Kids Baseball Drills – 3 Drills That Make Practice Fun

Fun Drills for Kids

Coaching kids baseball can be hard: you have to combat hot summer days, short attention spans, and varying ability levels. The key to kids baseball drills is to keep them fun so the kids don’t realize they’re learning — they think they’re just playing around! These drills for kids are designed to teach them the basics of baseball while keeping them excited about practicing the game.

Hubba Bubba Ball

For this kids baseball drill, the coach needs an oversized plastic bat and balls — they can be found at most toy stores. The coach divides the team into defense and offense and acts as full-time pitcher.

The kids play the game as they normally would, only because of the plastic ball the defense doesn’t need gloves. The batters should focus on clean hits and correct tossing of the bat — the coach might want to set up markers on either side of home plate so the kids can see where they bat should go once they get a hit. The defense should focus on catching and throwing with soft hands.

Beat the Heat

This baseball drill for kids teaches them about passing and hitting using water balloons. The coach will need to bring plenty of water balloons to practice — about 100.

First the kids will practice passing by lining up in two relay lines with a big bucket at the end. The two lines compete to see how many unbroken balloons they can get into the buckets in the fastest time by passing from one player to the next. How far apart the kids are spaced when passing the balloons should be based on their age and ability level — or how hot it is outside!

Now the kids can practice hitting with the remaining balloons. The kids take turns at bat with the coach pitching them water balloons. This drill is great for kids who have trouble keeping their eye on the ball and are hesitant to follow through with their swing because they don’t want to miss seeing the balloon burst.

Ball-Go-Round

For this kids baseball drill, divide the team up into groups of four and have them form a square with each player spaced 10 paces apart. The drill begins with the first player rolling the ball to the player on his right, who will catch the ball, pivot, and roll it to the player on his right, who will in turn catch, pivot, and roll, continuing around the square.

The coach will then add another ball into the mix. The players will continue rolling, catching, and pivoting, but this time with two balls going around simultaneously. The players should start calling out the name of the person they are passing to. The coach continues adding balls until there are four going at the same time. The players can then advance to soft-tossing the ball.

How Ornate Picture Frames Are Made Using Different Frame Making Techniques

There are several different types of ornate picture frame. They include hand carved ornaments made from solid timber, hand-made composition ornaments applied to a pre-joined frame, machine-made compo frames and mechanically embossed timber ornamentation.

Frames have been made from solid timber for several thousands of years. There are examples from Ancient Egypt and there is a solid link between the Roman Catholic Church and ornate framed religious artworks for at least the last 1000 years. The Egyptians discovered methods of applying gold leaf to timber by applying a bole made from Armenian clay. The clay provided a smooth base that the gold leaf could be applied to and the red color of the bole imparted a luscious glow to the thin layer of gold applied over it. Modern gilding today still uses identical methods to fix gold leaf to timber.

In the early European examples the ornaments were carved to match the architecture of the day. The frames were often designed by the artist in consultation with the artisan framer. In many examples the frame was made prior to the artwork being painted. The panels and canvasses that the artist would prepare used similar materials like animal glues combined with calcium carbonate or chalk to make a sound surface to commence painting on.

The carved frames were often gessoed with the same concoction of rabbit skin glue, water, deadened plaster and chalk. The gesso mixture was applied warm from a double boiler and built up over several layers. The final layers prior to gilding were done with a bole mixture where often the lowlights were covered in a yellow ochre toned clay and the highlights were reddish toned. The yellow tone provided a mask for where the hollow section of ornament may be left un-gilded. It was difficult to get the gold leaf down into every hollow so the yellow tone helped disguise the missing leaf.

Framers wanted to make ornate frames quicker and also wished to replicate a particular design to save time from the laborious task of carving so they developed a mixture called “compo”. The composition as it was known was a secret recipe basically made from rock resin or rosin that had been melted with raw linseed oil. This molten resin mix was then combined with hot rabbit skin glue and mixed quickly to emulsify the oil and water mix. As the component were being blended the addition of a filler in the form of powdered chalk or whiting was added to give the material body.

The composition could be made in a large batch and stored as bricks to be later heated and reactivated into a pliable molding compound.

Ornaments could then be carved once and then either by making the carving as a negative mold or by copying the ornament by using molten shellac or molten resin be copied by pressing the hot compo into the mold and then applying the flexible ornament to the frame before it had cooled and set hard.

Many replica frames are still made today by the composition method.

Modern use of silicone has enabled easy replication of carved ornaments although there are several practitioners of the old methods using traditional materials.

The ornate swept frame where an ornament is applied to a timber base and then gilded is a common example. The gilding in this case is usually done with schlagmetal or Dutch metal leaf. An imitation gold made from a mixture of copper and nickel. The schlagmetal is applied using an oil gilding method where a slow drying varnish is applied to the prepared frame and then after a set time just before the varnish is totally dry the leaf is applied to the surface. If the leaf is applied too soon the finish is dull and lifeless but when the timing is right a bright gold surface is achieved. This type of gilding needs to be protected with layers of shellac and is also often varnished to prevent tarnishing occurring.

Most commercial gold frames are made with artificial gold leaf like schlagmetal due to the low-cost of the material and the speedier application of the finish and preparation of the underlying timber.

Modern ornate gold frames that can be purchased in lengths are usually made by a mechanical compo machine. The machine consists of a feeder type system where a timber profile is drawn through the machine passing under a large embossing wheel that has the pattern engraved on to it. A modern mixture of synthetic compounds or wood mast much like a wet mixture of MDF is pumped onto the frame just prior to it passing under the embossing wheel. The wheel stamps the pattern into the mixture as the timber passes through the machine.

The profiles are then dried and can be finished in a number of ways ranging from painting, gilding or synthetic foiling with a hot stamped foiling machine. The foils are available in a wide range of finishes mimicking all types of finish.

The other common method of producing ornamental timber finished frames is by using a mechanical embossing machine. The embossing machine is similar to the composition machine but instead of applying a layer of compo to the frame the wheel with the pattern on it is heated up by a blow torch type set up. The wheel is heated gradually by rotating it through the gas flame until it is hot enough to scorch the timber. Then the pattern is embossed into the timber frame molding under heat and pressure. Usually this type of frame is then stained to a dark color to help conceal the odd scorch marks.

There are different molding techniques being developed all the time for modern replication of ornate picture frames. These methods usually involve mass reproduction of a particular design just to meet a specific price point that is acceptable to the market. They are not usually used to make unique hand-made frames to suit individual artworks.

It is worth understanding the ancient methods and appreciating that the techniques developed over the centuries have a place of value. A modern picture frame may last a century but this is often unlikely whereas antique traditionally crafted frames have lasted a millennium.

Western Red Cedar Vs. Inland Red Cedar: How to Select the Right Product for Your Building Project

You need wood for your building project, and you’ve settled on cedar. You might think the buying process would be simple from here on out-go down to the building supply store and grab some cedar, right? Not so fast, friend. There’s actually more to cedar than you might realize.

Western Red Cedar and Inland Red Cedar are two similar but not identical wood products on the market. So if you’re a cedar beginner, here’s a Cedar 101 crash course for you.

1. Know your background

The scientific name for Western Red Cedar is Thuja plicata. It’s a variety of softwood that grows in the western U.S. and Canada, known for its extreme durability, natural preservatives, and of course, untreated beauty. The innate characteristics of Western Red Cedar make it well-suited for the best-quality cedar siding, decking, shakes and shingles.

Even once you’ve made up your mind that Thuja plicata is what you need for your building project, there are still a few things you should know. Most Western Red Cedar comes from British Columbia, western Washington and western Oregon. However, some Western Red Cedar also grows further inland. You’ll find it on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, in Idaho, Montana, as well as parts of Alberta and eastern British Columbia.

The cedars from the more eastern, higher-elevation forests are still Thuja plicata – the same botanical species as the cedars that grow to the west – but there are differences in the wood. In fact, the two varieties are sometimes processed, graded, and even labeled differently: the wood from trees grown in the coastal forests as “Western Red Cedar,” the wood from trees grown further east as “Inland Red Cedar.”

Now that you know the background on these woodland wonders, here are things to consider when you’re trying to determine which type to purchase.

2. Take a closer look

Paul Mackie is the western area manager of the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, but he also answers to “Mr. Cedar” for his ability to answer cedar questions.

Mackie said that while botanists may not make a scientific distinction between the trees grown inland and trees grown on the coast, you will see a visual difference if you examine both types side by side.

“The inland fiber is different from the coastal materials,” he said. “The inland fiber will be lighter, striped in appearance, and the percentage of clear is much less.”

Cedar decking and siding specialists who look for the highest-grade products source their Western Red Cedar from trees grown in the coastal climate. These coastal trees are giants, growing up to 200 feet tall and more than 10 feet in diameter. Their native habitat is anywhere from sea level to about 4,000 or 5,000 feet in altitude, and in warmer, wetter conditions than the cedars grown on the other side of the mountains. They also offer a more diverse appearance.

“In the coastal fiber, you’ll see a wide range of color occurring in the tree,” said Mackie. “You’ll have everything from a dark chocolate to a light straw color, and all those colors might occur within the same piece.”

3. Does size matter?

The larger coastal cedars also tend to have a higher percentage of “clear” grade material that the best quality cedar siding, cedar shakes, and large beams are made from. In the higher altitude and drier climate regions, Inland Red Cedar just doesn’t get as big. If you need large-diameter beams or timbers, they’re going to have to come from Western Red Cedar that was grown in the coastal forests.

The smaller inland trees are better suited for different products than coastal trees, Mackie said. Split-rail fencing or smaller pieces of lumber are two common uses for Inland Red Cedar.

“There’s not nearly as wide of a product range for inland cedar,” Mackie said.

4. Making the grade

The two types of cedar are also processed and graded differently. Cedar is usually sorted into “clear” and “knotty” grades. “Clear” is the most visually perfect wood, while “knotty” is what it sounds like-it’s quality wood that’s structurally sound, but it has some knots or other visual imperfections. Within the “clear” designation, lumber is further sorted in grades from A through D, with “A and better clears” the highest grade, and “D” the lowest.

According to Mackie, Inland Red Cedar has a lower percentage of clear lumber – so small that most producers of Inland Red Cedar don’t even sell A-grade materials. “D and better clears” is usually the highest grade available for Inland Red Cedar. This is still quality wood, but it’s not as knot- and blemish-free as the “A” or better. Western Red Cedar producers have enough volume to offer a wide range of clear grades, all the way up to the very highest grades of clear vertical-grain heart.

What’s more, two different pieces of wood could be labeled similarly even though they were actually graded by different standards. According to Mackie, different lumber producers grade by different rules. Producers of Western Red Cedar grown in the coastal regions grade by cedar-specific rules-inland mills don’t.

“Many of the coastal mills only process cedar,” Mackie said. “The inland mills might do a run of ponderosa pine, then of white pine, then of cedar.”

Because cedar is just one of many products inland mills offer, they don’t go by the cedar-specific rules. Mackie said that in the “knotty” grades, inland cedar is often graded according to Ponderosa Pine grade rules. It all depends on where the wood was milled and what set of standards that particular producer was using.

5. Making the choice

So, just because two pieces of wood both look like cedar, smell like cedar, and may even be botanical brothers, doesn’t mean that they are identical. If you’re looking for a smaller piece of cedar where durability matters but appearance isn’t as crucial, Inland Red Cedar might fit your needs. If you’re looking for a really large beam or timber, and you need the highest-quality cedar available, Western Red Cedar is your best option.

Know your source, consider your project needs, and you’ll be sure of getting the kind of cedar that’s right for you.

How to Sell to the Board of Directors: Three Keys to Successful Board Level Selling

When you are selling big projects, even the Chief Executive Officer has a purchase limit beyond which they need to get board level approval. Read on to discover three keys to selling to the board of directors.

What are the Mission Priorities?

The first key is understanding the organization’s mission priorities. The mission is what the company is tasked to accomplish by the board of directors. The priorities are the order in which tasks are accomplished; it’s about sequence and timing.

The board of directors pays attention to these elements, focusing on what will be accomplished, why it will be accomplished, and when it will be accomplished. They will also look at potential and real risks and ways to mitigate them or eliminate them. But they won’t go in depth about the methods to accomplish the mission; they don’t go deep into the how. They hire people to take care of the details and that’s what you’re selling them; the how to get the outcome they desire.

You need to know the board members’ priorities and concerns. Then you can show how you’ll contribute to those priorities and address those concerns.

The board makes decisions based on their confidence in the plan, in the people, and and the process. Expect to present proof that you can deliver in these three areas.

What are the Success Metrics?

The second key to selling to the board of directors is to understand how they’ll measure success. How will they know to pay executive bonuses?

Success metrics frequently include revenue, profit, or growth targets. But success criteria can also be market share, new market access, or competitive success. You’ll need to identify their criteria and be able to illustrate how you can substantially contribute to those outcomes.

Every board member will have a slightly different view of what constitutes success and what defines risk, so do your homework or be able to quickly adapt to their individual views.

How Do You Get to the Board of Directors?

The third key is to get board-level access. In most cases you won’t get it in person. But your proposals and reports will if the CEO believes in your plan.

So you have to get excellent at creating board-level proposals and writing presentations that others will make on your behalf. They must include all of the elements listed in this article. Your executive sponsor will help you with other material required to persuade the board to go your way.

Over time, as you grow your personal brand and establish credibility with the board, you may be invited to present in person. And when you do, you’ve become one of the top sales professionals on the planet.

Mixing Concrete With Outdoor Wall Lighting

Outdoor wall lighting is the best lighting for pathways, walkways, driveways, and other garden features. Whatever features you might have in your home or business yard should be a dictating factor when you are selecting your outdoor wall lighting. If you have a yard or business property that already has existing concrete, you can enhance it through a variety of means, including outdoor wall lighting. A decorative concrete contractor will help show you how you can enhance the value of your property by applying one of many decorative concrete designs. When you seek a consultation with a concrete company you will be able to determine if your existing concrete is ready for an overlay, or if there are problems with the slabs in place. If the latter is the case, then you will have to use a concrete company to remove and relay the concrete. If not, you are able to begin using any spray texture decoration or stamped patterns.

If your existing concrete is spalled or contains mild cracks, your decorative concrete contractor will need to correct these distress symptoms prior to applying the decorative concrete treatment. By hiring a professional concrete company, the professionals will be able to examine the quality of the existing concrete and the subbase conditions, identifying problems that exist and correcting them prior to applying any overlay. If your existing concrete is damaged, there are a few different treatment options prior to applying the decorative overlay. One of these includes applying a waterproof membrane. This is a spray texture which is applied on concrete slabs and simulates patterns found in tile or marble. This is an especially useful application is you are decorating areas which surround new swimming pools, offices, retail developments, walkways, driveways, or interior floors. Once this has been done to your exterior surfaces, you can utilize professionals to help you determine where the best outdoor wall lighting can be placed to complement the new and improved walkways, driveways, or patios.

For these areas, there are great stamped overlays that offer water and wear resistance as well as high adhesion. These overlays are typically one quarter to one half of an inch thick. They are best suited for interior applications such as counter surfaces that are meant to be durable and maintenance free, with a cost that is much lower than natural materials. If you can integrate the right outdoor wall lighting into your new exterior design, you can save time and money with the most appropriate set up and the best utilization of light layers and concrete reflections.

When you use the professional expertise of a concrete company and a decorative concrete contractor you are able to use acid staining as well as stencil techniques to enhance the color of your concrete. A decorative concrete contractor will demonstrate the unique designs a saw cut can make in your existing concrete. A concrete company will be able to use dustless grinding to avoid contaminating the surfaces alongside pressure washing and shot-blasting to remove any existing residue prior to staining or applying stencils.

Sometimes acid-staining your existing concrete will optimize a high-gloss finish and therefore will not require sealing. Any decorative concrete contractor will help you to create a marbleized appearance through an enhanced polish blend. Other faux techniques used to recreate the image of natural materials include stippling and ragging, both of which can be done by a concrete company. Once these techniques have been applied then you can utilize the professional expertise of a lighting contractor to determine which outdoor wall lighting will illuminate the best facets of your yard and where the lighting should be placed in order to optimize light.

Types of Electrical Appliances We Use Daily

The significant role played by a number of electrical appliances in our daily lives is quite undeniable. Man is undoubtedly dependent on different types of home and kitchen appliances like air conditioners, LCD TVs, heaters, vacuum cleaners, coolers and so forth.

All these gadgets are known to lessen our burden and make life easier. The hectic lifestyles of these days deplete our energy levels and thereby increase our dependence on these gadgets. Today millions of people all over the world depend on various kinds of electrical appliances.

Some of the Commonly Used Electrical Appliances

The different types of electrical appliances used in our daily lives include tube light, refrigerators, water heaters, room heaters, air conditioners, coolers, fans, geysers, CFL lamps, LED lights and so forth.

There are innumerable appliances which help man to make his life better. In addition to different kinds of home appliances, you can easily find kitchen appliances too at affordable rates. Kitchen appliances include mixer grinder, juicers, toasters, bun warmers, electric hot plate and so forth. All these appliances are available in the online markets at reasonable rates. Let us understand some of the appliances in detail.

Tube light: one of the most commonly and widely used electrical appliance includes the tube light. It is available in different sizes and varieties. The CFL lights, fluorescent lights, LED lights are some of the most important varieties of lights.

The CFL tube light is used in homes as well as commercial buildings and is quite popular for its unique qualities. There are different types of CFL lights available in the markets. These lights are compact in size yet powerful which makes it distinctive. The Dulux bulbs, the Triple Biax CFL, the quad tube CFL, and the spiral CFL are some of the known varieties of CFL tube light. The spiral CFL is widely used in homes and offices in fixtures. Circular CFL is another variety which is also used in reading lamps.

The Fluorescent lights are quite common these days. It is usually used in commercial areas. Since it is energy efficient it is used in places where bright light is required for a longer period. Compared to the incandescent bulbs, this variety of tube light is much better and durable.

Another variety of tube light is the LED lights which are long lasting and efficient. It is used for a number of applications including LED rope lights. These lights are used for decorations during weddings and festivals as it requires less energy. It is also used in street lamps.

A variety of mixer grinder is also available in the online stores today. These grinders are used for grinding coconut, spices, making vegetable and fruit juices and so forth.

Other Useful Appliances

Apart from essential appliances like tube light and grinders, there are many more electrical appliances that are considered vital for any home. Appliances like iron holders, emergency lights, bread toaster, hot and cold water dispenser, mini fridge, electrical stove, microwave oven and so forth. All these equipments and appliances are available in the online stores at realistic prices.

Five Conventional French Dishes

French cuisine is enormously diverse unlike other cuisines. A knowledge of the culture of French food plus recipes is an understanding of France itself. You will get different kinds of dishes across the regions of France. Every locality of France has its own distinctive traditions in terms of ingredients and preparation.

In the given article, I have shared how I love making foods as well as eating the Food of France specially. Although the French dishes are believed to be simple but they are not bland in taste. French cuisines are the most delightful and refined cuisines across the globe. French cuisines are usually a combination of wine and cheese and thus wine and cheeses are the integral part of French food.

Who says French cooking is a complicated cooking?… Most of the cooking is quite simple. There is no especial technique to master to produce delicious entrees, filling main courses and tempting desserts.

Try our five most effortless French recipes.

French crepes: they are the perfect breakfast for holidays and even can be served as a wonderful dessert item. You can prepare it by pouring the thin liquid batter into a butter greased pan. You can enjoy the tasty crepes with number of fillings, from the simple with only sugar to flambeed crepes Suzette plus elegant savory fillings.

Basque chicken: this is the recipe from France’s southwestern Basque region in which the smoked ham along with onions, red peppers, tomatoes and paprika are thrown into a savory stew. The dish can become tastier if eaten with rice.

Quiche: it is the simplest dish for which you can expect good results. Different kids of quiches you can try like salmon quiche, broccoli quiche or spinach quiche. Quiche is cooked with eggs along with milk in a pastry crust. The pastry shell has to be baked before you add other ingredients like cooked meat, vegetables or cheese.

Tapenade: it is believed to be one of the quickest appetizers. It consists of pureed olives, capers, anchovies along with olive oil. Being a popular food in the south of France, it has an true taste of Provence. While making the tapenade, the olives and capers are chopped and then the olive oil is added until you make a thick paste. For giving flavors, garlic, herbs, brandy and lemon juices are the perfect ingredients.

Chocolate truffle: at the time of Christmas Eve, almost all the shops in France devote at least an entire aisle to French Christmas Treats. And it’s not unusual to find dozens of brands of chocolate truffles. It’s a fantastic blown chocolate which I feel should be needed to close a meal. Chocolate truffle is made with a chocolate ganache that is most often coated in cocoa powder. You can also use cream, caramel, nuts and berries for fillings.

The History of Children’s Ride on Toys From Today to the Past

The earliest ride on toys have been around as long as the automobile. Bicycles and tricycles have always been and still are very popular choices for pre-schoolers and adolescents of a variety of ages. Pedal cars, scooters, and wagons are all popular rides on toys that date back to the 1930s and remain popular today. The variety and materials of the riding toy has varied over generations and popularity of these toys has seen surges and waning over periods, but they always come back to popularity eventually.

Pedal cars have been around since the 1930s and were originally designed to resemble real life models of popular vehicles of the time. Children loved the idea of feeling grown up and grownups love watching their children emulate adult actions because it is cute and endearing.

The popularity of the pedal car lasted three decades before there was a decline in popularity due to change in materials from steel to plastic. Today there is resurgence in the popularity of this ride on toy as they are being made from their original designs, along with new models coming out.

Bicycles and tricycles are timeless classic ride on toys that have never seen a decline in popularity. Adult tricycles are becoming very popular for the senior community, but the smaller counterpart is designed for pre-schoolers and is a very fun way for a child to exercise and get around on.

Bicycles come in many varieties and there are even specific bicycles for trick riding, dirt riding, mountain biking, street riding and much more. Scooters and wagons like the radio flyer have been out as long as bicycles and tricycles.

In 1969, the Big Wheel was introduced at a toy fair and gained almost immediate success. A similar version of the Big Wheel was produced by a rival company, but the two companies eventually merged to form the Empire Company.

The Big Wheel was popular in the 70s through the 90s and this three wheeled fun machine has a super large wheel in the front and two wide wheels in the back. It is constructed mostly of plastic and early models of this product had a short life due to plastic breaking down.

Today’s ride-on toys include a variety of battery operated vehicles from toy motorcycles to ATVs, jeeps, and cars. These toys serve to make the child feel even more grown up than pedal cars and bicycles because they have to use steering, a gas and brake pedal. For all intents and purposes it’s as close to real driving as a very young child can get legally get to driving. They require an intense amount of absolute adult supervision.

The popularity of certain ride on toys ebb and fade, but the reality is that pedal cars are still popular with both children and adults who collect them. Bicycles will always retain their appeal; the scooter has regained their popularity since the 1990s. The most appealing quality of manual ride on toys is that they are foot powered and provide a child with hours of adventurous outdoor exercise and down to earth fun.

Laminate Flooring Part 9 – Tongue and Groove

What are Tongues and Grooves?
Each plank has two kinds of edges. Tongues and grooves. Tongues stick out past the finished wood. They slip into the grooves which are notches or channels in the planks. The groove helps lock the tongue in place and that keeps the boards from coming up. You also have to staple into the tongue side. This means that your first piece should have a tongue pointing towards you when you lay it down on the floor.

I lined up the first piece with my two marks and made sure that the tongue was exposed. The planks also have tongues and grooves on the ends. Make sure the first piece is held in place and put a staple in one end. Since this is the first piece, make sure your lined up on your mark and staple the other end. Here's the fun part. Hold the stapler on the tongue and you can slide it down the wood, pulling the trigger every 4 inches or so. You'll get to where you almost sound like a machine gun eventually. 🙂

In this case, you can use a level to press up against your stapled piece and draw a line for the next piece. I only needed a short piece to finish out the first course of the hallway. The groove simply covers the tongue and you line things up to make sure you're straight, then staple it down in the same way.

The Second Course of Laminate
Here is where the trick comes in. You do not want any seams to be within 8 inches of adjunct courses. This means that the next course can not start with the same size piece as the first course did. If you want to create a random pattern, do not start each new course with a predictable piece (for example going from 36 "to 24" to 12 ") There are several sizes to choose from in the box, and if you're Starting a new course, you always have the privilege of cutting a piece (cut the side that will start at the wall though!) If you need something to fit just right.

The Stanley Bostitch gun we had came with a white block that is used to tap the laminate into place. This is a great tool that did a great job. It was also nice of Stanley to include it with the purchase of the gun. You lay the block up against the laminate and tap it into place. You have to tap on the end as well sometimes. You want a fairly snug fit at all times. Once it's in place, staple away. You can now go from one end to the other because you do not have to worry about the board moving on you.

You basically continue on in this way staggering your seams and keeping things tight. Every once in awhile measure from one end of a course to the snapped line that you have, then measure from the other end of the course to the snapped line. This will tell you if you're drifting and if you check often enough, you can 'fix' this by tapping harder on one end or relaxing the other end a bit to make up for it. You do not want to do something like that in just 5 or 6 courses though, so check often. Again, we are talking a hallway here, so there is little room for error. It's short pieces.

Before we go much further, how do we deal with door jams?

Important Questions to Ask When Selecting a Credit Counselor For Debt Management Plan

A lot of Americans think that they are unable to solve their debt issues on their own. They prefer to look for credit counseling agencies or debt relief companies to assist them to manage their debts in a professional manner. For those who have no experience dealing with these agencies, it is important for them to learn some useful skills to evaluate the agencies so that they are able to find the best counselor in the market. There are some important questions they must ask the agencies.

Now, let’s see what important questions we should ask before making our final decision.

  • What kind of services the agencies offer?

In general, there is a wide range of services offered by these agencies. The services include budget counseling, education on debt management, problem solving, etc.

  • Are the agencies licensed or recognized to offer their services by the state government?

It is a MUST to look for organizations which are registered legally.

  • What are the qualifications of the professional credit counselors? Are they certified?

It is indeed important to ensure that the counselors are well trained and certified in consumer credit, money and debt management as well as budgeting.

  • How much is the service fee? Is there any upfront or monthly fee?

As a client, it is necessary for you to know the quotation of each service clearly. Hence, you are advised to get a detailed price quote in writing. Moreover, make comparison to make sure the fees quoted are reasonable and affordable.

  • How do the agencies handle clients’ financial information which is private and confidential?

The agencies must have the ability to handle and protect the privacy of the information.

  • Is there any service or information which is provided for free?

In common, all related information is complimentary. Never pay for it.

  • Is there any written agreement or contract between the clients and the agencies?

Never commit to appoint any agency over the phone. You are reminded to request for written contract. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions thoroughly before you sign.

How To: Run an Ultra Marathon

What qualifies me to write this article?

I am not an expert ultra marathon runner (or expert anything for that matter). Two years ago I had never run more than 16 miles. But, since then, I have run a half dozen or more “ultra marathons”. What I offer here is the view of someone who has recently started running longer distances and what I’ve learned from my experiences so far.

Here is my advice…

1. GET YOUR HEAD STRAIGHT

First off, stop calling it an ultra marathon. That’s a silly name that belongs in the same dictionary as “extreme” sports and “Iron Man” triathlons. If you build it up in your head then you’ll make it harder for yourself. There is nothing qualitatively different between running 26.2 miles and running 30 miles, 50 or more. It’s just a bit longer and the sooner you realise that, the sooner you can get on with the real preparations.

Secondly, don’t conflate running a long way with having to do so quickly. If you have to stop and re-tie your shoe laces after the first mile, sit down for five minutes to eat a sandwich or take half a dozen loo stops on your way then do so and don’t fret about it. Taking a few extra minutes or hours won’t matter one shred when you cross the finish line.

If you’re into timings then you can work on your speed once you’re comfortable with the distance, but don’t make it hard for yourself by trying to do both at once.

2. TRAIN (BUT NOT TOO MUCH)

You’ll be pleased to hear that you do not need to train seven days a week in a grueling regime to complete a long run. In fact, you could go from start to finish without ever losing your breath. It’s about endurance, not speed. The key is to gradually increase the number of hours you spend on your feet running, walking and generally being active. It is not to bust a gut on a treadmill set to max speed.

With a gun to your head, you could probably run 30 miles or more right now but it would likely not be very good for your body. The aim of training, therefore, is to improve the ability of your legs and the rest of your body to endure prolonged usage. The rest of it will fall into place. And there is simply no better way to do this than to slowly increase the distance and duration of your runs but you can mix that up with long walks and faster sessions if you fancy it, and anything else that will keep you interested and moving.

Whether you run five times a week or once, you can still get there. Just build up slowly, push your distance not your speed, and give yourself plenty of rest in between sessions.

3. GET COMFORTABLE KIT

Shoes, shorts, top and maybe a small bag. There’s not much else you need and the key with kit is that it’s comfortable.

People will say you should get a “good pair of running shoes”. To me, that means ones that fit well and feel comfy – nothing more, nothing less.

The clothes you run in don’t need to do much besides keep you from getting too hot or too cold and irritate you as little as possible. I use a pair of Lycra cycling shorts I got in a sale five years ago and either a wicking top (one that gets rid of sweat quickly) on cold days or an old t-shirt on warmer ones.

You might want to run with a small bum bag or rucksack if you don’t have a regular support team or stops. It’s worth getting a bag designed for running because it’s likely to be more comfortable but that needn’t be expensive (my first one cost £18 from Millets).

4. MAKE AS LITTLE EFFORT AS POSSIBLE

There is no special way you need to run just because you’re going further than normal but it pays to minimise effort. The emphasis is on efficiency, not speed and thus the best technique for running long distance differs quite a lot from the one you might use to catch a bus.

It’s more like a shuffle. Your feet hardly need come more than an inch off the ground and your knees not more than an inch in front of you. Your arms can hang down by your side and move back and forth a little but you needn’t pump them like Usain Bolt. These may seem like minor adjustments but when you’re running all day long, every bit of energy saving will be appreciated.

5. EAT AND DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE

I’ve fueled all of my runs on cheap food from supermarkets and, mostly, tap water. Do not assume that just because it’s a bigger run than that you need some kind of fancy nutritional supplements. You don’t.

Your three requirements are fluids, calories and minerals.

Fluids

There is no secret to getting fluids on board: You can simply drink water. Squash is good too as is dilute fruit juice. Sports drinks are fine as well but by no means necessary. Just drink anything watery of which you like the taste. And make sure you continue to drink throughout the run, whether you feel like it or not.

Calories

Where possible, try to get most of your calories from slow release carbohydrates like dried fruit, bananas, flapjack and nuts (look for the ‘Low GI’ label in supermarkets). They’ll help you avoid too many spikes and troughs in your energy levels. Remember, you are in this for the long haul so whilst you may be craving an entire block of chocolate or feel the urge to suck down an energy gel, you may regret it ten minutes later when you have a slump in energy.

But don’t get too hung up on special foods. If you hate dried fruit and bananas make you gag then don’t eat them. Snacks on my runs have included cheese baguettes, Quorn sausage rolls, a large block of marzipan and a lamb samosa. It’s worth bearing in mind the release rate of what you’re eating but when you’ve been running for 4 hours/8 hours/more, sometimes you’ve just got to give your body whatever it’s asking for. Even if that’s a lamb samosa.

Minerals

When you’re running for this long, you will need to replace salt and other minerals lost through sweat; primarily magnesium, calcium and potassium. You’ve probably heard about this sort of thing through sports drinks adverts but they’re not actually the best way to get what you need (they rarely contain enough salts and often add lots of unnecessary ingredients).

To get these minerals you can add sea salt to your drinks (if you can taste it, you’ve added too much), use Dioralyte, Nuuns or similar, or just rely on your food for it. Each of the food stuffs I mentioned above – dried fruit, bananas, flapjack, nuts – are good sources.

So whilst it’s fine to eat chocolate, cheese sarnies or energy bars, you need to do so alongside other food and drink that will replace your minerals and keep your body functioning efficiently.

6. KEEP MOVING

After the first mile or two of running, it’s worth taking the time to do a few warm-up exercises. Not necessarily stretches but more like the stuff you used to do in PE: side stepping, kicking your heels up, lunging and such like. These will help avoid muscles seizing up and becoming uncomfortable after many hours of running.

I always try to throw in a few of these exercises every few miles or so, just to keep my muscles loose. Run for 10 hours in the same position and you can bet that the unused muscles will feel stiff at the end of the day. You may find stretching out certain muscles helps too and, contrary to the bit above about efficiency, it’s worth varying your running style every so often to engage and rest different muscles.

Also, although it’s tempting to sit or even lie down when you stop for a break, don’t do it for too long. Apart from the increased mental effort of starting again, your muscles won’t appreciate it. Try to at least pace around every minute or two.

7. TREAT YOURSELF WELL

And when it’s all done and you finally stop running, be sure to look after yourself. You won’t collapse in a heap, gasping for air like Roger Bannister after 4 minutes on the track but that’s just because it’s a different kind of exertion and you need to treat yourself accordingly.

Eat a lot and drink even more. Stretch out and keep your legs moving. Not just immediately afterwards but, in both cases, for the next day or two. If you find yourself walking awkwardly from stiff muscles, unless it’s genuinely painful, try to make yourself walk as naturally as possible. It will help loosen your muscles up and avoid strange looks from passers by.

But before any of that, lower yourself into as cold a bath of water as you can get your hands on. Maybe throw in some bags of ice. This might sound masochistic but it’s anything but. You’ll quickly get used to it and the feeling when you get out is divine.

Sample Checklist For Opening Your Restaurant

Entering into any business is a complicated task. There are a number of things to be taken care of. It is recommended that you should prepare a checklist for opening a restaurant. Some of the important aspects that you must cover in your checklist for opening a restaurant are provided here.

The very first thing is to prepare a proper business plan for your restaurant and decide if you would be owning the restaurant in your own name or if you would form a company in whose name the restaurant would be run. Preparation of business plan is necessary. It is something like a framework, a guiding principle according to which your restaurant would function. The role can be equated to the role of the constitution of the United States for the Government of United States.

With this done, you would have to initiate the procedure to get the appropriate licenses and permissions for your restaurant. Get in touch with your local association of hoteliers and restaurateurs in this regard. They would be really helpful.

Next up you have to decide the kind of market you would target. Also the kind of cuisine you wold be serving must be determined at this point. Directly follow this by a search of location for your restaurant. Conduct some research work about the market to determine its potential as well as the competition that you may face in the said area.

Now comes the money! This is the time where big spending is about to start so you should first start by looking at options from where you can procure the loan. Most of the people would like to use their savings as the seed money. Not a really great idea! The best thing is that you should look for bank loans. First thing is that you can get a lot of money. The loan comes with insurance and you can keep your savings for the stages when your business is going through startup hiccups.

With money in your hand the awards in your occupation, your checklist should start covering things at a much more detailed scales. Yep micromanagement part has arrived. Start with purchase of equipment and recruitment of personnel. At the same time you must have a parallel checklist to cover the interior designing work that is going on on your restaurant. By this time, your licenses should have been finalized. Do not forget to collect them.

Next you have to look for suppliers of provisions and other catering and restaurant supplies. Make sure that they are reliable. Final touches to the aesthetics and development of menu must in the comprehensive parts of your checklist.

Keep in mind that these aspects of checklist for opening a restaurant are not exhaustive and you would have to add more points and details to it as you go along following it.

Tea Growing Tools

Tea growing tools is not something that needs to be overly complex, but it does need to be something anyone interested in growing even a single bush should be aware they will need. Tea is a delicate drink, but if treated properly can have a strong presence. The same can be said for the plant.

The first tool will obviously be a shovel. Tea does not need to be planted deep, but will need slightly sandy soil with a good acid level. This soil should be loose enough to allow easy root growth, down to a depth of between four and five feet. Most gardeners look at this requirement as extensive, but tea roots are not able to penetrate dense soils and clay can stop the growth downward. This soil must also have sufficient drained, so digging out deep trenches to be filled with soil is advised. Those with access to pots should use a very deep pot with several holes to prevent water build up at the bottom. Tea does not like mud.

Pot grown tea plants that are earthenware are best. The open drain is perfect, so a row of large reddish brown pots in a garden can be a charming and productive feature. Just try to match the depth for plants grown in the ground. If less depth is what you can access, the plant will be slightly smaller. This is not really a problem as you can then use more pots in the same area, thus reducing the chances that you will not have tea if a single plant fails.

The next tool to have at hand is a good sharp pruning shear. Tea in the wild will grow to well over human head height. This is fine if, like some ancient texts on tea harvesting description, you have trained monkeys to climb the trees and harvest the leaves. Most people prefer to trim limbs down to encourage leave growth in an easily accessible level. Tea plants are also lightly fragrant, with gentle blossoms in the fall, so keeping them as decorative highlights is also a wonderful thing to have in a greenhouse or garden if you live where you can give them the proper environment.

Harvesting the tea requires a large basket that has sufficient of an open weave to allow air to circulate without leaves done in between the mesh. Cotton bags with a reinforcing ring of stiff material around the top and bottom also work. The goal is to prevent the leaves from crushing as they pile up. It is better to take multiple trips to where the tea is sorted and discharged than to have damaged leaves at the bottom. Those will produce very poor quality teas.

The area in which the tea gets sorted and spread to dry light can be large screen bottom frames, or even just a simple clean table. With green and white teas, there is either drying by putting in a hot pan and almost dry frying the leaves, or steaming to open the surface of the tea. Darker teas need a way to roll or lightly congratulate the leaves towards the end of processing to provide oxidation. A large piece of canvas works well to allow the leaves to roll back and forth and break without becoming thick mulch.

Storage of the final dried tea is something that can be done in almost any container, but weight of too much tea will make powder at the bottom. Handling the treated tea is also difficult, so a clean natural brush will help keep the leaves and powder where you want it. Funnels with large mouths will enable pouring without dust storms.

Tea is a simple thing and does not require overly complex tools to manage. There is a lesson to learned in that.

Contemporary Pendant Lighting For Your Home

The right lighting accents can create the perfect ambiance to any room, on any budget, for any style. These are so unique and specific that professional decorators always start with lighting in order to bring out the attributes in a room and to draw a room together. Using the right kind can add a sense of joy and peace to a room. Obviously, darker rooms fair well with brighter rooms work well together. In general these can often be overlooked by amateurs and a floor lamp might be added as a last minute thought to the importance of lighting. If you are starting to decorate a room. If you are looking to accent an already decorated room, your task may be a bit harder.

This kind of piece gives a décor a freedom that others do not. In reality, it can be more flexible and more decorative than almost any other style. Chandeliers tend to overpower a room while they provide sufficient where it is most needed but does not detract attention from the rest of the room. In the center of the room is the most important piece in the room, then placing a more highly decorative piece in the middle of the room will accomplish this. The use can work in almost any room, provided that the style of the light compliments the rest of room. Naturally, high ceilings are most suitable for pendant lighting while lower ceilings can use a limited styling when it comes to these kinds of ideas. Hitting your head every time you pass under the light will only detract from the room.

Simple and stylish lighting can work well in simple living rooms, high ceiling bathrooms, and even some kitchens, depending on the style of the lighting and the kitchen. They can also get more exotic as the size of the room increases. This in the master bedroom almost always leaves room for significant creativity and open ended styles. Home offices and rec rooms also have potential for it. The most important key to using it is using the light to draw the room together while considering how well it will light certain areas of the room.

In offices and living rooms, glare can be reduced through the use of pendant lighting. A glare on a computer screen or television screen can be highly annoying. Using appropriately placed fixtures can reduce this glare and create even lighting for more specified spaces. Since these are not easy to move around once it is installed, this consideration should have addressed prior to hanging the light.

It can be very expensive, and many people will opt for a $ 50 floor lamp over the cost of a pendant light However, the specialized world allows for a higher level of creativity and personalization and is worth every penny of its higher than average price.

Buying Jewelry For Your Girlfriend – A Practical Guide

If you’re a man, you’re probably not much into jewelry. Most men, by and large, aren’t. Nevertheless, maybe it’s your girlfriend’s birthday or it’s Christmas or (heaven forbid!) it’s Valentine’s Day and you’ve decided you want to give your special girl the gift of jewelry. Good for you! It’s a wonderful choice, assuming, of course, that you already know that your girlfriend loves and appreciates nice jewelry. Okay, so now what?

Step One: Decide how much you can comfortably spend. Or, if you’re rolling in money, decide how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re barely scraping by, don’t beat yourself over a lack of funds or get the idea that unless you put yourself into dire financial straights over this purchase, you aren’t loving her enough. That’s nonsense, and any woman worth her salt will tell you so. When it comes to jewelry, we gals know that it’s not a guy’s cup of tea, that they are out of their depth and probably afraid they’ve made the wrong choice. We get it. And we appreciate the fact that you’re willing to try.

Step Two: Once you’ve got an idea of your budget, decide what form this jewelry gift will take. Will it be earrings? A necklace? A bracelet? A ring? If money’s a concern, earrings or a pendant necklace, especially if we’re talking about fine jewelry, are probably the most affordable pieces of jewelry. For the uninitiated, you can translate ‘fine jewelry’ to mean anything that has a K in it – as in 10k gold, 12k gold, 14k gold, etc. Earrings are pretty self-explanatory. A pendant necklace usually means a precious or semi-precious stone or two in a gold or silver setting, suspended by a chain of the same metal.

By the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with opting for a piece of fine jewelry that’s 12k gold or even 10k. The gold content is distributed throughout the jewelry piece, so put aside any fears you may have that the gold will ‘wear off.’ If it’s all you can comfortably afford, it’s fine. And it will look good, too. This is supposed to be a token of affection and thoughtfulness, not a test of how much you care nor a measure of how much she’s valued. We’ve got to lose this notion that someone who receives an 18k gold ring is more loved than someone who receives a 10k ring. It’s ridiculous.

If the budget can’t accommodate a gift of fine jewelry, then consider Sterling silver jewelry. There are many beautiful Sterling silver pieces available, many with gorgeous semiprecious gemstones. Or you can stick with straight Sterling, no gemstones, and find your dollar will go quite far. For the same amount of money you’ll pay for a pair of, say, diamond stud earrings, you can probably buy your girl a completely new wardrobe of Sterling silver jewelry.

When you deciding on what kind of jewelry to buy, please take your girlfriend’s style into consideration. If she runs around in pretty, feminine dresses and delicate clothes, a big, chunky hammered silver and turquoise bracelet probably won’t go over well. And if you know she hates dangling earrings, for Pete’s sake, don’t get her any! It doesn’t matter if she wore dangling earrings one time and you loved it. She’s got to love it. The gift is for her enjoyment, not yours.

Caution: How to say this nicely? Stay away from giving rings unless you mean business. Women get gifts of jewelry a lot throughout their lifetimes – it comes from friends (both male and female), family, co-workers, bosses – all sorts of ways. And it’s all fine and acceptable because most of what we receive is along the lines of ‘impersonal’ jewelry – the earrings, the pins and brooches, the necklaces, the bracelets – none of which conveys anything beyond, “Hey I like you and I think this’ll look good on you.” Rings are an entirely different matter – especially gold rings. And when you shove that little ring box under our noses, our hearts start to pound. Either with dread (if we don’t like you much) or with excitement (if we like you a whole lot). But it pounds. Because a ring, for whatever reason, is a vastly personal piece of jewelry coming from a man. It sends a message. Believe me, even in this day and age of enlightened communication between the sexes, it sends a message. Unless you’re up for it, stick with earrings or a nice bracelet.

Now let me complicate things a bit: The whole previous paragraph admonishing against giving rings goes out the window if your girlfriend is the type that’s into sterling silver and semiprecious stones. Sterling silver jewelry is more casual (picture silver and turquoise or silver and coral jewelry for example) and doesn’t tend to convey any hidden message. If your girlfriend likes Sterling silver and likes a variety of semiprecious stones, it’s perfectly fine to add another ring to her collection.

Step Three: Shop, shop, shop! Drag yourself out to a jewelry store and do some looking. Doing the actual purchase online is a great idea and will probably save you money, too, as online jewelry stores allow you to comparison shop easily and don’t usually have the overhead associated with a brick and mortar store, but honestly, nothing beats actually seeing a few jewelry pieces in person. If the idea of setting foot in a jewelry store is unnerving, then try a department store. If you see a style you like, ask what it’s called. “What kind of setting is that? What kind of stone is that? How big is that stone?” are all very good questions. Pay special attention to the quoted gemstone size. It’s hard to envision a 4mm stone or a 1 carat stone when you’re staring at a computer screen. Seeing one in person is an entirely different matter. Take your mental notes on what you’ve seen, then hightail it back to your computer and do some serious comparison shopping. This applies whether you’re shopping for silver or gold, precious or semiprecious gemstones.

Lastly, when you’re ready to buy, read the fine print! What’s the return policy on the jewelry? What does the website (or store) say about the gemstone quality? Can the ring (if you decide to buy a ring) be resized easily?

And that’s it! With a little forethought and planning, you’ll be able to pick an affordable jewelry gift for your girlfriend that will suit her personality and style and that she’s sure to love. And if she does’t, you know the store’s return policy. Happy shopping!