Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

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We’re Talking Turkey and Learning How to Prepare It

We are talking turkey today. Thanksgiving is just over a week out, but some turkey recipes can take up to 5 days of prep! Great Plains Communications has turned to our cable channel Food Network to find some of our favorite turkey preparations, if that is a wet brine, dry brine, no brine, or even just the turkey breasts for a smaller crowd.


Lemon and Herb Roasted Turkey

As Geoffrey Zakarian says in the video, “Don’t stress, because this is just a very big chicken.” Instead of worrying about room in your fridge for a wet brined turkey, this recipe requires just one shelf big enough for your roasting pan. The salt in the dry brine will dry out the skin to ensure it crisps in the oven and the seasonings provide a bright citrus note accompanied by familiar fall herb flavors.

 

Bobby Flay’s Cajun Brined Turkey

This recipe is if you are looking to jazz up the flavor profile a bit. Instead of using traditional thanksgiving herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme, here Bobby Flay uses different chili powders and paprika for not only the brine but the dry rub as well.

 

Alton’s Butterflied Turkey How-To

A shorter cooking time, but also less area needed in the refrigerator – this recipe provides a new presentation of the turkey but still provides crispy skin and juicy meat. As Alton Brown explains, along with the other chefs in these videos, be sure to check the internal temperature of your turkey with a meat thermometer before assuming it is done. Do not rely on the pop-up “thermometers” that come with some turkeys.

 

Thanksgiving on 2 Sheet Pans

Maybe you are planning a Friendsgiving or your family is on the small side and a whole turkey would be way too much. This recipe provides season favorites such as sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and beautifully roasted turkey breasts – all cooked on two sheet pans!

Advantages of Having a Landline this Winter

As the holiday season begins, do you ever feel like you are constantly making lists? From grocery lists to guest lists and Christmas wish-lists. Great Plains Communications wants to remind you of one more list that you won’t want to forget and that is for winter safety. Temperatures may be moderate so far, but as any Midwesterner knows, winter is coming.

So, you have your batteries and extra blankets, but do you have a landline telephone? You may be wondering why you would need a landline, when all the members of your family have cell phones. Cell phones are great on the go and bring some of the best technology right to your fingertips. But with cell phones come batteries that need power to recharge, which isn’t always available through a power outage brought on by extreme weather. Here are just a few advantages to having a landline telephone this winter:

  • Security in an emergency, with consistent reliable 911 connection
  • No need for batteries or charging when using a corded phone
  • Elimination of potentially faulty connection and dropped calls
  • Top-quality sound and clarity

Remember, if the power isn’t working in your home, most likely neither are your cordless phones. Keep your family safe this season and make sure you have a corded phone plugged into a wall-mounted phone jack. That way you can be sure to have a clear and reliable connection throughout any storm headed our way. For more information on how you can get phone service with Great Plains Communications, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Don’t Forget to “Fall Back” this Sunday!

It is a common misconception that daylight saving time was created in the aid of farmers, to allow an extra hour of sunlight to work their fields. As we turn our clocks back this Sunday, November 4, 2018, Great Plains Communications has teamed up with our cable channel, History Channel to bring you the real reason we “fall back” and “spring forward”.

The real reason we adjust our clocks twice a year is based on energy conservation and an attempt to match daylight hours to times when the majority of people are awake, dating back to 1895. According to the History Channel, “the first real experiments with daylight saving time began during World War I,” on April 30, 1916. In an effort to conserve electricity needed for war effort, Germany and Austria enforced a one-hour clock shift. The United States later adopted daylight saving in 1918.

2018 Halloween Safety Tips

Jack-o’-lanterns line the sidewalk, patiently waiting to greet your little Dinosaurs, unicorns and pirates alike, lighting the way through the festive night. The doorbell rings and an assortment of candy fills each bucket and bag. Tomorrow is the big night, and there is more to plan than what shoes will look best and if there are enough treats to go around. Great Plains Communications wants to make sure everyone has a safe Halloween with some tips from Safe Kids Worldwide.

Have a Safe Walking Plan: Children’s excitement level is often escalated on Halloween as they see the sweet potential in each house, no matter if it is across the street or down the block. Help them to remember to look left, right, and left once more before holding the hand of an adult and crossing the street. Also, don’t forget to put down any electronic devices as you cross, and choose spots further away from the street to stop and take pictures.

Find Creative Ways to Add Safety Precautions to Costumes: Have your kids use fun metallic stickers or reflective tape on their candy bags, it could be a fun way to personalize their goodies and help them be seen by passing drivers. Glow sticks could be another fun way to brighten up the nighttime walk!

Be a Cautious Driver: Just because you are not in costume, does not mean you are not a large factor in Halloween safety. As a driver, make sure to eliminate any distractions inside the car and be especially alert in residential areas. Allow extra time to look for kids between parked cars and at intersections. Typical trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., so buckle up and stay alert for all the little witches and skeletons walking the streets.

For more tips, check out the Safe Kids Worldwide website and remember that Great Plains Communications hopes you have a fun and safe Halloween! Let us know what creative safety tricks your family uses each year in the comments section on our Facebook page.

2018 Halloween Crafts

Halloween is next week, which means there is still time to do some fun and festive crafts to prepare for the spooky night. We are thinking outside the box and found some of our favorite Halloween crafts that the kids will love – and they don’t include cleaning or carving a pumpkin!

Last-Minute DIY Halloween Décor

These five quick ideas include things like toilet paper rolls, old socks and ice – all things you already have in your house.

 

3 DIY Halloween Wreaths

Who said wreaths were just for Christmas? These creative creations will add a little Halloween flair to your front door.

 

3 Spooky Mason Jar Crafts

Who doesn’t have a few mason jars laying around the house? Have the kids help create some fun and beautiful decorations to light up the porch for all the trick-or-treaters.

 

DIY Pool Noodle Halloween Costumes

Looking for a last-minute costume idea? Here is a way to use pool noodles to create costumes for the whole family!

 

We found all these great ideas from our cable channel, HGTV. If you are not currently a Great Plains Communications cable customer and would like to learn about the services we offer in your area, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Nebraska Lifeline Program

Great Plains Communications is raising awareness on one of the Universal Service Funds’ varied programs to help provide affordable telecommunications services to Americans. We are looking at the Nebraska Lifeline Program or Lifeline Phone Bill Assistance.

The Lifeline Program ensures that low-income households have access to quality telephone service. It could be combined with Link Up and Toll Limitation Service. The Lifeline program reduces the price for monthly telephone charges for basic service and allows those with income constraints to enjoy the benefits of a telephone service.

Eligible subscribers include those who participate in:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance / Section 8
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally Administered TANF
  • Head Start (income qualifying / residents of Tribal Lands only)

We know how important having a landline can be for safety and convenience of your family, particularly in rural Nebraska. For additional information on the Nebraska Lifeline Program, visit http://www.phone-bill-assistance.com/lifeline/NE. If you have any questions or would like to apply, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Better Password Practices

While you check the lock on the front door each night before bed, make sure your car alarm is set as you walk away and keep your wallet in a safe place – are you taking the same thought and energy into cyber security? Your passwords are the lock and key to information such as your social security number, bank account information, personal family photos and much more. By allowing yourself to lean on lazy passwords such as your favorite sports team or your dog’s name, not to mention using that password for multiple accounts, you are opening yourself up to a major security breach. Great Plains Communications has three tips to keep in mind to secure your personal information through better password practices.

  1. Use a password manager.

We have a lot of passwords. It can be daunting to think of remembering at least 8 characters for 8 different accounts. Whatever you do, DON’T USE THE SAME PASSWORD. We are all guilty of committing a few password sins, but this has to be the worst of all. Your Facebook gets hacked and what do you think that person is going to do next? BINGO: check your bank account, credit card, etc. with that handy password they just gained access to. By using a password manager programs such as 1Password or LastPass, you can create strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts and lose the risk of forgetting them.

  1. Use a passphrase.

We have entered the era of passphrases vs. passwords. Instead of throwing some numbers and symbols on the end of the month your first child was born, turn to random phrases to stay secure. By using a phrase, you add length and randomization. But don’t just string together a sentence about your life or a pop culture reference. Be creative! For example: “Plug Tricky Stapler.”

  1. Add two-factor verification.

Unfortunately, sometimes a password or passphrase just isn’t enough. You may notice accounts on social networks, banks, and even Google offering an added layer of protection called two-factor verification. What this means is you will need to put in your password but also a one-time code that is sent to your phone or email, or through an app like Google Authenticator. What this can also do is notify you if someone else is attempting to enter a password into one of your accounts.

2018 Halloween Cable Programming Schedule

It’s a spooky time of year and we aren’t talking about pumpkin carving or what costume you are picking out. Great Plains Communications has highlighted some of our favorite Halloween programming that we feel you just can’t miss this month. For starters, Freeform (previously ABC Family) is expanding their 13 Nights of Halloween to 31 Nights of October, because fans wanted more than just two weeks. It is filled with family-friendly movies such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Haunted Mansion, Hocus Pocus and The Addams Family. Other channels we included are AMC with their FearFest marathon, Disney Channel Monstober, Syfy 31 Days of Halloween and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) October Horror.

October 13, 2018

12:15pm – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform)

1:15pm – The Seventh Victim (TCM)

1:50pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

6:25pm – Disney-Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. (Freeform)

7:00pm – Cucuy: The Boogeymen (Syfy)

8:30pm – Disney-Pixar’s Monsters University (Freeform)

11:00pm – The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform)

October 14, 2018

6:29am – Halloween II (AMC)

8:29am – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (AMC)

10:29am – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (AMC)

12:15pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

4:29pm – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

7:00pm – Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (TCM)

7:00pm – Decorating Disney: Halloween Magic (Freeform)

8:00pm – Hotel Transylvania (Freeform)

October 15, 2018

9:30am – Poltergeist (1982) (AMC)

12:00pm – The Hills Have Eyes (AMC)

2:35pm – The Crazies (AMC)

3:00pm – ParaNorman (Freeform)

5:00pm – Hotel Transylvania (Freeform)

5:00pm – Trick R Treat (AMC)

7:00pm – The Exorcist (1973) (AMC)

October 16, 2018

10:20am – The Return of the Living Dead (AMC)

12:20pm – Day of the Dead (AMC)

2:20pm – Shaun of the Dead (AMC)

3:00pm – ZOMBIES (Disney Channel)

3:30pm – Monster House (Freeform)

4:25pm – 28 Days Later (AMC)

7:00pm – Army of Darkness (AMC)

9:00pm – Ghost Ship (AMC)

October 17, 2018

12:25pm – I, Frankenstein (AMC)

5:30pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

7:00pm – Curse of Chucky (AMC)

7:00pm – The Old Dark House (TCM)

7:30pm – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) (Freeform)

9:30pm – The Walking Dead (1936) (TCM)

9:05pm – Cult of Chucky (AMC)

October 18, 2018

8:00am – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

10:00am – Halloween II (AMC)

12:00pm – Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (AMC)

2:00pm – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (AMC)

4:00pm – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (AMC)

5:30pm – Dark Shadows (2012) (Freeform)

6:00pm – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (AMC)

8:00pm – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

8:00pm – Knock Knock (Syfy)

October 19, 2018

4:00pm – Halloween (2007) (AMC)

5:10pm – The Goonies (Freeform)

6:30pm – Halloween (1978) (AMC)

8:30pm – ZOMBIES (Disney Channel)

October 20, 2018

10:00am – Twitches (Disney Channel)

3:00pm – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Freeform)

4:35pm – Hotel Transylvania (Freeform)

5:00pm – Silver Bullet (AMC)

6:40pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

7:00pm – Christine (AMC)

8:50pm – The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform)

10:55pm – The Haunted Mansion (2003) (Freeform)

October 21, 2018

10:00am – Twitches Too (Disney Channel)

10:30am – The Quiet Ones (Syfy)

3:24pm – Friday the 13th (1980) (AMC)

7:00pm – The Mummy (1959) (TCM)

8:45pm – The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (TCM)

October 22, 2018

5:10pm – Hocus Pocus (Freeform)

7:20pm – The Witches of Eastwick (Freeform)

9:00pm – Eli Roth’s History of Horror (AMC)

10:00pm – Jeepers Creepers (AMC)

11:00pm – Warm Bodies (Freeform)

October 23, 2018

5:45pm – Insidious (Syfy)

7:00pm – Insidious: Chapter 2 (Syfy)

7:50pm – The Addams Family (1991) (Freeform)

October 24, 2018

7:00pm – White Zombie (1932) (TCM)

7:00pm – Insidious: Chapter 3 (Syfy)

8:15pm – Mark of the Vampire (TCM)

9:30pm – Night Monster (TCM)

 

Watch future blogs for the continuation of Halloween programming.

National Do Not Call Registry

Do you receive constant phone calls from unrecognizable phone numbers? Did you know telemarketers can legally call as late as 9 p.m.? Take action to stop these unwanted calls by registering your number with the National Do Not Call Registry.

This registry provides the opportunity to block telemarketing calls at home. Registering your phone number will stop most telemarketing calls but will not stop calls from certain non-profit and political organizations. Organizations with which you have established a business relationship will also be allowed.

You can register your residential and wireless phone numbers by phone or online at no cost to you. On the Internet you may register up to three numbers at one time. You can only register one number at a time via telephone and must call from the number you wish to register. Your phone number will appear on the Do Not Call list the following day. However, telemarketers have up to 31 days to remove the number from their calling lists. A telephone number will only be removed from the registry when it is disconnected, reassigned, or if you choose to remove it.

To register or to remove a number from the Do Not Call Registry, call 1.888.382.1222, for TTY call 1.866.290.4236 or log onto www.donotcall.gov.

Sunspots this Fall

As you watch a thunderstorm, it’s hard to miss the immense power from a strike of lightening. Most people aren’t aware that the sun also has the ability to create a magnetic disturbance similar to lightening. When energy from the sun expands, solar flares are created, better known as sunspots. These disturbances have the potential to affect TV services twice a year during February/March and September/October. You might notice some channels periodically showing a fuzzy signal, sparkles, or even a total loss of the channel. Typically lasting 5 to 15 minutes, the sunspot activity should not cause any worry as it will pass.

So what exactly causes the disruption in your channels? As the satellites orbit, they eventually will align between the earth and sun. As a result of the mini-eclipse the satellite has formed, the sun’s rays overpower the transmission from the satellite. It is important to note that the effects brought on by sunspot activity is not a cable outage and there is really nothing Great Plains Communications, or any other cable provider, is able to do. The sun outages are often country-wide, and the only thing we can all do is wait for it to pass. Luckily, after 5 to 15 minutes, your program should air as normal.

If the problem has not subsided after 20 minutes, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and they will be sure to have our technicians look into the issue. For more information on sunspots, visit NASA’s website at http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml.

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