still some very rough days.  I can't tell you how awesome it is to have home-cooked meals to throw in the oven so my family can eat well if I'm not up for cooking.  When I first mentioned this freezer idea to Landon he thought I was crazy and that all the meals would be freezer burnt.  Last night while eating his baked spaghetti, he said "wow honey, this freezer meal idea is fantastic".  Men.

Here's what's in our freezer right now and some links to a few recipes!


Pioneer Woman Sloppy Joes - I made these with turkey and froze in individual portions.  I also froze some leftover hamburger/hotdog buns to pair with these! It's perfect to make Landon a hot sandwich when he gets home from work.  It's one of our staple recipes.

Baked Spaghetti  - Just penne noodles (cooked), homemade meat sauce, cheddar and parmesan cheese Bake at 350 until warmed through!  This is always a kid favorite around here.

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole - love this recipe - I also layered white rice on the bottom of the dishes before layering the casserole.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos - Another staple - I usually leave the onions, cilantro and green salsa out for the kids.  I made a double batch of these and we are tearing through them.

Spiced Peach Muffins - I'm a Georgia Girl at heart.  I miss a lot of things about that place, but I really miss the peaches.  My mother-in-law was so nice to pick all of us sisters up some peaches from Porter.  They are amazing.  About as close to Georgia peaches as you can get here in Oklahoma, so naturally I just had to make some peach muffins.  These are spiced - which Landon wasn't a huge fan of, but you could omit the allspice and nutmeg to suit your taste.  I really enjoyed these - they tasted like a peach pie/cobbler right out of the oven!

Spiced Peach Muffins
(makes 20-24 muffins)

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (if you leave out the other spices, you may want to add extra cinnamon)
2 eggs
3/4 cup canola/vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups milk
4 peaches, diced
granulated sugar for toping ( i used raw turbinado sugar)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375  Grease (or line) muffin pans.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, brown sugar and spices into a large bowl.  Stir in the eggs, oil and milk.  Gently fold in the fruit.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until done.  

Enjoy!!!



Fox Valley storm restoration update

Since Wednesday’s early morning storms, crews have restored service to more than half of the nearly 60,000 who last power in the Fox Valley.

Hundreds of workers from our own crews as well as supplemental crews from contractors and other utilities are working around the clock to complete restoration. Hour to hour, more customers are seeing their service restored, and we expect that 90 percent of our customers in the Fox Valley will have service restored by Friday evening. The remainder -- in areas with most severe damage -- should be restored by Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service has confirmed that two tornadoes, with winds up to 90 mph, hit the Fox Valley very early Wednesday, causing major damage to our electrical network and the transmission system. More than 60 poles and 500 wires were knocked down during the storm. In many cases, we need to completely rebuild much of our network.

Fox6 News video:


Residents in Waupaca and Outagamie counties seeking shelter following storm damage can use the following shelters:

New London Elementary School
1300 Werner-Allen Drive

The New London American Red Cross shelter is near the border of Waupaca and Outagamie counties and can serve either county’s constituents.

Outagamie County along with the Red Cross also set up a shelter at:
Appleton West High School
Emmanuel Gym
610 N. Badger St.

Crews replace power lines in Little Chute.



Tree damage such as this example from Hortonville 
shows how much debris must be removed before 
electric service can be restored. Similar situations 
exist throughout the Fox Valley.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fox Valley storm restoration update

Severe storms with winds reported up to 90 mph passed through the Fox Valley service area early Aug. 7, causing extensive damage to our electrical network and the transmission system. At the storm’s peak, about 60,000 We Energies customers, including several major businesses, were out of service. Approximately 6,500 customers had been restored as of 9 a.m.

We are drawing upon resources from throughout our service area to safely restore service to the remaining customers without power.
Poles and wires on French Road near Freedom, Wis., 
are down as far as the eye can see.
The storm caused extensive damage to poles, wires, substations, transmission lines and some bulk electric system transformers. Although we will continue to make progress restoring power today, restoration will not be completed quickly, and it may take several days before all customers are restored. In some areas, we may need to completely rebuild much of the electric distribution network.

Customers should call 800-662-4797 to report outages and to stay at least 25 feet away from downed wires and anything touching them. No accidents or injuries have been reported at this time.

To see the extent of the outages, view our outage map

Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts with Strawberry Frosting



I can't believe my little Brooke will be turning FIVE in just a few weeks.  Donuts are her most favorite breakfast treat.  We decided on a breakfast donut bash to celebrate, so I whipped up these yummy donuts for a mini "photo-shoot"!  They are super tasty - I'm not a huge donut fan, but these are very cake-like and the frosting is delicious. I posted a picture on instagram, and had a few requests for the recipe, so I thought I would share the recipe I used on the blog today!  Next time, I think I will make these chocolate cake donuts using the same strawberry frosting.  Yum....


Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts with Strawberry Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Donuts:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp strawberry gelatin powder (or raspberry, cherry, etc.)
sprinkles

Preheat Oven to 325.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients until blended.  Put all the batter in a large ziploc bag and cut the corner.  Fill the donut pan 3/4 full with batter.  Bake donuts for 10-12 minutes.  I also used a mini donut pan, and I baked those for about 7-8 minutes.  I always press lightly on the donut while it's baking, and if it springs back I call it done!  :)  Remove from the pan and allow the donuts to cool before glazing.

To prepare the glaze add the milk, cream and vanilla to a saucepan over low heat.  Stir and heat until warm.  Whisk in the gelatin mix and then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar.  Remove from the heat.  ***I made 1/2 of this recipe for the glaze mix and it sufficiently covered all my little donuts!***

Dip the tops into glaze and immediately add the sprinkles.  I did a few at a time, the glaze hardens quickly and I wanted my sprinkles to stick!

Enjoy!!!  I kept mine in a ziploc container overnight, and I think they tasted better this morning!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thirty-One


Last week we celebrated my birthday and I turned thirty one.  I feel like Landon and I just got married, yet at the same time I physically feel more like 40.  

I always said Landon and I would enjoy married life before having kids....

 That I would never have kids after 30....

That I would only have two kids....

That I would never go "let myself go".....

Well God had other plans for our family, and I'm so thankful he did!

Brooke was our honeymoon baby (on birth control), and #2 and #3 turned out to be twins.  I'm pregnant with Number FOUR!  My belly is expanding by the day, and sometimes I struggle to keep up with my beautiful and energetic girls.  

Yep, I'm that mom that wears workout clothes in public and forgets to put on makeup sometimes.  My makeup routine consists of eyeliner and mascara....eyeshadow for "special" occasions.  I have tried every foundation, BB Cream, and tinted moisturizer there is, but my skin is ultra sensitive and they don't work for me.  So mascara and eyeliner it is - there are permanent bags and wrinkles that just can't be hidden.

BUT....

I wouldn't trade my life for anything, or wish to be in my twenties again.  Each year has brought great blessings.  Those bags under our eyes represent four special gifts that God has given us.  Our children.  We didn't get a chance to be "free"...but life with children has been amazing for us and has taught us SO much about ourselves and about how faithful our God is. I would give anything up for my kids...my time, my energy, my dreams.  For Landon it represents how hard he works for our family.  I'm so thankful for a husband that provides for our family, takes care of us and shows us his love. He is such an example to me and the kids of our heavenly Father.

 These stretch marks represent God's handiwork - the opportunity to experience the miracle of life and feel a baby growing inside me.  Those marks are not ugly, but beautiful and I have grown to appreciate and accept them.

I'm so thankful for another year....one that I am really looking forward to!  Every day is a gift from God!