The Benefits of Having Wheel Loaders For Construction Work

Machines are known to be our partners in our work. They have made our work fast and easier. In the construction and landscaping business, they are very reliable equipments especially when it comes to working well and completing a job on time. These machines have bought with them a lot of advantages to the working force in all parts of the world. You never have to carry heavy loads and transfer materials which will take a lot of time without the help of the engines that we have today.

One of the engines with great benefits of today is the wheel loader. It is an earth mover used as beneficial tools in the world of construction. It can lift rocks, sand, and gravel and crushed earth. It can transfer materials with just a simple control of the machine. This wheeled engine has a lot of advantages that it is not only used in the construction area but also in the agricultural fields. The benefits that it can provide to the owner are probably the reasons why a lot of people would purchase the said machines whether it is brand new or already used.

First of all, it is a very reliable machine in work. The wheel loaders are used to perform a lot of tasks at work. It can lift a bulk of construction materials at one time. It can shovel the ground easily. It can even help you move materials from one place to another without so much human effort and force needed. It has a lot of purposes in the working area and you can accomplish a lot of tasks with the help of these highly important machines.

The next thing is that they can also come as small wheel loaders. If the job does not require heavy loads then it can be easily done by a compact wheel loader that will just do the work instantly. These machines are compact and lighter than the others that it why it is very convenient to use in small and narrow areas. It can also be transferred easily by just loading it at the back of a big truck.

Lastly, it is very easy to use equipment. Manipulating it would not require too much training because the controls are very simple to handle. These machines would provide you with comfort at work by just sitting down, working your hands on the control and letting the compact wheel loaders do the heavy and hard job for you. It is never a problem on how to learn the use of the machine.

These machines are very essential in every construction and agricultural business. Imagine life without them. It would be very hard to finish the job done on time. It would need a lot of people to do the work manually. Not only does it require a large number of people but it also would need a lot of effort and energy on the working force. Work has indeed become easier and faster with the help of the machines of today especially the wheel loaders.

A Native American Breathing Technique to Calm the Emotions

When we perceive any situation, whether it’s an activity, a sport, a fight or anything else, it’s important to be able to observe without getting emotionally involved.

When you see someone in great pain, your emotions may want to jump in so you can both have a good cry together — someone who cries with them might help a little, but very little.

You can be of greater help if you are strong enough to lift that person’s spirits up and not allow your emotions to get in the way. It’s called empathy — you put your mind in that persons situation, but only your mind while you stand in a safe place and try to bring that person to the same point of safety where you are.

There are many, many situations where you could allow your emotions to take over, but you would not be of much help if you did. You can go through the children’s ward in a hospital where some children are all bandaged up, some might be in pain and they look to you with eyes full of hope, “Can you help me?” You look down feeling helpless but even then you cannot allow your emotions to take over.

You can be of more use to that child by just observing what it really seems to need and tenderly trying to give it courage and allay some of the fears and pain the child is feeling.

By standing aside, you can lend help, strength and hope. Contact the One you go to with your own problems and ask that He might intervene at this time. “If at all possible touch this child with Your healing hands and if it’s within Your will, please let this child be free from pain and begin to smile and enjoy life.”

You yourself might want to cry when you see this situation, but to be of help you must become passive. To learn how to observe without becoming overwhelmed with emotions, you can do deep breathing — visualize that you are breathing in power from On High to bring you strength.

You’re not throwing your emotions out, you’re not repressing them, they’re still there, but you want to be strong enough to do some good for yourself as well as for others.

After you breathe in strength, exhale the desire to go to pieces and cry. It’s not going to make you cold or insensitive. It’s going to help you learn to eventually control your own emotions so you can be of some help.

One of the most difficult parts of my training was learning to observe without judgment and without getting myself emotionally involved — but that’s the way you can better dispense your own power in ways that can truly help people.

Elevator Speeches Part I – Buck the Trend

Elevator Speeches have been all the rage for the last 10 years or so, with our growing focus on networking, our shrinking availability of time, and our desire to pitch who we are and what we do in a quick, effective format – as if we only had the time between a few floors on a elevator (natch) to do so.

More recently I've seen the trend for a standard "I'm John Doe, I own a hot dog stand, and I make the best dog in town for 99 cents" Elevator Speech disappear, thank goodness. These pre-packed sound-bytes are everything that is wrong with networking today.

I prefer to buck the trend, and create an Elevator Conversation . It consist of five parts:

1. The 1st Question

After changing names, you're asked "What do you do?" That's your cue – you're on the spot, and the person asking probably does not care much beyond whether or not you are a potential target for business.

2. The Twisted Reply

No, nothing out of Stephen King, unless you're a budding horror-movie director. You put a twist on what you do, by using lesser known terminology, and condemning the benefit to the listener.

Examples: "I'm a speaking coach" could have "I put words into other people's mouths."

Instead of "I'm a plumber", you say "I keep pipes flowing". Instead of "I sell insurance", consider "I clean up after accidents". These examples are general – each of you has something unique to say based on who you are and how you do what you do – find what's right for you and your personality.

3. The 2nd Question

Instead of continuing on with a commercial for yourself, ask the other person a question – one that is either related to what you can offer them: "How would you know your future help you?", "Do you know where you keep your plunger? ", or by asking the 1st question" What do you do "in order to get them talking about them.

Both ways will get the other person talking, which leads directly to # 4.

4. Put on those Listening Ears

Your kindergarten teacher's advice is still spot-on. Once the other person is talking, listen intentionally, and tune in to cues they provide about their business / family / personal needs. In many cases, your Twisted Reply will get them asking more questions about what you do. Keep your answers short and directed at their interests, not yours.

5. Make a Date

The business world and the dating world are not that far apart. Once your conversation has finished, or at least timed out, ask for a continuity. Either ask for a few more minutes right then (if you're really on an elevator, and they're headed to their office), or within a day or two.

You and they will both know after the Elevator Conversation wherever you want to see each other again.

You may be a great speaker, writer, or salesperson, but it does not mean you want to speak for a full 30-90 seconds about you. Bucking the trend will gain their attention, at the same time. It's fairly easy to spot a canned Elevator Speech, and drifting off within seconds, thinking about your destination vs. who is speaking to you.

Let the Elevator Conversation begin!

Ideas for French Country Interior Decorating

French Country is a warm elegant feeling mixed with casual pieces and a little grace. French Country embellishes a lot of distracted or painted furniture, fabrics, wood tones and textured walls. It is old world charm mixed with a little country.

For French Country, you should look for things like cracked wood beams, curved panels, hand-carved decorations and raw material flooring and walls, like stone or bricks. Wrought iron can also be used to enhance the look and fall of a well-organized French Country Interior. Wrought iron can be used as wall decor or use it behind your bed as a headboard. There are many design patterns with Wrought Iron as well. From sides of wings to wall sconces that can be used as decorative pieces.

The next step would be to adorn your house with fabrics. Fabrics in this style have a far range; anything from traditional toile to the industrial feel of burlap & Linen. Use of white monochromatic fabrics is a great look in the traditional French Country theme. Sunny warm colors offer brilliant design patterns as well.

A great idea for an industrial look for the bedroom is to use burlap fabric as a canopy over your bed. This is fairly inexpensive if you use two curtain rods with finials. One is placed at the front of the bed and the other at the foot of the bed with burlap style rope and ceiling hooks. Drape the burlap over the two rods the length of the bed with a little drooping or pooling to the floor on both sides and now you have yourself a canopy.

Other great items that can be used in this look are woven baskets, metal pitchers, weathered garden shelving and Chinese pottery. Also, there are many ceramic plates, gorgeous tiles, tablecloths and curtains that have roosters, sunflowers, lavender or whatever you hearts content on it. These all make great accessories for your French Country themed home. If a little French Country flare is all your after; you can look for rustic old furniture, oversized dining room tables with dull waxed or natural finishes will do the trick.

All French Country style homes include flowers into their mix. Fresh flowers are the best; flowers such as lavender, geraniums and sunflowers will make your rooms feel like they are alive. The flowers look great in copper pots, wooden window boxes, glass vases or old metal pitchers. Varieties of multiple colors look the best as well as arrangements not too simple or artificial.

If you only decide to change a few things in your home why not switch to the French Country theme. It's a beautiful, elegant, glamorous and inviting decorating style that will make your friends want to visit all the time.

Flue Options for Wood Burning Stoves

A wood burning stove must have a flue in order to direct the smoke to the chimney so that it escapes outside the building. The stove pipe that is connected to the wood burner is not suitable to be fed through the wall or ceiling of the home and it must there before attached to a flue.

Flues must be made from a material that is suitable for wood burning stoves. If the building already has a chimney then the chimney can be fitted with a flue which is suitable for a wood burner. By using a flue you can avoid the risk of tar deposits collecting in the chimney as proper insulation will keep the escaping gases hot. Therefore, suitable materials for insulating flues are either steel or lightweight aerated concrete. There are different types of flues that are used for wood burning stoves.

Single Skin Flues

A single skin flue pipe is usually used to connect the stove pipe to the chimney because it can allow some heat back into the room and is usually better in appearance than double skin insulated flue. However, it must not extend into the chimney interior because it will allow the escaping gases to cool, which will increase the risk of tar deposits inside the chimney.

The flue consists of various parts, which can have elbows and bends allowing you to direct the smoke to the chimney, and special cement should be used to join each piece. They are usually made from stainless steel but can be covered with a special enamel to enhance their appearance. The enamel is commonly black in a choice of either glossy or matt.

Double Skin Insulated Flue

A double skin insulated flue can be used with a wood burning stove without any need for a chimney as it can safely pass through walls and roofs. This type of flue will ensure that any escaping gases remain hot, which will prevent the fire hazards associated with tar deposits. It is possible to use only double skin flue piping, but if it is to be attached to single skin flue piping it is best to be aware that there is a difference in diameter. Therefore, it is best to do this only in an area where the change of piping will not be visible, for example, close to the ceiling.

Again this type of flue consistors of various parts of tubing which are welded together. It must also have at least one plate or bracket to support the flue, and for long flues several subsidies must be used with at least one for each two metre length of flue. Double skin flues can be boxed in if they are in a storage area, such as a loft, to avoid items being leant against them by accident.

Recommended Sizes

There are specific regulations relating to flue sizes and the way in which they are fitted. The diameter of the flue must be larger than the stove outlet or stove pipe. The recommendation for the diameter of flues is at least 150mm for wood burning stoves in accordance with Government guidelines.

There are also guidelines relating to the distance of the flue outlet from the roof of a building. This is because the gases must be able to escape so that they do not cause a fire hazard. These distinctions depend on the pitch of the roof and where the flue termination is in relation to the ridge of the roof. Also, the flue outlet should not be too near to roof windows or neighboring buildings.

Single skin un-insulated flue pipe should not be placed too near to flammable materials. The minimum requirement is a distance of three times the diameter of the pipe. In terms of the length of single skin flue pipe that is used, it is generally recommended that this is limited because the longer it is the more it will allow the flue gases to become colder resulting in a build up of tar.

Flue Liners

Flue liners can be placed inside chimneys for use with a wood burning stove. These should be capable of withstanding the high temperatures that are produced by wood burners. They should also be flexible enough to be rolled through a chimney and should withstand with any damp conditions inside the chimney. For these reasons, flue liners for use in a domestic dwelling are typically made from stainless steel that is a minimum of 316 grade. It is also possible to buy flue liners that are made from higher grade stainless steel or liners that are made from concrete. However, concrete liners are a more permanent solution, and are more expensive to fit due to the labor involved.

It is important to remember that an incorrect or badly fitted flue or flue liner can cause your stove to function incorrectly and therefore present a fire hazard. Therefore, it is always best to consult an expert if you are installing or replacing a flue for your wood burning stove as they will be aware of up-to-date regulations and guidelines.

Cleaning Your Slow Cooker – Some Do's and Don'ts

Slow cookers are cool. This appliance helps you cook warm meals on chilly nights and gets you out of the kitchen on hot days. No wonder the popularity of slow cookers is soaring. Slow cookers are available in many sizes, colors, and some are programmable. If you do not have a slow cooker yet you may wish to buy one.

According to "One Pot Wonders," an article on the CBS News Web site, about 80% of American kitchens have a slow cooker. "Experts predict [slow cookers] will be a big trend in 2008," the articles notes. Grocery stores have picked up on the trend and sell pre-cut veggies and meat for slow cookers. Book stores have dozens of books devoted to slow cooker recipes.

Slow cooking is a safe way to cook if you follow the directions and clean your cooker properly. Here are some care and cleaning tips.

1. Never preheat a slow cooker. This advice comes from the Kraft Kitchens Canada Web site. Preheating an empty crock may cause it to crack.

2. Handle the crock carefully. In an article titled, "Cleaning Your Crockery Cooker," the Better Homes and Gardens Web site warnings users about hitting the crock on the kitchen faucet. (Appearsly this has happened.) One hit could chip or crack the insert.

3. Coat the crock with nonstick spray before using. This prevails food from sticking and makes clean-up a breeze.

2. Put a liner in the crock. According to the Reynolds Web site, slow cooker liners are made of heat-resistant nylon and designed for easy clean-up. The liner is simply thrown away. But using a liner does not get you out of cleaning the crock. Even if you do not see a drip, you should still wash the crock for food safety.

5. Use the right utensils. Stir food with a wooden spoon, plastic spoon, or rubber spatula to prevent scratching.

6. After the food has finished cooking, unplug the slow cooker. Wipe the cord with a damp cloth.

7. Let our slow cooker cool down before you wash it. Never add cold water to a hot crock or put a hot crock in cold water.

8. Wash the crock in warm, soapy water. Use a soft cloth, plastic brush, or plastic scrubbie. Let the crock soak a bit if food is really stuck.

9. Wash the lid in the dishwasher. A glass lid can go anywhere. If the lid is plastic, put it on the top rack.

10. Wipe the outside with a damp cloth and dry completely. Do not use abrasive cleaners, harsh chemicals, or scouring pads on the outside of your slow cooker or you will damage it forever. These tips will keep your food safe and your slow cooker working for years.

Copyright 2008 by Harriet Hodgson

Top 10 Garage Organizing Tips – Just in Time For Spring

As the temperatures are finally creeping up, it's time to take our spring cleaning and organizing campaign outside … to the garage. Make the most of this underappreciated space in your home and get it ready for smart storage and for working on your favorite projects. Even if you just want to just make room to finally move your car inside, remember these top tips for your best organizing results:

1. Designate separate spaces or zones in which to group like items together, such as sports gear, garden tools, automotive supplies, house repair, etc. It makes finding things easy, clean up is simple, and overall a more functional workspace.

2. When it comes to storing off-season or occasional items in the garage, nothing beats stackable, clear plastic bins. Make sure they have tight sealing lids like the Rubbermaid Roughneck line, to protect your beloveds from moisture and critters. Not everything needs to be in a bin with a lid, especially if you're accessing the items regularly.

3. Pegboards are terrific for vertical storage and they come in a variety of sizes and materials. Useful for hanging everything from gardening tools or hand tools, pegboards are also versatile, so you can adjust them as your needs change. Choose a system that is sturdy enough to carry the weight you need. For a dressed-up look, check out this pegboard system.

4. Give yourself some room. If lack of space is keeping you from your list of DIY projects, make your garage more functional by adding the right workbench. Wall mounted versions like this fold-down model give you the surface you need without taking up any floor space. Add casters to any table to make your workstation mobile, and when you're done, tuck it neatly out of the way again. Gladiator Garage works makes a handy, adjustable leg workbench I plan to have in my next garage.

5. Whenever possible, use open shelving instead of cabinets. Not only are they easier to install and less expensive, they also take up less room because you do not need to allow for swinging doors. They also let you see everything you've got, increasing the space's functionality. One exception would be a cabinet with doors that can be locked to store hazardous chemicals if you have small children, especially if the chemicals can not be stored high out of reach.

6. The only way to keep organized is to keep an eye on what you have. One idea is to store the tiny tidbits on your tool shelves in clear spice jars, so you will not have to hunt them down when you need them, or mount the jars under a shelf. I use a parts organizer like this for my spare hardware. If you have drawers, try painting them with chalkboard paint, so you can clearly label – and re-label – what's inside.

7. Not everything is appropriate to store in your garage. If you think you're saving money buying paper goods in bulk, you'll be throwing that money away if you leave them out to become insect bait. Paint should also be moved inside, as it will be ruined by extreme weather if your garage is not climate controlled.

8. It may be easy to just lean a ladder up against the wall when not in use, but that can be an accident waiting to happen. Avoid having it tip over onto your car – or worse, on a person – by laying it down horizontally and pushing it against the wall. If possible, keep it off the floor entirely by storing your ladder on hooks.

9. Repurpose wire closet shelving by screwing them into the ceiling joists in your garage. It creates a huge amount of storage for things you do not need to get to regularly, and you can always see what's overhead.

10. Once your garage is organized, for an even more streamlined look, install moisture resistant curtains to hide your storage and work spaces. You can also use it as an opportunity to add a pop of color to the typically stark surfaces of a garage. You could even consider laminating posters or your kids' artwork to create some visual interest in the garage.

Boat Building Project – Grainger MTB920 – Installing Duracore Strip Planking

In my previous article I discussed the features and benefits of using DuraKore as a core specifically for amateur boat building and why I chose to use this material over foam and western red cedar to build my Grainger 9.2M Trimaran.

In this article I will talk about how DuraKore is supplied and what work I had to do to make the strip planks for the project I was building.

DuraKore is supplied as planks, and for this project I ordered 13mm thick x 300mm wide x 2.4m lengths which had to be scarfed together to make planks longer than the length of the 9.2M hull.

The scarfs were made by machining a male taper onto the 1.5mm thick hardwood veneer at the end of one DuraKore plank, and a female taper into the hardwood veneer of the plank that was to be glued and joined to the male taper.

A 1 in 12 taper provides a joint stronger than if there was no joint if produced correctly.

The test to prove the finished joint is to scarf up a sample 50mm wide strip plank, and clamp one end of the plank to a bench with the bulk of the plank hanging out over the edge on the bench. The scarf joint should be a fair distance away from the edge of the bench also. Slowly add weights to the very end of the plank until it breaks. If the joint is a good quality scarf joint, the break will have occurred somewhere else along the plank.

A 1 in 12 taper means that the length of the taper will be 1.5mm x 12 = 18mm long.

The amount of balsa cut out of the female edge will be at least 18mm deep, and the inside edge of the hardwood veneers tapered toward the balsa cut-out 18mm depth inside the female joint.

The male edge is simply machined with a taper that runs out over 18mm on the hardwood veneers.

The DuraKore supplier sells an attachment that is fitted to a circular saw to do this easily. However a jig can be made to do the job. I bought the attachment.

Once I had prepared a long flat surface on which I could join 5 DuraKore planks together, I mixed the glue.
The Epoxy resin that I chose to use was 105 West System manufactured by Gougeon Brothers, Inc.

It is a clear, light-amber, low viscosity epoxy resin that can be cured in a wide temperature range to yield high strength, rigid solid which has excellent cohesive properties and also is an outstanding moisture barrier.

There are two types of hardeners formulated for use with 105 resins.

205 and 206 hardeners require 5 part resin to 1 part hardener mixing ratio. 207 and 209 hardeners require a 3 to 1 ratio, and solid state 6 to 8 hours.

I used 205 hardener which is mostly used for general bonding, barrier coating and fabric application. It was also formulated to cure at lower temperatures and to produce a rapid cure that develops its physical properties at room temperatures. Its pot life is 9 to 12 minutes at 22 degrees C. And solid state 9 to 12 hours.

The 206 hardener is a slower hardener and provides a longer working time especially when working in climates of higher temperatures. Its pot life is 20 to 25 minutes at 22 degrees C.

Special pumps can be purchased to dispense the correct amount of resin per 1 full stroke of the resin pump, and the correct amount of hardener per 1 full stroke of the hardener pump.

The temptation is to mix larger amounts, to save time mixing the stuff all day, but this resin generates heat once the hardener is added and stirred, and with larger volumes of epoxy in the container the greater the reaction and shakeer the pot life. Before you know what has happened your hand is hot and the epoxy is hardening in the pot.

The epoxy needs to be thickened to glue the scarf joints so it would not run out of the joint before it cured, and West system provides additive powders to enable this. 411 powders are suitable for this.

I mixed about 4 pump strokes of Resin and 4 pump strokes of hardener together, and while mixing stirred in powder until I got a peanut butter consistency.

Mixing containers can be bought, however I preferred to put my money into the boat and not the rubbish bin. I had my wife and our neighbors saving plastic milk bottles and other suitable containers for me. My supply of milk bottles was insane at times. I cut the tops off those to make suitable containers.

Five planks were glued together and laid flat along a flat floor and straight edge jig to cure. This was important as the finished plank needs to be straight, or else the hull will have many humps and hollows to fill causing the fairing job to be a larger job than it should be. Those finished planks were just short of 12M long for the 9.M hull, which was fine because it is important to stagger the scarf joints as the hull is being planked, and waste will occur because of that.

Those long planks then had to cut down to mostly 50mm widths so that the planks could have laid up over the male mold frames to form a round bilge core. In fact what you really have is many small chines's, which are very noticeable, and disappear completely once the fairing is completed.

Around the water line area bilge areas, I had to cut the width of the planks down to 25mm and a couple to 12mm in order to get around the tighter radius.

Once I had a good stock of strip planks made it was time to start installing them onto the mold.

First I ensured that the hull could have been removed from the mold frames at a later date by applying insulation tape to the edge of all the mold frames.

The first plank was important, as where it is placed along the hull would depend on how well the following planks laid up around the curvature of the hull. I screwed the first plank into the deepest point of the concave frame curve for each frame, and with a little bit of trial and error it became evident where the best fit was.

The edge of the first plank was covered with thickened glue so that it would not run off and also fill any gaps in the edge joints. The next plank was lifted and fitted into place, making sure that the scarfed joints of each plank were not aligned with each other, and only then screwed to the temporary frame.

I also found it necessary to screw plywood battens across the planks to hold the edges aligned in the areas between the spans of the temporary mold frames.

This edge gluing process was continued for about 6 to 7 weeks outside work hours until the entire DuraKore core was finished. A battery powered screw driver made this job easier for me.

As the planking progressed it became evident that I would have to stop on the area that I was currently filling in, because it was impossible to lay the long planks around the bilge curves as the plank was beginning to twist like a propeller blade and it would resist sitting flat against the edge of the mold frame.

I had to then lay a new 25mm plank along the highest point of the convex curve along the waterline, bow to stern and screw that plank on as my new edge to glue to. The next 25mm plank was edge glued and fitted to the lower edge of the new plank, and I continue to plank down towards the previous planked up area, slowly increasing the width of the planks to suit the curve there before filling up the long elliptical void that was left. As the void was closed I found that I had to taper the end of the planks so that they could fit against the lower plank, and as the elliptical void was closed up each subordinate plank would become shorter. You can see the photos showing the planking on my web site.

Once the whole hull core was laid up, every screw was removed thousands of them and the hole filled. The glue joints were lightly sanded flat taking care not to remove any hardwood veneer. Hand sanding was the safest method as machines tend to dig in far too easily.

My next article will be about the fiber glass lay up on the main hull.

Top 5 Characteristics of a Good Weight Loss Plan

A great weight loss plan strikes a good balance between a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. It sounds so simple in theory, yet most of us who want to lose weight find it hard to stick to this philosophy alone. What’s worse is that we have read a tumultuous amount of literature regarding the “proper” or the “best” way to lose weight, and, somehow, we end up confusing ourselves even more.

When you make a commitment to lose weight, you have to make sure that you’re choosing a healthy weight loss plan. You may ask how can you ensure that the weight loss plan you’re about to make is the right one that will work for you. Well, simply put, it is all about watching what you eat and making sure you are engaged in an active sports or exercise program. For people who are bordering to obesity, it is best to consult a health fitness coach or a nutritionist to ensure that you get professional advice on the best weight loss plan that will suit your needs and lifestyle. However, for people who have gained a bit of weight and are wanting to live a healthier lifestyle, here are the top five characteristics of what constitutes a truly healthy weight loss plan.

1. Proper Nutrition Over Single-Item Diets

There is no short cut to healthy eating. For your benefit, simply avoid any weight loss plan that urges you to eat only one food item. Most people are under the impression that if we eat only foods that will increase fiber or protein intake, we’re good to go. It is worth emphasizing that healthy weight loss means eating a well-balanced diet from all food groups. Starving and food deprivation will definitely crash your system in the long run. You may lose weight temporarily but this will only encourage an unhealthy relationship with food. The key thing to remember is moderation.

2. Calorie-Conscious Diet Plan

Being mindful of what you eat is the first step to healthy eating. The best way to do this is to follow a plan that allows you to track your calorie intake. Being aware of how much calories you take in is an essential part of losing weight. A lot of us find it tedious to count calories. However, a healthy weight loss plan ensures that you get just the right amount of calories your body needs to burn energy. There is no need to eliminate caloric foods in your diet. Just choose a diet program that makes it convenient for you to calculate the number of calories you need to lose a certain amount of weight. Reading food labels is a good start.

3. Portion Management, Water Intake, and Weight Loss

Aside from calories, a good weight loss plan should encourage you to cultivate portion control. Again, there is no need to deprive yourself of food. A good weight loss plan allows you to exercise your inner discipline to consciously eat in moderation and in reasonable amounts to keep you satisfied and healthy at the same time. In addition, proper hydration is a key factor in healthy weight management. Most of us take water for granted. We don’t drink enough water during the day. Worse, we forget how important water is in healthy living. Proper hydration plays a major role in detoxification. Drinking 8 or more glasses a day washes away all the toxins, wastes, and even excess water weight, making you feel light, healthy, and fit. It’s even a good technique for enhancing satiety when eating.

4. Workout Program

A good weight loss plan should involve a regular exercise program. Regardless of what type of sports or exercise you wish to participate in, being active is a major requirement for losing weight the healthy way. Make sure you engage in a gradual change. Nothing too intense at first, and then slowly increase the intensity to ensure proper body conditioning. A lot of people who have gained weight have lived sedentary lifestyles for a long time, so it’s important to get active slowly but surely to avoid injury and to ensure long-term success. You should start gradually, say 20 minutes a day. You can start by simply taking a walk or a jog around the park. Overtime, you can then increase the intensity and duration of your exercise program to avoid exercise rut and to keep the challenge. Just like a well-balanced diet, there is no short cut to losing excess fat than moving your body. A workout program is also a great way to enhance your mood and self-esteem in the long run.

5. A Weight Loss Plan That Suits Your Lifestyle

Losing weight the healthy way is basically a big lifestyle overhaul. You don’t have to be fazed by this long-term goal. Choosing a healthy weight loss plan should require an assessment of the lifestyle that you currently have. To ensure that you can stick to your weight loss goals, plan a weight loss regimen that allows you to still live the way you want to without compromising your health and your happiness. If you are a career-driven individual who is always on the go, choose a weight management plan that doesn’t require 24/7 of your time. Better yet, find inspiration in the current lifestyle that you have and extend it to your healthy living goals. Busy people can stick to an afternoon or weekend schedule for their exercise regimen. Eating healthy food when you’re always on the go requires a bit of meal planning and time management. There is always a way to adapt a good weight loss plan regardless of your career or family demands. You just have to manage your time well, and be committed to making healthy choices.

The Benefits of Using Handrails

Whether you’re walking up the stairs, viewing great scenery on a higher level indoors or outdoors or passing through a hall upstairs, you would most likely want to hold on to a handrail, right? This is a standard safety feature that we usually see not only for staircases but even on railings on both ground and upper levels of a home or building including balconies.

Handrails make going up and down the stairs safer and more comfortable. Perhaps you have observed that whenever you’re ascending or descending a new staircase, your hands most often look for something to hold on to. And that’s where a rail serves its main purpose.

But while the handrail is there to keep people safe, not all who use the stairs use it. Rail usage is somewhat associated with age and on stair layouts as found by a study covering five stairs. It showed that only 16 to 18 percent of people descending used the rail extensively while only 10 percent used it in going up. In addition, people are less likely to use it if it will make them take a longer route.

Many of us are aware that a hand rail is put in place to prevent accidents. Specifically, it aims to prevent loss of balance, to help a person regain balance in case of a slip or fall, to help one go up a stair, to guide a person and provide stability notably for those with visual and balance problems.

But today, of course, this safety tool also adds beauty to a flight of stairs or other types of railings. Regardless of where it is placed — either on a wall or on a concrete stairs, a hand rail should be properly installed.

Ideally, the height of a hand rail is determined vertically starting from the stair nosing up to the top of the rail. The height depends on the fixture’s purpose. But normally, it is installed in a position where it can be easily reached and where the hand can grip it comfortably. Studies have shown that in choosing between the appropriate height for hand rails for both going up and down a stair, the height ideal for descent is the most preferred choice. Research has cited that most falls on a stair are those in going down which are considered a major cause of injury.

Ensuring safety does not end in deciding to install a hand rail. Choosing the shape of the fixture is also very important. Experts suggest that a circular shape should be used because of its ability to accommodate all hand shapes and sizes.

A 1988 study by Brian Maki found that the circular shaped rails measuring 3.8 centimeters in diameter are the one that provides the biggest stabilizing force. The same research also found that the circular and oval handrails had the best ratings in terms of grip and sliding comfort. Those narrow rectangular and decorative railings showed low ratings.

Now that you know the benefits of having this fixture in your stairs, make sure that pick the right choice for your home.

The Beauty of Wooden Porch Railings

Since early days, a number of materials that have been used in manufacturing porch railings, but none can match the style and class that comes with wooden railing. Traditionally it has been and will remain to be the favorite of all homeowners.

Add class and elegance with wooden porch railings

Advantages of selecting wooden porch railings

It's a proven fact that only wooden porch railings can add a touch of class and elegance to Victorian and contemporary styled homes. Here one can observe that traditionally wood has always been preferred over metal or other materials used in manufacturing porch railings.

Wood offers numerous advantages over metal and other materials used in manufacturing railroads. Listed below are few of the advantages: –

o Wood crafted railings add a touch of class and character to homes, because only wood can be carved to create new designs.

o Supplies and spares like balusters, top and bottom rails, posts etc. required for construction of railings are easily available and are considerably inexpensive. Here, raiding manufacturers prefer to work with wood rather than any other materials.

o Workability of wood is more compared to other materials; This characteristic of wood makes it easier for manufacturers to create unique and exquisite designs as per the customer's requirements.

o Durability of wooden railings is comparatively more than ones made from other materials and it easily blends with the interiors floors and the exteriors to create a balanced appearance for your homes.

o Experimenting with shapes like spherical, flat and square for the balusters to add style to the railings is only possible with wooden railroads.

Popularity of wood railings

Ever wondered why wooden railings are so popular? There are a numerous reasons, to name some; wooden railings are more durable compared to railroads made from other materials like wrought iron. Wood is basically weather proof and requires less maintenance, compared to wrought iron, which tend to corrode easily and require regular painting. Workability, assembly and installation of wooden railings are comparatively easier and above all it's the low cost that makes wooden railings more selected than railings made from other materials.

There may be various advantages of wooden railings, but for some wood lovers it's the uniqueness and beauty of hand crafted railings that attract them the most. It can be easily altered to fit in required space. Its easy to assemble and install wooden porch railings, all it needs is basic spares like nails and screws and a little time.

A number of accessories can be matched and combined with wooden railings easily to get awesome results. To name some: –

o Wicker chairs

o Porch swings

o Wicker or wooden furniture and rocking chairs

o Natural plants and trees

Although there are many other materials like concrete, metal, bricks, stone etc to choose from. One can even experiment with the rare combination of wood and metal, but none can match the class and elegance that wood railings can bring to your homes.

Planning Your New Staircase – 8 Great Tips

Although we tend to take them for granted, stairs can have a surprisingly big big impact on the look and feel of our homes. An attractive, well-designed staircase can give the whole property a lift, adding instant appeal and even increasing its resale value. Shabby stairs, on the other hand, are likely to have the opposite effect.

But how do you go about planning for a new staircase? Follow these simple steps:

1. Measure the height

Before ordering your stairs, you need to determine how much space is available. Start by finding out the floor-to-floor height. This involves measuring from the top of the finished lower floor to the top of the finished upper floor. The term 'finished floor', by the way, refers to the surface you walk on and includes any floor covering such as carpet or laminate. Once the staircase manufacturer has this information, they can work out how many steps are needed to create well-proportioned stairs that comply with UK building regulations.

2. Measure the width

Having established the height, you now have to find out the width. This combines the total measurement across the strings and steps combined. (Strings, also called stringers, are structural supporting boards running along each side of the staircase.) Unless you're planning a house from scratch, the width of the stairs will be determined by the current space available.

If you have any choice, go for the widest steps that will fit. A broad staircase is safer, easier to use and more practical, particularly in large family homes. While there is no legal minimum width in the UK, the standard figure is 860mm, so try not to make your stairs narrower than that.

3. Straight or winding?

As for the layout of the staircase, a single straight flight of stairs is the easiest and most economic option, as long as you have sufficient floor space. L-shaped and U-shaped stairs that twist back on them are often considered to look more attractive. However, they tend to be more complicated, and therefore more costly.

To create a turn in the staircase so it can change direction, you will need winder treads or a landing – or a combination of both. A winder is a kite-shaped or triangular tread which is used to create a turn in an other straight staircase.

A landing is an intermediate platform set between floor levels to join flights of stairs together. It may consist of a quarter landing (the width of a single flight of stairs) which makes a 90 degree turn in the staircase, or a half landing (the width of two flights of stairs) which creates a turn of 180 degrees, giving a U shape.

4. Treads and risers – open or closed?

The steps are made up of treads – the part that you walk on – and risers – vertical boards that form the face of each step. Risers can be open (with gaps between the treads) or closed (encased with solid boards). Open risers are particularly popular in modern homes as they increase the flow of light. However, young children and older residents may find them a little challenging.

Many people like to add one or two feature steps at the foot of the stairs for extra impact. Various combinations are available, including single or double D end shapes and more softly rounded bullnose steps.

5. String style

The strings, or stringers, can be closed or open. A closed – also called solid – string runs up both sides of the staircase and completely envelops the treads and risers, concealing the edge of the stairs from view. An open, or cut, string has the upper edge machined away so that the outline of the steps is visible from the side. This style is more complex to make, and therefore more expensive, than a closed string design, but is widely considered more desirable.

6. New newels?

Newel posts are upright supports that anchor the handrails, treads and strings of the staircase, forming an essential part of its structure – so do not rip them out unless absolutely necessary. They come in a variety of designs and may consist of a single post, known as a plain newel, or a shaped piece of timber (a newel turning) attached to a separate base. If you are only revamping your stairs rather than installing new ones, you would be wise to retain the existing posts and just change the newel caps for a fresh look.

7. How many spindles?

Spindles, or balusters, are the vertical supports that connect the handrail to the rest of the balustrade. As they are such a conspicuous feature they can have a huge influence over the look and feel of a staircase, so give your selection plenty of thought. You do not need to have a stick to just one style of spindle – try mixing and matching two designs for something a bit different. Glass panels are also a great way of creating a light and airy feel.

As a general rule of thumb, you need two spindles per tread, or one where there is a newel post on a landing. Most stair manufacturers will be able to help you work out how many spindles or panels are required.

8. Handrail hints

Under UK rules your staircase needs a handrail at at least one side if it is narrower than 1m, and on both sides if it is wider than this. Many people prefer to fit one anyway, for ease of use. Most handrails run between the newel posts (known as a post-to-post system), but on some stairs you can choose them to flow over the tops of the posts (an over-the-post system). You may also want a wall-mounted handrail, particularly if you have children.

5 Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to focus on Christmas decorating. If you love to spruce up your home for the holiday season, here are a few simple ways that take only minutes to create:

The Ghost of Christmas Past – Use those gorgeous holiday cards from Christmases past, glue them to a string or bit of yarn and tape them on your mantel or between two poinsettia plants for a festive way to remember the holidays of yesterday.

Wreaths – A wreath can be made from the branches of trees or bushes in your yard or even by gathering leaves and painting them. Place a festive bow at the top and you've got yourself a simple wreath for either your front door or inside wall.

Dressing Up the Mantel – String up mittens with wooden clothespins on a long piece of yarn along your mantel. You can also use your children's favorite winter socks or hats as well.

Pine Cones – Whether spray painted a festive gold or silver or left alone in their natural state, pine cones make great decorations all along the fireplace mantel, on shelves or tabletops. If you want to get really festive, you can dip them in glue and add glitter.

Snowing Inside – Sprinkle fake snow underneath table decorations or along window sills to bring some of the outdoors in. Instant mashed potato flakes work well for fake snow if you do not want to purchase fake snow.

Natural Tree Decorations – Go out into your yard, gather up small stick that you find interesting, bundle them together with colorful string and add them to your Christmas tree for a natural decorating touch.

Sweet Treats – Add colorful wraped mats, mini marshmallows and hard candy sticks to glasses for a decorating touch that's sweet enough to eat.

Christmas is the time to really step up your decorating game. Do not restrict your decorations to the front door or tree. Consider lighting your banister, adding decorations to bookshelves or even use your window sill to show off your favorite ornaments.

Six Pack Abs Workout – 3 Mega Tips to Get a Defined Sexy Stomach

Let's get real. Getting that Six Pack is not the easiest thing in the world. And I bet you are trying every type of abs workout. I'm going to give you 3 Mega tips here so you can start building your six pack abs faster and easier.

I struggled for ages to get any significant muscle, but over the years in my personal training business and with my own trials and errors, I have found some important things that have helped me make important muscle gains that I wan't to share with you .

1) Ensure that 90% of what you do in the gym is multi-joint exercise. Simple concept I know, but if you do this in your training you will find you will gain more lean mass than any other abs workout.

Focus on these exercises:

· Upper body vertical pulls (chinups etc)

· Upper body presses (ie benchpress, overhead barbells etc)

· Upper body horizontal rows (using a machine or cable rows)

· Upper body horizontal presses (push-ups and dips)

· Lower body Squats

· Lower body deadlifts

· Lower body leg movements (focus on one at a time)

· Abs and core exercises (Always do these AFTER focusing on the above)

The rest of the exercises can be single joint ones, where you can focus one at a time. (Bicep Curls, Tricep presses and so on.)

2. Train intensely around 4 days per week for 40-45 minutes per abs workout . Keep your workouts to no longer than 50 minutes as training too much beyond this point can start excess catabolism. You want to stay in the zone, but you still need to train your body hard to trigger abdominal growth.

3. Eat clean with quality whole foods. This is easy Guys and Girls. Stop buying processed stuff and supplements. They do not work.

The quality of protein best absorbed by the body is from real whole food such as eggs, meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds instead of processed protein powders and meal replacements. If you can go organic, its a must, as you never know what's been sprayed on what you are eating.

Forget about the inflated workouts in the muscle magazines and online articles that only work for real bodybuilders. Forget about the over-hyped supplement market that pays the bills for almost every "build muscle" magazine. Instead, make build these tips in this article into your daily life and you'll see muscle gains and a leaner well defined mid section.

6 Simple Things to Do to Look and Feel Great – Part I

Losing weight can be very frustrating. It takes a lot of discipline, motivation and hard work. But there is a better way to get closer to your weight loss goal. Just be patient and consistent. So here are the 6 simple changes you can make to your diet today to lose weight:

1) Plan ahead: write down on a list all the foods you would like to eat this week. A healthy menu can be with fish, poultry, beans and legumes accompanied with lots of vegetables and fruits. I usually sit down have a cup of coffee and do it every Sunday evening. It will also help you eliminate all these junk food thoughts.

2) Eat four or five servings of vegetables and fruits a day: by adding extra fruits and vegetables, you will be more likely to lose weight because they are low in calories and high in important vitamins and nutrients.

3) Drink more water: replace all sodas, sports drinks and sugary beverages with plain water. Water has no calories and is a basic part of any healthy-eating plan. When you drink all the water you need, you will very quickly notice a decrease in your appetite, possibly even from the first day!

4) Switch From sugar to natural sweeteners: because sugar is addictive and most of it is hidden in the foods and drinks we enjoy everyday, reducing sugar in our diets is not so easy. A teaspoon of sugar in the coffee or tea has about 15 calories, if you switch to natural sweeteners you can reduce that number to zero.

5) Switch to whole grains: when whole grains are milled into refined grains (white flour, white bread, etc), the bran, the germ and their nutrients are lost. Whole grains are very beneficial for our health and weight loss goals.

6) Cut out all fried foods: fried foods are often at the top of people's food preferences. The main reason why fried foods are not healthy to eat is because they often contain Tran's fats. There are healthier techniques that can be used to cook these foods by grilling, baking or boiling them.