Archives for February 2015

Winter Driving Tips With the Family In Tow

pic

Winter is arguably the least pleasant time of the year to drive. January, February and March can be icy, and the sun gets very low in the sky either side of the short days. Even short journeys can be a test of ones driving experience and skill. Here are some winter driving tips to keep you and your family safe all year round.

Understand the route and weather conditions

While driving, sophisticated navigation systems, such as provided by Tom Tom, make it easy to keep track of where you are headed. This will help you avoid the wrong turns that can so often be the cause of trouble. With visibility poor, Sat Nav devices can be an extra pair of eyes. At the very least they will reduce the stress of driving, helping you relax and focus. Do make sure you update your maps regularly.

It is a good idea to have an idea of the route as well. By previewing the route on your navigation device you are less likely to panic if you miss a direction, or if GPS goes down for any reason.

If general weather conditions are bad then keep an eye on the weather where you are heading. Sometimes it is better to find a hotel for the night while you can. When the roads go wrong it can mean hours of delays. Here are some first-hand accounts of people’s experiences around the M25, Beds, Herts and Bucks back in 2003.

Drink enough liquid

Dehydration may seem unlikely at this time of year, but research has shown that a tiny loss in body weight can lead to fatigue and a reduction in alertness. It is dangerous to be fatigued when driving in any conditions, no matter winter conditions. Therefore, you should drink water regularly as you drive. Avoid keeping the water in your boot as it may freeze, and won’t be to hand. The best place to keep it is in the passenger compartment or drinks holder. Here is more on the impact of dehydration on driving.

Eat enough

The body needs nourishment the most in cold weather, so you need to eat sensibly at this time. Some of the best foods to pack for driving in the snow are fruit and sandwiches. Avoid too many chocolate bars or other sugary snacks. Carry plenty of food as you could get stuck in a jam for a couple of hours. Take a break every now and then and have some food.

Reduce your average speed

While driving in snowy conditions, it is important to reduce your speed by as much as 50%. However, make sure that you go fast enough, as your car needs momentum to keep moving through the snow, and get up hills. You should normally go for a higher gear than you would in normal conditions too.

Don’t yank the controls

Smooth operation is called for to stay in control of slippery conditions. If you get nervous, you will clench hard on the steering wheel and this will lead to a loss of control. Always consciously loosen your grasp or stretch out your fingers from time to time to help prevent an excessively firm grip. Being conscious of your interaction with your automobile is half the battle.

Learn how to recover from skids

You can lock up your wheels on a slippery road if you step too hard on your brakes. If you begin to skid, you can steer the vehicle gently in the direction you intend to go without using your brakes. This is what is referred to as turning a skid. It is a skill that will come in handy as you drive through the snow. Here is a closer look at the concept of skid recovery.

Stop regularly

Driving in the winter is tougher than driving in the summer. Therefore, you need to stop every now and then. By simply taking a 5 minute break from driving, you can greatly improve your level of alertness.

Stay in your car when stuck

If you get stuck at any point, stay warm in your vehicle and wait for assistance. However, you need to be sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any obstructions like snow and ice. Otherwise carbon monoxide could build up in your vehicle!

With these tips, you can stay safer when you drive out in the snow.

Effective Ways of Teaching Your Kids How to Bake

mother-and-child-baking[1]
Don’t be fooled by your kid’s overall appearance; because hidden underneath their small frame is an inquisitive brain that is hungry for learning and new experiences.

In order to make good use of a kid’s innate curiosity, it is important that parents teach them fun lessons at a very young age. Aside from arts and crafts, animal care, or creative writing, a great skill that you can teach them is baking. Whipping up cupcakes or sweet confections may seem like a complicated task for children. Of course, you can’t help but worry about their safety because they won’t be playing with toys, but rather, actual kitchen utensils and equipment like knives, blenders, electric mixers, or even free standing cookers. However, there is actually a way to actually make baking fun yet safe at the same time, and you can learn about it by checking the short guide below.

1. Let them become familiar with the different baking tools

This is the very first thing that you need to teach to your kid. Once they become familiar with the tools, they will not become too scared with them. Aside from showing them the functions of each tool, you should also teach them the responsible way of handling these tools. Allow them to touch and hold each utensil, even if they are sharp and pointed. In addition, let them use it in simple baking tasks. However, make sure that you are there to supervise them so you can quickly correct their mistakes.

2. Make it interactive

Most kids are visual learners, which mean that they can easily pick up information using pictures or videos. Aside from letting them work in the kitchen, another effective teaching method is by letting them watch tutorials on the internet. You can use this technique if you don’t have enough time to teach them yourself. However, keep in mind that these online videos can only work if the kids apply what they learned in real life. Make sure that you also let them bake their own pastries so they can practice their skills.

3. Keep it light and fun

It is hard to not feel nervous when your kid is surrounded by potentially harmful equipment like sharp knives and hot stoves. When teaching them how to bake, it is important that you stay calm and composed throughout the session. Kids are sensitive to what their parents feel; so if you’re relaxed, they will be calm too. Be wary of their actions, but make sure that you still keep the atmosphere fun and casual.

These are just the essential things that you need to learn about baking with your children. If you can share other useful tips to your fellow readers, feel free to post them in the comments section!

 

Maintaining The Beauty Of Your Garden With A Tried Lawnrake

garden-hose

Maintaining a garden can be a labour of love, but it is a task that can be rewarding. There are a few basic tools to help with the necessary tasks that gardeners will have, one of which is the lawnrake. Lawnrakes are generally designed for light outdoor work such as removing dead grass and clippings. Most types today have wire tines or plastic teeth to sweep up garden debris, with the ergonomic varieties making the task slightly easier on the back.

Fallen leaves

Raking up the leaves once autumn sets in is a standard job for the gardener. If the leaf fall is not huge some may let them settle in the borders to mulch any plant beds over time, while others will mow the leaves in to the grass to feed the lawn. However a reasonably substantial fall can cause damage. A thick layer of leaves will smother a lawn and weaken the grass. Raking up the leaves will prevent this happening, and can be kept for compost or mulch for other parts of the garden. Leaving a small area untended, however, may benefit some of the local wildlife.

Lawn care

A well maintained lawn is often the center-piece for many gardens, and this requires attention throughout the year. Once the final frosts have passed, raking is often the first job for the lawn. Any moss that has developed will come away easily as it is not rooted, and raking will also remove any dead grass. Raking also removes thatch, which is a build up of a layer of organic matter such as grass clippings and decaying stems or shoots.

Where there are any patches that need to be repaired on the lawn, then the soil is raked prior to being re-seeded. This is best done in late summer, early autumn, as the soil is still fairly warm though damp from rain, and there will be less weeds to compete with the grass as it germinates.

Soil preparation

Preparing plant beds or vegetable patches will also require some raking. Bedding plants fare better in prepared soil, and following forking, a light raking will help break up some of the remaining lumps to give the crumbly soil the plants prefer.

Lawnrakes are therefore an essential tool in maintaining the beauty of your garden, giving a space to relax in, treasure and enjoy.

Reducing Your Family Electric Bill

Personal Finance 3

When the bills start to climb because of rising electricity prices, there’s plenty of things to be done to reduce energy costs aside from turning out the lights when you leave the room. Here are some tips and tricks for slashing the bills.

Switch to CFL Light Bulbs

Switching to compact fluorescent lamp bulbs, commonly known as fluorescents, can be a quick and easy way to save money. These bulbs use around 75 percent less energy than the standard incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer. This amounts to roughly $35 per bulb for the duration of its lifetime. Furthermore, these bulbs can be recycled when they’re finished.

Paint the Roof White

It may seem like a strange solution, but painting the roof with a white, elastomeric coating can save on the electricity bills. The evidence from this comes from a 1999 study found that in sunny climates, the houses with white roofs used 40 percent less energy for cooling than houses with black ones.

Maintain the Air Conditioner

Heating and cooling make up a large portion of the electricity bill and one big energy drain is the air conditioner, especially if it’s dirty and not properly maintained. Changing the filters, lubricating the motor and cleaning should all be part of the process to keep an AC running efficiently. A checkup by a professional every 2-3 years is also advisable. Finally, make sure that the AC is not getting direct sunlight as units use about 10 percent more electricity this way.

Energy Sweeps

Everyone has forgotten to turn lights off at least once before going to sleep, so doing nightly sweeps that check can be a big energy saver. Check all the rooms for lights and appliances that have been left running unnecessarily. One thing to keep in mind is even when electronics aren’t turned on, if they are still plugged in they’re draining energy. So once the charge on that laptop is done, make sure to unplug it. One easy method is to plug all the electronics into a power strip so one simple switch turns them all off.

Clean the Refrigerator Coils

According to Tara Energy, a company that has the best rates in Texas, the refrigerator is one of the biggest culprits for energy usage in the kitchen. There’s no getting rid of your refrigerator, of course, but doing a regular cleaning of the brush and vacuum coils, located on the bottom or back, can help this appliance run more efficiently. Interestingly, the fridge and freezer also run more efficiently when they are full stocked so if you find the fridge empty either make a run to the supermarket or fill the space with frozen water containers.

Water Heater at 120 Degrees

Turns out the water heater should be left at 120 degrees is the most efficient. The EPA estimated that a heater at 140 degrees wastes an upward of $36 annually. Turning the electric heater off and the gas heater down, especially if you head out of town for the weekend, is a great way to save some cash.

Installing a Smart Meter

According to Tara Energy (www.taraenergy.com), getting a time-of-use meter will let you know when the electricity is cheaper during certain parts of the day. The programs vary amongst the different companies, but it’s all basically the same concept of monitoring how much electricity your household is using. Some companies even offer money for signing up so not only do you have the chance to save in the long run, you can get bonuses for using electricity when it’s cheaper rather than at peak hours.

Keep your Kitchen clean – Worktops, Walls…Ceilings?

If you own a business, you will know the importance of following the health and safety regulations. It is almost as important as looking after your customers and providing a good quality service. Those firms that do not follow the health and safety regulations face the danger of big fines and being shut down.

This article is aimed at helping both work at home mums who use their kitchen as part of their business as well as firms to maintain business premises that comply with the raft of hygiene regulations that are designed to protect people from disease. For firms involved in the food or medical industries maintaining hygienic premises is essential. Those companies involved in looking after and educating children have to be very aware of the health laws and comply with them to the letter.

pic

By paying attention to detail and taking advantage of new hygiene products, firms can make the job of keeping their premises clean and complying with regulations relatively easier. Firms that build their workspaces out of the right materials can considerably simplify the process of keeping their business premises hygienically clean. Using easy to clean walls, and work surfaces as well as installing hygienic ceiling cladding in kitchens makes keeping everything clean far easier.

The advantages of using the right materials for walls and work surfaces is self explanatory, but the benefits of using hygienic ceiling cladding are not so obvious. Take for example a busy kitchen in a restaurant or canteen. Anyone who works in one will tell you that the ceilings in these kitchens get very dirty. This is because the steam that rises from cooking pots carries dirt and grime up to the ceiling area. Over time, that grease and grime can easily build up on a ceiling making it difficult to clean easily and safely.

pic2

In most countries, dirty ceilings in a kitchen are seen as a health hazard. This is because condensation builds up on the ceiling panels and in time that condensation drips down into food and onto work surfaces. There are high levels of germs in this condensation. That is why in the UK and in many other countries all ceilings in a food preparation area have to be cleanable.

Most traditional ceiling materials are porous, so over time the dirt and grime is absorbed into the actual ceiling materials. Once that happens it is impossible to remove it. The only way to make the ceiling hygienically clean again is to replace the ceiling panels. Naturally, this is not a sustainable approach, which is why it is important to install ceilings that are made from easy to clean materials.

pic3

The best material for ceilings that are to be used in food preparation areas, clinics and schools is PVC. It looks good, is smooth and is easy to wipe down. However, not all types of PVCceiling claddingare suitable for use in a kitchen environment. You need to buy the right grade of cladding. It has to be able to withstand high temperatures, comply with the fire regulations and needs to be able to withstand cleaning with harsh chemicals.

How to Reduce Accidents at Home for Kids

Family 27
Injuries in the home can occur to both children and adults. Simple safety measures can be taken in the home to reduce the risks to injuries. General negligence of home safety is the main cause of home accidents. The common sources of injuries or unfortunately death in the home include fire, drowning, scalds and burns, falls, choking and poisoning. However, one can never childproof the home completely. Risk of injury can be reduced by making changes in the home, and keeping a close eye of supervision on the children.

Falls

Children of different ages are prone to injuries caused by falling. The height that a child falls and the surface hit or landed on will determine the extent of the injuries suffered. To prevent or minimize the falls injuries, some safety measures can be taken. First, tripping hazards need to be removed. Clearing areas makes it easier for the child and even the adults to move around without tripping. Safety gates should also be installed at the top and bottom areas of the stairs. Windows should also be reinforced with locks and window guards and lights should be in place in every area of the house so that one can see the areas around.

Burns, Scalds and Fires

To prevent burns and scalds, some safety measures in the home have to be considered. Smoke alarms that work should be installed in the home. The batteries must be changed regularly and tested monthly to ensure they are in perfect working condition. According to Prime Urgent Care, a company that provides professional medical care, children should be kept away from flames, fires, hot surfaces and liquids. Foods should be fed at reasonable temperatures and bath water tested before baths. As they wander around the house, children should be under close supervision with play areas away from the kitchen. Adults should also be careful as they hold hot drinks and foods around children, when cooking, or ironing while paying attention to fires in the home. Stove guards can also be installed around hotplates with all electrical cords kept far away from children.

Choking and Strangulation

Children can choke from covering their heads with blankets, swallowing of foreign bodies, accidental suffocation or strangulation. This can be prevented by choosing the right toys for children; keeping strings, cords and plastic bags out of reach of children and supervising the children during feeding. Adults can also be accidentally strangled or suffocated in the home. Therefore, cords should be pulled safely and pillows kept in better positions during sleep.

Poisoning

Accidental swallowing of drugs, insecticides, detergents and food poisoning can also occur to both adults and children. Therefore, to prevent poisoning, all chemicals and medicines should be kept out of reach of children and labeled appropriately for safety in locked cabinets. According to Prime Urgent Care (www.primeuc.com), containers that contained any household chemicals or medicines should be thoroughly cleaned with water and thrown out safely. Some of the garden plants may also be poisonous when eaten. Ensure that children do not put any unknown plants in their mouths.

The home is regarded as the safest place to be. However, it is accident prone to various accidents like suffocation, burns and scalds, falls, and cuts, which can all be prevented by applying safety measures in the home. When any of the accidents occur, one needs to do first aid and call or visit a doctor.

Your Family and Beachfront Property

Personal Finance 6
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing beachfront property, you likely have an array of questions and concerns. Whether you wish to buy such property as a vacation home for your family or primarily as an investment, the possibilities are generally diverse and exciting; you might buy a small condo or a large house, depending on your budget and other circumstances. However, you should probably consider several factors before you make your final purchasing decision.

Location is Everything

Researching your intended location is essential if you plan to use your beachfront home as a place to stay for family vacations. The location will be especially critical if you wish to reside at the property for a significant amount of time each year. A useful strategy is to rent beachfront property in the area you are considering. You’ll be able to determine whether the location that interests you matches your individual needs. If shopping and dining are priorities, you can see whether the stores and restaurants in the area serve your preferences well. If you have children, you might pay close attention to the number of other children you see in the local community, and you can explore the local facilities that cater to young ones.

Consider Issues Unique to Beachfront Real Estate

Living on the beach can be idyllic, but you will also need to consider various factors that are unique to that sort of geography. Sand and saltwater can wreak havoc on the surface of any home, so you’ll need to budget for that when you plan routine maintenance. If a home you’re considering is positioned directly on the beach, you may need to take measures to protect it from floods, such as having it raised a few feet off of the ground.

Examine the Property

You may have found a home that seems ideal, but you’ll also need to take a close look at the property on which it is located, as well as the adjacent environment. You might adore the huge windows at the front of a condo, but if the view they offer is of a parking lot, you might ultimately feel dissatisfied with the place. According to Stewart Technology Associates, a provider of affordable engineering analysis, a house might be gorgeous in every way, but if your closest neighbor lives a few yards away, you may not be able to enjoy the privacy you seek. Take the time to be certain that the property meets your expectations as beautifully as the home itself does.

Return on Your Investment

Unless you plan to live in your beachfront home all year, you may want to think about renting it to others. Your family can still stay in the place as often as you wish. However, when you’re not using it yourself, your property could be earning some money for you. If you do choose to rent it out, be sure you research the local regulations and fees that may be associated with rental properties in the area.

Think Before You Purchase

When you’re looking at various properties, you may quickly find one that appeals greatly to you. No matter how much you love the property, take some time to think about it. Do your research on the area, be sure you can afford the home and the maintenance involved, and consider the property in addition to the home. If you still want the home after investing some serious thought on the matter, then you can buy it.

Countless people dream of purchasing beachfront property. In numerous cases, such property can be an ideal investment. If you consider a variety of important details before you buy your home on the beach, you and your family could enjoy it for many years and maybe earn some extra income by renting it out when you’re not using it.

This article was contributed on behalf of Stewart Technology Associates, your number one choice when looking for quality mooring exploration. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

Your Family and Oil Investments

Oil 7
If you’re thinking about investing in oil, you may have a variety of questions, and you might also be unsure about how to proceed. By exploring a few important details related to getting started, you can begin to gain a clear sense of how to move forward. You might also learn a few dos and don’ts that could save you time, trouble, and money.

Awareness of Fraudulent Practices

As the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) points out, most opportunities to invest in oil are legitimate. However, as with any field where there is many to be made, fraudulent practices and individuals exist. It’s important to be aware of certain signs that could indicate that an oil investment opportunity may not be legitimate.

If a sales representative is not forthcoming about all of the details that pertain to a potential deal, the opportunity may not be a wise investment. A salesperson should not have a problem with providing you answers (or access to answers) to any of the questions you may have. If you ask about the commission a salesperson is making, the answer should come without hesitation. A sales representative should also be willing to provide the answers you seek in writing.

Consider a Company’s Reputation

If you’re going to invest in oil, be sure you are doing so with the help of a firm that is reputable. A company involved in oil well exploration should have a high rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check the BBB site to see if the company you’re considering using has had complaints filed against it and if it has, you can view the nature of those complaints. Do some research before you commit to any sort of investment, including oil.

Know the Drilling Location

Another detail worth considering is the location of the drilling site. In Nigeria, for example, the potential for rebels causing major disruption or delays in production at a drilling site is not unlikely. This means that an investment there could quickly become a loss.

If you’re an American, you might consider investing in an American oil company. Doing this can help to increase the supply of oil in the U. S., and it can also help to create more domestic job opportunities. Another benefit of investing in American oil is that you should have relatively quick access to the well site in which you are investing. If you request a tour of the well site to see exactly how your investment is being utilized, a reputable company is likely to accommodate such a request.

Consider the Risk Involved and Plan Accordingly

According to US Emerald Energy (www.usemeraldenergy.com), any investment involves some risk, and this is true of an oil investment opportunity. One option is to invest your money in a few drilling projects. Instead of placing all of your investment in one drilling project, you might invest in two or three projects to minimize your risk. If one well is dry and you’ve invested in three, you could still profit overall.

Investing in oil can be a great opportunity, and it may serve your family well. Be sure that you research the company you are considering, and be wary of sales representatives who are hesitant to answer all of your questions. Once you find a company you can trust, its representatives can help you to move forward and make the most of your investment.

Your Teen and Drugs

Law 22

D

Drug abuse by teens can have great impacts on the lives of teens. Such teens put their safety and health at risk. Teen drug abuse can be due to factors of insecurity and looking for social acceptance. Parents can help in preventing drug abuse by talking about the consequences of drug abuse and making healthy choices. Parents may feel uncomfortable talking to teens about such a topic. Communication becomes easier once a relationship is strengthened. Such conversations between parents and their teens only bring them closer together; forming bonds of trust while helping the teens feel comfortable and confident on their choices. This requires the right setting and time to prevent any interruptions or distractions.

Having Calm Conversations

It helps when a parent sits down and talks to a teen about drugs, their risks and effects. To begin with, a parent should ask the teen about their views and perceptions. Teens would not prefer long, boring lectures, the conversation should be calm and relaxed. A parent should encourage the teen to talk while listening to the questions and opinions brought forward. Instead of asking questions, a parent should make statements, observe the nonverbal responses and listen to the verbal answers.

Empowerment

Scare tactics should be avoided. According to Bay Area Recovery Center, a reputable treatment center, empowering your teen is the one way of nurturing intelligence and self-confidence helping in resisting drug abuse. Emphasis should be on the effects of abusing drugs and how it would affect the daily activities like sports and education. The discussion can focus on the messages that trivialize or glamorize drug use from the media. They should be focused on brainstorming on how to resist peer pressure and turning down drug offers. One of the best ways of talking about this is a discussion on personal resistance and experiences.

Setting Boundaries

As a parent, one should set boundaries for the teens, which should be enforced regularly with small conversations on drugs and drug abuse. Instead of criticizing the teen, a parent should listen respectfully on what the teen has to say. This will help the teen develop reasoning skills and open feelings and ideas.

Support

According to Bay Area Recovery (www.bayarearecovery.com), if your teen has already experimented with drugs, do not reprimand with a temper. Be supportive and talk of the effects of drug use with great emphasis on how it breaks the trust. With this attempt, the teen will be more open to ask for advice before trying anything else. Respecting your teens and providing balanced and meaningful information will empower them to make healthy choices. A parent is the best help for their children.

Parents should not be afraid about talking to their teens about drug abuse. Having such conversations will not tempt them to experiment with drugs, but rather they will understand drug abuse, its effects and the expectations of the parents on their conduct. Having open lines of communication creates better relationships to ensure that teens can talk to their parents openly about drugs. A parent should be clear on their opinions and expectations when it comes to drug use. Be an important role model so that you can create the best defense when the topic comes up. The support and involvement of parents on their teens makes a great difference on their lives especially when dealing with their drug habits.

Knowing When to Take Your Child to the Dentist

Health 5

Many adults are fearful of the dentist and don’t want their children to have the same type of experience. Dental fear is not uncommon, but it doesn’t have to be that way for your child. Dentistry has made a lot of advances in treatment, just in the past few years. It’s important for you to take your child to the dentist and to take care of their teeth. Use this guide to know when your children need to visit the dentist. Before you visit, talk to your child about the visit and be positive. If you need help, there are a number of books available that can help you introduce the idea in an encouraging manner.

Regular Check-Ups

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the first visit to the dentist should be when the first tooth emerges and at the very latest, by the child’s first birthday. A pediatric dentist has received two to three years of additional training after dental school. They specialize in infants and children, but if you can’t find one in your area, a family dentist is a good choice. The important thing is to introduce your child to dental care and get expert information about taking care of your child’s teeth.

Your dentist will tell you when you should bring your child back for follow-up visits. According to Cashion Dental (click here), generally, once your child turns two, your dentist will want to see them every six months for cleanings and checkups. The first set of x-rays occurs later, between the age of four and six.

Toothaches

Children often say that their teeth or mouth hurts. This could be food lodged between teeth or a new tooth coming in. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends rinsing the mouth with warm water and gently flossing for a toothache. If the pain is intense or accompanied by a fever, this could be an infection. If the pain lasts for more than 24 hours, contact your dentist.

Dental Emergencies

According to Cashion Dental (click here), if your child loses or cracks a tooth, stay calm. You will need to get your child to the dentist or ER as soon as you can, but quick thinking can save the tooth. Per the ADA, with a knocked out tooth, try to put it back in the socket to keep it moist. If that is not possible, put it in water or milk while you get to your healthcare provider. With a cracked tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water. This cleans the area. A cold compress on the face can help reduce swelling.

Orthodontic Care

Although many children don’t get braces until they become teenagers, according to WebMD, your dentist may recommend an orthodontic evaluation when your child is around seven. This can identify many problems early so that your child has a beautiful smile their whole life. Ask your dentist for their preference.

Early Care Equals Prevention

Baby teeth are important to the development of the permanent teeth, which is one reason your child needs to see the dentist early. A child learns good habits to take care of their teeth when they see a dentist on a regular basis. It also gets your child comfortable at the dentist and with their tools. You’ll see how far technology has come in making treatment more user friendly. You don’t want to wait until you have an emergency to find a dentist. Make an appointment for your child today.