Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes – Seven Tips To Cook Beans And Peas

A large number of vegetarian slow cooker recipes contain beans or peas in their ingredients. This is because it favors the cooking of beans and peas like no other. Most of the beans, except chickpeas and soybeans, become tender in a slow cooker within 6 to 8 hours of cooking, provided they are presoaked. Black-eyed peas, lentils, and red lentils cook quickly. You need not presoak them either. Chickpeas are stubborn beans. They need about 12 hours to get tender in a slow cooker. Also, you need to presoak them the night before.

The time peas and beans take to cook depends on the working of your crock pot, the freshness of the beans or peas, and the hardness of the water. The type of recipe may also influence the cooking time. That’s why vegetarian slow cooker recipes using beans have different cooking times.

Tips for Cooking Vegetarian Crock Pot Recipes With Beans or Peas

• Add spices, especially tomatoes and salt, only after the beans are tender.

• Slow cooking the beans and peas intensifies their flavor. You may need lesser amount of spices to enrich the dish than that required in regular cooking.

• You can cut 2 to 3 hours of the cooking time if you pour boiling water with beans.

• When cooking beans or peas, setting the time on a digital timer is not required. If there is sufficient cooking water in the crock pot, it’s unlikely that the peas or beans will overcook. Start your slow cooker early in the morning, and forget it until dinner time!

• For cooking plain beans, it’s best to cook them in the crock pot overnight. In the morning, you can have a healthy breakfast of freshly cooked beans or peas, combined with freshly cut salad or cheese. You can keep aside some cooked beans for preparing healthy slow cooker recipes for supper.

• If you’re present at home while cooking, do this: Set the cooker at high in the first 2 to 3 hours of cooking beans or peas. Then, set at low for the remaining time.

• When preparing bean stews and soups, sauté the onions and spices in oil before putting them in the crock pot. This adds to the flavor of the vegetarian recipes.

Beans and peas make for such fantastic vegetarian slow cooker recipes that you may never feel the need to add meat or other such animal-based foods to the recipe. There are a variety of peas and beans to create savory and purely vegetarian dishes. Whether it’s green peas, chick peas, split peas, or kidney beans, soybeans, and others, it helps in putting together a tantalizing dish at the end of a hard day.

If your kids hate beans or refuse to eat peas, introduce a crock pot in your kitchen. Watch the eating habits of your kid change! The tasty vegetarian slow cooker recipes will teach your kid to savor plant-based ingredients with delight.

Make Your Own Solar Panel – Don’t Buy Solar Panels

The energy cost is increasing day by day and simultaneously the cost of electricity is also increasing. The energy resources are also getting scarce day by day and therefore its time for the people to understand about the uses of the renewable energy resources. Energy of sun and wind are renewable sources of energy which can be used for number of purposes. The energy from the sun if used with the solar panel can help you to bring down your electricity bill to zero and therefore reduce the dependence on the fossil fuels.

Make your own solar panel

You can easily get the solar panels in the market which are made up of silicone of high quality. Why to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars if you can make your own solar panel? Making solar panel is not at all difficult job. In order to build a working solar panel all you need is a little effort, simple materials like electric stove, solar cells, copper wire, plastic or glass container of wide mouth, a multi-meter, copper sheet etc.

Before you start building a solar panel select or identify a place in your garden, roof or backyard where the sun rays are received the most. Solar cells should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to work effectively.

A solar cell can easily make a solar power panel. This is how you can make your own solar panel. Place the solar cells or stack the solar cells horizontally and connect these cells which each other. After connecting the solar cells start of with cutting the sheet of copper which can match the size of the electric stove you have purchased. Clean the copper sheet with the help of sand paper as it will eliminate any traces of sulphide. Then start the electric stove to the maximum till the copper sheet changes its color and becomes a thick layer of black coat. Then slowly and steadily make efforts to cool the copper sheet and the stove. When you cool off the copper sheet you will find the layer of red cuprous oxide on the sheet. After this process join the red cuprous copper sheet with a clean copper sheet using the alligator clips and put it into a plastic or glass contained which has a wide mouth making sure that they do not get in touch with other and fill the container with saltwater leaving the clips dry. Ensure that you connect the red cuprous sheet with the negative terminal. Then connect the solar panel to a battery or inventor.That is how you make your own solar panel.

The sun light is captured by the solar collector which focuses the sun light energy into solar cells which then converts the sun light into electricity.

Get Ripped Abs With Plank Workouts

 Plank  workouts are easy to perform yet it can effectively train certain parts of abdominal muscles. You don’t need any sophisticated abs equipment, not even resistance bands of any sorts. Let’s take a good look at the  plank  workouts and start doing them now.

Firstly, the Front  Planks  trains all of your stomach muscles and your back. Make sure that you keep your back straight and neck relaxed.

  1. Start from your hands and knees and then slowly drop to your forearms and the balls of your feet. Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders. And some people like to clasp their hands together making a triangle, rather than fingertips facing forward.
  2. Contract your stomach and back muscles but keep the rest of your body relaxed.

Your back and neck will have a tendency to sag. Hold for three seconds. If you have a break in your form, stop the exercise immediately. Add two sets per week until you can perform ten sets of three-second repetitions consecutively. At first, rest as long as you need to between sets. As you get stronger and develop more endurance, decrease the rest time between sets. Make certain that you are breathing normally during each repetition. If this exercise is a little too hard, do it from your knees instead of your feet.

Secondly, you can perform Side  Planks  to train the sides of your stomach and lower back muscles simultaneously.

  1. Lie on your side bracing your body with your forearms and the outside edge of shoe.
  2. Lift your hip off of your floor and hold your body straight.
  3. Switch sides and repeat

Be sure to keep your body straight and hold for three seconds. If this exercise is too hard from your feet, try it from outside your calf. If that is still too hard, do it from the side of your hip. Add two sets per week until you can perform ten sets of three-second reps consecutively. At first, you can rest as long as you need to between sets. As you get stronger, you should decrease the rest time between sets. You may decide to alternate the right and left side  planks  if you want to speed things up. To further challenge yourself, you can perform all of your  planks  on one side and then all of your  planks  on the other side.

Lastly you should pay more attention to the form on every exercise as you could injure yourself if you rush through the exercises and overlook the importance of perfect posture.

How A Good Business Plan Sample Can Help You Prepare Your Plan

When it comes to writing a new business  plan , there is nothing quite as valuable as having a guide to go by, and having a quality business  plan  sample at hand will make the task of writing a new business  plan  a lot easier.

While the exact needs of every business will differ, there are a number of elements that must be part of any type of business  plan , and having a business  plan  sample at hand can help any business owner include these essential elements.

Elements You Will Need To Include In Your Business  Plan 

Some of the most important elements of any business  plan  sample will be such things as a current a pro forma balance sheet, a current income statement and an up to date analysis of cash flow.

It is important to look for a business  plan  sample that includes all of these required elements, and just as important to tailor those elements to the needs of your own business.

Seeking Out A Business  Plan  That Is Similar To The Type Of Business You  Plan  To Start

When seeking out a business  plan  sample it is important to  plan  carefully and to look at several different business  plan  samples before deciding on a single one to use.

There are many different kinds of business  plan  examples available, both in books and magazines tailored to the business world and of course on the internet. It is a good idea to look around carefully until you find the business  plan  sample that best meets your needs.

Using a business  plan  sample from the same or a similar industry is a good idea, as is seeking out a business  plan  sample that matches your own style and needs.

Using The Business  Plan  Sample As A Guide Line

After you have your business  plan  sample in hand, it is important to use that business  plan  sample as a guideline and a starting point.

While having a business  plan  sample available will make the job of writing a quality business  plan  a lot easier, it will not replace the hard work necessary in the formation of a business  plan .

It is best to think of the business  plan  sample as a template and a guideline, and to use it to create a business  plan  that is uniquely suited to your own special area of expertise.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Installing Stair Railings

Stairs are made up of several important components. These are the railings that include the posts and balusters as well as the handrails. Without them, a staircase would not be complete and functional.

Why the need for the stair railings and handrails? It is because they ensure the safety of people using the stairway. All types of people are protected when these fixtures are present. Toddlers learning to walk can make use of the railings as their guide. Teenagers ascending and descending the stairs two steps at a time will also be safer. Those with health conditions such as people suffering from back and knee problems as well those with disabilities and not to forget the old folks can depend on the stair railings for support.

Various types of materials can be used today in creating attractive railings for staircases. One material can be utilized on its own but a combination of two or more is also possible depending on one’s personal style. Examples are a mix of wood and wrought iron, brass and wrought iron or wood and brass. For an indoor staircase such as in your home, it’s best to use wood or wrought iron. The stone and pure metal type is ideal for outdoor use.

If you have small children and old people in the home, always prioritize safety over the aesthetic aspect of your staircase. What’s important is they have the right support while moving up and down the house.

Railings should be installed in the entire length of your stairs. Whether you have one running in one direction, two directions or a spiral type, continue the railing up to the landing portion. You can also extend the handrail a few inches more from the bottom step to provide more support for those descending the stairs. This can either be straight or curved depending on the style of your staircase. Just make sure that the end part is rounded to keep it safe. Another option is to install a post at the end of your handrail to keep it sturdy.

The topmost part of a stair railing should have a handrail. This should at least be 34 inches in height from the floor. It can go higher up to 38 inches. For small children, a lower height is advisable. Other than putting the handrail on the railing, you can freely install another one on the wall at the other side. Remember, however, that it should be at least one and a half inches away from the wall to give your hand enough room to hold on to the rail.

The balusters also known as guards are another vital component of a stair railing. These need to be properly spaced approximately three to four inches so that no small child can get through it. They can be installed right on the treads of the stairs while the uppermost part is attached to a handrail.

So remember these basic steps when you decide to remodel your stairway or create a new one for your home.

Tips to Create a Good Deck Railing

To give your deck railing a perfect finishing touch a good deck plan is required and railing component play a very important role in creating this plan.

  Balusters  are one of the most important deck and porch components, these are the small post type structures placed between the larger posts. Generally you can find  balusters  in various styles like spindles and pickets. Although traditional decks were made of two by two wooden  balusters  they are no more in vogue, the latest are ones made of iron, PVC or other metals but aluminum and glass has become homeowners favorite lately. Aluminum decks are available in wide range of color and are practically maintenance free and glass has gained popularity as it transparent and also available in beautiful tints.

People nowadays give importance to styles rather than the material used, some prefer the classic look, Victorian or colonial style

Another component that plays a very important role in constructing a railing is the connector. Connectors are used for various purposes in deck railings like, connecting railings to each other, to the wall, the deck, stairs and also to connect  baluster  to the top and bottom rails. Connectors are available in different styles and colors and are made from different materials like iron, wood, PVC etc. The connector acts as the main support system for the whole rail, so it is very important to select a good quality connector so that it provides adequate support for the railing.

Deck accessories (including deck awnings ) is the final component which makes railings look unique. For  Balusters  you can find Centerpiece accessories as well as post top accessories. One can choose from a wide variety of centerpiece accessories, ranging from traditional architectural, family crest, animals and nature design.

Post tops accessories are available in wide range; they are basically made up of post cap and finials which can be directly screwed into the post top. Even post top accessories are available in different materials, colors, sizes and designs, so no matter what type or style you choose make sure it is the best for your deck railing plan.

Ways and Types of Home Decorating Techniques

Decorating a home has always been a tricky and time-consuming process, as it involves a lot of efforts and an uphill struggle to make it work the right course! The best way to make your house look good is by putting up the Balustrades. Basically, a balustrade is the combination of railings and handrails. They are mainly made up of different materials like wood, iron, glass, stone, or plaster, which can be used generally around pool, staircase, terrace, and verandah. They are a vital part of your home, as it adds a special touch to your premises. These handrails not only make your home look attractive, but also safeguard it from diverse unsettling elements. This is the reason why all the houses have some kind of balustrades installed these days, resulting in making it an immense part of both interior and outdoor designing.

Balustrades can be classified as:

Steel Balustrades – they are highly attractive and known for its reliability and valuable performance. They are available in any shape and size as per the requirement. They can also be tailored accordingly as per the needs of the buyer. They are available in different designs, so one must opt precisely.

Wooden Balustrades – these are appreciated as a widely used home decoration accessory and the very presence of it in a home not only adds to the class and beauty but also gives a pleasant and soothing feeling to all. Wooden products and items in your home can add to the elegant value and visual demand of your home. Wood products are easy to maintain provided proper attention is paid in the very beginning to avoid decay and ensure longevity of the wood.

Glass Balustrades – these can change the entire look of your home, staircase, terrace or wherever it is used. It can be used in residential and commercial areas both. This type of handrail is not much dependable like wood or steel balustrades; however, you can still opt this for giving your premises a stunning look. They can be suitable for decoration of any building and does not require any time-to-time paint or repairs. The main difference between glass handrail and others is that there is no spacing in glass balustrades. The glass is treated with temperature to make it tough and secure to use. They allow sunlight to come into the home easily. In residential buildings or homes, they are widely used for giving an elegant look as well as providing safety to the residents.

Selection of an ideal handrail is a decisive task for home owners. There could be many designs available in the market, which may seem attractive, but for making it unique and different from others, people can add some fresh ideas and creative thinking in the designs. It must be considered that the choice of balustrade depends upon the architectural design of the home.

What is Hypnosis?

Imagine an Iceberg. With an Iceberg usually only a small part is ever seen above the water. This is also true of the human brain. It is divided into two areas, the Conscious and the Unconscious.

The Conscious part is the small part and is the part that is reading this, word by word, in your head. It can only hold a small amount of information at one time. It is logical and analytical. It sorts information, and then moves onto the next thing.

The Unconscious part deals with memories, intelligence, creativity and everyday things that we don’t need to directly think about, like breathing. This is hidden away, and it functions without us being aware, but it’s there, dormant under the “waves”.

Now imagine you want to change part of your life – giving up smoking, improving your confidence, eliminating fears…. It is your Unconscious mind the part that knows everything about you, that has the power to effect change. Unfortunately, it is something that most people can’t communicate with when wide awake.

What hypnosis does is allow your unconscious mind to listen, while your conscious mind takes a rest. When you are hypnotized, you are still in control, just allowing someone to guide you to where you want to be.

One way to explain it is…. Imagine you are the pilot of an Airplane, and the hypnotist is the Auto Pilot. The Auto Pilot gives the plane instructions on which way to go in a managed, safe way. The Auto pilot can start the engine, take off and easily manage the process of flying the airplane, but as the pilot you have at all times the ability to override these functions. If you do not like the journey you can gently return the Airplane to a safe landing place. But if you want to allow the Auto Pilot to guide you, that will happen safely and securely too.

When you are Hypnotized, you feel almost like you are daydreaming. Your brain is working, but what is immediately around you seems not as important as it usually does. You will hear all the words I say and you will be aware of any movement from within the room.

You would also naturally open your eyes should you feel threatened in any way. People who have been hypnotized tend to say afterwards how comfortable and relaxed they felt and how enjoyable the experience was. At the end of the session it is possible you will be unaware of the amount of time that has passed, but this is quite normal.

The Milestone Syndrome – Numerical Plateaus and Their Implications

It was a miserable day, winds gusting up to 15 miles an hour, and the tailing ends of a two-day rainstorm drizzled over the cinder oval. It was the day of the long-standing track meet between Oxford University Athletic Club and the team from Britain’s Amateur Athletic Association. When they stepped to the line at 6 P.M. for the big race, the wind had subsided and the rain had stopped. Only about 400 spectators were there to see the race, but the sporting press, sensing a momentous event, was well represented.

Many said that no one would ever break the four-minute mile, but on this brisk treacherous day in England in the spring of 1954, Roger Bannister did just that, covering the distance in 3:59.4.

The next day, newspapers around the world printed huge headlines publicizing the world record time. The media explored every facet of the race and the man who won it. Yet those runners who had previously approached this record time and those who later surpassed it did not receive the same adoration and acclaim. What made Roger Bannister’s sub-four-minute mile so miraculous, more miraculous than similar feats by other competitors? What created this worldwide fascination? Such attention is symptomatic of the Milestone Syndrome.

Almost ten years later in Hershey, Pennsylvania, a similar feat took place. The Philadelphia Warriors, with their league-leading scorer, Wilt Chamberlain, took the floor against the lowly New York Knickerbockers. Wilt, now in his third NBA season, was the most prolific scorer in basketball. He was a rare combination of strength, speed, and stamina and on this night, the Knicks saw it all. The Dipper, as he was called, sank 36 field goals on 63 shots and hit 28 foul shots, racking up a total of 100 point for the game. All three numbers still stand alongside the 100 points as NBA records.

News accounts of the game indicate the small crowd of only 4,124 spectators who clamored for Wilt to hit the century mark. They chanted, “Give it to Wilt!” and his teammates obliged passing up open shots to feed Wilt the ball. New York was not so accommodating and set out to foul Wilt’s teammates before the ball could be passed into the pivot. Philadelphia countered by easing up on defense to get the ball back quicker. They even fouled the opposition to stop the clock. Such tactics by both teams illustrate the Milestone Syndrome, our fascination with numerical plateaus, with benchmarks, and quantitative/linear evaluations.

This phenomenon extends beyond sports and into our daily lives. In the supermarket, you will find the most popular last digit is nine (61 percent), followed by five (19 percent). Even numbered digits make up less than 2 percent. These subtle pricing ploys have become important weapons in marketing arsenals. You see, most people perceive $1.99 as much cheaper than $2 because they read and process the prices from left to right. And the jump from $9.99 to $10.00 is an enormous psychological leap for the bargain hunter.

However, when it comes to quality people often use price as a clue to how good a product might be. In expensive stores such as Neiman-Marcus and Nordstrom, most tags are rounded off to the nearest dollar. These valuations enhance the store’s image and influence the buyers’ perceptions. If prices were perceived as too low, the affluent clientele might question the quality.

How do these numerical perceptions evolve? Some are the product of faulty or lazy thinking while others are invented hype. In addition, with repeated usage these perceptions become bigger than life. For example, for 20 years the four-minute mile stood as an apparently unsurpassable limit and thus this psychological obstacle was firmly implanted in the public’s mind. In a similar vein, the emphasis given to the Dow surpassing each 1,000-mark plateau laid the groundwork for banner headlines when the 10,000 mark was reached. Another example of how we glorify certain numerical milestones is the big hullabaloo surrounding the 2000 New Year’s Eve celebration.

Why should these events be given added importance when, logically speaking, their only importance is being a numerical plateau? A second less, a point more, a year earlier or later, where is the significance? Is this media hype or is there some scientific basis for this added emphasis?

Psychologists have a number of explanations for such behaviors and most reflect on our need to be on the winning side. Triumphs, even if sometimes illusionary, contribute to our enjoyment and uplift our egos. In addition, when pursued in mass, milestones give a common bond that give validity to the goal and contribute to our sense of belonging. Peer acceptance and the safety net offered by being part of the herd also contribute to these assessments. However, one must also consider the dramatic implications and our need to create mythological heroes. Heroes that journey into the unfamiliar, do battle, and gain the reward–surpassing milestones.

In baseball, statistics are used extensively in calling the game. Numbers are an integral part of the game as they determine strategies as well as the level of fan appreciation. When mythical plateaus enter the picture, they affect not only how the game is perceived but also how it is played. Putting up good numbers now overshadowed other aspects of the sport. A player hitting consistently over.300 has a bigger fan following, is paid considerably more than a player hitting.290. It’s not proportionately more it’s considerably more. Baseball, more than any other sport, rewards those surpassing milestones; a pitcher winning 20 games or players hitting 30 home runs and stealing 30 bases, or driving in over 100 runs. In sports, marketing today stresses the stars, not the teams and putting up memorable numbers certainly helps in that endeavor.

In sports, business, even politics, milestones fit in with our news-bite mentality. They simplify objectives, establish linear perspective, and support our competitive nature. They also fulfill a need for that which is tangible and quantitative. They make it easier to keep score, easier to justify actions.

For centuries, military minds have gauged their success based on numerical achievements, i.e., distance advanced, damage inflicted, number of enemy killed. Campaigns are designed and often-tenuous objectives are set to appease the egos of the high command. However, on the battlefield, succumbing to milestone syndrome can have horrendous consequences. The battle of Passchendaele in World War I is a classic example where the quest for a victorious milestone overshadowed common sense. British Commander-in-Chief, Sir Douglas Haig had set his sights on breaking through to the distant Belgium ports of Ostaend and Zeebrugge. Both French and British leaders as well as Haig’s own Intelligence Staff opposed the offensive. Despite these objections, General Haig gave the order to attack, July 31, 1917.

In heavy rain, the ambitious frontal assault bogged down at Passchendaele, a village that no longer exists, and yet the General threw more men into the slaughter. The ensuing battle costs the British 400,000 lives to gain a mere five miles of mud. Six months later, the British abandoned Passchendaele to reinforce lines elsewhere.

General Haig was so caught up in the increments of battle he was willing to give up countless lives to claim a numerical victory. This particular battle demonstrates another facet of the Milestone Syndrome, that once a numerical contest is initiated, our egos are unlikely to consider other forms of resolution. The rules of engagement are set and all that matters is the quantitative scorecard.

This fixation, this obsession to demonstrate numerical victories is also prevalent in the corporate world. In this computer age, almost every facet of business is measured and the benchmarks or milestones are very much in vogue. There is an old saying in business: What gets measured is what gets done. Unfortunately, management measures so many things they do not pay attention to any of them. Likewise, few companies know how to process these measurements and know where to intervene to change outcomes. Moreover, items difficult to measure such as quality, safety, innovations, employee engagement and customer satisfaction become secondary, as they do not fit neatly into the spreadsheet paradigm.

The Milestone Syndrome also plays a role in stock market fluctuations. Many aggressive investors will dump a stock when earnings fall below expectations even slightly. That can cause a drop in the stock’s price that is unrelated to its true value. When benchmarks are not met, investors abandon the perceived loser and pursue something better. This simplistic ritual drives the market, feeding on its own greed or fear, perpetuating chronicles that perpetuate more projections. It’s a never-ending cycle and decision plateaus continually shift finding their level of comfort, selling, buying, or holding firm. Perceptions and expectations create these illusionary milestones that are based on limited assumptions. In addition, in such a market, the Game Theory applies–that everyone else is making choices based on similar assumptions.

The Milestone Syndrome also affects how we handle negotiations. Numerical plateaus such as ten thousand increments, going from five figures to six, and the all-important million mark are milestones that can be either enhance or diminish one’s bargaining position. If you are asking for a raise and your sales have surpassed the million-dollar mark, you have a strong psychological advantage. However, if you are asking for a raise from five figures to six, that extra digit presents a pronounced barrier.

How we appraise quantitative values affects our decision-making and sometimes our happiness. We chase the numbers. Then we become caught up in their implications. A young woman may dread turning the age of thirty. A car owner may brag about his car reaching the 100,000-mile mark. The football crowd will applaud a runner surpassing 100 yards in a game. These are all psychological plateaus to which we give added importance. The price of a diamond jumps when it reaches a true half-carat or full carat. A 0.49-carat stone is priced a lot lower than a half-carat…and a 0.90-carat diamond goes for much less than a one-caret stone. Yet the difference in the size is almost imperceptible.

Other malformations of the Milestone Syndrome should also be considered. Focusing only on the numerical draws us away from pursuing other worthy achievements. As an example, in Europe, employees strike over issues such as working conditions, vacation time, and health benefits while in the United States, negotiations center on wages. Dwelling primarily on the numerical increments reduces exploration into abstract innovations and the inclination to investigate non-quantitative benefits.

If we allow it to, the Milestone Syndrome can affect us and the consequences can range from a joyful celebration to devastating lose. We must choose and awareness is our only protection. The symptomatic treatment requires understanding the forces of hype, psychological barriers and our own egos. I have used various examples to illustrate this phenomenon and this last one presents a thought-provoking question. A seller of height-building shoes says his best prospects are not short men but men who are 5-foot-11 and want to be 6-foot-plus. What would happen if scales of measurement were change to metric?

Why Should You Switch Your Business Website to WordPress?

WordPress, initiated during 2003, is probably the most favored content management system (CMS) worldwide. Today, it enjoys the patronage of over 74 million websites that bring out new posts each second. Irrespective of a blog’s size, WordPress is the most extensively used CMS. This goes to demonstrate how powerful this tool is. Here are the reasons that you’ll find convincing for utilizing WordPress for your business website:

  1. It comes free

The most helpful feature of WordPress is that it comes free, whether you are into blogging or simply introducing a fresh online business. Its great feature is that you need not worry of any hidden charges, even if the popularity of your site exceeds expectations. It remains free for all times to come.

Additionally, it is an open source too. This allows you to change or improve your source code for creating a site that best answers your requirements.

2. Ready for spontaneous use

Distinct from other CMSs, you can use WordPress soon after installation. It means you won’t have to look for installing or putting together a lengthy list of add-ons for obtaining a number of WordPress features like RSS feeds, comments and revisions etc.

3. Adaptability

The flexibility that WordPress offers is simply unbeatable. Whether you make use of WordPress for your blogs or an eCommerce site, you’ll find it sufficiently versatile to fulfill all your requirements due to its wide-ranging extensions and features.

4. Search engines find it friendly

In fact, the most admired search engines fancy sites powered by WordPress because of its convenient to crawl framework. It’s not surprising that Matt Cutts from Google approved WordPress during the course of WordCamp San Francisco 2009. He uses WordPress for his personal blog.

5. Protection and safety

The popularity that WordPress enjoys makes it vulnerable to hacking. Nevertheless, WordPress is seriously concerned about providing security to its users. Though you would take some primary security measures, WordPress keeps updating its software, making it tough for hackers to continue with their business. Actually, it has incorporated an automatic feature that keeps it updated since the launching of its 3.7 edition.

6. Customizable

The availability of thousands of themes and plug-ins contained in WordPress allow you to modify your site so that it looks and works the way you like. Additionally, the availability of never-ending features provided by WordPress empowers you to create your website or blog as per your precise requirements.

7. Convenience of use

Another superb feature of WordPress is the ease with which you can use it. It is a user-friendly, instinctive platform that can be learnt easily. In fact, it is so easy to learn WordPress that it has earned the proverbial caption of “The 5-Minute Install.”

Exercise While Driving Long Distances

Bored out of your mind during long road trips? Dread even the thought of a long drive? If this sounds like you then here is one suggestion to eat up at least some of the time. Exercise your body while driving! Of course your driving safety has the highest priority and is your number one job. Work these in where appropriate and where it is safe to do so. None of these exercise suggestions require equipment. By exercising while driving long distances you can improve your mental alertness and make use of some of the idle time.

Remember safety first, always! Always check with your doctor to be sure you are healthy enough to perform these exercises.

Calf Raises: This assumes that you are driving a vehicle with cruise control where you can take both feet off the pedals. Bring your feet together on the floor centered in front of you. Flex your calf muscles and drive your toes into the floor. Relax and slowly return your heels to the floor. Your knees should raise up if you are doing this correctly. For variation alter the speed of each repetition.

Shin Raises: Again, this assumes you can take your feet off the pedals. Position your self just like you would for calf raises, but with your feet just a bit further from your body. Flex the muscle on your shin to raise your toes. Your heels should press into the floor while your toes lift up. Relax and slowly return your toes to the floor. Alter the speed for variation.

Ab Rock: Keep your eyes on the road. Sit up straight. Use your abdominal muscles to bring your chest to the steering wheel. Use your lower back muscles to make your back touch the seat. This is a rocking motion. Add some resistance from the countering muscle if this is too easy.

Buttocks Clench: This one is easy. Just squeeze your butt muscles and release. For variation, squeeze and hold for 1 second. Increase the time.

Shoulder Hold – Lateral: Do one arm at a time, keeping the other hand on the wheel. Raise an arm out to your side so that at least the upper part of your arm (shoulder to elbow) is parallel to the ground. Alter the position of your lower arm as comfort and space allow. Hold your arm in this position as long as you can. Relax and switch arms.

Shoulder Hold – Frontal: This is very similar to the lateral movement described above. The difference is that now your arm is raised out to the front of your body. Keep one hand on the wheel while doing the exercise with the other.

Upward Elbow Strike: Very similar to the Shoulder Hold Frontal movement, but this is a dynamic movement. Collapse your arm so that it forms a tight V with your palm close to and facing your shoulder. Raise your elbow out in front of you and lower it back to your side.

Self-Resistance Bicep/Triceps Flex: With this movement, you will supply your own resistance. Collapse your arm so that it forms a tight V shape. Tighten your bicep and use your triceps to fully extend your arm. Once fully extended, tighten your triceps and use your bicep to return your arm to the V position. If you are not used to doing this exercise, it will be jerky at first but will smooth out with practice. Alternate arms – exercise one while steering the vehicle with the other.

Lumbar Crunch: Sit up straight and use your lower back muscles to “crunch” your lower back area into a C shape. Well, you probably won’t get to a C, but curve it. Relax and return to sitting up straight.

Ab Crunch: Keep your eyes on the road. The reverse of the Lumbar Crunch. This uses your abdominal muscles to “crunch” your upper body forward into a C shape. You’ll probably hit the steering wheel before you get to the C position, but go as far as you safely can. Return to sitting up straight and repeat.

Grip Squeeze: Both hands on the wheel and squeeze. Hold for a second and release. Increase the hold time as this become easy.

When performing these just use your common sense and drive safely. DO NOT do this in traffic. Use these suggestions to kill some of the boredom and make use of your driving time. Stay safe.

Summer Palace in Beijing

The Chinese name for Summer Palace is Yihe Yuan which means gardens of nurtured harmony. Nice name.

Don’t be confused by the name, The Summer Palace is not an actual palace, it is more of an imperial garden and lake. The Summer palace site covers 2.2 square kilometres and a lake, Kunming lake, makes up 75% of this space. The other 25% consist of graceful Chinese gardens, temples and palaces/living quarters for the imperial royal family.

Located 15 kilometers the north west of Beijing’s city center, the Summer Palace is easily accessible and a must see tourist attraction. With stunning gardens, classical architecture and great scenery, the Summer Palace is one of Beijing’s must see tourist attractions and a great way to enjoy a morning or afternoon.

After spending a few hours enjoying the Summer Palace, it is easy to understand why the Imperial family preferred to spend their summers their instead of the wall locked Forbidden City.


The initial construction of the Summer Palace began during the reign of Emporer Hailingwang of the Jin Dynasty around 1149 when Hailingwang made Beijing the capital of his part of China.

The park was continuously extended and developed over the next few hundred years by successive emperors. By the time the Qing Dynasty took control of China in 1644, the park had developed as a luxurious royal garden for the royal family who used it for rest and entertainment during the summer months.

In 1869 the park and palace complex suffered an attack by the British and French troops during the Anglo-French invasion of China in 1860 during the second opium war. The old Summer Palace was also ransacked and destroyed at that time. The park and palace complex was again attacked by war mongering foreigners in 1900 during the boxer rebellion. When arguing with locals about history and politics, the attacks on the Summer Palace are often used as symbols of foreign aggression and humiliation in China. An example I never have a good comeback to.

The Summer Palace was rebuilt after each attack with the Empress Dowager Cixi embezzling funds (some things never change!) from the navy in 1888 to have it built just the way she liked it.

The only other notable events in the history of the Summer Palace was its opening to the public after the 1911 revolution and declaration as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1998.


The Summer Palace is divided into Longevity Hill area, the Court area and the Kunming Lake area

Longevity Hill Area – The lake is manmade and the soil dug out from the excavation of the lake was used to make Longevity hill which is 60 meters high. The top of the hill houses the Temple of Buddhist Virtue and center of the temple holds the Tower of Buddhist Incense which is built on a 20 meter stone base and is 41 meters high. The hill also holds a number of other halls, temples and wonderfully decorated gates.

Court area – Contains the palace buildings where the Imperial family stayed and conducted (at gave the appearance of) business. These buildings include the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, the Hall of Jade Ripples and the Hall of Joyful Longevity.

Kunming Lake area – This is the larger part of the Summer Palace and include most of the lake   frontage . In the Kunming Lake area you can see the Bronze Ox (just ok), Nanhu Island (good walk), the Seventeen Arch Bridge (impressive) that connects Nanhu Island to the mainland, and the Marble Boat (kinda boring).

Getting There

Subway – Catch the subway to Beigongmen station on the line 4.

Buses – There are literally dozens of buses that will take you there. Go to any major bus stop in Beijing city and ask which bus goes to Yiheyuan. There should be at least two to three.


Ticket prices vary but should not be more than 20-30 RMB for an entrance ticket and 50-60 RMB for a full ticket. Don’t be surprised if you pay your money, buy your ticket, enter the Palace and are then charged tickets for many of the main buildings. It happened to me the first time I went there and both local and foreign tourist are gouged alike. Best to buy the full ticket so you can enjoy the Summer Palace fee free in the inside.

Intuition – An Invaluable Life Companion

Intuition is an instant knowing that moves faster than rational thought. It is a bright illumination, a surprise guest who greets us warmly at the front door. Everyone has his own way of intuiting. Some people feel vibrations, others hear words that fall in perfect precision. Some individuals view colorful scenes when their eyes are closed. The intuitive experience is unique to each individual. “Intuition involves a special kind of ‘sight’ that awakens when the mind is at peace. Like a treasure that has long lain on the ocean floor, intuition bubbles up to the surface of the sea of our consciousness.”

We all have the capacity to be intuitive. Most individuals don’t pay attention to the special messages they are receiving because their minds are never at rest. Their thoughts are always swirling, their bodies are swept up in constant activity, their senses are a source of chronic distraction. There is still a lot of superstition and doubt about the authenticity of intuition. It is treated with a note of suspiciousness. The intuitive individual can easily be labeled as strange and eccentric. To encourage your intuition, you have to let go of what other people think. Judge the experience for yourself.

Intuition is a great gift that requires acknowledgment, nurturing and an attitude of receptivity. The door to intuition opens when the mind is still and the body is quiet. The practice of consistent meditation accelerates the growing edge of intuition. The simplest form of meditation involves watching the inhalation and exhalation of the breath through the nostrils. When thoughts, feelings, and sensory interruptions arise, we gently return our attention back to the breath. As meditation practice deepens and becomes a habit, we recognize that we are becoming more intuitive. Truths that we could never learn from books or even wise individuals are coming directly to and through us. To develop and flourish, the gift of intuition requires our respect and attention. Recognizing and appreciating its presence becomes a priority in our lives.

Intuition flourishes when our egos are dropped; when we are not always thinking about ourselves. An individual with a dropped ego is free of arrogance and feelings of superiority. He is transparent and genuine. There is no   facade , no false mask. He is clear and straight and true from every perspective.

Listen to your intuitive voice. Be grateful to your lifelong companion

Pipe Fittings – A Plumber’s Best Friend

Pipes come in all sorts of sizes but eventually they need to connect. And sometimes they need to connect with each other. While the connections are sometimes straight, at other times they may take a turn in direction. For those situations, pipe fittings help to connect pipes of different sizes and diameters and help lines to change direction, often abruptly. And in the case of underground sprinklers, an opening needs to be in place for the sprinkler head.

Pipe fittings, like pipes themselves, come in different types of material. They can be made of strainless steel, copper, or PVC (which is short for polyvinyl chloride) to name a few. While many are rounded, there are other types of fittings. Male and female, plain end bell or socket, pipe clamp ends, or ribs are just a few. They are as varied as the pipes they connect and have varied requirements for strength depending upon the pipes and the material that they are expected to funnel, whether it is solid or liquid.

The best sources of pipe fittings are the local hardware or plumbing store. While it is sometimes possible to mix materials for pipes and the fitting it is not recommended. Most times the material for the fitting should match the material used for the existing pipes. Depending upon whether the goal is to join two full pipes or to repair a crack in an existing pipe without digging out the entirety of the system, purchasing a threading dies may also be recommended. Large retail stores may provide the items that a person needs but a plumbing store might be required for unusual prospects such as joining two pipes of different diameters.

Cost of pipe fittings varies by material and purpose. While there are exceptions, PVC pipe fittings typically cost less (in the range of a few dollars) than do stainless steel fittings, which can costs about $6 or $7. A specialized fitting, like those for infrared tube heaters, can cost as much as $80 or more. These also often require shopping at very specialized stores or online, which can add costs for shipping and handling. Depending upon a person’s budget shopping for these items in mass when they are on sale can save not only considerable money, but time later on as they will be available when they are needed and will not require a special trip to the plumbing store to obtain them.

Best Used Metal Detectors

I often get asked which used metal detectors are the best. With any used electronic equipment, the quality depends upon the quality standards of the manufacturer and the treatment while the equipment was being used. In general, the best used metal detectors are those manufactured by the major, quality metal detector makers of past and present.

You usually do not go wrong by buying the following brands:

A.H. Electronics


Bounty Hunter

C&G Technology








Gold Mountain

Ground Hawk

JW Fisher





RaeLar Turtle

Sears (Made by White’s)



Treasure Hunter

Treasure Ray



White’s Electronics


If you find a used metal detector that is of a brand not listed above, more than likely it is not worth buying.

One indicator of the quality of a used detector is its construction. If it looks cheap or like a toy, it probably is. Now, if you’re looking for a kids metal detector for your child then one of those might be okay for you.

Before buying used metal detectors at a garage sale, yard sale, flea market or the like, try it out and at least make sure it at least powers on. Many times the seller will have batteries already in them or have batteries handy. If not, ask what type of batteries the detector uses, go buy some and return to the sale to install them. Always try to get a return guarantee of at least a few days, so you can return the detector for a refund if it doesn’t work properly. This especially goes for buying them online at auction sites and classified ads.

The majority of used metal detectors that do not turn on or work at all have battery wires that have corroded and broken off the terminals. People tend to store their metal detectors with the batteries installed. Over time the cells leak and the acid corrodes the terminals and wires. If you are handy with a   soldering   iron , you can often get real bargains that can be fixed to operate like new.