Category: How To & Tips

Family Camping Tips

Family Camping Tips

There are few experiences that are better at bringing a family together than camping. Spending time together in nature, away from the stresses and distractions of everyday life, can strengthen the bonds between family members. Family camping is an adventure which creates shared memories that last a lifetime.

Camping with children is an enriching experience for the child and the adult. When we introduce nature to children, we see it anew through their eyes. Providing children with positive outdoor adventures will plant the seeds for a lifetime appreciation of nature.

Older children can enjoy freedom on a camping trip that is not always possible at home. With that freedom comes the responsibility to learn about the environment and any possible dangers. All of this contributes to a child’s maturity.

One way to insure that your first family camping excursions are positive is to adequately plan and prepare. Involving children in the planning and preparation will foster their enthusiasm for the trip. If you’re entirely new to camping, or if you haven’t done much camping since your own childhood, invite a more experienced family or friend to come along.

There are two basic types of camping: tailgate (or car camping) and backpacking. With tailgate camping, you drive to a campground and park your car in your campsite. Backpacking involves packing your camping gear into a wilderness area. For novice campers, tailgate camping is the best way to start out.

When deciding on a destination for your camping trip, consider the activities available. Hiking, swimming, biking, boating, sight seeing – these are just some of the things you can do on a camping trip. Before leaving, make a campsite reservation and get all the details about your destination.

Camping equipment is available in all price ranges. Deciding what kind of equipment to buy can be intimidating for a beginner. Try to borrow equipment for your first trip, or get advice from a friend if you are purchasing equipment.

Whether you buy or borrow a tent, make sure you know how to set it up and take it down before your trip. You can even have a “practice campout” in the backyard for the kids. This will help them get used to sleeping in the great outdoors.

These are some of the basic items that you will need for your first camping trip:

  •  Tent – A must have for family camping. Besides being your bedroom, it’s a place to store your clothing and gear. It should be big enough to comfortably fit everyone. If you have older children, you may one more than one tent.
  •  Sleeping bag, pad or air mattress, pillow – A pad or air mattress under your sleeping bag will help keep you warm and dry. Most children sleep well with a thin pad, but many adults prefer an air mattress. When purchasing sleeping bags, make sure the bag is warm enough for night time temperatures where you will be camping. Small camping pillows are available at most sporting goods stores. These pillows take less space and will easily fit into a duffel bag, which will keep them clean while traveling.
  •  Duffel bag or pack for each family member – Packing clothing and hygiene items in a single bag per family member helps keep things organized in the car and at the campsite.
  •  Warm clothing and extra shoes.
  •  First Aid kit with insect repellant, sunscreen and chap stick.
  •  Lantern and flashlights.
  •  Rain ponchos and tarps – Placing a tarp under your tent will keep it dry and warm inside when the ground is damp.
  •  Camp stove and cooking gear (including dishwashing soap) – You may want to use the campsite grill for some cooking, but a camp stove is very handy. Your cooking gear can be basic or fancy, depending on your menu and on how much time you want to spend cooking.
  •  Ice chest – Necessary for food which needs to be refrigerated.
  •  Ax, matches, fire starters – If you are allowed to have a campfire, bring the tools to help build it.
  •  Books, familiar toys, outdoor sports equipment – Reading material is great for the drive and for quiet times in camp. Allow your children to bring any familiar toys which will help them sleep. Leave electronics at home to help everyone really get away from modern life.

Involve children in setting up camp and in chores around the campsite. Teaching them camping skills will increase their self-confidence and provide them with valuable survival skills.

Children should learn about outdoor ethics and Leave No Trace principles. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has information about these subjects on their website. You can also talk to rangers at your campground about outdoor ethics.…

How To Choose The Right Dog Breeder

How To Choose The Right Dog Breeder

You have decided to bring a puppy into your family. After extensive research, thought, and discussion, you have chosen a specific breed. Now you need to know how to choose the right dog breeder.

The most imperative traits to look for out in a breeder are care and familiarity with the specific dog that they are breeding. Practically anyone can mate a male and female dog, bring forth a litter of puppies, and make a pretty penny. The following tips will give you discernment when choosing a breeder from which to adopt.

Purebred dogs are, by nature, prone to countless ailments due to limited genetic diversity. A conscientious breeder will be knowledgeable about health issues specific to the breed and aware of all possible health issues with both parents. Good breeders know not to pair dogs with certain genetic disorders.

A reputable breeder will be able to offer you a list of families who have adopted pups from them. They should also be willing to refer you to other dog breeders for references. Respectable breeders are concerned that only the best conditions are in place when breeding puppies, and will hear “through the grapevine” if that is not the case.

A breeder with a heart for their animals will have dogs that live alongside the breeder’s family. If there are several kennels and dog runs on the property, be cautious. Also, note whether the dogs’ sleeping, eating, and outdoor areas appear clean and well kept, as well as whether the breeder’s pets have toys or treats on hand.

Another item to check out is what the dogs are eating. A trustworthy breeder will feed their pets a high-end dog chow, recommending to you that you do the same. If a breeder tells you that they provide a raw food diet for their animals, that person is indeed dedicated to the dogs. Raw food diets are time consuming to prepare and can be expensive, but help combat common food allergies and skin disorders.

Quality breeders often stay involved with clubs in their region specific to the breed. Some are active with competitive trials where judging is based on traits such as appearance or agility. Dogs active in such contests must be fit, well groomed, and meet breed standards, which means the animals are receiving excellent care.

Inquire whether the breeder is or has ever been affiliated with a pet store and what their thoughts are on this. A choice breeder would never sell or consign their puppies to a pet shop or broker. They care enough about the pups to be selective when it comes to placing them in homes.

Try to get a feel as to what the litter’s parents are like. It is best if they are both on site. If not, ask about their characteristics. You want a pup whose parents have good personalities. Be concerned if either parent is nervous, hostile, or hyperactive.

Do not start too young. A good breeder will never separate pups from their mother until they are at least eight weeks old. They should provide a written guarantee of health and advise you that they will gladly accept the dog should you ever become unable to care for it.

In addition, all animals in the home should be current on licensing, check-ups, shots and worming, and a respectable breeder will gladly provide proof of this. They will also refer you to a reputable veterinarian, should you need one.

Finally, a compassionate breeder will have questions for you. They will want to know why you desire this particular breed of puppy. They will ask whether you have other pets or small children in the home.

They will question whether you have an established relationship with a veterinarian, a yard, and how often the dog will be alone. They will wonder where the pup will be kept, whether you are aware of the grooming required, and whether you will spay or neuter, or plan to breed the dog. If a breeder’s biggest concern is “Cash or check?” go elsewhere.

When you have found the right breeder for your family, do not hesitate to ask for their assistance in finding the right puppy. A good breeder will be acquainted with the puppies’ individual personalities and will gladly play matchmaker.…

How To Volunteer Your Time

How To Volunteer Your Time

As a single mom who is disabled, I often get bored sitting around wishing I could work again. When I can, I get out of the house and, because I love to help, I often give my time doing for others. Here are some ideas of how you can help make a difference in your community.

I believe that when we are blessed, we should bless back. More often that not, I don’t have a dollar in my pocket. However, I’m still rich and blessed. Why? Because I help others, and for me, there’s no feeling in the world that can truly compare to the joy of giving.

When I was working, I belonged to an online writing community. I had a great job and had money left over, so I often gave out gifts at the site. Sometimes, those gifts would be upgrades, enabling members there to store more of their work.

Sometimes, it would be a gift from their store, like a shirt or site monogramed writing implements, or a mug. While it did feel good to be able to gift these members, I didn’t always feel comfortable because I had money and they didn’t. So I began thinking of other ways to help which didn’t involve any money.

Shortly after I became disabled the first time, I began to volunteer at a local animal shelter. I simply showed up one day and told them to put me to work. And they sure did. I washed bowls, scooped poop, scrubbed kennels, cleaned litter boxes, did laundry and was able to play with some animals to boot.

The shelter was horribly understaffed as it was, so my help to them enabled them to attend to some other duties they had been putting off for some time. While I often could go just once a week, for a few hours, my being there was a big help.

All animal shelters appreciate any help at all they can get. If you cannot volunteer your time, they are always appreciative of cleaning supplies, paper towels, old blankets, towels, clothes, bowls, food, litter and toys. If you can help in any way, contact a local shelter and ask what specific help they need. They will appreciate you!

After I became disabled this second time, a friend told me her elderly ex-husband needed someone to clean for him once a week. Since I used to clean houses for a living, and I love our elderly, I jumped at the chance.

What was supposed to be a once a week deal turned into a daily visit. He’s unable to get around without a walker, and has limited use of his limbs, so I help him with meals, clean for him, do his laundry; anything he needs done, I’ll do it for him while I’m there.

If you want to help the elderly, some good places to call are hospice, a senior center or even your local police and/or fire department. Excellent ways to help the elderly are cleaning for them, running errands, fixing a meal, doing some laundry and even some things we deem simple such as rubbing them down with lotion, helping them change their clothes, even sitting and visiting with them for awhile. Each person is different, and all you need do is ask and they will let you know what they might need or want.

I live in a motel for now, and there is a wide variety of people here. Some are like me; a family in transition while others have been here for a few years and just work. I help them too, when I can. I babysit, do laundry for a couple of older men, do their dishes, clean, walk their pets.

Some of it, yes, I get paid for, and sometimes, I’m just bored and want to be able to do something. I’m sure in virtually every neighborhood there is a family or a person who would appreciate a favor from time to time.

Again, it just takes asking around. Maybe someone needs their grass cut, or their car cleaned, or their pet bathed. Perhaps they would love a “gift certificate” for a good housecleaning or a garage cleaning or even a massage, if that’s what you do, or a haircut. Each of us has talents and everyone wins when we can use those talents to help others.

If being around people or animals is not your thing, there are plenty of things you can do to help. Walk around any street with a bag and collect stray trash. Ask at your local police and/or fire department what you can do to help. Donate items to a shelter, consignment store, your local Red Cross or similiar organization, if you have anything you don’t need or want.

No matter how you choose to give of yourself to someone else, you are guaranteed to bring a smile to both your face and someone else’s, and the feeling you will get from giving of yourself is like no other. Good luck and give on!…

How To Be Lucky For The Rest Of The Year

How To Be Lucky For The Rest Of The Year

OK, so you slept through New Year’s and didn’t get to kiss anyone at midnight. And you didn’t eat black eyed peas. Or throw open all the doors and windows. Fear not, here are a few ways you can still be lucky in 2008:

  1. Put up chimes. I list this first because this belief appears in a lot of different cultures. The Chinese believe chimes attract good energy, or chi. Several hundred years ago, Europeans believed bells drove the devil away. Good energy in, evil spirits out. ..either way, it sounds like a no lose situation.
  2.  Plant rosemary by your front door. Another way to keep bad spirits away from your home.
  3.  Get rid of dead flowers in your home. At first glance, this seems silly. Who keeps dead flowers around anyway? But dried flowers are dead. And that bowl of potpourri? Out. Better to have fresh or silk flowers for decoration.
  4.  Find plants that whose leaves are round shaped if you want to attract wealth. Round shapes look like coins, and therefore having a living object upon which “coins” are attached is sure to bring wealth. The Chinese keep so-called coin plants in their homes for this very reason. Ask your local nursery for a cacti called Crassula arborescens. If you have a lot of room, plant the Silver dollar tree, otherwise known as Eucalyptus cinerea.
  5.  When playing games of chance, pick up the token with your left hand. Whenever I ask my ESL students to pick something out of a hat, the Latino students always use their left hand, for luck. This is surprising, since being left handed was thought to a mark of the devil. During the Salem Witch trials, left handed women were look upon with a lot of suspicion. However, in a way it make sense that when you want your hand to “see” a winning token in a basket, you would rely on a little black magic.
  6.  Make your decisions on the best day. Women should make their decisions on a Wednesday or a Friday; men on a Tuesday or Thursday.
  7.  Knock on wood. This superstition goes so far back that the reasons have evolved as they went along. First, oak was considered the wood that Jesus’ cross was made from, and from then on was considered holy. In pagan times, good spirits were thought to reside in wood, so whenever you said something that was positive, you knocked on wood (three times) to wake up the good spirits, and to drive away the bad.
  8.  Never store a wallet or a purse empty. Always put a coin, or money, inside. An empty wallet is bad luck because you are attracting, and symbolizing, your poverty.
  9.  Do not kill spiders. In 16th century Germany, spiders were believed to carry a stone inside them that had remedial powers. Spider webs were also believed to have curative powers, and witchcraft spells sometimes use spider webs. Therefore, killing a spider was considered bad luck.
  10.  Use the number 8. There is a reason why the Beijing Olympics are going to start at 8:00 on August 8, 2008. The Chinese word for “8” sounds almost the same as the word for “wealth”, or “prosperity”. Therefore, the Chinese believe 8 is a very fortuitous number, and pay a lot of money to have an address, license plate, or telephone number with this number.
  11.  Carry an acorn for good luck and prosperity. This is from the English, who carried dried acorns as far back as the Norman conquest for luck and protection.
  12.  Wear new clothes on Easter. Some of us probably remember getting new clothes for Easter. The origins of this are in Christianity, when converts were baptized on Easter, and given new (white) clothes to represent their new life with Christ.

And finally, because the number twelve is considered perfect, I won’t list anymore items.

Good Luck, Bon chance, and buena suerta. Here’s to a lucky 2008.…

How To Make Your House Wireless For Internet Access

How To Make Your House Wireless For Internet Access

After years and years of my family switching between AOL dial up, and then Verison DSL, we finally had enough of this painfully slow Internet connection and decided to finally get wireless Internet access for both of our 2 desktop computers and one laptop computer.

One day later I can’t tell you have much better I sleep at night and how much of a hassle has been removed from my every day life. Before we got wireless Internet access from Time Warner Cable, I discussed the costs with my family. We would be paying the same per month cost.

The only additional cost would be the set up and installation fee for the wireless connection in my apartment. I also found out that my apartment building had a bulk rate deal with Time Warner Cable which made the per month fee lower.

The first thing that you need to do to get wireless access is to contact a cable provider like Time Warner Cable. Ask a lot of questions because when the installation is going on, a lot of wires are going to be moved around. Ask questions about your phone jacks and whether your home land phone lines will need to be moved. Ask if any furniture will need to be moved.

On the phone arrange for a time to have the installation of the wireless access of your home. Make sure that you arrange for a time in which someone in your family is home. Whenever you have a stranger entering your home, you want to make sure that they are watch to make sure that they don’t ruin, destroy or steal anything.

Its also a good idea to have someone in your home while the installation is occurring because the cable guy will have a few questions for you while he is installing the internet access such as, where are your phone jacks located? Where is your phone base on your landline? (This usually means where is your answering machine device located).

The cable guy will also need to give you a password for your internet access so that someone cant access your internet connection and steal your data. This password is usually more than 18 characters or letters in length. Wires will also be cut when the cable guy is installing the wireless access so make sure you know what is being cut. At a certain point during the installation, the phone landline will be cut just so you are aware.

Before the cable guy leaves, make sure that the Internet access works on every computer in your house. For one of my desktop computers the cable guy needed to come back and bring a wireless chip because the computer didn’t have one. Also make sure that all the phones in your house that are connected to wires are working. If something isn’t working, make sure you tell the cable guy so that he fixes it before he leaves.

You will also need to sign a contract from the cable company. Before you sign anything, make sure you read the contract first. Read the print that says what you are paying and make sure that the price you are signing for is what you agreed to over the phone with the cable company. If the price is different then call the cable company before signing anything.

Finally, one very useful tip. The cable guy was supposed to arrive in the morning before noon at my house. He didn’t show up until 2pm and I was so livid that I called the cable company to complain. Because of that, they gave me the first month of wireless and phone service free of charge. If you aren’t happy with your service, make sure you say something, notifying the cable company that they will lose a customer if you don’t get something for free.…

“Bad” Memories Can Rob Your Happiness

“Bad” Memories Can Rob Your Happiness

Bad memories can rob you of your good memories and destroy your happiness, causing mental issues. Do not allow bad memories to destroy your life toss them to the wind and get on with your life. You’re the keeper of your mental faculties, don’t allow things that happened in your past to gobble up decision making abilities and your ability to enjoy good things and continue to love and care for others.

Step back and take time to study the overall memory and allow yourself to study the total concept as to who performed the act causing you to have the memory. Allow yourself to re-live the memory as often as is necessary so you can release it from your mind and accept it as a bad memory caused by someone other than yourself and you’re ready to move on in your life.

Re-living the memory as often as possible until you can get over it. Each time you visit this memory…remember, it was you who did nothing to cause the memory, and if you where involved, you have changed your way of life and will never go back to the situation again. Do not allow bad memories to destroy and rob your life of other good memories and happiness. We’re all human and bad memories occur in every ones life.

Do not ever allow yourself to feel “pity” but think positive and know that you’re not going to allow these bad memories to destroy your life. There’s probably not a person on this earth who has not felt shame, anger, and depression regarding something that happen in their life.

Re-hashing bad memories repeatedly with other people…you’re looking for pity and keeping the wound open to cause the memories to fester over and over again. This keeps the mind remembering the pain and sadness and it automatically re-opens the wound again and again.

Do not deny these bad memories ever happened but admit it to yourself because you know it did…accepted it and move on. Re-living these memories can consume your mind and keep you an unhappy person to live with or to enjoy. If a particular person caused these memories, forgive them, realize “we’re” human and “we” have all caused others some sort of bad memory in our life.

We may ask ourselves…why do we always remember the “bad memories”? Listen up people, it’s because it affected our lives and it brought pain and suffering to us, but remember, “we” control our thoughts and our minds and “we” can turn those bad memories to good ones.…

Ten ATM Kiosk Personal Safety Tips

Ten ATM Kiosk Personal Safety Tips

Ten Important Personal Safety Tips for Using ATM Kiosks Worldwide

Having traveled worldwide for over 25 years the use of an Automated Teller Machine, a.k.a. an ATM Kiosk is almost second nature to me. Even after this long period of usage it is imperative that the same personal safety tips are followed every time I go to an ATM kiosk. These are my ATM kiosk personal safety tips based on those many years of successful usage of this very convenient banking technology.

ATM Card Access

NEVER hand your credit card, or debit card, to anyone else. This includes members of your family. If something serious happens anyone you identify as having access to either your card or the PIN number to the card falls under suspicion.

Credit or Debit Card PIN Access

NEVER give your pin to anyone else. For obvious reasons this should never be done. Always remember not even bank employees or ATM Kiosk service personnel have any need to know your PIN numbers.

ATM Kiosk Security

Do not let that you do not know personally inside the ATM kiosk during your transactions. If possible use ATM kiosks that are separate, enclosed, well lit with only one person kiosk transaction areas.

ATM Kiosk Privacy

Ensure no one watches while you enter your PIN. This is just part of common sense and an important part of your personal safety tips when using any ATM kiosk.

ATM Locations Selection Criteria

Choose to use ATM kiosks that are located in crowded areas, preferably with some sort of security guard in place. ATM locations inside banks premises are safest. Those located physically outside banks are no safer than any other of thousands of outside ATM locations world wide. Develop and practice the same set of personal safety tips every time you visit any ATM kiosk location worldwide.

ATM Kiosk Transaction Problems Procedure

If you have transaction problems do not accept advice from strangers. Ask security personnel for help or call the hotline. As soon as possible, but deliberately, move away from that ATM Kiosk, ensuring you have all your personal possessions, including the ATM card.

Know Your Bank ATM Hot-line Number

Make sure, before entering any ATM kiosk location, you have, easily accessible, the bank hotline number for use at the ATM kiosk in case of processing problems.

ATM Debit or Credit Card Scam Protection

Never believe any call, letter or person telling you that you have won a prize and all you need to do to collect is to transfer money from an ATM machine to collect your prize.

Be alert, be aware at all times while using the ATM

Especially be aware at times when you are in a rush or in a hurry to get to someplace else after using the ATM. Develop a procedure for accessing and replacing your ATM card into the same purse or wallet every time to help prevent leaving your card.…