Tuesday, June 7, 2016

4 Fitness Tips for Busy Moms

With groceries to buy, a baby to feed and a career to maintain, it can be difficult to carve out time for a workout. Be resourceful and start combining your everyday tasks with simple calorie-burning stretches and uncommon aerobic exercises. Here are four fitness tips for busy moms.

1. Ditch the Stroller
If you’re a new mom, consider leaving the stroller in the car. When running light errands or tidying the house carry your baby using a baby sling or your arms, recommends Yvonne Levy, a mommy blogger on Frugal Happy Families. The extra weight of the baby will force you to stand up straight and work those abdominals. Bonus!

2. Play, Too!
Do you take your child to the park to expend his energy? Instead of sitting on a park bench and catching up on emails or chatting on the phone — go play. Challenge your little one to a race across the monkey bars. This will get your blood pumping and stretch those arm muscles. If your child meets with other children for a game of tag, join in. You’ll burn a few extra calories by running around the park while enjoying some bonding time with your little one and his friends.

3. Every Minute Counts
When you’re a busy mom, learn to use every minute of the day. If you’re picking up your kids from school, and you have five minutes before the bell rings, get out of the car. Go for a short walk around the school grounds and meet your child at the door. And remember to park at the back of the parking lot. This gives you extra time to chat with your child, walk a little extra and stay away from busy school bus traffic.

4. Schedule Workouts
You already schedule your children’s weekend activities and after-school practices into your day. Why not set aside an extra 30 minutes for yourself? When you’re busy you simply have to add your fitness needs to the schedule recommends Kim Summers, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. Your activities are just as important was every other member of the family.

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#4 Exploring Adobe Photoshop CS3: Actions, Automating Your Tasks (Part 1)

Most probably, you have encountered times when you continuosly repeat a set of actions you perform on an image – stuff like resizing, cropping or adding a photo filter. You may have mastered the step by step procedure of such tasks however, automating these actions would get the job done a lot faster and easier and allows consistency.

Actions, accessed via Window -> Actions (Alt+F9), allows you to save and load a set of tasks to achieve a certain effect on one or more images.

Opening the Actions palette would reveal a Default Folder. Photoshop has already provided a set of default actions would could use on our projects. Samples of these are Sepia toning, Quadrant colors and Water Reflections for text. Pretty cool eh?

All you have to do is select an image, or a Photoshop file, and open the Actions Palette. Select an Action you like from the Default Folder and hit the Play button. Automatically, Photoshop edits the currently active file. Do note that warning messages may pop up due to some missing layers in your file for example. Choosing to continue would depend on what you want the effect to be, it does not really hurt to experiment around.

Also, you would notice some checkboxes on the side of the action’s steps. This provides you the option to skip (by unchecking the checkbox) steps you do not wish to perform on your project.

At any moment of the Action being performed on your image, you may hit the Stop Playing (square icon) on the Actions Palette.

Aside from the Default Actions, you could create your own set of actions.

Let’s say for example you would want to create a Watermark Action.

Select the Make New Action option on the Actions Palette (you may also add a folder for your own actions through the folder icon, Create a New Set), and name it Watermark.

Prepare the image (or images) you would want to add a watermark to and click on the Begin Recording button on the Actions Palette (the cirle icon). Doing so would make the actions you do to your image be recorded. Do not worry if you make a mistake and use Undo a lot, you could later delete these steps from your Action after recording. But still, it would be a lot easier if you know what you are about to do. It would lessen the wrong moves and avoid confusion with your Action steps.

Now, it would be your choice to skip this next step. This is only done for the precision of the watermark’s position.

Go to View -> Rulers (Ctrl+R) and position your mouse anywhere on the top ruler, then click and drag downwards. The line appearing would be a horizontal guide for the watermark. Drag the line up to the point you would like the watermark to be at. Do the same for the left ruler, but instead of dragging downwards, drag your mouse sideward.

Having chosen a desired position, create a text layer with the Type Tool, and set it on the area you placed for your watermark (through the Guides you created if you had not skipped the previous step).

Type in and style your watermark as you wish.

Once satisfied, before hitting the Stop Recording button (similar to the Stop Playing button), remove the Guides you made (if you did add Guides) through View -> Clear Guides.

Take note that the names of your layers (or its existence) may cause prompts. But depending on your Action, these prompts may be harmless and it would be safe to continue.

You can then use your Watermark Action anytime you need it. The Actions you recorded would not be lost even if you exit Photoshop since they are already saved in your computer.

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4 Essential Squares for your Home Shop

If I could have only one square in my shop, a combination square would be the one. I use mine for a variety of tasks from checking stock thickness to marking perfectly square layout lines. By setting the handle at a particular measurement, you can quickly check the thickness of a work piece. For instance, if you want to plane a board to 3/4″, just set the handle at the 3/4″ mark and lay the blade on the edge of the board. You’ll see instantly whether the board is the right thickness. To set your saw blade at a specific height, set the handle at that measurement and stand the blade upright with the handle over the blade. Then raise your saw blade until the highest point just grazes the handle of the combination square.

Although this simple tool may be considered a carpenter’s tool and not necessarily a tool for the woodworker there are several applications in the shop for this square that might surprise you. Most of the time I use this tool to test large assemblies for square but did you know that you can make a circle with square or lay out a perfect octagon with this square? There’s also a table on this square for calculating board feet. A quick look at the marking on a framing square may seem a bit confusing but its pretty simple once you know the trick.

A machinist square and a try square are quite similar but it’s easier for a try square to become out of square, since its made of wood. For this reason, I prefer the all-metal, fixed blade machinist square for use in the shop. Having different sizes of machinist squares is a good idea. Smaller ones are good for squaring boxes and larger ones can be used to test tools for accuracy. For example, to check the accuracy of a miter gauge you can set the gauge at 90° and lay the handle next to the saw blade and the blade in front of the miter gauge. If you don’t see a gap between the square and the miter gauge, then your gauge is accurate.

A sliding bevel gauge is not really a “square” in the traditional sense but it is similar and it performs tasks no other tool can, including duplicating and laying out various angles. To reproduce an existing angle loosen the wing nut and place the handle against the straight edge. Then match the blade to the adjacent edge and tighten the wing nut. If you’re making the cut on a table saw, you can position the blade against the bevel gauge until it lines up with the angle for a perfectly matched cut. To layout an ang1e with the bevel gauge, you can use a protractor. Just place the edge of the handle along the bottom of the protractor, loosen the wing nut and set the blade to the desired angle.

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4 Easy Bacon Appetizer Recipes

While bacon has been a staple in most refrigerators for decades, it has a recent budding popularity and we are seeing bacon recipes popping up everywhere. As the lucky recipient of my grandmother’s recipe collection I am now in possession of these four very easy bacon appetizers that are sure to please the palette.

Bacon Rolls

Ingredients

12 slices of bacon
2 cups bread crumbs
½ cup chopped celery
2 tsp diced green pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup milk

Directions:

Combine bread crumbs, celery, green pepper, and onion and season with the salt and pepper. Moisten with slightly beaten egg and milk. Place one tablespoon of this dressing on a slice of bacon. Roll the bacon around the dressing and secure the ends with a toothpick. Cook in a 400 degree oven until the bacon is crisp and the dressing is heated through; approximately 15-20 minutes.

Fried Bacon and Apples

Ingredients

12 slices of bacon
3 firm apples, cored and quartered
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Fry bacon in skillet until crisp. Place apples into hot bacon fat and cover tightly. Turning once, fry until partly soft and sprinkle sugar over the top. Continue frying, uncovered, until well browned. Serve hot with crumbled bacon as garnish.

Fried Bacon and Pineapples

Ingredients

12 slices of bacon
1 can of sliced pineapple
3 tablespoons sugar
flour for dusting

Directions:

Fry bacon in skillet until crisp. Dab each pineapple slice with a paper towel before coating lightly with flour. Place slices into bacon fat and cover. Turning once, fry until partly soft and sprinkle sugar over the top. Continue frying, uncovered, until well browned. Serve hot with crumbled bacon as garnish.

Baconized Corn Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup sour milk (or buttermilk)
2 tbls melted shortening
uncooked bacon

Directions:

Sift together all dry ingredients. Beat the egg and milk and combine with flour mixture. Add melted shortening and beat well. Fill oiled muffin pans 2/3 full and sprinkle the tops with uncooked diced bacon. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees then set muffins under a broiler to crisp bacon. Makes 8 muffins.

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4 Great Tips for Supporting Your Marine Husband While He is Deployed

I’ve been married to a Marine for close to two years now, and before that we were high school sweethearts. We have faced many trials and difficult times in our relationship, including a deployment- but through it all we have learned how to keep our love strong and support each other. Here are 4 Great Tips for Supporting Your Marine Husband while he is Deployed:

Tip for Supporting Your Marine #1: Send Care Packages

When my Husband was deployed, one of his favorite things was the Care Packages that his Family and I sent him. I would get Flat Rate Boxes from the Post Office and decorate them with pictures of us, pretty paper and stickers, love quotes, and anything else exciting that I could think of and then I would fill them with necessities like new socks, underwear and shirts along with his favorite snacks and goodies. Sending Care Packages was a great way for me to support him because it let him known how much I loved him and it also helped him out when he received them.

Tip for Supporting Your Marine #2: Write Letters

I believe that writing letters is one of the most supportive and heartfelt things you can do for your Marine Husband while he is deployed. Nothing says I love you better than a handwritten letter from you that explains your love and support for Him and it will boost his morale when he gets it and bring a smile to his face.

Tip for Supporting Your Marine #3: Stay supportive during Phone Calls

If you are a Marine Wife, you know that Deployments can be unknown and phone calls can be few and far between if they happen at all. It’s difficult sometimes to wait and wait for a call for weeks or months at a time only to put on a smile when the call does come and stay happy throughout the conversation without breaking down. However, this is what you need to try to do so that you can support your Marine Husband. While you are going through a lot at Home, he is going through a ton wherever he is, and what he needs from you are words of love, words of support, and to know that you are doing okay so that he can focus on doing his job and making it back Home to you.

Tip for Supporting Your Marine #4: Stay busy with Productive Activities

You might see this last tip and wonder how you staying busy with productive activities will support your Marine, but speaking from experience, I know this is true. If you have a job, work hard so that you can tell your Marine about all you have accomplished. If you are planning a wedding or the arrival of a child, focus on the planning so that you can write to him about it or have things together when he gets home. Keeping yourself busy and letting your Marine know that you aren’t just sitting around moping that he is gone is one of the best ways you can support him. In order to keep him strong, you need to stay strong!

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4 Gig Booking Rules All Bands Should Follow

If your band is booking a gig, you should be aware that not all gigs were created equal. Some shows are fun for every band involved, yes, but many shows are just a pain in everyone’s neck, and a poor excuse for a wasted Friday or Saturday night. Don’t put on a lame show. Here are four tips for booking gigs that are entertaining, fun, and definitely not lame.

1. Don’t pay to play. Some venues insist on a fee, or they’ll make you buy tickets and sell them in order to play. These are a rip off. Venues should pay your band to play. Pay-to-play shows are without exception always overpriced, they tend to attract a lower-quality roster of bands (because bands that have been around for a while know not to pay to play, it’s kind of a vicious cycle), and they’re almost always severely overbooked. Reputable venues won’t charge you to play.

2.Know thy PA. If there’s a sound guy at the show, that’s fantastic. But for many shows, bands have to run their own sound. Bands that have their own PAs should know how to use them, and there should be very little time spent on stage trying to get levels and effects right. Make sure all microphones are muted before turning the PA on, too–nobody likes a loud screech in their ear, other than Barbara Streisand fans.

3. No more than three bands to a show. Any more than this and you’re going to be pissing off somebody’s fans, who came to see their favorite local band and ended up waiting through a minimum of an hour and a half of music. No matter how good that other music is, they’ll feel a little bit annoyed that there are so many bands, and chances are the bands won’t react really well to 4 or 5 band bookings, either. Shows work the best when everything moves quickly, and that’s just not possible with more than three bands (the obvious exception being music festivals and fairs.

4. Book shows at venues where you’ll be well received. If you’re not going to go over well at a biker bar, don’t book shows at biker bars, and if you don’t know anything about the bar you just booked a show at, you should do some research and see if it’s going to be worth your time. Likewise, play with bands that have similar influences; try to make sure that the people showing up to each show have a reasonable idea of what to expect.

Do you agree or disagree with these rules? Post in our comments section below and let you know what your band has learned from booking gigs.

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4 Free Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses that Get Results

Adapt your business according to the way customers buy now. Whether it’s your current customers or prospective customers, you have to be where they are now. Some of our most beloved retailers have filed for bankruptcy and closed down shop this year – Borders Bookstore and Blockbusters. Many small businesses have suffered in the same way because many of their contracts dried up, or their primary clients have faded away. They were once thriving, growing organisms of commerce and now are struggling or non-existent.

Let me share 4 of the most effective marketing strategies that I and others have used to not only stay afloat but grow as well.

Make Special Discounts and Offers Through Web Sites – Offer incentives to your clients and prospects through your web site and the sites of others. You can use this a marketing tool as I do, to sell products, announce upcoming specials, events or product discounts. Get your products and services listed on as many sites as possible. You can offer web site partners an incentive also if any of their site visitors or customers purchase your products or services.

Use Media Partners – I have implemented this strategy in several markets nationwide. You can exchange services, products or pay referral fees for sales generated through various media outlets. Some media that I have used include: TV, radio and local magazines and papers. You can offer your media partners incentives in exchange for air-time or coverage in their publication.

Use Multiple E-Blast Providers – Use your own, as well as other e-blast groups. The more e-blasts services you use the greater the awareness generated for your products and services. Try to get included in the e-blasts of specialty groups that are more likely to respond to you versus the general hit-or-miss e-blasts. Include alumni associations, parent-teacher groups at your children’s schools, sports teams that your children are involved in, church and local community groups with which you are involved. This can generate more inquiries, sales and referrals for your products and services.

Become an Expert in Your Field – This will sell more of your products and services because you have again, expanded your audience. How can you do this? You can write articles for local papers, web sites or community group newsletters. You can conduct how-to workshops as well at local libraries or community organizations. Make sure to place your website on all of your hand-outs, and be sure to pass out a sign-in sheet or survey form that requests the e-mail address of those who attended workshops. When writing always include your web and e-mail address and request readers to e-mail you if interested in follow up information.

For more from this contributor click links below:

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4 Haikus in Support of Barack Obama

Barak Obama

Is a fresh candidate who

Can offer us hope.

Obama should win

For the sake of our children

And our country too.

The Democrats can

Repair the economy,

If given the chance.

Elect Obama –

He is the best candidate.

Give him your support.

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4 Gummy Multivitamins for Adults

Multi-Vites Gummy Vitamins: These Gummy Multivitamins for adults are made by Nutrition Now, a company that produces natural vitamin and herb supplements. Multi-Vites Gummy Vitamins come in a clear container that has 70 chewable multivitamins for adults. They do not contain artificial flavors or preservatives and have lemon, berry and orange flavors. Omega-3, CoQ10 and Vitamin C are some of the nutrients in Multi-Vites Gummy Vitamins. This product can be found at many drugstores and general retail stores. It costs between $7 and $12 depending on where you buy it. There is also a “Vitafusion” brand of Multi-Vites that may not be from the same company.

Slice of Life Gummy Vitamins: Produced by Hero Nutritionals, these multivitamins for adults are affordable and widely available. The container includes 60 chewable fruit flavored gummy slices that are gluten and allergen free. The Slice of Life brand seems to only offer Multivitamins with Lycopene. Otherwise, you would have to buy a separate container of Vitamin C, Energy and many other products. Slice of Life Gummy Multivitamins for adults can be pricey. It costs around $13 at the low end and can go up to $19.99 at some stores.

Health Science Labs Vital 8 Gummy Multivitamin: These vitamins are affordable and come in an attractive container. Vital 8 Gummy Multivitamins do not look like your average vitamins. They come in a container that looks like shaving cream or some type of hair styling product. Vital 8 Gummy Multivitamin containers are black with a lime green top. This dietary supplement for adults contains Strawberry, orange and black cherry flavors. Health Science Labs Vital 8 Gummy Multivitamins cost $7.99 at many drugstores but some retailers try to charge more for them.

Nordic Berries Multivitamin: These dietary supplements for adults are made by the Nordic Naturals Company. Many stores market Nordic Berries as a multivitamin for kids. The product labeling also gives off a cartoon like impression that may not be desirable for some adults. However, the product description on the bottle states that Nordic Berries can be used by adults as well. These gummy multivitamins have a sweet and sour citrus flavor.

They are also pectin based and allergen free. Nordic Berries are also plentiful, taking away the need to purchase them frequently. Each container of these gummy multivitamins contains 120 treats. Nordic Berries Gummy Multivitamins for adults cost between $19 and $22. They can last for a long time which may justify the price. Nordic Berries Multivitamins can be found at many health food and herb stores.

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