India, The Tourist’s Paradise

India is a land that offers a mind-boggling diversity of natural beauty, flora and fauna, a rich, vibrant and proud history of cultural heritage and is famous for its hospitality to people who are fascinated by the numerous stories enchanting stories about India and come to visit the country. And the country does not disappoint them. The majestic snowcapped mountains, the lush rolling valleys, the gushing rivers, green fields, gorgeous colorful flowers and luscious fruits, the arid deserts, the plateaus, the hills, the tea gardens on the mountain slopes, the orchards, the waterfalls, the list simply goes on and on. Every year, thousands of tourists from different parts of the world flock to this country for visiting different places, to enjoy different festivals, to take part in adventure tourism, pilgrimages etc. Tourism is one of the largest service industries in India and plays a major role in providing employment to the population and the country’s economy. The tourism ministry in the country caters to the various demands and needs of the tourists. The India Tourism Development Corporation is a Government of India undertaking dedicated to taking care of travel needs like hotels, flights, trains, car rentals etc.

If you are coming to India the first time, it is advised that you read about the various destinations you are planning to visit and make full arrangements for accommodations. There are reputed hotel chains which have luxury hotels in different tourist destinations of the country. You can make your bookings online or over the telephone using the useful contact information available in their websites. Check out these sites and know more about the facilities, the tour packages, the tariffs etc available here.

If you are traveling on a tight budget, then there are numerous hotels with affordable rents but with high living standards. Before booking you must ensure that the neighboring area is safe, proper transport facilities are available and you can communicate with the outside world too. Book your hotels, cars etc online and enjoy a relatively hassle-free vacation.

The tourism board advises tourists to contact only fully authorized, reputed and trustworthy tour guides and tour operators to ensure a safe travel. These guides should at least have photo identity cards issued by the Ministry of Tourism. Arrange for proper transportations that will take you to different parts of the country. If you want to visit the more remote and somewhat inhospitable areas like the mountains of Ladakh, or the arid deserts of Rajasthan or forest safaris, then you must take proper precautions against potential dangers, diseases etc.

To arrange for flights, search online for cheap flights to India if the budget is limited. There are many websites which list information about flight ticket prices from different airlines, compare the prices and provide you with the best results. You can also opt for affordable holiday packages in India along with affordable accommodations and transportations. Search multiple travel portals to obtain the best options and cheap tickets to India. Just type in your destination and the sites will return a list of airline ticket prices for you to choose from.

Welcome to India and enjoy a vacation experience of a lifetime!

Philippines Travel – Exploring Sagada on a Shoe-String Budget

Urban dwellers would normally prefer to rove around the metropolis and explore every side-street in search for ideal refuge, more than traveling to remote provinces. However, there are more than 7,000 reasons to explore the parameters of this archipelago, taking into account its profuse land and marine resources and myriad sanctuaries.

Part of this region is Sagada. With a measly P2,500, a determined explorer can take a fulfilling jaunt to Sagada-a serene mountain community in Mt. Province. The adventurous travelers would customarily take the 10-hour bus ride from Manila to Banaue, Ifugao (via Solano, Nueva Ecija route) that costs not more than P300.

In Banaue, travelers have the option to take the day off and trek along the well-engineered Banaur Rcie Terraces or take a jeepney ride to Bontoc and from there, once can catch a bus ride to a more tranquil region, Sagada in Mt. Province.

Sagada has economical lodging houses and hotels to spend the night over. For as low as P200, a traveler can avail of a bedroom for two and a well-scrubbed common bathroom with sufficient amount of water-for an overnight abode. Even though electricity and water are accessible in these highland regions, one of the guidelines in immersing to remote areas is not to expect for urban amenities.

However, the lack of adequate necessities is not an hindrance to any devoted backpacker. Indeed, the remarkable view of the mountains, sight of abundant natural resources, and exposure to mountain community are enough reasons to enjoy the trip.

Trekking along the narrow mountain trails of Batad and Bangaan Villages in Banaue is one of the many leisure options where panoramic views of the terraces can be enjoyed. To keep track of the trail, a number of villagers can be hired for hours as tour guides.

The trip is truly breathtaking and for an amateur trekker, the long hours of walk should not impede them to reach the other side of the trail. There are a number of brooks along the curvy mountain range that are guaranteed to quench one’s thirst during the hours of hike. Meanwhile, the awe-inspiring endpoint is an antidote to muscle pain.

Batad is comparable to realizing the pot of gold at the other end of the rainbow. It boasts of scenic and unspoiled layers of rice fields forming a colossal amphitheater, where native Ifugaos mostly dwell. The terraces is still a functional source of livelihood and personal sustenance for Ifugaos, except for some where irrigation systems have been destroyed through seepage, landslides, prolonged drought, erosion, and other inevitable natural calamities.

Portland Oregon Apartments That Approve With Bad Credit Or Broken Lease

Portland Oregon, also known by other names such as “Rose Garden” and “Little Beirut” is a large city that occupies an important place in Multnomah County and has a population upwards of 500,000. The city’s location close to such notables like Seattle Washington and Vancouver makes it an attraction for students, businessmen and people looking to settle. This makes the area apartments a hot item with applications being submitted on a daily basis. To adhere to housing laws, Portland apartments conduct routine credit and rental history checks on potential tenants. This essentially means that if your credit score is low or you have a prior broken lease with a previous apartment, you may be denied an apartment in Portland Oregon.

The fact that there exists a standard practice of checking credit and rental history in Portland area apartments, it does not mean that there will not be apartments that will not work with problem applicants. While they may be few, they do exist nevertheless. Many applicants with bad credit or broken lease report a level of frustration when searching but if you fall into this category, here are a few areas with the city that you can look for second chance apartment:

  • Northwest including Pearl District
  • South West
  • Northeast
  • Southeast and more…

The reason it is difficult to locate second chance Portland apartments is because they do not get into the routine practice of advertising. One reason they do this is because they want to maintain their quality rating and also be able to keep their rates high. They also want to maintain a reputation of renting only to the most financially-stable tenants. This generally means that a casual search of apartments which approve applicants who are credit-challenged may yield disappointing results.

One method then that can be used to locate these types of apartments in Portland Oregon is learning to network. This means sharing with others who have been in similar situations. This is because they may have helpful ideas as to where one can locate an a leasing office manager who is understanding or lenient or apartments which are willing to overlook credit shortcomings. Another option is to utilize the power of the Internet to search and locate potential apartments and then call them ahead of time. You can also contact apartment locators and see whether they can offer any helpful insights as to which apartments would be willing to work with you.

It is also essential to bear in mind that even when you do find such an apartment, there will be basic requirements to meet. One is that you must have a job and have had it at least 6 months. Another is that your job must be paying you at least 3 times the amount of the rent and thirdly, you may have to go through a background check.

A Luxury Swimming Pool For 10,000 Dollars – Part 1

This article on swimming pool construction is based on the methods used in the construction of about 40 pools over a 5 year period in south west France. It is worthwhile taking a look at the history of pool construction because it does affect the thinking of many pool construction professionals even today.

I am only concerned with the better quality type of pool in this article. There are a great many products on the swimming pool market throughout the world that are a complete waste of money in my opinion. Yes this does include pools with a fibreglass structure and panel pools with metal parts – in fact anything that will deteriorate when buried below ground in the presence of water. This is a basic tenet of all professional civil engineers. Early swimming pools were all tiled – and many still are today. In the view of the writer a tiled pool finish is not the best choice as PVC liners are better than tiles in many respects because;

– Tiled pools are very costly – can be several times the cost of a PVC liner pool

– Tiled pools often leak and the leaks are very difficult to trace

– PVC liner pools rarely leak and when they do the leak is easy to trace with electronic instruments that use the liners insulating properties

– Tiled pools that leak are very expensive to repair because the tiling often needs to be removed and replaced

– Tiled pools are vulnerable to wrong chemical balance of the pool water

– Calcium deposits are much more difficult to clean off tiles and the cleaning abrades the tiles surface causing premature aging

– Tiled pools take much longer to build

– Tiled pools need a much heavier and more costly structure

It is the last point that is very important and not appreciated by many – including many pool installation professionals. A pool that is going to be tiled needs to be a very rigid concrete box that is buried in the ground. If it is not rigid the tiling and the waterproof membrane underneath it flex, crack and then leak.

The ground beneath the box supports the heavy reinforced concrete slab that forms the bottom of the box. The necessary rigidity is provided by the thickness of this pool floor slab and it also acts as a foundation for the pool walls that are rigidly connected to the floor slab by the steel reinforcement.

In other words the slab has to be there to provide the rigidity required to ensure that the tiling and the waterproof membrane do not leak. In a PVC liner pool this rigidity is not needed because the liner will provide the waterproofing and small differential movements between the walls and the pool floor will not result in leaks or any other detrimental effects.

So how does all this help to achieve the objective of building a Luxury Swimming Pool For $10,000? It helps because it explains the theory behind the construction concept that is described in my second article on this topic How to Build A DIY Luxury Swimming Pool for $10,000 – Part 2.

How to Buy the Right Gymnastics Equipment for Home Use

Buying gymnastics equipment for home use doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Knowing what to look for will save you time and money. Don’t worry about buying the wrong brand or some cheap piece of equipment. We’ve narrowed down the best to save you hours of internet searching. We give you must know details on gymnastics grips, balance beams, mats, and training bars.

First, you need to decide on the type of grip. You can choose between the Palm grip or Dowel grip. Then decide is you prefer a Velcro wrist strap or a buckle grip wrist strap. The advantage of a Velcro wrist strap is ease of use. You can put the grips on quickly and without assistance. Velcro wrist straps tend to be a little more comfortable as well. The only disadvantage is longevity as the Velcro tends to wear down over time. The advantage of a Buckle wrist strap is holding power. The Buckle wrist strap will not wear down over time and always provides a solid hold on the wrist. Most high level gymnasts choose buckle grips for the fact of holding power. Buckle grips won’t slip or move around on the wrist. The disadvantage of Buckle grips is comfort, but there is a solution. Since buckle grips can be tightened down firmly on the wrist, most gymnasts will wear very thick and long cotton wrist bands. The thick wrist band provides cushion for the wrist. Gymnasts may need assistance in putting on Buckle grips which is a small inconvenience. Finally, it’s essential to purchase the correct size. Each brand of grips will come with a sizing chart specific to the brand. This is a fairly easy process and requires a ruler or tape measure as indicated in the sizing instructions. Now you’re ready to purchase.

Choosing the right balance beam is a rather simple process. Home practice balance beams come in three different styles. Low beam, folding beam, and semi-high beam. First determine how much you’re willing to spend as home practice beams range from $80 to $350. Ensure enough space to safely use the beam at home. You must have sufficient clearance on all sides

of the beam for safety. Folding balance beams offer the most versatility. This type of beam can easily be moved around due to its light weight and folding characteristic. One major advantage of a folding beam is the ability of gymnasts to perform difficult skills without the worry of falling to an injury since the beam sits directly on the floor. This type of beam is great for practicing back handsprings. Another advantage is the cost savings since folding beams are generally least expensive. Low beams are another great choice for home practice. Low beams are elevated 3″ to 4″ off the ground and do not fold in half. The low beam is very stable and solid making it a great choice for all around beam practice. It’s great for practicing hand stands, back walk overs, back handsprings (with a spotter), and many other skills. Low beams tend to offer a more competition like feel and quality. Finally, the semi-high beams are also a great choice for home practice. This type of beam is elevated 12″ to 24″ off the ground. Semi-high beams offer all the great benefits of the low beam while a bit higher off the ground.

Investing in a good quality gymnastics mat is an important decision for the safety of gymnasts. When researching gymnastics mats you’ll want determine your budget. Gymnastics mats range in price from $100 to $800. As a general rule, the bigger the mat, the more expensive it is. Determine what you will use the mat for. Are you placing it under a Junior training bar? This would require a landing 4″ to 8″ in depth. If you’re using the mat under the low beam a depth of 2″ to 4″ would work. If you need a mat for tumbling skills, a 2″ depth is sufficient. You will need increased mat length for tumbling skills and less mat depth. If you just need a mat for stretching or yoga, 2″ depth or less is sufficient. Keep in mind that mats will differ from each manufacturer. While the square footage of mats may be the same, foam density could be different. Not all 2″ mats are created the same. You don’t want a soft squishy mat for stretching or yoga, but rather a firm mat. You don’t want a firm landing mat under a training bar, but rather a softer mat to break a fall.

Finding the right pair of gymnastics grips should start with asking the coach what, if any, brand and type of gymnastics grips they prefer. (If you want a good guide on everything about gymnastics grips, click the gymnastics grips link). While a good starting point, the gymnast ultimately has the final say and should be satisfied with the quality and feel of the grips. The majority of grips on the market are high quality which makes choosing a rather simple process. All of the grips reviewed on this site are high quality and used in gymnastics competitions all over the country and range from $10 to $55. There are, however, a couple of key points to keep in mind before you purchase a pair of gymnastics bar grips.

Choosing a gymnastics training bar for home use can be simple if you know what to look for. When choosing training bar, keep in mind you are not purchasing a full scale uneven bar system as seen in gymnastics facilities across the country. The training bar is not meant to perform full routines and high level skills. The purpose of a training bar is to practice basic bar skills, drills, and conditioning. All training bars are basically the same in size, construction, and material. There are some small differences that could impact which bar you end up buying. You will want to check the weight limit of the bar. Some bars only hold up to 100 lbs. while other bars hold up to 140 lbs. One common problem with all training bars is the lack of floor anchors as seen attached to the bars at your local gym. This may allow the bar to move around the floor while in use. To remedy this common problem, leg extensions can be attached giving the bar more stability. Keep in mind that you will need sufficient padding beneath the bar for safety. 4″ to 8″ of padding is recommended. A good landing mat will provide adequate safety. Training bars are expensive. If you can’t afford the ongoing monthly fee for extra classes at your local gym this is a great alternative for extra practice.

Getting a Marcy Home Gym? Know Your Choices

A Marcy home gym ranks as one of the top choices for home gym equipment among many weight lifters and fitness buffs. For reliability, ease of use and value for money, Marcy home gyms have it all. To see what this favorite home gym brand has to offer, here is a sneak peek at some of its popular machines:

Marcy Powerstation

For a Marcy home gym equipment that offers all-in-one features, the Marcy Powerstation is a great choice. The equipment itself is made with heavy steel, so you are assured of power and stability that can last you for years. The grips are made from basic foam, but they are comfortable enough to assure a continuous home gym workout.

The Marcy Home Gym Powerstation is best for building the upper body and can work your arms, chest, back, shoulders and arms effectively. The abs can also be targeted using 5 different positions. This is a terrific home gym system that is easy to assemble and use.

Marcy Multi-Station MWM 1800

This Marcy home gym equipment features two weight stacks of 100 lbs. each, perfect for buddy home workouts. The abdominal strap, lat bar and straight bar are included in the basic equipment. For serious weight lifters, the weight stack can be purchased separately.

The Marcy MWM 1800 includes a free chart featuring the pin placements for the weight amounts of every exercise your perform. This helps you plan your workout progress as you go along. The Marcy Home Gym MWM 1800 works smoothly and offers value for its price. It’s easy to use, although assembly might take a while. It’s also a bit bulky, so make sure you have enough space in your home.

Marcy Personal Multi-Gym MWM 900

Beginner fitness fans will love this machine. For value and features, the Marcy Home Gym MWM 900 offers a lot of challenge to work out different muscle groups and keep the body toned and strong. Comfort is also high on the list of the manufacturers when this home gym was built and the hardware are top quality.

The arm press doubles as a chest press and you can also work out your pecs without changing or shifting anything. All the other parts such as the pulley stations, the lateral bar and the straight bar offer a lot in terms of exercise variety. There is no reason for you to be bored when using a Marcy home gym machine.

The rollers are padded for extra protection and the back and lumbar areas are supported with contoured pads, so there’s no need to worry about straining your body during a good workout. The Marcy MWM 900 is pretty quiet and the smooth operation is tops on the list of many gym users.

Marcy Personal Multi-Gym MWM Premier

If you want a more challenging workout, the Marcy Home Gym MWM Premier offers a tougher challenge. The basic equipment includes a 150-lb weight stack made of cast iron that can push your muscles to build strength and definition. Once you’ve begun to progress, you have the option of getting another 50-lb. weight stack for a heavier workout.

The pectoral contractor and preacher curl are fully adjustable and the handles rotate, allowing you to go through different motions without having to change your grip. Like the MWM 900, the arm and chest press lets you shift your focus without having to move or get up from your seat.

Comfort is also addressed by this home gym machine – the seats are padded, the back is contoured for a snug fit and provides lumbar support. There are also a wide range of exercises you can perform and the quiet action ensures that you get to focus on your tasks perfectly.

Marcy MWM 1600

The Marcy MWM 1600 home gym lets you shift and play with the resistance to create thirty different settings for better, tougher training. This is via the power booster system that features three positions.

Once you’ve fully mastered the motions, you will find at least 20 different exercises for strength training, enough to keep you challenged and interested. All the muscle groups are addressed by this home gym equipment and the parts are constructed in such a way to be ergonomically effective, so the only aches you’ll worry about is the feel of your muscles growing.

The Marcy Home Gym MWM 1600 is bigger than the MWM 900 so floor space is an issue. If you do have the room for it, though, the MWM 1600 is a machine that can offer you total body workout and the best results.

Forehand Vs Backhand MIG Welding Techniques

Forehand and backhand welding are the most basic of all welding techniques. They are simple, have their purpose and provide a specific type of weld when used properly. In this article you will learn why these techniques are used and most importantly why.

Forehand Technique

Forehand is a technique where the welder pushes the puddle and keeps the arc slightly ahead of the puddle. Forehand welding is done with the MIG gun pointed in the direction of travel. For example, if the welder will be welding from right to left, then the MIG gun will point toward the left at all times. The angle that the MIG gun is pointed toward the direction travel can vary. The angle of the MIG gun can be anywhere between 5 degrees to as much as 35 degrees toward the direction of travel. When traveling forehand the welder must focus on keeping the arc slightly ahead of the puddle.

Backhand Technique

The backhand technique is the exact opposite of the forehand welding technique. In the case of back hand welding the welder keeps the MIG gun pointed toward the weld while traveling away from it. For example if the welder is welding from left to right then the MIG gun will be pointed toward the left. The angle of the MIG gun can vary between 5 degrees to 35 degrees toward the weld.

Understand the Reasons for these Welding Techniques

These MIG welding techniques do serve a very important purpose. What they do is control the weld shape and the penetration pattern.

Forehand welding is the most commonly used technique for MIG welding. What the forehand method does is produce a shallow but wide penetrating weld that is flat in appearance. This is the type of weld and penetration is used for most weld joints where overheating is not an issue.

Backhand welding is the least used welding technique when it comes to MIG. This technique produces the deep and narrow type of penetration that is best suited for thinner metals. The advantage of backhand welding is that the arc is focused onto the filler metal and that means extra material to prevent burn through. When welding thinner metals you always run the risk of burning a hole through the weld joint. With the backhand method the extra filler metal at the arc helps prevent this and at the same time can keep warp age to a minimum.

The 4 Archery Stances – The Foundation Of Great Bow Shooting

In archery, the four stances one can use each have their upsides and downsides. Having knowledge of each of these stances will let you figure out which one is most comfortable for you, as well as helping you to utilize each one under different circumstances.

For the beginner, we have the even stance. It is a position that you can take that will allow you to have consistence in your accuracy and also a stance that is easy to get in to. But as all the stances, there are some downsides to using it. You don’t have much support around you when you use it. It’s easy to be knocked off balance and it doesn’t offer much strength. Falling when in the even stance is also another concern to take into consideration when deciding which ones you will want to use the most. For those shooters that have a broad chest, it does tend to lower the string-clearance area. If you want a very stable, wide stance, you might want to go with the open stance. What it also does is reduces the tendency a lot of novice shooters have which is to lean your body away from the target. However, this stance does to effect your upper body’s tendency to twist in the direction of the target. When you are in this position, you also tend to draw from your arms instead of your back, which are the muscles you should be using when shooting.

The next stance in the closed stance. It provides you with complete shoulder and arm alignment when lining up with the target in front of you. But there are still some negatives to this stance as well. Acting against your body at times, this stance tends to reduce string clearance. Like stances discussed above, this one also causes you to lean away from the target at times.

The oblique stance is the next one. As far as string clearance goes, this would be the best stance to use for utilizing it. When in this stance, the target appears more clearly and your body is evened out better than in any other stance. But beware, this stance is indeed one of the more harder ones to use. Advanced archers are only recommended to use it.

Stand on the line from which you shoot when trying out all the stances. It is said by some that even if you are a few inches off, it will affect your aiming dramatically, so it’s better to safe not sorry.

The two stances that are most highly recommended are the oblique and the open. Both stances are used mostly by advanced archers. But when it comes to which stance is right for you, it all comes down to what feels right for you personally.

Plumber – Kitchen Plumbing And Repairs

One of the most versatile trades of all times is the plumbing trade. From laying out the piping of a structure to installing the hot water system of a building, a plumber can choose to specialize in a wide variety of tasks. Gas systems, clean water supply systems, drainage systems, kitchen plumbing systems to name but a few are all tasks that are carried out by plumbers. There are various aspects of kitchen plumbing systems which must be there for the kitchen to function in an efficient way.

What Kitchen Plumbing Entails

The kitchen is fitted with pipes which supply clean water and other pipes that get rid of waste water. There may also be pipes which supply gas to the kitchen, and the gas valve is usually located either on the floor or the wall. The hot and cold water valves are normally located under the sink. From the valves, supply tubes are connected to the faucet.

A saddle valve may be attached to the cold water valve in order to provide additional water connections which supply water to appliances such as a water filter. The additional connections may be made from plastic tubes or copper. The gas valve is normally found under the appliances which use gas, and you can shut it off when the gas is not in use for safety purposes.

Repairing Sink Pipes

The pipes which are found under the kitchen sink are normally curved and are known as P-traps. Compression fittings connect these curved pipes to the drainage pipe of the sink, and you can sometimes unscrew these fittings without the help of any tool. When replacing kitchen sink pipes, the plumber has to carefully take the measurements of the pipes so that the new pipes can be cut just right.

The water valves are turned off in order to cut off the supply of water to the sink when the repair work is ongoing. The P-trap connections are unscrewed from the tailpieces of the sink by hand or by use of pliers. The traps are removed from the connections and the drain tailpieces are also removed. New tailpieces are screwed in and new pipes are cut and fixed into place with compression fittings by hand.

Other Repairs Required In The Kitchen

There are many valves which are found in the kitchen and they are prone to leaking. Taps which are used in the kitchen are also prone to leaking and require repairs once in a while. The dishwasher may fail to work properly if the water supply pipes and the drainage pipes are not working properly. The kitchen drains can get clogged up and may require drain cleaning. The garbage disposal may get clogged up if too much garbage is placed in it and would require repairs.

Maintaining Your Kitchen Plumbing

In order to keep your kitchen plumbing working well for you, there are a few things which you can do. Firstly, you should ensure that you do not pour grease and fatty substances down the kitchen sink. Instead of flowing down the drain, grease and fat get stuck to the insides of the pipe and when it accumulates, the drain gets blocked. You should also not throw leftover foods that are hard to grind in the garbage disposal.

Kill Roaches Without Killing Your Family!

1. Cockroaches are vile, disgusting creatures that are nearly impossible to kick out of your house or apartment. Cockroaches live all over the world, but they like to live in homes with people where they can snack on your food, damage wallpaper and books, and spread germs to you and your family.

2. If you HAVE cockroaches, follow them and find out where they go. This is easier said than done, however, so you might need to do a little sleuthing. Check all around the house for cracks and holes through which roaches may enter. Roaches may enter through drains or vents. If they do, fill the sink with a bit of water at night. Use caulking to seal cracks and joints around pipes and around cabinetry.

3. Cockroaches will eat almost anything!!!. BE AWARE that tiny particles of food that you may leave on your counter tops will become a banquet for cockroaches and their rapidly multiplying families.

4. Pull the stove and the fridge away from the walls and clean under them regularly.

5. Keep all of your food in sealed containers. Use glass or plastic containers for cereals, sugar, flour and other foods. Put all food away. Keep food containers sealed, and don’t leave food out for extended periods — don’t even leave dirty dishes overnight.

6 Keep the kitchen clean. Clean up crumbs and spills promptly, and generally keep the area clean. Clean your range top carefully as cockroaches love grease.

7. Empty trash regularly, and keep trash away from the house.

8. Fix dripping faucets or leaks as cockroaches are attracted to water

9 Prevent bugs from coming up the drain. If you believe that the cockroaches are coming up your drains, pour regular, cheap bleach down the drains before leaving the house in the morning. For a stronger solution, mix 1 part Borax with 3 parts bleach.

10. A simple and effective homemade way to lure and trap roaches is with a jar placed next to a wall, allowing the roaches to get in, but not escape. Any bait can be placed in the jar, including coffee grounds and water, but it also works with just plain water in dryer climates.

11. Move logs, garbage cans, and other debris away from your house. Cockroaches love wood piles and other hiding places. During cold weather they will come inside.

12. Seal any cracks in exterior walls as well as cracks everywhere you can inside your house. This will takes time, but it is worth it because you eliminate most of their favorite hiding/breeding places. You’ll need a lot of low toxicity caulking, so use the big tubes with a caulking gun. Fill every crack inside every cabinet; fill the cracks on both sides of floor, door, and window moldings; fill all openings around pipes in bathrooms and kitchens. This makes a big difference and makes the whole house feel cleaner. THIS WILL ALSO HELP SAVE ENERGY!

IF YOUR COCKROACH PROBLEM CANNOT BE SOLVED BY CUTTING OFF THEIR FOOD SUPPLY AND MEANS OF ENTERING YOUR HOME AND YOU DECIDE TO POISON THEM, DO IT WITHOUT POISONING YOUR FAMILY!

13. Hydramethylnon and many other commercial chemicals used to kill cockroaches and other insects are toxic, potentially carcinogenic, persistent in your home environment and JUST SIMPLY MAKE ME NERVOUS TO HAVE AROUND!! THEY ARE VERY TOXIC. These chemicals have so many potential size effects that I believe their risks outweigh their benefits.

14. I believe that Borax is the best solution for controlling insects inside my home when it is a problem. Borax is a POISON!!! USE IT CAREFULLY; KEEP IT AWAY FROM KIDS AND PETS. If you have crawling babies, do not use bromide or borax along baseboards, dust inside the walls.

15. Borax, although a poison, is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. Borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, is not acutely toxic. This does not mean that it is safe!! It means that a significant dose is needed to cause severe symptoms or death. Simple exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. “In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure.”

16. A reassessment of boric acid/borax by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs found potential developmental toxicity (especially effects on the testes).

MY COMMON SENSE PRECAUTIONS TO HANDLE BORAX INCLUDE WEARING GLOVES, GOGGLES AND AN N95 DUST MASK ON. DO NOT BREATHE IT IN! DO NOT EAT IT! Wash hands after handling.

17.. Borax does not evaporate like many commercial insecticides and pesticides which makes it a better choice to kill cockroaches, ants and fleas than other more volatile materials which will expose all of the members of your household to their chemical vapors.

18. I take a small disposable plastic food container (like Tupperware) and I drill some one quarter inch diameter holes in it. I put about 20g of a mixture of 5g borax, 10g Flour and 5 g cocoa into the Tupperware and I hot glue it closed in case the kids or animals do get at it. I put this “cockroach bait” into cupboards and drawers where there is evidence of cockroaches after I attach child proof locks. This provides an extra precaution I think makes sense.

3 Hitting Drills Guaranteed to Produce Hits

When a player doesn’t hit, frustration sets in for players and parents alike. Hitting can be a very difficult skill for parents and untrained coaches to figure out. The good news is that you don’t have to know what is wrong as long as you know how to “fix it.” Hitting in its most basic form comes down to doing three things – watching the ball, throwing the hands (bat) at the ball, and opening the hips. The following three drills will make these things happen and can prove a quick exit from the player’s hitting slump.

1. Seeing the Ball Drill – In batting practice put an object like a ball glove or empty soda can at the front of the opposite side batter’s box. After taking their swing, the hitter should keep their eyes on the placed object for a second or two before looking out to see where they hit the ball. This will prevent hitters from pulling their head out early on the pitch and help prevent them from over swinging.

2. Pad Drill – Place a pad like a sponge, towel or the player’s glove under their lead armpit when taking batting practice. The hitter’s goal is to keep the glove under the arm until contact and then allow the pad to fall out after making contact. This drill ensures that the hitter is using their hands and forearms to swing the bat in a compact, direct manner.

3. Back Knee Pick-up Drill – Have the hitter pick up their back leg with their back knee turning to point at the pitcher as they swing. This drill will force the hitter to use their front side to pull the bat initially as well as forcing the hitter to open their hips. Both of these forced moves with this drill promote contact, weight shift and power.

There are many hitting drills that can benefit a hitter and it is a good idea to continue with some of them throughout the season. Drills are the best way to develop good fundamentals whereas batting practice is good for the hitter’s timing.

Finally, it is always best to challenge hitters during batting practice with game like speeds and speed changes. There is no speed that is too slow or too fast, within reason of course based on the age of the player. Remember, you don’t need to know what is fundamentally wrong with a hitter’s swing as long as you know how to fix it.

Building Types and Styles of Kenya

As the construction industry embraces modern architecture and builders experiment with new styles and plans, there is a growing difference between building types and styles used today than those built even a few decades ago.

Certain styles of buildings are widespread in Kenya and seen as the de facto standard. As a result, most buildings have similar designs and forms that contribute to building limitations in terms of flexibility and ease of use.

Traditional styles of building in Kenya

Until recently, buildings in Kenya have had common characteristics in their construction that are determined by

  • Skills of the labor force
  • Accessibility and affordability of building materials

Developers are beginning to work outside their comfort zones to use varied building plans and construction materials resulting in innovative architectural looks and forms.

Buildings in rural Kenya

Temporary and semi-permanent structures

The building types and styles in rural Kenya are significantly influenced by the region and traditional culture of the people living in a specific rural area. For instance:

  • The Maasai and Samburu tribes construct temporary huts called ‘Manyattas’ to match their pastoralist lifestyle. These are made from twigs tied together by dried tree-bark or strings to make walls with thatched roofs.
  • The Kalenjin tribe construct semi-permanent huts using twigs and posts joined together using nails. Mud or clay is plastered on the twigs to make walls and the floor while the roof is made of long grass or reeds.
  • Coastal people such as the Mijikenda make houses from coconut leaves popularly known as Makuti houses
  • The Kikuyu, on the other hand, use timber for the walls and iron sheets for the roof.

Permanent structures

Temporary structures are dying off and being replaced by permanent houses made of stones and mortar.

For those who cannot afford stones and mortar, bricks are made by mixing clay with sand, straw, stone, concrete and lime, and then shaped into blocks that are either air-dried with fire or dried in a kiln. The bricks are used for walls and pavements.

Interestingly, bricks are finding their way into urban areas as developers seek to construct affordable housing for urban dwellers.

The few permanent buildings in rural areas have similar styles owing to the construction materials used and lack of sufficient skills by local workforce. Most of these homes have:

  • L, T, U and I shaped designs
  • Several bedrooms and a living room (sitting room)
  • Bathrooms and kitchen often built in separate locations from the main house

Commercial buildings are simply built as plain empty halls with no design and style taken into account.

Customary styles and types of building in urban Kenya

The styles, designs, architecture and types of buildings in urban Kenya are more expressive with most built using stones and mortar for walls, cemented or tiled floors and iron sheets or roofing tiles for roof covering.

1. Flats and apartments

They are the most common building type among urban dwellers.

  • Accommodate high numbers of tenants and are relatively affordable
  • Less sophisticated in terms of design and style
  • Range from single rooms, bedsitters and self-contained one-bed houses to self-contained two and three-bed houses.

It is rare to find apartments and flats with more than 3 bedrooms.

2. Maisonettes

More sophisticated in design and based on the personal style of the owner, there is growing demand for maisonettes in Kenya to accommodate the increasing middle class. As a result, companies are developing large-scale projects of maisonettes in a bid to capitalize on the new housing market.

3. Bungalows

  • Mostly built by upper middle class and class A and AB
  • Highly sophisticated in terms of design, style and type

Commercial complexes

They are the most versatile in terms of design, type and space, and materials used range from glass and metal to stones and mortar, plastic, bricks and combination of timber and stones, etc.

  • They include sky scrapers and storied buildings
  • Their designs and use of space is determined by the function of the building with shopping malls and entertainment spots being more open in terms of architecture and design.

Visit Nocatee Florida

There is a small village or you might say a crossroads in southwestern Florida called Nocatee. It is not to be confused with the newly built master-planned community of the same name in northeast Florida. The original Nocatee is located in DeSoto County in southwest Florida. It is a Seminole Indian word that means, “What is it?” It is an interesting place to visit although you will not find a place to stay for the night. There are no motels with distinct styles of deluxe guest rooms and suites. It’s defiantly a day tripper when visiting Nocatee. A Mediterranean atmosphere with tropical pools and lush grounds will not be found in this village. Nocatee offers more of a Florida cracker type ambience. There are no beaches, but you could bring your bathing suit and swim at the county owned boat ramp down at nearby Peace River.

If you are interested in playing golf while visiting Nocatee, you can’t. Golfing will have to take place up the road in Arcadia which is the county seat. Or you could go eight miles south of Nocatee to Sunny Breeze Golf Club.

If shopping is your thing, you are in luck. Just five miles up the road in Arcadia again there are several stores to choose from. And you can venture down Arcadia’s old Oak Street in the antique district.

On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley passed directly through Nocatee with winds which persisted for an hour, damaging most of the structures in the burg and causing some to be completely destroyed. You can still find many buildings with the blue FEMA tarps still protecting the roofs.

Actually, the most interesting thing about Nocatee is not what is there now but what use to be there. I know of one person who said he was from Nocatee. The King Lumber Company founded in the late 1800’s was the main industry and the largest employer in DeSoto County. It eventually became the Nocatee-Manatee Crate Company until it closed in 1951. The First settler was the Carlton family. Baptist and Methodist churches were founded there in 1890. There was once a stump plant which employed many people until it close in the 1980s.

DeSoto County was initially a much bigger county and later subdivided to create five smaller counties in 1921. There was an election to figure out where the DeSoto County seat should be. Nocatee lost by one vote. Nocatee has never had much population to speak of. It’s pretty much maintained the same size since 1900. It’s never been an actual incorporated town.

Sadly, Nocatee doesn’t have much of a tourist draw but there is an interesting Civil War history in the county. For the paleontologist the county lies in what is known as bone valley. It’s a phosphate rich area where many mastodon bones can be found.

For more information about the village of Nocatee, Florida visit DeSoto County Florida online. Also check out Howard Melton’s book, “Foot Prints & Landmarks which gives the interesting history of Nocatee and DeSoto County. You may also visit Arcadia’s antique district online. Better yet, take the opportunity and come visit us.

Healthy & Helpful Tools in the Kitchen

So you are interested in trying a special autism diet, but you're concerned about how much time it will take. You can successfully follow a special diet in the same time that you are already spending in the kitchen, and the tools described here can help make things easier.

If you watch someone build a house you'll see the specialized tools that use to make their job of measuring, cutting, and constructing so much simpler. The same thing goes for cooking-cookware, specialized equipment, and storage materials-make cooking easier and healthier (by less exposure to harmful materials). This does not mean you need fancy, expensive equipment to cook, but it's certainly helpful to have a few good tools to make things more efficient and help specialized cooking fit into your lifestyle needs.

Here are some common cooking and storage tools that are helpful-and how to avoid the toxic ones.

Cookware

Cookware is the first thing people ask about respecting food safety. Do not use aluminum (where the cooking surface is aluminum), Teflon-coated, or copper. Especially, do not use Teflon. I know they are easy and non-stick, but there have been many studies showing how toxic this material is. Even if they are new and unscratched, I would not use them. Teflon is also toxic to produce. There are also newer varieties of cookware, all claiming to be non-stick and non-toxic. Because some of these are so new, I have not yet seen enough research to make personal recommendations.

As with most areas of nutrition and cooking, I prefer to stick with the traditional and classic options. Cast iron and enameled cast iron are good options for cookware. Stainless steel pots and pans are also good; However, stainless steel can contain high levels of nickel. Purchase stainless steel that attracts a magnet-these are much lower in nickel. If you can find the old VisionWare by CorningWare, they are also great to cook with.

For bakeware, you can use glass such as Pyrex, ceramic stoneware such as CorningWare, and natural stoneware such as Pampered Chef. Pyrex and CorningWare are old stand-bys. The stoneware by Pampered Chef is great for gluten-free pizza crust and butternut squash fries.

Helpful Tools

In addition to cookware, there are other tools that are very helpful in the kitchen:

Slow Cooker / Crock-Pot: Slow cookers, also commonly referred to as crock-pots (based on the brand name Crock-Pot), most frequently contain an enameled ceramic crock. Typically, these crocs are made with non-toxic materials, although you'll want to check the specific brand. Slow cookers are great because they allow you to cook without requiring attention, so you can leave them all day while you are working or out running errands without concern for burning the food or a fire hazard. You will want to use recipes that are tailor to a slow cooker because the amount of water varies (less water is typically required for stews and soups).

Vita-MixTM: Vita-Mix is ​​a high-powered blender that blends with ease – no more need to struggle with ice cubes in the blender. This blender can blend anything. I suggest the grain attachment too. Grinding your own grain allows the flour to be very fresh and makes easy nut flours. You can blend vegetables with liquid in the Vita-Mix-this differs from juicing where the pulp is extracted. Both ways of consuming vegetables is acceptable. The Vita-Mix makes a more fibrous thick juice.

Juicer: There are several different types of juicers: centrifugal and masticating being two of the most popular. I prefer a centrifugal because masticating heats up the juice a little too much – but there is much debate on this, and many options available. No matter the juicer you choose, juicing is a great way to get nutrient density in your diet.

ExcaliburTM Dehydrator: Great for making crispy nuts, dried fruit, Specific Carbohydrate Diet acceptable crackers, even yogurt. A dehydrator makes the best yogurt maker because you can adjust the temperature very specifically. The "dehydrator" does not actually "dry the food out" but it gentle heats it to remove the moisture from the food. This allows you to use it as a warm oven for yogurt and other foods that you want to heat at a low, consistent temperature.

Harsch Crock: Unsurpassed for making lactic acid fermentations (cultured vegetables!). This fermentation crock makes delicious raw sauerkraut every time. The Harsch crock is well worth the investment, but not necessary to make cultured vegetables. You also make cultured vegetables in a straight-sided, plain crock. Cultured vegetables are loaded with natural probiotics, a common tenet of autism diets.

ThermosTM: Great tool to storing hot lunch, so no heating or microwaving is required while out or at school. In addition to using a Thermos for soup, get creative with snacks and lunch. Look for a Thermos that is short and jar-shaped (rather than a tall cylinder). Foods that taste better hot such as chicken nuggets, gluten-free pasta, and chicken pancakes, often fit nicely in this shape and are easier to eat.

Avoiding toxins

Here are some storage and cooking tools to avoid, and safer alternatives.

TOXINS AROUND THE KITCHEN TO AVOID:

1. Canned food. Aluminum cans either put your food in contact with aluminum or plastic lining.
2. Avoid storing in plastic. Do not put hot food or fats (oils, butter, cheese) in plastic.
3. Avoid Teflon, copper and aluminum pans.
4. Avoid the microwave and never reheat with plastic in the microwave.
5. Avoid freezing in plastic when possible.

SAFER COOKING ALTERNATIVES

1. Buy in glass. Beans, tomato sauce, and other foods can be purchased in glass jars.
2. Store in glass with plastic / rubber lid, or in stainless steel.
3. Use stainless steel (adhesives a magnet), cast iron, enameled cast iron, glass or ceramic.
4. Heat in oven, on stove, or in toaster oven.
5. Use wax paper, or glass with lid. If you use aluminum foil, wrap food in wax paper first to avoid contact with aluminum.
6. Store frozen food in glass mason jars or Pyrex storage containers. Mason jars can be frozen-you may get an occasional broken jar at the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it's uncommon to have the glass break. Just be sure not to fill the jar too full-allow plenty of room in the jar. If possible, do not screw lid on all the way until completed frozen.

You can do it!

Learning to follow a special diet and cooking to heal takes patience and persistence. Try one new tool, recipe, or technique each week or month. It is much more attainable and less overwhelming to start with one thing at a time, and then build. Here's an example. I consider myself a fairly beginner / intermediate knitter, but people are often surprised by the things I've created. My strategy (mostly because I get bored doing the same thing all the time) is to try one new stitch or technique with each new project. Learning one new skill is easy to add, and then before I realize it, I have quite the list of knitting tools and skilled attained (and can make things!).

I hope my experience with these kitchen tools over the years has provided helpful tips make your cooking and food prep easier. Having a child on the autism spectrum makes time very precious. However, since eating healthyly is such an integral part of healing and recovery, learning how to balance healthy food and time is important. Having some tools and tips can make food preparation easier and healthier.

A Review of the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC Treadmill

I love walking, especially out doors, but there are times in winter when it’s just too darn cold. So, recently I bought the Sportcraft TX 5.0 RC Treadmill. Here’s my review and why I’m glad I bought it.

It’s great that I can now enjoy a good walk workout in the comfort of my own home and the features of the Sportcraft TX5 treadmill are really good. I talk about the best ones below.

Out of all the features of the Sportcraft treadmill, the best one is that it can easily go from its horizontal walking position to a vertical position so I can easily store it: I live in a small town house so space is an issue for me. Mind you, the Sportcraft machine does look quite stylish so leaving it set up and on display won’t embarrass a style-conscious person.

The display panel that comes with the Sportcraft TX5 is fantastic as it gives me lots of information. Not only does it show the miles and steps I’ve walked; it also shows the calories, heart rate, time and speed. There’s a quick mode button that lets me change the speed as well; It’s real easy, you just use the “+” or “-” signs to slowly increase or decrease speed in increments of one tenth of a mile.

Although it is a cheap machine, I’ve found I can also use it for running, though I have to admit I don’t run on it all that much. When I do run, I find the remote control to be very useful as it allows me to easily change speed without touching the display panel.

I’m a bit of a safety nut and one reason I’d put off buying a treadmill was because I was afraid I’d fall off – I had visions of my legs and arms being mangled. But, the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC has banished those fears. It comes with a safety cord that attaches to you and a sensor on the panel so if you should fall or slip, and the cord is not connected to the sensor, it stops automatically.

What I liked, and my husband loved, was the low price of the machine at just under $250. My husband found setting up the Sportcraft treadmill a breeze. The manual that came with it was easy to follow.

If you are looking for a treadmill, I would highly recommend the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC Treadmill. My husband doesn’t use it though as he’s an ardent runner; it isn’t really suitable if you take running seriously. But, for walkers like my self I think it works just great.

My review of the Sportcraft treadmill is a little short; I’ve just mentioned the things I liked most about it. The display console of the machine is just about right, the remote control makes operating the treadmill easy and I really like the safety cord. To date, I’ve had hassle free walking on this machine and am getting the workout I need.