10 Quick Tips To Painting The Interior Of Your House

Painting The Interior Of Your House

1. Remove all the hardware in the room. Take down all the decorations and then scan the walls for any nail holes or thumb tacks – remove these. Take off the electrical outlet covers. You should turns off the circuit breakers before you do this. A great idea for cleaning the outlet covers is to put them in the dish washer.

2. If you are painting a room, like a bathroom, its a good idea to lightly wash the walls down to clean them. Also, if the room you’re painting is dusty or dirty – clean them. Paint does not stick well to dust and dirt. Its also a good idea to vacuum the carpets before you start painting – you will be crawling on your hands and knees when doing your cut ins.

3. If you’re not a pro with a brush, use blue painters tape to mask around anything that should not be painted. To make the job faster you can purchase hand maskers that put the painters take right onto sheets of paper or plastic thus letting you mask larger areas. Paper mask any wood or vinyl flooring and then put drop clothes down over the carpeted areas.

4. Next step is to fill in any nail holes in the walls with spackle. Put some spackle on the tip of your finger and mush it into the hole. Wipe the area clean so the spackle lays flush to the wall. You can also use a putty knife to spread your spackle into the holes, but this generally only works well on smooth walls. The spackle will dry to a white chalky color. Sand it so that none of the spackle is sticking out from the wall, but is only filling the hole. You may want to dab some primer on these spots using feathery strokes all around the hole.

5. Caulk any areas that need to be caulked. Keep you finger on the release button so that when you let go the flow will stop. Fill in areas like trim around windows and doors, baseboards and cracks. With your finger wet, run your finger down your caulk line to smooth the caulking. Then use a damp rag to go over the smoothed caulk line to give it a finished look. You should wait at least 12 hours before painting over the caulking to allow for drying.

6. Before you start rolling the walls with paint, you should do your “cut ins.” Cut ins are areas like painting up to base boards, window trim, corners and around electrical outlets. Use a small sash brush for this work. When using a brush you will want to fill a paint bucket with only one inch of paint. This also serves the purpose of being more difficult to spill the paint in the bucket.

7. When getting ready to roll the walls, its a good idea to pour your paint into another container like a paint tray. As a pro, we find it easier to use 5 gallon buckets with “bucket screens” when we use rollers. But trays work well too.

8. The first step to rolling your walls is to load the roller with paint. You want to roll the roller in the paint so that it covers all the way around the entire roller cover. Roll it against the paint tray or roller screen to remove excess paint and let it sit for a minute or two. This lets the paint soak into the roller cover. Once you have let the roller sit for a minute, re-apply the paint to the roller cover and remove the excess paint again – now the roller is loaded.

9. Begin by making an M pattern on the wall. Be careful not to apply too much paint to the wall. You will have better results if you apply two thin coats of paint as opposed to one thick coat. Apply the first coat of paint, then a second, until the color is solid and uniform.

10. The last part of the project is brush painting your floor boards and window and door trim. When painting these areas, use long brush strokes. You can also use a little paint conditioner to help the paint level out and reduce brush lines.

Book Review For "A Woman in Berlin"

“A Woman in Berlin” tells the amazing story of the fall of Berlin in 1945 and the subsequent Russian invasion before the allies arrived. The author paints a riveting picture of the war’s aftermath and chronicles in brutal detail what she had to do to stay alive.

The novel is told in a journal format and starts on Friday, April 20, 1945. The story is by an anonymous woman who describes herself only as a thin, pale blond who wears the same overcoat. Her first entry presents a graphic scene. Berlin is under siege by the Russians. The author knows the Russians are about to liberate the city and she’s dreading it. They don’t have a good reputation as liberators. She lives in an apartment building with several other residents. The rations are poor, there’s no radio, and there’s no electricity. Gas stoves, central heating, and hot plates are all “gifts of the modern age,” but ineffectual if there’s no power.

The bombs intensify around Berlin. The fighting heats up and then nothing. An eerie lull settles over he city. The author writes with unflinching honesty noting how the German society was built around the strength of their men, but now shattered, their men are miserable and powerless, leaving the German women at the mercy of their conquerors.

On April 27, the author notes that the Russians have entered Berlin. They’ve quickly earned the nickname of “Ivan.” She realizes that in order to be safe, she had better find a Russian officer to watch over her. She knows that in order to earn his favor she’ll have to be intimate with him, but it’s a risk she’s willing to take.

The author is candid. Having worked as a reporter previously, she can speak Russian. The initial Russians she meets are surprised by her. She seeks out a Russian lieutenant, Anatol, and becomes involved with him. He’s good to her and she gets used to him. Their relationship is short-lived. He’s soon transferred and a man known at the Major comes into the author’s life as her new lover and protector. The Major is tender and respectful of her, something that is stunning to her.

Slowly, but surely, Berlin starts to come alive. Basic services are beginning to be restored. By the end of the novel, which ends on June 16, with her own announcement that she intends to stop writing, the author meets with her fiancé, Gerd, who after discovering how she’s slept with several Russian men after the city’s fall, leaves her a final time. The novel concludes with the announcement of American and British forces taking over the southern part of Berlin, giving the author a sense of hope after the Russian misery she’s endured.

One of the main themes throughout the novel is the rape of Berlin after the city falls – not only of it’s possessions, but of it’s women. The author chooses to give her body to Russian officers, (the officers have a reputation of keeping a woman relatively safe, whereas an enlisted man was known to rape a woman) but she still feels no better than a whore. After a pregnancy scare, she wonders how many other women have done what she has only to end up pregnant by a Russian soldier.

The author humanizes a slice of history that is slowly fading from our view. The book is raw and honest, discussing uncomfortable truths that today are still uncomfortable. Rich in history, “A Woman in Berlin,” is a stirring and poignant read.

Book Review for: “A Woman in Berlin”

Written by: Anonymous

259 pages


ISBN: 0-312-42611-9-51400


5 Stars

Swimming Pool Fence – A Pool Safety Must

Safety has always been my number one concern. It has been since the day I started my career in the industry years ago and, why shouldn’t it be, there have been a number of fatalities and untoward events that resulted from accidental drowning. Besides, I also have young kids and I would hate for them to be a part of some statistic, the same goes for my pets.

So, when it was our turn to get our very own pool I made sure to order a swimming pool fence as well. Oh and yes, I also got an alarm system and a mesh cover, which is really to screen off leaves and other debris, but I figured it will serve a safety purpose as well.

Yeah, you can call me Mr. Paranoid, but when it comes to the safety of my family I would like to leave nothing to chance. I’m supposed to be an expert at these things so I’d like to live by what I preach.

In my opinion, aside from an alarm, a swimming pool fence is probably the best accidental drowning deterrent there is. A swimming pool fence serves the purpose of keeping your kids out of the water when you don’t want them in it.

You know how kids are no amount of finger-wagging and telling them not to even go near the pool area unsupervised can really keep them as far away as we would want them to. It is really up to us parents to make sure that they cannot get into the water whether intentionally or unintentionally unless we are there with them or another adult is.

What about pets? Kids, pets and a pool should not go together. I remember when my 2-year old son “playfully” threw our pet kitten into the water just to see if the poor thing can swim like the fishes in our fishbowl could. Now do you see what I had in mind when I got that mesh cover?

Actually, the pool’s fence is more for our dog, as far as our pets are concerned. No, our dog is not a trained swimmer, but there was a time when he relieved himself along the railing of our pool. Since then, we would like the peace of mind that we are not swimming in dog pee-laced water.

We also don’t want our dog to get the idea of jumping into the water so he could swim with the kids. Hence, the swimming pool fence is really a nifty idea.

If you are thinking of getting your own swimming pool fence, make sure to get the one that is “climb resistant” and has a self-closing gate that automatically locks as well.

A rust-resistant or non-corroding swimming pool fence is also a better option. I have seen a glass swimming pool fence but unless it is made of tempered glass or sandwiched by an acrylic or safety sheet, I don’t think I can recommend it for families with young children.

Whatever type of swimming pool fence you decide to get really depends on your preferences and budget, but I will really urge you to get one for your pool. It is a real safety must.

Corrections in Group Fencing Lessons

Possibly the most common fencing lesson is the group lesson, a staple of all beginner training and a key part of the training of competitive teams. This means that corrections of technical and tactical errors in group lessons influence a very large percentage of the overall fencing population each year. Effective correction in the group lesson thus becomes a critical skill for fencing coaches.

The group lesson poses two scenarios. The first case is the individual who is having a specific difficulty performing the material taught in the lesson. Everyone else is doing this part of the skill correctly. At the best end of the spectrum, one fencer is having performance problems; everyone else is within an acceptable range. At its worst, everyone may be doing some part of the skill incorrectly, but there is no commonality in the problem areas.

Intervention in this case is individual, and may range in effort required from a single sentence of correction (for example "extend first") to more complicated efforts. With experienced fencers, only a few words may suffice as the fencer has a large enough knowledge base to understand the instruction and be able to self-correct. The next step up is the very short demonstration-performance correction. Show the fencer the skill correctly executed in a quick demonstration. This can focus on the problem area alone, or on the entire skill if integration is the issue. After the skill is demonstrated, it may be necessary to lead the fencer through the movement correctly with your hand and blade. Finally the fencer should be able to do two or three executions of the skill, and be on track with the rest of the group.

For more difficult problems, more detailed intervention will be needed. This means that you have to have help, someone who can either do a check lesson or someone who can keep the rest of the group on track. The check lesson pulls the student out of the normal activity so that you can demonstrate the skill, have him perform it alongside you for perhaps two repetitions, and then have her do sufficient repetitions on your plastron to result in four or five correct performances. Hopefully this can be accomplished within 1 to 3 minutes. The student can then be returned to the ongoing group activity.

The second case is when a number of people have the same, or closely related, problems. Group problems require a group solution. Halt the activity, identify the nature of the problem, demonstrate how to perform the skill correctly, breaking it down as needed, and then have the fencers practice the specific correct execution. You can expect that a number of the fencers will not understand the correction or that it applies to them. This means that you must move through the group doing quick oral instruction and physically guiding performance as needed. This must be quick – if you spend 1 minute with each of 10 fencers, you have spent 10 minutes of practice time on a single problem. No more than 30 seconds per correction is a good goal. This process can be helped if you pair fencers who are doing the skill correctly with those who are not, with instructions to the fencers who have the skill to help their new partners

In doing corrections it is important that you not demonstrate the incorrect performance. Athletes' memories are selective. If you emphasize the failures, they are just as likely to remember the incorrect method of performance as they are to remember the correct execution. One exception to this is video; videotaped poor performance will often be recognized by the athlete before you can point it out to him. With the ready availability of inexpensive video cameras, even small clubs with limited resources can afford to use this tool.

Problems in group lesson performance may self-correct in keeping with our principle of not intervening too quickly. However, they equally often propagate, with one fencer having difficulty transmitting that difficulty to her partner. This means that the coach teaching a group lesson must pay close attention to student performance, and intervene to correct errors. Be vigilant, make quick corrections, and move on to keep the group on track.

How to Choose a Hotel in Dallas

It is going to be your first trip to Dallas. The big question is where to stay. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is huge. It is often referred to as "The Metroplex." The first thing you should consider is the reason you are in Dallas. Is it for business, for a sporting event, a visit to family or the State Fair?

Next where are your meetings, downtown or somewhere else? Where is the sporting event, at the American Airlines Arena, Cowboy Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, Texas Motor Speedway or Arlington Stadium where the Rangers play? Where does your family live? Now how much driving do you want to do, or would you prefer to be able to walk or take public transportation? With those things in mind you can start looking for your hotel.

Find one near where you'll be spending most or your time makes the most sense. So once you decide that you can concentrate your search in that area.

The light rail system makes it easy to get to some places so you do not always need to stay nearby. For example the train now runs to the State Fair grounds. There are not a lot of hotels right near The Fairgrounds, but the rail runs from downtown out.

Now you've decided where to stay how should you book a room? If it's part of a chain, calling the 800 reservation line is often the easiest. But be aware those operators will have the least flexibility on price and exact rooms in the hotel. Calling the actual hotel can be a boon for you. The desk at the hotel can give you a discount if they know they'll have rooms. They can also help you get on an appropriate floor. And even if the hotel is sold out for a convention the desk might be able to help you anyway. They've always got a few rooms set aside.

Aggregators are another way to go. That's services like Orbitz, Priceline and the such. They can sometimes get you a decent deal but if it's a busy time at the hotel, such as when there is a big convention in town, like the one you're going to, they might not be able to help you out.

Speaking of discounts, do not be afraid to ask. Many hotels have deals for members of some auto clubs and other groups.

A Travelers Guide To Key West

I would like to introduce you to the Florida Keys. More specifically, Key West as it is the most sought after destination in the area for sun seekers, fisherman, and those in search of nightlife at the far reaches of the island chain. Key West as the most southerly point in Florida and the most popular Keys destination, is the crown of the Conch Republic. Washed by the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico to the east and west respectively, temperatures range from 69 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit with an average around 40” of rain a year and has around 24,000 year-round residents.

When you leave Florida proper through the gate of the Everglades and emerge onto Key Largo, you may notice the pace begin to slacken although perhaps not on the highway itself. As you travel southward, you will exit the northerly area’s of weekend homes and enter the middle and lower Keys where the water blends from the rich blue around Marathon to a milky and shallow appearance as you pass Big Pine Key toward Key West.

While in Key West you should park the car and rent a bicycle or scooter as to wheel around the island like a local and take in the ambiance of the place. Ready parking areas abound with these two wheeled jewels but do be sure to lock them up when you are away. I recommend spending an evening at Mallory Square enjoying the picturesque sunset, myriad’s of entertainers, and the general festive patio-like feel of the place. Just a note, the street vendors on the square may change up on the prices for their products if they think you will let them get away with it so hold them to their original price and be willing to walk away. You already knew that though didn’t you?

There is no lack of activities on this diminutive spit of land between the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. To be honest however, many people come here just for the varied nightlife and the downtown area accommodates that by being very orientated to pedestrian traffic and bar hopping visitors. A litany of things to do here might include, sightseeing, boating, sailing, flats & deep sea fishing, snorkeling, diving, skiing, parasailing, windboarding, lobster hunting, sunbathing, barhopping & partying or perhaps just being a lounge lizard.

Key West is the southern mecca for those in the Conch Republic who enjoy the city as well as the destination of choice for those who seek hedonism in the far southern US. Many of our clients traveling to Key West prefer to be near Duval street due to it’s proximity to downtown, so if you anticipate traveling there please be aware of the demand for accommodations particularly during festivals.

I really enjoy the Florida Keys as they provide a good deal of aquatic topographical variety and activities between Key Largo and Key West as well as a pretty laid back pace. There won’t be the frenetic nightlife outside of Key West for the most part but if you want a pleasant vacation with reasonable cost, I certainly encourage you to consider a week in the Conch Republic.


Apartment Living Is Your Recipe For Happiness

Apartment living is the recipe for happiness. That’s what the happy experts at the University of Michigan are saying, at least in a round about way. Apparently, wealth, riches, and Huge Friggin Homes do not make you happy anymore.

So if expansive lawns and big mansions don’t make you happy…what does?

Well, according to the Happy Experts (not sure if that means the experts are happy and dang it’s pretty funny isn’t it that one could go to school and major in Happy and then get paid by big Universities to discover what makes people happy. And what is your day like as a Happy Expert? “Sorry Honey..I’ll be working late tonight, I am going to the tavern to see if drinking beer and playing pool with my friends makes me happy…) I digress. You’re reading this paragraph because you want to know what the experts said makes you happy.

According to the experts “Time to enjoy friends and family” is what makes people happy. “Well, Duh!” you say? That’s just what I said, too.

So the obvious conclusion from all this is that Apartment Residents are happier.

There are virtually hundreds of reasons that renting an apartment may be a better option than owning a home. And with the recent housing slump and growing number of homes being foreclosed on, there is a growing want for becoming an Apartmentite.

What’s so wonderful about apartment living? Let me fill you in!

After an extensive brainstorming session, my team of me and me, have come up with the Top 6 reasons that living in an apartment ROCKS! And the best part is that all of these reasons save…time.

1) NO LAWN!!!– This is by far the number one reason to live in an apartment. You have no yard to mow. You’ll never have to pull weeds. You’ll never have to worry about taking care of a fire ant problem. You don’t have to waste water on the lawn to keep your grass green. No raking leaves, etc, etc, etc…HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?!

2) Freedom!!!– There’s so much more freedom in an apartment. You have the freedom to move anywhere you’d like at the end of your lease. You aren’t locked into a 15, 20, or a 30 year mortgage. It’s an obvious perfect situation for someone who likes to live footloose and fancy free.

3) The Benefits of a Pool without the Work– This is my favorite. At apartments, you get the full use of their pool and deck areas, but never have to worry about the upkeep. With a pool at your home, YOU have to skim for leaves, YOU have to check the chemicals, YOU have to do all the work. In an apartment you can kick back and let the apartment management take care of that for YOU!

4) It’s Cheaper – All in all and across the board, renting an apartment can be much cheaper every month than paying a mortgage.

5) Maintenance – In a home, if your toilet breaks, refrigerator runs, sink leaks, door falls off it’s hinges, develop a pest problem, or any number of the possible things that can happen happens, you have to find a way to take care of the problem yourself. In an apartment, all you have to do is let the apartment management know and they will take care of it for you! (In a reasonable time of course.)

6) Free Gym – Most apartment communities have their own fitness center on location provided for the residents. With state of the art equipment, these gyms are free and you don’t have to travel at all to get in a good workout. As a home-owner, you’d either have to build a home gym or get a gym membership that may cost you $40/ month. Eck!

So there you have the top 6 reasons to rent over own. From my point of view, all of these things can not only save you a ton of money every month, but as I mentioned before…time. Time for you to spend with friends and family, which is what makes everybody a little bit happier.

Adult Dog Training – Do Not Forget The 2 Second Rule

One morning, like most other mornings I was taking our Jack Russell, Zippy, for her run, nothing unusual in that. She is mad about balls so as usual she was carrying one in her mouth. We are lucky enough to live opposite a large Green and she will spend hours given the chance letting me throw and her chase the ball all over it. You might say that this is the only reason that she wants to go for a walk, simply to fetch her ball.

We have to cross the road in front of our house to get to the Green on the other side. There are always parked cars on our side of the road. This particular morning, while we were waiting at the kerb to cross, Zippy managed to drop the ball. It rolled right under one of the parked cars. We could both see it but neither of us could get to it from any direction because it was exactly in the middle of the car. I needed a stick or something but I was in a hurry so we proceeded across the road.

Now here’s the interesting bit. Even though Zippy is an intelligent, well trained and bright little dog who had clearly seen her ball lost under the parked car, while we were on the Green she still continually pestered me to throw the non-existent ball. So why didn’t she remember that the ball was lost under the car?

Well this clearly illustrates the big difference between the way our brain works compared with that of a dog. Dogs do not primarily remember things by recall or work things out as we do. They live in the present and what ‘memories’ they have are based upon association. In the example above, by the time Zippy had reached the Green she had forgotten that her ball was under the car but she continually pestered me for it because she associated the Green with playing fetch.

Dogs think in concrete terms. It is very much action = consequence for them and as a result a dog is likely to repeat actions that are rewarded and avoid actions that are ignored or discouraged. You probably recognise this as the basis of all dog training.

Because a dog’s recall ability is rubbish, training a dog involves creating the right associations by getting your dog to perform an action and immediately rewarding him with a treat or praise.

There is one very important thing to remember. In order to successfully make this association the time between the dog’s action and his reward cannot be more than 2 seconds. This can cause problems, for instance, suppose you are teaching your dog to sit but you are a bit slow to praise him and in fact by the time you do he is standing up again. The danger is that you have reinforced the stand up rather than the sit.

So you can see that it is very easy to confuse a dog during training and it is very important to instantly encourage wanted behaviour with praise or a treat.

Simple Rocket Experiments You Can Share With Your Homeschool Kids

For every action, there is equal and opposite reaction. If you blow up a balloon and let it go (without tying the end), the air in the balloon goes in one direction and the balloon itself goes the opposite way. Rockets use this same principle. The thrust going out the back end pushes the rocket forward.

The rockets we’re about to build rely on generating enough pressure and releasing that pressure very quickly. You will generate pressure by pumping in air or through chemical reactions (which generate gaseous products).

Let’s get started!

Seltzer Rockets: Place an Alka-Seltzer tablet in a white Fuji film canister (black Kodak canisters won’t work) and fill one-third with water. Working quickly, cap it and invert it on the sidewalk. Stand back… POP! You’ll find there’s an optimal water level for maximum height. If you work fast, you can get about four launches from one tablet. What happens if you try two tablets at once?

Paper Blow-Gun Rockets: Make a very long straw by joining two straws with tape. Roll an 8½x11″ sheet of paper into a long tube and tape shut (younger kids can roll the paper around a dowel to help). Cut triangle fins out of index cards and hot glue onto one end of the rocket. To make the nosecone, cut a circle out of paper. You can trace the inner diameter of masking tape roll to get a good circle. To make a flat circle into a 3D cone, begin to cut the circle in half, but stop cutting when you get to the center. Slide one flap over the other to form a (nose)cone and tape shut. Pile a lot of glue inside the cone and add the long straw and wait to dry. Slip the straw inside the tube and seal the nosecone to the rocket body. When dry, blow into your straw to check for leaks. It should be impossible to blow through. If you have a leak, go back and fix it now. Otherwise, slip over the metal tube and blow hard. If you have one, apply a nozzle from an air tank or compressor to blast these rockets hundred of feet in the air! If your straws come loose, simply cut the rocket body just below the nosecone and rebuild the straw-cone assembly, fastening in place when ready.

Slingshot Rockets Punch a small hole in the bottom of a black Kodak film canister. Chain 5 rubber bands together and push one end of the rubber band chain through the hole from the outside, catching it with a paper clip inside so it can’t slip back through the opening (like a cotter pin). Hot glue the canister into one end of a 6″ piece of ¾” foam pipe insulation and tape the circumference with a few wraps of duct tape. The rubber bands should be hanging out of the foam pipe. Attach triangular foam fins with hot glue to the opposite end. To launch, hook the rubber band over your thumb, pull back, and release!

Puff Rockets: Grab a clean, empty shampoo or lotion bottle. Make sure the bottle you choose gives you a good puff of air out the top cap when you squeeze it. You’ll also need two straws, one slightly smaller than the other. And a small piece of foam. Insert the smaller straw into the hole in the cap. If you have trouble, ream out the hole or just take off the cap and seal the connection with a lump of clay or a lot of hot glue. Insert a small bit of foam into one end of the larger straw. Slide the larger straw (your rocket) onto the smaller straw (your launcher). Squeeze the bottle hard! POOF! Which bottles work best? Does straw length matter? (We had one rocket that cleared 25 feet.)

Micro Paper Rockets: Spiral-wrap a thin strip of paper around and along the length of a wood pencil and tape to secure (You can alternately use a naked straw instead of making your own rocket body from paper, but then you’ll need a slightly smaller launch tube straw.) Hot glue triangular fins made from an index card to one end. Fold the opposite end over twice and secure with a ring of tape to make a nose. Insert straw into the rocket body and blow hard!

"Thankful For" Leaf Bouquet

Now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, what better time to examine the things for which we are most thankful? And what better or craftier way to show it than by creating a "Thankful for" leaf bouquet? With a few inexpensive items, you can turn this craft into something the whole family can not only share in, but also create together.

First, start by gathering a few items. You will need either craft foam of various autumn-like colors (yellow, green, red, and brown) or construction paper of the same, dowel, scissors, a hot glue gun and glue sticks, and a thin-point sharpie. To hold the bouquet, use a basket, vase, or terra cotta flower pot. Based upon that decision, select the container of your choosing, as well as a floral arrangement foam that fits the container.

Decorate the basket, vase, or terra cotta flower pot as you desire. Consider spray painting or stenciling a design on the basket or flower pot, or adding ribbon to the basket or vase. If necessary, allow sufficient drying time for any paint or hot glue that is used.

Insert the floral arrangement foam. Depending on the size of the project you are attempting or the number of leaves that will be added per family member, you may choose to ensure that the foam is securely in place by adding hot glue to its underside before setting it in the container. If desired, add floral moss, confetti, or another filler to cover the top of the floral foam.

The size of the dowel will depend on the overall size of the leaves and the completed project. However, a 1/8 to 1/4 dowel circumference is a good size to begin with. The Cut wood Dowel into sections. If you choose to make some of the "stems" taller than the others, then cut the dowel into various lengths. If you choose to make the stems uniform, then cut the dowel into equal lengths. It's completely up to you, the crafter.

Use scissors to cut leaves from foam sheets or construction paper. While the use of various colors will certainly provide some appeal, the use of various kinds of leaves may amplify the appeal. Consider fashioning them after such interestingly shaped leaves as maple, oak, hickory or chestnut. The important thing is to select leaves that are more of a whole rather than fragments that collectively make a whole. Doing so will make them better suited for writing upon.

To save time, search your local craft supplies stores for the availability of pre-cut foam leaves.

Distribute the leaves evenly among family members, and using the sharpie, have each write what he / she is most thankful for this holiday season on individual leaves.

When this is done, turn the leaves front-side down, and use hot glue to glue the hardwood dowel sections to the backside of each leaf. Allow the glue time to dry.

Once the glue is dry, place the dowel stems into the floral foam to complete your "thankful for" bouquet.

Several variations exist for this project. Paint the dowel stems, or add ribbons to them just beneath the leaves. Print and laminate a family photograph and attach it to the terra cotta flower pot. Or, instead of leaves, use any other image closely associated with Thanksgiving, such as acorns, cornucopias, or even turkeys.

Creative uses of hardwood dowel, and other inexpensive and versatile craft supplies like it, can result in lots of creativity that can be both appreciated and remembered year after year.

The ECA Stack Guide

The ECA stack is a popular drug combination, which is used as an energy booster and for weight loss. ECA is an acronym for ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin.

Ephedrine is the main ingredient in the stack for both fat burning and energy enhancing. Although it's very effective on its own, combining it with caffeine makes it even more so. How effective is it? When used properly and can greatly speed up the fat burning process and you'll loose those unwanted pounds. But before you go out and buy ECA stack there are a few things you need to know about.

Along with fat burning ephedrine will attempt to burn off your hard earned muscle as well. The best way of combating this fat loss is to supplement with protein throughout the day – not just once or twice a day, as is usually the case.

Ephedrine also acts as an appetite suppressant. How this works is not fully understood, but this aids in weight loss also. Unfortunately, these effects only last for a couple of weeks if the stack is not cycled because the body become tolerant of ephedrine to some extent.

Ephedrine acts to increase energy by acting on the brain to increase the release of nonadrenaline into the synapic cleft, and also works as a nonadrenaline reuptake inhibitor
due to the shared action between the two terminals.

In most cases the ECA stack is taken two or three times daily in a 1:10:10 or 1:10:15 ratio of ephedrine: caffeine: aspirin. These ratios vary across studies and across users, but in spite of the differences they seem to be effective. No more than 25mg of ephedrine, 200mg of caffeine and 325 mg of aspirin should be taken in a single dose and because ECA stack can contribute to insomnia it should not be taken past late afternoon.

Although ephedrine and aspirin are not addictive caffeine is, and users can develop a tolerance to lowered adenosine levels and this can lead to withdrawal symptoms from adenosine sensitivity if caffeine use is stopped too quickly. It is also possible to develop a psychological addiction to ephedrine and aspirin.

The most serious risk factor of the ECA stack is the effect ephedrine can have on a pre-existing heart condition. It has been linked to death in people with valve damage, cardiac hypertrophy, and other heart problems. Stimulants should not be taken by anyone with a heart condition. Evidence also exists that show that the long-term use of amphetamines can lead to heart damage, but this has not been shown for ephedrine use.

The use of ephedrine and caffeine can also raise blood pressure, so users who already have hypertension need to be careful that the stack does not raise their blood pressure to dangerous levels – especially during exercise. The good thing is that the presence of aspirin in the stack does thin the blood and counteracts this partially.

Insomnia, dry mouth irritability, stress, headache, dizziness, irregular heartbeat and increased thirst are some of the other side effects of the ECA stack. Ephedrine has been linked to death causing many countries to outlaw or control it. The risk of ephedrine has caused many people to try "ephedrine free" stack formulas. There is no proof that any of these formulas are effective, but a great deal of evidence exists to support the effectiveness of the ECA stack, but with risks.

Toy Model Trains For Kids Or Men?

As I write this I find myself 55 years of age so that puts me in a unique group of people who actually watched black and white TV! I remember my childhood years as a boy, toys were simple and the best toys modeled trains, trucks, cars, boats and guns. We did not have things like Thomas the Train but we did have toy model trains. We even had a Lionel scale model electric train which fascinated me. Something about these toys that attract boys and men like magnets, could it be an overwhelming desire to control these big monsters?

If those manufacturers of toy model trains ever figured out exactly what drives boys and men to want to play with scale model trains, I imagine they could become very wealthy! The ability to create lifelike reproductions of toy model trains just has to have something to do with the natural attraction, the more real a locomotive looks and works, the more attractive it seems. Maybe we just gaze in wonder at these scale model trains as smoke pours out of the smoke stack, the headlight shines on the track and electricity pours through the tracks with the magical hot smelling transformer. I remember those smells from the old Lionel train locomotive, the smell of the smoke pellets, the heaviness of the locomotive and that combination of hot transformer and Christmas tree needles. Although at the time, to me, it was a toy model train when in reality it was not a toy at all but a complex model train that would be worth a nice pile of cash today!

Kids started playing with little toy trains long before I did and often were made of wood with wooden wheels, some were small and some big toy trains were large enough to sit on. Today life like model trains are made of plastic for little children to push around and make train noises. But boys grow up and so do their trains, maybe that youthful imagination is somehow restored when grown men look at model train layouts, detailed engines and all the model train accessories one can absorb. As toy trains evolve into scale modeled electric trains everything gets harder and stronger. Train engines weight more, track is more realistic and heavier. The locomotives have very strong engines capable of pulling many cares and a good quality scale model locomotive should be made of metal and heavy enough to get good contact with the track.

Some of the earliest working models of scaled train locomotives were actually powered by steam engines, this was before electricity was available and definitely for big boys, I mean men! You can still see these engines and trains operate and if you ever get a chance to see the steam locomotive in action it will be the most lifelike experience you'll ever have when watching a model train. The real steam filling the layout and the sound of the wheels draws one back in time.

I can not imagine that many men have their childhood dreams fulfilled and are train engineers in real life and I'm sure their job loses it's wonder at some point. However, I've heard that these same train engineers will at some point in their life began to start their scale modeling train hobby again. The ones that do have some real first hand knowledge for creating an awesome track layout with realistic mode train scenery. I guess you could say they are going back to their roots!

How to Arc Weld

Arc welding is a useful skill for all DIY enthusiasts and those wishing to begin a career in this field. Welding machines are readily available in most hardware stores and all you need is a power supply and some electrodes and away you go.

Before you start it’s important to consider all the safety aspects of the job. Arc welding involves extreme heat, very bright white light and exposure to UV radiation. It’s important to keep all of your skin covered up and pay particular attention to your eyes. Wear a good quality welding helmet with the right grade of visor. You should also have a jacket, thick gloves, an apron and rubber soled boots. All these items can be purchased from most hardware stores.

First off you will want to spend some time preparing the surfaces. You can use an angle grinder to clean up the edges and remove any rust, old weld or dirt. Using the angle grinder it’s also helpful to make a 45 degree chamfer along the edges you plan to weld. This will help to achieve a strong, deep weld.

Set up your arc welding machine and plug it into your power supply. Make sure your grounding clamp has a good connection with your work piece and remove any hindrance such as paint. Also clamp down both pieces you intend to weld together to prevent them moving as you make your initial weld.

With everything in place you are ready to start welding. Move your electrode close to where you want to start welding and pull down the welding mask over your face. It will be very hard to see anything until you start welding. Scratch the surface of your work piece with your electrode; this should produce an arc which in turn melts your electrode creating what’s known as a weld pool. With your electrode held at 90 degrees slowly move along your chamfered edge keeping one third of weld pool ahead of you. Your electrode should remain at a constant distance above your work piece, this is known as the arc length. Your arc length should roughly be the same as the diameter of your electrode.

When you reach the end of your weld take the holder away and turn off the power supply. Once cool, use a chipping hammer to remove the ‘slag’ that has formed on top of your weld bead.

Correct Arrow Size for Your Bow

Arrow size is very important. In this short article we will go over a couple things to make sure you are receiving all the potential out of your arrows. When paying around $ 8 per arrow it is kind of stupid not to.

Why it is important to have correctly sized arrows:

On my compound bow it is marked that it has a 29 draw length. When everything is measured out I cut my arrows to 28-28.5. The arrows I'm using come at 31 ", that means if I purchased from lets say Wal-Mart (does not cut arrows) or a sporting goods store and did not have them cut down at all, my arrows would be almost 3 inches longer than they need to be. That is 3 more inches of flex and weight that I would be shooting. When you are talking about making that kill shot, every FPS helps.

Caution: Never cut your own arrows unless you are equipped to do so. Using the wrong tools can result in your tip not fitting correctly or damaging the carbon that can result in harm to you.

How to check for correct arrow length:

The first question is "are my current arrows the correct length for my compound bow?" This is most important because once you have your old arrows cut correctly you can grab one to take with you while buying new arrows. The majority of new bow hunters use arrows that are longer than they need to be.

To answer this question easily it is best to have another person so that they can mark the arrow for you.

Step 1: Place arrow on your bow rest and draw.

Step 2: While you are at full draw have a friend mark your arrow with a marker about an inch out on the exit end of your rest.

Step 3: Aiming in a safe direction slowly un-draw making sure you do it slowly.

Step 4: Using a tape measure from where the knock starts to the point of the arrow that was marked. This will give the length that the arrow should be. Anything longer than that mark just adds weight to the arrow and slows it down.

After gathering this information you can let the bow shop know when you purchase arrows. You can always take your current arrows and have them cut down as well. I know that Bass Pro only charges like.50 per arrow that they cut (not purchased their). Most places will cut arrows free when purchased.

Sinus Infection, Sinus Drainage And Ear Infection – A Nurse’s Guide

As you probably know the ears, nose and throat are connected to each other. I’ll show you how a sinus infection, sinus drainage and an ear infection are related. If you have a problem in one area it can spill over into another area. So if you have a problem in your throat it can affect your ears. It does this by its connection to the Eustachian tubes. The problem in your throat could be due to sinus drainage – that is – drainage from your sinuses into your throat cavity. This is a normal event because the sinuses drain about a quart of fluid a day.

But if the drainage contains infected material from your sinuses this can be very irritating and actually cause a minor irritated sore throat in the process. And the fluid drains over the Eustachian tubes as it flows from the nose to the throat causing them to become inflamed, which will prevent the tubes from opening up.

This infected material can make your tubes swell and cause a back up of fluid behind your eardrum. This can lead to ear infections if the swelling isn’t relieved soon. So it’s important to take care of any sinus infections or sinus problems as soon as you’re aware of it.

The Eustachian tubes are narrow passageways and connect the inside of the ears to the back of the nose in the area called the nasopharynx. The function of the tubes is to equalize the pressure between your ears and the air or atmosphere outside, for example when ears pop on an airplane, that’s your tubes closing and opening, especially on descent.

When the tubes become blocked and don’t open the way they should this can lead to Eustachian tube dysfunction. Pressure can build up in the ears and you can experience pain, decreased hearing or feel like your ears are blocked. Sometimes you won’t feel a thing. This condition can occur when you have a cold also. Tubes can become blocked and unblock themselves without your ever knowing.

Anything that causes the nose to swell inside besides sinus infections and sinus problems, say due to allergies, can also cause the tubes to swell up and become blocked.

So if you suspect you may have an ear infection or an ear problem and you also have a sinus infection, excessive sinus drainage or sinusitis make sure to take care of the sinus problem right away to try to clear up your ear problem before it gets worse. The sooner you can get rid of infected drainage from your sinuses the sooner you can unblock your Eustachian tubes and get better.