Rabu, 05 September 2012

Birthday Celebrations in Different Cultures

Birthday celebrations are annual events for people in many cultures. The most prominent two birthdays are the birthday of Jesus Christ and that of Lord Buddha. Christmas day is when Jesus Christ was born. In a lot of cultures certain birthdays will mark when boys and girls start enjoying certain rights. Normally, it is a celebration where sweetmeats are served and a cake is being cut. In Christian cultures there are burning candles as well on the cake.

Very often it is a celebration where relatives and friends get together. On the cake it is normal to have a decoration that gives an indication of the age of the person whose birthday is being celebrated. Often the number of candles that will burn on the cake will be equivalent to the age of the person. The one who celebrates his date of birth must blow out all the candles in one breath. At the same time he could make a wish that is not revealed to anyone. Very often, presents are given on the date of birth. They are selected to match the person's age. It is normal for kids to get toys on this day.

There are some interesting figures on birthdays of the United States. Statistics have revealed that September and October are the months when most birthdays fall. There are a few reasons attributed for this phenomenon. One is that nine months before there is a holiday season. Another reason is that the country enjoys longest nights on days nine months before September.

It is common for children's birthday parties to have them dressed with new clothes. The kid whose date of birth is being celebrated will cut the cake and will serve it to his friends and relatives. It is an evening they will enjoy a lot. It is normal for visitors to the party to bring toys as presents. All these create a happy evening where everyone enjoys.

When it comes to birthdays different cultures have different perceptions. In Christianity and Buddhism dates of birth are celebrated with elaborate ceremonies. However, in Islam some of the clergy are against it while there are others who accept that there is no harm celebrating one's birthday. Hindus are also people who celebrate their dates of birth. The early Christians also did not celebrate birthdays. They thought it is an evil thing to celebrate the day one was born.

Birthday celebrations are important annual event for some cultures. But there are others that resent such celebrations. However it is a happy day for most kids. Happy Birthday!

Glass - Environmental Friend or Foe

Serving a large purpose with little consideration, glass is a key ingredient in many of our everyday products. Tableware, light bulbs, mirrors, stove tops, windshields, windows: the list is large for something not given a second thought. Friend or foe, we need to consider the implications of glass making on the environment.

The 'What Is' of Glass

Glass is a combination of three types of substances that occur naturally in North America;

  • silica, the most popular being white sand
  • alkali, such as sodium bicarbonate
  • limestone

Sometimes a metallic oxide (lead) is added to the mix. Depending on which alkali is used and whether or not lead is added, the clarity or color cast of the glass changes. The expense of producing and the quality of the glass is determined by the choice of alkali and the percentage used, combined with the choice and percentage of silica used.

The 'How' of Glass Production

A silica, an alkali and limestone are first crushed into a powder form, sifting out any coarse particles. They are then blended and put into a furnace at an extremely high temperature for as long as 24 hours. This yields molten glass which is then cooled several hundred degrees resulting in a thick liquid. The resulting matter is called frit which is then blown, pressed, drawn, molded or rolled into glass objects. If the glass is to be molded the molds are also heated at high temperature so the liquid poured into them does not wrinkle. The cooling process involves washing with water.

Environmental Impact of Glass Production

The process of making new glass is not at all environmentally friendly. The initial crushing and grinding step sends particulates of metals, chemicals, acids and dust into the air. These are easily inhaled causing irritation to the nose and throat, potentially causing damage to the lungs. The particles of metals are hazardous to the environment as they can find their way into surrounding soil and water.

The need for extremely high temperature furnaces to melt the mixture of substances makes the melting stage of the glass making process very energy intensive. It is estimated to take 15.2 million BTUs of energy to produce one ton of glass. During any one of the formation processes the glass may need to be reheated to keep it in liquid form. This means the heat in the furnace must be kept up until the process is complete.

Discharges from the glass making process may find their way into the aquatic environment during the cooling and cleaning processes where the most significant amounts of water are used. Discharges may contain some pieces of glass, some soluble used in the production like sodium sulfate, lubricant oil used in the cutting process, dissolved salts and water treatment chemicals.

Glass manufacturing processes also emit a significant amount of greenhouse gases especially carbon dioxide. Additionally, the processes spit out air-polluting compounds like nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates.

Benefits of Glass

Glass is nonporous making it impermeable to other substances. For this reason glass is a very hygienic surface as any bacteria and germs that come in contact are not absorbed into its structure. Glass surfaces take to strong cleaning with a disinfectant and hot water with no effect on its quality. For this reason glass containers can be easily reused many times over.

The impermeableness of its structure eliminates any interaction with the stored contents. This, along with glass being made from nontoxic raw materials, dismisses concern of leaching chemicals into the contained substances. In the case of food storage, this also insures the freshness and uncompromised taste of the stored substance. Glass containers also do not absorb the smells of the foods in or around them.

Unlike other materials, glass used in the microwave does not leach any toxins into contained foods or liquids. Nor does it stain, corrode or deteriorate no matter how many times it is reused.

Glass dishes and containers are very versatile as they can go from freezer to microwave or oven. Glass is very attractive looking beautiful on table top or as decorative pieces like candy dishes, storage jars, vases and mirrors.

And glass is 100% recyclable.

Turning Foe into Friend

Many manufacturers have put into place practices to reduce the negative environmental impact of glass making. Consideration has been given to use of more efficient furnaces to cut energy use, producing thinner glass to employ lower temperatures and reduce transport costs, use of air and water purification systems, and use of recycled glass to make new.

Here are some ways to reduce the environmental effects and still enjoy the benefits of glass products.

  • Reuse glass food and storage containers. Because of its natural properties there is no chemical reaction with the glass container and its contents. Glass items at home can be safely used over and over with no loss in the quality of the glass.
  • Recycle. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be reused to make new glass. Unlike other types of materials, the reuse of glass in no way degrades the integrity of the material. Glass can be melted and reused over and over again. A glass bottle ending life in a landfill can take one million years to breakdown. But a recycled glass bottle has about a 30 day turnaround time from recycle bin to being a new bottle on a store shelf. Every ton of glass that is recycled saves more than a ton of the raw materials needed to create new glass. Because cullet (glass pieces for reuse) melts at a much lower temperature, making glass products from cullet consumes 40 percent less energy than making new glass from raw materials.
  • Reduce the amount of new glass products you purchase. Because it has found its way into so many commercial uses it is now easy to find products made from recycled glass. Look for tableware from cullet, recycled glass jewelry, decorative tiles, counters and landscaping materials that utilize recycled glass.

Glass is a versatile and beautiful material to use in many facets of our lives. Let's do our part to turn glass production from foe to friend.

Lynn Lavanga is owner of Stylish Organics an ecommerce boutique that combines smart styling with earth friendly thinking. Visit http://www.stylishorganics.com for an inspiring collection of products hand selected for their sustainable properties. Our goal is to present you with an easy to shop collection of smart green clothing fashions, modern eco furniture, organic fiber home decor, unique environmentally friendly accessories, all natural skin and beauty care, organic pet products, and a selection of sustainable gift items.

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How to Prepare for the Pruning Season

Your garden is your sanctuary and a place to unwind from the stresses of daily life and take solace in the tranquillity of nature. No mobile phones allowed. Only you, your tools, maybe some sunblock and a hat.

As winter draws to a close, it's time to do some pruning. So put on your scrubs and get ready for a little bit of tree surgery.

The best time to prune is at the end of winter before the strong growth of spring. Those pesky insects are still asleep, and pruning while they're dormant will help prevent an invasion of tiny creepy crawlies into the fresh tree wounds.

Besides visually rejuvenating your garden, pruning is essential for other reasons. Creeping branches can be a literal eyesore to passers-by, and nobody likes the top of their car scratched up by a wayward tree limb.

Get Your Tools Ready

Before you get started, it's a good idea to gather the tools you're going to need for the job. You don't want to spend hours struggling with small, ineffective hand pruners. You're performing tree surgery here, so prepare yourself as a surgeon would.

Get yourself a quality pair of hand pruners for those thin branches, and some loppers for slightly larger ones. Make sure they're not rusted over and sharp enough to do what they need to.

Make sure to have a step stool handy, and possibly even a ladder if you're planning on pruning skyward.

If you're not so sure-footed, a pole saw will become your best friend. These ingenious devices allow you to reach those nasty, hard to reach branches looming down from above.

To take care of those extra thick branches, purchase a quality hand saw and if this is too much for you to do yourself maybe enlisting some help would be a good idea. You must be strong enough to hold the branch whilst cutting and be safe while any big branches fall.

To Chainsaw or Not to Chainsaw?

Sometimes, your hand and arm strength just aren't going to cut it. That's when it's time to call in the big guns. Chainsaws will take care of the most intimidating branches and limbs, but safety is of course paramount when handling power tools.

If you don't feel comfortable using a chainsaw, it's probably a good idea to call in some professionals. There is no shame in hiring out. The removal of large trees can be very dangerous. They'll arrive with a trained crew, proper safety equipment, and will even clean up when they're finished.

Pruning Tips and Tricks

The younger a tree, the more aggressive you can prune. Older trees have less energy resources to stop decay or invasions from pests.

For branches 2 centimetres and above in diameter, trim down with multiple cuts, starting from the outside of the branch.

A tree recovers more quickly from small multiple wounds than one large one.

Invite a friend of two and make your pruning day a social event. Get the BBQ going and serve plenty of food and drinks!

For further details on landscape design including finding a birmingham landscape gardener, please visit Genuine Home Services, who have a great deal of knowledge in paving, sheds and tree surgery.

Why and How to Display Children's Art

That first scribble, even if it's just one colored line is gorgeous to a parent. The next creation is also pretty fantastic, but by the time there are dozens of masterpieces and the child isn't even in pre-school, the feeling of awe dims to overwhelmed. What is a parent to do with all these papers?

Sometimes, we want to ask, "what is it?" But enlightened parents know that's taboo. This kind of pointed question can turn off a child. He may not be able to explain it in terms that we as adults can comprehend, because we live in the world of realism while children live in fantasy land. No need to force them to move into our world so quickly. In time, they will get there. Meanwhile, we should encourage their creativity. Therefore, a better response is "tell me about this picture". This shows that you are interested in the child's point of view and allows him to express himself.

Once the parent understands the depiction, it becomes more meaningful and thereby wondrous. This still doesn't mean we have to save every single piece. In fact, what we do save becomes more valuable by virtue of the fact that we have chosen those pieces. The best case scenario is when parents and children make the choices together. That's when selectivity breeds a striving for excellence and autonomy. When the child indicates "this is my favorite" or "I don't like this one", that encourages communication and decisiveness.

The decision to save certain artwork (it's fine for a parent to squirrel away some work for posterity even if the child rejects it) is further enhanced by choosing to display the "creme de la creme". Of course, it's wonderful to change and update the display pieces from time to time, which starts the process all over again.

Displaying artwork shows your child that you are proud of her work, which promotes her self-esteem. Selectivity encourages her to hone her artistic skills and teaches that in life, choices must be made. By selectively displaying and saving your child's art, you as a parent will have beautiful wall decor, cherished memorabilia, and you will have taught your child valuable life lessons in the process!

Now that we have gotten to why display children's art, let's look at how. That old standby, the refrigerator, has its limitations. First of all, most new refrigerators are not magnetic anymore, except perhaps on the sides. Secondly, preservation-wise, this form of display is a disaster as the pieces fall off, curl, and get dirty. Also, the artwork doesn't stand out as it mixes in with cards and notes.

Wall frames with easy to open backs are ideal, especially if they have acrylic fronts (instead of glass) to prevent breakage. This serves to protect and showcase the artwork. Putting the frames in a gallery arrangement makes for an attractive and functional display and gives a young artist a sense of his own space.

"My Own Art Gallery" is a great way to showcase and store children's art. This functional, attractive display/ bulletin board is personalized with your child's name, comes in an array of colors, and features easy to use document size frames to display and store your child's art. The frames and name plaque have acrylic faces so there's no concern about breakage, and the background works as a bulletin board. View "My Own Art Gallery" on our website http://www.SaframesFrames.com. Order it in our etsy store http://www.etsy.com/shop/Saframes.

My Romance With Mills and Boon

This morning I was quite thrilled to note that Mills & Boon will be releasing a book with Indian characters. I presume it was a final acknowledgement that India is a big market for western publishers. I will come back to M&B a bit later.

My early life in Delhi was in the tony Chanakyapuri area, with predominantly children of senior central government officers as gang mates. Added to that was my schooling in an Irish Christian brothers school. This skewed my reading habits completely towards books written by British authors aided and abetted by British publishers who made sure that their books were prominently placed in well-known book shops,including the leader of the pack, B D Galgotia & Sons in Connaught Place.

My first memory is of being addicted to Noddy books by Enid Blyton. I followed his adventures in Toyland along with Big Ears. I then graduated to The Five Find-outers, Famous Five and the Adventure series. This ended my 'kid' phase. I loved the misadventures of "William" by Richmal Crompton, closely followed by "Billy Bunter." A little later I got hooked on to "Biggles" by Capt. W E Johns.

By this time I was big in to American comics, particularly the cowboy ones like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Rex Allen and the Lone Ranger. As my comic reading habit ate a lot in to my school homework time I used to hide them under my pillow so that my dad wouldn't find them. My friends and I would also exchange comics regularly. I remember reading my first Beetle Bailey comic on the train from Delhi to Bangalore at the beginning of my school summer holidays. Travel time was good fun as we would be allowed to buy comics for the journey. In the north the station bookshop would be run by A.H. Wheeler while Higginbothams took care of the south.

However, I was not very fond of American authors. Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer were just names to me. Even in later years Mark Twain came in to my life as only a college quiz question when I correctly answered the question, "By what name was Samuel Clemens better known?"

America came back in to my life via Erle Stanley Gardner. I devoured Perry Mason books till I finished every one of them. I remember once I was traveling alone by the Deluxe Express from Madras (Chennai) to New Delhi. There were two anglo Indian women (they looked like school teachers) in the seats next to me. When I took out three Perry Masonbooks they looked pretty disapproving. Presumably they thought that these books were not suitable for someone as young as I was. This was also the time for "The Saint" series by Leslie Charteris. I was not too fond of Agatha Christie as I thought the pace was too slow

When I was in Senior Cambridge I started a love affair that continues till this day, even though my 'partner' has been dead for several years. I am, of course, referring to P G Wodehouse. I have his complete collection and every time I get bored I take out a tome from my book shelf and read it at one sitting.

When my father was based in Guwahati our bungalow was inside the office campus. The library there per force had to stock English books of Indian authors. My reading list got upgraded to Manohar Mulgaonkar, Anita Desai, and Raja Rao.

Over the last several years I am hooked on to Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon,Frederick Forsyth, and John Grisham. They are comparatively easy reading and required very little intellectual calisthenics to understand, unlike Robert Ludlum whose books are beyond me. For quality literature I turn to Asterix and Iznogoud comics.

Now back to Mills & Boon...

Till I got married I had never heard of them. One day I saw my wife reading a book published by M&B. As I was comparatively free I decided to give a shot at reading the book by some unknown author called Penny Jordan. It was like opening a Pandora's Box. I got sucked in to a whirlpool I have not been able to get out of. There was a circulating library near Commercial Street which stocked the complete series of M&Bs. I knew the kind of stories each author would write. The scenario would shift from England to Greece to Brazil to Spain and Italy. Sometimes to the US and Australia. I knew that Betty Neels would write Doctor/Nurse stories based in Holland.

The heroine would generally be a self-sacrificing virgin of modest means whose first boy friend would be a good-natured blonde. The hero would be older, rich, mostly dark-haired with graying temples and a rather disapproving type. In the Italian setting the hero would say 'cara' instead of 'darling'. The European setting ones would generally have a grandmother who controls the family and is the first one to realize that the heroine is the perfect choice for her grandson, irrespective of the social mismatch. The 'villi" would be modeled on our Hindi film Bindu type. In the early years sex was a no-no. However, to keep pace with modern times the Victorian attitude has made way to ground reality in the recent books. They now come with such alluring titles as "Lessons in Seduction", "Revealed: His secret child"...

Just like Jeffrey Archer has realized that his future millions will be earned from India, Mills & Boon have also joined the bandwagon. Their books are now available for less than Rs 100 through online stores.

I need to find more place in my book-shelf.

The Hurricane Katrina Memorial 7 Years Later

We all remember what happened in 2005 when television reports all over the world showed the devastation happening in Louisiana. Incredible winds during landfall of 125 mph hit the coast as the category 3 hurricane closed in.We were unprepared for such force of nature and too many lives were lost, actually it was the deadliest hurricane in the country and it seemed so unreal that this could happen in the United States. Crowded shelters, helicopters and the army, it was shocking to say the least.

The aftermath was as unreal especially in the states of Mississippi and Louisiana where the flooding was extensive, houses full of mud up to the ceiling. Houses still standing were often beyond recovery as an estimate of $81 billion dollars in damages was recorded. Teams of workers came together to reconstruct their neighborhoods and a strong camaraderie emerged. People who had lost everything walking strong hand in hand at rebuilding what an awesome sight.

All over the country donations poured in, people touched by the constant images and reminders of how fragile it all is. Animal rescues were so numerous, pets were shipped all over the United States to be adopted by family wanting to do their part.

On August 29th 2012 we will commemorate the 7th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. After all those years now you would expect this to be all part of the past. But it is far from being behind us as we all learned so much from it that it's hard not to keep it on our minds. People of Louisiana have proven to be courageous and they stood strong and won't ever forget what united them that day.

Fleur-de-lis emblems are more popular than ever as it represent their French heritage and their love for their culture and their state. In French, fleur de lis means "lily flower". You can see it in almost every house on their walls, on forged fences designs, huge statues, tattoos, shirts and jewelry. It is the symbol that unites the people of Louisiana in a significant way, worn by celebrities as support following the event.

As painful as the memories of Hurricane Katrina's passing, people of Louisiana don't want to forget and they celebrate the event. Memorabilias are numerous and you can find a wide variety of them online created by artists from all around the world. An interesting one combines both the hurricane symbol & the fleur de lis symbol into one clear emblem Hurricane Katrina. It can be found as statues but mostly as jewelry. It is surely an eye-catcher and send s a message, a conversation starter for so many people who have been forced to move away from their old neighborhoods and can now associate with the symbol.

Jewelry artist Blue Crockatt displays her collections of Hurricane Katrina symbol made of sterling silver From lockets to earrings to rings for both men & women in any ring size possible. Exclusively on her website at < http://www.sterlingsilverart.com/themed-jewelry/fleur-de-lis-jewelry/ > simply search for "katrina"

Recipe for School Success: Read and Read Some More!

Every parent wants their child to be successful in school, but for some, despite best intentions, success seems elusive. Kids don't like the homework, the school lunch, the teacher, or their new-year excitement quickly fades. What makes one child more successful in school than another? There are many factors, to be sure, but if you pressed this former teacher and parent of two very enthused and happy students, I would have to say READING. Why? Because reading is a vehicle to so much knowledge, entertainment and skills. As a former high school English teacher, I rarely if ever encountered a strong writer who wasn't also a strong reader; I think this is because reading well-written material provides a model for writing. Math requires good reading skills for word problems. Families who read together have a template for life-long learning. So how to incorporate more reading into your home?

Here is my Reading Recipe for Success:

1. Read TO your kids. I started reading to my children when they were infants just home from the hospital, which had given us a picture book of bold black, white and red shapes that seemed to fascinate and stimulate my kids when they were babies. Soon after that, they enjoyed the board books that they could explore with their fingertips: fuzzy puppies to pet, buttons to press, etc. When they were big enough to follow a story, they enjoyed all the classics: Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, Little Critter, etc.

2. Read WITH your kids. When their attention spans got a little longer, say around age 5 or 6, they began to enjoy easy-to-understand chapter books from such series as Junie B. Jones and Little House on the Prairie. When they could read to themselves, I still read to them. Why? Because they may be mature enough for complex plots and character development, but frustrated by new vocabulary or longer sentences. Although my daughter reads very well, certain books, like the Harry Potter series, would have discouraged her to read on her own because of the rich vocabulary, British idioms and complex sentences. By listening to me read it aloud, she got to hear the flow of the language, learn new words, and use her imagination to paint vivid scenes in her head. On her own, she could read the Roald Dahl books and The Name of This Book Is Secret series, and excellent one introduced to us by her teacher. My son has enjoyed Flat Stanley, Goosebumps and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. When he went through a reluctant reader phase, I resorted to the ace-in-the-hole for boys, Captain Underpants. Guaranteed to get any boy reading. Just be prepared for a LOT of potty humor around the house.

3. Read IN FRONT OF your kids. Even when they get too old to let you read to them, make sure your kids still see YOU reading. Even though they may not admit it anymore, you're still their biggest role model. Nagging them to read will mean nothing if you don't do it. Hardcover classic, pulp fiction paperback, New York Times, National Enquirer, laptop or Kindle, it doesn't matter - just model a lifelong love of reading. It also helps to tune in to what your kid or teen likes to read, and make that material available, as gifts, trips to the library or a Kindle. When I taught high school English, I would bring in the (high school appropriate) books that my husband and I had finished and leave them on a shelf for any students who wanted them. One eager young Sci-Fi fan made off with my husband's entire discarded collection of Star Wars novels. It was both amusing and very gratifying. Try feeding your kids' love of reading... you'll be glad you did.

What books have your kids enjoyed? Share in the comments!

Want to help your children achieve success in school? Are you a homeschool parent struggling to design lessons for your students? Want to help your children find their passions, set and achieve goals? Visit http://newfrontierslifecoaching.com

Harnessing the Power of the Sun

Electricity bills are soaring as generating power gets more and more expensive. In the summer months, this can be particularly concerning with the need to turn on air conditioning so you can keep cool. You also need to keep your refrigerator running to store ice so you can make sure you always have something to put in your drink to beat the heat. If you have someone in your household like a senior citizen with a delicate constitution, it's even more important to keep them away from the sun's punishing rays. Heat stroke is a real and deadly killer you need to protect your family from.

The sun doesn't have to be your enemy though. Believe it or not, you can actually use the sun to help keep cool. Learning how to make solar power is the key to surviving the summer heat without burning a hole in your wallet when the next electricity bill comes along. Look into purchasing solar panels to install in your home so you can take advantage of this environment-friendly power source. You won't just be helping your family and your finances. You'll be helping Mother Earth too by being less reliant on electricity that may come from power plants running on burning coal that pollutes the atmosphere.

In the winter, when the sun is scarce, solar power can be an asset. These panels can draw in the sun's rays even if it's hiding behind the clouds so you have a power source that works for all seasons. You can experience the sun's warmth despite a snowstorm via your heating system. The power absorbed by solar panels can be diverted to a battery for later use on a rainy or snowy day. You no longer have to rely on an expensive generator for emergency power in case of a power outage. This means you can stay safe and warm in the event of a winter blackout.

But will learning how to make solar power mean making a huge initial investment? Technology these days has made the transition to solar power far more affordable than it used to be. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to install and make use of solar panels in your home. There are now options available on the market where you simply take a thin film comprised of solar panel material and stick it onto your roof. Installation is a breeze for any do-it-yourself novice so there's no need to hesitate about employing this type of power. You can even make it a family activity by getting your older kids to help out and giving them a lesson in science and environmentalism.

Look to the sun and you can't lose. The benefits are blinding when you bring solar power to your home. Keep your family and friends comfortable in summer or winter with power that comes from a natural source. When you invest in utilizing solar power, you're guaranteed the benefit of saving money while still getting optimal efficiency and serving the environmentalist agenda.

Are you looking for more information regarding how to make solar power? Visit http://lifestylesecretreview.com/ today!

How To Slack Off From Chores?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines chore as a routine task or job of a household or farm and a difficult or disagreeable task such as doing taxes. I like their later definition because it fits into most people's views about chores. Doing or receiving chores in an integral part of our life and for some of us it begins from the ripe old age of two.

Before I delve deep into chores let me first define the two classes of chores. The first type is the manual labor we do to meet our basic needs like food and shelter. The second type is the one created by modern world like tax filing, bill payments, email overload, career, shopping and the so-called friendly get-together with in-laws and the PTA.

For the first type we have a long way since the dinosaurs roamed the earth with packaged foods and prefabricated homes so most of us do not have to worry about these, at least in the part of the world I live in. I will try to address more about this type in another article.

As far as the second type is concerned what most of us do not know is that the same modern age that created some of these necessary evils also has solutions to address them. Here are some of the steps you can take to reduce or virtually eliminate some of them:

Tax Filing: It is a lot easier these days to file taxes online or electronically. However, the tricky part is the expenses you need to stay organized on so you can file and get the most returns. In order, to do this effectively try using separate credit cards to track separate expenses. These days most of us have several credit cards that can be put to work, such as, I track my personal expenses and my newborn's expense using separate credit cards. So at the end of the year, it is very easy for me to file claims appropriately.

Bill Payments: Almost all banks offer this service for free. Save some stamps and trees by paying bills online. You can also set reminders or auto-deduction, which you can cancel any time.

Email Overload: This can really be a chore to keep in touch with each friend for routine updates like how your baby, plants, pets, hair or whatever it is that you or your friends are growing. Try Facebook.com, which really makes friends management really easy without the email overload. If you are really finding that you need a secret team, then you can create private groups with friends that deserve your special attention.

Career: For those who work as non-farm labor, technology has made managing our career a lot easier through LinkedIn.com. With cool features like resume builder using your profile, customized news feed and event lists for your profession and numerous groups take out the mundane aspects of managing your career.

Shopping: Most do not like shopping at full price and not to mention the humiliation if you paid more than your neighbor Jones for the same item. Once again, you have the technology to your rescue with online tools like Pricegrabber.com and Eventbin.com shopping with price comparisons and coupons have never been this easy.

Get-together with In-laws and PTA: Last, but not the least, though I cannot help you avoid your next meeting with in-laws and PTA, I can certainly make it slightly easier for you by pointing you to tools like Tripit.com that makes itinerary management a breeze and Evite.com that liberates you from making phone calls, sending emails and checking on your RSVP list.

So there you have it, slack off on as many chores as possible by delegating them to online virtual assistants for free.

I am a geek and constantly on the lookout to make lives easier using technology. I blog at discount-diary.com.

So How to Plan The Perfect Baby Shower?

The first step of planning this party involves the conversation with the mommy to be. This will help the individual to make the guest list for this celebration. One will get an idea about the people who should be invited to this celebration. There is nothing wrong if mom to be wants to invite men or some children. Usually the baby shower guest list includes only women, but inviting daddy to be with his friends is also acceptable, and a great idea too. Co-ed showers are more common these days. There are many games and themes now with co-ed in mind.

To plan the perfect shower, it is also necessary that one makes the budget right after the comprised list of guests. This is again an individual choice on how much one wants to spend on this celebration. Things to allocate the budget of baby shower include the chair table rentals, location rentals, games, decorations, dessert, food, favors and prizes. Without breaking the bank one can also have the perfect event. To cut the costs one can cook the food herself, or can organize the get-together at someone's house.

An important thing before sending the invites to the guests is to pick a baby shower theme. This is one of the important things to look at if one wants to plan the perfect baby bash. A personal touch is added to the celebration with the selection of a themed baby shower. One can choose the theme representing the parents to be (example if daddy is a baseball fan) or according to the newborn's room decoration. To keep the glamour of the celebration it is necessary that the cake, decorations, food games, and invitations go along with the selected theme. Some of the famous fun theme ideas are English tea party, western, black and white, and many others.

Once the theme has been set, appropriate decorations should be used for the decoration of the celebration. This can include colorful streamers, posters, banners, balloons, and many other festive things. The cake and the center table should also go along with the chosen theme. For an English Tea Party one can serve finger sandwiches, and scones. Again it's the individual's choice on how she wants this party to be celebrated, so this might include games or not. But remember that adding games to the party always increases the fun, passes the time (so guests won't get bored) and they are always memorable.

Planning does take some work but remember that the expectant mother will always cherish that moment spending time with her family and friends. So hopefully with these simple tips this has become easy for everyone to plan the perfect baby shower while staying within the budget.

If you are curious to see more baby shower planning tips, baby shower themes or themed decorations to help you plan the best baby shower, have a look at plan the perfect baby shower.

Plan a Winning Family Reunion

The family reunion has become a tradition of summer. They've evolved beyond picnics, to include week-end celebrations, and week-long cruises. These days reunions may bring biological kin to the table or the reunion may be a non-traditional gathering of unrelated "cousins" sharing the bond of community and common interests.

For those planning a reunion compare it to training for a sports event. You need a game plan, patience and stamina, positive energy and an energetic team willing to carry the baton when called upon. And you'll need identifying family garb-the t-shirt. As the primary organizer aka team captain, you draft the overall game plan which should include elements of the following tasks and assignments delegating some aspect of the tasks to the reunion team. You may not need each of these, but most likely you'll want to create committees or sub-teams to tackle this list.

• Site Selection
• Budget or Finance
• Fundraising
• Correspondence and communication
• T-shirts
• Programming & activities
• Family history
• Food or Catering
• Setup and Breakdown

In training for any event, you need to be in shape-exercise regularly. Thirty minutes of daily exercise stimulates chemicals in the brain that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Regular exercise can minimize stress, boost energy, improve stamina and sleep, and help maintain a healthy weight. You don't want snacks served at reunion planning meetings turning into chips on the hips!

Planning meetings need snacks and this is a good time to test snack choices for the actual reunion. In just about every family or group, there are folks with health concerns that may need special consideration when it comes to planning meals. Try to avoid high-salt and high-sugar options. For snacks choose traditional potato or tortilla chips and baked chips too. Include fresh fruit-apples, oranges, and bananas, they are high in vitamins, and fiber which will fill you up without a lot of calories.

When the reunion includes tours or extended activities create a snack pack for everyone. Include single-serve boxed raisins, a handful of nuts (1-2- ozs.), or peanut butter-filled crackers plus 8 to 10(ozs.) of bottled water to help people stay energized and hydrated

As you plan menus, this is a good time to look at family health issues, choosing dishes that include healthful ingredients. Most often during reunions the emphasis is placed on ancestor searches, old wives tales and family heritage, but it is very important to include family medical history in these anecdotal conversations. Family members need to know when diseases run in the family, and of those affecting the relatives if they are lifestyle related or genetic. Family medical history is an important aspect of the family legacy and the knowledge can be life-saving.

Once you pull the team together and outline the "To Do" list with a couple of tasks that may require voluntold action, you're almost home safe. Collect family sizes to order the t-shirts and the reunion team is ready to hit the road.

The take-away: Family reunions create opportunities to reconnect and fellowship with immediate and extended family members-put the time to good use learning about any recurring ailments, and medical history along with the traditional family lore.

Michelle J. Stewart MPH, RDLD/N, CDE is an experienced food and nutrition communication expert specializing in wellness with a holistic approach to living your best life. Michelle has been leading the way to a healthier you for more than 25 years. She is zealous when it comes to wellness from the inside out and empowering whomever she comes in contact with to take charge of their health and wellbeing. Her motto is "EAT LESS MOVE MORE" Sign up for her Free Report 10 Weight Loss Tips for Life when you visit http://thenutritionplanner.com

5 Tips For Proper Window Maintenance

Windows enhance any room by bringing natural light and ventilation but they can be starting point for disaster. Don't let your windows be neglected because they can allow pests, weather and other damaging elements to enter your home. To keep from disaster, develop a regular schedule of checking and performing maintenance on your windows. Maintenance is easy if you are consistent.

So, what type of maintenance should you focus on? There are several things you can do at a low price that will enhance your windows and prevent damage of the window and surrounding areas. Let's take a look at 5 tips you can use to maintain your windows:

-Are your windows sealed from water damage? As weather continues to beat your house and windows, the seal becomes less and less effective. So, it's important that you check the seal around your windows and maintain it. Use caulk to seal areas around the window frame, especially on the exterior. Even if a certain area doesn't look bad, it doesn't hurt to make sure and add some extra caulk to seal the area.

-Use weatherstripping around the movable parts of your window, if you haven't already. Especially at the base where a window opens and closes. Make sure these areas have weatherstripping to prevent moisture, pests and outside air from entering your home. When you weatherstrip these areas, you will begin to see an increase in your power bill. It may not be large but you will save because outside air is being kept out. Weatherstripping doesn't have to be replace often as long as you keep it in good condition.

-Check the framing of your windows. Are frames cracked? If so, it might be time to replace the entire frame or to get your tools and fix the frame. The frame of a window is an important component because it also keeps moisture, pests and outside air from entering your home. To maintain window frames, simply remove areas that are rotted, molded and cracked and fill the areas with a wood epoxy. You can also use bleach to cleanse the wood and remove areas of mold.

-Check for cracked glass and replace glass as needed. Glass is more difficult to fix, so it's better to replace it completely.

-Do a quick paint of your window frames every year to keep frames intact, sealed and protected, and looking nice. This is a small way to keep your windows updated and protected.

There are window cleaners in OKC who can improve the look and quality of windows around your house or office. Don't let another day pass without improving your windows. Look to Clean Windows OKC for all your window needs - http://cleanwindowsokc.com/

The Secret to Getting Along With Your Neighbors

If you live in an apartment building like I do, you of course have to put up with neighbors that are in close quarters to you. After all, if you live in an apartment, your neighbors are kind of like roommates you see every now and then without having to share a bathroom with them. There are ways of happily coexisting with them that don't take a lot of effort. I like to be friendly with my neighbors but not all up in their business and I don't want them in mine. These are just a few simple guidelines to follow.

You should first start off by introducing yourself early on. If you are just moving in, it's a good idea to introduce yourself to your neighbors as you see or run into them. If you already live there and they are just moving in you should say hi but let them get settled in first. It's usually a good idea to do some casual observing as to how close you want to get to your neighbors. Feel them out per se to see if you would want them in your life. It's usually easy to make friend's with your neighbors but can be awkward to "unfriend" a neighbor because you have to see them frequently.

If you're not the social type and your new neighbor is asking you to walk their giraffe, then you might want to pull back on the relationship. If you don't mind helping people and having them in your day-to-day routine, then by all means take them up on it. It's basically about respect for each other's privacy. No one likes a Mrs. Kravitz living near them telling the landlord all your comings and goings. However, a neighbor like that can be good. One place I lived we had a nosey woman that lived across the street. We were at work one day and a truck had pulled up to our house. The men inside broke into our house and apparently thought they were at an Estate Sale and started emptying our house. Well our nosey neighbor knew that looked suspicious and called the police and the two men were apprehended right there and then. Thank you Doris!

No one wants to hear loud music or television at midnight so you must have respect for your neighbors and keep the noise level down later at night. Hopefully your neighbors will do the same. If not I've found just going over and knocking on the door and asking politely to turn down the volume usually works. A lot of the time other people don't realize how loud the sound is. When ever I am having a party I always invite all the surrounding neighbors. Not only is this a neighborly thing to do, but now they are aware that I am having friends over on such and such date and they are welcome to come as well or if not, they can make other plans to be away so the noise won't bother them.

Basically, it's all about putting yourself in your neighbor's shoes and act the way you would want them to act. Be mindful of keeping your area clean and presentable. Keep the noise level down. Respect each other's privacy and boundaries. If you follow these few easy rules, you should be able to live in peace and harmony in your neighborhood.

Online Classified Ads Save Time

For anyone looking to buy or sell anything using online classified ads is one of the best ways to go. You can go through the classified ads in your local newspaper, but you must remember that in order to get your ad in the newspaper, the seller must pay to have the ad placed. With online ads, the majority of the sites do not charge the seller or the buyer any money to place an ad or view an ad. This means that more people would rather place an ad online than pay to have it in the local newspaper.

Another great reason to use classified ads as a seller is that more people will view the ad which means you will also have better chances of selling the item. When you place an ad online it will be viewed by more people than it does in a local newspaper which can be a huge benefit if you are selling a big ticket item such as home, car, or even a computer. For those looking for such items, traveling a long way from home is not a huge problem.

How does it save time to use classified ads?

For sellers, it is much easier to add their items to an online classified ad website than it is to order an ad online. Online all you have to do is add the information and you are finished. Your ad will be published and you just wait for the calls or emails to come in. If you are buying an ad in a newspaper you will need to call them, pay for the ad, and then wait until the paper is printed before you start getting calls.

For those looking to buy, there are usually more ads online than in the local newspaper. This means they will be able to see more ads from all across the area selling the items they are looking for which will certainly save time. You may be able to find more than one person selling the items you want which allows you to compare prices and features of the items and get the best deal ever.

Classified ads online are normally divided so you can find all the items you want instead of searching through the entire selling products. Too many times, in a newspaper the category are not divided so you can easily find the exact items you need, whereas online the categories are usually very exact so you will be able to save more time looking online than scouring through several newspapers for the best deal.

Australia Power Ads offers you the best way to find anything online, saving you time and money. Visit here to begin your adventure.

Advantages of Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers for Litterless Lunches

Good habits form early in life, and as an environmentally aware parent, you are probably always looking for ways to educate your children about the need to "reduce, reuse and recycle". One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to plan for litterless lunches and snacks that produce no garbage other than, say, an apple core that can be brought back home and composted. Food containers are also brought back home, washed, and reused for the next day, producing no litter for your school or workplace.

While your first thought may be to turn to your stash of plastic containers passed down from your mother's kitchen to yours, think again. Plastic containers may work well to replace the litter created by plastic wrap and sandwich bags, but stainless steel is a much better and more eco-friendly alternative with several important advantages over plastic or even glass, especially when it comes to food storage and food safety.

  • Plastics can leach harmful chemicals into your food. Stainless steel is safe, non-toxic and non-reactive to even acidic foods (such as tomatoes). The safety and health of your family may be the most important reason you switch to stainless steel food storage.

  • Stainless steel is, well, stainless. Your plastic containers will discolour and stain with use. While steel can scratch, it will always look clean if it is well cleaned.

  • Steel does not break. Perhaps your stainless steel container may dent if dropped on a hard surface, but it will not shatter or chip the way glass can, or crack the way plastic might.

  • Steel is a very hygienic material. Steel is not a hospitable environment for harbouring or encouraging the growth of bacteria. It will also not transfer odours, which is a common complaint about plastic containers.

  • Stainless steel food containers can be airtight and leak-proof. Using locking clips and silicone seals similar to those found in plastic or glass containers, some stainless steel containers are also airtight and leak-proof, perfect for transporting yogurt, salsa or dip.

  • Steel is durable and long-lasting. While steel containers can cost two or three times more than comparable plastic ones, given how stain-resistant, hygienic and unbreakable they are, they will easily outlast your plastic containers proving that the initial investment was well worth the money. And as an added bonus, you know they will be safe to pass down to your children!

  • Steel is highly recyclable. Steel is a very sustainable material and the products you purchase will most likely have at least 75% recycled scrap steel content. And if you decide for some reason that you do not want the product anymore, it can be endlessly recycled. In contrast, most plastic food storage containers are not accepted into municipal recycling programs.

So start replacing your old plastic containers with stainless steel food storage containers. You will feel better about helping to preserve the health of our planet if you are also helping to preserve the health of your family.

Cynthia L. is owner of pure | simple LIVING, an online boutique that offers smart eco-friendly options that are good for your family and gentle on the earth. Visit http://www.puresimpleliving.ca to see how our full range of sustainable products, including stainless steel food storage, organic cotton bath towels and natural laundry detergents, can complement your eco-friendly lifestyle.

Kid Toys For A Bargain?

Everything is more expensive today, especially in the arena of baby strollers, cribs, playpens, highchairs, and a host of other necessary equipment. The same is true for toddler toys and sports equipment for older kids. As prices rise, garage sales and thrift stores become more and more attractive.

Are Garage Sales and Thrift Stores a Bargain?

At first blush, one would think so. Prices are certainly cheaper, aren't they? But consider this: Short of throwing out absolute junk, no one reviews the quality of things sold in a garage or yard sale. At thrift stores, only those items that are broken or otherwise severely damaged will be sent to the garbage heap. A few thrift stores are slowly trying to set some standards for what will be offered for sale, removing some toxics and any dangerous goods (e.g., weapons, ammunition, powered tools and equipment.

Even so, there isn't always someone trained to check for broken straps on highchairs and strollers, damaged slats in a crib, or torn netting in a playpen. So, that shifts total responsibility to the parent or caregiver. If you're going to buy safely for a reduced price, then it's imperative that you inspect items carefully.

What To Look For Before You Buy

For details on standards for various pieces of baby and toddler equipment, or bicycles and helmets, please check other articles on our blog and the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Meanwhile, here are a few points to remember:

1. Straps on child seats, baby carriers, strollers and highchairs should be sound and not torn or worn.
2. Ask to have a crib or playpen actually assembled before buying it. Otherwise, it is too easy to have a broken crib slat, torn side mesh on a playpen, or parts that don't work right or at all. You can't afford to compromise on these issues.
3. Don't accept bedding and mattresses unless they have been thoroughly washed and fumigated (in the case of mattresses). Ask for a certificate or letter documenting this latter process (Obviously, a homeowner won't be able to provide a sanitized mattress so you may want to consider purchasing a mattress from a retailer).
4. Of course, look for any broken, worn or damaged parts on everything. Look for corroded metal parts that may not work properly or fail altogether.
5. Look for the Junior Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) seal on all products, especially cribs, strollers, car seats, playpens and related goods. If the previous owner has been kind enough to save the owner's manuals, that is a great source of parts lists, setup instructions and safety guidance. This will save hours of time if you need to replace a part.
6. If you're buying toys, be sure they are undamaged and age-appropriate.
7. Clothes you are considering for small children, toddlers and babies must meet U. S. standards for flammability (a label should tell you that).
8. Avoid old chemistry sets and the like for older kids. Chemicals deteriorate over time and could produce unexpected and unwanted results.
9. Metal objects (especially toys and jewelry) made in China or other underdeveloped countries should be checked for lead or avoided altogether. Lead affects major organs and intelligence/developmental issues in children six years of age and under.
10. Inspect toys, furniture (especially antique pieced) and any other painted items for lead-based paint. Paints manufactured before 1978 often contain lead-based paints. If a child ingests any lead dust or scrapings, they can develop severe health problems.

So, while thrift stores and yard sales look like a great deal, they may not always be. Check for lead-based paints and metal objects, flame-retardant clothes, broken or damaged pieces, and baby equipment marked with the JPMA seal.

For more information on this and other child safety topics, please join us at http://www.homesafetytipsforkids.com

Job Security for Those With a Compassionate Heart

Are you tired of working that dead end job that will never give you the financial security you crave? Do you wish you could get paid for doing something that makes you feel good? If so, you may be perfectly suited to a career working directly with others. With a short certificate program or a two-year Associate degree, you could find yourself helping others, feeling better about yourself, and enjoying the financial security that you know you deserve.

It may seem like a dream at this moment, but it is possible to start a new career and find the security that you desire. You won't necessarily become a millionaire after completing a short course and starting a new career, but you can find more personal satisfaction and perhaps a higher salary after making such a move.

If you have a big heart and want to make a living while helping others enrich their lives, then the fulfillment you dream of may be just one short course away! You just need to determine what population you would like to work with, and how you would like to help them make their lives better. This type of career is very rewarding so you will make your own life better in the process of helping others. That satisfaction combined with job security in a field that will always be in demand will reward you in ways you cannot imagine right now.

Working with the Elderly

There are some aged care courses that allow you to work directly with the elderly. For the most part, these jobs will put you in daily contact with people who are no longer able to care for themselves completely. Some may live independently with the assistance of professional caregivers. Others live in residential facilities and receive varying levels of care on a daily basis.

After completing coursework in aged care you can receive a professional certificate that allows you to work as personal care provider in a variety of residential homes. You may also qualify to serve as a companion or other entry level positions working with in-home services. You will not be able to deliver any medical care that would legally require a nurse or doctor, but you can do any of the following with a basic certificate:

Cooking and cleaning, general house care
Grooming and body care
Basic companionship or supervision
Transporting to and from appointments
There may be some other things that you can do with an aged care certificate. Consider this the starting point for your new career. You can always further your education with a nursing degree if you want to make even more money and enjoy even more job security.

Working with Children and Teens

There are also a lot of jobs to be gained if you take child care courses and earn a certificate in a related field. You can work in a nursery or start your own nursery in your home. You can work in residential facilities for troubled youth in introductory positions. There may be other child-focused facilities in your local community looking for someone with this type of education as well.

All of these courses can now be taken online, so you don't have to quit your current job to switch to a more rewarding career!

The Filipino Simple Family Lifestyle

Bicol zone is now at the top of tourist destinations nowadays, not simply because of the magnificent attractions or the eye-catching man made attractions, yet its all about the family lifestyle of people.Being a grown up in an average state of family lifestyle I can say I am unfortunate to live with so much luxuriant or material things, nevertheless I am honed in a simple and humble lifestyle, but I am happy enough that me and my family is blessed to gain a very wonderful and memorable experiences than anybody because love is rich within me and my family at home.

There is a message that tells people "Live A Simple Life" It's an easy to understand quote despite that significant for every family. Living in such a simple way is indeed a happy one you know why? Because in each and every simple and little thing we carry out can define the true concept of "happiness." It may sound "corny" for some people. But the simple fact nowadays I discovered that living a happy life is more essential unlike living a perfect life. The simple family lifestyle will provide a choice on how you enjoy life to the fullest.

At the time of my cousin's childhood years she learns to play an old or native Filipino game like the Patentero, this is a game usually played during the night particularly in full moon, at the midst of a breezy and relaxing nighttime, you will be able to hear screams of children's voice, it's exhausting however this game really is fun. There are times that her mother, father as well as brother and sister travel together having a family bonding, they play, eat and have the enjoyment with one another. A family condition of life are not going to hinder everybody to be deprive of being happy. They will be playing as a family in the large area rice field to play volleyball and in a rainy day. Are you aware that it's funnier when compared to the usual volleyball court or in the seaside type of volleyball, you will certainly not be able to measure the happiness and the challenge it brings. The challenge will be in getting rid of mud. This type of family lifestyle provides you the feeling of satisfaction.

Be sure to endure something totally new given that life is to short live life to the fullest and simple family lifestyle provides you will get you will never ever forget.

family lifestyle

Instructing Children Sewing Skills With Fun And Simple Projects

Kids sewing patterns and projects many times have clothes and toys. When you are picking a pattern for a young child, consider the projects he or she enjoys. Get their input. The greater the interest in the projects, the greater the enjoyment they'll have making them.

Many of the simplest projects make use of socks. There are a lot of kinds of toys that can be sewn from socks.

Hand puppets could be made by sewing on a fringe of yarn for hair. Internet retailers and hobby stores sell simple to sew on yarn hair that is pre-connected to a fabric piece. All the child needs to do is sew it on to the toe or heel of the sock, dependent upon the kind of puppet they want to create.

The yarn hair can be attached by using a machine. This is an ideal project for using basic straight stitches, but it's a good idea to practice with an old sheet or some fabric scraps beforehand.

Socks could be filled and sewn together at the leg opening to make miniature stuffed creatures. This project is great for teaching children sewing machine techniques, too. The seam used to stitch the leg opening of the sock closed is fundamentally the same one as the seams which they could one day use to make clothes or other crafts.

Penguins, bears, and horses are just a few of the animals that could be sewn by using socks. Lots of patterns are flexible in this respect. By altering the positioning of the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, one can make a different animal.

Socks can be utilized for instructing in more advanced skills, as well. Rather than sticking to the basic shape of the sock, it can be cut into pieces and then sewn back together in divers ways to make wee wings for a bird or arms for a small doll.

Cutting the pieces lets a youngster to practice using their scissors. If a preprinted pattern is used, it helps the child to cut fabric with a pattern.

Sewing a kite is an ideal project for teaching children sewing. The projects are comparably simple to complete, but when a child's abilities advance, the basic project could be revised. For example, the kid might choose to make a new spring kite with a more decorative center that must be stitched on.

Nylon fabric is advised when making kites. This is very good, since it provides the youngster with practice with how the machine works on more slippery fabrics. The skills carry over to sewing on silks, satins, and other shiny fabrics.

Young girls normally like making clothes for their dolly. There're many patterns made for doll clothes. Young boys normally opt for kites and various toy type projects, but all young kids are not alike. Be sure to always let them help with the determining about which kids sewing patterns to pick.

JoAnn is a sewing enthusiast who enjoys sharing her passion for sewing with all ages. Author of nine books and multiple e-books that explore many sewing applications, JoAnn seeks to encourage you on your sewing journey and instill in you a love for sewing. Visit her at http://www.bunkhousesewing.com/childrens-sewing-books

Make Moving House As Easy As Possible

It is said that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do. It's no wonder. Even if there is excitement at the thought of a new home, or despair at having to leave the current domicile, the thought of packing up and moving fills even the bravest souls with dread. And, it isn't just the packing, there's all that unpacking and sorting out to be done at the other end.

For the student or the person leaving home for the first time, it should be a relatively pain free experience; one that can usually be accomplished with a good few boxes, a few suitcases and maybe a couple of trips in a car. For the modern couple or family however, the story is very different...

Over time, people expand to fill their homes. Families especially, generally have a ton of 'stuff'. Even the neatest of homes are packed with the accoutrements of modern living - there are just stored nicely. For people who think moving is best done with the aid of friends and family, they might want to reconsider. Moving yourself means hiring a van, and this usually means multiple trips, because you can't fit a family home into a Luton van. It means getting hold of packing boxes (although they are easily sourced online), bubble wrap or masses of newspapers, and lastly, entrusting your prized possessions to people who don't care about them as much as you. Even if you have insurance, no amount of money will compensate if someone drops the vase that was a family heirloom that came from granny. Moving yourself also means you might cause furniture damage. Fitting large sofas and wardrobes through small or awkward spaces can result in gouges in walls, and scuffed, damaged possessions.

Professional Moving Company

Although moving yourself may seem attractive financially speaking, there is a lot to be said for hiring a professional removal company. Firstly, unless you live a country pile, they will have lorries big enough to move you in one journey. Secondly, they will, if required provide all the packaging materials required. Most removal firms offer boxes, tea crates, bubble wrap, and even brown tape with easy dispenser. Professional firms also offer a packing service. They will come to your home and seemingly by magic, your home is neatly and safely stored in labelled crates and boxes ready to be put on the van and transferred directly to the right rooms in the new home. Insurance is also part of the professional removals package (although the issue of granny's smashed vase remains should it occur). Lastly, removal men are used to manoeuvring furniture through all manner of rooms, corridors and spaces. There is less likelihood of your leather sofa arm being torn or your 42" Plasma TV being scratched when being shifted by men who should know what they are doing.

Store Your Items

There is also one other advantage to opting for a removal firm over moving yourself. Should the vagaries of the housing market mean your moving out date and moving in date do not conveniently coincide, removal firms may have storage facilities. This means you and the family can book into a hotel or B&B, knowing your possessions are safe and secure, until you get the keys to your new home. This is also a helpful option if you are moving abroad and need storage before your container is available.

Graeme is writing on behalf of storage company - Glasswells
Cheating is fast becoming as common as pizza. This is however not an invitation to put on your paranoid slippers and start imagining that every man in sight (perhaps even one who is bedridden and can't get around without you) is cheating.

There are some fool-proof signs that will out a cheating spouse, and surprisingly, they are not the obvious ones you would be expecting. I mean, get real: how many husbands WOULD actually leave lipstick stains on their collars? So learn to look for the not-so-obvious like:

1. Incessant and Unjust complaints

If your husband suddenly starts finding fault with things he was perfectly okay with before, consider yourself put on notice because it means that there is now someone else in his life, new apparently, whose opinion he values enough to want to overturn all that was previously familiar and normal. Chances are, he will start wanting to change the little things like your shampoo, or your laundry detergent, or the way you arrange the scrambled eggs on the plate, or even the way you wax the floors and before you know it, he decides the little things are not enough, he wants to change his wife.

2. Instincts

For most of us, every time we ignore our instincts, we end up regretting it, and in truth, a woman's instincts are usually more accurate than she gives them credit for. If you suddenly start getting that feeling in the pit of your stomach that he is 'stepping out on you', you may want to start being more alert.

3. Body Language

There is a lot to be said for body language no matter how people may underrate them. A cheating husband will, at some level, feel guilt (unless of course he is a sociopath) and invariably, if you are good, you can virtually smell and SEE the guilt coming out of his pores. Of course, every cheat is also a liar (whoever heard of an honest cheat), so if you suspect cheating, then you have to be on your toes to catch him out in a lie. Clue, body language. It may not always be about holes in his story; sometimes, it's in the way he tells them. Studies have shown that not all liars avoid eye contact; in fact some go out of their way to make eye contact so you have to look for other clues.

4. Kissing

If your spouse has been lip-locked with someone else, invariably, his kissing style changes. It may be subtle or overt but once he has kissed the forbidden lips, the next time he touches lips with you, he unconsciously mimics the other woman's technique. This does not however suggest that he wouldn't kiss differently if say, he was punched on the lips by the friendly neighbourhood burglar while the latter was carting away family treasures, nor is this meant to suggest that 20 years down the line, he would kiss you the same way he did at your wedding ceremony. You can easily figure out where to draw the line being that you are a sensible woman.

5. Excessive explanations

Do you remember being a kid with an overeager imagination? When you were asked who had been in the cookie jar, you made up stories ranging from burglars to fairies in order to protect the real culprit, you; but when you were innocent of the 'theft', you simply said, "I don't know".
When a man has been unfaithful, a simple "How was work?" is likely to earn you incredible accounts of how he got delayed because his boss decided to do the rumba on the conference table.

6. Suspicion

An unfaithful spouse will suddenly, and for no obvious reason, become suspicious of you, accusing you of flirting with everyone from the mailman to the elderly gentleman next door. If he was previously not the unreasonably jealous type, then be alert because most cheats abide by the principle: an attack is the best defence. So while you are busy fending off his attacks, he may be quietly and happily cheating on the side.

7. He gives you unusually free rein with his gadgets

Most people check the phones and e-mails first if they suspect someone is cheating and so, most cheats have learnt to grow with the times. If he is being unusually non-possessive of his gadgets, then you may have cause for alarm because not only is he cheating, he is also consistently wiping off the evidence!!! It's like premeditated cheating!

8. Follow the money

Every cheating man wants to do right by his lady love so naturally, he resorts to gifts and trips. If you can follow his spending habits, you may have a shot at catching him at it.

Please note that there are exceptions to every rule, but if four or more of these signs are present, you may want to keep a closer eye on your man.
The worst thing you can do is confront a cheating husband before you have all the facts or evidence. Chances are, he will deny it and 'up' his cheating, daring you to catch him at his game - if you can!!!

Sherina Okoye has a penchant for writing on almost every topic under the sun and basically telling it like it is. If you are looking for witty, humorous, insightful, and helpful information on on family life, inspiration, fashion, etc.then visit: http://sherina89.blogspot.com/. Also, for more details on how to tell a spouse IS lying to cover up cheating, also click on the above link!

How NOT to Kill Your Mother In-Law

If you're married or in a civil union, you have had to deal with a mother in-law. Now granted most mother in-laws are pretty nice and easy to get along with. Thank your lucky stars if you have one like that. A cool mother in-law can sometimes be a surrogate mother if you have lost your biological mother or she just isn't in your life. If you are close to your own mother a nice mother in-law can be like a second mom. I mean you can never have enough of mom's home cooking right?

Now for those of you that have a hard to please monster in-law, oops I meant mother in-law, there are ways of dealing with her just short of moving to Siberia. First of all it would probably be a good idea for you to "kill" her with kindness. Compliment her on her hair, her fashion sense or the mole on her chin. Any positive reinforcement will do. A few simple words strategically placed here and there will usually have a woman eating out of your hand instead of just eating your hand.

A lot of mothers seem to always think that their little Johnny or Debbie could have done better. What they don't realize is that it's their child's life and not theirs. One can not help who they fall in love with, right? So therefore these mothers are constantly putting you down and telling you that you're not good enough. You need to find a way to get on her good side. You could send her some flowers. Find out from Johnny or Debbie what her favorite bloom is and send her a dozen. Important to make sure she is not allergic. That would not score any brownie points. Find out what her favorite color is and perhaps purchase her a blouse in that shade.

If you can afford it, send her on an exotic trip around the world. Not only will you be achieving gold status in her eyes but, you will be getting rid of her for a month or so. The only downside to this, is when she returns you will have to sit through countless hours of blurry, unfocused photographs she took of her journey.

Just be yourself and show her you are not the bum or witch she thinks you are. You don't want to go through life pretending to be something you're not every time you're around this woman. Show her how much you love and care about her offspring and do it often. Actions always speak louder than words! With a few well thought out gestures and a couple of nice gifts would hurt, she will be singing your praises in no time!

What Is the Secret to a Happy Relationship?

That is probably the million dollar question. Everyone wants to know the answer to that one. To me the answer to that loaded question is very plain and simple. Have respect, compassion and communicate with the other person you are in a relationship with. Well if it were that easy, I would not need to be writing this little blurb. I have researched this topic and taking from my own past experiences I am going to tackle this subject.

First of all, I've always been fascinated by love, like what makes you attracted to a certain person, how do you know when that person is the "one"? I have come to the conclusion that there is no rhyme or reason to trying to figure out love. Just accept it and enjoy the ride. I believe you must start out with mutual respect for each other. This means you should not have contempt or abuse for the other person in any way. You don't have to always agree with them but you should always have their back.

When having a disagreement, you should always be arguing about the situation at hand and not bringing up past incidents. Don't bring up the time he came home 3 hours late that Tuesday 2 years ago. If, let's say you are having an argument about a money issue. Make sure the argument is about THAT money issue and that issue only. In other words, make sure you're not fighting and are arguing about said issue.

If children are involved in your relationship, it is important that you agree on how you are going to raise your children. Fundamentally there are 3 basic rules of parenting.

1) These are the rules. No ifs, ands or buts.

2) These are the rules. You (children) can put in your two cents but parents have final say.

3) The rules are lax or almost non existent.

Parents need to pick a style of parenting and stick with it. If they were raised in totally different styles, then it's important to compromise and meet in the middle on how they are going to raise the children.

Next, it helps if a couple have common interests and goals. It is okay to have varied interest but always nice to have interests somewhat close in nature. If a couple have a little different scope in interests it allows them to explore new things. It's also nice when a couple have similar goals in life. Too many times couples don't have the same goals and end up growing apart from each other because they are not trying to reach the same end result.

Sex is a very important aspect in a marriage. Don't ever make it feel like a chore or use it as punishment. Sex should be something that you both enjoy doing together. Always try to make time and have the energy for a healthy sex life.

In conclusion just have fun with each other. Beauty fades. Sexiness withers. But someone who can make you laugh and always put a smile on your face? Well, that's just priceless! Enjoy each other's company and make plans for the long haul and you will have a very happy, long life!

What Are Cyber Predators and What We Can Do About It?

What are Cyber predators? An internet predator or cyber predator is like a sexual predator but that operates on the internet. They fake to be nice and try to obtain the trust of a young girl or boy so they can meet them in a private location online or offline. Most of the time they greet kindly like "Hey, how are you long time no see."

These persons try to sexually exploit children through the use of social media sites, like Facebook. Some of these individuals progressively seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts. They are often willing to devote large amounts of time, money, and energy in this process. They listen to and empathize with the children problems or other concerns. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children. These individuals main goal is to meet with the victim offline. What are Cyber predators doing to achieve their objectives? They are using the Internet to harm our children offline.

What are cyber predators doing to track their victims? They are taking advantage of the photos we share online. Why is that? The answer is very simple, the photos we take with our Smartphone's contain what is called geotag capabilities. This means that each photo has electronic information on it that can be used to trace our location. These criminals are well aware that the photos we share online provide them with location information that could lead them directly to your home and your children.Cyber predators are using technology for the wrong reasons. Scary, isn't it?

Cyber predators are capitalizing on the fact that just about anyone can get their hands on easy to use software which can pinpoint the exact location of where your pictures were taken. They are simply downloading free browser plug-ins like Exif viewer for Firefox or Opanda IExif for Internet Explorer. These programs help them identify of where the photo was taken, and helps them create a Google map with directions to your home.

But what we can do to keep our kids safe? What are the tools we can use to keep these cyber predators away? The good news is that there are ways to eliminate the location information from your digital photos. You can disable the geotag function from your Smartphone. If you don't know how to do this, check your phone user manual for details. There are websites that can show you how to do it. For me; the best tool is to install VPN (virtual private network) software with the capability to eliminate your location information. How a VPN works? A VPN creates a secure tunnel through the Internet controlling the traffic to and from your computer or mobile devices. You create your own private Internet, and become anonymous online.

But you know, the best tool to protect your children from what cyber predators are doing, is to be a good parent. Be close to them, listen to them, and be there for them. Parenting with a little help from technology will do the trick.

Did you know that sharing your photos online can provide location information that could lead cyber predators directly to your home or children?

Make sure you are not putting your kids at risk. Get protected now! Click on the link below and follow 3 simple steps to keep the cyber predators away!


For more information email me at: worama@surfsafevpn.com

After the Kids Have Returned to College: Adult Adjustments

I remember it well -- the first day both of my daughters were in school. I had been dreading this day for weeks and it felt just as I expected. "The house is too quiet," I said to my husband.

He thought for a moment and replied, "I'll take you out to lunch." We had a wonderful lunch together and during the course of our conversation I mentioned that we should go to lunch again. "I can't take you out to lunch every day," he replied. He spoke the truth and I had to deal with it.

My husband had a demanding job. What was my job now? I was still a mother and a homemaker, but what else could I do? The answers to my question were surprising. One of the things I did with my newfound time was to create a story hour at the local library. AAUW (American Association of University Women) staffed the story hour and it went well.

Because I had been away from teaching for seven years, I tried to update myself and learn about the changes that had taken place. The next year I got a job teaching kindergarten at a local school. Though I felt the same feelings I felt many years ago, I am familiar with them. Our twin grandchildren live with us. Last week my grandson went back to the university and my granddaughter left for college today.

The house is quiet -- too quiet -- but now I know what I will do with my time. After I returned to teaching, I continued to teach and taught for a dozen years. I started to write articles for education journals and had a feeling of satisfaction when they were published. Eventually, the tug of writing exceeded the tug of teaching. I retired from teaching to become a freelance writer.

Now that the house is quiet again, I will crank out more articles. I will work on book marketing. I will revise the outline for a course I'm giving in a month and practice my presentation. I will create handouts to go with the course. I will get in touch with friends that I haven't seen all summer. I will spent more time with my husband and savor every moment.

Your child or children may have gone back to college and you are left with a quiet house. This is your time, a chance to pursue things that have been on your wish list, a chance to reactivate hobbies, a chance to read the books piled on the coffee table, a chance to learn something new, a chance to make new friends, a chance to volunteer in your community, a chance to support causes near and dear to you, a chance to travel.

Thinking back, I realize I wouldn't be an established author today, were it not for my too quiet house. If your house is too quiet I hope you will embrace this time and follow your dreams. Make each day count, as you discover yourself and all you can do. Get going!

Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson


Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 35+ years and is the author of 31 books. Her recent work focuses on loss, grief, and grief recovery. Check on her two new books, "Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss" and "Help! I'm Raising My Grandkids." Visit her website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.

Top Tips On Planning Cremation Services

Dealing with grief is never easy; usually, it is a time of sorry and emotions. During these trying times, you are not only struck with the emotional burden, but also financial obligations to cremate or bury the deceased. If you do not pull yourself together, this weight can easily be too much to bear. Here are some tips that will help you plan cremation services effectively.

The first step that will help you cope efficiently with this situation is to try and rally all the help. This includes family members, friends, colleagues and any avenue that will potentially offer assistance. During emotional periods, people generally do not think straight, rallying all the help you can get is therefore very important.

Once you have identified and consulted all the avenues you can use to rally resources, the next step is planning. This is where a good funeral service firm comes in. With a good firm, you'll be able to speed up things and the whole process will be smooth. Generally, good service providers will advice on any queries you might have and provide help or suggestions here and there.

Come up with a budget for the cremation service. Taking care for the dead requires money, you will need to come up with a good budget. Depending on the amount of money you'll have accumulated, you will draw down a workable budget. Generally, your funeral service can advice based on resources available.

Seek help from friends who have been through such situations or non profit organizations. There are a number of organizations that provide advice to people during such trying times. Most likely, they can refer to you one of the best service providers in your town. Apart from that, they provide support to members as they meet other people who are going through or have dealt with the same situation in the past.

Look for any wishes your loved one might have left. It's always a good thing to honor the last wishes of your loved one. If they left a note on how their cremation should be handled, try and follow this to the best of your ability.

Advertise in the local dailies. Once you've planned for everything, try and inform people about the plans you have. This can be through word of mouth or even through newspaper. If you have relatives or friends abroad who you want to be present at the service, now is the right time to let them know about your cremation plans. This will help them organize themselves and travel in time.

We are experts in the field of both cremations and burials so click here to find out more.

Car Bows

Planning to get a huge gift for your loved ones? Maybe a car for your kid's 16th birthday, or one for your anniversary... or are you planning to finally move your family into the new home you purchased? Many situations in our lives make us want to get huge gifts for our loved ones and one small detail we forget in all that excitement is the decoration of that piece. A lot of people will wonder how a huge thing like a car or a house can be wrapped,and it is quite simple actually... don't wrap it in a paper... just decorate it with a beautiful bow. Bows have always been associated with gifts and decorating your big gift with a beautifully made large bow will not rob the receiver from the feeling of "opening their gift".

A big bow could either add to the beauty of your gift or rob it of all the charm. It could become the most memorable thing you did while presenting the gift or just another decoration,and it all depends on how much thought you put into getting that bug bow made. It is not that difficult because of the variety of choices you can have while getting your big bow made. Finding the right professional who will not just make that big bow for you but also add a touch of uniqueness to it is the key. We may have great ideas about the type of bow we want and how we want to wrap the gift with it,but it is an experienced professional who can help us turn those amazing ideas into reality and also to make sure that they are the right choice. For example, if it is your kid you plan to get the big bow for, then a more funky bog bow would do the trick... or a big pink or red bow, if it is your daughter who's getting the gift. If it is an anniversary gift, then definitely a big red bow mixed with some other color should make it perfect, and many other such options that would add meaning to that huge bow that decorates your gift.

Getting a large bow to decorate your gift could be a regular thing, an activity that you had to do,or it could be an enjoyable experience that brings happiness to you and a smile on the face of the person you present your gift to... so put some thought into it.

Looking to purchase car bows? Try carbowstore.org for the lowest prices and to buy direct from the manufacturer.

Selasa, 04 September 2012

Home Is Where the Heart Is - Create a Warm Home

Create a home... not just a house

Home is where the heart is... your home should be a safe sanctuary for you to retreat to, it should nurture you and it should exuberate love. How many times have you walked into the perfect home, with designer couches, wallpaper and finishings and even though it looks perfect, it feels cold, sterile and not welcoming. And then there are the homes you walk into and they feel like you have just stepped into a space of warmth, comfort and love - it may have cracks in the furniture and the upholstery is not matching, but there is something about it that seems so raw and imperfectly perfect...

This is the difference between a home and a house. So how do you create a home?

1. Spend time in it - enjoy being home, it's your sanctuary. Spend time in your home and fill it with positive energy. Invite friends and family over; fill the rooms with love, laughter and life.

2. Burn oils and candles - aromas awaken the senses, and they awaken your home. They are one of life's simple luxuries, which can help heal the mind, body and spirit. The smells that you choose to use linger in your home, giving your home its own unique aroma, message and atmosphere. In winter I love to burn cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, coffee and lavender scented essential oils. In summer I love tangerine, peppermint, clarysage and rose.

3. Speak kindly - words, action and intent all create energy. Make sure you are creating positive energy.

4. Show gratitude - show your home some love by thanking it for the roof that protects you from the rain, the walls that keep you safe and the room it gives you for personal space. You are lucky to have a home; so many people are not so blessed.

5. Open your home and heart to strangers - Invite friends and family over for high tea or summertime lemonade, hold a monthly book club meeting or invite your girlfriends over for a pyjama party with wine, chocolate and sex and the city re-runs. Open your heart and home up to people, the energy will fill you and inspire you. If you're up to it - why not open your home up to the community such as adapt an abandoned animal, take on an exchange student or foster an abandoned child.

6. Play music - aahh how I love this one... music soothes the soul and it soothes your home. Ever noticed whenever you play music in your home - your house seems to sing along with the tunes. Your home doesn't discriminate between jazz, rock, opera or punk... it just wants to feel the rhythm... so get in sync and hit the play button today.

7. Let your things tell a story - this is why I love second hand stuff... it has a history and a story. But things don't have to be second hand to have a story - where I am going with this is buy something because you love it - not because you think that is what everyone else is buying. When you buy something for the fact that you love it, it immediately has a story - its energy and beauty resonates with you, other people may not see it, however you do, therefore there is a story. When you buy things brand new try and know where they came from - was it made with ethical practices, fair trade etc.

8. De-Clutter your space - don't hold on to things, there are is a time, place and purpose for things. Everything is energy, so don't just let things sit around creating stale energy; give them to someone who needs them. Create some space in your home to allow space for abundance and newness to flow.

9. Surround yourself in beauty - this doesn't have to be expensive things of grandeur, it is just about bringing things into your home that you love. For instance maybe some fresh flowers, a handmade cushion from the local market or that rugged and worn truck that you found at the treasure market which is etched in scratches and history. I love to bring in shells and drift wood - it seems to bring me a little closer to nature.

10. Nourish your home with home cooked meals - there is nothing better than walking in the front door and smelling a home-cooked meal, it creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. So before you dial the number of that old familiar Thai takeaway place, take a look in your fridge and see what you can cook up... your home and health with thank you for it.

My name is Claire and I am so happy that you stopped by and read my article. I am a Holistic Lifestyle Coach with a big passion for life, yoga, natural wellness and living with passion and gratitude in my heart.I write to stay connected to myself, to appreciate life's little things & to inspire others. You can visit me at my cyber home at http://www.serenewellnessblog.com Please feel free to republish my work so long as you attribute it to me.

What To Look For In Quality HVAC Services

It is not always easy for homeowners to choose a quality heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) service. Some businesses are hard to contact or work exclusively through third-party contractors. There are other services that might only specialize in selling one particular type of system that cannot be customized to fit the needs of a homeowner. There are a few attributes to look for when choosing a reliable HVAC service.

Trained Service Technicians

A quality HVAC service will employee a trained staff of maintenance, installation and repair technicians that can handle a variety of situations. Properly trained staff means that installations and repairs can be performed right the first time, without damage to a home and with a minimum amount of inconvenience. This can also result in a longer lasting HVAC system since correctly installed units will not experience wear and damage from an improper installation. Experienced technicians in will also have knowledge of the local codes and regulations that need to be followed in order to pass inspections later.

Accurate Assessments

One of the hallmarks of reliable HVAC services is the initial care that is taken when inspecting an installed unit or determining which system is the best for a home. An accurate assessment of a building that considers installed insulation, heat loss and measurements of the air temperature in the house can save homeowners money by ensuring that the correct sized unit is installed. Assessments of existing systems that might need to be repaired are also important because a quality service will offer the homeowner a variety of options if repairs seem to be impractical or impossible.

Variety Of Equipment

An experienced HVAC service will have a number of different equipment solutions available. This is important, because some homes might only need small air conditioning units while others could require a much larger system that can cool the whole house quickly. A varied selection of available equipment means that technicians who assess the needs of a house can make the most appropriate suggestions that fit the lifestyle of the homeowner as well as the heating and cooling needs of the building.

Maintenance Programs

Quality HVAC companies are established businesses that take great pride in the work that has been performed. Maintenance programs are one way that a business can show this dedication. These programs provide homeowners and businesses the opportunity to have regular cleanings, repairs and inspections of installed HVAC systems each year. This can extend the life of the unit and can ensure that any minor adjustments are made so that the system works as efficiently as possible.

Author is a freelance writer. For more information on HVAC Services please visit http://www.unitedairtemp.com/