How to Make Trick-or-Treaters Feel Welcome

Halloween is just around-the-corner and soon, there will be tiny ghouls and ghosts wandering the streets in search of tasty treats. Let's make them feel welcome.

Many parents have changed the day that they take their youngsters trick-or-treating and/or they will begin while it is still light outside out of concern for everyone's safety. For those who continue to trick-or-treat after dark, a well-lit house sure is inviting. Turn on your outside lights before the sun goes down so that you don't forget. If you do not have landscape lights along your walkway, use this occasion as an excuse to install some. It's relatively easy to do.

While adults find scary, and even gruesome, Halloween decorations entertaining, young children are often frightened by them and will want to avoid them at all costs. The same goes for scary noises. Remember these things as you prepare your home and decide whether your theme will be scary or friendly. Both types of decorations are widely available in retail stores.

Buy the good candy (chocolate) and plenty of it. Yes, it may set you back a few dollars, but this holiday only comes once a year. The joy that you will give children is worth a little extra money on your part. Have a large bowl ready beside the door overflowing with the good stuff. If you have a dog, let them run around the back yard or watch TV in a back room during trick-or-treating hours. A barking dog behind the front door tends to make many people skittish.

Greet each trick-or-treater with a warm smile and friendly words. Compliment them on their costume. Be generous with your hand-out and they will remember you each year as "one of the good houses." Most of all have fun. Happy Halloween!

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How to Host Your Own Beerfest Party

Das Boot! If you love the movie "BeerFest" so much that you find yourself quoting it at every party and reenacting those memorable scenes, why not go the extra mile and host your own "BeerFest" party?

Invite your closest friends and instruct them to tell no one about your "Beerfest." Be sure to have a copy of the movie, "Beerfest" on hand so that you can watch it before, during, or after the party. Acquire all of the necessary supplies, including the kegs prior to your guest's arrival. It is perfectly acceptable to ask people to chip in a few dollars to cover the cost of the beer. Also, it's a good idea to have a case or two of beer as backup in case the main kegs dry up at some point.

Be sure that everyone who attends your "Beerfest" is old enough to drink. For fun, and to keep with the theme, tell everyone you invite what the password will be and make them recite it at the door. Take away everyone's keys who will be participating in the games and be sure they all have a place to sleep.

Divide all of the participants into teams. For fun, you can select which country each team will represent. Play beer pong, quarters, darts, flip cup, and any other drinking game that you like. Designate a referee or two and a score keeper so that you'll know who wins. Be sure to save the beer boot chugging competition until last and don't forget the secret technique to keep the bubble from exploding in your face!

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How to Host a Spooky Halloween Karaoke Party

This year, make your Halloween party more exciting than ever by hosting a "Spooky Halloween Karaoke Party."

Decide where to have the party and create invitations. It is a good idea to co-host the party with other people, which takes some of the stress and expense out of planning the party. If nobody owns a karaoke machine, find a party rental store that carries them and pick out a selection of spooky classics. If all else fails and you can't find a karaoke machine, you can just have music playing and your guests can sing along and perform.

When designing the invitations, specify that all attendees should wear costumes. Decorate the party area the night of the party and prepare some refreshments. Another good idea is to collect a "pizza fund" and order delivery at some point in the night when your guests are hungry.

In addition to a costume contest, also have a karaoke singing contest and award the most entertaining singer with a prize. Don't start the party immediately with karaoke singing, though. Let your guests enjoy some non-karaoke music first. For the adult crowd, music by Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, My Chemical Romance, and Megadeth are good for getting the party cranked up. Don't waste your money on the "scary sounds" CDs. Most adults find them to be annoying after five minutes and would rather hear music.  Be mindful of your neighbors as your party goes late into the night. It is a good idea to invite them to the party so there will be nobody nearby to disturb!

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How to Throw a Frisbee

Hold the Frisbee in your right hand if you are right-handed and your left hand if you are left-handed. Hold the Frisbee level so that it is parallel to the ground. Throw it using medium strength. If you throw it too soft, it will fall short of the person; too hard, they will have to chase it. You want the Frisbee to fly within arm's length of the recipient so that they can catch it easily.

Assuming that the wind is not too strong, if you tilt the Frisbee so that one side is higher than the other and then throw it just as you did before, you will notice that the Frisbee will fly in the direction that it is tilted. If the left side is lower, it will fly to the left. Likewise, if the right side is lower, the Frisbee will fly to the right. It helps to also throw the Frisbee upwards a bit because it will tend to dive faster than if it is thrown level.

Hold the Frisbee level and tilt it so that the front dips slightly towards the ground. Throw it with a lot of force. If the surface in front of you is flat and hard, like concrete, you can make the Frisbee strike the ground and then skip and fly upwards. This is a very cool effect if done correctly. The same can be done across water, but it helps to turn the Frisbee upside down first.

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How to Find Things to do while in Myrtle Beach, SC

If you are planning a vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC, there are so many things to see and do. Here are a few of my most favorite attractions and restaurants. 

The first thing to do when planning a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC is to decide where to stay. Depending on the type of vacation and who’s going with you, there are a number of ways to enjoy Myrtle Beach. If your group consists of college-age folks who are ready to party, then the ideal place to stay is in Myrtle Beach. If you are taking your family and you would like a quiet vacation, then North Myrtle Beach will be more your speed.

Stop by the Myrtle Beach visitor’s center on your way in to the beach and pick up a free map and some coupon books. Drive towards the ocean until you find Highway 17. This stretch of highway runs mostly parallel to the shoreline all the way from Myrtle Beach to North Myrtle Beach. There is a 17 bypass that you will want to utilize if you are in a hurry to get from one beach to the other. If you want to cruise and show off your ride, stay on 17 business and take it slow.

When you get hungry, there are so many good restaurants to choose from. If you want seafood, many people recommend the Calabash restaurants. I enjoy a good rack of ribs and I find them every time at Damons Restaurant, which is located right on the beach. You can eat your meal at Damons while you watch the waves crash into the shore. Margarittaville Restaurant, which is owned by none other than Mr. Jimmy Buffett, will entertain you with your favorite Buffett tunes while you enjoy your meal and search for that lost shaker of salt. Speaking of Jimmy Buffett, if you are in the mood for an excellent burger, I highly recommend a little restaurant called “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” For dinner and a show, you could visit “Dixie Stampede” or “Medieval Times.”

For entertainment, look no further than Broadway at the Beach. This area includes restaurants, a movie theater, bars, dance clubs, and all sorts of fun things to do. My favorite bar is a little Irish pub in North Myrtle Beach called Molly Darcy’s. If you rent a condo at the Crescent Shores, it is right beside the pub, which means you have a short walk back to your room. For the best shopping experience, I recommend either Barefoot Landing or the Tanger Outlets. Don’t forget about golf and mini golf. Myrtle Beach is a golf player’s dream. There are so many courses to choose from, you could play a new one on every trip for years. The mini golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area are top-notch and include a variety of different themes.

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How to Recover from the Worst Hangover Ever

After a fun night of partying and heavy drinking, you may end up with a little more than you bargained for. Fight the curse of the most terrible hangover by being prepared for it.

It is a good practice to drink water between alcoholic beverages, but this isn't always practical and as people get more and more intoxicated, alcohol seems more appealing than water, so we'll assume that you did not use a water buffer, but instead just woke up with a raging hangover induced by alcohol. The first step is not to panic.

Take two Excedrin Migraine pills. Take three pills if you are a large fellow and/or if the intensity of the hangover is severe. Wash these pills down with an entire can of Coca Cola. In addition to the pain relieving medicine, you have just given yourself a double dose of caffeine.

Lay down on your stomach in a dark, cool room. Place a small pillow or a rolled-up towel under your chest. This will cause you to breathe heavily while you sleep which will provide your brain with much-needed oxygen. Sleep for at least 30 minutes to an hour.  Wake up and immediately eat something. Enjoy the rest of your day, hangover-free.

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How to Throw an Amazing Bachelor Party in Myrtle Beach, SC

Your buddy is finally going to tie the knot. When planning the bachelor party, you decide to go to Myrtle Beach, SC but you're unsure of what all there is to do there.

Decide which beach you want to stay in. Myrtle Beach is where many of the young people go to party, whereas North Myrtle Beach is a little more relaxed and family oriented. For a bachelor party, I'd choose Myrtle Beach.

Go play golf. Bring your clubs along and play one of Myrtle Beach's incredibly beautiful golf courses. Many of the hotels offer a golf package with your room. Be sure to pay for the bachelor's green fees and cart fees. Bring beer.

Go to a strip club. Take the guys to the famous Crazy Horse strip club, which is actually in North Myrtle Beach. Pay for the bachelor's alcohol and buy him a few dances.

Go on a gambling cruise. There are several cruises that leave from nearby beaches which feature alcohol and gambling when the boat reaches international waters. Bring along some motion sickness medicine. Even if you don't need it, someone will probably offer to pay you for a tablet if they know you have it. Play your earnings in a slot machine. Again, buy drinks for the bachelor. He can gamble his own money.

Buy some fireworks. In Myrtle Beach, it is illegal to have alcohol or projectile fireworks on the beach. Remember that they are both illegal. You've been warned.

Take the bachelor to eat at "Dick's Last Resort" restaurant and let the wait staff have their way with him. Don't get mad at the things they say or do. It's all part of the ambience of the restaurant.

Buy lots of beer and also buy a funnel at one of the local surf shops, like "Wings" or "Bargain Beachwear." Have fun!

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How to Travel to Myrtle Beach, SC from Charlotte, NC

It's time to leave for that much anticipated trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. Your family and friends are all packed and ready to go. You begin your journey from Charlotte, North Carolina. What is the safest and fastest route to Myrtle Beach SC from Charlotte? There are so many ways to go, but which one is the best?

Take I77 south towards Columbia. You will pass Carowinds, Tega Cay, Rock Hill, SC and two rest areas. Take the exit for Highway 9, which is located just after the second rest area. At the top of the exit ramp, take a left, which will direct you onto Highway 9 south towards Lancaster.

Stay on Highway 9 bypass and then take Highway 903. Travel on Highway 903 until you get to the city of Mcbee, where you will find Highway 151. Watch your speed through Mcbee. The limit drops to 25mph and the police are very aggressive against beach travelers who speed through their town.

Take Highway 151 south towards Darlington which runs into Highway 52. When you reach Darlington, take Interstate 95 north and then the Highway 327 bypass, which runs into 76/301. This will eventually turn into Highway 501. If you are going to Myrtle Beach, Highway 501 will run straight to the beach. If you are going to North Myrtle Beach, take the exit for Highway 22. This will take you straight to the outlet mall in North Myrtle. From there, take Highway 17 north to continue to North Myrtle Beach.

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How to Get into Carowinds at a Reduced Rate or for Free

Carowinds theme park, which resides on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, is a great source of family entertainment including rides and attractions for the entire family. Enjoy all the thrills and adventure at a fraction or the cost or even for free.

Believe it or not, you may know someone or even know a friend of a friend who works for Carowinds theme park. It never hurts to ask around. Employees of the park are given free admission tickets and they are allowed to give them out at their discretion. Often just asking someone for a ticket or two will gain you free access to the park or you could do something nice for that person and still get in for almost nothing. Also, many companies are corporate partners with Carowinds and offer their employees discounts using a special company code that may be entered on the Carowinds website. You may know someone who works for one of these partners and not even realize it.

Check the Carowinds website for discounted rates. Often, they will have a special that rewards you with a discount just for purchasing tickets online. If you can find a group of fifteen to forty-nine people to go together, you will enjoy a group discount. An even better discount is available for groups of fifty or more. If you are a senior citizen of sixty-two years or older, then you are in luck because they offer a great discount for you too. If you will be visiting the park for two consecutive days in a row, save your original ticket and use it to purchase a "next day ticket" as you leave the park. The price for these tickets is less than half of what you paid for the first. If you have plans for earlier in the day, but you want to ride some roller coasters at night, wait until after 4:00 pm and the price of admission is about half.

Quite often, Carowinds vendors will offer discount coupons for admission to the park. Coco Cola frequently offers discount coupons which are printed right on the side of the drink cans. Check the supermarkets in the cities close to Carowinds, like Charlotte and Gastonia, North Carolina and also Rock Hill, South Carolina for these special cans.

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How to Protect Your Family from Home Invaders

The security of your family is very important. Not everyone can afford home security systems or guns. This article describes several easy and inexpensive ways to prepare a home to protect your family.

Always know that if someone wants to break into your home badly enough, they will find a way. That doesn't mean that you should make it easy for them to do so. It is surprising to me how many people have told me that they lock the doors to their home only while away. This is very dangerous! Purchase a deadbolt lock for any doors that are easily accessible to the public and keep these doors locked at all times. Start a habit of locking all doors at all times. If you leave to go to the store, lock the door behind you. When you get home... lock the door behind you. Teach children to lock doors behind them and to always see who is knocking at the door or ringing the doorbell before opening the door.

If the home is equipped with wooden window panes, use a power drill to drill a hole in one corner of each window where the upper and lower panes meet. Make the hole large enough to insert a heavy gauge nail. The nail should be easy to remove in case of emergency. It's not a bad idea to tie a piece of string to the head of the nail to make it easy to pull out. The point of the nail is to make the window difficult to open from the outside.

To secure a sliding glass door, cut a broom handle or stick to fit the space in the track behind the door where it slides when it is opened. It is very easy to bypass the latch on a sliding glass door, so be sure to leave the stick in position while the door is not in use. If you have a fenced-in yard, be sure to lock the gate when not-in-use. Also lock storage sheds with a lock large enough that it may be seen from outside the fence.

Leave a light on during the night, both inside the house and outside. This may just deter someone from breaking in if they think someone may be awake inside the house. Also, it's easier for crooks to operate in the dark. If you own a dog, give them full run of the house during the night. They have amazing hearing and will let you know if someone is snooping around outside.

Cover all windows with shades or blinds at night so that it is difficult to see into the home. If it is easy for someone to see from the outside that you own the latest game system, a huge expensive TV, or maybe some expensive artwork, then it may prove tempting for a would-be thief to put your home at the top of their list. Actually, if you can afford all of these high-dollar items, then a home security system is probably a wise investment too. The bottom line is that your family's safety comes before all material things. If you find yourself in the situation where someone has entered your home, let them take your money or some of your belongings if it means that they leave without harming anyone. Then call the police and file a report.

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How to Handle the Death of a Pet

The passing of a beloved pet, whether expected or not, can be a very difficult time for a family. Often when it happens, people are distraught and unsure of what to do.

When a pet passes away, the first thing to consider are the feelings and emotions of the family. Young children should be told what has happened, but they do not need to see the deceased animal being handled or taken away. First move children and grieving spouses to another part of the house, away from the area where the pet is. Another good idea is to have the family leave and go to the park or to get ice cream; something positive and distracting. Second, if there are other pets in the home or yard isolate them from the deceased animal.

Decide how to handle burying or removing the pet from the premises. Different sized pets may be handled in different ways. Goldfish may be given a proper burial at sea (ie: flushed) or they may be buried in the yard. Small pets, like hamsters and parakeets may be buried, but beware if there is a dog cohabiting the yard, they may be tempted to dig up the animal.

If the deceased pet is of a medium to large size, call the veterinarian's office where you normally took the pet for checkups. Many will handle disposing of the animal for you. If this is the option that you choose, use two large black garbage bags and wear a pair of gloves. Carefully pull the first garbage bag over the pet and pull the drawstrings to close the bag. Pull the second bag over the pet from the opposite direction. Using two bags helps to contain any excretions from seeping into your vehicle while transporting them to the vet. It is a good idea not to bury a large animal in the yard for a number of reasons. First, kids and animals have a tendency to dig in the dirt and you don't want them to unearth a dead pet. Second, as a pet's body decays, it may leave a void in the yard that could collapse if someone steps in the wrong spot.

Use care when handling the body of your deceased pet. If you are overcome with emotions and unable to handle removing the pet from the premises, call a friend or another family member to help you.

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Combine MS Word and MS Excel Spreadsheets into One Document

Quite often a user needs to create a presentation with both Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. There is an effective way to do this so that the presentation stays in order and contained within one document, which is helpful when printing or distributing the file electronically.

Create the text portion of the presentation using Microsoft Word. If the presentation consists of numerous ideas, it is OK to write them in separate documents. These separate documents will all be combined in the end. Be sure to spell check and then save the documents into their own folder for easy sorting. Also be sure to give a meaningful name to each file so that they will be easy to find. Sometimes it is a good idea to begin the name of each document with a number, for instance "001 - ideas.doc" and "002 - more ideas.doc", so that they may be easily kept in order.

Now, create the Excel spreadsheets. The same idea applies to these files. Save them into their own folder for easy sorting. It is a good idea to keep the Word documents and the Excel spreadsheets separate.  Create the "master" document using Microsoft Word by opening MS Word and selecting "new" and then "blank document." Assign a meaningful name to this document, like "Master.doc." Be sure the cursor is blinking in the open blank space at the top of the blank document and then select the "Insert" menu and then "Object." This will open the "object" window. Select the tab for "Create from File." Be sure the check box beside "Link to File" is selected. If not, select it before proceeding. Now, click the "Browse" button and navigate to the folder where you saved the MS Word document or the Excel spreadsheet that you would like to use to begin the presentation. Select the file and press the "insert" button. Repeat this procedure as many times as necessary to compile a complete presentation consisting of both MS Word and Excel files.

When the "Master Document" is complete, be sure to save it. If changes should be made to any of the individual files, they may be done by opening the master document, double-clicking the section that needs to be changed, making the changes, and saving the file.  Do not delete the original MS Word documents or Excel spreadsheets! The "Master Document" is only linked to these files.

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How to Use Sensors to Detect Missing Content from Foil Wrappers

An application to detect if the contents of a foil wrapper are missing is fairly easy to solve using two sets of industrial grade high-powered infrared photoelectric sensors.

Many industries use foil wrappers to package products. For quality control, it is a good idea to have a system capable of automatically detecting when the contents of those wrappers are missing. Some companies use human beings to manually pick and choose wrappers, which is tedious, and not very efficient. There is a solution that really works; infrared photoelectric sensors.

Position one set of infrared photoelectric sensors in a through-beam configuration, so that the foil wrapper will move between the sensors at a given point. Adjust the sensitivity of the infrared photoelectric sensors so that they will detect the foil wrapper whether it is full or empty. The sensors should be at their most sensitive setting for this. The output from this set of sensors will report to the PLC to let it know when a foil wrapper is present.

Position the second set of infrared photoelectric sensors beside the first set, also in a through-beam configuration and facing the same direction. Be sure that the sensors are set to different frequencies to avoid cross-talk between the two sets. This set of sensors should be adjusted to its least sensitive setting. In other words, crank the gain setting to the max. Assuming that the photoelectric sensors being used are industrial grade, they should be able to see through an empty wrapper easily, but not one containing product. This set should also report to the PLC.

Now, you have two infrared beams of light striking the foil wrapper as it passed. One is used as a reference to let the PLC know when a foil wrapper is present. The second set of sensors lets the PLC know when a foil wrapper is missing its expected contents. This system is very reliable and is in use at a number of companies worldwide.

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How to Take Pictures at a Nude Beach

Are you thinking of visiting a nude beach? You will probably want to take some pictures to remember the fun time you and your family had on the beach. Before you start snapping pictures, there are some things that you need to consider.

Visiting any beach in the world, you should always be respectful of other people. Almost everyone travels to the beach to relax and enjoy themselves. Nudists or naturists are no different. The last thing they want is to be harassed by someone who is up to no good. Think of it this way, how would you act on a beach where you and everyone else were fully-clothed? You should act no different on a nude beach. If your normal behavior is that of a complete sociopath, then you should not visit the nude beach, but instead go seek professional help or stay at home.

Be prepared for your beach trip by taking plenty of refreshments and snacks with you, as most nude beaches don't have public facilities nearby. Also take beach towels or bamboo mats and a first aid kit. If you take your camera, make sure it is well protected. Sand and water are the natural enemies of a digital camera. If you and your family are situated apart from other people on the beach, then nobody will be upset if you take photos of your family. If you are sitting in close proximity to other people, give them the opportunity to excuse themselves or ask permission before taking their picture.

If you show up at a nude beach with your family and are enjoying yourselves in the nude, you are friendly with the people around you and even get to know them; you will probably encounter less resistance when you ask to take a picture or two. If you show up to the nude beach as a single guy and you start just taking pictures of people without their consent, then you will probably not receive a warm welcome.

Think of it this way, how would you like for other people to treat your family? Would you like naked pictures of your wife and kids showing up on the Internet? Maybe it doesn't bother you, but for many people it does. Always treat people with kindness and respect and it will be returned tenfold. Enjoy your visit to the nude beach. Be sure to clean up after yourself. Help to make the naturist pastime less taboo by contributing to a positive atmosphere on the beach and by not causing trouble. When you look at the pictures that you took on your trip, you should remember each one fondly and be able to name every person in the picture.

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How to Create Custom Stock Watchlists Using E-trade

Trading on the stock exchange can be a challenging experience for a new investor. Many tools are available to help do-it-yourself traders, but sometimes, they are not easy to find and use. This article details how to easily create custom watchlists using the E-trade website in order to track stocks from different companies.

Sign up for an E-trade Financial account and deposit the money that you wish to invest. While waiting for the funds to transfer, begin researching the companies that you are considering investing in. This area is found under the "Quotes and Research" tab.

To add the stock to a watchlist, there are two options. From the "snapshot" screen of the company's stock, there is a link on the right-hand side of the screen under "Quick Links" for "Add to Watchlist." Clicking this link will add the stock to your generic watchlist.

Finding the watchlist can be a challenge and when we do find it, we will address the second method for creating custom watchlists. Click the "Trading & Portfolios" tab and then click the "Portfolios" sub-tab. Once you have purchased some stock, it will be displayed on this screen. Now, click the dropdown box beside "Account/Watchlist." There is an option on this list labeled "Investments to Watch." Selecting this option will present a screen displaying all of the stocks that have been added to the generic watchlist.

Let's say you want to group these stocks into categories, for example, breweries. This is very easy to do. Beside the dropdown box, there is a link for "Create / Edit List." Click "create." Step 1 on this screen is to give your watchlist a name. We'll name it "Breweries." Step 2 has a box where the stock symbols, or ticker symbols may be typed or copy/pasted from another source. Try adding these symbols (without the quotes) "ABV,BUD,SAM,TAP,PMID,HOOK", and then click the button labeled, "Add Holding Information."

From the dropdown box, you will now have the option to view the stocks that you own, the generic watchlist, and any other watchlist that has been created. For an easy way to find different stocks from companies in similar industries, use Google and search for terms like "breweries stock" or "automotive manufacturer stock." Have fun, but invest your time and money wisely.

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How to Demagnetize Magnetic Media

Do you have some old VHS tapes, floppy disks, or hard drives that need to be erased? This process can be very time consuming if you manually erase them one by one. With the proper equipment, you can make the information disappear in minutes, rather than days or weeks.

Purchase a magnetic media eraser/degausser from an online source or at a retail store that carries them. Research the different types of available magnetic erasers to find the one that meets your needs.  Read the included instructions for processing the type of media that you have. Arrange all of the media that you want to erase into a separate group and be sure that they are all really expendable. If you are not certain, review the media before putting it through the eraser device. This erasure/degaussing process is irreversible!

Quickly erase all of your information from the magnetic media forever. Reshelf and reuse your media or dispose of it properly. You might consider donating it to a local school or organization that can put the old media to good use.

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How to Sing like Johnny Cash

So you’ve been listening to the “man in black” and you want to learn to sing like him? Hey, if Joaquin Phoenix can do it, why can’t you? It’s not that difficult to impersonate this rock and roll icon.

If you are gifted with a deep voice, then singing like Johnny Cash shouldn't be too hard. Find the lyrics to your favorite Johnny Cash songs online and memorize them. Also purchase these songs so that you can listen to them repeatedly.

For guys with a voice that's not-so-deep, try adjusting your larynx (Adam's apple) up and down as you talk. You should notice that as you move it downward, your voice gets deeper. That lower range is what you'll need when attempting to sing these songs.

Pick an easy Johnny Cash song, like "Ring of Fire." Sing along with the music that you bought legally from an online music source. If you are a member of a band, see if they will agree to practice playing some of his music with you. If not, save your newly-developed skills for karaoke night and blow everyone away. Don't forget to dress in all black to add a touch of authenticity to your performance.

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How to Clean up the Earth and Make Less Work for Our Children

How can we start right now and make the Earth a nicer place to live so that our children don't inherit a huge mess?  Start by looking at the things you throw away. Are you disposing of your waste properly? Is any of it recyclable? If you are buying products that are harmful to the environment or do not decompose, are there safer products that you could use instead? Start or join a neighborhood clean up project or participate in the "adopt a highway" program if it exists in your area. If just one person makes a conscious decision to do better and think "green", the positive impact on the environment will be staggering. When lots of people get involved, others will notice.

Encourage as many people as you can to help you in your mission. Have a positive discussion with your kids about conservation and teach them good habits by setting a good example yourself. Remind adults that littering is wrong. If you catch a litterbug red-handed, don't ignore them. Report them to the authorities! Memorize their license plate and call your local police department. Some law enforcement websites even have pages devoted to reporting litterbugs.

Write or email your Senators and Congressmen and share ideas about conservation. Donate money to watchdog groups who fight to protect the Earth! Better yet, donate your time and energy to help their cause. It's up to all of us to protect the Earth's precious environment now, so that our children and every generation after them don't have to clean up our mess. Remember, some damage cannot be undone. Let's change our lifestyles before it's too late.

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How to Determine Which Wire is “Hot” in Household Wiring

Your home repair project involves installing a light fixture and an electrical outlet. You flipped the breakers and disconnected the existing fixture, but now you’re uncertain which wire is the “hot” one. What now?

In the United States, household wiring code offers us a clue as to which wire SHOULD correspond to what. Extreme caution should be used, however, when dealing with electricity, even if you feel certain that you know which wire is which. The possibility exists that a misguided handy-man who came before you made the wrong choice connecting the wires. You can never be too careful when your life is at risk.

According to code, the black wire is always the "hot" or "live" wire, meaning, it is connected to a source supplying 110 VAC. If you are connecting this wire to an electrical outlet, this wire should connect to the narrow spade, or brass colored terminal. If you have not switched off the breakers like you're supposed to and you grab the copper conductor of this wire, you will probably feel an unmistakable tingling sensation quickly travel up your arm. If you do feel it, let go of the wire because this sensation is not good for you. If this happens to you often, be sure to have someone around who knows CPR and first aid when you do home repairs.

The green wire is your friend. This is the ground wire. Its sole purpose for existing is to save your life by providing electricity an alternate path to ground. In the case of a short circuit, the current passes through the ground wire and overloads the breakers, causing them to trip. Sometimes this wire will also have a yellow stripe. Be sure to connect the ground wire properly when performing an electrical repair. If the copper conductor of the "hot" wire that we just discussed were to maneuver it's way over to the metal casing of, for example your ceiling fan, and make contact with it without the ground wire attached, you would be in for a nasty surprise when you touched the metal casing of the fan.

The white wire is known as the "neutral" wire. In any circuit, whether AC or DC, there has to be a complete path in order for the electrical current to flow. The white wire alone should not have a charge and should not hurt you if you touch it. If installing an electrical outlet, this wire connects to the wide spade or silver colored terminal.  Sometimes, you will find a red wire living side-by-side with the black, white, and green wires. This wire is known as a "traveler" wire and is used to connect power between 3-way light switches.

Always use caution when working with household wiring. Turn off the breaker that corresponds to the circuit that you are working on. If you are not certain which one is which, switch off the main breaker. Even then, it is a good idea to test the wires with a multimeter to be absolutely certain that the wires are not "hot". It's a good idea to test between the black wire and the white wire and then between the black wire and the green wire. It is important to note that when reading AC voltage with a multimeter, if you connect your probes between two wires that are both "hot" (110VAC) the reading will be 0 volts. (A lesson that I learned the hard way!) Always know what you are doing when dealing with electricity. Small mistakes could prove to be fatal.

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How to Travel through Time

Do you long for a way to relive your past? Are you looking for creative ways to improve your future? It’s not as difficult as you think.

What exactly is time? Time is a man-made invention that was created centuries ago by humans allowing them the ability to record events in order to remember them and to create markers to reference when the events happened in relation to one another. There are two basic ways to travel through time, forwards and backwards. In this article, I will discuss some of the best methods for making forward time travel a unique and rewarding experience; so much so, that it should eliminate the need for reverse time travel altogether. For this journey, prepare yourself with some basic recording tools, such as a journal and a digital camera, so that you can easily document your experiences.

One of the most important tools for a time-traveler is a time marker. A time marker can be anything of significance created so that you, or future generations, can remember a specific moment in time. A time marker doesn’t have to be created on a grand scale, like the Great Wall of China or Mount Rushmore. It may be something as simple as a photograph. Many people have created time capsule markers, which offer a collection of items from a certain time period. In most cases, these capsules are opened anywhere from fifty to one hundred years after they are sealed. The idea is to mark a reference in time in a way that will allow you or other people to experience it many years later and return to that point in time. For forward-only time travelers, returning to a previous point in time, means simply remembering the events of that moment or dreaming about it, but not physically visiting it.

I mentioned earlier in this article, the notion of making forward time travel a rewarding experience. Create a marker right now, consisting of a journal entry expressing how you are doing in life at this very moment. Include your thoughts, feelings, financial situation, and anything significant that represents who you are. Create a collection photos or a video of yourself. Be sure to actually print the photographs as you cannot be certain that the digital method that you currently use to store photos now will still be used in the future. (ex. the floppy disk) Place all of this in a safe place, like a time capsule, and don’t read or watch it again for at least one year; even better, five or ten years. Now create a list of goals outlining things that you wish to accomplish by the next time you view these stored materials. Do you want to be more successful, build something, lose weight, or have children? Focus your time and energy towards reaching these goals and constantly improving yourself.

When the time is right, open the capsule and read your journal entry, play the video tape, or look at the pictures you took. Did you accomplish the goals that you set for yourself? This simple practice has the potential to make a great impact on your life and possibly eliminate the regrets or wishes that cause people to desire traveling backwards in time to change earlier events. Isn’t reverse time travel what interested you in searching for this topic in the first place? Using a simple series of time markers to travel to the past in your mind should always be sufficient if you are living a fulfilling life.

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How to Get Rid of Box Elder Bugs

What are all of these tiny black and orange bugs doing on the side of my house and where did they come from? What can I do to get rid of them?

The first thing to consider when dealing with Box Elder bugs is their purpose in life. These bugs are attracted to the female Box Elder tree. You may not even have this type of tree in your yard, but if there is one nearby, you may find lots of these bugs sunning themselves on the side of the house or exploring the rooms inside. All they really want to do is eat, reproduce, and bask in the warm sun, (don't we all?) but when the sun goes down, they search for warmer accommodations, usually in cracks, under mulch and pine needles, and inside homes. As with other types of common bugs, you may decide at first to just ignore the problem, but with these critters, that would be a bad mistake. While they do not pose any health threat to humans that I'm aware of, nor do they bite, they do multiply very quickly. If a few wander into your home and are left unattended, they will make themselves very welcome and invite their friends.

If you notice these bugs hanging around, be sure to check inside all of the rooms in your house for cracks and crevices where they may enter unnoticed. Pay particular attention to windows on the eastern side of your home, especially old wooden ones that may not be weather-tight. If the Box Elder bug has paid you a visit, you will probably notice some weird orange spots that will scrub off painted surfaces with soap and water. If the bugs find your accommodations particularly comfortable, you may also notice tiny clusters of red eggs stuck here and there. Be sure to remove your blinds and look inside the box that holds the mechanism for raising and lowering them. They seem to enjoy hiding in there.

Use a wet paper towel with a little soap to remove the orange trail and any eggs that you may find. You may either vacuum up live adult Box Elder bugs or grab them in a paper towel and crush them, but be sure not to step on them or crush them onto a carpeted surface, as they tend to leave a red spot that stinks and is hard to remove. It is preferable not to do battle with these bugs inside your home. Don't bother using insect sprays to try to prevent them. It will not work unless applied directly to the bug. Your best bet is to find their colonies outdoors while the bugs are still too young to fly and destroy them before they have the chance to travel too far. Insecticide, like Ortho Max works when sprayed directly onto the bugs, but so does soapy water. Using detergent and water is the cheaper alternative and will be less harmful when used in areas where pets have access.

Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to get rid of these pests. Just be sure to keep an eye on them and kill them when you find them outdoors. Keep your home sealed tight and the impact from the Box Elder bug's visit will be minimal.

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How to Care for a Pregnant Mother in Labor

The day of delivery has finally come for the mother-to-be. Her husband stands watching and waiting for the blessed moment with a look of uncertainty and a little anxiety. How can he step up and be the comforter that his wife needs during this trying time?

The most important thing that a man can do for his wife while she is in labor, even more important in some cases than offering to make her comfortable, is to let her know how much he loves her and to give her emotional support. Labor is a trying time for both parents and for the newborn child, and the mother has some strong forces working on her body as well as her emotions.

When things start to heat up and the contractions become stronger, it is important that the husband remains calm and focused on his purpose for being there. Be sure your wife has all the comforts of home. If she's cold, get her blankets. If she's hot, turn on the portable fan that you brought and apply some wet washcloths to help cool her down. Try to take her mind off the situation by showing her some old photographs or by watching a movie together. Use lotion or massage oil and give her a foot massage and/or a back massage.

Try hard to remove all distractions from the room. Keep visitors to a minimum. Post a sign on the door that directs visitors to the nurse's station and ask the nurses to check with you before sending people in. If you have a mobile phone with you, be sure to switch it to vibrate and put it in your pocket. If someone calls, step into the hall to speak with them. Allow your wife to rest as much as possible and don't let small annoyances keep her awake. Be attentive to her and be sure to ask her how she's feeling often. Don't stay away from her room for too long and do not, under any circumstances, eat in front of her even is she says it's OK!

After the baby is born, take some time and spend these precious moments with them and with your wife. Although the moment won't last forever, it will be one of the best of your life. Wait a little while before letting friends and family into the room. Encourage them to visit your baby when you've gone home and had time to settle. After you leave the hospital, continue to do thoughtful things for your wife and make every day special for her.

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How to Protect Your Money

How do you protect your hard-earned money? Is it residing in a checking or savings account? Is it stuffed into a mattress inside your house? What would happen to you if suddenly you realized that your wallet or purse had been stolen or that someone broke into your home and took your mattress?

As you work to grow your wealth over time, it is important to plan ahead for unforeseen tragedies that could impact your financial infrastructure. For instance, what would happen if someone stole your debit card or robbed you while you were withdrawing money from an ATM? Would you be able to recover quickly? My advice is to open free checking accounts with several of the leading, FDIC insured, financial institutions (at least three of them.) Look for free checking accounts that do not have fees or minimum balances (they do exist.) These accounts may not have tons of perks, but all you need is for someone to hold your money and you also need a quick and easy way to make deposits, check your balance online, and withdraw from it. Confirm that the account includes "fraud protection" so that if someone does manage to spend your money without authorization, you will be covered 100%.

Plan to start separating your paychecks and set aside some money to put into each of these accounts. It does not have to be a huge amount of money. Every little bit helps. Do not spend any of the money that you put into these accounts unless you have a terrible emergency and withdrawing money from them is your last resort. Be sure to only carry one or two of these debit cards with you and lock the others up in a safe place where they will not easily be found.

Another idea is to give yourself an "allowance" with each paycheck and deposit this money into one account that does not hold the majority of your earnings. Make this the only debit card that you carry with you. That way, if someone steals this card, they will not be able to withdraw all, or even most of your money. Whatever you do, be sure not to have your PIN number in the same place with your debit card.

Check your balance for each account at least weekly or more often and be sure that there are no strange transactions that you have not authorized. Opt out of having the paper statements mailed to your home for these accounts so that they are not accidentally sent to the wrong place or opened by the wrong person. Also, be sure to periodically check your credit report to be sure no other accounts or loans have been opened without your permission.

Over time, hopefully, you will see the balances in each account begin to increase to the point where you have as much in each account as you started with in your main account. This is possible through determination and a little self-sacrifice. If something bad happens and one of your accounts is compromised, you will still have the means to pay your bills and continue to function while your financial institution investigates your claim and helps you to recover your lost money. You may find, at some point in the future, that you have saved enough money in one of your accounts to begin investing the money or to buy something nice that you've always wanted without having to buy it on credit or put a financial strain on your main checking account. Good luck and be sure to keep an eye on what's yours.

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How to Remember to Remove Your Baby from the Car

I am heartbroken each time I watch the news and learn that another parent has forgotten their baby in the car and returned to find that something horrible has happened. I will be a parent soon and these are the things that keep me awake at night. After careful thought, I would like to offer some free and relatively easy solutions that may help new parents to overcome unexpected diversions that too often direct your attention away from your baby.

Develop a new routine to always check the back seat of a vehicle before you leave it, whether it is yours or not. Another important thing to do when you approach a vehicle is to look completely around it for hidden obstructions like children or toys. When you reach your destination and exit the vehicle, immediately open the back door and look into the back seat. Do this whether you know that you have your baby in the car or not. It is imperative that this becomes a habit for both parents and for anyone who will ever transport your child. If you are certain that you dropped the child off at the daycare or if you know that today is not your day to drive them, remember... making a careless mistake on the wrong day has needlessly cost the lives of too many young children.

If you are an employer, you have the ability and should make it a priority to watch after employees who transport young children prior to coming to work. Designate several rows of parking spaces for parents only. Have a few people routinely walk through the parking lot each morning to check those cars for forgotten children. This is a perfect job for security guards whose job is to patrol the parking lot anyway. Offer them an incentive to perform these checks. Also, post signs in the entrance of your building with a reminder about leaving small children in vehicles unattended.

Become better acquainted with your co-workers and develop a habit of asking other parents of young children how their children were doing this morning and what color shirt did their teacher have on this morning. Just that type of reminder may cause a person to remember that they never actually dropped the child off. Pay attention to small details. When you walk into the building from the parking lot, keep an eye out for car seats and casually look into cars as you walk past.

For the parents of small children who take them to daycare daily, be sure that your daycare has a list of emergency numbers, including several work numbers. Ask that they call each number and let someone know if you have not dropped your child off with them after a certain time. Check your cell phone each morning after arriving at work to be sure nobody has left messages for you. If you use Microsoft Outlook, set daily reminders asking whether you remembered your child. If you carry a briefcase with you to work, always put it in the back seat in the floor beside your child's car seat. That way, you will have to open the back door to retrieve it and you may discover an important surprise when you least expect it.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help parents to remember what is most important. If work becomes too stressful and you have difficulty focusing on the things that you are supposed to do, stop for a moment. Take a deep breath. Exhale slowly and ask yourself, "Why am I at work?" Your most obvious response is "to make money." Why do you need money? To take care of your family because they are important to you. Do not forget this! Take an extra 10 seconds out of your hectic morning commute to simply check the back seat of your car!

If you are a parent and you are reading this article at work, stop what you are doing and go check your car. Do it right now! Tell your boss that you need a breath of fresh air. If this article helps save just one child, then it will be the most important thing I've ever written for this website.

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How to be Environmentally Friendly in the Workplace

Environmental consciousness is a hot topic at the moment, but the concept of protecting and preserving the world that we live in should be a part of everyone's daily routine. I've compiled some ideas that will help you to influence your employer to "think green."

If your goal is to influence your employer and co-workers to be kind to the environment it is important to not be afraid to make suggestions when you identify problems. For example, if someone constantly leaves lights on in rooms that are not in use, say something! If you don't want to confront them directly, speak to your boss and ask them for assistance.

Be aware of devices and activities that waste energy and resources. Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones and turn them off when they are not needed. Replace old toilets with new low-flow models to conserve water. Turn computers off when they are not in use or at least be sure to configure them to use "Energy Star" features if available. Only heat and cool areas of the building where it is necessary. If your business has a large roll up door that employees and visitors open and close as they enter and exit an air-conditioned area, consider installing a smaller door beside it so that the larger door can remain closed. Install weather strips or repair the seal on entrances where air freely flows through the cracks. Only water grass and natural areas outside the business as needed and try not to waste water. If several co-workers go to the same restaurant for lunch, be sure to carpool. Post friendly conservation reminders throughout the office to help keep the these important issues on everyone's mind. Set conservation goals and offer incentives to employees who meet them. Try to only do business with vendors who do their part to protect the environment. For instance, if your company has a website, use the services of a web host who is environmentally conscious. On your website, mention the things that you do to protect the environment. It helps to influence the visitors who read it and may give them some great ideas that they can adopt at work.

Learn to recycle. This includes sorting paper, plastic, and glass and sending it to the proper facility for processing, but there are plenty of other ways. In your shipping department, buy recycled cardboard boxes and reuse boxes and packing materials from incoming shipments. Use ozone safe, recycled bio-starch packing peanuts instead of Styrofoam. In your sales, marketing, and accounting departments, reduce your paper usage by sending advertisements, notices, and confirmations to customers electronically. When computers or office equipment is decommissioned, consider donating it to other local businesses or to schools. If the equipment is to be disposed of, do it properly.

If your company manufactures parts, use non-hazardous components and recyclable materials. There is a directive called RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) which was adopted in the European Union in 2003 that addresses these issues. Please visit their website at for more details.

Saving the environment is an important job and all businesses should be enthusiastic about contributing. Everyone needs encouragement and a friendly reminder from time-to-time, so if you notice areas that need improvement, be sure to discuss them with your employer. Also, email a link to this article to your employer and ask them to read it. Most likely, they will appreciate your concern and take action.

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