Tagged: Learn How To

Jun 21

Learn How To Make A Bento Box

Learn How to Make a Bento Box (courtesy of howcast.com)

Bento boxes turn lunch into art! Follow these simple steps to get started with this unique, Japanese craft that makes food fun! You will need:

A bento container or a plastic container
Balanced meal plans
Various food items
Artistic flair
Garnishes
Toothpicks

Optional:

Vegetable sticks
Cookie cutters
Colorful skewers

Step 1 – Use a sectioned food container or purchase an authentic Japanese bento box. Use sticks of celery, carrots or peppers to separate the food if you don’t have a box with compartments.

Step 2 – Plan a balanced meal. Bento box lunches traditionally provide a set ratio of grains to proteins and vegetables. A common formula is 3 parts grains to 1 part protein to 1 part vegetables.

Step 3 – Pick colorful foods. Hard-boiled eggs with bright yellow yolks, vibrant, red cherry tomatoes and brilliant, white rice are popular bento ingredients. Cut the food items into shapes with cookie cutters, and use colorful skewers.

Step 4 – Add interest with contrasting, colors, flavors and textures. Include a mix of bright and dark fruits and vegetables, sweet and salty items, and chewy and crunchy foods.

Step 5 – Arrange your food selections artfully. Place the proteins, grains, and fruits and vegetables in separate compartments. Pack your box tightly so the contents won’t shift.

Step 6 – Turn your lunch into edible art. Make flowers from radishes and cut stars out of carrot slices. Garnish with little pepper rings and make mini-kabobs on toothpicks.

Step 7 – Add little faces and edible animals to your box. Give cherry tomatoes sesame seed eyes. Turn a hard-boiled egg into a bunny with cabbage-triangle ears. Making lunch cute is a big part of bento box making in Japan.

Did you know? A traditional bento box lunch contains about as many calories as the box’s volume in milliliters.

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Jun 21

Learn How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Learn How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions (courtesy of youtube.com/stratola)

Hey. What’s happening? It’s that time of year again. Time to set our New Year’s resolutions, and screw them up a day later. There’s a big problem that we have in society today, and that’s New Years resolutions. Period. We get all dressed up…well, this is not so dressed up – it’s 3 bucks – but, you get the point. We get goofy hats, we get all jacked up and we have some drinks and we say, “yea, it’s gonna be different! 2009 is gonna be different, just because the year changed to 09 instead of 08”. And we say, “I’m gonna lose weight, and I’m gonna stop smoking, and I’m gonna rescue orphans”, or whatever the thing is.

The problem is, we’re doing it wrong. That’s right. We’re doing it wrong. The guy wearing a freaking hat that’s too big for his gargantuan head is telling you we’re doing it wrong. I know it’s hard to take me seriously right now, but, listen – just give me 2 minutes, here.

We set it up wrong. Our motivations are just wrong for New Year’s resolutions – we can make it right, though! Let’s just use a system I call Mace, OK? M-A-C-E. If you look at these 4 letters, which stand for 4 words, you can change your New Years resolution, regardless of what it is, and actually make it work. You can actually have a New Year’s resolution…and keep it…and actually make it work! OK, come along with me for a second – trust me.

M stands for Motivation. What is your motivation for your New Year’s Resolution? Why are you making it? Are you wanting to lose weight because you are sick of seeing all the freaking people who are thinner than you, and you want to have their body? Wrong! Motivation has to come from here. You’ve got to want to quit smoking. You’ve got to want to be healthier. You’ve gotta want to lose weight because of your own reasons, not because somebody else looks that way. Not because somebody else told you. You can’t quit smoking because a commercial made you feel guilty about it. You can’t be better with money because the economy says so. It’s gotta be from within. Your motivation’s have to be right. So that’s M.

A stands for Attainable. You have to be able to reach it. You can’t say, “I’m gonna quit smoking for the year.” That’s 365 days! That’s a long time to quit, when I know when you’re trying to quit, an hour seems like a long time, let alone lots and lots of hours! You’ve got to be able to get to it. OK, you can’t say, “I want to lose 60 pounds – right now.” You can’t go from fat to fab that quickly. It’s gotta be attainable. You’ve got to be able to reach it – not for a year, but I’m talking a week. Or, even a day – just give me a day. One day at a time. It’s little, baby steps. ‘Cause when you put those baby steps together, they turn into a wonderful journey when it all works together!

OK, and C, the most important one is under C – is Controllable. You have to be able to control the goal. So, if your New Years resolution is to lose 20 pounds to fit into that dress, into those pants – that’s wrong. You can’t control your weight! Does that make sense? You can’t control the number on a scale. We fluctuate weight during the day, so if you make your goal to lose 20 pounds and you lose19, you failed! Or, you lose 21 pounds and you gain back 4. That’s the problem – we can’t control it. You can control what you do for your health – that should be your goal! Your goal should be, “I want to be healthier”. OK, and we can work with that. It’s not 20 pounds. It’s not 30 pounds. It’s whatever you’re gonna weigh when you’re having a healthy lifestyle. And, speaking of healthy lifestyle…a lot of times, us who don’t have a very healthy lifestyle, don’t enjoy the journey towards it. We set it up wrong.

And that’s what the E stands for, is Enjoyable. I tried it myself. I’m gonna reveal to you right now. I tried that program 10 years ago. You know, “insert program here”, or whatever it is. I saw the before and after, right? I saw the after and said, “yea, that’s what I want to be!” I saw the before and I said, “ooo…that’s what I am right now.” Did you ever notice that the after picture is always better lighting, and more tanned, and sometimes it looks like a different person? Anyway, so, what happens is we motivate wrong. So, I changed my food, and I got the weight patch and I was all ready to go, right? I was all set to go and be buff and 6-packing and ready to rock and roll.

I looked at my meal plan they gave me, and I had to eat boiled chicken that had no skin and broccoli. And that was the good meal. I know! And, I could have rice cakes, too…WHAT? Do I look like someone who eats rice cakes? No! So, I started hating meal time. I started hating my meals. You want to fail at a goal? Hate what your goal/journey is. That’s wrong. You’ve gotta set it up so you can enjoy it. And, if you don’t particularly like or enjoy the journey, then, set up reward systems for yourself, saying, “if I eat healthy for this week, I’m gonna reward myself with a nice meal that I enjoy,or a dessert I really want on the weekend. Or, I’m gonna go to the gym 3 times this week, and if I do, I’m gonna go buy this DVD, this book, see this movie – whatever it is…to reward yourself. Get yourself a massage. Trust me, if you haven’t been to the gym in a while, you’ll need the massage…so give it to yourself!

But, look at what you can control, what you are gonna enjoy about it. Let’s set the goals:

So, DON’T want to lose weight,

DON’T want to have more money,

Set yourself to be healthier, or,

Set yourself to spend better, or,

Set yourself to do stuff Within Your Control!

So, Do It! And, do it TODAY!

And Happy New Year’s!

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May 19

Learn How To Survive Without Air Conditioning

Learn How To Survive Without Air Conditioning (courtesy of Howcast.com)

No AC? Before you die of heat stroke, try these cool tricks. You will need a fan, ice, linen sheets, spicy food, wristbands, a bandana and a window exhaust fan.

Step 1 – Mimic the cooling affects of AC by putting a heaping bowl of ice in front of a fan. Hey, a half-assed air conditioner is better than no air conditioner!

Step 2 – Use linen sheets, which are twice as cool as cotton, the next best choice. Leave the bed unmade in the summer. Putting a heavy spread on will only trap heat and prevent the sheets from airing out.

Step 3 – Eat spicy foods. They will make you sweat, which is your body’s way of cooling you down.

Step 4 – Take warm baths or showers, which will trigger your body to cool off. If you take a cold one, the opposite will happen, and you’ll end up hotter than before you bathed.

Step 5 – Wear wristbands that have been dunked in ice water, and tie a cold, wet bandana around your neck. Keeping those areas chilled will cool off your entire body.

Step 6 – Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of cool water. Don’t drink the water too cold, or your body will go into overdrive trying to warm you up.

Step 7 – Stick your bed linens in the freezer for a few hours before bedtime. At the very least, chill your pillowcases.

Step 8 – Suck hot air out and blow cold air in by putting an exhaust fan in one window, facing out, and closing all the other windows except the ones in which you’re sleeping.

Step 9 – Soak a t-shirt in ice water, ring it out and wear it to bed. You can also wet your hair. Hey, you may be a little damp, but, at least you’re cool!

Did You Know? 400 Americans die every year as a direct result of the heat.

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May 17

Learn How To Do Home Repair

Top 10 Home Repairs (courtesy of Coldwell Banker and ReelProductions.tv)

Hi! We’re here with John Molke, the housing guru, and John is gonna give us the Top 10 home repair tips for homeowners. So, John, we’re gonna start with #10 – tell us what it is.

Well, one of the things that’s critical, I think, for homeowners to always understand is the location of their furnace filter. Often neglected, the furnace filter is easy to forget because it’s usually in a location that’s hard to access. So, it’s a good idea to keep it changed. It will extend the life of the furnace, and will also make the unit operate much more efficiently, making it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

That’s perfect – that’s a good tip! Let’s move right on to #9.

Homeowners need to understand a little of the basics of caulking. Outside the house, caulking begins to break down after a year or so. It’s a good idea to understand how to do a little bit of caulking. Just look for those places to keep down the infiltration of air from the outside, and there again, making your home more comfortable.

Going onto the next one would be caulking again, on the inside of the house. Understanding bathroom caulk. Doing a little sealing so that you don’t have to worry about water penetrating the area around your bathtub, shower and so forth. Anywhere that you have cracks in the grout and so forth, can be sealed with caulk.

So, simple caulking, #8 and #9. Let’s move on to #7, then.

I would say, homeowners need to understand about leaky faucets. It’s easy today for homeowners to go to the big box stores – the home centers, and get the repair items necessary to stop a leaky faucet. The instructions are right there on the package, so many homeowners are choosing to do those themselves. You’ll not waste water and you’ll avoid the irritation of a leaky faucet!

And, we all want that! What’s #6, John?

Understanding how to unstop clogged drains. One of the things I recommend is that people pour a cup of white vinegar down their shower drain, in their bathroom sink, once a week, and that will help keep your drain clean.

What is #5?

Homeowners need to understand the location and operation of their electric panel – where those circuit breakers are located, what they control. Hopefully, they’re marked, but, if they’re not, try to work with someone to get them marked properly so that you understand how to re-set a tripped circuit breaker.

Alright, #4…

I recommend that people know how to fix a squeaky door. You can pop the hinge pin out and put a little vaseline on it. It’s a very easy repair, and you put those hinge pins back in, the squeak will be stopped – normally for a year or two.

Alright, moving on, now – we’re at the Top 3 Tips that every homeowner needs to know.

Homeowners need to know the location of their water cut-off valve. You have a cut-off valve in your water meter box outside. It’s a good idea to look at it and just understand. It requires a special key, but you can buy that key at the big box store, at the home centers. It’s a good idea to know the location of every single cut-off valve in your house, should you have a break in a plumbing pipe.

Tip #2?

You need to understand drainage. A little bit about drainage…I use what I call the basketball theory of drainage. Drop a basketball next to your foundation. If it rolls away, you have good drainage. If it rolls next to the house, you have a problem, and that can cause basement leaks, mold, mildew problems, foundation cracking, settling problems. So, it’s very important to understand all the aspects of drainage.

Alright, John, that brings us to our #1 home repair tip. What is it?

You need to keep your house from exploding. Exploding houses are not a good idea!

That’s a pretty good tip!

Your water heater has a safety valve. Many of you may have heard that, occasionally, homes
do explode because the water heater explodes. It builds up too much pressure. Some of the older houses, the pressure valve may have gone bad, or it may not even have a pressure valve! Make sure that you understand where the pressure valve is located, on top of your water heater. You can actually test it. You can lift the little lever to make sure that it’s working properly. And that drains to a line outside your house, into a visible location, so if you see water coming out of that drain, that means the pop-off valve has failed and needs to be replaced.

John, thank you so much – these are great tips! We want to thank the housing guru, John Molke, for all of the Top 10 home repair tips that every homeowner should know!

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May 12

Learn How To Make Homemade Popsicles

Learn How To Make Homemade Popsicles (courtesy of youtube.com/BeforeAndAfterTV)

Hi Everyone! I’m going to show you today how to make really delicious, homemade popsicles. Super quick, really easy, and most importantly, very inexpensive. Today I’m going to show you how to make three different kinds – orange creamsicles, chocolate fudgesicles and strawberry yogurt pops. And I’ll show you everything that you need, and how easy it is to do.

So, for all of these popsicles, you’re going to need, of course, your popsicle containers. Each of these recipes is going to yield twelve popsicles, and first we’re going do the strawberry yogurt pops, which is the most nutritious.

For the strawberry yogurt pops, you’re going to need a package of strawberry jello pudding (that’s about $1.25), you’re going to need a container of strawberry yogurt and two cups of fresh strawberries – but you can also use frozen strawberries. So the first thing you’re going to do is pour the entire contents of your strawberry jello into your blender. Then you’re going to need one cup of boiling water…pour that on top in your blender.

Then you’re going to add a cup and a half of strawberry yogurt, and we’re gonna pour that right on top. Then we’re gonna add two cups of sliced and rinsed – I’m using fresh – strawberries. You can also use frozen strawberries. And we’re ready to blend. And, then, that’s it! You’re ready to pour it into your molds. Again, this is going to make twelve popsicles. The nice thing about yogurt pops is that they’re really nutritious. And then you’re gonna pop your tops on. They’re gonna have to sit in your freezer for about 2 – 2 ½ hours. And you’re done!

The next one is my favorite – it reminds me of being a kid. Orange creamsicles. Really easy. You just need a package of four-serving of orange jello pudding. Pour the entire package in the blender first, and one cup of boiling water on top. And one cup of orange juice – you can use concentrate, freshly squeezed – adds a little bit of healthiness to these. And, then, the best part – four very generous scoops of vanilla ice cream, right in the blender. And then you’re ready to blend it. And then pour it into your molds. And I figure all of these popsicles average about…the yogurt ones might be a little more expensive…but they all average probably about 10 to 15 cents a popsicle, so it really is a big savings. And again, all you have to do now is pop the sticks in.

And the last recipe, Fudgesicles – my kids’ favorite. Always a hit. You’re gonna need a four serving package of jello chocolate pudding, and pour the entire package into the blender. Then you’re going to add two cups of milk – you can use skim milk, whole milk, whatever your preference is, and pour it into the blender. And then four scoops of ice cream. You can use vanilla, chocolate, if there’s no nut allergies, you could even use rocky road or something that has nuts in it…whatever your preference is. And then we’re blending. Fill up your molds, and, again, this makes twelve but I’ve run out of molds, so we are going to make six with it – and we pop our sticks in.

So there you’ve got your Orange Creamsicles, your Strawberry Yogurt Pops and your Chocolate Fudgesicles. Very inexpensive, nutritious and the kids find them really delicious. You’ve got lots of treats on hand for when their friends come over. All you have to do is pop them into the freezer. Hope you enjoyed watching, and I hope you have a great summer – thanks a lot!

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May 11

Learn How To Make A Quarter Disappear

Learn How To Make a Quarter Disappear (courtesy of MyQuickTricks.com)

Hey there!

This next effect is a great coin vanish you can use, if you’re gonna entertain somebody and you want to do some really powerful magic that you think will knock their socks off…this next one is the one that you wanna do.

Alright, so here we have a quarter and a piece of paper. And watch – I’m gonna make it vanish – completely.

Gone! You’re not buyin’ it, are you? Ok, check it out. It’s gonna disappear completely. Completely gone. Thank you!

Alright, so it’s arts and crafts time here at My Quick Tricks. For this effect, what you need is possibly a pair of scissors (although I use an exacto knife), an exacto knife, a quarter, a small piece of foil, and you’re also going to need a piece of paper. So, I guess you are gonna need the scissors for at least cutting out the piece of paper. So what you do is you cut out a small, square piece of paper. You can also use a square of tissue paper, or toilet paper – it doesn’t matter…a napkin. Just a small piece of paper – something that will cover up the coin in a little bit.

So we have the square of paper, and then you have the square of foil and the quarter. And, what you’re going to do…this is how we make the quarter for the effect. What you’re going to do is you’re actually going to hold the foil down on the quarter and you just run your finger along the quarter in kind of a circular fashion, like so. And you really want to go around a few times, making sure that the foil doesn’t move. And you can use any coin to do this. A quarter works well because it’s large enough for somebody to see. And you want to make sure that you get all the detail in there – the date, the Liberty word at the top – if you’re using a quarter, George Washington’s hair. Get all that in there.

And now, what you’re going to do is you’re going to trim all of this excess away, using the exacto knife. Be very, very careful with the exacto knife – do not cut yourself – and just trim around the quarter, cutting away all the excess foil…like so. So you’ve trimmed all the excess foil away. And now, with the foil still on the quarter, you just fold the edges around, making a nice, smooth edge. And that’s going to give you your foil quarter.

So now, to do the effect, you take the foil quarter off the real quarter, set the real quarter aside, and you have your foil quarter. So you can show them the foil quarter (let’s clean this up a little bit, here). To do the effect, you display the foil quarter on your hand, you show the piece of paper, you cover it up, and you say, “look, it’s gone!” You snap your fingers, quarter is still there. You’re not buying any of this. You say, “look, if I snap twice, maybe it will work”. You show them no, the quarter is still there. You say, “gosh, I guess this trick just didn’t work”, and now you just crumple everything up – the foil and the piece of paper, into a ball, and show that it’s disappeared.

So that’s how to make a quarter disappear, using a piece of paper. I hope you enjoyed it, and go out there and perform that quick trick and amaze your friends. Thanks so much, and have a great day!

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May 10

Learn How To Water Ski

Learn How To Water Ski (courtesy of 1HourSlalom.com)

Welcome to Sunny Winterhaven, Florida! I’m Lane Doug Bowers, and if you’re watching this video right here, that means you want to learn to either get on combo skis without falling or get up on water skis, get up on a slalom ski without falling or get up on a wake board without falling. I’m gonna show you the same technique that top barefooters learn, beginning barefooters learn – to help them learn without falling. That’s how I’m gonna show you how to not fall – that’s how I’m gonna keep you from looking stupid in front of your friends and looking like a champion the first time you get on water, and help you do it for free!

Here’s how it goes. Your next lesson…you guys already watched this. If you didn’t watch this, go back and lean your body in this head-up, shoulder roll, meat hook, hips forward. You learn to be soft but powerful. Your hips in, your shoulders back, your knees up. Let me grab the handle.

The next position we’re gonna learn, and this is the real key to not look – how many of you watch somebody get up on a board or a cutskin and they’re in the water and say, “Ready – I’m ready – Go!” and they go yikes and they go yanking out the front. Well, that’s what happens when you don’t have good information. I’m gonna show you how to do it. I’m even gonna show you later on how to teach your driver how to drive for you and you’ll look like a pro and you’ll get up without ever taking a fall.

So here we go. The next position you need to learn, whether it’s combo skiing, slalom skiing or wake boarding is what I call the three-point-position. While you’re sitting in the water, you need to learn to sit. If you’re on combo skis, you let your skis wash into your butt. If you’re on a slalom ski, you can let – you can sit down and you’d have one leg behind you or in the ski, either one. But you’re letting this foot come underneath you. You’re basically gonna stay in this position. If you’re on a wake board, you’re gonna have the tip of the board up, but you’re gonna be sitting on the board. The front edge of the board will be up, the front edge of your combo skis will be up, the front edge of your slalom ski will be up. OK, and you’re gonna actually learn to hold this position without fighting it.

The single, biggest mistake that people make, other than they never had a game plan and got their body position right – now, the next problem is that they never learned to harness the power of a good three-point. So here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re gonna actually…the first lesson I’m gonna show you on the water – and this is how I’m gonna show you how to learn without falling…is we’re gonna have you hold on. Then we’re gonna put the boat in gear. That’s equivalent of probably going two or three miles per hour – like walking on dry land. We’re gonna check to make sure you’re not making the common mistakes that people make that don’t know a three-point.

So, you’ve gotta be able to sit here relaxed. Now, your instincts will tell you to push on the board, pull on your arms, stand up and pull in. All those things are wrong. The boat’s going in gear, you sit down and you relax. And because the boat’s not gonna gun it, which is the driving mistake that we’ll clear up later on, we’re just gonna put the boat in gear, and you’re gonna sit there, relax, grip and just ride like that. And when you are really, really comfortable and not fighting it, then you literally will be able to tell the driver OK. He’s gonna pull you up real slowly, and you’re gonna get in your shoulder roll, meat hook, hips forward. If you bend over and pull in, we shut the boat down. And that’s how you keep from falling.

So, that’s your second lesson. Learn the three-point-position. Practice on land, knees together, feet wide, arms relaxed. Ride like that. So practice on dry land, get comfortable in it and get mentally ready.

The first lesson when you get on the water is gonna be to sit in that position, relax, and the boat’s not even gonna accelerate. That’s your second miracle, that’s your second bit of information.

Have a great day!

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Jun 30

How to Make a Summer Dress From a Men’s Shirt

How To Make A Dress From A Man’s Shirt (courtesy of Giannyl.com)

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Apr 28

How to Clean your Grill

How To Clean Your Grill (courtesy of SummerKitchen.tv)

How To Clean Your Grill

Keep your grill clean for both health and taste reasons. When it builds up old crusts, it will give off a burned flavor, and the blackened bits create carbon, a carcinogen. Plus, with a clean grate, you get those gorgeous, charred crossmarks – the sign of a healthy grill.

Wash the rack after each use, while it’s still warm. Scrub it with a wire brush and water.

If you notice residue before cooking, burn it off for ten minutes or so, with the lid closed. Turn all the burners on high.

Clean the bottom tray frequently, or replace the grease catch pan, if you have one, as needed.

When you slow-cook a large cut of meat that renders fat drippings, always use an aluminum drip tray to catch the drippings.

At the start of the grilling season, consult your grill’s manual and take it apart and clean all of the parts. Scrub the heating bars and grates in hot, soapy water. Make sure to never touch a hot grill! Scrape away any buildup from the inside walls. Wash the inside and outside with soapy water.

Check the gas fittings for leaks or cracks, according to the grill’s manual.

And remember that thousands of accidents are attributed to grill fires every year. If you grill with charcoal, let the coals cool completely before discarding…overnight, at least. Use a metal bucket to carry the ash, and never put them in the trash. If you can’t bury them, line a paper bag with foil before adding the coal dust.

Taking care of your grill will add years to its life, and a clean grill lets your chicken, steaks and chops taste their best!

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Nov 24

How to Make a Vegetarian Gravy

How To Make A Vegetarian Gravy (courtesy of HolidayKitchen.tv)

How To Make A Vegetarian Gravy

Vegetarians, take notice! Here’s a recipe for gravy perfect to dress up everyone’s holiday plate.

In a saucepan over medium/low heat, add:

Two tablespoons of Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 – 3 cloves of minced garlic, and

a third of a cup of chopped onion.

Cook until the onions are translucent – about five minutes.

Next, add two tablespoons of flour.

Gradually add 1 ½ cups of broth into the paste, stirring constantly.

And add two teaspoons of soy sauce.

Now, over medium heat, bring the gravy to a boil.

Add one teaspoon of sage, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This vegetarian gravy will satisfy all of your guests!

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Oct 27

How Build and Maintain a Salt Water Aquarium

How To Build and Maintain a Salt Water Aquarium (courtesy of MonkeySee.com)

How To Build and Maintain A Salt Water Aquarium

Hi! This is Jim Karanikas from Tropical Fish World, and I’m gonna go over a little bit about the basics of keeping a saltwater aquarium. The different clips we’re gonna be covering today are:

The basic water requirements for a saltwater aquarium, such as adding the salt and the additives and the foods.

We’re also gonna discuss lighting for the saltwater aquarium. The lighting for a fish-only aquarium is much different than that of a reef tank, so we’re gonna discuss the different options for lighting.

We’re also gonna cover the equipment that is needed for a saltwater aquarium.

I also want to show you all the interesting live animals, including fish, live rock, crabs, corals…

Probably the most important thing I’m gonna talk to you about is water quality, and troubleshooting some of the more common problems that you’re gonna have with a marine aquarium.

Some of the equipment and products we’re gonna need are:

De-chlorinating drops or liquids.
We’re gonna need some synthetic salt to put in the aquarium.
We’re gonna also need something to measure the amount of salt that’s added to the aquarium.
We’re also gonna need a filter system, and, along with a filter system, a heater.
And we’re also gonna have some safety concerns with the aquarium. We’re gonna have to make sure that we drip loop all of the cords that go into the outlets, because salt water is a very good conductor of electricity, and we want to make sure that we don’t get any of the salt water into any electrical outlets that might cause a safety hazard.

My name is Jim Karanikas. I have a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Maryland. I have run and owned Tropical Fish World since 1989, and before that, I worked at another aquarium store for about 13 years. So, say kind of, fish is my life! And I really enjoy the saltwater aquariums, and I want to make sure that you know how to do it right. I know you’re eager to get started, so let’s go ahead and see how to do it!

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May 09

How to Recycle a 2 Liter Bottle

How To Recycle A Two-Liter Bottle (courtesy of MakeMagazine)

How To Recycle A Two-Liter Bottle

Earth Day…Two-Liter Recycling

Here’s eight quick and easy ways to recycle a two-liter water bottle:

#1) Save water, money and the environment. Fill up a two liter bottle with water, all the way to the top, and then screw on the cap. Flush your toilet. Drain the tank completely. Put the two-liter water bottle in your tank, and when the tank fills, it will be filled with less water than normal – meaning less water consumption, a decrease in your water bill, and also saving the environment.

#2) Why not cut the top off a bottle and use it as a funnel? You can make a wide assortment and different sizes of funnels, using soda bottles!

#3) Here’s a great way to get rid of annoying insects. Carefully cut through the upper third of a water bottle. Then pour a sweet liquid, like orange juice, into the bottom part of the bottle. Turn the part you cut off upside down, and place it inside the bottom of the bottle. Insects can find their way into the bottle, but they can’t get out.

#4) Make a handy bottle pod. Take off the cap to a two-liter bottle and drill a small hole. Then you’ll need a quarter inch hex bolt and a quarter inch hex nut. Put the bolt through the hole and attach the nut. Then, fill the two-liter bottle with water or sand. Attach your cap mount to the bottom of your camera and screw it onto the bottle, and you’ve got a bottle pod to go!

#5) When working in the yard, you occasionally find a weed that you want to kill, or a number of different weeds, and you don’t want to hurt the surrounding grass. Remove the cap from a two-liter bottle, cut off the bottom of the two-liter bottle, place it over the desired weed, and then spray your weed killer. This also works great on a windy day, keeping the spray contained.

#6) You can make a pretty cool greenhouse with a two-liter bottle, by cutting it about 1/3 down. Cut out a piece of cotton, or you could even use cotton string, and insert the cotton inside the top. Now, put some water in the base and then insert the top, upside down, in the base. Fill the top part of the bottle with potting soil, and you’ve made yourself a recycled greenhouse!

#7) Measure the weather! Cut the top off a two-liter bottle, right where the slope begins. Fill the bottom of the soda bottle with water, just up to the line. Now, using a ruler, measure off inch increments and mark them with a sharpie. You can also make marks for half inches. Flip over the top of the bottle and insert it into the bottom, and your rain gauge is ready to use!

#8) Make a bird feeder! Empty plastic soda bottles make great bird houses! Cut two holes in the bottle, across from each other. Then, using about an 8-inch long wooden dowel, cut out small holes and insert the dowels under the doorways. Fill it with bird feed, and then poke a hole in the bottle top and insert a piece of string. Hang it from your nearest tree or porch, and you’ve made a bird feeder and recycled another two-liter water bottle!

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May 07

How to Save Money – Reducing your Energy Bill

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill (courtesy of MoneyTalksNews)

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill

If you spend about the average to keep your home cooled, heated and powered up throughout the year, then you’re spending about 1500 bucks. Now, obviously in the summer, most of that expense is going to pay your cooling bill, the average somewhere between four and five hundred dollars. If I said you could chill that bill by about 100 bucks this summer (that would be about 20 – 25%), would you be interested? Well, let’s start with the AC unit.

Clear away the debris to keep the air flowing smoothly and check the filter. And keep checking it monthly, throughout the summer. You also want to check and replace your indoor filter.

The next places you’re gonna look to cut costs are your windows and doors. Air loss can blow 15 – 25% of your energy money. So, weather strip those doors and caulk those windows.

A good ceiling fan can also save you serious money. A fan will allow you to set your thermostat at 78 degrees and make it feel like it’s 72. Not bad, considering it only costs about 15 cents to run for every ten hours it’s on.

The thermostat. Now, here’s a place where you can really save some cool cash, because every time you raise this thing just one degree, you can save, on average, about 3% on your energy bill. So, especially while you’re away, raise the temperature 5 degrees, cut your bill by 15%!

Also, do you close the vents in rooms you’re not using? Well, don’t do that! Closing more than 10% of your vents can create an air pressure imbalance that could reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency.

One more tip for staying cool and keeping costs down this summer. Avoid appliances that create heat, especially in the middle part of the day. So, when it gets hot inside and outside, make some lemonade and lay on the sofa!

For MoneyTalks, I’m Stacey Johnson…

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May 27

How to Get Your Body Bathing Suit Ready

How To Get Your Body Bathing Suit Ready

How To Get Your Body Bathing Suit Ready (courtesy of SparkPeople)

Hi, I’m Nicole, a health and fitness expert for SparkPeople.com, a diet and fitness site, that gets over 1,500,000 visitors each month. Today, I’m gonna share with you our Top Ten Tips so you can look good and feel great in your bathing suit this summer!

Tip #1 – Eat a healthy breakfast every day. Breakfast eaters tend to consume more nutrients and fewer calories than people who skip breakfast. Plus, it boosts your metabolism in the morning.

Tip #2 – Exercise at least ten minutes every day. Sure, you’ll want to do more on some days; but at least ten minutes of cardio, stretching or strength training every day will help get you in the habit of exercising regularly.

Tip #3 – Write down your goals and put them in a place where you can see them every day, like on the refrigerator. Seeing your goals each day will help you achieve them!

Tip #4 – Make smart substitutions. Use vinagerette instead of ranch dressing, an english muffin instead of a bagel, mustard instead of mayo, and you’ll save 250 calories each day. That adds up to five pounds in just ten weeks!

Tip #5 – Exercise in the morning. More than 90% of people who exercise regularly have a morning fitness routine. This ensures that other things won’t happen during the day that will get in the way of your workout.

Tip #6 – Keep a water bottle with you all day. A lot of times when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty, and drinking water can sort of prevent you from eating a bunch of extra snacks during the day.

Tip #7 – Find a diet buddy. Find someone you can call, email or chat with online every day to help you stay accountable.

Tip #8 – Make three healthy recipes each week. You’ll know exactly what’s in your food; plus, cooking instead of going out, will burn 125 calories!

Tip #9 – Pack your snacks ahead of time. That way, when you’re hungry, you’ll have a healthy choice that’s already perfectly portioned.

Tip #10 – Use SparkPeople.com! OK, so this is the self-promotion part, but it really does work! SparkPeople.com is 100% free, and we give you personalized meal plans, a calorie counter, fitness programs and thousands of articles and healthy recipes. Plus, we have an online support community of members like you who can help you reach your goals. Thanks for your time, for listening to our Ten Tips, and Good Luck reaching your goals!

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